Hello everyone out in the internets!
So I'm currently working on a precedent study for my upcoming trip to Vancouver, BC and thought I would put a few questions to the masses.
The project I've decided to look at is the Lanchid 19 Design Hotel in Budapest, Hungary; and specifically I'm looking at the kinetic glass facade that is on the river side. It's a fancy-pants project with lots of glitz and glamor, but this facade while rather superfluous has been a lot of fun to analyze and discover how it works.
I'm not at all familiar with mechanics (yet) and have been looking at this mechanism for a few hours now and feel like I have a good grasp of what is going on. Here's a video of the facade in action.
So far I've been able to determine that the glass does two things, first and most obviously, it spins. Second, and not so clear from some of the videos, it slides horizontally.
This system is made up of 150 glass panels, (all uniquely screen printed) 25 sets of 6 glass panels which have two distinct mechanical systems, (one to spin, and one to open) and all this is controlled by a "meteo-sensor" that takes data from the surrounding environment and somehow interpolates that into various lighting and rotation patterns.
There is some really great documentation and resources showing the process and construction of this building at the projects blog. (this is where all these photographs are taken from) It looks to be a very successful collaboration with a number of engineers, designers, and software developers.
Now, the reason that I'm putting this up here, is because I'm stumped on a few things. I've emailed the robotics company who designed the system, as well as one of the other designers who worked on this project but haven't yet heard back, so maybe you all might have a clue.
First, as I understand it, the system is set up into 'racks' of 6 glass panels. Each of these racks have two separate motors to control each function of the panel (spinning and sliding).
The sliding seems the most straight forward as it looks to have a chain drive that loops around the whole system, and as it spins pulls back the panels at key attachment points. There are then guiding rods, that regulate how close the panels can get to one another, as well as allow the panels to slide open with a single direction motor, and slide back closed by reversing the motors direction.
The spinning on its own seems rather simple though I'm still struggling with how the chain drive spins all 6 panels at the same time. What I know is that the motor is located in the center with three panels on either side, and is likely a right angle gear, or worm gear that transfers the rotation 90 degrees similar to the sliding mechanism. Additionally, I know this all takes place at the top of the panel, while the bottom panel simply spins on its attachment point. It is really hard for me to tell what is going on because the mechanism is enclosed in a steel casement that also serves as the guide rail, so it is not as easily understood as the lower portion of the system. Here is a picture of the motor that spins the panels.
This is the only picture I could find of the top panel, and other than a few others that are taken from the ground you really can't see what is happening up there. Here's a video of the prototype:
I also haven't yet figured out how these two systems are coordinated. My theory about the spinning panels was that they are chain driven and the chain wraps around each bracket similar to the bottom pieces, and this allows them all to spin simultaneously, but if this were the case, what would happen to the chain when you slide the panels open? The chain would loosen up and potentially be caught or disconnect. I think I'm missing something pretty basic because my knowledge of simple machinery is rather limited. If anyone has any suggestions about this, I'm still working on figuring this out so please feel free to comment.
(I've been using Google's "Translate" to read the websites and blogs about this project so I may be losing some important info in the translation)