Week 3 Quick Concept – 5 Elements Sharing Table

Quick Product Concept – 5 Element Sharing Table


At the centre of Vietnamese cuisine lies the concept of the 5 elements, and of sharing meals together. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnamese_cuisine)

For a meal to be balanced, it must have some amount of all of the fundamental taste elements present. The 5 Element Sharing Table incorporates these elements literally.

An almost entirely inlaid textured metal Lazy Susan runs on ball bearings to allow for easy sharing of food, and is bordered in white, the metal elements associated colour. The wooden tabletop is ringed in green. In the centre of the table sits a stone bowl, filled with water, on which flaming red orbs float, lighting the meal and the people sharing it, bringing the final element into play.

The 5 elements are an historically Chinese concept, there known as Wu Xing. It touches many parts of various Asian cultures, helping people understand change and interconnectedness.



Wood Fire Earth Metal Water

Spices (
ngũ vị
Sour Bitter Sweet Spicy Salty

Organs (
ngũ tạng
Gall bladder Small intestine Stomach Large intestine Urinary bladder

Colors (
ngũ sắc
Green Red Yellow White Black

Senses (
ngũ giác
Visual Taste Touch Smell Sound
Nutrients (ngũ chất) Carbohydrates Fat Protein Minerals Water

Part 2 – Making

https://sites.google.com/a/rmit.edu.au/workshops/ *RMIT student account required for access

With so many different parts in this concept, I’ve focussed on the potential method for making the metal top of inlaid steel Lazy Susan.

Precise cutting of the metal will be required for it to fit smoothly in the recess created. A tracked system in the recessed table of ball bearings would support the metal.

The only way to reliably cut a large piece so precisely is utilising water jet cutting.


via wikipedia: A water jet cutter, also known as a water jet or waterjet, is an industrial tool capable of cutting a wide variety of materials using a very high-pressure jet of water, or a mixture of water and an abrasive substance.

Part 3 – Source RMIT Workshop

https://sites.google.com/a/rmit.edu.au/workshops/machinery/waterjet*RMIT student account required for access


The Water- Jet is charged at a rate of $2.50 per minute of cutting time up to a $50.00 limit, then $1.50 per minute for jobs that extend beyond that.

Please note the $2.50 per minute reflects the real cost to the school, the reduction to $1.50 per minute after the $50.00 limit is to relieve the financial pressure on students wishing to use the service.

Is my job suitable for water‐jet cutting?

The water‐jet cutting service is designed for use in association with the laser cutters. Due to the time‐consuming nature of this service, jobs for the water‐jet cutter will only be considered where parts cannot be cut using the lasers.

What materials are suitable for use with the water‐jet cutter?

The following materials, up a thickness of 100mm, are suitable for use: ‐
 Ceramics
 Steel
 Brass
 Copper
 Timber
 Acrylic
 Glass (untempered only)
Please note that students are responsible for providing materials for use with the water‐jet cutter except when cutting glass. For safety reasons, all glass must be purchased via the workshop.

What is the maximum bed size?

The water‐jet machine can fit sheet materials of dimensions up to 1300mm x 700mm. However, the water‐jet bed (and therefore the allowable cutting area) is only 880mm x 580mm. For ease of clamping,we recommend students use slightly larger sheets than their project requires.

How do I book to use the water‐jet cutting service?

Bookings for the water‐jet cutting service can be made through Kevin Mumford in the Construction Technology Workshop via the following: ‐
Phone : see linked site
Email : see linked site
Once your file has been correctly set up, bring both your material and file on a USB to the workshop [08.07.79].

How long will my job take to complete?

Please allow a minimum of 3 – 4 working days for all water‐jet cutting jobs. Timeframes will vary depending on the size and nature of your project, and the number of other jobs in the queue.

Individual deadlines can be discussed with workshop staff when your job is submitted.
Although we endeavour to work within student deadlines, the workshop cannot guarantee that jobs will be completed by the date required. If work is required urgently, we highly recommend that you make alternative fabrication arrangements. The Workshop will not be held accountable for incomplete presentations.

What file type should I provide?

Linework should be saved as a DWG or AutoCAD DXF R12 file, with all hatches and polylines exploded.

Additional points to consider when preparing files for water‐jet cutting include: ‐

To allow for adequate clamping, all parts should be nested at least 50‐100mm from the edge of the material,
and 5mm apart.

Unlike the laser cutters, the water‐jet cutter’s kerf is approximately 0.9mm in thickness. To ensure best possible accuracy of your final geometry, you will need to allow for “compensation”.
 For all standard linear geometry (straight lines, polylines etc.) the water‐jet software can provide
automatic compensation; but
 For all non‐standard curves geometry (curves, splines etc.) you will need to manually offset your geometry by 0.45mm to compensate for the diameter of the water jet.

How accurate is the water‐jet cutter?

Cuts performed with the water‐jet cutter vary in accuracy depending on the material used and the nature of your geometry. Water‐jet cutting is not as accurate as cutting with the lasers.


2 thoughts on “Week 3 Quick Concept – 5 Elements Sharing Table

  1. I think the lazy Susan being different to a typical one in that it is a ring instead of just a circle is a really innovative idea and would really create a good sharing atmosphere around the table… I like it!

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