the mobile workshop

the bucky lab have now a mobile workshop, if not used it is stored in the "cave" downstairs in the faculties building, two times a year we take the workshop out and build innovative concepts.

Dr. Bucky Lab in the cave with his mobile workshop. Foto by Suzanne van der Kerk website

the bucky lab becomes mobile ...but why ?

To answer this question we have to explain a little bit more about the history of the bucky lab. Started already 20 years ago within the chair Product Development of Mick Eekhout a prototyping workshop was opened under the leading of Peter van Swieten. Based on the background of innovative building construction of that time and a starting interest of facade product development the course started to introduce a new way of teaching students. Triggering the interests of the students in emerging technologies and new concepts, they not only had to sketch and develop their projects on paper, but also as a working prototype in 1:1 scale.

In the former highrise building at the south end of the TU Delft campus a steel workshop was placed on the first floor to house a wide variety of metal processing tools like milling machines, lathes, sheet metal bending and cutting machines next to a glass research lab and steel welding places.

The course developed a huge variety of concepts lead by Kees Bardolf the master of the workshop. He supported the students with passion and teached them the needed skills to transform their ideas into working prototypes. The limitations of the prototypes were given by the measuerments of the elevator of the building to secure a transport within the building.

Over the years the prototypes changed, starting in the older days with metal based prototypes it becomes more and more advanced using, composites and other materials which required different tools and also more space. Often the students were found somewhere working on the first floor or outside the building.

Then after the catastrophic fire of the faculty highrise building a few years ago, the whole building was teared down after a third of it collapsed during the fire. The workshop tools were able to relocated to the civil engineering building next to the former building, while the architecture faculty was moved to an old building on the north end of the campus. This settlement was meant to be a temporary solution for the next 5 years till a new building wuld be build on the former location.

After 3 years the TU Delft decided to stay on the spot at the Julianalaan and skipped the idea of a new building, which is a much more sustainable solution and everyone liked the ideas as well as the building itself. Unfortunately the space was limited to house a workshop with all its safety requirements and space needed. The buckylab workshop was still used in the civil engineering labs far away from the faculty. At the end the decision was made to move its activities closer to the campus. Only using the workshop for 2 weeks per semester was space wise a problem but also beared new opportunities.

The solution the new leader of the bucky lab Marcel Bilow formed was discussed properly and at the end was seen as an efficient way to solve the problem of the workshop space and its short period of use within the semester. A mobile workshop, that is housed in a set of moveable toolboxes equipped with handtools and powertools. While the whole workshop rests in the basement of the faculty in a small room during the semester the actual location for the building weeks at the end of each semester will be choosen according to the needs of the actual projects changing semester by semester. So we are able to build one time in a tent, the other time somewhere in the faculty or even outside the campus in an old industry hall or at location of one of the supporting companies around the country.

Beeing mobile creates a little bit more logistical planning, but also offered the freedom to work everywhere we want. Beeing able to do creative workshops where we can also build our concepts and visit companies as also other university is quite an opportunity and offers a lot of advantages.

The world becomes our workshop, and we believe we are able to build everything we want to with the set of tools we have in our boxes. If not, we will find someone who is able to help us.

We documented the developement and build of the mobile workshop on this blog, so have a look at the beginning of the blog articles in June 2012. This time it was also the first time the buckylab went outside the faculty to work in a tent.

and here some impressions of the final mobile workshop

For the first time we were building ooutside the TU Delft for the Carmen Opera props, the concept worked very well and we were able to transform an empty hall into a full equipped workshop nice to see the boxes out in the wild ...

and how fast it goes shows this video