Space Frame Joint for Complex Structures

This is the joint! This is the jam...For building structural truss systems both simple and complex. It is made from two repeated sheet metal parts and off the shelf hardware. It has eight ball joints that make an octahedron for finding compound angles for curved/doubled curved surfaces with a rigid frame. This joint does all of the hard work so assembly is fast and easy!!

In short: design a truss system. make the joints. cut your rods. screw it all together by hand

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Step 1: The Joint: Cutting the Sheet Metal Parts

I used an Omax Waterjet to cut these parts with 20 gage stainless steel. As shown in the diagram, the two parts (A & B) make one quadrant and 16 parts make a whole joint (8 of A and 8 of B). A couple features are optional due to what you are making. For example, the holes for tension cables can be used to anchor the system or add other things such as a 'net' within panels or your space frame surface but ...it can also be left out for faster cutting.

The wire frame sketch is a design I made to test them out. The scale is for furniture. It is a truss made between two surfaces, one flat plane on the bottom and a double curved surface on the top. This truss has 25 joints: Part A x 200 and Part B x 200.

Once you decide on your frame, then you can count how many parts are needed.

domenic33 months ago

very good design

andrea biffi6 months ago

very useful! thanks!

krummrey6 months ago

Now I need to find a metal-workshop to actually build the connectors.

Baldonesneedhats6 months ago

Awesome concept, great instructions. One question, why do you need 8 of part A for each module? Couldn't you cut that down to 4; 2 in each hemisphere diagonally from each other and the hemispheres mated with them 90 degrees about the Z axis? Each ball would still be captured by three surfaces that way but only 1 material thickness between each ball
Hope that all was clear, if not let me know and I'll try to draw a diagram.
Again nice work.

dailyvice (author)  Baldonesneedhats6 months ago

Hey yeah! it could work, might give four balls a little gap and rattle but it can be tightened up! That drops four parts! Thanks!

nodcah6 months ago

Nice instructable. Also, awesome GIF in step 6! =)