Friday, December 18, 2009

group responsibility

As the project materialized we divided the work load. I feel this was a large weakness in our project. There were many areas of our project that were left up in the air, where no one had taken responsibility to make sure they were completed. This problem became extremely apparent in the last day of our construction.
I felt it was my responsibility to build the structure of our project, the rig that would support our algae, motors and panels. I spent most of my time designing and searching for these materials. I had this portion of the project hung in the gallery the first day the gallery was open to us. Soon I became aware of the other issues of our project that no one had taken responsibility for such as the motor mounts. This I considered apart of the supporting rig so I took on this fabrication. The next issue was the hanging of the panels. This turned out to be more work than anyone thought. I came up with an idea on the Wednesday after looking at crimps on the internet. I bought the materials and tested them and they didn't hang the panels perfectly perpendicular to the frame like we needed for proper contact from our motors.
Thursday I bought new hardware and through much experimenting and help from Laura, Ivan, and David we hung the panels correctly. This was another area of responsibility that I later considered apart of the frame. I began to wonder where the frame ended and the rest of the project started since all of our project was attached sin omeway to our frame
After Aiden and I welded the motor mounts to the frame there were still other areas of the project no one had taken responsibility for. The filling of the IV bags became Laura's endeavor. A few bags were filled Wednesday night by Alison and Laura but the majority of the bags were left to be finished Thursday. Laura finished filling the remainder bags, and then we realized they were not sealed properly by the silicon calk. Laura and I experimented with epoxy glue and later found hot glue to work best to seal the tubing on the bottom of the IV bags.
The connecting of the tubing and pump system was another area of our project left in the air until Friday morning. I had some extra time after finishing the other areas of the project I was working on and rigged the pump system. I felt after running the system it had a large design flaw. The amount of pressure needed was too great to pass the air from the top bag to the lower bag and so on through the chain of 4 bags. To create this pressure required too much air and would over agitate the algae. We tested this on a small scale and it seemed to work but on a large scale of 17 panels, it was too hard to control this pressure.
I wish I had more time to help Aiden with the wiring of the motors and sensors. Laura and I mounted the sensors and motors on the motor mounts but the amount time it took to wire them was underestimated. Aiden was able to connect all the motors to the power supply and then we tested the motors strength. This was something we should have tested on full scale much earlier in our project maybe when we were in the prototype stage. The motors did not have the power to move the heavy panels. After this realization there was zero priority of connecting the sensors and running the programming Aiden had created since it wouldn't work anyway.
Overall I think Dave created a very interesting form out of acrylic, the IV bags had gave an interest to the form, the motors moved but were weakly functional, and the whole project became an exhausted sculptural instillation. Under the proper management, our group had the potential to work out these issues before Thursday night. Group dynamics where everyone sits at a round table made distributing work an awkward thing. If someone told someone else what to do because it needed to be done, group moral dropped, people felt pushed around. I think a project manager would have solved this problem. People did what they thought was enough, which was not enough to complete a successful project.


The idea of having our protective panels move was the turning point of our project. At first our form did not have a function which left many of us confused. After this understanding our project became an instrument of movement and light. These are some concepts of ringing the panels like rows of silver bells.

Creating 3D models for concept work gave our group ground to refine our concept. It helped synchronize our discussions and our visualization of how the components of our project would fit together.

Algae is a potential light source for a extremely dark environment

early concept

I am surprised by how little our algae glowed. It might have been the extremely unnatural environment of the IV bag. We needed to have tested the algae in the IV bag long before depending on to make our project function. I feel like we didn't do the proper research to give them the environment they needed.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Smart Surfaces

Smart Surfaces is the class I have dreamed about taking, a class that represents real life design. I am surrounded by people that took different routes in their education, but they are all routes I wanted to take. That gives me a perspective on the choices I have made, and rounds my education in a very hybrid way.