I am going to finalise the designs I have already begun to plan during the Christmas break so that when I return in January I will be able to begin making as soon as possible.
I plan to focus on my two laser cut kits for the first couple of weeks, as I will have just had an operation and be unable to stand for long periods of time. This will allow me to get Kit 1 to fit together more accurately and to develop a way for the light to stand, it will also mean getting a head start on Kit 2. Any time I have that isn’t dedicated to laser cutting will be spent constructing push moulds for the plans I have for Spin (which also employs the use of laser cutting) and beginning to figure out the mechanisms in three dimensions.
I am hoping I will have already sourced most of the materials I will need for the term also, so will mean I can speed up production times as I will not be waiting for too many things to arrive.
Once I have spent a couple of weeks focusing on laser cutting I will then begin to work on the plans created for Up Down as this design is more simple (at the moment) than the others.
At the beginning of the term I found that I was useless at planning my work and organizing when I would be able to use the workshops, this is partly due to being in a different working environment and my health problems. I am now planning my work down to the smallest detail before I begin; this means I am able to estimate how long each object, or parts of, will take to produce which then allows me to organize the right amount of time to make them. I have never needed to work as precisely as I have been this year, this was a struggle in the beginning, but I have adapted to this method of working and feel that it now works better for me as I am leaving less to chance and so making less mistakes.
One of the challenges I have faced has been with the laser cutter in product design, I was unable to cut my designs due to the limitation of the machine as it was not precise enough and left many burn marks. I have since been inducted on the textiles laser cutter and found it more precise and leaving a better finish on my work, although I have had a new set of tolerances to learn. I have been using this machine for two months and am now finally competent to use it alone, the only problem is the demand for the equipment which means I am unable to cut work as often as I need to.
I have learnt faster methods of planning and producing work that is accurate and of a high standard, such as the jig I have made to produce the bendy light. It has cut out the need to accurately draw up each cut on the wood so also improves the quality. I will be continuing to work on improving the quality of my work and the time it takes me to produce.
I have been using my Pinterest account as a tool to organise the research I have done this term, I also have some important pieces dotted around my sketchbook and design sheets.
I feel that Pintereset is more useful than simply sticking in images from my sketchbook as I can link directly to the source of information and I will always have these reference points. It also keeps me more organised and is better for the environment. So far I have four boards based on my interests:
A link to my board: “Artefacts” which is full of lighting products and designs:
A link to my board “Kits” which is full of DIY kits and those that can be bought:
A link to my board “Instillation Art” which is filled with exhibitions and collections:
A link to my board “Joints” which includes innovative ways of joining materials together:
I have been experimenting with solid wood to create a bendable and directional light. These two pieces are cut from lime wood and oak, it is important that I use hard woods for this concept as the soft woods such as pine do not have the strength to withstand the bending. This is because the rings are further apart in soft woods due to the speed at which they grow, a hardwood tree will grow slower meaning that the rings are closer together.
This is a piece in pine, which broke as the bend reached its limit and illustrates why it is important to use a hard wood.
Now I have successful experimentation I need to work out how I will wire up the light, I can either attempt to conceal the wire within the wood, which will mean creating the piece in sections as a hole will need to be drilled through the wood. The alternative is to use fabric flex, in a similar way to my flatpack lights. This will make a feature of the wiring as well as the bend of the wood.
Because I want the lighting to be adjustable I am going to need to be able to fix the light in place at varying angles. I plan to do this using wedges of perspex that will slot into the cuts. I have created a prototype below using Rhino and then cut in model board using a CNC milling machine, it gives an idea of the size of what can be inserted into the wood. Because the size of the cut is 3mm I can only insert something that goes up to a maximum of 5mm. This is a very tight fit, so perhaps losing half a millimetre from the end would make it easier to insert and remove. A number of these will be needed to create a larger wedge, so I want to use a material that is clear. I will be meeting with Dipec, a company that specialises in fabricating 3D plastics, in the next few days to find out what they can do to help me create accurate perspex versions of my designs.
I now need to focus on designing a suitable base that will also have storage space for the wedges.
Here are two of the laser cut “kits” that I am working on. The first has not yet been successful, but when hun the springyness of the cuts is something that I want to develop and use. I was hoping I would be able to get these to slot together, but I was not precise enough when drawing them out to be cut. I am hoping that I will be able to find a solution to this, as I like the idea of creating a cone like structure. I will also experiment with cutting the hinge design at an angle, to allow a wrapping effect for another kit.
The second kit is almost there, it slots together nicely but there is a slight overlap of the materials. I also feel that the little notches are too small and fiddly and will not work well in wood, so I am going to make these larger before the next cut. I will also add a fitting for the light bulb to be inserted, but I am not sure what to do with the base. This light could be created as a pendant, or with adjustments, to turned into a table light.
I have taken a break from laser cutting and have decided to play with strips of cardboard instead to get a feel for what these lights could look like.
The first design is quite simple, created with two pieces alternately cut and slotted together, this design has potential, but a “kiss” cut using a loser cutter would also be needed. This type of cut does not cut all the way through the material, but comes close. It would allow more bendability of the material.
