You want to build a house with a curved wall. The traditional way involves cutting wood into little pieces, forming the pieces into a curve, and then bending a sheet of drywall around them. Does it seem complicated, expensive or structurally sound? Not really in today’s reality. What about taking U-shaped pieces of sheet metal to make the curve – one at the top, another at the bottom, and then fitting wood or metal studs into the channels?
That’s what Flex-C Trac framing is all about. The product, invented by Frank Wheeler of Flex-Ability Concepts in Edmond, Okla., is one of four products receiving Innovative Housing Technology Awards from the National Association of Home Builders’ Research Center and Popular Science magazine.
Flex-C is sold in 10-foot lengths. It is made of galvanized steel and consists of self-tapping screws, pivotal sections and sliding straps.
According to Wheeler, Flex-C is bent to the desired curves – usually, you follow a line you’ve drawn on the ground. The self-tapping screws are inserted in each hole on both sides of the metal channels. The track is then fastened to the ceiling or floor. If a curved ceiling is being built, the track is fastened to each end wall. After the curve is formed, a piece of masking tape is run along one outside edge to help hold the shape of the curve while the screws are inserted and then fastened in the usual way. Wheeler said Flex-C could be used to make barrel ceilings, columns, curved walls and variable-radius curves.
The judges’ Second Chances award went to the Anchorpanel foundation system manufactured by Fast Track Foundation Systems in Ft. Bragg, Calif. The system consists of dozens of 3-foot-wide steel panels that attach around the perimeter of a house. The panels are cast into place, creating a foundation wall. The panel-bottom edges are cast into a concrete footing.
At installation, the panels are easily wrapped around corners, making any footprint easy to follow, according to company president Michael Butler. Why second chances? Because the panels can be retrofitted on existing houses to protect from floods and earthquakes.
Wheeler says one of his customers’ claims that the framing method saved 80 percent of his labor costs.
My opinion on this latest invention in physics is a positive one. As stated in the article everyone benefits from this design. The customers save money, labor work, and are environmentally safe. It is not hard for the factories to manufacture the product so in return it is not time consuming. It can be fitted over an existing wall, which means less labor work for the workers and less money spent and then lastly it was protect the house somewhat more against the forces of nature.
I think that this invention should be in every household and it will have a positive affect on people and their homes, and people who can not afford such extravagant labor work on their homes, will be able to afford this work.