w6 motors hw journey continues

So I woke up bright and early this morning to make a run to my local hardware store, which has a huge selection of screws. I brought the motor mount with me, but it turns out they didn’t have the appropriate nuts or screws for the job. Instead, the man working there handed me a bag of nuts and screws that would never have fit. I scoured around for a while and chose instead two of the smallest wood screws I could find:

I blame sleep-deprivation for what happened next:

Luckily, Azalea was there to advise me to drill pilot holes first, then screw them in with a screw driver. It worked brilliantly (considering the circumstances):

Not ideal, but surprisingly snug anyway. Sorry, Ben!

I cut down some wood the night before, and glued it all together this morning. I’ll replace the placeholder wire with the mobile once it’s sufficiently dry. Here’s hoping it won’t topple over…

Soo the top of the “enclosure” shifted while it was drying, so the motor is slanted 🙁

fab w6 hw: mounting motors

For homework this week, I decided to add a motor to my 2-materials homework from last week. Being neurotic about aesthetics, my first move was to iterate on its design. It’s still not great, but getting there:

I showed up with this to office hours, and Ben was basically like, why haven’t you started on the actual assignment? Fair question. The 10 rpm motor I ordered off Amazon was late, and I had totally forgotten to buy a mount—admittedly, the entire point of the assignment. I strangely figured I could just drill a hole in some wood to press fit the motor.

Ben also pointed out that the coupler I stole from him during class wouldn’t fit on my motor. So he kindly lent me both a motor—similar to what I had ordered—and the mount itself. The 2mm to 3mm coupler, I would have to go to Tinkersphere for.

Of course, the coupler I needed was the only one sold out at Tinkersphere. So I borrowed one from Ridwan, despite it still being the wrong size. He also lent me a dowel that fit it, so I uh, did something I’m not proud of:

Yeah, I drilled a wire-sized hole into the dowel. It was Wednesday evening at that point and I was desperate! Especially bad was that at that point, all the hardware stores were closed, and I couldn’t find any appropriate screws for the mount, so that part would have to wait until the morning.

The next step was to put together the circuit. I ordered a 6V motor, so Ben suggested I use a voltage regulator. Mind you, I’ve never used neither a motor nor a voltage regulator, so it was definitely a learning experience.

w5 materials hw

I went to Metalliferous this week to search for supplies to make a mobile, and really loved combing through their wares. I purchased three 1/16″ brass rods, one 3/32″ hollow brass rod, some circular links (I’ve already forgotten what the staff said it was called), three little flat brass circles, and some stone beads. I was also looking for a thin chain, but surprisingly this jewelry supply store had no such thing.

I figured vaguely that the shop would have some wire cutters, and after much digging I found something that worked.

The hollow rods reasonably closed up after I cut them (even on the bandsaw), and so Barak devised a clever trick with my small screw driver to open them up again. It did create some sharp edges though:

I had the vague idea of making some kind of dangly, abstract sun sculpture, and so used these hollow brass rods to secure the solid wire in a loop:

(As for the beads, I was hoping to create a lunar orbit as well, but couldn’t think of a way of incorporating them.)

I wasn’t sure where to get a small piece of nice hardwood (and admittedly did not have much time this week to research), so I took some wood I already had and experimented with random stain and finish, with somewhat disgusting results:

The hardest part was stringing it all up. Since I couldn’t find a thin chain, I used some thread, which ended up being way too thin, fragile, and nearly impossible to work with. They also fell straight through my brass links, so I ended up tying them directly on my rings:

Not in love with the final result, but I’ll rework the design with better materials later. Ben, do you have any idea what I could use instead of string? Maybe fishing wire?

fab w4 hw: enclosures

This enclosures assignment was pretty good timing, as I needed something to bring for play-testing in ICM. I’ve been extremely wishy-washy on what the enclosure should look like, but I knew what components needed to be included, so it was enough to get to work with this renewable resource:

The best part about these (aside from being free) is that they’re literally box templates, so I just adjusted the dimensions to suit my needs, ie two essential oil diffusers and one Arduino:

My box ended up being 11″ x 4.25″ x 5.5″. I added little compartments to hold the diffusers in place, then laser-cut a lid for it. This is what I brought to play-testing:

Of course, finding a box with those exact dimensions wouldn’t be as easy as stealing from the US Postal Service, let alone finding one that could also either be machined cleanly or laser-cut safely. I had this cable organizer on my nightstand which was devastatingly close:

But after hours of scouring the web for a better fit (plus a false alarm at Muji), this turned out to be the best option. The cut-outs at the bottom meant that I didn’t have to worry about machining it at all.

