Tag Archives: MEGA

Sands Of Time

Introducing my latest work-in-progress: The Sands of Time

This is a project inspired by a piece of articulated artwork by Bruce Shapiro, called “Sisyphus Machine“, described as… “an elaborate kinetic drawing machine that uses magnets to drag rolling steel marbles through a thin layer of sand to create complicated mandala-like patterns”. I found the the patterns to be mesmerizing. I felt I could create something along the same lines to experiment with dynamically changing patterns, and – in keeping with my clock making and fascination with time- that would allow the ephemeral praxis of writing time in the sand….

UPDATE: 9 June 2016: My first sand pattern with “Sands of Time

The software traces a simple helical pattern that traverses the centre of the drawing surface so the final design shows two spirals… Neat huh!

Sands Of Time

Sands Of Time: my first sand drawing.. Here, the ball is making a pair of intersecting spirals.

A new top lip – made of 6 identical sections of alder that I shaped on my CNC machine – captures an acrylic drawing surface that is covered in a thin layer of finely ground sand. The magnetic coupling between the carriage’s magnets and the 12mm steel ball bearing is lower than expected so that the friction of the sand is sometimes too great and the ball loses connection. The gap that separates the magnet from the ball is slightly over 3/8″ – 1/4″ ply (as the top support) and 1/8″ acrylic – and this appears too great to ensure a really strong magnetic coupling. So, rather than redesigning the top to reduce this thickness, I shall try out a spherical rare-earth magnet, rather than the current steel ball bearing.

Here, a small thrust bearing is magnetically coupled to the carriage of the carousel, which is rotating underneath a temporary sheet of acrylic. In the completed design, a thin layer of fine sand will sit atop the acrylic and a ball bearing will be moved through it. Articulation of the carriage and carousel will allow for the tracing of “mandala-like” patterns.

In this clip, the carriage and carousel can be seen operating together under the control of separate stepper motors. The unique design (all mine!) places the carriage servo at the absolute centre of the carousel’s rotation. This geometry allows completely independent motion of the carriage and carousel. In other words, the carousel can rotate freely in any direction while the carriage can traverse the carousel’s diameter, and both can operate completely independently.

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LightWriter Clock: Resurrected?

The original idea for the LightWriter Clock was to play with the ephemeral nature of time – in that each specific measurement of its passing quickly fades into the past. In a very literal way, this clock writes out digits of the time onto a phosphorescent media which then slowly fade away.

Here’s the latest and long awaited update of the LightWriter Clock project, and yes, I did paint the body a lurid shade of lime! (Why, because I can! or at least had a can?)

The final design is covered with a sheet of clear acrylic, the bottom section of which is painted with several coats of a phosphorescent spray paint. Every 3 minutes, the LightWriter bursts into life articulating the two arms to write out, using a UV laser, the four digits of the time, in 24 hour format, onto the phosphorescent coating.

LightWriter Clock

LightWriter Clock

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LightWriter Clock – reborn

The initial LightWriter Clock was designed to play with the notion of the ephemeral nature of time. The current time is “written” with light onto a phosphor-coated panel, such that the image of the time slowly fades away before the new time is written.

“Such are the metaphors we live with, Grasshopper!”

The original unit was designed and built almost a year ago yet has sat gathering dust for all that time (no pun intended). Now, with a new paint job (yes, really!) it is ready to be reborn.

LightWriter Clock

LightWriter Clock

Watch this space…
Video of the LightWriter Clock in action coming soon

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Light Writer Clock

The LIGHT WRITER CLOCK is a work in progress. The unit mechanically moves an illuminated high-powered LED over a light-sensitive phosphor-coated sheet to trace out the digits of the time.

LIGHT WRITER CLOCK

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MIDI Glove

The MIDI GLOVE is a development platform for a gesture and movement-controlled MIDI-based music making system. The system consist of two parts – the MIDI GLOVE TX (transmitter) and the MIDI GLOVE RX (receiver).

MIDI GLOVE TX

MIDI GLOVE RX

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