Monday, March 23, 2020

Final Light Prototype for Video and Exhibition - Part 1: Resin Case

While testings are being carried out, I decided to refine the light prototype to display for Viva exhibition and Lasalle Show. Currently, the light set-up is not aesthetically pleasing and it can't be displayed in an exhibition. Initially I wanted to focus on writing my exegesis before I work on the final prototypes for showcase, but it's really a race against time with the outbreak going on. I was afraid that if I leave my making till the end and in the event if there are stricter measures, I won't be able to meet Grant or Andreas for help, which means I won't be able to shoot the video to showcase how each product works and they dovetail to create the multi-sensory experience.

In the end, I decided to focus on my making first, Grant told me that the whole resin process will take approximately 1.5 week. The 3D print started on 13th March. I went to get more materials, foamboards, silicone rubber mold and polyster resin and begin on the whole process again. The reason why I'm making another resin case instead of using the previous resin droplet is because I have received comments that it's not aesthetically pleasing, plus the effect produced by the previous resin droplet only illuminates a small area. I was wondering if the light effects will be better if the resin case is slightly larger. I've done my own share of risk calculations before going ahead and I understand that the new resin case may not produce similar light effects due to the different surface areas and in the worst scenario, I might need to forsake it. But again, never try never know so I decided to take on the experimentation.
I sent Grant my rough sketch and measurements and asked if he could help me with the 3D print. I also told him that the current resin droplet is quite heavy and if this new resin case is much heavier, it might cause the motor to have loud squeaky noises again. He suggested that we print the 3D design in a different way, the 3D prints will be much thicker this time so when we do the resin cast, the case will be hollow inside.

Due to the outbreak, there was a limit of people allowed in the workshop, Grant and I had to work remotely for the 3D print discussion. This is the 1st design he did and I commented that the lines can be more subtle so that the light effects will be softer.
Second design and we agreed it is better and he proceeded with the 3D print over the weekend (14th -15th March)
Thankfully, the 3D prints came out well and I could proceed to do wet sanding the next Monday
After wet sanding, I used epoxy resin to do surface coating. At this point, I am already quite independent so Grant didn't have to supervise me all the time.
 I created two cases for the silicone rubber pour, 1 for the main resin case and 1 for the stand.
Surface coating took 1 day to dry. The next day, after I sand off the excess resin coating for the seam lines, I used Araldite epoxy adhesive and secured the 3D prints to the base of foam containers.
We were afraid that the silicon rubber was insufficient so I build 2 foam towers and slot them against the corners. I bought 3 kg of silicone rubber but in the event if its insufficient, we have to wait for the first pour to dry (a day) before we could pour in the 2nd mixture, this is because each mixture may contain different amount of catalyst.
Next, we filled up the containers with silicone rubber. The silicone rubber filled up the containers nicely for the first round, or so we thought. The next day when we opened it, we realise there were some holes that weren't filled up, so I had to cut and make a new container and pour the silicone rubber from the other side to fill up the empty holes. I had to wait for another day for it to dry
Thankfully, the silicone rubber cured the following day and I could pour the polyester resin
 Using wooden blocks to hold the rubber mold and keep it in shape.
 One side of the resin case and the stand are out!
I prepped for another round of resin to pour
After removing the 1st resin half from the mold, I did wet sanding to smoothen the surface and remove the sticky hardener.
Wet sanding the resin case stand and the seam lines, to make sure it is flat and smooth
Time passed very fast and soon it was Friday, I took the silicone rubber molds (with resin curing inside) home so I could do wet sanding on Saturday.
Before and after wet sanding. The surface is matte after wet sanding and will require another epoxy resin surface coat.
All done with the wet sanding.

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