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Final Project: Golf Bag

1. Introduction

My final project is the logical next step of the process I described in the chapter about the Golf-Putter. So far I had bought 5 clubs and I had built one more on the 3D-Printer. When you go on a round on the course you will need some golf-balls, tees, and gloves in addition. Playing 18 holes takes at least four hours. So I realized soon that it is not very convenient carrying around this stuff without an appropriate bag for it. And once again I didn’t want to spend a lot of money for it. With great enthusiasm I began working on a model for it which I could build on my own facilitating the 3D Printers and the Woodshop.

2. Characteristics

After a first sketch on paper I took the challenge to bring the design into Rhino3D. To clarify, this was a much huger project than the previous ones. It was not only about the design of a single piece but of a whole bunch of pieces which have to interact with each other. The end product needs to meet a series of requirements in regard to size, carrying comfort, weight, stability, price, and assembling-issues. Each single item has to be derived from these targets and constrains. Soon the whole model became too big to efficiently handle it in Rhino3D. Basic changes would require building up the whole thing anew. Therefore I decided to build the project with the help of Grasshopper what offered numerous advantages.

3. The Design Process

The precision I was able to reach by using Grasshopper is beyond compare and would never have been possible with Rhino. Furthermore, if you walk through an iterative process where you want to change settings that affect other components, then Grasshopper will save you days of work. After I was done with my first model I printed out two components of it. Back home I decided that they don’t match my expectations. The diameter I had chosen was too big. Now instead of starting again at zero I just had to change a couple of numbers in Grasshopper and the program would calculate all the components anew based on these new numbers.

On the other hand I don’t want to deny that the Grasshopper sketch also becomes fairly complex and confusing. It really became a “spaghetti-salad”. Working on a model in a team seems to be impossible. Maybe there are ways to keep the work desk cleaner but I haven’t found them so far. Following you can see the whole design in Grasshopper. Picture number two shows how this would translate into Rhino.



I gave an introduction into Grasshopper and some of its functions in the chapter about the Manhattan-Tile. In case people are interested in working with this software they should scroll down a little further.

3. The different Components

So far there is just the design of the skeleton of the bag. How can it now be transferred into reality? I decided to get six threated rods at the home depot each three feet long. They should provide the bag with enough stability. Next I printed out seven rings which can be mounted onto the rods. Some of them needed to be a little more complex to fulfill their function. But the basic ones I think now could also have been laser-cut. That would have been faster (well that’s what the learning-curve is about). The bottom part where the balls go into definitely needed to be printed. This part took the longest time to print (around 10 hours) but it is also one that really required 3D printing. When printing this part I needed to use support material. That was the first time for me trying with support material. But it turned out pretty well. For three additional rings I figured it would be the easiest way to build them out of wood in the woodshop. They are the parts where the handle and the strap will be attached to. All the circular parts have been mounted onto the roads by using washers and nuts. All together there are 70 nuts which keep each component at its designated place. As a handle I was able to reuse a whip that I had bought for Halloween. The strap is just an old one I found in a goodwill store. Both are tied to the skeleton with some zip ties. Finally the fabric that covers the bag is a leg of an old pair of jeans I did not need anymore.

4. The assembly.

It took a while designing the model and collecting all the different components. The assembly though did not take incredibly long. The worst part was screwing all the nuts onto the rods. There are a lot of nuts and it took me a while. Still I enjoyed it a lot seeing how everything finally comes together and how the product that has only existed on the screen so far merged into reality.

5. The final presentation

The very last day of class I presented my work to our Digital Fabrication class. Since the bag and the putter are no pieces of art by their original means, I thought it might be the best to just examine the pieces in their natural surrounding. I build a little 3-hole course in the hallway of the visual arts building and encouraged the group to try it on. I guess that was fun for everyone and I got some good feedback. It is a pity I have to leave now soon. I enjoyed it so much working on projects like this and I would love to continue this work. Furthermore now have to take the bag apart again in order to ship it back to Germany…

17.12.14 01:45

Laser Cutter Experiment

This piece was not subject to a project in class nor was it presented there. While working at the laser-cutting-machine I was wondering which materials could be processed with it. I knew that paper, cardboard, and wood are absolutely feasible. But I was curious which results stone would provide. I found a nice and flat stone of reasonable size in front of stuckman building and applied a black and white photography of a beautiful young lady to it. The first time I ran the machine you could hardly see anything. So I raised the contrast of the photography, slowed down the velocity of the cutter, and set the power of the laser beam to 100 %. Then I ran the machine another two times with these settings. The results I achieved by doing so were much better. I find the look of engraved stone to be pretty striking. Maybe future students in the field of art also find it interesting to work at the laser cutter with kind of unusual materials like stone.

