The Sphinx’s Sundial (TM) Post Mortem Post

So, The Sphinx’s Sundial is a bust.

I got some acrylic and laser cut it into the shapes that I needed, and once I put everything together, nothing worked the way I wanted it to ‘-.-

Breakdown of why I think it failed:
Let’s start with how I went about doing this.

– Opaque Red Acrylic .125″ thick
– Mirror Acrylic .125″ thick
– Hot Glue

So, I was initially going to 3D print the inside… BUT THEN I LEARNED ABOUT MIRROR ACRYLIC AND IT SOUNDED LIKE A MUCH FASTER SOLUTION THAT COULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH BETTER (and I guess if I had worked with it enough it may have?)
I laser cut out the silhouettes as well as the holes for the sunlight to enter out of the red acrylic. That looked: Amazing. Like really clean. Laser cutting is really cool.
Like look at how clean those are. I’m really happy about them.

– Laser cutting is very precise, yes. But make sure the shapes you cut are the proper dimensions! Acrylic is REALLY HARD TO BREAK. I messed up the measurements on some of my inner mirrors, and so I had to re-break them, since Washburn was closed at that point.
– Make sure that you label the pieces if you’re making a bunch of things that need to fit together like a puzzle. I did not do this. This was a grave error. I accidentally confused some of my pieces with other pieces.

So, that being said. I believe the reason I failed was the inner network of mirrors. It’s kind of a mess.

Now, what I did for this was laser cut a bunch of small 1″ x 1″ squares so that I could arrange them in a more versatile manner. This would have been fine if life was the same as Maya or some other 3D modeling software. Fun fact: It’s not. What wound up happening is that just enough gaps wound up happening in each tunnel for all of the light to escape before it reached the other side.

If I were to do this project again with infinite time and whatever resources I wanted, I would keep the laser cut exterior because that looks super clean. Not much to improve there. The inside however, I’d like to change it from laser cut acrylic to some sort of hollow, bendable, reflective tubing. I think that would be a nice, sealed, easily shaped material to use. I think that would have fixed a lot of my issues.


I’m really proud of this project simply because I went really far out of my comfort zone and I stuck with it. If I’d done something digital with some stuff I’d worked with before and just did whatever, I feel like I wouldn’t have done nearly as much experimentation and wouldn’t have learned nearly as much.

I knew that the project was going to be difficult as soon as I started working with it, and if I had the time and resources to go for one more iteration, I think I may have cracked it? But alas, this last iteration was pretty costly :/. Fun fact: Acrylic is expensive. I got really lucky that I got the price I got.

Anyway, if it weren’t for this project, I would never have tried 3D Printing. I would never have tried Laser Cutting. Both of these are things that I’ve always thought were cool, but super inaccessible to a non-hardware guy like myself. But it turns out they’re actually really easy and very effective if you do them properly.

Thank you for giving me the space to explore this design problem. Alas I couldn’t solve it in the time frame, but I appreciate the assistance I received along the way.


Hi everyone,

This week I finished my project. The final design turned out a little different than I had imagined but it still has the same concept. From the beginning, if you remember, I was going with a theme of fire and ice. The wood spirals in an upward manner as fire would and the lights act as the ice.

For the most part the entire fixture is made from the driftwood I had found online. There is a metal rod that helped support the beginning of the design process. The base is a aluminum sheet that I had spray painted black and the light came from Amazon.

The fact that the lights have multiple color options made the sculpture more dramatic but my favorite is still the white light. Below are some pictures of the final piece. I hope you enjoy.



Lego Force Sensor, Final – Adam Myers

Hey everyone,

This week I finished building the structure of my piece. Here are some pictures and a video, this time featuring a better camera than my phone (unfortunately for the video I had no stand to place the camera on, so I had to make do with interacting with the piece and filming at the same time so it is not the greatest but it shows what it need to):

And here is the video (no sound):

Overall thoughts:

I am happy that I was able to setup the system that I desired – where one can place an object on a platform and see it change the piece’s color and lighting. If I had slightly more time one immediate change I would make would be to get a brighter LED light or set up a second light just under the platform the object is placed on. Currently in the light, the LED light is less interesting but whatever you place on the platform is clear to see. And under the dark the led light is more interesting but it is hard to see what is on the platform. I would hope a brighter light or second light would make it see both can be seen clearly under darkness (and maybe look better in the light as well).

