Saturday, 15 September 2012

CNC a Game Changer for Canadian Timber

A beautiful, though time consuming, log timber corner detail 
A 'welded timber' structural frame junction detail.

Computer numerical control CNC machines are now being commonly used in the cutting and construction detailing of heavy timber frame members. The machine's incredible accuracy allows huge pre-cut timber components to line up perfectly on site.

This construction detail is created using a CNC machine to cut the slots, with perforated steel and glue used as connectors. (This junction method was successfully tested by a dedicated European PhD engineering student over a five year period).

In this example, the joining of column and roof frame members will become invisible and very strong. The model shows the perforated steel plate protruding from the column which would slide into the pre-cut rafter member slots. The glue actually welds the timber together and the holes in the steel act as dowells, keeping the steel rigidly fixed.

The cost effective connection is so strong that it is deemed a 'moment' connection, meaning the loads from the roof are directly and efficiently transferred to the columns without movement or rotation.

The system eliminates the need for visible fixing plates and bolts and can be used to create very sleek heavy timber designs. The ability to make accurate, complex, fire rated exposed timber junctions using the CNC machine, could well be a game changer for the wood industry here in Canada. 

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