16.12.14 20:13

Project: Golf-Putter

This project is not the outcome of an actual assignment. It was more the need for a certain object where you usually could not help but buy it. I assume everyone has this feeling once in a while: the part you need either does not exist; you don’t have excess to it; or it is too expensive to be bought. So we start to think how this problem could be solved by using the capabilities that are available. In most cases these are limited and unsufficient for complex tasks – but 3D Printing will change the way we look at problems we face. All of a sudden opportunities show up that facilitate the creation, the iterative improvement, and the manufacturing of partly complex structures at affordable price and at decent timely effort.

In my case I was interested in playing some rounds of golf at the course lying nearby campus. I had taken training in Germany but still I am an absolute beginner to this sport. In Germany I was not able to really improve my skills since golf courses are rarer than in the states and it is extremely expensive to play. There is no club in a walking or cycling distance from my home university and a membership is just not affordable for a student. The situation in the US and in State College is different. It still might not be the cheapest of all sports but it is definitely much easier to access and to play frequently. Of course no matter where you play a certain investment on some equipment will be required. Knowing that I won’t be able to take anything back to Germany after this exchange semester, I was looking for the cheapest way to get a couple of golf-clubs. I was lucky to purchase 4 or 5 clubs at the lion surplus for one Dollar each. What they didn’t sell there was a putter. In the shop at the golf course, putter-prices start by $80 and go up to ridiculous amounts of money, what I was definitely not willing to pay.

So I figured this could be a wonderful opportunity to try the possibilities the fused-deposition-modeling- printers in our computer lab provide me with. So I bought another club at lion surplus and cut of its head. Parallel I constructed a model in Rhino3D which I hoped can fulfill the technical requirements. Printing out this model was done fairly fast.

The size and shape of the club worked pretty well in the field trial. Nevertheless it was not possible to play on a real green with it. As the momentum is defined by mass times velocity it soon became clear that the 3D-printed club is not heavy enough to give the ball a stable acceleration. So I went on and adjusted my model in order to build it out of wood. The second design didn’t contain cross-section transitions what would go better with processing it on a CNC-mill. It is also easier to cut this model in slices and work on it with the laser-cutter. I figured for another conceptual prototype laser-cutting would be the faster alternative. So I cut four slices out of a board of wood and connected them with four 3D-Printed pins. Although I like the look of the result a lot the wooden head is still not heavy enough for a properly working putter.

The next step would be taking this very model and applying it to a piece of metal by using a CNC-mill. As far as I know the available facility in stuckman building is not made to process metal. Therefore I would turn to the learning-factory for future attempts. Unfortunately I only stay at PennState for this one and only Semester. I would love to follow this road further on and get involved with more technologies. But sure I will look out for corresponding opportunities in Germany and continue my work there.
16.12.14 07:18

Project: 3D Printed Tile

The Task:

Create a tile in Rhino 3D that has an area of ten times ten centimeter. Think of an interesting surface e.g. a geometrical pattern and implement it via Rhino. Afterwards print the model with one of the available fused disposition modelling printers.

Step 1: The Model

The first surface that came to my mind was a lunar surface. The essential elements shaping this landscape are craters which are based on the geometrics of circles and spheres. Thus objects that seem to be well suited for working with in Rhino. Although I spend a good amount of time on it, I just could not find the right balance between basic geometric objects on the one hand and a surreal landscape that has been formed by random influences over millions of years and which is therefore not regular in any way. No matter how hard I tried I was not satisfied with the result still looking much to clean and artificial.

So I decided to take a completely new approach. At the time this project took place we also had an introduction into Grasshopper in class. The powerful opportunities of this software in regard to control, precision, and composition made me decide to dig myself deeper into this program. I found that the tile project could be an appropriate task for this attempt. The weekend I started to work on this second model I spend in New York City. Therefore the Idea of virtually creating a little Manhattan was not so far.

Step 2: The Design Process

Following I will explain some basic element of Grasshopper which I used for this project. From my actual point of view this functions appear to be quite fundamental but some months ago I had to overcome some entry barriers what was not done in a few minutes. Hopefully these hints will help future students to faster take these first hindrances.