If I had much more time or a do over, knowing what I know now, I would consider using a material that wasn’t LEGOs. I am not exactly sure what material, but I think LEGOs did not look as good as I hoped.  Additionally with this I would try to build something closer to my original concept had multiple platforms (3-5) and could hold common desk items like staplers, a calculator, etc.

I plan to bring this in tomorrow with coins and a few little figures for people to test with.


Printing. Will take 6 hours.

The legs are really boring because they have to be the basement of this sculpt in order to make it stand up.(hopefully)

A low quality 3D model



Hayley Boigenzahn Project Update (Again)

I may have slightly overestimated how long I am actually able to sit and paint for in one sitting, especially since I usually paint bent over on my floor and it’s just not a good posture to hold in general. But, I did get about 2/3 of the way through the back painting for my project, and even added some of the glow paint into the upper parts of the painting. The bottom part is going to take some work to get the light source right, so that’s what I’ll be working on in the upcoming week. I am also thinking about ordering a frame, but I’ll need to be careful to make sure that it doesn’t have any glass or plastic in it that would diffuse the pigment light, which is very obvious in a dark room but dim enough that it would be easily lost if it were diffused. Mixing the pigments with a very high pigment to binder ratio seems to be working, but my phone camera is still bad. My plan is to rent out a better camera for the final project. (Fingers crossed that I remember and am able to get a hold of one.)

There still a fair amount of glow paint left to add (I haven’t done the orange or the red yet which makes up the bulk of the teddy bear), so the painting still doesn’t really look right in the dark, but it’s getting there.

Lights on
Lights Off


I’ve made some good progress since last week. I’ve mostly developed two areas of my project.

The first area is that I’ve improved the precision of the light blips a bit to more accurately correspond with the actual notes or sounds they’re supposed to. Before I had some issues with noise causing some of the blips to light up when they shouldn’t, so I’ve made the spectrogram a bit smoother and I’m able to track certain notes now a bit better.

The other area is that I’ve finally come up with a plan for the enclosure for the LED matrix. I’ve ordered some translucent acrylic plastic sheets, and the idea is to cut them and glue them together to make a nice flat diffuse surface for the light to come through. A sheet of acrylic will be mounted over the LEDs so that the glare you get should be reduced significantly. I tried diffusing the light using just some paper napkins, and it looks a lot better. You can’t even make out the individual LEDs any more, they blend together into really nice looking blobs of light. Hopefully the acrylic will provide the same effect, but be more permanent.

Sorry I don’t have any images or videos or anything for this week, but there isn’t much visual difference from last week, and I’m getting fed up using my phone camera. Next week once I have the final product done, I’m going to use some actual good camera equipment in a nice dark room to record the display, and I’ll use some actual video editing software to put the audio on it. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out!

Suitcase Update 2/23

My first suitcase is done!

I have finally finished the carving of the travel suitcase. I think it turned out well and I am trying to figure out if I want to add something on the top of it, but I kind of liked the way it looked and don’t want to make it cluttered. If I was going to add anything, it would be a skyline or pyramids or something that is longer horizontally  and shorter vertically.

I got a second suitcase and I figured out how I want to incorporate the theme of long distance relationships into it. It is kind of hard to explain, but I will have two different “collages” on each side of the suitcase that show how each persons’ story is different but similar. The middle will be a heart cut out with a head of a man on one side and a head of a women on the other side. When you look straight on to the suitcase, the two heads will come together to interact within the heart. I want to do this for the other images on the suitcase and have them relate to each other but tell a different story.

