Week 6: Flower Pattern

This week I built a motor mount project that creates a moving flower pattern (Figure 1). 

  Figure 1

Figure 1

To build this mount I tested many different types of fittings to attached the laser cut pattern to the motor.  Figure 2 shows some test pieces I created to play around with different fitting ideas.

  Figure 2

Figure 2

In the end I used two types of fittings (Figure 3).  One piece fit below the rotating part of the servo motor since it did not have to move.  The second piece sat on top of the rotating part of the motor and had a hole for the motor screw.  The screw clamped this piece onto the motor.  

Next I built a standoff enclosure to hold the motor (Figure 4).  The motor fit through a rectangular hole on the top piece of the enclosure.  The top piece had holes that lined up with the holes on the motor wings. Since the motor fit tightly into the rectangular hole, I did not end up using these hold to secure the motor to the top piece.  Four screws were used to attach the top and bottom pieces together. The holes in the bottom piece were cut small enough so that the screws gripped the sides of the holes.  Thus, I did not have to use bolts on the underside of the enclosure.

  Figure 4

Figure 4

Once the enclosure was completed, I printing the two patterned pieced. Figure 5A shows how the stationary piece fit around the motor.  Figure 5B shows how the top piece sat on top of the rotary part of the motor and was screwed in.

Then I attached the motor to an Arduino and coded the servo to rotate back and forth at a proper pace for the moving pattern to come across (Figure 6).

Figures 7&8 show the final result. 

Figure 7

Figure 8

Week 5: Candleholder

My goal this week was to mix two materials that would not normally go together into one cohesive project.  I designed a candle holder that would combine maple wood and felt together to create a colorful cross section (Figure 1).

  Figure 1 : Materials

Figure 1: Materials

First I used the miter saw to cut the wood into various sizes.  These pieces of wood came together to form a box with a pattern on the side (Figure 2).

  Figure 2 : Initial Pattern

Figure 2: Initial Pattern

Then I cut pieces of felt to fit between the pieces of wood to add color to the pattern (Figure 3).

  Figure 3 : Felt Pattern

Figure 3: Felt Pattern

I attached all of the pieces together using wood glue and allowed the block to dry with clamps (Figure 4).

When this was drying I realized some features of the build that would make completing the rest of the project difficult. First, the glue was not properly holding the wood and felt in one solid piece.  Since the felt is a soft material, the glue dried in an inconsistent way so the block was far from square.  Also, the felt and wood surfaces were not flush with each other so I new I would need to cut a bit off the edge to make this a clean surface.  Then I realized it would be difficult to sand the piece since the felt was embedded in the cross section.  At this point, I decided that the felt was creating too many fabrication obstacles. so I decided to start over.  This time instead of felt I used 1/8” cedar wood (Figure 5).

  Figure 5 : Cedar Pattern

Figure 5: Cedar Pattern

This way I would still have the cross section pattern effect I was aiming for but with a different material.  Figure 6 shows the piece after it was glued. I used the miter saw again to trim the edges and sanded the piece until it was relatively square.  I had some trouble squaring off the piece particularly with the belt sander.  Then I drilled two holes in the top of the block with a spade bit. Perhaps because of the hardness of the wood, the spade bit had trouble drilling a deep enough hole for the tea light candles.  In the end, I did not want to break the drill bit, so I left one of the holes shallower than the other.  Ideally, both of these candles would fit in the holes and sit flush with the surface of the holder.

  Figure 6 : Glue block

Figure 6: Glue block

The final result is shown in Figure 7

The process to create this candleholder created the most challenges I have faced in a build yet this semester.  Next time I would manipulate the design in a way that was more conducive to the tools I have available.  In another prototype I may want to try colored plastic instead of the cedar wood in order to get the color I was initially intending on having.  Overall, I think that this design needs to be fully reworked before I try another iteration.  I definitely, however, learned a lot from the mistakes I made this week and understand my limitations more clearly.  

Week 4: Weather Display Enclosure

This week, I designed an enclosure for a weather display (Figure 1).  The display is designed to hold electronic components that turn on lights based on the weather outside.  If it is sunny, the sun symbol would light up, if it is raining, the rain cloud symbol would light up.

  Figure 1 : Weather Display

Figure 1: Weather Display

The overall box was designed using 10 sheets of plywood stacked on top of each other and held together using four nuts and bolts (Figure 2).

  Figure 2 : Laser Cut Pieces

Figure 2: Laser Cut Pieces

The layers have varying shapes in order to accommodate the electrical components inside. The first layer contains the cut out weather symbols.  Paper was taped to the back of each symbol so that you could not see into the box (Figure 3).

In the future, I would laser cut the paper (or maybe frosted plastic) into its own layer and place it behind this first layer instead of using tape and manually cutting each piece of paper.  The next three layers were shaped to resemble a window frame (Figure 4).

