Fabrication Week 6: A Series Of Unfortunate Events


This week we were tasked to create an object utilizing a motor of sorts. My idea: create a music box utilizing the light sculpture I made in Week 3: Trying Not To Fall In Love With The Laser.

Remember this guy?
Remember this guy?

The first thing to get cut was the music part of the music box. Reason: no time. The second thing that happened was that my stepper motor didn’t come in on time. But! Our illustrious fab teacher Ben took pity on me and lent me one of his. I laser printed the motor mount (which apparently I wouldn’t have needed anyway?).

My best friend, AI.
My best friend, AI.

Unfortunate event #2: The motor’s wiring was not sound.


Anyway, here’s a pic of my setup and what it would have done:


Third thing to fall apart: the airtight lip on my enclosure that was supposed to go around the mount that would hold the light sculpture above the motor would not stick.

Not friends.
Not friends.

And even if it would? Lack of sleep meant that I forgot to cut a hole in the stupid stand anyway.


So I ended up using my old stand.


Here’s what I wanted to happen:

Alas, it was but a pipe dream. This is what I landed on:

My un-music box.
My un-music box.

Takeaways: Planning is key. Even if my motor didn’t work at the last minute, there was nothing stopping me from testing out the other element of my setup and realizing they wouldn’t work earlier on.

I still want to work on this though, because creating this light sculpture was one of my favorite things to work on this semester.


Fabrication Week 5: Using Mixed Materials

This week in Fabrication class, we were challenged to use materials outside of our comfort zone (no acrylic, no plywood). Because I’m interested in using light, and because I enjoy using wood as a medium, I decided to craft a sheet lamp votive holder.¬†Here is my brainstorming session:



I settled on a base wood block that would have three votive holders and a slide for my wood sheet that I would cut with the laser cutter.




I ran the line ~ 20 times on the highest power laser. It burnt the wood a little but it did the trick.

I also hand-sketched an AI file with the etching I wanted for what was now effectively my wood screen:


That’s where I ran into trouble. Though I had soaked my wood sheets the night before (which brought out some beautiful texture and was supposed to make the wood more flexible), it caused my wood to warp and cut in places that were unplanned. That culminated in a rip *on the laser bed* 50 minutes in the job, despite having taped the wood sheet to a block of acrylic and sticking it in place, which meant I needed to start from scratch. (Fortunately I had booked extra time on the laser).


Many fails.

After cutting the line I measured the space of my votive holders by diameter, clamped my wood and drilled:


To secure the screen in place, I hot glued the interior side of the screen.


After holding to dry in place for a few minutes, I had my final product.

img_0848 img_0849



Yup, it’s a cell phone flashlight.

Takeaways: If I were to do this differently, I’d cut the slide for the screen a bit deeper and also a bit thicker. It was difficult to get a warped piece of wood to stick in there. Plus, I think it would be nice to showcase the texture of the natural wood in the screen a bit more.

I’d also plate the slide with some sort of metal leaf for added aesthetic value, and make a point of getting a wider wood base. As it stands, I’m not comfortable leaving a live candle behind the screen unless it’s completely surrounded by glass. Finally, I’d treat the wood screen to somehow enhance the grain (maybe with oil?) and coat the stand black.

All in all this was one of the projects I see myself replicating in the future. It’s a simple yet aesthetically pleasing item to reproduce.