I am excited about being able to have two dimensions for shadow and using both sides of the suitcase. I will be a very fine way of carving and needs to be exact, but I think I can do it!

Here is the picture of the light coming through my finalized suitcase (unless I add more….)  Also the pictures are so hard to make it look as good as it does in person. 

Sundial… Almost there!

Sorry I missed a week. Honestly, I had a really busy week last week and didn’t get the chance to throw something up here about my progress.

That being said, we’re reaching the end of this project, so it’s time to kick it into high gear.

Current Goal:
So I’m making a set of “Flattened” 3D Models that I can use to make cutouts on the faces of a box (which I’ll 3D print). Light will enter the box and fill the negative space of the cutout and create the shape.

Potential Problems:
I’ve never 3D printed before so I’m still not sure how it works. I’ll have to play with it a bunch this weekend to make everything work (I’d like to talk to you about this if possible Professor Rosenstock).

Also! There’s the fun fact that certain surfaces don’t reflect light as well as others, so in order to account for this, I want to have the inner network of holes to be made of a reflective material, which could be difficult in terms of 3D printing. So yeah, this’ll be an eventful weekend.

Actual progress shots:
I have a couple of screencaps of the 3D models I’ve made and what shadows they make (which are the same as the images they’ll craft in the negative space).

Feedback is welcome! I now know that I don’t get e-mails when people comment on things this time, so if I don’t respond to your comment, chances are I didn’t read it and you should let me know it exists (y)


Thank you friends!


Color Changing & Lego Construction – Adam Myers

Hey everyone,

Last week I got my RBG led working with my setup and force sensor to change color based on force. Currently its setup so that there is a color for LIGHT, MEDIUM, and HEAVY weight (with respect to what the sensor is able to detect). These colors are RED, PURPLE, and BLUE respectively. I also began assembling the structure of the base, and the single platform. While constructing, I had some thoughts and I might have another part of the structure instead of the platform light up instead of the platform itself. At the moment I am a roof like structure for where the light will be (will describe more with the pictures). So because of the work I still have to do properly hiding wires as best as possibly while creating an interesting enough structure, I am going to stick with this single platform with one light changing. Two more platforms would have more wiring to try to hide/organize and result in a less interesting/nice piece with the time I have left.

Here are the pictures of the structure/setup I currently have (under light, so light does not show as well but I have video for light in the dark):




HEAVY PRESSURE (as you can see platform is quite small, I will probably try to make it wider/bigger so I can place/fit more interesting objects on it)

And here is the video of the light in proper darkness!


For this week: I will complete the structure, hiding the most wire/internal bits as possible.  Any suggestions/comments are welcome and appreciated!

Update: Web of Things

I’m behind on posts!!! (Noo!!)
Progress has been slow but steady with the web of things! A little behind than I hope I would be.

The Raspberry Pi Zero arrived 1.5 weeks ago and it got setup.

Downside to a small form factor– not enough ports! Thank goodness for USB hubs.

I tried to see if I could setup a remote access into the Pi but unfortunately, it was not possible… Next step: Having a one-way communication with the FLORA board.

In addition to the Pi– I have started on assembling together the off-brand NeoPixels! At first I soldered a few together to test them out…

Attached them to the FLORA board and ran a strand test from the NeoPixel library. They work! Hoorah!

Next up is to add more to them!

Only the first four managed to light– which probably mean I soldered a connection to the LED poorly. Since I wasn’t able to solder at the moment at which this picture was taken, I decided to write up a test sketch that made a random LED blink a random color.

Eventually, the Pi will be sending a command to the FLORA on how many will light up– and this sketch will play a part in it. I’ll also be going back to the ECE lab fixing up connections and soldering up the remainder of the strips.

As for the structure, the string web has been scrapped for a more sturdier structure made of galvanized steel– salvaged from my cosplay prop days.

It probably isn’t super apparent in the image shown, but it’s shaped much like an umbrella, and will either have string or wire hang from the steel wire.