Rod Array Column. Design and Fabrication: Carl Pisaturo, 2004. Stainless Steel Rods, Polycarbonate Disks, Acrylic Drums, Aluminum Plates, Epoxy. Length 76"
The purpose of any column is to resist compressive force along its long axis, and this structure is an experiment in doing so with minimal material. A column must have sufficient strength to support it's load, but unlike a tendon must posess STABILITY as well. This column is based on a circular group of 12 thin (1/8" diameter) rods which, by themselves, are quite flimsy. But, when the rods "help each other" via the 10 clear disks, stability results.
The 12 holes in each disk for the rods are a very close fit. This helps prevent buckling, but makes assembly difficult as the rods tend to bind unless fed in at a precise right angle to the disks. Thus a partial 3 rod assembly was done first and locked down with set screws. After this, the basic form of the structure is defined and the other 9 rods were laced. The ends of the rods were then bent and anchored in epoxy, similar to rebar in concrete. The wet epoxy was contained in acrylic drums which are permanent parts of the structure.
The finished structure is easily able to support 200 pounds along it's axis. It is quite flexible in torsion.