“The Big Jig”

“The Big Jig”

Model-coordinated fabrication has been the underpinning of our working methods since we started using parasolid modeling software in the late 90’s. Practically, this means that regardless of scale, we design parts in a “single-source-of-truth” environment that includes verified site dimensions, all materials in our scope, as well as abutting parts of the surrounding building or trades and the fixtures that will orient the parts for assembly. Once the designer has detailed parts and jigs which fit together in the computer model, we fabricate the actual parts to spec and assemble them in jigs, or on site. With this approach, we effectively sideline coordination issues that could impact our work.

Thanks to the newest incarnation of “The Big Jig” (the model-coordinated, go-no-go fixturing system we developed 15 years ago, see image below), we are able to sequentially fabricate multiple elements with complex forms, for projects such as a seamlessly-clad elliptical spiral feature stairs. 

As an example: the Seagram’s stair currently under way in our Toronto facility. Using “The Big Jig”, the pour stop / glass shoe / fascia assembly, the steel structure and the Corian cladding will be built at the ideal time on the critical path, knowing they will mate perfectly on site.

In other words: Despite the fact that most parts will never be in the same place at the same time until they reach the site, they will still fit when united, because we brought the geometry to the parts, instead of relying on cut and fit methods. This approach requires precision fixturing that positions parts for assembly and simultaneously checks and controls the shape in comparison to the model geometry. This is particularly vital to the successful integration of “fuzzy” parts formed by inherently imperfect processes such as bending or rolling.

The image on the left shows “The Big Jig” set up for stringers, on the right set up for Corian assembly fixture fabrication with our new 3-tonne gantry overhead.

The next image shows the accurately calibrated plotter we use to output fixture layouts, cut line plots, etc.