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DIY Day four

July 2, 2010

The days I’ve been in this week have actually merged into one huge chunk of time. But I can now report on the further developments in making my plinth.

If I could I would actually exhibit my plinth as a piece in its own right. It’s actually turned into something quite unique and nice to look at. I’m already contemplating its locality post show.

So let’s see, in my last post concerning this I had finished off all the pieces of the panels. I had started painting them too as I wanted to save time later and just assemble it when I next came in to the workshop.

We had also left a laser cutting of pattern into 3mm MDF (I still had spares from before) after I had left the previous day as we realised the lack of border on the other one I was going to use would make it harder to attach. I made sure the 10-point stars were in the middle of the cutting and Karel (3DResource manager) used his AutoCAD skills to size it exactly to what we needed in order to fit it into the previously routed front panel. This looked great and fit almost perfectly. There were only a few gaps which could easily be polyfilled later down the production timeline.

So the next day I took some extra MDF in to make the top and also the spindles I bought to cut up and stick under the top layer to raise it a bit higher and to leave a further gap for ventilation.

I told Karel my idea for construction, he slightly adjusted it and we went back to what I was originally thinking of: instead of just screwing the panels together edge to edge I would use the spindles as the main frame for the whole structure and attach the panels to this.

We, then, however, needed to cut some more wood as I had only taken in a couple of my spindles when I actually needed 4. This wasn’t hard and I started screwing the prepared panels to these. I ensured my measurements were accurate and double checked them many times along the way to make sure one wasn’t shorter than the rest and to make sure it didn’t wobble at the end.

Attaching frame (which also forms the legs) to the side panel

Attaching frame (which also forms the legs) to the side panel

legs/frame attached to side panel (prior to error checking change)

legs/frame attached to side panel (prior to error checking change)

My arms aren’t the strongest and as I was drilling into 18mm MDF and then through to the chunky wood frame I slightly struggled to hold the drill down. But I thought it was a job well done and made sure the screws were sunk into the MDF rather than sticking out.

However,  there was an abrupt change of plan when we realised we had not made it correct in order to leave the walls on the outer parts of the whole plinth, and allow for the door to be attached using hinges. This was partly also due to needing to place a shelf in for the projector and keeping the width to a suitable amount to fit it so the lens would come to the middle. So the consequence was me having to undo half a day’s worth of work.

The panels fit together nicely on top of the legs/frame which were inset by the thickness of the side panels (18mm).

The panels fit together nicely on top of the legs/frame which were inset by the thickness of the side panels (18mm).

However, Karel very kindly decided to dedicate himself to helping me get the majority of the construction done that day. I drilled and screwed what I could. glued and nailed what I could and handed over tools and parts when I couldn’t do the more difficult and muscle needing tasks such as bending some chunky metal to make me a hook for hanging a padlock on.

Part of frame cut on one side to make room for projector, and side hole aligned with position of projector vent

Part of frame cut on one side to make room for projector, and side hole aligned with position of projector vent

Second shelf cut with square in corner to fit with frame and hole at back corner for cables to pass through

Second shelf cut with square in corner to fit with frame and hole at back corner for cables to pass through

The day was full of huge ups and downs. But the end result of my plinth was worth it and I am super grateful that we have a place like the 3D Resource center to work in/from.

Top added, hinges added, holes for cables and two extra support beams aligned with the top and bottom of the door

Top added, hinges added, holes for cables and two extra support beams aligned with the top and bottom of the door

Filling holes and gaps with Polyfiller. It's better to have it bumpy than sunken so that when it is sanded down it can be flattened to the same line of the surface

Filling holes and gaps with Polyfil. It's better to have it bumpy than sunken so that when it is sanded down it can be flattened to the same line of the surface

Using a metal pole bent backwards and then bending again from the back to allow for attaching a padlock

Using a metal pole bent backwards and then bending again from the back to allow for attaching a padlock

To add the finishing touches I polyfilled all the gaps and then the next day, after they had been sanded down I prepared the hole on the top for the camera to come through. I almost forgot about this and it should have been done before the top had been attached. But Karel was in super sonic  mode at the time of cutting it down and drilling it on that I dared not protest. Anyway, I drilled a big hole in the middle where I’d marked out the shape of the camera. I was going to arrange it so that the main bulk of it – i.e the lens and infra-red LEDs would be raised above the flat level of the top of the plinth. This would hopefully allow for the lighting recognition to still work in the dark and not be limited by the cut off of the area around the camera formed by the hole itself.