The box is a little short, but better that than water vapor getting trapped inside and condensing all over the electronics. Plus, the extrusions will be less noticeable against white acrylic, which the lid will eventually be cut from.

The cardboard lids have flaps that fit into the box and keep it in place, but for the final I plan on lining the inner walls of the box with a layer of cardboard that the acrylic top could sit on.

fab w3 hw: laser cutting

I’ve laser cut for projects before, so for homework I wanted to run some tests on the laser cutter’s capabilities. But first…

…I needed to laser cut this for my bathroom faucets. I tried sanding the acrylic down for that frosted look, but it came out looking a little scratch-y instead.

Plus, something easy if all else fails:


… except this tiny 3×5″ template (from Thingiverse) took 10 minutes, and needed 3 passes before it actually cut through the acrylic. Luckily, I booked 3 hours on Monday (which ended up only being about 2.5 hours, since the person before me was struggling), so I had plenty of time to play around.

What I really wanted to know was how well the laser cutter would engrave raster images, because I’d only ever used vector paths. I heard that bitmap images were ideal, but wanted to see for myself. Here’s a test with both a bitmap tif and grayscale tif:

Both came out with a kind of moire pattern, but it was more pronounced in the greyscale tif (bottom). Unhappy with how faint the engraving was, I went for more passes:

Until it started to look a bit goopy…

My last test was with living hinges—I was so curious about them. Unfortunately…

This wood kept catching on fire! I adjusted the settings to prevent this, but even after a solid hour of passes, it was never able to cut through the wood (which was only 1/4″ thick).

The calendar was booked up by then, but thankfully I had booked another hour for Wednesday, since I knew I was going to need it. Of course, it ended up only being 45 minutes because the person ahead of me was struggling.

I wanted to try cutting the “live hinge” on cardboard. Sadly, halfway through the second pass, the board shifted—I’d forgotten to tape it down.

It ended up not mattering in the end, because the live hinge was totally shredded up:

But at least I have my spirograph:

Which apparently I am incapable of using…

Laser cutting

Laser cutter:

  • Test engraving/cutting settings with small squares first
  • Do not alter frequency setting
  • Speed can be adjusted
  • dpi is set in printer setup
  • cut in sections; the laser gets weaker the further it gets from the origin

fab w2 hw

For my repeatability assignment, I wanted to make a desk organizer like this:

It looked simple enough—I mean, I didn’t know how to make those giant slots in a piece of wood, but I figured I could cheat it by making each section individually and gluing them down to a separate base. Turns out, I’m the worst wood-worker ever, so my results weren’t nearly as nice.

I bought a nice douglas fir 2×4 at Home Depot, along with some forstner drill bits. Then I made a little schematic in Illustrator, along with instructions that optimized my workflow:

Great. So the first order of business was to chop up the wood with the miter saw into 2″ pieces. It’s a scary tool, but what proved to be even scarier was how inaccurate it was…

Maybe I just can’t subtract.

My first attempt at the miter saw yielded three useable 2″ blocks from a length of 12″.

I then tried cutting out the base of the organizer:


Clearly, that wasn’t going to work out. So I drew up plan b (complete with a dowel for keys):


And introduced myself to the drill press:

And the bandsaw:

The next day, I happened to find some thin slabs of wood in the dumpster downstairs:

Potential base material? 

So I dragged that sucker upstairs and onto this crazy contraption:

And my old friend, the miter saw:

The bases were ugly, so I spent the next few hours fretting over finishes:

I hate painted wood.

I hate everything.

Alright well, in the meantime, I had five sets ready to glue:

They were pretty modular looking, so I couldn’t resist putting them in different configurations. Sorry, Ben! I also ended up cutting a couple bases from the original douglas fir with the bandsaw (at the expense of some skin) because I really hated that wood I found.

Pretty okay.

I’ll update later with pictures of them in use!

fabrication w1 hw

My lithium ion battery charged up last night, so I set off to make what would be possibly the ugliest thing I’ve ever made in my life.

First step was to figure out how to actually use such a battery. After several warnings against soldering directly onto the battery, I decided to snap off the component below:

And solder my circuit onto it:

The next question was how to secure the component to the battery. Turns out, not like this:

A lifetime later…

fabrication w1 hw

Don’t judge me Ben Light, but I’ve only really started thinking about this flashlight assignment today because I moved this weekend! But while I was packing, I found this little guy:

I was still using this phone when I moved to NY five-plus years ago, and couldn’t quite bear to part with it. So I thought I might try to break it open and see if I could install some light fixtures??

Charging the battery now to see if I can use it to power a LED… after I tore it apart, naturally.