Wednesday, March 26, 2014

INDN 341: Presentation Slides

Well, today was judgement day, so here are the slides for my presentation. All of the matter in the slides is covered in my previous blog posts.

INDN 341: Processes For Creation

The concept that I liked the most from the last post was the concept regarding the stretched fabric that was distorted. I think that this concept has got quite a bit of potential in terms of form explorations as well as creative outputs. The user has a lot of control over the process, and it's not a 3D printer per se, but it has a creative output that has the potential to be quite beautiful.

The first part that has to exist to make sure that the whole things works the way I intended is the attachment method for the fabric. It's something I want the user to be able to manipulate to achieve a large variety of outputs. However, that said it's not the only potential way of rigging the fabric. There is potential for the set up to be controlled by a micro-controller as well, by manipulating the heights of different parts of the fabric through the use of small motors.

Another idea I have for mechanical variances to be implemented is when the input of colour is controlled by a micro-controller. An idea I have in this regard is to allow the micro-controller to control the flow of colour, but this again is only one of a few potentially different techniques. By altering the flow, the controller could control how the ratios of the different colours on the overall piece work together.

Another option that I really like the look of at the moment is to implement a rotating ring that the user could activate, allowing the different colours to have the point at which they fall adjusted. This ring could be activated by the user moving it with their hands, alternatively, it could run on a small motor, which would allow automation of this function as well.

I've always loved working with water colours, and they have proved to be a lot of fun to experiment with. I especially like the forms that they make when dripped or poured onto the canvas. There is a sense of randomness in the way that the drips splash, but yet you can kind of govern the randomness by altering your pouring/dripping speed as well as location.

I really want to explore this idea of "automated art". It's a really cool exploration into the way that we feel that art should be made. Does art necessarily have to have a real human input? Are robots capable of creativity? Do robots have to have a conciousness before they are creative? Is their creativity just ordered randomness or merely based on given variables?

INDN 341: Strategies For Fabrication

 In the last blog post that I did, I spoke about making my fabrication system something that transferred something from 3D into 2D. I also decided I would also consider the reverse, as this has potential too. There's something really cool about manipulating the form of something real into something that isn't tangible in the same way. It's like a print! Boom!

The first idea that I came up with is quite a sculptural one, and requires a human input in a very subtle, careful way. The concept here is that there would be threads stretched between each other, guiding ink or watercolours diluted into water down a variety of threads. The way that I want to cause this idea to be perceived is a tiny result for a large amount of effort. Essentially the creation of the "artwork" below would actually be a really difficult pursuit. In a way, the device itself eats the artwork you want to create and absorbs it. But then again, the way I see it is that by attmepting to create an artwork below, you are actually making an artwork suspended above.

This next concept is a much more long-term sort of idea. Stalactites and Stalagmites take a long time to create, but I want to accelerate that process. Perhaps to use a water soluble plastic rather than limestone, as normal stalactites grow about a quarter inch each century. So yeah, a rather long time. Not a time frame I can exactly work with. It's a weird concept, something like that taking forever to build up layer by layer. It's nature's "long count" 3D printer!

This last idea is probably the most interesting and able to produce the most varied results, while still creating dual pieces of creativity. The concept of this one to the first idea are similar. This one uses a suspended piece of fabric to create an interesting form, but most importantly, to control the flow of the paint and the way that it splatters/flows onto the sheet of material below. By manipulating the fabric before you start the piece allows the user to then alter the way that the different colours might flow down the fabric. By waxing the fabric, I can ensure all the paint travels down and ends up on the paper below, but I could also leave it less waxed, allowing more of the paint to become trapped in the fabric. This could possibly also flow through the fabric onto the paper, making the shape more of a guiding force.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

INDN 341: Researching Fabrication (In the loosest sense)

So to start things off in a big way, I think I'll look for some real inspiration and get some ideas from that. 3D printing is fantastic technology. People from 50 years ago would look at what we have now and see endless opportunity. And we have that technology at our fingertips. It's a great time to be alive and a great time to be creative. It's a great time to be a designer.

