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Date archive for: November 2015

intro to fab / week 04 – enclosure

this week homework was to build an enclosure and since i had to build an enclosure to my final project for cooking with sound class, i decided to make its enclosure! i needed to make an enclosure with some compartments because this project only works if i have my 1)computer with a software running on it; 2)headphones plugged on my computer,so that you can hear the sounds this patch is creating; 3)arduino board + breadboard, that reads all the values from three 4)sensors (a slide pot, a regular pot and a toggle switch) and send to the software.

i thought this would be a great opportunity to go and build it from scratch. so i started sketching this enclosure sandwich to understand the size of the pieces of wood and acrylic as well as how they all would fit in properly.

but summing up in a gif my day attempting to build an enclosure from an open box: i would need much more time and practice to make it from scratch to do the way i wanted to do.



so i took Ben’s advise and went to the container store and got this solid paper box:


this box came flat and with some holes to put pins and assemble the box. for this project, i knew i wanted to have the top of the box in acrylic, to have the sensors popping out of a reflective surface. so i used the lid of the box to cut out a surface that divides the box interior. i was able to create wholes on this new surface and attach them with the already existing wholes, creating this “layer” just for the arduino and the breadboard, leaving space for the wires circulate from the laptop to the arduino and vice-versa. i also did a whole on the front side of the box, through which the headphone wire came out.introtofab_04_06

then, i measured all of my sensors and screw sizes and tested slighty different measures on the laser cutter. this is definitely something worth doing because laser cutter cuts with acrylic are pretty tricky.


now that i have all my sizes ready, i was able to laser cut my acrylic lid and assemble it to the box.


tada! it actually needs some final tweaks because 1) the lid is loose / didn’t figure out how to put the bolts on the end of the screws to close the box, 2)the sides are a bit sag and therefore opening and 3) i haven’t figured out a way of opening the box without having to unassembled the whole box. i’ll work on this next week, let’s see how it goes!


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cws / final update 03


after a good time spent on the internet attempting to understand how the communication between arduino and puredata works through firmata library + pduino, i was able to find a much much simpler way to make the communication between both programs (yes!!). the arduino gets the sensor values and the puredata patch receives those values and using the split object, it can detect each of the values according to it own range. it did communicate well and do what i intend to do BUT it seems that there’s some interference between the sensors (if i change one of them, all of the other parameters change as well).


int val1;
int val2;
int val3;

void setup() {
  pinMode(A1, INPUT);
  pinMode(A0, INPUT);
  pinMode(8, INPUT);
void loop() {
  val1 = analogRead(A0);
  val2 = analogRead(A1);
  val3 = digitalRead(8);

  val1 = map(val1, 0, 1023, 20, 50);
  val2 = map(val2, 0, 1023, 5, -1);





and another good progress was the enclosure/final format of the final. it’s still needs some final tweaks but basically is this big black box below. since i want to talk about how sound can be a matter can create some kind of disorientation, i decided that this experience shouldn’t have any kind of orientation – just the sensor over there, ready to be fooled around according to the user’s will.


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penelope / weaving loom prototyping

i worked on the last two weeks on a prototype in different scales for the weaving loom. it’s been a very intense process of doing, testing, rethinking and doing a new version. i’ve never weaved before this but i have experience in manual crafts and though it wouldn’t be that hard to weave. it is not, but to think how a machine can weave is more challenging than expected for sure.

prototype 01. small, full weaving


successes – i was able to weave, the frame works well;

failures – was able to cross the thread on the horizontal axis, not in ther vertical axis.


prototype 02. alternate crossing, small (long) loom, test weaving



sucesses: was able to also make the threads vertical axis to cross

failures: using two wood pieces to alternate them lock the crossing in the middle of the weaving canvas.


prototype 03. big frame (actual size), test weaving



sucesses – the vertical axis crossing happened by just a back and forth movement;

failures – the crossing of the lines was not high enough to make the weaving to start at the top of the frame and i would lock the weaving if i have some kind of wood piece crossing the threads on the horizontal axis.


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cws / final update 02

quick update over the final: i reflected about what to do with the idea of disorientation and i feel that the idea is to create a experience in which the user leads to its own disorientation by controling the frequencies, as well as the phase shifting difference and the “direction” of the frequencies (which goes to each channel). to make it more individual but also comfortable, i decided to create this object without labels for the switches, and to use it the pillow invites the user to sit there in a comfortable position.


the next step is to connect the puredata batch with arduino (through firmata library). i’ll post when i have news about it!

