Documentation: Neopixel Programming.

Now my ship is fully (well almost, the sail needs attaching now) constructed, it was easier to make a decision on how many neopixels I would need in total, for the night-light. I have devised that I will need 9 in total. 6 for both sides of the ship and 3 going up the mast in order to light up the sail.

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I need to double check something with Aidan tomorrow in Field, regarding if I need the neopixel coding more than once or if that will apply to all 9 of my neopixels. Once this is sorted, I need to collect the arduino from Mal Bennett in Photography, and solder the necessary neopixels together and set it up, then I am finished with the arduino side to my night-light.


Documentation: The Creation of the Viking Vessel Ship.

I was inspired by my interest in past cultures, which led me into the library to visit the section where everything on Viking culture was stored (See post here) which began to inform my ideas. I started to roughly sketch out simple Viking ship designs in my sketchbook, before I was happy on a design that I liked.
field viking schematics

Once I got a design that I was happy with, I emailed Charlie Bull asking for assistance with Adobe Illustrator. I was given a date and time, so before my meeting with her, I mocked up a design sheet to scale, with accurate measurements of what was required to create my outcome for Disobedient Objects. Doing this made mocking it up in Illustrator with Charlie a breeze, as all the measurements and work was already complete. To create the ship schematics, I used the pen tool and spiral tool to create all the shapes that I needed.

viking ship 12

After everything was mocked up in Illustrator, after a few final tweaks when I realised I had not added the necessary slots for the mast and main boat structure into the schematics, it was taken into soft modelling on the first floor with an induction with Joe on how to set the laser cutter up. With one or two re-adjustments of the AI file and the laser cutter, it was sent to cut. The first cutting session took 15 minutes 7 seconds and did not penetrate thoroughly through the acrylic. I sent it to be cut for another 15 minutes 7 seconds, which penetrated all the way through my acrylic sheet this time, and I had the flat pack outcome of my Viking ship that I wanted. Before I could put them together, I had to mark out where I wanted to drill holes for the Neopixels and for the sail fixtures to go through the mast.

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The first issue I encountered with my ‘easy to create’ flat pack design was that in theory, I designed in Illustrator the slots correctly, but I did not account for the fact that in Illustrator, they were a square in size which would have accounted for the slots if they were a square in height. However, I completely spaced about the fact that they would be fitted width ways, not height ways and this led to having to hacksaw through small red blocks of acrylic and glueing them over the right amount of space needed to create a cosy fit so the structural integrity would not collapse completely. This also applied to the mast of the ship, which had the same issue.

Whilst fixing the two base panels into the ship, I found it was still not as structurally secure as I had hoped it would be, so I decided to add in an extra two panels below it. I chose black acrylic for these, because I was still running with the colour association of sweets and at the time, I was thinking of liquorice. Mmm. Once the second set of base panels were fitted, I found it was secure and moved onto securing the mast.

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Before I attached the mast, I began to work on the shields for the vessel. This was of course using melted sweets that I experimented with, earlier in the project. I had so many prototypes that I started cutting out circular shapes with scissors and found a sheet of aluminium did the job for creating the hooks to attach them onto the ship’s structure. I used fantastic elastic glue to secure the hook fixings onto the sweet shields and was immediately pleased with this outcome as my idea was really beginning to form as a 3D outcome right in front of me.

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I acquired these small wood sticks that I thought would be brilliant for the structure of the sail for the ship, and after measuring out how long I wanted them, I sawed off the excess and slotted them through the drilled holes provided. Now that the mast and the sail structure was attached to the rest of the ship’s structural integrity, I moved onto a fun stage of finalising my outcome for Disobedient Objects.

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Using five different types of sweets (gummy bears, jelly babies, jelly snakes, jelly beans, midget gems) from melting more sweets first thing in the morning ready to create the sail, I layered a sheet of baking parchment over a nice curved piece of aluminium. I began to layer the sweets over each other, until I had this amazing sheet of colours swirling together. Once I was happy that I had enough coverage for the sail, I went into Martin Burnell’s workshop in the Maker space and borrowed a heat gun to melt it to fuse it all together.

The next thing to do now is to attach the sail to the ship and edit a pre-existing Arduino coding that I have from my first year’s field project to add more lighting and change the colours to pure white. I then just have to fit the arduino and neopixels onto the ship and it is complete, ready for my summative deadline on Thursday.


