Curving one member is difficult. Curving 20 members that rotate in close proximity to one each other – half of them twisting one way and the others spiraling in the opposite direction – presents a whole other level of complexity.
When presented with drawings for rolled steel pipe, angle iron and plate from our customer for the Lauridsen Amphitheater Project at Water Works Park in Des Moines, IA, our first order of business was to create a full-scale model of the amphitheater to generate our own rolling instructions to determine proper angles for he columns and rings, then create our own in-house 3D model. Each of the 20 lengths of 8-inch pipe that form one woven column was unique; no two were of the exact same geometry. Luckily, the 20 pipes forming the other column were a mirror image of the first column – except in the opposite direction.
Once we generated our 3D model, we were able to extract data for all 40 twisted pipes to draw 40 unique 2D templates used for checking each 3D pipe after it was rolled. These templates allowed our experienced bending machine operator to mark each pipe and roll as well as position the pipe onto the template in such a way that all data points required to pass inspection were hit. We completed this complex project of rolled elliptical segments without having to turn any material into scrap metal.