This is a 3D print of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures album artwork, a particularly influential piece of graphic design by Peter Saville. The thing that I love about the 3D print is the way that the design feels quite abstract, as well as being based on something, that while measurable, is not something that we can actually visualise ourself, namely a pulsar signal. This is pretty stock standard 3D printing, but I like what the form represents. It represents a famous piece of history, it represents something powerfully creative and inspiring. This is what I want to create with my system, something that allows people to feel inspired and driven by what they are creating.

Created by Chilean Studio gt2P, this "Catenary Pottery Printer" prints by allowing plaster to be poured onto fabric which is arranged in a particular way to allow the plastered fabric to retain particular forms. By allowing the water to seep through the fabric, the fabric ultimately retains the plaster and turns into a hard, waterproof form that is then cut out of the fabric piece.

By doing this, it allows creation of parametric forms without the use of a computer, allowing for the creation of infinitely interesting items, as well as nigh unlimited numbers of different abstract forms. This "printer is fantastic, as rather than being some sort of computer controlled device, the output is so terribly human, so completely hand-designed, that that the computer element that could have been there to generate the parametric forms is completely lost amongst the design. And that's great.

The way that this vase was made is pretty complicated, and I won't get into it, but if you want to know more, you can check it out over at Design Milk. I'm a big fan of the form that this takes, as it is something that really represents an abstract, possibly useless take on an age-old classic. I think I want to create an interesting take on that same concept. Except, rather than re-shaping the form of a classic design, I want to re-shape the way a classic process takes place. Rather than doing the process through traditional means, what if the process was controlled by a user-input driven, very inorganic device, that however defiled the user's input, yet relished the semi- chaotic randomness that resulted from that destruction of normal process.

A 3D take on an originally 2D masterpiece is an interesting route for 3D printing to take, and yet it represents a step that I want to take in the opposite direction. I want to take something that is inherently 3D and direct it towards the creation of something that is 2D. Is this 3D print of the famous Van Gogh painting, the designer had to create extra features that would not have been visible before, whereas I want to potentially be able to condense multiple layers of 3D "data" into the creation of something that destroys or layers these elements in a unique way. In a way, I can see myself creating/designing something that flattens or realigns 3D data in a strange/chaotic way.

As you can probably tell, I've got some ideas, they just haven't totally come to fruition yet, so I'm going to do some sketches and make them more clear, for both you, the readers, and more importantly, myself.

INDN 341: Ideation For Fabrication Systems

The new project that we're tasked with has a different sort of dimension to anything prior. Never before have we had to consider designing something that makes other things. This is going to be a project that somehow expresses some form of digital fabrication. It's a bit of a terrifying prospect, and I'm not entirely sure how we're all going to handle it. That said, I have a lot of confidence in my year group, as they are all totally awesome and I love the work that they do.

The way that I interpret the project is in the form of something that will allow you to create something else. For this, I have several things in mind. The brief suggest we look at our hobbies and passions, and then extrapolate those into something that will allow a user to engage with it in a way that results in something tangible.

I like making beautiful things. I really enjoy the way that something looks when it's completed, but I actually really enjoy the way that things look when they are part way through their process. That raw, unrefined look has something very magical to it. The way that things feel, the way things still have all their rough edges, the way that a painting looks when you can't always quite tell how it's going to look when it turns out, or the way that mistakes waiting to be corrected can still be seen.

I want to incorporate this into a form that allows these mistakes to be a feature. I want to make the form allow for mistakes to be made and these mistakes celebrated as part of the beauty of the resultant creation.

Friday, March 21, 2014

INDN 341: Presentation Time!

Presentation Day! Time for my rope to shine, and prove to the class that it's awesome and deserving of respect. I went out to Bunnings prior and bought some steel carabiners, so as to use them for attaching things to the rope. I wanted to get hooks, but the only hooks I could get were butchers hooks, and they were just a bit too sharp and menacing looking for my taste.

