For our final fabrication project, we learned about motors and techniques for how to mount them.

In our physical computation classes, we have learned how to use our servos and connect them with our arduinos but not too much.

Admittedly, this was the first assignment I struggled with project ideation. For some reason, I have not really imagined many projects that had moving elements in this way so it was interesting to try to figure that out.

One recommendation / tip in our class has been to learn where you gravitate to. To learn your standard. I like using found / common objects and soft materials.

Taking inspiration from the arduino project hub, I decided to mount a flower and figure out an enclosure for it.

First, I started by testing out the servo motor to make sure it worked and that I could program different things to it.

I then grabbed materials to create my flower and bought a micro breadboard to more easily fit into my enclosure. I tried different pot sizes to determine what would be able to give me the best amount of room to work with without being too big.

I then used cardboard and felt to create two inner discs. I put the initial cardboard disc right above the breadboard and then set the motor on top of that and then put a felt disc over the motor and thread through part of the spinning portion of the motor so that I could attach the stem of the flower to it.

Corporeal Exploration

I’m interested in the body particularly surrounding issues of control, issues surrounding biopolitics.

Initially, I had this grand idea but I soon realized that grand idea could not be fit within the constraints of this assignment nor do I feel confident executing it. I wanted to make a lifelike silicon cast of parts of myself.

Instead I started thinking about skin and what materials are skin-like which led me to thinking about the scoby found in kombucha which led me to ordering a scoby…

So, the assignment was to fabricate something using primarily two different materials. So I decided as my main materials to use a scoby and to use resin as a way to explore biopolitics.

Scoby secured 🙂

I secured a scoby! I knew immediately that I wanted to explore modifications for this material / fake skin. So I also sewed on parts of it, pierced other parts of it, etc. As a non-binary person, modification is on my mind a lot. After modifying the scoby, I then put it into its mold and poured resin on top.

This process was pretty messy but still fun. They sat in the resin overnight. Because they weren’t too big, it didn’t take that long for the resin to dry. However, parts of the scoby did float to the top overnight leaving them exposed above the resin. I initially worried, but figured maybe this wouldn’t be so bad considering that dried scoby has been used to make clothing recently.

Final product:

Laser Cutter as a tool

For this week’s fabrication signup we were tasked with using the laser cutter (60 watt Epilog) on the floor. As an artist, I was curious about how I would most likely use the laser cutter in an artistic practice that combined a lot of my interest to tell a story or convey a message.

As I’ve been taking this class, I realized that I am curious about and gravitate towards softer things, so I decided to combine whatever I made with something soft. I started sketching.

Just this last weekend, I attended a retreat called Activation Residency and met an artist and activist named Amanda Everich. We briefly talked about maps and the act of decolonizing maps. What else could be a map? What is the purpose of a map? I wanted to create something that would guide me to home or perhaps guide me towards my truest sense of self or both.

I started by thinking of what kind of materials I wanted to explore. I wrote down:

  • Acrylic (what I would need to use for laser printing and how I would create the shapes that spoke to me. Created shapes like hair pick, moons, eyes, suns)
  • Chains (Initially, I was going to use industrial esque chains but I settled for the ring on keychains. A reminder of the past but an appropriated incorporation into the future. “We have nothing to lose but our chains” – Assata Shakur
  • Black Synthetic Hair (I used to always get my hair braided back when I had longer hair. So this reminds me of childhood and intimacy as it would usually take me six hours to get my hair braided. During that time, I got to connect with family members and other black women)
  • White Fabric (I had old curtains around that I had since senior year. I wanted to play with contrast between this and the black acrylic and black hair)
  • Wool Cotton (A reminder of the fast, introduction of new texture, intimacy as well – cotton sits closely to my body frequently)
  • Gold wire

Here are my shapes after printing!

This process was a new one to me. Initially, I bought two wooden poles and begin by tying fabrics and the material on that. I hated how it looked. I had also bought the day before this wooden circle piece that was for formal arrangements and we tried putting all my pieces on that. I liked how that looked a lot. Here’s the finished product.

Make Five Things

For fabrication class, we were tasked with the project of making five things using identically processes.

It is quite possible that my initial idea was too ambitious and/or ill-researched but alas I learned a lot in the process and would love to perfect it to create future objects.

My goal was to make five coasters.

I began by buying a few pieces of wood that were about 3 x 4. Then used the Drill Press to make two holes in each block. I thought this process would be the easiest but it turned out to be more difficult than expected. Because the hole I was trying to drill was pretty large, often the drill press would heat up the wood to the point where it would start smoking or after drilling the hole, the now missing wood would get stuck in the saw.

After drilling holes into the wood, I then used a saw to cut the pieces of wood in half. While doing this, there were even more disasters as my wood starting to fly into the air right after cutting and would sometimes even split/break parts of the wood. This was not only scary but frustrating. I ended up losing one of my pieces of wood because of this. I later learned that it was because the saw position had been move so it wasn’t effectively cutting my wood in half completely and I needed a better stop block setup.

After cutting the wood, I then sanded them down to be more circular so that they can be closer to the size of coasters and less bulky / blocky.

After this, I spray painted the wood to be a more golden color. Once again this process took longer. I only did one coat of paint, so that I can finish for the class but I plan on doing another coat especially since the wood got messy with my next process…

I decided to experiment with a completely new method / tool I’ve never used before! In the middle of the coasters, I wanted to do resin art. My colors of choice were black, gold, and white. This was my first time doing this so it didn’t necessarily come out as expected. Once again this took longer and even as I’m writing this the resin is technically not completely set as it takes 24-72 hours.

My art didn’t turn out quite as expected because the area I was pouring resin in was deeper than if it had been on a flatter surface. Next time, I would pour a thin layer of colored resin and do the art and then pour clear resin on top. I realized this after I experimented with resin on a flat surface and learned that it was a lot easier to manipulate the colors since there was less of the black resin.

Although I didn’t achieve the art here on my coasters, I still like how it turned out. It’s a lot more subtle.

And here they all are together!

Let there be light…

For our first assignment in Introduction to Fabrication, we had to create a flashlight or something that lights up. The criteria being: portable, lights up, and is battery powered.

Being that this assignment came before in depth electronics knowledge, I decided to keep it simple and explore different materials and methods that I was curious about and could easily explored.

Recently, I’ve been interested in the talisman or an amulet, which are objects that one can carry around for protection or good luck. This idea came to me as I started to think about how light and the presence of light feels a bit magical to me.

To create my flashlight, I started by grabbing some iridescent material because of the connection between shine and light and also because I’m just attracted to this type of material and how it can signal a “futuristic” touch.

I then cut out a few shapes that I wanted to use to be my flashlight.

I have been thinking a lot about texture and how things feel. In class so far, there’s been a lot of wood that has been showed, so I thought it would be nice to experiment with something soft. The iridscient sheet I got actually had a sticker back so it could be easily applied to harder surfaces but I decided against it and instead filled the inside with felt.

Structurally, my intention was that the felt could help hold the battery in place for the LED to connect. This worked in one of the lights but the second light I created was not held in place well and the contents shifted around.

The felt idea came from this instructable

Next, I hand sewed the two sides together. The choice to sew was based off of my interest in sewing, wanting to explore a new technique, and my desire to combine futuristic elements with something as old as sewing by hand.

I sewed one side together before placing the battery and LED together inside so that it could stay in place. Thinking back, I should have glued some of these items in place so that I didn’t have to run into the issue of them moving around after being sewed.

In the end, I’m happy with what I did. I’m learning that I need to learn how to be neater both with stitches and with glue.