Friday, March 9, 2012

IP Weekly Progress -- #20

What I've done this week:

Saturday: (3 hour) Structure research

Sunday: (2 hours) Sketches

Monday: (2 hours) Acquiring materials

Tuesday: (5 hours) Material tests finalizing structure

Wednesday: (2 hours) Preparing ash wood by soaking for the next day, LED tutorials, eletrctical tutorials,

Thursday: (5 hours) Constructing ash wood hoops and thinking about how to incorporate it into current paper pieces now. Sewing and gluing it inside the current paper pieces made and thinking about how to attach the new paper pieces on top.

Friday: (2 hours) Blog update.


A little bit of testing and figuring out the absolute best way to utilize and exercise the material. I measured the size of the paper sculpture top and stuck a reed inside. I glued it, but I need to reinforce it with sewing too. Luckily the Tyvek paper can take the tension due to the fiberious material, but I feel the armature might expand and push against the material more than I originally thought after doing this. With the tissue paper I fear any pressure may tear it so I have to a layer of tissue paper around it covered with DOPE, then add the actual layer of tissue paper by sewing it loosely to the DOPE'ed tissue. I have really thought about all the problems I will encounter on the way, but I have great sources like Jan-Hendrik to help. I should be OK.

What I accomplished/discovered/learned:

After talking with Jan-Hendrik he gave me some great advice about material use and what to do with the construction of the project. This is a finalized version of what and how to do it. This is an incredibly dense post, but placing all this information together is incredibly helpful for my thinking.

For the past two weeks (This week and a little over Spring Break) I worked on the engineering portion of the armature.

The basic breakdown of the armature is as follows:

1) Creating a “cage” armature collaborating ash wood, wire, PVC glue, and tyvek material to bind the wood to the tyvek. The ash wood are long reeds used for basketry, but have a great amount of strength to them. The size I received is 1/2" White Ash 1/42" thick and 80' coils. The strips are long and therefore a little weak on it’s own, but once I soak them in water for a couple of minutes and begin to twist them into a circle they become a lot sturdier. However I have learned that I needed to glue together two strips of ash wood together to make the circle’s “retain” its shape. When soaking it the wood swells and suddenly condenses which is why it becomes stronger (It curls like paper when it dries basically), but wobbles a little too much when in action. I brushed THICK PVC glue on the inside and used paper clips and clothing pins to bind them together to glue for a couple of hours. Once it dried the circular shape held in place.

2) Applying wire inside the ashwood to give it additional strength and hold it better in place by using 16 gauge wire. Now it cannot sway nearly as easily. However, the armature itself isn’t meant to be completely immobile, but rather handle a little movement.

3) The cage appearance is simple, but large and delicate. Resembles the simple “cage” shape some jellies have:

4) Tissue paper will be layered right over the ash wood structure to help keep the ash wood together. Using DOPE, which is known for model airplane and cars, it petrifies the tissue paper so it can handle wind resistance and prevent tearing.

5) The armature is the “core” meant to hold the paper in place and prevent it from caving within itself. There are small sprigs of ash wood extending off it to help. An additional benefit to this is there will be some slight wobbling which can be a plus to allowing natural movement in the jelly. However, when I begin to add this portion, after the cage is done I may have to incorporate wire. This will be by a case-by-case basis.

Outside aesthetic portion:

1. There are two structures: Tyvek, the bell or top and the tissue paper, the bottom tendrils. Jan has suggested that I treat this like a modular piece. I’m keeping it simple and treat this as a two-part modular. When the core is done, how it’s incorporated inside is also two parts that can be unhooked from each other.

2. The paper on the outside, showing the folds will be glued and sewed on top of each other. Ash wood will be sticking from the inside to keep it from caving. The rings of ash wood will be the actual source of structure.

Rodemer happened to walk by and asked what I was doing. I explained to him I was using ash wood as my armature structure and he mentioned doubling up on the ash wood. So I brushed on PVC on one side and used paper clips to keep the wood together while it dried. Loved these spontaneous moments when a professor walks by!

How it will be hung is by fishing line. It's invisable, thin, and best of all, STRONG. I may ge the braid version just for additional integrity. I will need a ton of line to hold all of this together. The very top of the Jelly I have here is baring a lot of weight since the ash wood that will be perpendicular to the hoops will meet at the very tip. There might be quite a bit of weight, which is why a good amount of support with the fishing line needs to be there.


3. This is a little more complicated just because of the wires. The wires will remain inside a tendril that will hide them and the battery packs will be hidden either inside or just outside cleverly covered in paper.

4. The LEDs are attached to the ash wood and the wire will run along the cage.

5. The LEDs will be attached by glue/tape. If it was at all possible I would poke holes through the Ash Wood, but it might be too much additional work because it threatens splitting the wood grain if forced.

6. The lights will be strategically placed in an organized line rather than placing them everywhere. With the smaller LEDs there is no chance of burning the paper.


Fortunately, the process to light this is easier with LEDs because they are small, easy to attach, and easy to wire. I will need to make sure to color code the negative verse the positive and be clever about assigning bare copper wire to the negative and plastic coated wire to the positive. The reason for this is to prevent it from shorting out. Of course I need to figure out the math between voltage allowed per battery pack. Either stick with AA packs of batteries, small watch batteries, or a large mega battery. To ensure that the wires do not come off the battery I will have to soldier it on -- though this is considered dangerous.

Watch battery and the LED light being duct taped to it.

This is an inspirational mechianism someone made on the internet to figure out how to wire and switch it on and off. It's a clever way to think about hiding the battery and wires.

Tutorials I’m using: -- Super complex, but good for the artistic soul. -- Putting DOPE on tissue paper application. I opened the jar and it's extremely strong that it causes breathing problems. I need to do this outside rather than in a vent.

Example of someone making a model airplane.

Problems that can arise and to think about:

Armature -- The ash wood might not hold nearly as well when I make the entire piece. Though right now it seems to be working out, I cannot imagine just how it will act altogether.

Lighting -- my major concern is the wiring might not work. I practiced earlier in the year, but when I have several LEDs might change. The battery might not supply enough power, might short out, etc.

Hanging -- When I hang it on it's side, will it retain it's shape?


Take all precautions on armature, glue, sew, and STAPLE. Hang fishing line on both armature inside AND paper sculpture on the outside. LED wiring -- get advice from trusted sources like Rodemer, Jan-Hendrik, and an electrical engineer friend.

What I need to do next:

Build the structure, continue making ash wood hoops. Fold paper around the reed hoops and construct it together in a modular setting.

1 comment:

Stephanie Rowden said...

So glad to finally see your post! Looks like you have been very busy and have lots to show. Let's be sure to talk about the battery issue and how to handle that safely!
I look forward to taking a look at everything in your studio!