The second involves a fluorescent (or LED) tube fitted through the middle. The bends in the wood could be made using the living hinge designs that I have created, or through a method of cutting wood called “kerf” cutting, where a cut is made using a circular saw that can be adjusted so it does not cut all of the way through the wood. I am yet to experiment with this method.
The third simply employs the use of a living hinge but is tapered at the top. This design could use individual LEDs that are slotted into the gaps at the bottom (it would also aid the tapering of the material). It would also be interesting to see how this would work with the use of conductive ink, eliminating the need for wiring but adding the difficulty of concealing a power source.
My fourth design could also benefit from the use of conductive ink and LED bulbs. I want to further explore the idea of creating layers of the laser cut material and the possibility of allowing these layers to be moved up and down with the use of a threaded rod. Adding this to the design of a hinge could prove difficult, so a method of slotting each hinge into another piece that could wind around the thread would need to be employed. The design could also be turned ninety degrees to allow for a design that could move from left to right. It would be a useful light to have above a workbench as the lighting source can be adjusted to different sections of the bench.
The fifth design is relatively simple and allows for any number of parts to be added on. This would need to have conductive ink to allow for the design to work, as wiring would compromise the concept I have created and limit the possibilities of an infinite number of parts. Again, barely power could become an issue as one battery would be needed to power a small number of these loops.
I think some of these designs allow the potential to create a variety of kits that allow the consumer the choice of purchasing a kit that is simple to put together or can become quite skilled and complex.
To develop the idea of modular lighting I need to create a way of joining the lighting parts together. The joints I have made include a circular form of joining and a castling form. By putting holes into the joint parts it allows the use of a component to reinforce the join. The picture below shows the use of Plumber’s Mait, a putty that does not set, to keep the parts together. This still allows movement of the join, which is not working out very well. I need to experiment with this using a join that is attached to a more weighted or larger piece of material to really be able to assess the use of it.
Other ideas I am planning to work through include the use of heat shrink materials, as these can be heated to form a tighter join and simply cut off to take apart the light. Other options include the use of cable ties and lacing the parts together. I will be carrying out these experiments soon.
I am also hoping that some of the joints I can create will hold their own and this will eliminate the need for a component.
I have been researching methods of making wood bend, and have come across the concept of living hinges. Many open source options are available on sites such as Obrary (http://obrary.com/products/living-hinge-patterns?variant=798259727) which are quite successful, but I have chosen to design my own patterns to see what light patterns I can create whilst maintaining the characteristics of being a workable and bendable material.
These are my three most successful “hinges,” there are other trials that did not bend or broke under stress. (Looking that the top image) The hinge on top one is my favourite, perhaps because it is more intricate. It also bends a little bit more than the one below. The design below is not as pleasing to the eye as there is a lot of material still left, although it is more sturdy than the first. The bottom design is the most bendy, but is unable to hold its own form, which could become a problem with some design concepts. It is, however, fun to play with and the perfect stress release because of the pattern created through play. I feel that this would be better applied to the creation of jewellery or small objects to form a game.
I have many more ideas planned, but with the constraints of using the laser cutter (which is in high demand) I am working slower than I would like to be at the moment.
Creating curved wood formations. I am experimenting with construction veneer to create circular and semi circular forms.
The process involves using two sheets of wood with wood glue between the two layers. the piece is either fastened around a form, like the first image above, or it can be pressed using a form, like the lower image. I am yet to test the second method, but I feel that it will be more successful than my previous attempts.
The larger piece in the first image has bamboo veneer laid over the top, as this will allow light to pass through the laser cut holes and a pattern using a lighting source behind.
The smaller two pieces have been laser cut using a “living hinge” concept that allows wood to become more malleable. I feel that the use of glue here has made the wood less bendable than before it was glued, the wood feels more fragile when held.
This collection of porcelain pots, titled “Porcelain Wall” by Edmund de Waal was created specifically for the museum. Although they appear to be similar they have been glazed using seventeen different recipes and each piece has indented marks left by the maker, which makes each piece individual and unique. The concept for the makers marks has come from a fascination with studio pottery and the marks each leaves on a piece. I think this works well as a concept, as it hints at the idea of mass production but is kept behind glass, never to be touched.
Paul Emmanuel’s “Fleece Paintings” are something I first encountered during his exhibition in 2011 at Oriel Myrddin in Carmarthen. The use of found objects, the fleece collected from the rural hills and farms of the Welsh landscape, in this way is individual to the artist. The styling of the fleece in a similar manner to human hair anthropomorphises the sheep fleece to give a captivating combination between man made materials and the natural environment that speaks of the Welsh landscapes struggle with the sprawling urban communities.
This is a part of a series of works called “Ice Tea Pots” by Rajesh Gogna. Created in sterling silver these vessels appear to be shapes hammered from sheet metal, yet they are functional objects. I find the choice of material interesting, as they are created in silver, which hints at an object to be admired and treasured as opposed to used. It has similar connotations to the works of Memphis, as it breaks the rules of a conventional tea pot. It also breaks the boundary between high art and low art due to the alluring silver and the opposition of the functional aspect of the artefact. I feel this has many links to my work as I have been working on a similar boundary with the bronze cast light box.