Build a Tensegrity Table

Are you amazed by the illusion of a tensegrity table, making it look like half of the table is floating over the other half. Through this article you can make your very own tensegrity table that will give your guests astounded by it.



Acrylic wood dye

Fluorocarbon fishing line

Crimp kit

Circular saw

Understanding the design

To understand how to build a tensegrity table you need to understand the science behind it. A tensegrity table is an innovatively intricate table that is constructed by assembling cables and structs in such a manner that gives a hallucinogenic visual. The structures of this table are designed so that every part is subjected to pure tension, in shot the table is constructed with tension. The way a tensegrity table works is, the model we will be working on has four stings, two on either side, one at the centre and the last one is between the side and the centre.

If the string at the centre did not exist then gravity would pull the top down which would collapse the whole table, as the strings at the sides don’t have the required strength to hold up the entire table, hence, the string in the middle is used to prevent gravity from letting the top fall down.

However, if you took off the strings on the side and constructed a tensegrity table with only a string at the centre, well then, the top would tilt off. Therefore, when you have all the string working in harmony you have the centre string that prevents the top from collapsing while the side strings hold the table steady, preventing it from tripping.

Although the table is stable it has noting preventing it from twisting, which subjects it to wobble a bit if anything heavy is placed on it. This is soothing we will try to get rid of, therefore, we will be adding 12 strings all the way around the table with one in the centre. We will also be constructing it with solid wood which will make it heavier.   

Step 1

To make the table you will need wood, the type of wood used for this is a really thick butcher block. You can draw out the part designs on your table and then start to cut it out perfectly precise. You can then start cutting out the top and make sure to be accurate when cutting the pockets. Make sure to wear protective gear while cutting as it produces a lot of saw dust. Place the pockets onto the top.

You will need to repeat this process again, make sure to use the same measurements while doing it again. An easier way to do this will be to make a template with some light weight wood and place it over the butcher wood while cutting it, this will helpful to have 2 identical accurate pieces of the table.

You can place a piece over the other to check out the way it will look.

Step 2

Now you can start assembling everything. You will need 12 crimpling tools for this where you will need to attach hooks to all your 12 tensioning assemblies. Next, you can attach a wire at a hook and when you want to tension the system, if you want to get it rigid, you can spin the tool which will pull on the string adding tension. This will give you about 3 inches pull which will add enough tension to make a sturdy table.  

The best part of this is that they are 12 individual systems which gives you the ability to control them individually. Therefore, if anything is unbalanced later you can just adjunct them individually.

Step 3

You can now start gluing and attaching all the pieced in place. Glue the pockets into the board, you can then drill some rods into the tip of the pockets to that they hard stronger and will snot snap due to the tension. You can then start sanding it to give it a smoother finish.

Step 4

Next, you can now start adding some colour to the table. For this you will need some wood dye, gently you a small amount of dye on the wood and then rub it with your hand to give it a more gradient look, make sure to be really quick while doing this as the wood soaks the dye really fast. You can then leave it to dry, using a heat gun can fasten the drying process. If you are unsure about your colour then you can just paint one piece and then wait to see how it looks when it is dries up. If you don’t like the way your paint looks you can sand that part off.

Step 5

You now start putting together the table. This is the most challenging part of this project, as if the materials are too weak or the tension is too much the whole thing might snap. You will need some planks of wood to clamp the whole thing together, so that everything is in the final position you want it to be in. You can now start attaching the fishing line, you some pins so that the fishing line has something to hold on to. You will need at least two layers of string at the centre. So, the same for all 12 of them. Once you have attached the strings you can start turning the tools to build tension. You can adjust the tension based on the sturdiness of the table.

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