This was one of two final projects from Wood One, a Rhode Island School of Design class for Industrial Design sophomores. The course focuses on design and craft in wood using primarily handtools.
The brief for this project was to create a small wooden vehicle using ash veneer laminations and turned wheels. It was stipulated that at least two laminations had to be used, and that the wheels be no larger than 2" diameter. The form for the laminations had to be made from a single 18" x 6" block of poplar.
My response to this brief was borne out of the wish to push what could be considered a vehicle. I therefore rejected the obvious, car like forms and sought something new.
Early sketches of design ideas
Model for possible vehicle construction, with cam to make the jaw bounce. This design was rejected as the thickness of ash veneer stipulated by the brief would have made the moving part too stiff, causing jamming.
Model for final design of the vehicle.
This model was also used as a test run for whether spherical wheels, acting as castors for a chassis, could work. Though the spheres turned for this model were crude, it rolled well enough to be considered successful, so production went ahead.
Form for veneer laminations. Due to the careful design of the vehicle, all the components are actually the same lamination, repeated nine times. This made the form-work simpler and more efficient.
Final vehicle, with cherry wheels. Nicknamed 'the UFO'.
Final critique for the vehicle was to roll down a large, steep ramp. The vehicle performed admirably, though the light chassis made for a low top speed. The spherical, axle-less wheels made for a perfectly straight path, following the line of least resistance directly down the ramp.
Disassembled view, showing detail of mortise and tenon joints used to join chassis