A big model requires a big table … a table so large that you must have it made out of a dozen or so individual pieces because a) you couldn’t fit it through any door smaller than a loading door, and b) you couldn’t lift it using every single employee in your firm.
This is the ‘Voltron Table’ and as the name suggests it is large, comes apart into smaller pieces, and can house smaller models in addition to a single super large model. If you aren’t familiar with the Voltron model, you can see it here (Architectural Models)
We had John Charbonneau, one of our summer interns, built this model table for us over the weekend just before we moved and he returned to finish his final year at college. He and I met a few times to discuss what we needed, how much time he had to build this table, and the extent of his abilities with limited tools and resources.
In other words, typical working parameters.
This table is 12′-5″ long, 6′-7″ deep, and 32″ tall. We originally intended to use the bottom of the table (since it’s a lot of space) to store additional models that we have in the office. Literally a few minutes before the we left to begin the construction process, we were asked to accommodate 2 filing cabinets – which changed the spacing of the support legs. I decided to adjust the size the space used for storing the filing cabinets to allow for 4 cabinets. We don’t really need them but when those cabinets go away, we will be able to leave the table as is and still store additional models.
I had mentioned earlier that the table is 6′-7″ deep – which is to deep to effectively use. I don’t know about you but I’m not interested in crawling onto my hands and knees to get at the rear 36″ of the cabinet. This table is pushed into a corner of our office and has the exterior glass wall along two sides. The model is visible from the outside. I blocked off the back to control what you see from the outside and to keep the space deep enough to store models but not so deep as to become this disgusting area that is never cleaned. Forget dust bunnies, these would be dust Voltrons (that means they’d be really big).
In all, I think I spent about 15 minutes designing this table and coming up with the details – it’s just not that complicated – but that’s because it didn’t need to be. There were existing size requirements, the materials were dictated by cost and what was already being used in our new office, it needed to be built by our summer intern over the course of a single weekend, and it needed to be de-mountable. Exactly how crazy could I have made this table?
Once I had reviewed the design and sketches with John, he took them into the computer (I think he used Rhino) and prepared some “construction” drawings. It was up to him to make sure that he knew what parts he needed and what size they needed to be in order to fit through doors and to have two people carry the individual pieces up the stairs and into our new office.
I asked John to save me some screen shots from this process
Nothing like an exploded axonometric drawing to show you all the parts and how they fit together. Speaking of all the parts, John was nice enough to include a materials list of what you would need if you wanted to build your very own ‘Voltron’ table.
Just click the drawing above the materials list will open in a new window. And if anyone does decide to build this table, please let me know … I’m dying to know why.
So here is the finished product. I think including our intern’s salary, this table cost around $700 to build. In the middle lower section, there is a removable platform where there are currently two models on display. In the two sections that have the filing cabinets, we have similar platforms that are in storage. We don’t want our models sitting on the floor.
I shot a video on my phone of us assembling the Voltron on its new table and since there are actual scale references in the video, it really helps paint an accurate picture of just how big this table (and model) really are.
We’ve had quite a few meetings now that we’ve finally moved into our new offices, and this model is just inside the front door … it makes an impression. What can I say, people love models and I am glad that we finally have a place to display and store them.