Cut hole needing to be chiseled

Cut hole needing to be chiseled

I then jig-sawed the rest of the rectangular shape out of the top piece and then filed it away for a while. I then slanted the angle of the file so that the camera could slot in easily from the bottom but stay within a snug fit at the top of the hole. I made this a slower process so that I could continuously test the fit and file away where necessary until it was right. I think I did a pretty decent job at getting it to fit right. This meant I wouldn’t need to use duct tape to secure the camera in place either.

Slotting camera in place for a snug fit

Slotting camera in place for a snug fit

Next I started the main painting of the whole plinth. I used a gloss based paint – the one coat one I bought from B&Q. It gave a nice smooth finish once dried but I could tell it was better to do the 2 coats anyway.

The edges of the MDF were really hard to paint as the paint kept seeping through rather than staying on th e surface of the edges. If I have time I am going to try to sand and paint a few layers on the edges. If I can’t do this before assessment then I’ll definitely do so for the exhibition.

And this is it – the finished plinth!

I really like it and so does everyone who has seen it so far. I think one person even thought I was doing another pathway of the course (like designer-maker) when they saw me working on it in the workshop. But I said to him that was the cool thing about the course, you start it off with your one practice in mind but you get to the end and you have the opportunity to include many other practices, skills and techniques for the final stages.

I’m very proud of my plinth, it’s why I said earlier – it’s no ordinary plinth. And as a result I feel very grateful towards the 3DResource team in helping me get it to look the way I wanted and even better than what i wanted. It was worth all the downs encountered.


Killing an hour

June 28, 2010

So I’m at uni, just finished eating my sandwich really slowly so that I can kill an hour before getting back to the 3D resources. This morning, regardless of feeling really unwell, I got up and visited the joinery store near home where, over the phone, I was told they’d be able to cut the smaller pieces out of my mdf, as well as the one large piece for the front panel. I get there and they say they cant do it, but told me to try another place down the road. So I did and same story, need a cnc router, (pronounced raowter) because normal tools/machines can’t do anything but straight lines. Sooo then I drove all the MDF, paint, bits and pieces to uni. Now I’ve never driven to uni before. It’s South London so I knew the general direction was over the Thames and then straightish but decided to use my sat nav to be on the safe side. I don’t know wtc happened to the satnav but it took me the longest, most despicable route ever. With it being as hot as it is I was running out of drinking water and dehydrating and feeling super frustrated. I had taken the day off from work specifically so that I could get loads done. The journey that was supposed to have taken max.45 mins took double the time. Stuck in traffic in this heat is just not the best place to be.

Anyway, so I managed to get here in on piece, dropped all my MDF off at the 3Dresource which is now currently closed for lunch so I’m using this time to recuperate and muster up my energy for a productive afternoon at least.

Quick update: September 09 begins

September 10, 2009

Busy busy busy, Ramadan is in full swing, which means a month of fasting for Muslims, extra prayers and reading the Qur’an – or at least trying to do these for extra blessings. Then there are the social gatherings for the purposes of breaking fasts together (with friends or relatives). This also means my daily timetable is packed and therefore the day passes very fast. But I must make the most of this blessed month.

Amongst this I’ve been quite caught up trying to complete my essay. For some reason I’ve gone ahead and done the maximum word limit of 5,000 words but then it means I can cut out the parts that don’t make sense.

Once I’ve got this out of the way I’ll be able to concentrate on more practical work as well as finishing off an interesting post I started a couple of weeks ago but once again it is a post trapped in draft mode.

The new academic year has also started and our next major deadline (other than the essay hand in at the end of the month) is in December by which time we should have substantial project prototypes completed. Will I succeed? I have no idea, but the challenge is one I’d like to meet.

Now back to my essay – for which the title currently reads as: Islamic Art – the identification of a global art. This may change again in the next week or so.

Patience is a virtue I am struggling to hold on to

February 15, 2009

Ergh, I’ve burnt my fingers twice now with the soldering iron and I still have another billion wires to connect. I am now doubting this was a good idea.

I am basically trying to build a large circuit of wires as part of my prototype to show at the Mid-point review in a couple weeks (March 4th). Unfortunately it is taking forever and because I wasnt sure how much of the wires I would need and delayed purchase of switches and batteries, the whole thing is just soo loooong.

I know there is a more efficient and advanced and cool (in terms of technology) way of doing what I am trying to do (will explain when it is all done) but that would mean learning a whole new programming language which I think would take longer.

As I am not the type to give up I am going to carry on with this until the deadline and just see how much I can get done. It doesn’t help that I’ll be away for 8 days from next Thursday. I’ll only have roughly 4 days to get the rest done. Oh well.

Euclidean geometry

December 2, 2008

I find that I come across this subject quite a lot in my research and didn’t really have a clear understanding of it. So it’s time we did a bit of digging.

