Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Brick Ovens and CAD (Computer Assisted Design)

Oven projects require planning.  This begins, if feasible, in a site visit with the potential customer.  The conversation often starts with the person's cooking goals and moves through the location, dimensions/capacity, and finally to the style of the oven.

Although my website shows a number of previous oven projects, I have found that every oven can be designed as a perfect fit with the customer, the customer's place and needs.  The result is that a look at the nearly 40 ovens I've built reveals that each one is different: variations on a theme.

A CAD drawing helps the process in a number of ways:

  1. It describes dimensions: footprint, elevation, roof or chimney route, wood box and oven mouth.
  2. It allows for an accurate quote on cost (and comparison to other options)
  3. It prepares me for the quantity of materials needed.
  4. It can be forwarded to the local building inspector and/or architect/contractor so that we are coordinated.
  5. It is the reference point for alterations, if needed, during the project.
  6. And lastly, it may allow the design client to build it him or herself.  For this, I provide a design consultation service.
So, what do these CAD's look like?
I originally had a CAD company set up one for cutting bricks.  I also got separate drawings for each brick in the oven. The master dome looks like this:

I've since found ways of cutting accurate brick chains for any size dome.

Depending on the situation, CAD's took these forms.
Often it is required that the design interface with the exterior or interior space.  As shown below, the spaces also need some planning, whether they are constrained by an existing building or have specific engineering challenges or needs.
Ergonomics, the science of efficient and healthy movement, play into the design.  For instance, managing the preparation of food products going into or coming out of the oven is important.  Counter space around or beside the oven is considered as well as distances from both the sources of the ingredients and the destination of the meal, i.e. the dining space.  A well-sited brick oven becomes both part of the making of food and part of the social scene for the customer.  

Combining a brick oven with a fireplace, when requested, means finding a way to integrate the two while making each function safely .

And entire outdoor kitchen needs extensive planning as it will become a micro-restaurant.  Incorporating aesthetic elements contribute to its purpose as a place of relaxed yet passionate activity.

On rare occasions, a customer hands to me the total responsibility for engineering, placement and aesthetics.  This can be good.  I still use a CAD to estimate both materials and cost.  It is always best to show up prepared.

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