  Figure 4 : Light Cavity Layers

Figure 4: Light Cavity Layers

These layers divided the interior of the box into for sections behind the symbols and created individual areas for the lights.  This was designed to prevent light from one symbol leaking behind another symbol and creating a confusing interface.  The fifth layer was a plain plate which had holes cut into it at the center of each section for the LED legs to fit through.  Figure 5 shows how the LED’s were place and taped into this layer.

  Figure 5 : LED Layer

Figure 5: LED Layer

In the future, I would used panel mount lights to ensure these lights stayed in place for a long time.  The next four layers (Figure 6) were designed to create a bigger cavity for the remaining electronics.

  Figure 6 : Electronics Cavity Layers

Figure 6: Electronics Cavity Layers

Finally, the last plate had a switch mount attached in order to turn the display on and off (Figure 7).

  Figure 7 : Back Layer

Figure 7: Back Layer

I choose not to glue the layers together in order to provide the most modularity to the design.  Once I build the electronics for this project, the cavity sizes may not be sufficient.  Thus, with this design, I can simply add more layers to increase the size of the cavity if I need to.  The same adjustments can be done to the light cavity layers if I change to larger lights.  Overall, I am happy with this design as a first model for this concept.  I think that I would need to produce the electronics before iterating the display enclosure in order to ensure the cavities are the right size.  Thus, the modularity of this enclosure compliments a project like this that is a work in progress. As I think more about the project I may add new buttons or features, but it was a great exercise to build the enclosure first in order to understand the limitations and scope of the project if I want to contain it to a simple display like this one. 

Week 3: Coasters

This week I designed and build these wooden coasters (Figure 1).

  Figure 1:  Coasters

Figure 1: Coasters

First I designed and drew three patterns in Adobe Illustrator (Figure 2).

Then I placed these patterns into another illustrator file that mapped out the coasters for the laser cutter.  Each coaster consisted of three parts, one 4” circular base with a 3.55” circular pattern etched on top, and two rings (Figure 3).

  Figure 3 : Coaster Laser Cutting Layout

Figure 3: Coaster Laser Cutting Layout

Figure 4 shows the process and results after laser cutting.

Two rings were glued to each base in order to create a rim for the coasters (Figure 5).

  Figure 5 : Glue setup

Figure 5: Glue setup

Once the glue dried, I sealed the coasters with polyurethane and they were ready for use.  Figure 6 shows the final product. 

Week 2: Magnetic Key Holder

This week I designed and built a magnetic key holder.  I based this project off of this product.  These circle wooden plates hang on the wall and have magnets embedded within.  Keys can then magnetically attach to the plate and make the keys look like they are floating. I decided to modify this design to accommodate the skills I have in the shop.  Figure 1 shows my initial plan.  This design includes a hanging piece of hardware like the ones used in this design. 

 Figure 1: Plan

Figure 1: Plan

This would allow the piece to hang almost perfectly flush with the wall.  When I gathered my materials, I could not find a small enough version of this hanging hardware so I decided to use these D-rings instead.  In order to hang the wood pieces flush against the wall, a new system of holes had to be designed to recess this D-ring piece.  First I attached the D-ring to a scrap piece of wood to see how much I would need to recess it (Figure 2).

 Figure 2: D-ring testing

Figure 2: D-ring testing

I recessed the D-ring using two holes shown in Figure 3.  The first hole, that surrounds the screw is 5/8” in diameter and the larger hole that houses the ring part of the hardware is 7/8” in diameter.  These holes cascade such that the larger hole is slightly deeper than the smaller one.  Once I determined how I would attach the D-rings, I experimented with the magnets to determine how deep they would have to be set in order to hold the keys from the front side of the key holder.  Using a 5/8” forstner bit I determined that the whole for the magnet needed to be almost all the way through to properly hold the keys from the other side.

 Figure 3: D-ring recessed holes

Figure 3: D-ring recessed holes

Once I experimented with these solutions I was ready to make the magnetic key holders.  Using the miter saw and a stop block, I cut the stock material into equal rectangles that matched the desired dimensions (Figure 4).

I then used a 7/64” drill bit on the drill press to drill the hole for the D-ring screw.  Figure 5A shows the drill press setup.  I placed two stop blocks perpendicular to each other so that the workpiece could sit in the corner.  I then set up each drill so that it was lined up in the correct spot on the workpiece.  The tape on the drill bit served as a stop marker so that each hole was the same depth.  I used this setup to drill a hole in each piece.  Figure 5B shows all of the pieces after drilling.  Using the forstner bits, I then drilled the holes for the magnet and the D-ring.  I used a similar stop block method for these holes and marked with a sharpie the desired depth. 

I tested the depth on a sample workpiece to make sure the D-ring holes were deep enough to allow the piece to sit flush on the wall.  Figure 6 shows how the piece hooks onto the wall and how the recessed holes make it sit flush.

