Sunday, March 30, 2008

Design Thought Model Part II

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I continued work on my design thought model this weekend. I ordered some thiner 1/16" acrylic sheets that seemed to work better than the 1/8" stuff I was using before. While I was working on this project I realized that I probably could have done the entire thing so much easier on the vacuform. Oh well, good thing to keep in mind for next time. Instead of using the vacuform I have been cutting the plexi into small rectangles, heating them to 325 in the oven, and forming them to the mold with my hands. After I cover the entire mold in overlapping rectangles, I use the bandsaw to cut off the areas that overlap. This takes a long time and there are a few gaps where the pieces come together. I decided to just incorporate the gaps into my design and instead of gluing the pieces of plexi directly together, they will be connected with laser cut plexi brackets that I will paint to look like aged brass. That should also help with the mechanical steampunk look I'm going for.

I've also changed my original design that used marbles to represent ideas to use Sour Balls instead because every one likes candy and I found them at the convenience store near my dorm. They Sour Balls roll very nicely down the little test track that I build and I like that they are bright colors. I'm going to have to remember to bring a few packs with me when I present this because I've already eated about half of them.

On a final note, I ordered my steam engine kit that will power the rotating disk the releases the Sour Balls. I got it off ebay for $23 from Liney Machine. It includes the plans and all the stock metal needed to machine it out. The engine is very tiny. I chose it because it was cheap and I wanted a kit that would allow me to learn to machine metal on the metal lathe and mill. I'm really excited and I cant wait to try to build it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Cream & Sugar Set

Industrial Design Fundamentals Assignment:
1. Design a pair of cream and sugar containers.
2. Maintain a "family" resemblance.
3. Base the design off an aesthetic influence.

Visual Reference Board: Art Deco

I experimented with building my form to reflect various art deco patterns. I eventually settle on a design that uses art deco style hoops to allow the cream to nest on top of the sugar bowl.

I begin with a sold chunk of blue foam.I carve out 2 different models
I go with the second model because it has a slimmer foot print that would fit better on most tables. While building the second model I discovered that I could get smoother cuts with the band saw than the hot wire cutter so my second model also had better overall craft.I paint a thick coat of plaster, wait for it to dry, and sand for several hours.
I use the band saw to cut a shelf out of clear acrylic that mimics the design of my sugar set. I use a heating strip to bend it 90 degrees.I use the shelf to present my design during the class critique.
Final Prototype:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

Design Thought Model

The concept for the design thought model that I have to make for my design thinking class starts with a full scale model of my head, chest, and one arm made from clear acrylic. Inside the head where my brain would normally go will be a hopper full of marbles that represents ideas. A rotating disk powered by a steam engine will release the marbles at set intervals. The marbles will then roll down a twisting track where they will be processed, cleaned and filtered. The best marbles will eventually roll out of my hand and onto a piece of paper to form a design.

My style influences for this project are steampunk, nautilus, victorian, and clockwork. The materials will include acrylic, brass, velvet and dark stained wood.

I started by making plaster molds of my head, chest and arm.
I have my brother cover my skin in plaster infused bandages.
We make a big mess and eventually get kicked outside.After about 12 minuets I can take off the now solid bandages
I use more plater bandages to fit the front and the back of the head together. Then I poor plaster of paris in the hollow shell of my head to give it strength. I now have a solid 10lb plaster head which I can use to form the acrylic.
I put the acrylic sheet(plexiglass) in the oven at 300 degrees until I can easily bend it.I then wear sox over my hands and press it against my plaster head. Here are some of the test pieces I made. I painted two of them so I could experiment will how I was going to get an aged brass look for the inside supports.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Ubnox-O-Phone!!!

I made this primitive synthesizer/obnoxious noise maker for fun during my spring break. I first got the idea when I saw all the crazy diy noisemakers and synths at I used their Weird Sound Generator schematic along with the Ruby Guitar Amp schematic from to build what I have named the Ubnox-O-Phone. This was my first electronics project. I ordered most of my parts from for about $35. I started by using the runoffgroove schematic to put together this simple amp on a bread board.After I got the guitar amp making sounds, I finally had enough confidence to pull out the soldering iron and piece everything together.

For the case I decided to go with a rack mount kind of look. I also wanted to show off all my work so I used 1/8" clear acrylic and I left the sides open. I designed it in Illustrator and I used our school's laser cutter to cut out the front and back and all the holes for my knobs & stuff. I also used the laser cutter to engrave the name and control labels. I used a scifi looking font that turned out to be hard to read but still looked really cool.

It took me about 2 days to solder all the components together and then a few more hours to design and laser cut my faceplate. I was really happy with how it turned out. Here is a video that shows the noises it can make as well as some of the places I have taken it.