Contextualisation: Viking Longships.
(photo source)

The Vikings built fast ships for raiding and war. These ships were ‘dragon-ships’ or ‘longships’. The Vikings also had slower passenger and cargo ships called knorrs. They built small boats for fishing or short trips.

Viking longships could sail in shallow water. So they could travel up rivers as well as across the sea. In a raid, a ship could be hauled up on a beach. The Vikings could jump out and start fighting, and then make a quick getaway if they were chased.

A Viking ship was built beside a river or an inlet of the sea. A tall oak tree was cut to make the keel. The builders cut long planks of wood for the sides, and shorter pieces for supporting ribs and cross-beams. They used wooden pegs and iron rivets to fasten the wooden pieces together. Overlapping the side planks, known as ‘clinker-building’,made the ship very strong. People stuffed animal wool and sticky tar from pine trees into every join and crack, to keep out the water.

To launch the ship, the Vikings pushed it into the water. They slid it over log rollers to make the pushing easier.

A Viking ship had one big square sail made of woven wool. In some ships, the mast for the sail could be folded down. When there was not enough wind for the sail, the men rowed with long wooden oars. To steer the ship, one man worked a big steering oar at the back end, or stern. At the curved front end of the ship was a carved wooden figure-head.

A dragon-ship had room for between 40 and 60 men. The men slept and ate on deck. There was some space below deck for stores, but no cabins.

Vikings sailed close to the coast whenever possible, watching for landmarks. Out of sight of land, they looked for the sun: west (towards the sunset) meant they were headed for England; east (towards the sunrise) meant home to Denmark or Norway. The Vikings invented a kind of sun compass to help find their way. At night they watched the stars. Seamen knew a lot about winds and sea currents. By watching birds or even the colour of the water, an experienced sailor could tell when land was close.


Contextualisation: Philippe Starck to Bompas and Parr

Philippe Starck was discussed for his re-modelling of the Louis XVI chair within my Constellation study group, which kept coming to mind during my thought process for Disobedient Objects.

philippe starck

philippe starck lighting2

After a discussion with Jon Pigott regarding my concept, he suggested I look into Bompas and Parr, who did extraordinary things with food.

bompas & parr

Through researching Philippe Starck and the colour association from Philippe Starck’s work, I developed a new way of thinking as everything I saw I associated with sweets. I started looking at the ways in which re-designing pre-existing designs were accepted by society and tried to think of a way in which to create an art form that could be re-designed into modern society but not be acceptable.

bompas & parr

This led me onto my interests in past cultures and the Viking ships. I aim to re-modernise the Viking ship, into a night-light for children using acrylic and sweets as the base materiality for this outcome. The disobedience is that it goes against the laws of the BSI rules and regulations for electrical safety (BSI Rules & Regs here). If this was sent to a company to mass produce, it would fail BSI’s certification of safe electrical standards because I am using material that is unorthodox for use in an interior design situation. Especially given that it is designed in mind to be a night-light for children, that would be left on all night unattended or maintained, therefore it has a likelihood of being highly flammable from heat exposure and could be highly dangerous for an interior setting.

Disobedient Objects: Sweets Behaving Badly: Prototyping Materiality and Ideas.

For my Disobedient Objects project, given how short of a deadline it is to summative (three weeks), I wanted to explore disobedience in materiality. I was inspired by Adhockism from the first week task in this project of building a catapult and I enjoyed working with wood, so through this, I started to think about unorthodox materiality. This is when I started investigating materials that wouldn’t necessarily be used as materials within art practice. This train of thought led onto me discussing my initial ideas with my friend (and classmate) Heather, who introduced me into the world of sweets as materiality.

It started off with a packet of Haribo starmix and a packet of strawberry laces and baking parchment. And borrowing the department’s microwave in the kitchenette.

This was extremely fun to do, as I never knew what would result in what. It was also fascinating how different sweets – like the foam ones to the gummy ones – react differently to heat and what texture they created. Some looked amazing with light shone through it, whilst others not so much but still were interesting alone without light.

sweets 7sweets 9sweets 10

Another form of experimentation was melting gummy bears in the microwave, before putting another sheet of baking parchment on top to sink into the melted sweets. We gently pried the sheets apart and slowly pulled it down to create this shell form. Unfortunately, it did not remain it’s structural integrity and ended up looking like something else (we’ll come back to that later on).

sweets 11

Heather ended up bringing in fizzy cola bottles and providing me with more materiality exploration. The fizzy cola bottles had an interesting reaction to heat, but, their structural shape gave me another idea for my outcome in Disobedient Objects, where I may take it into a mould to mass produce with something else.

