Fabric Sensors & Learning A New Craft (Weeks 3/4)

Part 1:

Fabric Pressure Sensor: Made from muslin, thread, conductive copper fused, velostat, copper tape.

I constructed this sensor by sewing two pieces of velostat between muslin with copper fused to each side. I followed the general idea on this instructable quite closely. I modified the shape and I used pinking shears to finish the edges of the three swatches made for my classmates. I didn’t like just giving people swatches with unfinished edges, but using the serger on such small swatches seemed like overkill. I experimented with keeping the raw edges on the inside of the sensor but the sensor was too small to turn it right-side out and not possibly damage the conductive material.

I also tried to make a linear potentiometer out of paper, copper tape, and graphite paint from Guerra paint. After a few hours of trying I could not figure out how to complete the circuit. I like the potentiometer as a sensor, I have no idea why, so I want to continue to try to make this work.

The first picture is of the progression of my thinking about how I would like to make a pressure sensor. The second are my pattern pieces. The third was my first test of the pressure sensor working.

Part 2:

The craft I chose to learn was woodworking. Woodworking is something I’ve been interested in for long time so this was the perfect opportunity! I also was able to combine this with my 3D project for Ideas In Form. It was nice because I was able to get pretty into basic wood working principles. I used band saws, panel saws, table saws, chop saws, and drill presses to create hinged frames to hang on top of digital ads in the subway system. Attached is a picture of the frames installed in the subway.

I would classify my practice at the moment as an artist, hacker, designer, and craftsperson. The art for me comes first with hacking, designing, and crafting working in service to the art. I imagine as I become better at the physical, and digital making of things I will feel less like a hacker, but maybe not. The feeling of being a hacker may depend on the type of art that I am making.

My favorite new tool is DEFINITELY the table saw, it’s such a versatile tool, and while it looks scary, and is dangerous, it is so so SO useful. I loved working with it. The smell of the wood shop is also one of my favorite smells. I would still say my all time favorite tool is still my mind, and its ability to always learn new things.

I love learning a new craft and woodworking was no different. New crafts always have this habit of changing the way I view the physical world around me. I am now so much more aware of how wooden objects I see could possibly be made. I have to say the entire process was very pleasurable. The only thing that was frustrating was how clueless I felt the first day working in the shop. It’s been a while since I felt totally helpless in a workshop and it’s not a feeling I relish. If I were to give anyone advice about woodworking, I would tell them to plan to spend double the amount of time they thing is necessary on their first project. Everything takes forever when you’re new.


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