So as promised, today we constructed a single 8' unit of our box frame and proceeded to develop 1:1 details for both our vertical (wall mounted) and horizontal (ceiling suspended) panels. This mock-up also allowed for us to test the structural capabilities of our cable, bolts and framing in a controlled environment. We were able to make significant decisions regarding the on-site sequence of construction and how to make details more efficient and practical. Here's some shots of our exploration:
The team assembling our framing unit from two 10' wall panels and an 8' ceiling panel
Testing bolt strength while hoisting the vertical panels to height with a temporary rope and James' boy scout knots
We decided that for added safety, we would suspend the wall panels with a single length of braided cable - providing easier maneuverability and a fail-safe panel mounting
We first mounted steel conduit from the framing to the panel's MDF skirts. The conduit is cut to length then flattened at each end to provide a mounting flange. These flanges are easily bent and rotated allowing us to efficiently negotiate the panels' irregular curvature. We quickly found that the skirts were difficult to screw into and were also too thin to handle this kind of structural stress.
We then decided to mount the conduit to the rear eye bolts (as seen in our last post) with large washers and a 1/4" nut/bolt. We also added another screw to the opposite end of conduit to prevent rotation/pivoting. This ended up being extremely rigid as the bolt extends through all layers of the panel.
Vertical (wall mounted) panels rigidly fastened and illuminated
The guys mounting our suspended panels with 4 lengths of braided steel cable each fastened to one eye bolt at the panels rear. The crimped cables allow us to easily adjust the placement and angle of each panel.
A shot of a single horizontal panel from below
A second panel is lifted into place to test angling conditions and seam connections
The wall panels and suspended panels lay completed
The team and some DAS visitors admiring the completed mock-up
So what's next for the Aura team? This week we will be adding corner braces to our triangular panels and fabricating our sheet steel gusset plates for the panel seam connections. We will also be doing a mock-up of the final panel configuration in 16' sections. We will then mark all the cable lengths, conduit members and panel placements using an alpha-numeric system to ensure a speedy on site assembly.