Ultimately, when my chandelier
is completed and installed, I plan on hanging each string individually from the ceiling. I'll have to think about it and try out some different ideas, but I think that's the best way to get the floating appearance I want. However, since I'm still in the prototype phase, I need a way to temporarily install large numbers of strings without voiding my apartment's security deposit. So, I decided I could probably 3D print a solution, and threw together a set of basic parts that allow me to make a wide range of truss designs capable of holding strings in a 6-inch grid.
All you need for a square truss is a large number of rectilinear struts (length = L), diagonal struts (length = sqrt(2)*L), and hubs (can connect struts at 90º and 45º). After a bit of trial and error, I found dimensions that produce a good friction fit. Basically, they're fancy Tinker Toys, only better, because Tinker Toys don't have spherical hubs.
So the end result is a truss that more or less perfectly fits my application and cost me just about nothing. Additionally, we have tinker toys ready for whatever we want to use them for in the future. Life is grand. All Solidworks and Makerbot files are available on <removed>.