Posts with «art» label

RGB Disk Goes Interactive with Bluetooth; Shows Impressive Plastic Work

[smash_hand] had a clear goal: a big, featureless, white plastic disk with RGB LEDs concealed around its edge. So what is it? A big ornament that could glow any color or trippy mixture of colors one desires. It’s an object whose sole purpose is to be a frame for soft, glowing light patterns to admire. The disk can be controlled with a simple smartphone app that communicates over Bluetooth, allowing anyone (or in theory anything) to play with the display.

The disk is made from 1/4″ clear plastic, which [smash_hand] describes as plexiglass, but might be acrylic or polycarbonate. [smash_hands] describes some trial and error in the process of cutting the circle; it was saw-cut with some 3-in-1 oil as cutting fluid first, then the final shape cut with a bandsaw.

The saw left the edge very rough, so it was polished with glass polishing compound. This restores the optical properties required for the edge-lighting technique. The back of the disc was sanded then painted white, and the RGB LEDs spaced evenly around the edge, pointing inwards.

The physical build is almost always the difficult part in a project like this — achieving good diffusion of LEDs is a topic we talk about often. [smash_hands] did an impressive job and there are never any “hot spots” where an LED sticks out to your eye. With this taken care of, the electronics came together with much less effort. An Arduino with an HC-05 Bluetooth adapter took care of driving the LEDs and wireless communications, respectively. A wooden frame later, and the whole thing is ready to go.

[smash_hands] provides details like a wiring diagram as well as the smartphone app for anyone who is interested. There’s the Arduino program as well, but interestingly it’s only available in assembly or as a raw .hex file. A video of the disk in action is embedded below.

Making LED lighting interactive comes in many different shapes and forms, and as the disk above shows, shifting color patterns can be pleasantly relaxing.

Follow the Bouncing Ball of Entropy

When [::vtol::] wants to generate random numbers he doesn’t simply type rand() into his Arduino IDE, no, he builds a piece of art. It all starts with a knob, presumably connected to a potentiometer, which sets a frequency. An Arduino UNO takes the reading and generates a tone for an upward-facing speaker. A tiny ball bounces on that speaker where it occasionally collides with a piezoelectric element. The intervals between collisions become our sufficiently random number.

The generated number travels up the Rube Goldberg-esque machine to an LCD mounted at the top where a word, corresponding to our generated number, is displayed. As long as the button is held, a tone will continue to sound and words will be generated so poetry pours forth.

If this take on beat poetry doesn’t suit you, the construction of the Ball-O-Bol has an aesthetic quality that’s eye-catching, whereas projects like his Tape-Head Robot That Listens to the Floor and 8-Bit Digital Photo Gun showed the electronic guts front and center with their own appeal.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks

GuitarBot Brings Together Art and Engineering

Not only does the GuitarBot project show off some great design, but the care given to the documentation and directions is wonderful to see. The GuitarBot is an initiative by three University of Delaware professors, [Dustyn Roberts], [Troy Richards], and [Ashley Pigford] to introduce their students to ‘Artgineering’, a beautiful portmanteau of ‘art’ and ‘engineering’.

The GuitarBot It is designed and documented in a way that the three major elements are compartmentalized: the strummer, the brains, and the chord mechanism are all independent modules wrapped up in a single device. Anyone is, of course, free to build the whole thing, but a lot of work has been done to ease the collaboration of smaller, team-based groups that can work on and bring together individual elements.

Some aspects of the GuitarBot are still works in progress, such as the solenoid-activated chord assembly. But everything else is ready to go with Bills of Materials and build directions. An early video of a strumming test proof of concept used on a ukelele is embedded below.

GuitarBot would fit right in to a band where only the instruments operate unplugged. Speaking of robot bands, don’t forget the LEGO-enabled Toa Mata, or the fully robotic group Compressorhead.


Filed under: musical hacks, robots hacks

Robot Draws Using Robust CNC

While initially developed for use in large factory processes, computer numeric control (CNC) machines have slowly made their way out of the factory and into the hands of virtually anyone who wants one. The versatility that these machines have in automating and manipulating a wide range of tools while at the same time maintaining a high degree of accuracy and repeatability is invaluable in any setting. As an illustration of how accessible CNC has become, [Arnab]’s drawing robot uses widely available tools and a CNC implementation virtually anyone could build on their own.

Based on an Arudino UNO and a special CNC-oriented shield, the drawing robot is able to execute G code for its artistic creations. The robot is capable of drawing on most flat surfaces, and can use almost any writing implement that will fit on the arm, from pencils to pens to brushes. Since the software and hardware are both open source, this makes for an ideal platform on which to build any other CNC machines as well.

In fact, CNC is used extensively in almost everything now, and are so common that it’s not unheard of to see things like 3D printers converted to CNC machines or CNC machines turned into 3D printers. The standards used are very well-known and adopted, so there’s almost no reason not to have a CNC machine of some sort lying around in a shop or hackerspace. There are even some art-based machines like this one that go much further beyond CNC itself, too.


Filed under: robots hacks
Hack a Day 22 Jun 00:00
arduino  art  cnc  drawing  g-code  robot  robots hacks  

Creating Interactive Art: The Museum of Funny Ladies

The Museum of Funny Ladies is an interactive way for people to experience the story of Sybil Adelman, a pioneer comedy writer from the 1970s.

