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Friday
May252012

Grid Beams, Bit Beams, and Grid Struts

Various kinds of modular building materials have been available for years.  Some are better than others for prototyping industrial machines and robots.  Recently there have been a number of articles and presentations on grid type structures.  

What do we mean by Grid-type structures? Think Lego and Erector Sets. With the right sized compatible parts you can build most anything - with the limitation that the parts attach in a standardized grid pattern.  All the attach points are predetermined, but there are many, usually as many points as will fit on a piece.

Besides the obvious advantage of not having to drill holes, weld, glue, or other difficult attachment methods, grid type systems avoid the need for precise measurements to make square connections.  Simply count the number of holes or other grid points to get a repeatable precise measurement.

When you move up to "Adult" (as described by one blogger) grid type systems, there are really few sources for materials.

We are thinking we might be able to help out in that area.  Here is how: Just-in-time Grid Beam Manufacturing.  The idea is to create a set of tools that allow Grid Beams and derivatives to be manufactured as needed locally.  Locally can mean within shopping distance, say the local hardware or building supply store or your garage.  Contact us if you are interested in becoming a Grid Beam Maker.

For more information on grid-type construction materials try these sites: GridBeamNation (medium scale), BitBeam (small scale) , and soon at our own site GridStruts (all scale).

For a really fun (my wife would say nerdy) example of grid type prototyping  see the video below.

And for a Whole Earth Catalog kind of introduction view the video below.

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