Impossible Table

Are strings as strong as wooden legs? Apparently they are, because I made them support a table, which looks suspended in space!

Here is a video clip of the formation of the "Impossible Table" 

(The individual components were 3D printed from the 3D model I created) 

The table is a tensegrity structure – Buckminster Fuller coined this term for structural integrity bestowed via tension forces rather than compression forces. According to Scholarpedia, tensegrity "applies when a discontinuous set of compression elements is opposed and balanced by a continuous tensile force, thereby creating an internal prestress that stabilizes the entire structure." In the case of the Impossible Table, the string in the middle acts as the tensile force in the structure, holding the top and bottom components up, and the strings on the side connecting the corners of the components balance the components, enabling the table to stand upright.

Intrigued by watching a YouTube video about this table, I also made one on my own. The table seems to defy gravity, but in fact, the table is simply supported by tensile force rather than compression force on table legs. Never before have I encountered an engineering project so otherworldly – it inspired me to continue to pursue the artistic, the unusual, and the beautiful in my projects.

  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Instagram Icon
  • Grey Vimeo Icon