The rope had no issue holding up the chair, and many people were calling for me to hang from the rope, and I was tempted, but I want to actually get a proper stress test done on the rope, so that I can find out exactly how strong the rope is. Till next time!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

INDN 341: Rope Completion

After many trials and tribulations, I've reached a point that I think I can be proud of. The rope both looks and feels fantastic. When you stretch it, it has a slight bit of give to it, as if it were slightly springy. This is probably due to the fact that the PVA is a bit stretchy, and that the wool fibres have been compressed.
I've been trying to test the rope this afternoon, and as far as I can tell, it's really, really strong. I haven't gone to a tug of war with my flatmates over it yet, but I might do that if I can figure out how strong it is.

The brass wire looks really good too. I used it to secure the loops I made in the rope, as the needed some sort of fixing since knotting the full rope would be a bit unwieldy and yield a very thick result, and it also wouldn't look as cool as possible.

For the presentation, I was recommended to hang a small Japanese wrestler from the rope (this was somehow extremely funny at the time. But it's most likely just going to be a chair, as this should show my point enough. The rope has actually gotten softer over the time I've worked it, so it's turned out really nicely.

This isn't a noose, it's just a loop that is replicated on the other end of the rope so I can hang stuff from it. All going well, I should have a photo of the suspended chair for y'all this afternoon!

MDDN 314: My Soundwalk

The soundwalk that I designed followed a series of places that I discovered with interesting soundscapes. I really enjoyed walking my own soundwalk, as the places covered in it are so very ordinary, but they have certain special qualities that I relish!

INDN 341: Building a Rope.

In order to build the rope, I started off with three strips of carded wool, which in it's fluffy state, was at about 40mm in diameter. This is HUGE for making a rope. I therefore, when applying the PVA, had to ensure that I was compressing the wool down to a much more manageable size. This would then allow me to get the diameter of rope that I desired. It was pretty nasty work, but fun.

After I spread the slow-dissolving PVA onto the rope, I then hung the different "strands" of rope out to dry on the washing line. That's where they stayed for the next two days, losing the excess moisture contained in the wool to the Wellington wind. One thing that I discovered is that the moisture all collected in the very ends of the rope, so I had to cut them there, to make sure that the rope would work as effectively as possible as well as not stink of wet dog.

This is the difference between the now dried wool single strand of rope. The fibres have all been bonded together, and compressed, to reduce the overall diameter. The strand feels like it has a plastic-wool coating, as this was where the PVA did most of it's work. The individual strands adhering to each other through the polymer connections is what has (to my surprise) made the rope strands as strong as they are. It's actually pretty flippen' amazing.

After having my three strands, I tied them together at the top, and tightly braided them all the way to the other end, where I tied them to each other again. The braid should significantly increase the strength of rope again. It also has ended up looking beautifully old school, which I like. To encourage this look, I've decided to make loops in both ends and secure them with brass-like wire. This combination of a gold colour and the more natural material has worked quite well in compositions where the intent was to make the user feel sort of nostalgic for a time before their own.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

INDN 311: Presentation Slides

So, you've seen the design for the alarm project now, so I made some really cool diagrams and things to show it off to my tutors at the presentation today. These were to try and detail my concept to them so that they could get a clear idea of what was going on in my head surrounding these designs. I had a lot of fun creating the 3D-esque forms for the different pages of the presentation in Illustrator. I haven't had a chance to draw in isometric in a LONG time.

The first page of my presentation outlines some of the buzz-words I want to associate my project with, as well as things that I want to achieve with it. I've also included some of the international design blogs that I'd like to get my work onto, as well as the things it might be made with.

This page was the most fun to make, as I was able to then plot out how I wanted the whole thing to fit together. I really enjoyed the aesthetic that this whole piece had, especially in the way that the design was laid out. I got to learn some new tricks in Illustrator, as well as call upon some of the basic design elements that I learnt in First Year.

This big sucker was my attempt at a personal fritzing-like diagram for the circuitry. This is a really basic visualization of it, but you get the picture. The central Arduino controls the relay and the wave shield, while the lights and the arduino draw power from the DC adapter.

