Towards a Built Object

This last week we made a bit progress in the march towards our final installation, but really, not as much progress as we would have liked.

We started by constructing our space in rhino to the actual dimensions of the window we’ll be using. We placed our type lockup in the space to size, and then dropped in our dots at the scale that looks most appropriate.

Because we’re attaching the LED strips to the outside of these plexiglass circles, and because LED strips come in 1 inch segments, it only made sense that our circles would have a circumference equal to whole integers. So we created new circles at each location to an exact circumference measurement—rounding to the nearest integer of what we had placed from our original dots file—which Rhino makes so very easy.

Total circumference of the circles: 105″
Total LED count: 315
Total LED length on hand (of one °K value): 196″

Circumference measurements.

Circumference measurements.

3D perspective of our final environment.

3D perspective of our final environment.

Here’s a short video of moving around that 3D space.

We had thought that we’ll need a whole bunch of plexiglass for this but it turns out that all of these dots will fit really well within a 18″x24″ sheet of plexiglass (under half of the space actually).

Additionally, we spent about 2 hours with Ryan figuring out the proper laser cutter power settings. The laser cutter seems a bit inconsistent from what we’re hearing, but we finally settled on the following for 1/8″ plexiglass:

  • Power: 65
  • Speed: 100
  • HZ: Auto
  • Air On
  • IPC: Accuracy
  • HQ On

Are those the setting that will work every time or even work with our final plexiglass material (which will actually be 1/4″)? Not a chance.

What’s next on our list? Well, we ordered a sample of the plexiglass we think we want to use, if that tests alight, we’ll order up the full needed quantity. Additionally, we’ll need to source a webcam, but that should be pretty easy and cheap. Additionally, we need to start figuring out our circuits in relation to the Arduino. Perhaps today we start the electrical work.

We do need to figure out how these letters will be finally output. Either CNC with the foam and hand finish each letter because the CNC won’t give us perfect results, or we’ll see what Ryan finds out about the about-to-expire material in regards to the Objet printer (in which case we can print the facets, and laser cut shapes to glue those to).


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