Day 225: It Lives!

The weekend held some great advancements in the finishing of my product and getting all the loose ends tied together in order to get this thing complete!

The best news of the weekend came from the development of my sign head. After trialling it in my last blog post, I realised that the weight displacement of the sign was all wrong. Because it was pulling down on one side, the servo couldn’t pull it round. That, however, didn’t mean that it was too heavy – I even made a really high fidelity prototype (a mug on top of a bit of cut plastic) to prove that it could pull round weights heavier than I was trying to achieve.

Because of this, I left the actual acrylic unchanged, and 3D printed a new, more attractive piece to hold the plastic. This way I can adjust how the plastic sits on top of the metal post in regards to weight displacement, and screw it in and secure it more effectively.

This new method of printing for the sign head works excellently. The weight isn’t too heavy for the servo to move, however in order to get it to spin smoothly, I need to remove one of the three sheets of the acrylic that the sign consists of. This means that the 3D print needs to be edited again, along with a couple of other issues facing the sign,

The sign itself is actually quite short in comparison to the body of the pole. It’s this visual nuance that makes it seem slightly strange to the eye, and therefore I need to make it slightly longer and slightly taller. Also, the weight of the post still slightly hangs down to the floor, and whilst it spins smoothly it’s a little bit noticeable. I’ve amended this by redesigning the sign to reflect some of the design language of the brand quite nicely.

signface.jpg

This new sign head has gaps towards the end that take a lot of the extra weight away from the pointed end of the pole. There’s a practical and aesthetic reason for this – obviously the weighting aspect as a consequence of the increased size of the sign, but also to reflect the logo. The holes that are cut out of the sign are meant to reflect the bicycle spokes on the logo, which ties in with the overarching of the design language of the product. Whilst I couldn’t have a plain and simple signpost at the size that I wanted to, it was useful to call upon the current imagery of my design language to suit a new need.

Finally, with the perfected sign head, the space for the logo has the perfect place to sit. In the older sign head, the logo was crammed into the space between the holder – in this it has space to breathe, and this consequently allows it a lot more focus and less of a feeling of being a squished in afterthought.

In other news, I have spent a lot of my time sanding down and preparing my 3D printed parts. I have my spare cupboard set up as a spraying booth (sorry flatmates) and have been working hard to carefully sand these parts down to ensure that there is a nice finish on them – not that ugly, angular shaping that you usually find with 3D prints. I initially practised with the part that holds in place the main body onto the pole and it worked well with spray paints – although it needs a bit of sanding down. Working again with the operating dial and the base holder, with a lot more sanding and polish this time, the pieces came out a lot cleaner and nicer.

This finish takes away the feeling of a 3D print being a major component in my work. I didn’t want to use 3D prints excessively – and thankfully, they have been restricted to more functional components – however sometimes they are necessary. I couldn’t achieve the uniquely designed holders or the intricacy of the dial through other means, or at least in the allotted time viably. With a bit of care and attention, these can actually look like a beautiful part of my design – as opposed to what might appear to a tacky, not thought out part.

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