Working with my husband, Bill, we calibrated the servos yesterday. What a chore! The artwork looks the same, except that now the disks lie flush with the board when they’re not turning.
Calibration involves carefully unscrewing the servo coupler so that the disk moves freely. One person has to hold the servo side of the coupler while the other person tapes the disk shut on the back side. Then you tighten the coupler back up, remove the tape, hold your breath, and see how it works. Most servos took three tries to get it right, and there are ten of them so that’s about thirty calibrations. It took five hours. I’m glad our relationship is strong–it’s like hanging wallpaper. Not something you want to do with just anyone.
Advanced Prep My painting has motion sensors that cause the servos to move. It’s programmed to randomly pick the servo (disk) that will move next. If we tried to do the calibration using this programming, we both would have lost our minds in no time, as there would be no way of knowing when the servo we were working on would move next. For this reason, I made a device that allowed me to control which servo was activated by pushing one of ten buttons. There’s also an OFF button, so it has eleven buttons in total. Here’s what it looks like:
The buttons are behind the orange wires in the foreground (on the white breadboard). The colorful wad of wires on the left goes to the servos. I think it’s quite lovely!
I’m hooking the painting up to the controls in my studio at AMF so it now has moving parts. I have more work to do on the wiring so not all disks are moving yet, but I like what I see so far. I came up with a way to make the movement more graceful. Slowing down the movement reduced the noise a bit and eliminated the jitter caused by hard stops.
During today’s critique, I would like feedback on the painting, which is still in progress, and suggestions for what the back sides of the disks should look like.
My thesis piece has moving parts, so I’m working with an Arduino. I’m excited that I am able to control the yellow LED light on it! When I changed the code to make the light blink faster and the light actually started blinking faster, my heart started beating faster!
I was going to show the work I completed over the summer (images below), but all 8 pieces are in shows!
Full disclosure: Two pieces were “finished” prior to this summer, but the more I looked at them the more I felt like I needed to continue working on them.
Instead of showing mixed media paintings, I will present my thesis concept. I am currently designing an installation piece that incorporates mixed media painting with moving parts. The theme is The Butterfly Effect.
The mock below shows what I have in mind. The circles will be disks that flip to reveal the same image with opposite colors.