Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Create A Tool (in progress)

I wasn't exactly sure at first if I wanted to create a tool or a toy. I don't want to created something too simple. I would like to create something with a motor, some wires, some lights, a battery and I would also need a switch. I would like to create a design just for a creative touch. The main idea is to create something that is powered or moves by a circuit. I want to build a parallel circuit so if one light breaks, the circuit will still work. If one light in a series circuit breaks, it will be completely useless.

After proposing my idea to the class, my teacher said that you can sew wires into clothing or something like that. I remember someone created clothing that changed color with heated wires in the clothing. Later on, I got the idea of putting lights in clothing.

After talking about this to a friend, she suggested to create a jacket for people who ride their bicycles at night. At night you can see the reflectors of the bicycle, but you can barely see the person riding it. I already had an idea in my head of what a jacket with lights would look like, so I created a sketch of how I want the jacket to look like. I also sketched what kind of materials I should use to create the circuit and how to keep the circuit from moving in the jacket. This could be a useful tool for the people who ride their bicycles at night. *(I am sorry that the image is upside down, there are flip options).

This week I tried to get started on the project and went out to buy materials. I already had some batteries at home, so I decided to use those for the project. I went to a store where they sell electrical parts and asked someone who worked there for the parts I was looking for to create my circuit. The man who worked there showed me some wires that already have lights on them. I bought some different color lights just in case the ones with the wire weren't bright enough. I also bought two switches, an on/off switch and a push button switch. My idea is to see which switch will work better with the circuit and I also want it not to stick out to much, just to blend in with the jacket almost. I told him that I wanted to make a battery powered circuit and he suggested I should get a holder for the battery. He also suggested to be careful what kind of battery I choose because the voltage might be too powerful and might explode. When I asked him for advice on putting wires into clothing, he suggested that I use longer wires so the circuit extends to the sleeves of the jacket too. I wanted to sew the circuit wires to the jacket but I was advised to use electrical tape instead.

Since the circuit is going to be in the jacket, I was thinking of adding an extra layer of material just so that the circuit doesn't scratch or heat the person's back/arms. The lights should be seen outside the jacket, so I was thinking of cutting out small holes and have the lights stick out of the jacket. The lights outside the jacket should have some kind of protection so they don't fall out of the jacket and to hide the circuit on the inside if it shows. For a creative touch, I want to either design a pattern or used a material with a design pattern. I should also research what kind of material is heat resistant so that the circuit does not over heat.

I have already begun trying to build the circuit. At first everything was fine, I got the wire with the light to light up after connecting the right wires. It wasn't long after that I noticed that the battery was overheating a bit too fast. So I decided to take it apart before things got out of hand. I want to ask someone for advice on whether or not I used the right battery or wires.

The problem was the amount of volts, amps, ohms, resistance and electrical current. So I had to do further research to try to get my circuit to work. It might be better if I went with a series circuit instead of a parallel one after all.  Seven lights in a series circuit are too much for an AA battery to power. Then I tried using three lights and a double powered battery, I didn't notice that they light up until I saw the last that the last light was on but it went off. Its just a matter of trial and error with the amount of lights used and the resistance. All I know right now is that one battery might not be enough and two batteries might be too much. Unless I go back to my original idea of a parallel circuit. It might also be easier to create a vest with lights, so I don't have to make a big circuit that takes up more power. I took a picture to remind me which parts of the wires were positive and negative.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Esthetic Objects

Catherine and I took two coat hangers and we started to unbend them. We straighten one coat hanger out almost completely. For the second one we tried to bend it into a spiral shape. We put the two shapes together and tried to put a nylon over it. Putting the nylon over the two coat hanger shapes was hard. We were worried that the nylons would break while we were trying to keep them together.  So we glue gunned the two coat hangers together to keep them in place and not ruin the nylon in any kind of way. We also cut small rectangular metal sheets and bend them at the ends of our object. We did this to keep the nylon on the object and as a decorative touch.

Next Catherine had a creative idea to shape another coat hanger into a star for the next object. We managed to straighten out the coat hanger and bend the coat hanger wire into five places. We glue gunned the two tips together and were able to put the nylon over it. We used small rectangular metal sheets again in order to get the exact look of a star with the nylon over it. Finally we took a piece of string and attached our two esthetic objects together.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Justine and I want to make something simple in order to have the best chance at success. We would most likely use legs and a motor in order to make it move.  Made of legs and the element it attaches to. It will just carry it self and be powered by the motor. We grabbed a bunch of random things and tried to find away to put them together.

Our first idea was to cut a styrofoam in half. We glue gunned a spring to the bottom of the cup.

After testing it with the motor we thought it could work out, it just needed more stability.
We broke two clips in two so we can use them as three legs and tape them to the cup. After testing it we realized the clips we were using for the legs were too heavy.

So we decided to glue gun three popsicle sticks to the Styrofoam cup instead, but one of the popsicle sticks wouldn't stick so we had to tape it.We decided to add sponges the the bottom of the popsicle sticks so it stays more balanced.

After testing it, it just bounced a bit but it was moving pretty well.

Body (motor):
Half a Styrofoam cup

Popsicle sticks
Glue gun glue