Kinetic Sculpture Commission

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The goal of this artist commission project was to replicate the aesthetic of an existing kinetic sculpture (a previous commission of the same artist), but scale it down from 6 feet long to 2 feet long, and to simplify the control mechanism (fewer motors & micro-controllers to reduce points of failure). The ultimate goal was to provide a reasonably affordable, repeatable, & serviceable digital design & material list so that the sculpture may be reproduced & maintained at a smaller scale.

Concept by Alicia Eggert, Design/Engineering + Assembly by Francesca Frattaroli, Painting + Finishing by Darcy Neal

I did not have access to the original design documents, just the video of the finished project, so I had to devise the layout and mechanisms from scratch.

Fusion 360 was used for 2D & 3D design, as well as CAM work. The body of the piece was CNC routed, aluminum shafts were hand-cut and tapped, lettering was fiber-laser cut out of aluminum at SRI in Vancouver, WA, and labeling was done in Illustrator and cut on a vinyl plotter. Painting & Finishing was done by hand by Darcy Neal.

See the artist’s original here & reproduction miniatures here

The most challenging aspects of the project were:

  1. Modifying the design to fit off the shelf components (custom pulley loop lengths are expensive)
  2. Getting all 11 shafts to run off a single motor
  3. Spacing and layering letter components so that the letters were as large as possible without any component interference

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