I made sure to complete a hole in each workpiece before moving on to the next bit in order to take advantage of each setup. These steps can be seen in Figure 7.

Once these holes were drilled, I used the sander to smooth the faces of the piece and create a chamfer on the front edges of the piece (Figure 8).  I then screwed the D-rings on to each piece and crazy glued the magnets into their holes (Figure 9).

Figure 10 shows the final result hanging on the wall with keys attached.

Figure 11 shows the keys magnetizing to the piece. 

Throughout the process of making these pieces I learned a lot about the tools I used and the process of making with wood.  I needed to adjust the way I designed the piece in order to accommodate the hardware that I purchased.  I also think that it helped that my design required similar techniques with different drill bits.  This meant that I learned the stop block setup on the drill press and applied it multiple times to different types of holes instead of coming up with new types of jigs for each step.  This aspect of the design made the repeatability part of the assignment relatively easy.  I also learned that I enjoy using the sander in the shop.  Originally, I was not planning to chamfer the edges, but once I tested out the sander I became more confident and added the chamfers to my design.  With some more practice, and perhaps a jig for this step, I could have created a more consistent chamfer for each piece.  Overall I am happy with the way the workpieces came out.  They are functional (although they can only hold a few keys at a time) and they are similar to each other. Of course, more careful jigs and measurement may have created piece with a more unified precision.

Week 1: Flashlight

This week I designed and built a flashlight using two objects that I found on the ITP “junk” shelf.  First I found a wheel that looks like it might have come from an Ikea product.  Then I found a small bent copper pipe.  I decided to use these two objects to build some sort of rolling headlight.  Figure 1 shows my original design.

  Figure 1:  Design Sketch

Figure 1: Design Sketch

The design included a box to house the wheel with a cutout on the bottom to allow the wheel to spin freely.  The copper pipe could attach to the top of the box and house the electrical components.  An LED could shine from the top of the pipe and act as a headlight.  With this general idea in mind, I collected some materials to begin building (Figure 2).  

  Figure 2:  Initial Materials

Figure 2: Initial Materials

I began by building the wheel housing out of cardboard.  I cut the cardboard piece based on the drawing shown in Figure 3A.  This shape folded into the box that wrapped around the wheel (Figure 3B,3C).  Hot glue was used on the seams of the box to hold it closed. The height of the box allowed for the wheel to peak out from the bottom and roll between the slit as shown in Figure 3D.  To attach the wheel, four holes were punctured into the cardboard in order to line up with the holes built into the wheel (see Figure 3B).  A paper clip was used on each side of the wheel and bent such that it threaded through the holes of the wheel and cardboard.  A dot of hot glue was used to secure the paperclips in the holes of the cardboard and to avoid ripping the cardboard.  The wheel was properly attached to the cardboard box before the box was glued closed.  Next, hot glue was used to secure the copper pipe to the top of the box.

A coin battery was taped into the free side of the copper pipe so that the positive side of the battery touched the inner surface of the pipe and the negative side faced the center of the pipe.  Two LED’s were attached so that the negative leg touched the negative side of the coin battery (between the tape and the battery) and the positive leg touched the outside of the positively charged copper pipe.  Finally, I covered the front of the pipe with decorative tape in order to hide the electronics inside.  Figure 4 shows the entire assembly and Figure 5 shows how the assembly rolls.  Once this design was complete, I noticed that the LEDs were not giving the bright headlight effect that I initially wanted.  In the future I would like to purchase a small light bulb instead of the LEDs to improve the quality of the light. 

Figure 5: Rolling Final Assembly

Overall, I am happy with how this flashlight turned out.  The initial design is quite cute and resembled a little robot.  A modified design would improved the brightness of the light and make the flashlight more practical.  I envision someone using this light in an instance where they are doing some handy work in a small dark place.  They could easily roll and move the light around to shine more directly on the worksite without having to hold the light in place.  There are many improvements to this design that could further the practicality of the product. First, a switch to turn on and off the light would allow the average user to access this product.  Also, adding remote controls to this headlight could improve the rolling feature.  A motor could control the movement of the entire light and turn the copper pipe.  Adding supports to the box to prevent it from leaning could also improve the design.  Looking back, I wish that I had documented the wheel fastening system that I used with the paperclip to make the description more clear. Lastly, the box could be made out of a stronger material to allow for the wheel to screw into the box instead of fastened with paperclips and hot glue.  

For me, the biggest take away of this project was the power of prototyping fast.  I am glad that I trusted my first design and developed it successfully before thinking of any larger modifications.  I appreciate that my final product very much resembled my initial design while including small improvements that I saw necessary to change right away.  Larger improvements I think should be made on a completely new prototype so that the progress of the idea can be shown and compared.