A) Basics

After installing the Grasshopper plugin it can be opened by simply typing “Grasshopper” into the command-line of Rhino. The upper section of the Grasshopper desktop provides the user with a variety of functions and elements. After hitting one item the selected object can be placed anywhere on the working area. These “boxes” can be rearranged at any time by drag and drop. Most of these boxes have docking points on both the right and the left side. On the left side the user can attach input-elements for the function. The types of information (i.e. the type of box) that can be used as an input depends on the function you work on. Thus not every box can be connected to every other box. On the right we have the output of the function i.e. the object that was created. The output does not necessarily have to be linked to a following function but in many cases we will do that. Usually every box has to have input information. Otherwise nothing happens. Exceptions are elements (like the “slider”) where the information is already embedded in this very object. Connections between objects are created by simply hitting the output docking station (i.e. the port on the right) and dragging the appearing arrow to an input docking point of another box (i.e. a port on the left).

Important: There can be more than just one arrow be attached to an input port. In this case each connection after the first is drawn by pressing the “shift-key” and dragging the arrow as usual.

B) First Steps

The first thing we want to create is a series of values (no points yet). In order to do so we could select the “Series” symbol in the upper section of the screen or we just double click on the work space and type in “Series”. This function will simply create a row of numbers by using some inputs that we also have to define. In our case we want to have input information for the docking points N (Steps) and C (Count). Therefor we select the item “number” in the upper section and place it on our workspace (two times). With a right click on one of these “number-boxes” we enter a menu where we can change the name of the box (in the first line) and the value of the box (“set number”). We change the name and the value of the first one to 8 and the second one to 12. Subsequently we connect the “8” to the “N” and the “12” to the “C” (We don’t have to take care of the “S”). The Series that now has been created can be visualized by using a “Panel” (The yellow item in the upper section).

C) Square Grid of Points

With this series we want to go ahead and create a square grid. In order to do so we double click again and type in “Cross Reference”. Both the input-ports A and B of the “CrossRef” will now be feed with our series. Still there is nothing visible on the Rhino screen. This will change with the next step. We now want to place a point on each element of the grid. Type in “construct point” (not just “point”!) and connect the A-Output of the “CrossRef” with the X-Input of the “Point-Box” and the B-Output with the Y-Input. As soon as these connections are done a field of points will appear in Rhino.

D) Random sized Boxes form the Manhattan Skyscrapers

Still there are no actual objects present. So we continue by placing a “domain box” in the usual way (double click and typing in the word). This one has four inputs. The first one (B) will define the position of the box which will be created. Because we connect this one to the “Point-Output” each of the points in the field will now serve as a basis for a box. The other three inputs form the size of the boxes. We don’t want them all to look the same nor do we want to spend hours of typing in numbers. That is why we use the function “Random” now (create it two times). By the way, an input must not necessarily origin from another object. Actually we can also right click on the input-letter itself. By doing so we click “R” and choose “set domain”. We give the first random variable a range from 2 to 7, and the second one from 5 to 30 (That’s the part where you will return to later and play around). In the same way we give “N” a value that is at least as high as the number of boxes we create. So here we chose 144 (“N” defines how many random numbers are created. And we want all the boxes to have a number of their own).

We are almost through. Now attach the “Random-Box” that carries the range 2-7 to the X and the Y input of the “Box-Box” (this way all the boxes/skyscrapers will have a square ground area). The other random number is connected to the Z-Input and will therefore make up the height of the buildings. Take a look at the Rhino Screen and see what has happened.

Now right click onto the “box-box” and select “bake”. E Voila! The created objects have now been exported to Rhino and you can work with them as you are used to. Nice downtown-Area!

E) The Finish

The remaining work is done in in Rhino with the tools you might be familiar with. I simply created a tile of the demanded border length. Then I imported a picture of Manhattan to get its correct shape. I placed the Skyscrapers onto the corresponding spots and lowered the height of those that belong to the “village”. In “Downtown” and “Middletown” I adjusted the heights more upwards. This is also a task you might want to play around with a little. At last I picked one building to be the new world trade center and made it become the highest in the scenery. And that’s it. Ready to print.

13.12.14 20:17

Project: Laser Cut Airplane

The Task:

Choose a three dimensional object and build it in Rhino3D. Export the model and cut it into slices using the Autodesk Make software. The generated parts will then be cut out of cardboard with a laser-cutting-machine. Subsequently assemble the model and present it in class.

