Sound Sculpted – Just The Beginning

Here we have the promotional material we have created to be viewed alongside our Sound Sculpted prototype. Take a look and we would love to hear from you.




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Sound Sculpted

As the project nears its end we’ve been working hard to finalise the wheel and unveil it to the world.

In preparation for a press release we worked on a few key images that help to communicate what the product is and what it produces.

Hero Shot

Plan View

User Shot

We’ve also produced a short video to take you through what inspired us, the questions it raised and how we went about answering those questions.

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Playing With Clay

So now we’ve fixed the motors into position and made sure that they simply cannot move it’s time to through some clay into the mix!

If you watched the above video you’ll know that it didn’t really go how we had planned. We made a few adjustments to the arms to stop them from interfering with each and also to make sure they actually hit the clay enough to make some sort of change to its shape. Take 2…

Again, it’s not spectacular but hey, we’ve managed to interpret a song into something physical! If you ever wondered what Mama Do The Hump would look like if it was a clay sculpture and not a song well… now you know.

We still have just over a week left so we’ll play around with a bit more and see what happens.Watch this space!

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Resolved Technical Prototype

After the success of the servos working together with the LDR’s we have been able to start combining our spiral form with our electronics. Below is the first run with us connecting our sculpting arms with the servos.

From this prototype test we were able to make the most informed adjustments. We designed another set of sculpting arms for variety and that better connect with the clay. The programme was also altered to react every 2 seconds rather than a quarter of a second as before. This was to reduce strain on the servos and also create a groove effect on the clay.  Below is the improved prototype playing to Aloe Blacc’s – I need a Dollar.

Our next step is to strengthen the servo motors and create supports for them. When we are satisfied with their strength we can begin creating outputs from clay!

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Technical Prototype

This is our technical prototype for our project to make sure it works before we put it all together. Using the SoundView app we can generate an equaliser from the music coming from anything (in this case, an iPhone). There are 4 light sensors mounted on the screen to detect when the bars are high. Using a Picaxe we can then process the information from the sensors to drive the motors. Check out our video below to see it in action!

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Alisdair Kettles Pottery Supplies

We are fortunate enough to have our course technician, Sean Kingsley, who is an expert in ceramics. Not only did he allow us to have a shot on the universities pottery wheel but he recommended us to get in contact with Alisdair Kettles.  Alisdair is a Pottery Supplier based in Kinross, and distributes to our University as well as many other places around Scotland. He kindly agreed to help us out, and allowed us to borrow a Pottery Wheel that he had spare.


We’d really like to say a big thanks to him! If you are interested in pottery, this is the man in the know. Here is his website so please take a look!


MAKE cont.

Last week we posted a panicked blog about all the stuff we have to do. I am happy to report that we are right on schedule. What’s more, we’ve even been given an extension on our deadline due to our ordered parts not turning up! It is in our best interests to stick to the original plan as much as possible since the deadline for the press release, including 90sec video and images, has stayed the same so any extra time we use for MAKE is only eating away at our allocated TALK time.


So here is where we are with the making of our prototype. We’ve decided to build a spiral structure to house the sculpting arms which will be controlled by servo motors. It’s a bit more complicated to achieve but will do more for the aesthetics we believe. To do this, we’re using thin strips of plywood which we then glue together before wrapping them round a couple of cylinders made out of blue foam. Left overnight, the glue should set and the spiral will maintain its shape.


As for the electronics, we’re still waiting for the parts to show up. After a monster struggle last week we finally managed to get the servo motors to work. We still don’t know what the problem was. We followed the help tutorial word for word and double checked our circuitry but couldn’t get it to work. We sought out the help of a Year 4 PD student who had some experience in servo motors whose solution was a different Picaxe altogether. Funnily enough, it worked without any problems so we’ll be going with that. In summary, we have a fairly good idea how to write the code, all that’s left is to wire up the parts and hope for the best.

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Let’s Make Lemonade

So far we’ve been able to FIND an area of interest and a nice little concept. We’ve had time to PLAY with it and see what can be done. Now it’s time to MAKE it happen.

Arguably the most chaotic phase of design process, it’s time to start planning! Trust us, you’re going to want to plan, or else you’ll be faced with a last minute panic trying to get parts the night before the hand in! Even if you get them you still have to put it together. And it doesn’t end there. Once it’s all put together is it going to work? Or are we going to have to endure the embarrassment of presenting a piece of shit that doesn’t do what we’ve been building up to these past months!

As I write this we’re contemplating where our parts are going to come from. We have a contact who may have “something to spin the clay” for us… sounds promising. And we have 2 out of the 4 servo motors we’re looking for… We’re keeping our fingers crossed.

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Sound Sculptured Ceramics

We have now reached the stage in which we have began prototyping, and in turn have made a video to portray our concept idea. We can also introduce to you the name of our design “Sound Sculptured Ceramics“.

Firstly, as part of this weeks hand-in we built a sketch prototype. It is an MDF build, with three bearings inserted allowing it to turn as a pottery wheel would and  finally hands that simulate our sculpting device. We intend on this functioning by use of an equaliser, with LDR‘s picking up light signals and powering the mechanics of the sculpturing hands and movement of the pottery wheel.

Our aim is to use sound as an input, use an equaliser on a laptop as a processor and generate a beautifully sculpted output. We hope the sculpted models will reflect the music, giving sound a physical presence.

In addition, we designed a Concept Board that illustrates our idea in an A3 format. Click the link to have a look. Ceramic Concept

And finally, after hours of sculpting plasticine, capturing 291 photos, panning, zooming, adjusting and editing here is our 60 second video.

Ceramic Concept

We have begun looking at how we could use ceramics as an output as we like how the small changes in tone, pitch and volume could be translated on its circular movement while on a potters wheel.

Of course we had to try this out for ourselves and here is John showing off his new found pottery skills.

Below is the first attempts at understanding the forces and intricacy’s involved in using tools on the moving clay.

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