Maquette – Tom Vagnini

This week I sourced a number of materials and tools for my project and started experimenting to achieve different lighting effects. I collected glass recycling, in addition to some colored glass designed for stained glass. I also gathered some different Arduinos, stepper motors, and power supplies for the electronics system. I found my old set of stained glass tools for cutting, foiling, and soldering the glass together.

I started prototyping a bit with one of the recycled bottles. I tried to score the bottle so it would be cut evenly at the top. After scoring the bottle, I put it in boiling water and cool water to try to break it along the score line. The glass was surprisingly strong and I wasn’t able to cut it properly in this attempt. Instead, I put in a plastic bag and dropped it. It will be necessary to revisit cutting bottles later, but right now I just needed a broken bottle so I could experiment putting an LED bulb inside it.

Breaking the glass bottle gave me an idea of the sizes of pieces that result from breaking glass. One idea I had was to break glass recycling and put pieces together that fit well, rather than cutting each one specifically for a certain spot. I think that’s still a possibility. One thing I learned is I will need smaller or thinner pieces than I originally thought, although that depends on the radius of the recycling used. A tomato soup jar could have larger pieces since it’s a larger radius than a soda bottle.

I also soldered one of the pieces back into the bottle. This helped me practice the stained glass techniques, especially since it’s a bit different using the recycled glass. This glass is curved and thinner than the glass I usually work with.

The brown glass gives off a really nice color, but the color is diluted as the glass and light move away from the wall. I also tested the projection from green and blue glass plates made for stained glass. This glass was translucent, not clear, so the LED light had to be closer to the wall to have the color projected at the same strength. I couldn’t really get a photo that would properly show the projected color from the green and blue translucent glass. I would still like to try out painted glass to see how it looks. However, I think the clear glass will give me the best color from a projection, the only issue is I don’t think I’ll be able to source the clear green or blue. Since I soldered this piece together, you can also see how the solder seam is projected on the wall. The glass is quite close to the wall in the photo above, but as the glass is placed further from the wall, the seam comes out of focus and eventually disappears. It would be nice to see the seams, but there’s not much I can do make the seams more visible in the projection.

If I do end up using unpainted clear glass, that creates more work since I’d need to make the inside of the globe look nice too. I would need to clean up the solder seams on the inside, make sure the LED bulb looks nice, and hide the stepper motor and electronics. I actually really liked how this chandelier bulb with the fake filament looked under the brown glass.

Going into next week, I hope to visit the art store to see if they have any glass paint or colored transparent glass sheets so I can quickly test how those look. I also need to learn how to cut the recycled bottles and jars cleanly. After that, I can start constructing the equator of the globe and internal mechanism.

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