Up & Down

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Inspired by the fantasy of controlling pixel moving up and down physically, I created this installation with a start of making a linear actuator . The secret behind this “force” movement is the the Infrared distance sensor that measures the distance and transfer into analog value, then I just simply mapped the analog value to the stepper motor. With a couple more functions to add on the arduino sketch, the pixel is ready to be lifted up and down by moving your hands in the same fashion.

Here is the process of how this thing was made. So I continued working on the linear actuator that I made prior to that, and before starting to build this installation, I tested the mechanism of my linear actuator just to make sure all the parts are able to nicely work together.

Wiring up the stepper motor is not as easy as the DC or the Servo since each wire has a order, and this time I have to figure it out manually by holding the thread and feel the direction of the rotation for each steps it takes. After a couple try out, I finally got four spins to the same rotation and had the carriage to go freely on the rail that I made.

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Once the panel board is ready with all the wiring and coding, I attached it on the back of the actuator and fastened with screws and washers.

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A enclosure that covers up the wiring at the back could be a good idea, so I laser cut a acrylic sheet and bended it into a cover that protects the arduino and the circuit. The front pixel block was also laser cut out and installed.

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Originally I made a hook for it, but after a good amount of time that I spent on finding a good place to hang, I decided to make stand for it not only because there is nowhere to hang but also a stand would make the thing more steady.

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I was lucky enough to find my left-over IKEA parts useful for my project, so I got 4 brackets and they are perfect for holding my piece.

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Lastly, I built a little mount for the infrared sensor in the front, so that people could interact with it freely.

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Measuring, sanding and adjusting was heavily applied while building the piece, since those attentions on details not only got my piece functioning smoothly, but also made it clean and neat which nicely meets my personal aesthetic. From this project, I was able to learn a lot such as motor, mechanism, physical computing and fabrication, they were truly benefiting and I hope those things that I learn will support me on making better pieces in the future.

One thought on “Up & Down

  1. Great job. This really came together nicely. Mechanisms, as you know, are difficult to make. Any one thing can go wrong and the whole project won’t work. I hope you keep up with making machines.

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