Nikolas Weinstein Studios
What started off as an “FEA on a small injection molded part” turned into highly technical materials selection and structural design projects. I had no idea who Nikolas Weinstein was, so I started researching and quickly found out why his glass sculptures required so much engineering. His work is an intersection of art, architecture, and engineering. In talking with Nikolas and his team, I also quickly realized that, everyone I talked to was incredibly technical, intelligent and very good at what they do. They are great people, and we quickly developed a tight symbiotic working relationship. More information on Nikolas Weinstein Studios can be found at www.nikolas.net. The team members that worked on these projects are: Paul Hammerstrom (PHD), Eric Lindsley (PHD), Josh Yablon, Nikolas Weinstein, Adam Kisor (NWS), and Bill Sistek (NWS).
Glass Tube Plug
We worked with Nikolas Weinstein Studios on two different versions of their end plugs that tie the individual glass tubes to the main structural wires. The plugs have a secondary function of holding a pre-stressed tension wire that run inside the glass tubes. We did a lot of FEA and also used our expertise in material selection to help refine their design. We did both linear static and non-linear contact FEA to help them determine the final geometry and material. We also collaborated on what materials to use for the injection molded plug. So the aesthetic quality of the plug was as high on the list of design constraints as structural integrity. The really great thing in working with them is that they like to verify through testing. Which really helps solidify that the simulation boundary conditions are correct.
Installation of the tension wire that ran through the inside of each tube was being done by hand. This was a tedious task especially given that there were hundreds and hundreds of tubes that needed to be tensioned. On each end of the tension wire was a crimp. We worked with them to come up with a press, that would crimp and tension the wire at the same time. The press needed to be designed quickly as a new project was under way that would immediately utilize it. The press was designed to be a laminate of steel plates so that each plate could be easily laser cut, instead of having to costly machine a big chunk of steel. We did some basic FEA to make sure that there was a big factor of safety. We also made the dies removable so that this becomes a modular press that can be used for future projects by just replacing the dies.