Development Diary: Earth Antenna

 

  • December 2016: Successfully tested the Peristaltic Pump system to shift liquid clay. The 12v pump shifted the 2 litres of substrate up a height difference of 230cm in about 20 minutes. The pump needed to be stopped and started several times to help move the dense liquid, and occasionally I switched to  water to clean the system. Need to consider first a higher voltage and then a more powerful pump. Another problem-solver is to remove some clay solvent at the tower top, although that might limit how seeds fit into this process.
  • November 2016: The telescopic tower structure works, and I have built a large pentagonal plinth base for it. Here is a task list for the next phase of work.
    • strengthen leg supports with additional bars ready for the mega-heavy plaster top
    • add method to secure the top to the bottom to avoid slipping off
    • remove telescopic section from the current base, and install the current base on a new pentagonal inner platform. around this platform will be the pvc substrate tubes on a rotating dolly (to aid refills)
    • make the arduino wifi-ready so that the joystick controller can be located elsewhere
  • October 2016: Success! (gallery) After constructing a pentagonal base plinth to make the tower more stable than the laser-cut plinth, the EA’s two-segment telescopic-spine (E.A.T.S.) works. It is connected to a PS3 joystick which gives the signal to move up or down. There was a problem with the wiring – in the end all the H-Bridge drivers use the same signal cables, and share a power source, and the wiring got fiddly at one point. In the name of tradition, I forgot to earth the UNO and that also cost a day of dismantling and head-scratching… Once it was working it ground to a squeaky halt which I later found out was due to dry glue on one screw-rod leg.
  • September 2016: The telescopic-spine idea has been revised, and Joan has sent me the latest two-segment cut. I am now putting the pieces together, and wiring it up as tidily as possible.
  • August 2016: The idea that has shown most promise is the vertical screw-bar (very similar principle to the X,Y control in a traditional printer). This month I raised my first EA segment 60 cm into the air. Now the design is being revised, and an additional segment will be added.
  • August 2016: I went to La Bisbal with J and bought some clay dust to use as a primary ingredient in the EA substrate. The associated mechanics are still a little mysterious to me although I am proceeding with the syringe concept.
  • July 2016: Abandoned the scissor-life ant laser-cut a rack and cog based tripod segment for the EA telescopic spine. Very unstable. Considering other options.
  • July 2016: Begin creating a 3D model of the EA project in Blender.
  • June 2016: Work on the UAL Drawing Plotter has catapulted the EA forwards too. Laser cutting parts on Joan’s machine enables me to prototype hundreds of times faster than I was able to before. I have full-on returned to the physical structure of the EA project for the first time since 2012! Developing ideas for the central telescopic-spine.
  • March 2016: Working on 3 stage AJAX framework to contain EAMM (Sycolocode) – Scraper (extracts data from web locations), Sycolocode (processes raw data and outputs variables), Viewer (uses processed-data to create generative art).
  • October 2015: Begin the rebuild of the sycolocode (name now changed) away from AS3 and into AJAX, and server-based technologies.
  • September 2015: Completed the telescoping spine using pneumatics, and a scissor lift structure. Striking how much easier things became after opting for LEGO power source in place of standard one.
  • 07 Jan 2015: Marcos got in touch and told me that he has completed the Java code foundation of the project – linking the motor to the screen via an arduino. My plan is to use a lego model in the Espelt exhibition, a wooden model in the Girona exhibition. After that we´ll see.
  • 02 Jan 2015: The current design of the mechanical system is technically called a worm-gear  powered scissor-lift. Lots of torque from a small motor with slow and controlled up/down motion. The hydraulic system is slightly more mysterious at the moment and several ideas are in play although a similarity is that any pressure creation will come from an extremely high-torque motor in order to move the substrate – I will be using a type of dough in my future experiments.