Now I usually go to Wikipedia first because even though it might not be 100% accurate – and sometimes any random person might have added the information – on well known topics, there is less room for mistakes, as others will be checking these too and making corrections if necessary. However, I find that it’s harder to grasp – maybe my brain isn’t on full form tonight.

I like this explanation from the University of Toronto’s Mathematics Network –

Euclidean geometry is just another name for the familiar geometry which is typically taught in grade school: the theory of points, lines, angles, etc. on a flat plane. It is given the name “Euclidean” because it was Euclid who first axiomatized it (rigorously described it).

Another reason it is given the special name “Euclidean geometry” is to distinguish it from non-Euclidean geometries (described in the answer to another question).

The difference is that Euclidean geometry satisfies the Parallel Postulate (sometimes known as the Fifth Postulate). This postulate states that for every line l and every point p which does not lie on l, there is a unique line l‘ which passes through p and does not intersect l (i.e., which is parallel to l).

Geometry on a curved surface, for example, may not satisfy this postulate, and hence is non-Euclidean geometry.

But what are the other postulates then?

So I search again and find this brief explanation instead on QR Glossary:

Euclidean Geometry is one of many different types of geometries. It is the most familiar one, typically studied in high school (and never again). All of the theorems and conclusions of Euclidean Geometry can be derived from these five basic postulates:

1. A straight line segment can be drawn joining any two points.

2. Any straight line segment can be extended indefinitely in a straight line.

3. Given any straight line segment, a circle can be drawn having the segment as radius and one endpoint as center.

4. All right angles are congruent.

5. If two lines are drawn which intersect a third in such a way that the sum of the inner angles on one side is less than two right angles, then the two lines inevitably must intersect each other on that side if extended far enough.

The fifth postulate is equivalent to what is known as “The Parallel Postulate.” Another way to state The Parallel Postulate is to say: Given a line(l) and a point(P) not on that line, there is exactly one line which can be drawn through P that is parallel to l. Non-Euclidean geometries are created by failing to accept The Parallel Postulate. These include Hyperbolic Geometry and Spherical Geometry, among others.

I don’t remember this from school! It might have made more sense otherwise. Ok I think diagrams are needed. And also a comparison to show the different types of geometry.

This image is pretty easy to understand and makes the difference between the two clearer:,intro.html

This seems like an easy site to pick up a bit of knowledge from about this subject. I don’t want to just copy and paste it – so read up if you want all this to make more sense.

I’m planning to add to this topic soon. Especially once I’ve read up on the other types of geometry and can then hopefully speak about each without having to use someone else’s words 🙂

In the brief search I just conducted online I also came across this image:

I find it absolutely beautiful. I feel like dismissing everything else and just jump straight to finding out more about Polytopes!! But I won’t – not just yet. I need to grasp a strong understanding of the basics and the levels leading to the higher more complicated levels before I do so.


September 25, 2008

Ok I know I said I would look into colour inversion some more but I just had too many thoughts, ideas and avenues that I also wanted to look into. They all relate to the use of shapes, space and composition in one way or another. The one at the forefront of all this is geometry and then closely behind this follows symmetry.

So…I think I will make categories of all the subjects/areas and then add to each whenever I come across something of relevance for each.

Now back to geometry. A quick definition from wikipedia:

Geometry (Greek γεωμετρία; geo = earth, metria = measure) is a part of mathematics concerned with questions of size, shape, and relative position of figures and with properties of space. Geometry is one of the oldest sciences. Initially a body of practical knowledge concerning lengths, areas, and volumes, in the third century B.C., geometry was put into an axiomatic form by Euclid, whose treatment – Euclidean geometry – set a standard for many centuries to follow. The field of astronomy, especially mapping the positions of the stars and planets on the celestial sphere, served as an important source of geometric problems during the next one and a half millennia.

Ok so we can see there are actually different types of geometry too – but we’ll have to come back to this later. Now for a definition from

–noun, plural ‑tries.

  1. the branch of mathematics that deals with the deduction of the properties, measurement, and relationships of points, lines, angles, and figures in space from their defining conditions by means of certain assumed properties of space.
  2. any specific system of this that operates in accordance with a specific set of assumptions: Euclidean geometry.
  3. the study of this branch of mathematics.
  4. a book on this study, esp. a textbook.
  5. the shape or form of a surface or solid.
  6. a design or arrangement of objects in simple rectilinear or curvilinear form.

It seems to me there’s more involved in geometry than I originally thought. It’s not just about fitting shapes together to make them look pretty – Ok I knew there was some maths involved too, calculating angles – making sure that the outcome could be continued for eternity using tiling and rotated symmetry. So my next step is to look into this further. Find out where this study of lines, shapes, depths and space came from and why it links to astronomy and even spirituality! Looks like I’ve given myself even more homework to do!