New Making Projects

Skin Crawling Device

Having never been to the Edinburgh Fringe festival myself, I was amazed to learn about the millions that flock to edinburgh each year. In 2018 2.7million tickets were sold at the Fringe alone. Despite being a successful attraction, bringing in lots of jobs and financial growth to Scotland, I couldn’t help but question the issues regarding this mass growth of the population. 

What stood out the most to me was the desruption to daily life. In a variety of news articles, Edinburgh Fringe is compared to a ‘theme park’, which highlights the extent of change Edinburgh endures, which the locals also have to endure. 

The idea of having to go about your day but being burdened with trying to avoid the crowds of people outside your front door almost made my skin crawl. I felt an overwhelming amount of sympathy for the locals.

I wanted to move away from the idea of creating a souvenir for the fringe and focus on creating a device specifically for the locals. I wanted to create a handheld device that locals would take with them they left the house. This device would act as a warning for when they are approaching an over populated area.

Using GPS, the closer the device gets to a crowd of people will determine how quickly the skin will ‘crawl’.

The idea of trying to replicate skin came from the initial idea of trying to mirror some sort of physical aspect of walking through the streets of Edinburgh during the fringe. ‘People’ as a whole are mirrored through this flesh like material.

The skin was designed to create levels of creepiness, data therefore is measured in terms of creepiness. The creepier and more grotesque the device becomes, the larger the crowd that approaches, the more put off or ‘grossed out’ the locals become and more aware that they should avoid the area in front of them.

Servo motors on the inside create the movement of the skin

Using Arduino I was able to program the servo motors to simply move up and down creating the pulling and releasing of the skin which then creates the allusion that the skin is crawling.

Using the skills I had learnt from the previous project in Meshmixer, I was able to manipulate and create a base for the device that mirrored that of organic matter. The lumps and bumps further mirror the clusters of overpopulated areas.

Skin trials:

I experimented with both latex and silicone and found that latex had the best physical properties that mirrored that of human skin. Using foundation I was able to replicate similar skin tones and create a more realistic interpretation.

New Making Projects

Exploring possibilities with the 3D printer

Although in many ways this course was for me an exploration into combing materials to create new structures, new forms and new textures, it was also  about exploring the possibilities and limitations of the 3D printer. 

Before this course I had never attempted to use a 3D printer, its rigid style of formatting data into a physical thing was unsettling. 

I had always believed that the 3D printer lacked the organic and natural flare of craftsmanship. 

During the exploration period of this course I found myself drawn to the idea of natural forms and organic shapes which were closely inspired by artists such as Antony Gormley and Margaret O’Rorke who had played with this idea and transcended it through there use of sculpture. 

Antony Gormley
Margaret O’Rorke

From being inspired by this I then discovered the possibilities of organic shapes and forms that I too could create using 3D software. 

I converted simple primitive shapes into their wire frame version which I immediately took note of its similarities to a cell like structure. 

It was this organic scaffolding that I believed to be too complicated for the 3D printer to create without using support material. 

The slight over-hangings of the shape itself was also a worry of mine, would the print fail? Would the PLA droop down causing residing gaps which would deform the shape? 

Many Failed Attempts

After many attempts at printing this simple form I began to notice the changes that occurred with each iteration of the print. Although all attempts were programmed on the same file, not one iteration was the same, they were all unique. 

This could be for multiple reasons but I  believe that there is something organic and natural about this event which I believe to be quite interesting. 

To further enhance these already organic prints I combined it with a plaster mixture to explore the ways the two materials would react to one another.

The plaster in its most liquid state merely leaked through the holes of the wire frame and created a puddle beneath the structure. However as the plaster began to thicken it linked itself on to the frame creating  a thin coating which can be seen taking shape of the actual frame it self. 

With the combination of 3D print and a traditional practice I was able to further explore the possibilities of creating an organic form.