In our third week we have further experimented with fritzing and the possibilities which it gives us, as the users. Our aim for this week was to create a circuit board using a milling machine (PCB).
We started by creating a circuit using fritzing. And then using the PCB tab to create the files necessary for milling (etchable SVG).
Once the file has been exported in different layers which are necessary for the process to work I have then tweaked the design using illustrator.
Final designs then needs to be transferred into online software provided by Fab Lab (THE WEBSITE) where the tool position, depth of the cut and the track which the tool will follow get established.
During the process of making our First PCB board as a class we have encountered a serious problem. Because the machine was milling rather than drilling, it caused the component holes to be bigger than desired in order for them to fit in tightly. We have then experimented and tried to reduce the holes by making the circles on the drawing as small as possible which provided better results each time as can be seen from those photographs:
However, the holes have still turned out to be too big. We have learnt the necessary skills but unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to produce a perfect PCB because we did not have the tool necessary for the machine.
In the Second week of the field project we began by looking at basic electronics. Simple circuits such as this one where the LED is lit:
We have also begun to look at the use of Arduino boards and programing. Using software such as Fritzing where libraries of components are available for the user in order to create all kinds of different circuits from easy and simple ones like the one above to more complicated ones which use many more components. This Knowledge will come in handy when I begin to look at how to create my circuit for the lamp which I am going to produce.
In our second week of Field we have also been taught how to solder components together, for example, wires, LED’s, battery packs etc.
The assignment task given to us by Alexandros asked the group to create 3D representations of letters and symbols which will spell out ‘FAB FIELD!’ not only that, they also had to light up!
I have been given the exclamation mark symbol to create. I have begun to create my files in illustrator. And then laser cut all the components.
Once I have laser cut all the components I have sanded the sides of the top part of the exclamation mark to 45 degrees in order to mitre joint them and glue the parts using solvent cement due its great properties of bonding plastics thanks to the capillary action. The glued parts are shown bellow. The final photograph also shows the symbol with and Arduino and a blinking LED in the base.
My name is Patryk Glowacki and I have been previously involved in a project which had to follow the Fab Lab ideology.
In pairs we had to design a desk lamp for which all the files will be available with a set of instructions and somebody else in the world who can access a Fab Lab could just download the files and produce their own.
This lamp design idea is quite unusual and bespoke because the main material used is concrete, which doesn’t really seem like a good material to use at the first glance.
The project turned out to be a success after many stressful days and many attempts to produce the final product.
I have now began by BSc course in the second year and would like to challenge my self further by trying to redevelop this lamp or create a new smart model which will follow the design principles of this lamp. However, In the new design, I will attempt to use an Arduino to add extra features in to the lamp such as light or move detectors, light control such as dim/ bright, colour changing and perhaps a thermometer which will show the temperature of the room.
In term two we have begun our first field project which focused on ‘The City’. I began carrying out research into various areas of the city such as the hidden city, power and technology and migration. During my research I have carried out primary and secondary research. I have looked at the ways in which urban foxes migrate around build up area dominated by human presence. I have also looked at the ways in which big cities are monitored by the use of CCTV cameras. I have visited the CCTV control room in Cardiff from which the whole of Cardiff is monitored via an incredible monitoring system and help of the Police. This research experience helped me develop more of an understanding of this project as well as it helped me to understand that in order to get the best information which you need, you have to explore the subject fully and experience it yourself in order to interview people who are involved in the area and know all the weaknesses and have ideas of improving the system.
Once everyone has completed their research, the whole class presented back their findings and area of interest to each other and following on from that we have arranged ourselves into groups with people in our class who have carried out similar research or we have simply been curious about each other’s research. In our group of five we began to combine our research into the migration of wild life and Chernobyl. From this point on we began to research deeper into the radiation in Chernobyl and the wildlife there. The fact that all of our research has been slightly different we managed to combine it well as a team and come up with many different ideas which we have explored and eliminated the ones which we thought to be weak after conversations with lecturers.
After previous group projects we knew that everyone has to turn up on time and we need to stay in contact at all times in case anyone doesn’t know what they are supposed to be doing or in case there are questions or new ideas to be discussed when we are not together. We have therefore started a group chat which helped us manage our communication and everyone participated in it, in order for the good communication to happen. The fact that all of the group members have studied product design made this project easier because we have all had the idea of locating a problem in the area of our combined research and then designing a product in order to resolve the issue.
During the development process of our design we have all looked at each other’s strengths and skills and assigned each other tasks such as building specific parts of the model. Some group members have been better working with certain materials, some of us have been better at animation and some at using the CAD software. However, we have all helped each other and gained new skills. I have definitely enjoyed working with people who I don’t know well or I have not worked with before but share common interests with because the project had a nice flow, the design process was clear and everyone understood what they were doing. I believe that this helped us achieve a very nice model and a strong presentation.
I really liked presenting this project with my group members because everyone has given their opinion and spoke about the parts which they have contributed to. This made the presentation easy and professional in my opinion because each member spoke at the right time when it was necessary for them to explain their part. I have also enjoyed that the audience knew who to address with which questions in order to achieve the best answer because it was clear who did what and which part of the project they are an expert at.
