Simple repetition; yesterday's news

Over the last year in lockdown, I’ve tried out a lot of little experiments, in an attempt at following my sister's mantra of a parcel a day keeps covid at bay we ended up with a lot of cardboard in the house. After my previous post, wondering about the strength of layers of cardboard I decided to try and make a rock formation that would act as a vertical planter.

Starting with the cardboard I built out a ridiculous structure folding the strips of cardboard into triangular based prisms with the intent that this would allow for the most strength.

Then after buying 5 litres of PVA glue off amazon and collecting as many evening standards as I could I covered the structure slowly in paper-mache.

I spent far too many hours going over and over the structure in layer upon layer of paper-mache.

I barely made a dent in my supply of newspaper which for all intents and purposes was an unlimited supply, nor did I make a dent in the 5 litres of glue.

The structure took to a shape, not really very close at all to the shape that I was after and by the end of my efforts still looked more like a cat scratcher stand than a rock formation I could use for vertical planting.

After many hours of papermacheing, a very peaceful hobby, I gave up with the realisation that although the strength would be sufficient and that I did have enough glue and paper to make the final structure that I wanted, I didn’t have the time in my life to dedicate the hundreds of hours of wrapping paper mache around the structure.

Not the tallest tower

Was it all a waste of time?

I don’t think so, because although I didn’t end up with anything physical to show for my hours of paper mache, I have come to the realisation that the reason that these very cheap raw materials can’t cheaply be converted into useful structures is that it takes too long for what is a very hard task to automate to be realised.

I believe the same effect is prevalent for other wrap based products such as fibreglass. Fibreglass although a lot more expensive than evening standard newspaper is very cheap, and although the resin which takes the place of the PVA glue is also more expensive the two together are not that pricy a raw material and yet there are many expensive products which can be made of fibreglass, such as yachts.

This has given me a challenge, would it be possible to make a robot that could carry out paper mache? If that could be done then a whole host of fibreglass construction could be done very cheaply indeed.



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