Step 1: Choose an Object:

Since the technique of slicing a model and subsequently cutting the parts allows to build relatively large scaled objects in a reasonable amount of time I was trying to think of a mostly convex body that would emphasis the few restriction in regard to dimension. I came up with the idea of an airplane. It appears to me that the plane is an interesting object not only for its technical aspects but also in its shape and ratios. The body and turbines are massive and convex, what is good for the designated procedure. The wings will also account for a lot of volume while they also give the object a touch of complexity and fragility. The wide spread slightly curved wings even provide an impression of elegance and dignity.

Step 2: Building a Modell in Rhino3D

When creating this model I was just about to take the first steps in Rhino3D. So it took me a while to figure out the needed tools. On the other hand, the decent complexity of the object seemed to just fit right for my level of understanding the program. I ran into some trouble with joining the single parts together (an uncertainty that a still haven’t overcome completely).

Step 3: Slicing the Model via Autodesk Make

The software provides a very nice and user-friendly interface to turn the model into various outputs that subsequently can be brought to reality. Due to the dimension of the plane with its relatively high ratio of x- and y- length over diameter I found the stacking technique to be the most appropriate one. With the given size of cardboard and a wingspan of 42 cm the software calculated 56 pieces.

Step 4: Cutting out the Slices by using a Laser-Cutter

Step 5: Assembly of the Model

I mounted one layer on the next by using a glue stick. The assembly was very much simplified by the fact that a number was engraved on each piece indicating the correct order. Beside additional orientation marks each slice contained four little holes. Those help a lot to get them in the right position. Two of these holes match perfectly with two corresponding ones on the piece beneath. The other two fit with corresponding holes in the part above. So for each slice you can use two pins to find the right position. The assembly in total took me around two hours. All together I am quite satisfied with the result.

9.12.14 02:53

Suggestions for the DigiFab-Studio

At the moment there are a few technologies of digital fabrication that allow students of visual art to bring their computer aided models to reality. Among them there obviously are the 3D printers in the studio using the technique of fused deposition modelling. Furthermore students have access to a CNC mill and to two laser cutters in the architecture building. These facilities provide impressive opportunities and can produce stunning results.

However there are many more technologies to be discovered. The expression “3D printing” is striking and easy to remember. But in the way the word is used it is being narrowed down to FDM-machines. As a generic term “additive manufacturing techniques” would be more appropriate. FDM is just one of many processes. It seems curious that another technology is really called 3D printing. But they are not the same!

So among the different techniques there is the Stereolithography. Both the Laser-Scanning-Processing and the Digital Light Processing are subgroups of Stereolithograpy. Another big group is formed by machines of Layer Laminate Manufacturing. They will cut out pieces of solid but very thin material and will place one layer on top of the other. Instances of this type would be Laminate Object Manufacturing and Meatal Laminated Tooling. The original 3D-Printing also uses an alternative functionality. It processes powder that is hardened with a special type of binder. And of course there is the Selective-Laser-Sintering that uses a high energy light beam to melt the work material.

All of the mentioned technologies have their advantages and disadvantages regarding speed of making; accuracy in x,y-dimension; accuracy in z-dimension; workable materials; need of support material; stability of the product; and other specific characteristics.

A profound investigation of the technologies’ pros and cons could provide valuable insights. I am convinced some of them can largely contribute to the work of artists. Of course on the other hand the financial needs for the technologies have to be evaluated. A financial analysis could be the purpose of a following article.
7.10.14 04:46

8.9.14 22:04

3.9.14 22:17

DIY Digifab: Projekt 1

Text: "Have another great day at PennState!"
28.8.14 03:59

DIY Digifab: Research 1

Artist: Weilun Tseng

The artist has produced a set of modular components using 3D-printing technology. Depending on how the components are linked to each other they will form a diversity of usefull technical devices, such as a lamp, a hair dryer, a coffee warmer and many more.

What I like about the work of Tseng is that he is not only using the rapid manufacturing technology to create a nice looking tool. He applies the process to create objects that fulfill basic technikal functions (heating, lighting etc.). Further more he has made up a smart design of these components so that they can be reassambled. This change in the assambling leads to a completely different application which actually is a very clever idea with a stylish implementation on top!
28.8.14 03:52

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