we made a big one.  in fact, its a 2:1 scaled model of what we hope to blaze the 'creational trail of the artery.   this prototype was built as a backdrop for the stage for our october 19th launch party. this is matireal. 



this was made with 36 tires that were already stripped off their sidewalls thanks to those who partcipated in our bonus checkpoint at the RW24 in late July.  to store these tires off site, beintweener rob zdanowski and myself split the treads, so this effort was really one of retrieving and assembly. 




due to a lack of space, i asked beintween superstar willie fields if we could put this together at his place.  he agreed, so i drove down to his place in mukwonago all loaded up.


first we just laid out all the tires, and gave them a quick scrub and rinse.  then we laid the strips of treads out.  no two were the same, but there were similar widths.  we started out left justifying these.



after some minor rearranging we had 15 alternating rows of 2 or 3 treads.  soon we realized this was a center-to-center job. 



we determined that for the weaving to work best, we needed some tolerance where the seams would be, so we shuffled a few treads around.



to maximize our yield, we used a straight edge and a sawzall trim off the edge of every other row with 3 tires, and use these remains to fill in the rows with 2 tires, which would make every row 2 1/2 tread lengths wide (roughly 15'-6" inches).  we ended up with 14 rows in total, nearly 9' feet in length.  laid out (semi) flat, this provided about 140 square feet of tire.  it looks like this:



the seams were aligned within a 4" tolerance.  here is another view:



next we would alternate opposing tread faces or the inner tire, and fasten each one to the next, at three points along the length of each tread.  we screwed each 6 times, to be certain the incredible weight of this prototype didn't cause it to fall apart.  we eventually sunk 4 more screws at each of these connection points from the opposite side.  this is how its done, one row at a time.



though this system is heavy, what is nice about it is its ability to collapse for more efficient transport.  because of the crowing of the automobile tire, they cup together very nicely.  here is another view of the stack as we are assembling it:



one hour and twenty minutes later, the two of us had completed the fastening and assembly phase.  it was time to tip it over, and see how the cellular structure would appear.



voila!  the weave is great because its flexible.  as the cells get larger, the width of the overall assembly shrinks, and it grows in length.  whats shown measures about 12' wide by 14' in length, which once backfilled, would provide 168 square feet of surface, 20% more than when the treads, laid out flat, were the entire surface. 



because the site specific installation of matireal, this design is much more efficient as it covers more ground, and already on site is a wealth of gravel leftover from the rail.  further, given the proper tools, we can cover even more surface area, by cutting each tread down the middle of its long axis (always putting the exposed steel side towards the ground), which would result in a more dense weave that was 3+" tall rather than the 7" shown.  here's an image with my shoe to sense the size of our 2:1 model (which with a lil less spread weave, could become an alternative parking area or driveway).



though you might imagine it would be twice the surface area given the doubling of treads, it would just be twice as dense a weave at half the height, which will make the surface much better for bicycles to roll over. this will also save literally tons of gravel/backfill.  below is the intended scale and density of the path at the artery, modeled by the pit bull that willie and his wife jean are fostering back to health:



after checking our work, i condensed the prototype for transport to its new home at the pop up park.  it reduced to its original 15'-6" lengh and became only 24" in height once compacted. by the time i had this complete, willie had already whipped up this clever stretcher made out of some former shelving framing, a piece of plywood, and two smaller dollies. it reduces to its original 15'-6" lengh and sits only about 16" in height. 





when we speak about the efficiency of transporting this prototype, compare the cubic feet this reduction consumes vs. a tire in its standard form.  this prototype takes up 20 cubic feet.  if we included all the sidewalls from these 36 tires, that would add an additional 16 square feet, for a total of 36 square feet.  the same number of tires before being reduced consumes 150 cubic feet, more 4 times the volume.  the weight is of course the same, but just imagine that if we reduced the tires first locally, it would take three less trucks to move these tires.


that said, we can't wait until we can prove the efficiency and carbon offset associated with matireal.  what about the win-win opportunities?  we may be able to save money, and still provide our model and our matireal to developing countries that may have a need but not a budget to construct standard roads.



thank goodness for that dolly.  this thing not only weighs alot, but has a lot of friction and resiliency.  to me, it felt like we just caught a giant fish.  once it was all strapped down, the trick would be to see if it would fit inside willie's 14' trailer. 



just fit, and the dolly happened to wedge just inside the framed shelves to keep it in place.  never under estimate a contractor with 30 years of experience.  they know how to get things done.


(to be continued)


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here is matireal suspended like a curtain for the backdrop of a stage at the kickstarter launch party.

gravity caused the form to sag, so we tied it back to the structure beyond.  here's a view from below:

afterwards, we buried it into the gravel as a double sized model of matireal prototype path at the artery.  It shows possiblities of multiple infill and how the corrugation creates less displacement when traversing over gravel.

here it is completely installed.  

today, the gravel has begun to settle, and the tires are more visible.

it takes about this many tires to yield this particular model.  in fact, it took us 38.  there are at least this many in this pile, which i just happened to drive by in harambee a few days ago:

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