To actually create the illusion of the LEDs dimming without going out and buying expensive dimmers and dimmable LEDs, I've decided to implement a quad-relay dimming system, which according to my calculations, will provide 16 total levels of brightness, without altering voltage or amperage to any of the LEDs.

Last, but not least, I have my two sweet renders. Both are of the same thing, and came out looking totally awesome. To get the render looking the way it did, it required a lot of experimentation with Keyshot, especially with regards to getting the materials looking the way they did.

The second render gives a more general overview of the form. I get a lot of my inspiration from futuristic concept art, and this piece was no exception. I'm really looking forward to getting this design done and out there for the world to see!

INDN 341: Idea Re-Re-Focus

So, after talking to my tutors, there has been another re-shuffle of my project. The potential of the project was questioned and I know that my tutors don't want me to make something that's just average. And I don't do average either.

I'm still going to work with the wool. After talking at great length with my tutor today, I realised that there was a lot of potential in the wool-PVA mix. The PVA reinforced the wool significantly and kept it from fraying, while the wool fibres did their part to keep the PVA together. Separately, the two components both lacked strength, but together, they combined the pest of both worlds.

What I plan on doing now is to combine the two together in a very use-driven concept. Rather than making a more abstract composition, I'm in stead going to make a rope. It's going to be a braided rope that should theoretically be significantly stronger than either the PVA or the wool on their own.

We got a delivery of different PVA today, namely stuff that came in a powder form, as opposed to a granule form. Apparently it's a clear type of PVA that is slightly easier to work with. WOW. Overstatement of the century much? I felt like I was working with epoxy, not PVA. I mixed it up in a trusty ice cream container, and it was fuuuuun.

As you can see here, it didn't initially dissolve like the other stuff I've worked with, but rather together in the water. When I started mixing it up, it started changing significantly. It actually started to turn into this foamy, gloopy stuff, which was EXTREMELY thick. Continuous additions of water made it less and less thick, and more foamy. Strange.

 This is the standard granulated stuff working it's more mundane magic. It just dissolves pretty cleanly into the water. This however actually wasn't what I wanted though, as the way I spread the stuff onto the wool worked much better with the thick stuff. The reason for this was that I wanted the PVA to stay around on the wool for much longer so it could really soak in.

The method that I used to treat the wool / plan to make the rope is as follows:

#1. Tear the carded wool lengths into roughly 1.5 meter lengths.
#2. Drench the wool in a bowl of water, ensuring the wool was thoroughly wet through, and then squeeze the water out.
#3. Lather my hands up in gloopy PVA-mixture. Smear and work it into the wool fibres, ensuring even coverage overall, as well as making sure the PVA wasn't clumping anywhere.
#4. Smooth the wool together to make the fibres adhere to each other, as well as to squeeze the excess water out.
#5. Hang out on the washing line to dry.
#6. (Hopefully) Success, followed by braiding the "rope" together.
#7. Prove strength of rope by suspending a small Japanese wrestler from the ceiling with it.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

INDN 341: Production Phase & Idea Re-Focus

I went to class this past week with a fair amount of trepidation, as I had a few doubts regarding the fact that I'd decided to just combine the PVA with fabric. I was worried that the material I had created wouldn't be interesting enough to generate the attention I wanted the project to garner. So, I talked to my tutors, and the general consensus was that I might not be pushing the brief enough to get a good response.

An idea that was suggested was that I should keep with the same concept, but alter it slightly. The way that I proposed to alter it was to utilise carded wool and combine it with the PVA to create a custom material that would retain the properties of both while having significant new properties.

The white carded wool was beautiful and soft, and provided such a lovely texture. The way it's been carded is something I can't say I'm terribly familiar with, but it's very, very cool how the fibres of the wool have been carded together to form a more cohesive bond, in a usable form. It's incredibly cool, and the fibres come apart in such an interesting way.

Combining it with the PVA has been a pretty grotty experience, as working with wool when it is wet isn't a pleasant experience, and adding the PVA to it only made it slimy and rather disgusting. But it was still a fun thing to play with, and working with these materials proved to require a lot of experimentation.

