Our final project for ‘Toys! 2015’ under Professor Mitchell Squire, was a gravity racer designed by Anndrea Joiner (ARC), Chelsea Brtis (ARC), Kelsi Thrasher (ARC) and myself. We ended up naming the car 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.
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.
There are a few construction photos here. While it was a pretty labor intensive process, 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.
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.
There also was a decent turn out to the exhibition held in Des Moines that day. It was a great time to play with the wealth of toys and experiments from the semester and catch up with everyone before graduation.
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!