Interlocking Folded Plate – Integrated Mechanical Attachment for Structural Timber Panels
Automatic joinery has become a common technique for the jointing of beams in timber framing and roofing. It has revived traditional, integrated joints such as mortise and tenon connections. Similarly, but only recently, the automatic fabri- cation of traditional cabinetmaking joints has been introduced for the assembly of timber panel shell structures. First prototypes have used such integrated joints for the alignment and assembly of components, while additional adhesive bonding was used for the load-bearing connection. However, glued joints cannot be assembled on site, which results in several design constraints. In this paper, we propose the use of dovetail joints without adhesive bonding, on the case study of a timber folded plate structure. Through their single-degree-of- freedom (1DOF) geometry, these joints block the relative movement of two parts in all but one direction. This presents the opportunity for an interlocking connection of plates, as well as a challenge for the assembly of folded plate shells, where multiple non-parallel edges per plate must be jointed simultaneously.