Bistable Reeled Composites: The “RolaTube”

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

2400 Articles

By Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

2400 Articles

Article Featured Image

Very cool widget from British firm RTL Materials, who’ve figured out a trick for making composite tubes that are pre-stressed, like a tape measure, such that they want to roll up into a rigid round tube structure when unfurled from a flat, coiled state. Unlike a tape measure, however, these “bistable reeled composites” are also perfectly happy to hang out in their “reeled” state without springs, cases, or other mechanical constraints. Made of a soft-edged fabric composite, they can be stowed and deployed by hand, as Mike Judson of Altius Space Machines demonstrates in the embedded video. Man, that looks like fun! [via Core77]

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