Shutterthyme's Blog

December 10, 2013

Re-purposed Hard Drive Platters and Digital Printing

Filed under: Digital Fabrication — Mia @ 5:20 pm

Hard drive platters are stacked with acrylic spacers on an acrylic tube to create a lamp. The white base was printed on a digital printer.

OpenSCAD screen shot of my completed project.

We explored digital printing and new software programs for this project. After experimenting with Tinkercad, SketchUp, Autodesk 123D Catch, and MeshMixer, I dug my heels in and learned OpenSCAD, an open source program for creating 3D CAD objects. I included a screen shot of an OpenSCAD coding window. The two-part lamp base was designed in Project ShapeShifter and then imported into OpenSCAD for integration into the final project. Project Shapeshifter is a free technology preview from Autodesk Labs created to help designers model complex 3D printable geometries. I printed the solid base with an Ultimaker 3D printer. The upper portion of the lamp base was printed by the 3D printing service, Shapeways. The 3D printer software was a challenge. Designs were adjusted online and then sliced into layers that the printer could extrude. It was exciting to see my design as part of a working lamp and fun to repurpose discarded hard drive platters. A remote control allows color, brightness, and light show changes from about 25 meters.

Acrylic Window Frame

Filed under: Digital Fabrication — Mia @ 4:06 pm

An acrylic frame resembles a window with blue acrylic rods acting as blinds.

A lamp, photo frame, and stuffed rabbit sit on top of an Ikea computer cabinet.

Mary Van Cline‘s 1983 The Enigma of Time inspired this photo frame. Van Cline used photosensitive glass and glass rods where I incorporated a laser-printed transparency and acrylic rods. Capturing the venetian blinds effect with background light affecting the transparent image was my intent. Geometric design includes the Golden Ratio (Da Vinci’s divine proportion). The photo inside the simulated window was taken in Oregon—just south of Seaside. During critique, I placed the frame, a lamp made from hard drive platters, a stuffed rabbit, and a onesie that my granddaughter outgrew on top of an Ikea computer cabinet. I was excited to discover the extrude feature of Adobe Illustrator when creating the project sketch.

The critique photo on the right was taken by our Digital Fabrication instructor, Brian Evans.

Working Gears

Filed under: Digital Fabrication — Mia @ 3:58 pm



A white frame has fourteen acrylic gears in it. A motor on the back turns the gears.

The back of the gears frame has a clear acrylic cover that reveals the motor and right angle gear box.

This closeup image of the gears shows the burgundy, green, dark blue and light blue transparent acrylic colors.

Laser cutting was the emphasis of this Digital Fabrication project. Building a set of 24-pitch gears in Adobe Illustrator was a time-consuming challenge. I designed a back frame cover to reveal the inner workings of the motor, right angle gear box, and power connection. The 1/16″ laser-cut latches fit perfectly to secure the project in the shadow box frame. I’ve made several trips to Plasticare this semester!

The close-up image was captured during class critique by our Digital Fabrication instructor, Brian Evans.

Deconstructed Face

Filed under: Spatial Media I — Mia @ 3:20 pm



layers of acrylic are mounted to display the inner workings of an LED project.

four layers are mounted on an acrylic base: arduino, acrylic grid, vinyl mask, and two-way mirror. The front of the frame has a molded acrylic face in it.

An Arduino micro-controller, breadboard,  strip LEDs,  a barrel plug power adapter, and Ping sensor connections are mounted on a clear acrylic panel.

This Spatial Media I project reveals the inner workings of previous designs and was inspired by Damián Ortega‘s disassembled 35mm Olympus camera. Olympus, 2009s twenty-six plastic sheets display camera parts in a horizontal line. For my project, a half-inch acrylic plate supports the layers: thermo-formed acrylic face, two-way acrylic mirror, vinyl mask that allows limited LED light to pass, laser-cut acrylic grid (in the shape of a brain) that traps light, and an electronics panel. The micro-controller, breadboard, neopixel LEDs, Ping))) connections, and power adapter fit on a clear acrylic sheet. Laser-cut holes provide a place to mount the Arduino and pass a barrel plug.

Individually addressable LEDS are controlled by an Arduino Uno micro-controller. Twenty-eight LEDs flash brighter and faster as viewers approach Ping))), a sonar proximity detector. The red, green, and blue color channels are programmed to fire randomly (0–254) and simulate brain neurons. Full-power flashes that are five milliseconds apart indicate agitation if the frame’s “personal space” is violated.

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