Introduction: Participative Wooden Structure

About: After a degree in micro-engineering in Switzerland, I moved to Russia to discover new landscapes

This week-end at the maker faire Moscow, I presented a participative wooden structure. Anyone could make its contribution to the construction.

This structure consists in only one part type. With these parts (all the same) two patterns can be created: The triangular pattern or the squared one.

As organizer of the Maker Faire Moscow, Fablab Moscow wanted something visible, interactive and fun. I wanted to work with wood and maybe the CNC router. Finally my boss showed me the work of Rinus Roelofs. This artist from Netherlands developed these types of structure since a long time and before him, Leonardo da Vinci already showed some sketches with this principle.

Step 1: Cut the Parts

Download the file named "rinusFace" and scale it at the size you want. Be careful: The thickness should correspond to the scale you use: Non scaled, the parts make 10 cm long and 3 mm thickness (first image). For the presented structure, I scaled 6 times (length=60 cm and thickness= 18 mm).

I used the CNC router (FlexiCam) to cut the parts in the Fablab. Caution: Let a frame strong enough to hold the part in place when machined. In my case I added screws between each parts and cut it one by one to be able to cut more part out of one board.

Step 2: Clean the Parts

The cleaning consist in two steps:

  • Make a fillet (3 mm) on both faces with the hand router
  • Sand the sides with the spindle sander

I found an efficient way to clean the edges with the hand router: I cut a template with the laser cutter which allowed me to hold the parts in place while making the fillet and save a lot of time (I made 120 parts). Instead of securing the part I secured the template to the table and inserted the part in it (see the images).

Step 3: Coat the Parts and Build

I applied a finish oil (Danish oil) with a cloth to protect the wood from humidity and dirt. This oil keeps the original aspect of the wood.


It was fun to see that people of all ages were amused by this structure. Also, a lot of research and exploration has been made by the users, everyone having its own way of building and using the structure.

CNC Contest

Participated in the
CNC Contest