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intro to fab / week 03 – laser cutter

for this week we were introduced to the laser cutter. it was the first machine i learned how to use when i started to the shop – i know how to use it, but there’s a lot of learning by testing different settings and materials. during the class we were introduced to other techniques to work with acrylic and i was quiet interested on the heating machine, to make angles and distortions on the acrylic by (as expected) heating it up.

i’ve been testing a prototype of a rigid heddle for a loom (my pomp + icm final) and this week i laser cutter two versions of it. i decided i wanted to use the acrylic shapes that were cut out from the acrylic sheet to make something with it, working with the heating machine to make some kind of jewelry with the stick shapes.


introtofab_03_04at first i started playing with the heating, putting the acrylic pieces in different angles over the heating area (varying the area to be heated) as well as understanding how long it took to heat enough to be soft, how it would be to bend / twist things at the same time etc. i find it very interesting to be able to shape the material due to its malleability, but the heating machine requires patience. it’s like making a barbecue out of acrylic: leave a while, flip it, wait, flip it again, blend slightly on the machine to see if it’s soft, repeat. i played for a while with the timing and areas that were heated, what i was able to make with those and with modified shapes (which should come first, i.e. bending or twisting etc).

then, after deciding which shapes i liked better, i decided to sketch some variations of necklaces with cotton thread and the acrylic modified shapes. after i pick some of the sketches to execute, i’ve realized that i should have put some wholes on the illustrator file, to be able to tie it on the thread. so what i ended up doing was to make wholes with the power drill at the shop.

so the process of making the necklaces that to happen in this order:

1) get the flat acrylic and make the number of the wholes needed with the power drill;

2) put the acrylic piece on the heating machine, at first the bending areas and later the twisted / not straight angles areas;

3) tie it with the cotton thread.

here are the 3 necklaces! i thought it was very interesting to mix materials and i definitely want to explore the heating machine more (as well as the laser cutter). again, planing would help me / save me time. the fact that i knew what kind of shapes i wanted to get were a good guide to understand how to work with a new machine – and also the fact that i had a good number of acrylic pieces to test all kinds of bending/twisting combinations.


and when i was tying the fourth necklace, i realized that actually the way the pieces were bended they worked very well as a “lock” for the necklace. they fitted each other in a way that once you cross them, it’s hard to get loose ; and also is a much more interesting locker than the regular one.


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intro to fab / week 02 (or how not to trust the band saw)

for this week’s assignment we had to make multiples objects – focusing on how to make it, documenting the process and steps as much as possible. a little background: for my pcomp and icm final, i’m doing a weaving loom that weaves during the day and unweaves during the night. at first I wanted to make some loom heddles, but before the heddles i needed to make the loom frame and the structure(check for p-comp futures posts about the evolution of my loom). my last version of the loom was an open frame, in which you have combs that fit one another – so my multiples are the part of the comb and even though they are just rectangles, the process of making it was pretty different from what i thought it would be.

so I needed to get wood and went to Metropolitan lumber & hardware to get some plywood. i asked them to cut it in parts, which was better to transport (didn’t make the wood lighter though) but thoguht it owuld be a better idea to cut the smaller parts on the band saw that we have at the shop. not a good idea.


after i marked all the wood and cut all of the pieces, i’ve realized that they were not straight. all of them were banded (ha). which to fit, it wouldn’t be the best thing to be – so i had to file them in the power sander.

the bigger piece of wood in which i’d attach the smaller ones i cut on the bigger/vertical saw we have on the shop. because the piece was too small, it didn’t cut all of it on the first time; i had to turn it 180º and cut it again. kind of risky and didn’t cut exactly where it had cut before, so i had to file it.


great! next step: drilling and screwing. so i marked the foundation piece of wood, creating the space needed between them and also marked with a pencil where i needed to makes drills on the smaller pieces to 1) make the thread go by and 2) screw the screws. with the speed square was pretty easy to make the marks and be sure they would be on the right spots.


intro-to-fab_05i got some screws from the shop that i thought would be a good fit but they ended up being a little bit bigger than expected; i ended up just leaving them a little bit taller than the wood, which worked but it’s definitely not the finishing that i want for the final version. for now, all good, i have a functioning weaving loom!


now that i had the frame and the “comb”, it was time to assemble it all together. and that’s when i realized , after screwing everything, that i actually had to have a +1 small piece of wood. for the purpose of prototyping is fine, but for sure i have to work on my planning skills. part of the clumsiness of this project is due to my lack of planning of the project and improvising.



i’m also curious about the plywood, if there’s a way to prepare it to be used. i had some issues with tiny pieces of it acidentally cutting me or getting in my fingers. should i file all of it before using?

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cws / final update

this week i was able to progress on my final! I got the simple patch I had done on Puredata that i’ve posted here last week and connected it to two speakers, to see how it would work spatially speaking. when i’ve put the speakers to work i didn’t have the situation i expected. the frequencies were everywhere and because they were not exactly close from the user, they didn’t cause the desired effect. even though what i had in mind in the beginning is to work with a physical installation that occupies a big space,  i decided to work in a more personal scale: the piece will work with headphones.

after doing that first version of the patch and developing over the concept of disorientation, i decided i wanted to develop further the code on pd in a way that the user will have power over the experience – but in a disoriented/blind manner.With the help of Aaron , one of my ITP fellows, i was able to make the Puredata code much more controable for the user. There’s a slider to control the frequency as well as a switch to control to change the frequency that is emitted in each of the channels.