The second field project of term two has been less enjoyable even though similar approach has been taken into account by all the team members as in the first project, everyone knew that one person can bring the whole team down, the only difference between this project to the first one was the fact that my group was combined not only of product designers but also a textile student and fine artists. We have soon found out that all these subjects are similar in a way but they have very different priorities and aims.
I have found it particularly hard to create a brief with my group members because their aim have been different to mine they were not looking to identify a problem and resolve it. The idea was to create a persona, a character from a fictional past, purely based on the objects which they have owned.
We have assigned each other tasks but not everyone understood what they were doing, lack of attendance from some group members meant that people in the group were getting confused or have not been there when significant decisions have been made which then has set everyone behind when for example someone didn’t agree with something which has been agreed during a meeting which they have not attended.
Although the work process was less enjoyable in comparison to the first project I have opened my mind up a bit more because the fine art students have showed some creativity and unusual thinking which intrigued me. Now I like to look at briefs and problems from a different perspective. The final solution does not have to be the easiest way to resolve the problem, the solutions can be creative and complicated.
In term two field projects I have learnt that communication and similar mind sets are a key to a successful group project in my opinion, everyone has to be motivated and aim for the highest which can be achieved. I am glad to have developed my presentation skills more during this experience, I feel more confident when presenting in front of a large group of people, I’m not scared to put my point across and explain my ideas, I have also started to understand CAD more which helped me this year, I was also inspired to explore working with rendering software’s in order to help with my product development and presenting my models.
I would like to try a similar project with people from other disciplines in my second year to now improve up on the last experience and make it better by learning on my previous mistakes from the group work in the second and first field projects.
In the following Lectures we have discussed ideas of Steve Reich and his minimalistic music as well as focused on Ambient music by people such as Brian Eno who is a very interesting and passionate character. Mr Eno says that ‘Perfection is Characterless’ which he explains in many of his videos.
Furthermore, we have looked at soundscape’s and carried out an exercise in which different groups visited specific locations and recorder sounds of those locations and then arranged them in a series of overlapping clips and then played them together creating a piece. We have also looked at the ideas of Muttay Schafer where he explains hot to classify sounds.
During this Period of constellation, the second half of the second term I began to think about my essay and possible questions but I still had no idea how to link sonic arts and product design together and I was very worried about not being able to think of a good enough question which will talk about enough interesting areas but also a question which will get me fully engaged in this piece of work.
I have then thought to maybe not focus on the experimental music but sound in general, This is when I had a meeting with my Constellation lecturer Alexadros where we have discussed the idea of sound design where specific sounds are designed for specific products in order to make them sound better or of a higher quality or even just to make them easier to use. We have then went on to discussing the idea of sonic branding where products are branded/ advertised through the use of sound. I have then decided on a title for my essay ‘ The importance of Sonic Branding and Sound Design in Product Design’ where I would discuss both of these ideas and how useful they are for my subject ( Product Design).
In order to have a better understanding of the area I have done research into Branding and sonic branding in particular as well as looked at examples of products where sound design plays a huge role such as motor vehicles.
I was now happy and satisfied with the title of my essay which I began to write as well as made progress in class in comparison to the first term I feel like I have put in a lot more time and effort into my studies this term which gave me a huge satisfaction and motivated me for the final project in term three on which I hope to work hard on and achieve the best grade I am capable of achieving. I feel like my time management and work ethics have improved over this first year of university which I am happy about but I am also ready to make more improvements and produce more higher quality work in the second year of my product design studies.
During our following lectures we have discussed Max Matthews and his project/ piece ‘Bicycle for two thousand’ as well as interesting pieces such us Alvin Lucier’s ‘I am sitting in a room’ where Alvin sits in a room and records him saying the following sentence: ‘I am sitting in a room’ and then plays it back in the room while recording it again and then playing this version back and recording it again, repeating the process over and over until the material turns into a series of noises and voice is no longer recognized. I found this very interesting and impressed how such a simple idea creates such an interesting and abstract outcome.
We have also explored Bill Fontana’s acoustical vision of the golden gate bridge where the noise of the bridge has been captured and arranged into a piece. furthermore we have looked at compositions such as David Byrne’s talking heads and Lejaren Hiller’s ‘lilac suite for string quarter 1956/’57’ this piece has been composed on the computer where the computer arranged the sounds.
we have also carried out an exercise where we have sat in the room in complete silence and noted down everything we could hear, this exercise showed us how hard it is to achieve complete, absolute silence. Furthermore, this exercise highlighted how ambitious John Cage’s idea of silence is and made me realize that there is more to experimental music than just noise and series of sounds. This simple exercise showed me that something might seem strange or odd might have an interesting story which can be very interesting or inspiring. By this point of our lectures I didn’t see a way in which those lectures could help me in my subject however the stories and ideas of the legends of experimental music were very inspiring and motivated me to do more work and work towards my goals which payed off with a’First’ in my class field project which made me feel very satisfied however I still had to improve my work ethics and change around the way in which I study and arrange my time to get the most benefit.