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more Intermission photos


Intermission: complete


The installation is complete, and was riddled with hardships.  Bad circuit boards, melting parts, and missing pieces just to name a few.  Working on some storyboards for a short film to serve as video documentation, hoping to start shooting next week.  More photos coming soon.


The sign which will be rotating in my current installation is extremely simple, yet maybe the object which the entire piece is built around.  I was able to take measurements from the film, and research the fonts used in this particular scene.  Laser cut/etched into 1/4″ glossy black acrylic, the sign is the exact aspect ratio of the film.


I met with a local plastic fabricator to have the material cut from my Illustrator file, and was able to leave the masking paper on the acrylic during this process.  This made the next step infinitely easier.  I melted a few white Crayola crayons in a small pot on my stove (over low heat), and poured the liquid crayons over the etched lettering.


I then used a heated spackling knife to scrape the crayon flush with the surface of the masking paper.


Carefully peeling back the masking paper, the glossy black is perfectly preserved.


It worked out exactly as I planned, with a beautiful gloss black juxtaposed with the matte, waxy white of the crayons.


A bit of dusting off is all this should need, before the installation.

Communications Module

The past two days has involved the (re)construction of the communications module for the installation.  The blu-ray was paused so I could take measurements and read the actual text, which was then used to generate a screen-accurate Illustrator drawing.

I used a 60-watt Epilog laser cutter to both engrave the lettering and cut out the holes for my toggle switches and indicator lamps.  It engraved about .2″ into the masonite, which was necessary for the next part of the process.



I sanded and painted the panel with black enamel, then rubbed white crayons into the crevices and lettering.  After a little cleanup, I put the whole thing in the oven at 200 degrees to even out the white portion.


The toggles are SPST, and the indicator lamps are from a weird Japanese washing machine manufacturer that was selling old lamps on eBay.  They ended up being ok with 12VDC running through them, wired in parallel.



I seem to have lost my multimeter, so I have no idea of the current draw from the 8 lamps, but I’m guessing it’s pretty minimal.  Far under .5 amps.


I also etched circuits today for the lighting design, and an Arduino shield to simplify my wiring.  I used a mixture of hydrogen peroxide (3%) and muriatic acid for an etchant, and it worked pretty well.  I could not find any kind of a local supplier for photoresist plates/developer, so I had to do a toner transfer.  I hate toner transfer.  The traces on some of the circuits are a little thin, but it looks like continuity will be ok.  Drilling and soldering up tests tomorrow.

Wax light layouts

Working on a file for the CNC, this is the layout for all the wax lights. 267 in total. Better warm up that soldering iron.


Wax lights and first in flight

Powered up the wax lights for the interior control panels today, results below.

Also saw the chaos that ensues from hot gluing an LED inside of a wax cube.


Hooked up to a 3v power supply.




Glowing from within.


There is also going to be yellow and blue, though blue draws quite a bit more current and might be left out for power issues.


First in Flight:  the Ohio catchphrase.  Also, today was the first test of the commutator and fan assembly.  It’s going wayyy too fast, and I’ve already altered the Arduino sketch to hopefully compensate.

LED array flashing test

For the control panels inside of the pod, I wanted to free up my Arduino for motor control, but still have a pseudo-random blinking pattern of the ships lights.

I used the schematic which is in the previous post to produce a minimal component circuit which is flexible on how long the lights flash.  By changing the resistor which funnels current into the capacitor, I can slow down or speed up the blinking.

In application, there will be 40-50 separate circuits, and the lights will be all mixed up.  This will produce a seemingly random pattern of light within the ship.

Each LED is being dipped in a cube of paraffin wax, both to create a “button” and to diffuse the light coming out.  It ends up looking like a glowing ice cube.  More on that this weekend.

Commutator progress

Making progress with the commutator.

Arduino code complete, will post soon.







Fritzing, Arduino Shields, and blinking light emitting diodes.

I had used Fritzing long ago, when it was first getting started, and had tons of issues with it.  It seems to have improved a lot, and I think I will definitely be using it more.  Images below show some of what is possible within the program.


Maybe the messiest breadboard layout I’ve ever done, but the connections are solid.


The really nice thing about Fritzing is that you can create a schematic from your breadboard, or draw a schematic which can generate a PCB trace file for you to etch an actual circuit board.  Unfortunately, it can’t go from schematic to breadboard, which I want due to laziness.


This is the breadboard view of the servo controller I’m working on, and when I generated the schematic for it, it created these weird little wires on the lower left.  They aren’t bothering anyone, so I left it.


This is the PCB layout that my breadboard design created, you can even choose the Arduino shield shape, which is awesome.  This will plug right on top of my Arduino with zero jumper wires running around.  Etching it this week, will post updated images.


And this is the super clean schematic the program generated, really nice for documentation or sharing with the open-source community.

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