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 11.02.05 PM

when i put people to listen to it, there were some diverging experiences: while some people could definitely feel out of balance, other could feel anything at all (or feel the phase shifting effect). i think that it will be valid for the experience to orient people to wait for a while until disorientation (i’ve realised that the ones who couldn’t feel anything didn’t stay long with the headphones). next steps: connecting puredata with arduino as well as keep on thinking what can make the experience more vivid and comfortable.

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intro to fab / flashlight

this week we were introduced to driller/drill bits, how to use them and which one to use for specific materials or effects. it was very interesting to get to know techniques to drill other materials than wood.

for the assignment we had to build a flashlight and i decided to make a low tech flashlight with a match. so the idea is that you have to turn it on by flicking the support of the match, against a surface that makes it light up.

i had some issues to think how the mechanism would work and i was only able to make it when i started to prototype it. i started by doing the support to put the match, creating wholes to fit it inside it as well as some others to hold it on it and on the outside structure. as soon as I had the match fixed, I was able to see what kind of pieces I’d need and others that I didn’t.


I used  two different drill bits we had at the shop, one to make the whole to fit the match and the other to put the screws to assemble the flashlight. And then, when I started assembling it I’ve realized that some measures were slighty different than they should be. It was fine because I was able to be creative and see how to manage those, putting some foam where the piece was smaller and gluing a wood extension to the bigger piece.

it was a fun process to make it and it was good to understand how necessary it is to plan the project before starting to fabricate it. here’s a video of the flashlight working:



cws / week 10 – sample composition + final progress

ahoy! for this weeks’ assignment we should work with some prerecorded sounds of an object we would like to record (forgot to post about it, sorry!!). my object was my bike, more specifically the bike in movement – which was interesting to record (a lot of effort on techniques to record it without putting the zoom recorder at risk and/or putting it in a way that it would get as less noise as it could).

i did several recordings of my way home > itp and vice-versa. they are all long recordings, which after hearing them over and over i felt that the moment that translated better for me what it is to bike are the most silent moments (fyi specially at night at the cross between bedford ave and clymer st). becausing biking around for me is the moment where i end up reflecting a lot about everything. so the silence for me seems to be the moment that i can truly be focused on what biking is to me.

so i took a look at the spectrum of one of the recordings on audition, to see which was the quietest part of it / has less frequencies.

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 6.55.46 PM

i exported that part (the darker area on the image) and used my wish of making it last longer as the main purpose of my composition. using audacity, i felt a bit overwelmed and couldn’t figure out the difference between with or without effects, but i was able to work with equalization and making the sound longer. it became this weird out of space metalice sound, which i really liked because it sounds a bit like a meditation sound that helps you to focus. you can check the original and the composition version here:


[soundcloud url=”″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]



Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 11.05.37 PM

worked on the pure data patch working, but i’m thinking of making it more controllable by the user. talking with ted today to see what he thinks about it!


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icm + p-comp final / penelope

title Penelope

what is it A tapestry loom that weaves and unweave according to sunrise and sunset, referring to an excerpt of Homer’s The Odyssey in which Penelope delays an unwished fate by choosing to decide to which of her suitors she would marry once she finishes the burial shroud for Odysseus’s elderly father Laertes.


kickstarter point Although there’s a romantic aspect on this story, my interest in this passage of The Odyssey is focused on the fact that it exhibits women empowerment through subtle actions – specially in a mythological context in which the woman are not only submitted to fate, but also to the misogynous dominance of men over decisions.

description A tapestry loom that weaves when the sun rises and unweaves the same piece when the sun sets. The white thread on the loom refers to ancient greek burial rituals in which the deceased would be dressed in a full length white shroud – as if the closer the loom gets to have the piece done, the more Penelope is confined to her own imprisionement.


audience The audience of this work is every person interested in art, installations, conceptual work and mythology.

questioning pt1 Penelope weaves during the day and during the night, when there’s no one watching, she unweave it. When one of her maids accidentally sees her unweaving, she tells Icarus and Penelope is uncovered. I thought that maybe adding this to the installation in a way that if someone goes through the piece when it is unweave the loom would break…what you guys feel about this idea? Any other suggestions on how or if I should add this to the piece?



Ligia Pape – Ttéia 1C / Site-specific installation using steel wires and lighting in a room, creating a very aerial and immersive environment.

Clotho – CADU / Performance with two women (each one on a corner of a room) in which one does crochet while the other undoes it.


Falha – Renata Lucas / Site-specific installation in which the “flexibility” of the wooden objects are an invitation to the public to intervene and transform the piece.

Fragmented Memory – Phillip Sterns / woven tapestries made out of raw binary data from the computer/s physical memory.

questioning pt 2 any ideas on how I can automate the loom (it’s going to be a simple one)? how can make it more clear that the loom will only weave when is day and unweave during the night, considering the fact that the public won’t see it for the full 24hrs ?

I think most of my questionings are also a question over how far can we go with technology without being overwhelmed by it, finding a balance on creating a very dense installation without extrapolating on technological tool…help out, would love to hear your thoughts over it!!

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