Reinventing the Wheel

fabrication class in itp

Making of Santuario

After working in Andean Reflections  I knew I wanted to continue working with light reflection in a kinetic installation. The unique shape and form obtain with the reflection of the paper used, make me calm, and that is how I started thinking in building a meditative installation. The key factor of this piece is that it will detect movement in the room where its located, and will turn off if there is disturbance around it.


First thing was to design how I’ll give movement to the paper. Here is a more detail link for the wheel chassis.

drawings of the wheel chassis


In order to get a nicer and dynamic reflection I needed a mechanism to play with the distance of the light source lighting the wheel where the reflective paper will be. Here is the process of making this mechanism for the lights.


The interaction of the piece was planned to only work whenever surrounded with calm. If movement detected the piece will shut down. It isn’t an ON/OFF piece, what I wanted is every 5 seconds, one  state of the piece will shut down, and every 3 seconds will pass to turn each one ON. The states are:

  • Light mechanism moving, wheel spinning and lights ON.
  • Wheel spinning and lights ON.
  • Lights ON.
  • Everything OFF.

Before Arduino, I used Processing to emulate all the states from the piece. Here you can get the code. And here is a video of the simulation.



The next step was the electronic part of the circuit. First finding the components to use. The motors I picked, specially for its size and its power, where this micro motors.  For the lights I wanted an led similar to the one in my I-phone, because it gives more detail in the reflection. After searching and also experimenting with different types, I picked this LEDs. PIR sensors were in charge to control if movement was presence near the installation, I bought this ones. One of the key characteristic of this sensor is being able to set the jumper set repeating the trigger, that way was easier for the code to read when it was active.

I used an external power supply to be able to power all the components, including the Arduino that would be the one that control the states of the piece.

Here are some pictures of the circuit design and the acid edged circuit.

Scheme. Acid edged. Route. Connected to Arduino

After trying the circuit, it was only time to adjust the PWM for the motors and the lights, in order to have the wanted speed and brightness.



Here pictures of the piece.


The piece was presented as part of an immersive experience, where one of the class was transformed in a maze.



For the audio, I used sound from, trying to have a balance within nature and meditation sounds. Some of the tracks  I used where burning woods, river, wind, raga, gregorian chants, etc. To this I added pieces of a guided meditation by Zach Coble.


Recording Zach’s guided meditation





For this assignment we needed to create a wheel that realize something. I was inspire in the picture of Cycloid made by Beranice Abbott.

I started looking into the JunkShelf, and luckily i found a plastic baseball money box. That would be the core of my wheel.


After prototyping in cardboard and reaching the diameter needed it, I mill the pieces in the CNC.

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Structure done!!…. now the electrical part. In order to have more intensity, I used brighter LEDs. The more suitable power source for this was a 9V battery. After soldering pins and trying the circuit in a breadboard, I attached the LED around the baseball.

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Finally, I painted the CNC parts,IMG_5248

and took some nice long exposure pictures.

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Robot omniWheel

For this project I worked together with Andy Sahlstrom. We use the omni wheels showed in class to create a moving robot.

The base for the body consist in to pieces of 0.75″acrylic, in where, we accommodate precisely 3 micro motors from servo city in a some milled paths that already had it.

IMG_3718 FullSizeRender

The control for the DC motors was made with Arduino and H-bridges for each one. After understanding the way to three wheels interact in between them to go forward the wanted direction, we program the robot to go in circle with small pauses.

Here is the video, and some drawings of “it”.
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CD drawingMachine

After trying this project idea, and being one motor short for GYROMAN, I felt I wanted to use the movement of the CD to draw something.

First of all laser cut different size of wood until I got one that fit precise in the center hole of the CD.

After that we use a scrap wood to test the motor and added a pencil on the opposite side.IMG_5210

Once the first prototype worked, a better case for the motor and the pencil was design (5 pieces of wood paste together). First consideration was to be able to keep the motor in the case so the motor hole from the bottom pieces was smaller than the others.

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Here is a video of the Machine.


pullUp Toy

For this project I decided to do an elephant that included a mechanism that moves its trunk and tail when is being moved.

First thing was to prototype the illustrator design in cardboard to probe everything works and improve the final model if necessary.

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 1.33.53 PM

Some adjustment where made to the model, after the feedback from classmates. For example making the wheels bigger (this help me to have more weight on the toy and more traction), making the trunk bigger, and some colors ideas.

The final piece was cut in the CNC, painted with acrylic paint and finish cutting board finish wax.

Here is the final video where you can see the making off the toy.



For this project I picked this mechanism as an example.

I started doing with a diameter of 5″ in order to get a bigger movement distance. So first prototyping in cardboard. I saw that I needed some guides to keep the movement edges in in order to have the horizontal movement I was looking for.IMG_5081

After I change cardboard to 1/8 wood, so I can have a more robust material for my second prototype.

Resize it at least to half, to much friction and how to guide the moving parts were some of the feedback from class.

With the new scale we prototype again using cardboardIMG_5132 IMG_5136I try different distance where the rod should be located on the yolk. Also build the moving part in two parts, to avoid the some friction.

Once I had the right measures, I went to mill the part in delrin using the otherMill. Here I recommend to use the bitBreak mode so you can choose where to cut in your piece your files, either outside or inside the stroke.IMG_5141

Finally after testing the delrin parts on a cardboard surface and calculating the right measures for the base.IMG_5143


I had the base built in a thick piece of wood, that i chopped from a table that was tossed it to the street close to school. Here is the final video.


chassis for Wheel

For this assignment I decided to build a chasis that allowed a wheel rotate in the middle, kinda like a windmill.

First thing was to probe that the measures in the design where accurate, so I built a prototype with 1

After adjusting some measures that it could be seen where incorrect in the prototype I use the CNC to built the model with plywood

photo 2

After sanding and giving a clear finish to the wood, we had our reflective wheel, here are some pictures and a video of what is gonna be use as.

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Here is the video of the reflection of the wheel, lighten up with the lamp of the phone

First wheels

This assignment I choose some acrylic I had to made the 4 wheels asked.

photo 1

The size wanted for each wheel was 1″, so to have similar wheels we use this measure in the band saw before cutting (see photo)photo 2 To make it nicer the wheels, I decide to put LED lights into the wheels, for that we drill a whole in each wheel using the drill press and then tested the LED with 3V of power. And to join the wheels I uses a wood dowel.

photo 3photo 4P1010835

Finally to give power to the LED, I used the small 1.5V batteries and put them together to get the 3V need it for a descent shine. A hole was drilled in the dowel to cross one cable of the LED through there and solder to the end of the battery. P1010842

Finally we light the wheels.
P1010838To avoid having connect the batteries the whole time, a small wire rod is need it to make contact between the two batteries.