Zanabazar Jr.

With the busyness of graduation, family travel, and my first week of work at NMA behind me, I thought I’d share a somewhat more lighthearted post/project…
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Our final project for Toys! 2015, completed with Anndrea Joiner (ARC), Chelsea Brtis (ARC), and Kelsi Thrasher (ARC), was the design of a gravity racer we ended up naming Zanabazar Jr., after the sleek and aerodynamic profile of the dinosaur’s jaws (explained here). The title of the Toys! exhibition this year, The Bizarre Bazaar, worked in conjunction with our decision and we ran with the metaphor.

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The car consists of two sheets of MDF, threaded steel rods, laser cut acyrlic spacers, white and black paint, rubber brake pads, and the official Soap Box Derby Car Axles and Wheels (which are ridiculously expensive in case you were considering purchasing a set!). To achieve an ergonomic form we chose to CNC cut our car’s length vertically, emphasizing the various curves and thicknesses of a body in motion.12
There are a few construction photos here. While it was a pretty labor intensive process (embedding objects with humanity always is), those who know how to use the ‘contour’ command in rhino in conjunction with a CNC machine know how easy it is to quickly prototype parametric slugs of this particular flavor. In fact, we eagerly embraced the opportunity to do something shamelessly biomorphic precisely because it wasn’t  a building. Finally, an opportunity to put to work the untenable practices of formal parametricism!
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Fortunately we placed second in the time trials and final race, losing only to the industrial design team (damn them and their superior sensitivity to the human scale!). It was great fun and we got good press for the studio.1 (2)
There was a decent turn-out to the exhibition, between ours and other studio events in Des Moines that day. Overall it was a great time to play with the wealth of toys and experiments from the semester and catch up with everyone before graduation.

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The highlight for me, however, was the surprise visit from my mom who drove 7+ hours from St. Louis to be there! I am still thrilled she made it, and was able to celebrate and suffer through the abstract and confusing projects and concepts of architectural design studies. If you’re reading this: thanks, Mom!
zanabazar jr. rendering
The majority of my time these next few weeks will be spent producing diagrams and images for the Iowa AIA Awards, none of which can be posted, so with any luck there will be less (A)rchitecture and more reading/drawing experiments here in the future.

2 comments

  1. Lars-Ivar

    Hi
    Really cool soapbox car. Im building one for my kids and was searching for a solution for the brakes (maybe good to have this! ? ) and ran in to your fantastic car.
    Very different from the soapbox cars I’ve ever seen.
    Very clean construction and still very functional.
    If I only could have one of those myself!!! typical I don’t have access and knowledge to draw and postprocess CNC cutter…. hmm wondering…lot of labour with handsaw and sandpaper…. and hard to get the tolerance for all the threaded bolts…

    Good work yall!

    PS. You don’t have measured drawings for the car for sale?

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