So, to start building on the lamp base component, I headed to the workshop. The basic idea was to connect the separate components with small rods that then cross the void between the parts, where the wool would fill the space.

By cutting the different segments all out of the same continuous block, I should hopefully be able to ensure that the entire piece looks really good when it's been put back together. I chose to use a beautiful piece of ash for it, which was left over from the steam bending project I did with my group.

To make a space for the LEDs, I routed out a channel in the top of the central block, so that they would be nicely recessed. Keeping them recessed allows the top wool to not intrude on the light, making it nice and easy to manipulate the wool without worry of letting the form catch on the lights.

MDDN 314: Samples Galore!

I managed to borrow a TASCAM DR-40 from the university today, and went out and got some great little recordings with it. The idea for this was to get a little sample library going. I had to discover however that it's not as easy as I initially thought it was going to be. The recordings were fantastic, but that problem that I face in Wellington is that the wind can be really tough to work around, as if it hits the microphones, WHAM, recording semi-ruined. Not so sharp. But I worked with what I had and got some outside and inside recordings. It's also a bit tricky to get noiseless recordings of specific things. I'm going to try again another time with an external microphone to see what I can get.

I also experimented with editing my audio in Audacity, so as to make a usable sample.

The first recording in my list was the gentle bubbling and gurgling of the Aro Park fountain. It was a lot of fun to record this one, and is probably one of my most successful. It's got a bit of quirk to it. part way through you can hear the sound of some seagulls squabbling, as there were a bunch of them having a drink and bath in the fountain. Quite sweet, really!

This sample is interesting, but not always the most pleasant to listen to. I flipped my flatmate's bicycle upside down and experimented with turning the pedal and getting a recording of the wheel spinning. Unfortunately, since his bike was a "fixie", it doesn't make that wonderful clicking noise that some bikes make when their wheels spin. Ah well.

This one is very much an ambient track, as it picks up all manner of noises happening on the road I stationed myself at. There's a little bit of construction noise in the background, and sometimes you can hear people walking past me. But the recording itself is really good.

The two recordings I have on the cafes are both really nice, as they capture the ambience of the cafes well. The first one was taken in a bookshop cafe, so the way the sound scatters in the room was really nice. It created quite a muffled, warm, round sound.

The second cafe was really pretty inside, having these wonderful concrete and brick fa├žades, which of course changed the common cafe soundscape significantly. The music in this cafe was much more prominent as a result, and the echoing of the long, hall-like cafe was really quite nice.

The next sample that I recorded was a walk down Cuba St. I like this recording because of how the different sounds of the street come and go as I walk past them. This constantly changing scape works really well as just a recording but maybe not really that well for a sample.

This sample of a supermarket check-out area works really well at capturing the ambience of the space. This sample worked out quite nicely and was fun to play with in Audacity.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

INDN 311: Honing the Elements

So, we're two weeks in, and I've been focussing a lot of my attention on my other papers, but it's time to step up to the plate for this course. The ideas that I have for this paper are pretty big, so I will definitely need to devote some real time to it to actually detail it into fruition. That, and there is a fairly substantial hand-in coming up for it soon. I'm totally not freaking out. Really. Okay, maybe I am. Stress levels are pretty massive.

So, as you know, looking back at my previous post for this course, that this project is going to revolve around the design and production of a self-contained, Arduino-based alarm clock, where the user doesn't have direct control over the time of day they wake up. The alarm clock basically is seeking to restore a more natural cycle to someone's day/night cycles.

One of the ideas for materiality that I really like is the concept of creating a material that shouldn't be possible. On it's own, concrete doesn't permit light through it, and on their own, fibre optics don't have any rigidity. By combining the two, we get the opportunity to create a very unique material with some unique properties. I however might have some issued with the concrete, as it can be pretty brittle if not used properly.

