I have put all of my supporting work on the floor beneath my final exhibition ready to be assessed on Monday afternoon. I have separated subject and field work. Subject is focused on the research and development of my work and is on the left hand side. Field is everything I have done in preparation for the final show and is placed on the right hand side.
Before I placed my work on the wall I felt it was necessary to place each of them on to the floor to work out the spacing between them. This is to make sure that the space does not look too cramped and to allow for the wiring to hang from each object. I started with the grey box in the middle, as this has to be placed in front of the hole that has been cut. After I was satisfied with the placement I masking taped around the outside of the boxes as a plan of where they will be put. To hang the boxes I will simply measure between the tape lines and create pencil lines on the board to work out from the central box.
After cutting the panels and glueing in the wooden and Valchromat pieces I decided to peel back a small piece of the protective film to check if they lined up with the living hinge sections on the front of the boxes. Unfortunately they did not line up perfectly, they were a couple of millimetres out. To fix this I went back into the files I made for these parts and drew new lines that would cut off the excess material. I then opened up the files on the laser cutter and cut the old size out in card and placed the perspex sheet into the cuts that were made. I then removed the old file and left only the line to trim the perspex before going cutting again. I then checked them against the light boxes and they fit. It was a nerve wracking few hours to find a solution, but the pieces are now practically perfect with their alignment.
When designing the boxes with self supporting hinges I always wanted to use LED tape that would run around the sides of the boxes to give an even illuminance. The neatest way of installing this is to solder these little connections to the end of a length of LED tape, this will then fit into a connection with a 12 volt DC plug at the end.
The wood is too thick for the fitting to be screwed into the holes which I measured before adding to the laser cut files. So the section where the fitting is has been routed out (I am not allowed to use this equipment myself, so I have had no control over the size of the routed section). The MDF piece was, unfortunately, cut before these components were sourced, so the hole is slightly too big (by chance it was almost the right size!). For this one the component has been fixed into the hole using Araldite, which got a bit messy as the technician decided to use a heat gun to speed up the setting of the glue, but instead melted it. I have now managed to gently chisel off most of the glue.
After picking up the laser cut material from Bespoke Laser UK I have had to put the pieces together quite rapidly as I was not able to pick them up as early as I had hoped. Because of this I managed to put together six boxes in a day, which is a record I have not managed to beat. Although working at speed my work still maintained a high quality.
Another piece cut by Bespoke Laser UK. After sanding this piece down I have tested out the measurements I used for the supporting hinge. This is the first time I have only used two notches as I have previously been trying to get this right so the piece can be cut down in size.
The next stage is to prepare more files like this one for cutting in green and grey valchromat.
I got more of my work laser cut by Bespoke Laser UK on Friday, ready to sand it all down and fix it together!
At first I was planning to simply gild the back of the boxes, as you can see in the image above. This was before I had developed the cuts for hanging the work onto nails. For a neater finish I have chosen to put false MDF backs into each of the designs, this is to hide the nail holes, as you can see in the last picture and also because gilding at right angles is not easy, and will not have as crisp a feel. To accommodate for this I have added 10mm to the depth of each design, as this will allow for the thickness of the MDF panel and raised runners which I will be using to raise the panel from the nail holes.
I have gilded these panels to have a textured finish. If I wanted a smooth and flawless finish I would have used metallic spray paint. I feel that the textured back gives more of a nod to the hand finished element of the design and is a contrast against the clean cuts the laser cutter creates. The texture of these will also allow light to bounce off the panels in a more arbitrary way.
For a while now I have been mostly buying LED lamps with smaller fittings to add versatility to the design, as a smaller bulb allows for tighter bends. I am hoping to only use LED lighting in my work for the degree show as this adds an aspect of sustainability to the design, alongside the use of MDF and Valchromat which are both made using factory waste.
I have been looking into more decorative bulbs too, like the squirrel cage bulbs, these are also available as an LED which is more suitable than the traditional type as less heat will be generated.
Transitioning into a much thicker material has not been easy, and not all of the reconfigured measurements were successful. The pulley light has fallen by the wayside recently, and I am not sure if I will have a finished piece for the degree show or a working model. I have had issues with the second piece of hinge that allows the form to bend back on itself. I have now got the design to work in 6mm MDF, but as I have had to make the hinge section larger I now have a much shorter object. I will need to elongate the design to get the final size larger. This cannot be done using a laser cutter at uni, so I will have to cut it with Bespoke Laser UK.