The second Studio project this semester was to adapt an animal to emulate the aesthetic of the famous Eames elephant from Charles and Ray Eames. The main goal of this project was to develop an understanding of plastic forming and to hone our ability to abstract forms. The prompt was to design a simple animal to be made out of laser cut and bent acrylic with simple rivets to hold a minimum of two and a maximum of four pieces together. Being assigned a whale I started by cutting draft models out of bristol paper and experimenting with how I could bend and attach the model. Eventually, I came up with a design where the belly was one piece and the body and fins were an upper portion. This lower portion was attached to the tail and eye area. Through iterating in plastic I figured out I could also attach the bell portion in a way where the rivet also represented the blowhole and I didn’t need a fastener in the rail region if I bent the sides of the tail region in to trap the tapering end of that part. This helped to really simplify my design and make it more pleasing to view. Overall I am very happy with my result as I think I was able to find a good balance between detail and abstraction.
In 3D Realization which is my shop/model making class, we started our first major project in low density “blue foam” material. This is formed primarily on a hot wire cutter and by file/sandpaper. After doing some quick practice assignments we were tasked with choosing a small item and scaling it up tenfold with a partner. My partner and I chose to do my apartment keys because of their challenging jagged cutouts while still being a very recognizable item. We started by tracing the overall profile of the keys into illustrator from a picture we took. Then we scaled it up until it was 10 times as long as the actual keys. We took this path to the laser cutter and cut out some templates out of chipboard. At this point, we glued the templates to the foam and cut out the profiles on the wire cutter. Finally, we carved and sanded the negative cutouts of the key and inlaid or overlaid the lettering. I think our final product came out really well!
As usual, it has been a busy semester so far with lots of improvement in my abilities as a designer. Today I am going to take the time to post about a handful of my early projects. The first of which is my Studio 3 cantilever project. The goal of this project was to practice the design project in a very extreme case. Our objective with this project was to suspend a two-pound weight as far from the center of a 6-inch circle and a minimum of 7 inches from the surface of the table. This distance from the center of the base would then be divided by the weight of our model to determine the ratio of distance to weight. This ratio along with the thoroughness which with we executed the process of developing the cantilever would then be used to determine our grade. In our cantilever, we could only use super glue and balsa wood sticks and a single 1-pound counterweight. In the end, after at least five iterations, I was the student with the best ratio! I have attached a picture of my final winning design. It is a simple bridge-like truss with side supports to prevent torsion from the weights. My key development was using a single truss instead of two parallel ones which significantly cut down on weight. My final model weighed only 26 grams and extended 14 inches!