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.
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.
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.
I have decided to test a few things out with glue, as I feel that the results of Araldite can be so varied. The issues I’ve had in the past include the glue becoming too spongy after it has set and causing parts to become wobbly and eventually fall out.
The image above shows two experiments, firstly the use of Gorilla Glue’s two part epoxy instead of Araldite, which seems to be much stronger and a lot easier to work with as it is less “gloopy.” The initial working texture is a lot smoother, and it is more clear when the glue has exceeded its working stage. The second experiment it that I have left the protective film over the perspex, something I usually remove after cutting but before this stage. I wanted to see if I could remove the excess glue before peeling off this layer and cleaning the perspex with methylated spirits. This worked, and it also means that less scratches are left on the pesrpex.
So, two successful experiments.
I have been working on plans to display my work at the degree show, and here are two of them. This will be an ever changing thing as I finalise my designs and space is allocated. I will be showing finished work alongside a selection of maquettes and models on shelving alongside the work.
I have taken silicone moulds of the wooden laser cut components, and also a clam cleat typically found on a boat, and cast them in pewter.
I’m still working on getting them smooth and shiny with wet and dry sandpaper, but their starting to look really good. I’m still unsure of the size of the weight, it may no be heavy enough to keep the tension throughout the pulley system. Only putting it all together will give me an idea.
At the same time I got the smaller box light cut I also got a version of the self supporting light cut. The images show the design with LED tape inside. This size of design uses 75cm of tape.
Issues with this design include the size of the supporting hinges, they are not wide enough for the thickness of the material, and also need to be a little more flexible. These hinges will be shorter in the final design, I needed them to be longer for this design to determine where they need to be. The flexibility of the large middle hinge is good, so the only change here will be to put in a semi circle to aid the lifting of the hinge.
The next plan for this design is to create a larger version.
An advancement on the previous tests with light. I found that using wire as a way to hold the hinge in place is not as effective as I hoped. This is because of the way the material is cut and the rigid wire that does not allow for much manoeuvrability. Instead I have trailed the use of elastic cord, this allows the hinge to move more smoothly through the box, but it still is not as smooth as I would like.
Instead I feel it is best to reconsider the design and to use the hinge as an extension of the side or top of the box. It means that it will move in a completely different way, but this might be more suitable as a development of the original idea.