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The post Creating Interactive Art: The Museum of Funny Ladies appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

Complex, Beautiful Device is Limited to Text-speak and Cat Pictures (WTF, LOL)

Beautifully documented, modular, and completely open-source, this split flap display project by [JON-A-TRON] uses 3D printing, laser cutting and engraving, and parts anyone can find online to make a device that looks as sharp as it is brilliantly designed. Also, it appears to be a commentary on our modern culture since this beautifully engineered, highly complex device is limited to communicating via three-letter combos and cat pictures (or cat video, if you hold the button down!) As [JON-A-TRON] puts it, “Why use high-resolution, multi-functional devices when you can get back to your industrial revolution roots?” Video is embedded below.

The only limitation is that the device has no way of knowing the state of individual displays, so it’s unable to spell out specific messages – an operator simply holds a button to scroll through letters, and stops when the correct letter is displayed. For a similar project that has serious control hardware (but none of the cheeky commentary) check out this scratch-built alphanumeric split flap display.

[via Adafruit Blog]


Filed under: classic hacks

Maker Spotlight: Miriam Langer

Miriam, a Professor of Media Arts & Technology, started using Arduino in 2008 to bring new possibilities to her interactive exhibits.

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The post Maker Spotlight: Miriam Langer appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

Maker Spotlight: Tim Deagan

Tim Deagan does seemingly everything — fire effects, metalworking, painting, leatherworking... Is there anything this man doesn't make?

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The post Maker Spotlight: Tim Deagan appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

Autonomous Musical Soundscapes from 42 Fans and 7 Lasers

[dmitry] writes in to let us know about a new project that combines lasers with fans and turns the resulting modulation of the light beams into an autonomous soundscape. The piece is called “divider” and is a large, wall-mounted set of rails upon which seven red lasers are mounted on one end with seven matching light sensors mounted on the other end. Interrupting the lasers’ paths are forty-two brushless fans. Four Arduino Megas control the unit.

Laser beams shining into light sensors don’t do much of anything on their own, but when spinning fan blades interrupt each laser beam it modulates the solid beams and turns the readings of the sensors on the far end into a changing electrical signal which can be played as sound. Light being modulated by fan blades to create sound is the operating principle behind a Fan Synth, which we’ve discussed before as being a kind of siren (or you can go direct to that article’s fan synth demo video to hear what kind of sounds are possible from such a system.)

This project takes this entire concept of a fan synth further by not only increasing the number of lasers and fans, but by tying it all together into an autonomous system. The lasers are interrupted repeatedly and constantly, but never simultaneously. Listen to and watch it in action in the video below.

There isn’t a lot of in-depth technical information on the project page, but there are many really good photos. We especially love the way that the whole assembly is highly visual with the lasers turning on and off and interacting with different fans.

Any changing electrical signal can be played as sound, and if there’s one thing projects like self-playing musical hardware can teach us, it’s that if you have an electrical signal that looks strange or chaotic, hook a speaker up to it because it probably sounds pretty cool!


Filed under: musical hacks

Make masterpieces with a homemade CNC painting machine

Longtime artist Jeff Leonard has built a pair of Arduino-driven CNC painting machines with the motivation to grow his toolbox and expand the kinds of marks he could make simply by hand. By pairing the formal elements of painting with modern-day computing, the Brooklyn-based Maker now has the ability to create things that otherwise would’ve never been possible.

Machine #1 consists of a 5’ x 7’ table and is capable of producing pieces of art up to 4’ x 5’ in size. The device features a variety of tools, including a Beugler pinstriping paint wheel, a brush with a peristaltic pump syringe feed, an airbrush with a five-color paint feed system and five peristaltic pumps from Adafruit, a squeegee, and pencils, pens, markers and other utensils.

In terms of hardware, it’s equipped with three NEMA 23 stepper motors, three Big Easy Drivers, as well as an Arduino Mega and an Uno. There are two servos and five peristaltic pumps on the carriage–the first servo raises and lowers the tool, while the second presses the trigger on the airbrush. An Adafruit motor shield on the Uno controls the pumps, and the AccelStepper library is used for the Big Easy Drivers.

According to Leonard:

I am coding directly into the Arduino. There are many different codes that I call and overlap and use as a painter overlaps techniques and ideas. There is a lot of random built into the code, I don’t know what the end result will be when I start. Typically on any kind of CNC machining the end result has been made in the computer and the machine executes the instructions. I am building a kind of visual synthesizer that I can control in real-time. There are many buttons and potentiometers that I am controlling while the routines are running. I take any marks or accidents that happen and learn how to incorporate them into a painting.

I am learning Processing now and how to incorporate it into the image making.

Machine #2, however, is a bit different. This one is actually a standup XY unit that was made as a concept project. It paints using water on magic paper that becomes black when wet and disappears as it dries, used mainly as a way to practice calligraphy or Chinese brush painting. Not only does it look great, there’s no clean up either!

In terms of tools, the machine has a brush and an airbrush. Two NEMA 17 stepper motors are tasked with the XY motion. There are also three servos–one servo lifts and lowers the armature away from the paper since there is no Z-axis, another controls the angle of the brush, and the third presses the trigger of the airbrush. A peristaltic pump helps to refill the water cup, along with a small fan. The system is powered by an Arduino Uno with an Adafruit Motor Shield using the Adafruit Motor Shield Library v2.

As awesome as it all sounds, you really have to see these gadgets in action and their finished works (many of which can be found on Instagram).