I found the fizzy cola bottles reaction to heat was that they seemed to create a thin, sugary sheet, that was almost transparent except they kept their colouration. I decided to play around with this and integrate different sweets to combine and see what would happen. I had fun ‘trapping’ strawberry laces inside melted fizzy cola bottles, which inspired another aspect of my concept for my outcome within this project. I am extremely pleased with Heather offering the fizzy cola bottles as a suggested material to experiment with.

Going back to the Haribo starmix, I picked out a small prototype of melted gummy bears and made a quick mock-up of a very wonky, wire-structured lamp to test out something I had in mind. I wanted to see how easy it would be to stretch the newfound material over the wire structure, and how much the gummy bears would retract or stick. I was pleased to discover the jelly sweet structures are very malleable and stretchy to begin with, but I also discovered that after a day or so after it was stretched over the wire, the melted material is not so malleable or sticky. It has solidified to an extent.

sweets 12

This series of investigation led onto the next exploration into other sweets and how they reacted to heat and how they could be integrated within my project design. I bought in sherbet lemons, midget gems and jelly beans whilst Heather (who by this point, was just helping me mass-produce prototypes for fun) bought in jelly babies and jelly snakes.

The jelly snakes (ft. what used to be the weird shell structure from above) when melted resulted in incredible colours and glass-blown appearance. The patterns they created when held up to light or had light shone through them was pretty cool, too. Also, you can see how transparent some parts of the gummy bear structure had become, after it collapsed from it’s original form.

sweets 17

I found this material suited the quick nature of my Disobedient Objects project, because the mass-production of prototypes is so quick and easy to do, that I feel like this is the material I want to work in.

The sherbet lemons reacted to heat a lot more differently than I thought they would, although, I am not sure what I was expecting them to react like in the microwave. But I found it fascinating how the sherbet remained in different parts and also was easy to ‘spin’ sugar.

The jelly beans when melted gave the effects of stained glass, and the colours are so vividly refrained when others colouration was simply melted away to sheer plastic appearance.

The jelly babies as can be seen in the photo, the second one within the row, resulted in the same sort of texture and stretchiness as the gummy bears did, however some of the sugar dusting and parts of its structure remained.

The midget gems personally, were my favourite when experimenting with different sweets to melt and stretch, and play around with in general. As you can see from the video, once it is removed from the heat in the microwave, it bubbles and melts from the inside out, but what really attracted my eye was how easy it was to create patterns with the different colours, because they merged together or kept their vivid colours. They’re also so textured and amazing to look at through light.

Contextualisation: BSI (British Standards Institution) Health and Safety rules and regulations for non-electrical components.

Non-electrical components

Components which are not in themselves electrical equipment do not fall within the scope of the regulations. However, the regulations do require electrical equipment to be safe and therefore the components in it should not render it unsafe.

What are your responsibilities as an electrical equipment manufacturer?

The manufacturer is the person – whether established in the European Economic Area (EEA) or not – who is primarily responsible for designing and manufacturing equipment so that it complies with the safety requirements of the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994.

All electrical equipment must be:

  • safe – there should be minimum risk that the electrical equipment will cause death or personal injury to any person or domestic animal, or damage to property
  • constructed in accordance with good engineering practice in relation to safety matters
  • designed and constructed to ensure that it protects against electric shock through protective earthing, double insulation or equivalent
  • designed and constructed to conform with the principal elements of the safety objectives, which are in Schedule 3 of the regulations

Electrical equipment which is constructed to meet the safety provisions of one of the following, in an accepted hierarchy of standards and requirements, will be presumed to comply with the safety requirements of the regulations:

  • harmonised – agreed by the national standards bodies of all the EU member states
  • international – where no harmonised standard exists, a standard published by the International Electrotechnical Commission, which includes the relevant safety objectives of the regulations, details of which have also been published by the European Commission in its official journal
  • national – a published British standard or a published standard of the member state of the manufacturer, where no harmonised or international standard exists

Electrical equipment that doesn’t meet any of the accepted hierarchy of standards, perhaps because it is an innovative product, must still comply with the basic requirement to be safe.

Once you are satisfied that your product meets the requirements of the regulations, you should affix CE marking to the equipment. Or, where that’s not possible – to the packaging, the instruction sheet or the guarantee certificate.

You should also draw up a EC Declaration of Conformity (DoC) and compile technical documentation