learning the ropes

things I made at ITP and after: sketches, prototypes, and other documentation

Monday, April 7, 2008

Oops… or Happy Accident?

So I goofed — maybe. When I modeled the pulleys earlier this week, I somehow messed up the dimensions. I drew the model too small — and only caught the mistake after I purchased my materials. Remember measure twice — cut once? Well, I didn’t cut yet, but I definitely didn’t measure twice.

I was not thrilled about correcting my mistake, as it will take some time to correct it. Further complicating matters is that obtaining the correct material dimensions will become more difficult, too. I will need to go to Dimension Lumber to get a custom piece milled — and I prefer not to do that now because of the time involved. I was also somewhat concerned about the aesthetics of the pulleys, but maybe the smaller pulley looks nicer. It’s going to be hard to say without seeing it build. The point of these remaining weeks is to develop my performance — not to sweat mechanical details.

pulley size compare - head on pulley size compare - isometric pulley size compare pulley size compare - isometric front

I’m going to sleep on it, consider the feedback I’ve received from friends, and then decide in the morning.

posted by Michael at 12:07 am  

Friday, April 4, 2008

April 4 Drawing

2008 04 04 Gestures

April 4, 2008 [tex|ges]ture – pilot G6 gel pen, graphite stick on drawing paper (54-inch x 12-inch) – 15 minute (appx.) timed drawing, video-recorded.

I did this drawing at home after returning from school on Thursday night. I’m trying to explore the transition point between the ordered, methodical, similar shape drawing and the freer, expressive, gestural drawing.

posted by Michael at 12:43 am  

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Designing “With” Constraints

Today has been another marathon CAD session.

I created the electronic compartment cover (which is subject to change depending on the final contents). I’m waiting to hear back about milling the parts before I make any more changes. I expect that there will be some finessing to do once I build up another encoder board. Although it is tempting to start pushing towards ready-built solutions like those found at Acroname or switching over to an optical mouse encoder system, it’s too late in the game to try new stuff that might not work even if it might ultimately make my life easier. I have a working system now that will serve me until the next phase of this project.

Complete Pulley and Encoder Assembly - transparent

Alibre Design Xpress is powerful and pretty easy to use. One of the coolest features is the way “assemblies” work. One I sketch individual parts, there are tools for “gluing” and aligning the parts together so the form an assembly.

Unfortunately, it is also easy to get lost in the miles and miles of faces and edges. Also, it is a tool that, at least for the present. has “obsession potential” for me. I was like this with Google Sketchup, too, when I was learning it. My tendency is to become obsessed with figuring out how to do something when I run into an obstacle — and ignore time limits I might place on my work. This is something I must avoid falling into in these final weeks, when the focii are going to be the performance, the presentation, and the paper.

posted by Michael at 11:42 pm  

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Close to Fabrication

Yesterday, I alternated between programming and 3-D modeling. I’ve assembled most of the components for the pulley supports. It has taken probably 8 hours in total to build this 3-D model. I ended up recreating the assembly this morning because some of the constraints I created on the previous assembly prevented me from moving the pieces around.

In some ways, this looks pretty similar to the mode I drew in SketchUp almost two months ago; however, this model has 3-D models of actual parts that I will purchase this week and the dimensions are exact.

I still need to create a design for the housing that covers the encoder, but that is a job for this afternoon/evening.

Complete Pulley and Encoder Assembly - front edge

Complete Pulley and Encoder Assembly

Complete Pulley and Encoder Assembly - front slice

posted by Michael at 10:40 am  

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Am I a Drawing Machine?

This is a test video of one of my first large drawings. I purchased a graphite stick at Dick Blick with the intention of making big marks. I really wanted a marker, but they only had blues and violets. I’m not so much into colors yet, so I decided to keep things simple and raw. I’ve made a conscious effort not to think while making these drawings. I try to allow my hand to guide the drawing and my eyes to observe so that my hand can respond to the feedback it’s receiving from my eyes.

posted by Michael at 12:44 am  

Monday, March 31, 2008

New Old Rope

IMG_0732 IMG_0734

I now have a 60 meters of used rope to build my next units. Special thanks go out to the great folks at the City Climbers Club. Once my final mechanical designs are done this week, I will be building again.

posted by Michael at 11:04 pm  

Saturday, March 29, 2008

March 28 Drawings

This time, I’m making drawings with Jarnal — an alternative to Windows Journal for the tablet PC. Jarnal saves its files as scalable vector graphics (.svg), so I should be able to using Processing to manipulate them later.

2008 03 28 Abstract 1

2008 03 28 Abstract 2

posted by Michael at 1:11 am  

Monday, March 24, 2008

March 24 Drawings

Here is a zoomed out progression of the drawings I made on March 24.

2008 03 24 textures zoomed out

There were three drawings in this set I liked, so I’ve included them below. There drawings were made in the Windows Journal application on my tablet PC.

2008 03 24 texture 1

2008 03 24 texture 2

2008 03 24 texture 3

One unfortunate thing about the Windows Journal application is that it can only export low-res black and white .tiff files or heavily dithered colored .jpgs. There is no way (other than writing some .NET code using the Microsoft Journal SDK) to extract the vector graphics from a Journal file. I tried to print these images to .pdf, but the .pdf renderer doesn’t understand z-order, so the images where practically garbled.

I used to think that drawings like this were just doodles or scribbles; however, having taken the time to focus exclusively on this process, I find that while these drawings are not representational, they are not mere scribbles.

posted by Michael at 10:49 pm  

Sunday, March 23, 2008

March 23 Drawings

Here is a zoomed out progression of the drawings I made on March 23.

2008 03 23 textures zoomed out

2008 03 23 texture 1

2008 03 23 texture 2

2008 03 23 texture 3

2008 03 23 texture 5

These drawings were made rapidly while I was at my wife’s family home for the Easter weekend.

posted by Michael at 10:58 pm  

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

March 18 Drawings

On my flight back from Indiana, I made the following drawings on my tablet.

2008 03 18 texture 1

2008 03 18 texture 2

2008 03 18 texture 3

posted by Michael at 11:15 pm  
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