Open Source Tensegrity

Only Push and Pull

In the 1960s Ken Snelson first explored what could be done (artistically) with structures that were based on using only continuous tension and floating compression, and Bucky Fuller elaborated the philosophical implications and called it tensegrity. Tom Flemons showed us what it could mean in terms of biology.

The Pretenst project starts in the abstract with a home grown software model (minimal physics engine) called elastic interval geometry, and extends the exploration into what can be designed and ultimately built in physical form when you work in terms of only push and pull forces.

from virtual to real

Click on the images below or scan the QR with your smart phone to see how the designs emerge.

Your Hands

Unfortunately, pictures and movies and even live virtual models fail to really communicate what tensegrity is. The only way to really internalize this idea is to give it to your hands.

If you’re going to be using these structures to communicate ideas with others, you need structures which are durable and robust so they last for years.

Beyond that, there is a whole new dimension of understanding available if you can change the tensegrity from loose to tight and back. Few get this.

Give your hands a treat by ordering your own adjustable tensegrity kit at


Vertebra module


2022-08-30: "Mitosis": the four-three-two tensegrity
2022-08-04: "Push Bolts for the People": finalizing design and getting it out there
2022-06-22: "Head to Head Push Bolt": M5 and M6 bolts symbiosis
2022-05-30: "Hiding Knots": bump up the aesthetics
2022-05-25: "Innovation with 3D Printer": the push bolt
2021-12-02: "Headless Hug": breaking a rule for the sake of symmetry
2021-10-28: "Rebuilding the Halo": finally got it right
2021-10-20: "Convergence": growing and reconnecting
2021-07-27: "120-Strut Brass Bubble": taking the next step up in complexity
2021-05-26: "30-Strut Brass Bubble": bouncing spherical tensegrity
2021-04-08: "Bow Tie Tensegrity": better bend resistance
2021-03-29: "Six Twist Essential": what if more hands could see?!
2021-01-25: "Minimal Tensegrity": no more tension lines than absolutely necessary
2021-01-18: "Degrees of Freedom": first adjustable hybrid tensegrity
2021-01-11: "Fractal Experiment": a tensegrity of tensegrities
2020-12-09: "Axial Tension": pretensing what is already pretenst
2020-11-02: "Halo by Crane - Part 2": the strengthening
2020-10-26: "Halo by Crane - Part 1": assembly complete but strength lacking
2020-10-12: "Brass and Tulips": a tight and strong tensegrity tower
2020-08-10: "Prefab Tension Tower": the tower of eight twists
2020-07-27: "Elastic Bubble": building with elastic ease
2020-07-13: "The Twist Sisters": left-handed and right-handed
2020-07-06: "Radial Tension": Pulling towards the middle
2020-06-22: "Diamond of Tension": Four pulls for every push
2020-06-15: "Prefab Tension": Separating compression from tension