Theoretically, using a speaker to generate some sound should be a pretty easy feat. There are sure to exist several shields capable of generating sound for the Arduino, and I'm going to have a scout around to see what I can find. I don't know if the audio I will be able to output will be particularly high quality, but I'll wait and see on that front. I want to make the whole alarm system something that works together, so the speaker will be hidden as well to keep the look great.

In terms of the circuitry, this is a simplified version of the system. For the presentation I'll make a more detailed and prettier version for people to understand what they're looking at and how it's actually going to fit together. But in terms of a general picture, this diagram is a pretty accurate one, theoretically. It won't be this simple, but this is the basic gist of it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

INDN 341: Developing Proper Solutions

After doing my sketches, I decided the best way to be able to convey the 3D concept would be to do a CAD model, so as to be able to totally visualise it myself. I want to create a very symmetrical form that allows the user to orient it any which way and still have it look great. I'm also going for a really minimal look, and am working within the confines of my material.

The material that I am using for the base is a beautiful piece of Ash, around which I designed the size of the light. In fact, for this project I'm trying to curb my spending as much as possible, and keep it to an absolute minimum and see what I can make with existing materials. I find that this pushes my

The 3D line CAD drawing gives a much better idea of how it all fits together, as you can see all the sections in a way that makes sense. I actually really enjoy looking at the aesthetic of this sort of "sketch". Maybe it just makes sense to me because I've spent a lot of time orbiting around it and putting all the components together around each other.

Unfortunately at the moment I can't get my rendering software to work properly, so I had to use Solidworks in-program rendering system, which to be fair, is pretty good, so I can't complain really. I used materials that I'm actually planning to use, so as to get it looking as close to the real deal as I can get it. I wasn't able to get the fabric cover on the top that I wanted, but that's mostly due to the fact that it's hard to model that sort of thing.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

INDN 341: Process Evolution

Now that I've got my concept for what I want down, it's time to start getting my design on! The initial thought was to create a fully self-supporting shade that had really interesting geometric shapes, an idea that I conceived through the sketch below.

The way I saw this design taking place was through a series of triangular pyramid shapes that were open at one side, allowing untainted light to get through. The shades would act as a shield for people's eyes, so that they wouldn't be able to look directly at the light, but would be able to see the light hitting the ceiling, as well as the muted light through the PVA-infused fabric.

I then decided that creating a light that utilised the property of the fabric and PVA that I discovered last time would be way cooler. The property was that the fabric infused with PVA would retain "memory" of the creases in it, allowing for a really interesting look when light was shone through it. The beauty of this warped and twisted material actually looks really stunning. I enjoyed it, and I think it would be perfect for a small night/ambient light.

This is the design that I'm currently rolling with. The shape is a simple rectangle but will allow me to essentially create a little fabric bag that goes over the LED strip lighting that I will douse in PVA and generate interesting forms with. To allow for user interaction, I'm going to equip the light with a small spray bottle that will allow the user to lightly mist the shade with water to then be able to mould the light to their own design. This will in turn create a different look for the light emitted from the LEDs, as the fabric will be twisted and shaped differently in different spaces.

The fabric is going to be pinned between five parts of the same block of wood, with the routed centre providing the recess for the LED lighting. The different sections will then be attached to each other with little steel rods and brackets. I'm working to try and make these as minimal as possible, so as to provide minimal distractions from the beauty of the whole piece.

I got this beautiful cotton fabric which is lighter and thinner than the original calico I was using, so this should be a lot better to work with when imbuing it with PVA. This fabric is less dense than the calico, so it definitely will let more light through, but I think that still shouldn't be too much of an issue. In fact, I don't think it'll be an issue at all. That's some primo sewing by me in the image above. Glad I remembered how to do running stitch!

At the moment the shade just looks like a sack, because really that is all it is. It's ultimately going to be sitting over the light, and crumpled and stiff it should look beautiful.

When turned inside out, it starts to look like what it's actually going to become. I designed it to wrap around the full size of the central section of the wood, so hopefully, my woodwork skills permitting, that's going to happen.

As you can see, the fabric still has a really good look to it when  held up to the light. Can't wait to see what it'll end up looking like.