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Ripple (EXP I: Material Transformations)

Ripple (EXP I: Material Transformations)

This project is a study on using a digital and sustainable technology, such as a laser-cutter to transform polypropylene (PP), which is a material that is rather rigid into one that is more elastic and experiment how we are able to transform from a two-dimensional to three-dimensional form when force is applied by cutting lines on the material.

Day 1 Exploring Principles

Day 1 was simply experimenting with different patterns and geometries as well as cutting techniques with each team member exploring different principles.






Day 2 Development

  1. Coming together as a team, we settled on one principle to move forward
  2. Came up with as many parameters as we can to experiment with
  3. Pick one material to begin experimenting with: Polypropylene (PP). This was decided by finding an average thickness/stiffness of all materials we had access to in the workshop.
  4. Each teammate pick one parameter to focus on and create up to 6 different iteration designs
  5. Laser-cut them on chosen material; trial and errors with the most suitable settings for polypropylene (PP)
  6. Team discussion: observations, conclusions, key takeaways, how to move forward with refining the iterations

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Key takeaway at the end of the day:

  • We liked the design of overlapping lines that cut parallel to each other (as experimented under the parameter of length and width). It created a three-dimensional form that was elastic yet sturdy.

Day 3 Further Development & Refinement

  1. Picking two of the designs from our first round of test to narrow down for our study

  2. Creating more iterations from this with minor changes:

  • Length of overlap - shrinking it and enlarging to see what happens to the movement and shape
  • Orientation/angles - diagonally
  • Laser-cutting smaller samples from 140 x 140mm with 10mm border to 100 x 100mm with 5mm (due to lack of material)

   3. Experiment with different materials

   4. Team discussion: understanding the rationale behind pattern produced from force, how to move forward, solution to the lack of material, refining even more and creating more iterations (using the overlap design to create shapes)

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Key takeaway at the end of the day:

  • 140x140mm samples worked much better than the 100x100mm samples, as they were too small and didn't produce the same elasticity.
  • Length of overlaps: the longer the length, the more three-dimensional the form, the more it is able to expand, vice versa.
  • Other materials were used, such as laminated paper, acrylic, PET-G, and paper (250Gsm), but they were either too flimsy and didn't hold its shape or too brittle (as demonstrated in the photos above.
  • Having parallel lines cut in the diagonal direction to the square do not work, as the forces cancel out when pulled diagonally. It has to be pulled in parallel to the square, but this limits its elasticity and shape it is able to transform into. This is similar to when we stuck a few of the samples together in a 1 x 4 line, followed by a 4 x 4 square (as demonstrated in the photos above) to see how we can create a larger piece for our installation.
  • We were able to control the ripple movement by taping the excess of the square (turning it into an eye-like shape).

Day 4 Further Refinement & Final Samples

  1. Further refinement: create more iterations, using overlap design to create certain shapes e.g. eye-shape
  2. Laser-cut samples
  3. Experiment joining smaller parts to create a big installation piece, observe how they interact with each other
  4. Brainstorm how we will present the installation i.e. arduino motors, 3D printed blocks/frame, wooden frame
  5. Visit the metal workshop for ways to join the pieces; and getting samples to try
  6. Purchase extra materials for the prototype installation e.g. more polypropylene, grey marker, pins
  7. Installation preparation: hand-paint the gold-colored pins 
  8. Laser-cut final samples
  9. Prepare on presentation slides

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Day 5 Prepare Presentation & Installation

  1. Build and paint the frame for the installation at the wood workshop
  2. Prepare presentation
  3. Put together installation piece and make modifications as needed

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Final Installations

For our presentation, we prepared a two-part installation whereby the first part (that is above the black cardboard) to show the principle we learned of how varying the length of cut lines in the overlapping area can change the size of the ripple, followed by the second part (when the black cardboard is removed) to show the application of our understanding onto a surface as we now understand what we can do to create a controlled, even form.

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Ripple_Material Transformations EXP I_Presentation.pdf PDF Ripple_Material Transformations EXP I_Presentation.pdf