Spring Term Begins

After a brief hiatus, the Beacon Design Team springs back into action with the beginning of Spring term 2011 at the UO. The build term of the designBridge year has us in full swing ordering materials, planning, and making preparations for the structure to come into being.

First item on the menu: the footings. Hoffman Construction lent us a hand in this process by donating materials and allowing us newbies to figure out how to do various construction-related things on their East campus job site. The Sonotube material was cut into appropriate sizes there, as were the steel plates to be used for our connections. Meanwhile, at the dB shop, we constructed a formwork system out of 2-bys to cast the metal plates, PVC pipe, and threaded rod into Sonotube concrete footings. The boxes that hung the materials were braced to make sure that everything would be cast plumb and in the correct position. Finally, we poured the footings at the Hoffman job site.

Building the formwork and casting the footings was an exercise in give and take. Some of the plates were knocked slightly out of place during the pour, and some of them were not exactly centered. We learned, once again, that nothing ever turns out quite exactly as planned in building — wiggle room is necessary — but hey, you figure out a way to make it work, and make it work well.

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