Subtraction Wk 3: More Other Mill

For this week, I tried to do inlay acrylic pieces with The Other Mill machine. I decided to do groovy hair clips/ pins using the acrylic scraps from last week. The goal was to aim small and do something I would want to sport!

Cut my scrap pieces from last week into more manageable sizes.


First, I sketched out some simple designs. I had to tweak the designs because my bit size wouldn’t be able to handle any fine lines.

I then made individual Illustrator files to then import into Bantam Tools. I’m still way more comfortable in Illustrator than in Vectorworks. I don’t find doing offset and using the pathfinder tool is difficult in Illustrator, so I stuck with it.

Bantam version is ready. I located the tool to get the bit to zero in on the surface. Then I honed it. Double stick tape was applied to the back. Milling time begins!

Uh-oh, halfway through the double stick must have loosened and the acrylic piece came off the bed.


I needed to clean up the machine and start over again. This is not ideal because as you will see it will never be placed in the exact position as before.

After the 2nd try, I finally finished the outer white cut.

finished_white_floweryay_finished cutting

Onto the black acrylic for the center of the groovy circle now!


I ended up having to do 2 of the black circles. Since the flower circle was not cut exactly as designed, the inlay did not fit perfectly in the hole. To solve for this, I made another bigger black piece for the bottom of the flower pin. This would be where the pin sits anyways.

After cleaning up, I glued the 3 parts together.


This did not turn out ideal because of the imprecise inlay, but I am hoping that sanding and waxing the acrylic will help alot.

~ I intend to wax it Wed. so this post is TBC!

Light Wk 3: Time-Lapse Observation


Tuesday, 02/19/19, 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
NYU on Broadway

This is the view from the 10th floor of a NYU building. The building faces south, so the window is showing the sun move from east to west. Because this was recorded when the sun has already risen, the change in the color of the sky is unnoticeable. The most distinguishable part of the time lapse are the moving clouds. It was clearly a windy and cold day as seen from the steam sputtering from multiple buildings. If I focus on the white structure at the far corner of the roof, I can see how the sunlight effects the shadow. When the sun is directly above the structure (noon), the shadow is shorter. When the sun is east or west (morning or afternoon) the shadows are long and lean.

The shadow on the water tower is also a good focal point. When it is still morning time the water tower is half covered in shadow, but by noon time it is almost completely in the shadow.

My favorite part of this scene is the animating reflection on the corner left building’s facade. It is most bright when the sun is shining in the east, but eventually disappears when the sun is no longer facing the windows. It reminds me of when sun reflects on water.

Side note: that elevator on the side of the building makes me nervous. It is moving ever so gently in the wind.



Wednesday, 02/20/19, 5:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Brooklyn (outside of apartment)

In the beginning there are these ominous floating rectangles of light that slowly turn on in the pitch black. Finally the sun gradually rises and casts some light, shadow and dimensionality to the scene. The light renders the scene from being flat black to a 3 dimensional picture full of values, shades and hues.

The best part is 0:18 – 0:21, when the sky not-so-subtly changes from cool to warm, affecting the entire scene. It goes from a cool blue to warm yellow in a matter of seconds. It interesting how our eyes and the camera adjusts so easily, because you can’t tell if it’s warm or cool unless you compare it with it’s immediate previous state. By the end of the time-lapse the sky doesn’t look cool or warm –  it looks neutral. This reminds me of Josef Albers’ squares that show how context of colors matters.

Light Wk 3: Light Shops!

The past Monday I went on a delightful stroll to Kenmore & Bowery, the street where all the light shops live apparently. One my trip, I tried to examine how the light fixtures were made and what materials were used.

There were many shops to visit, so I will try to list them out in an organized and chronological way.

a.) Matter Made

On the way there, I noticed a super designer-y type lighting and furniture shop called Matter Made. This was not on the lighting hub of Kenmore & Bowery, but was definitely worth a visit! The products here are divine! This was a good place to get inspiration for lamp design and physical form.



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b.) O’ Lampia Studio

O’ Lampia Studio had a lot of beautiful lamp designs as well. They weren’t as contemporary as Matter Made, but they were still carrying a modern-looking selection of light fixtures. I definitely noticed a lot of exposed incandescent light bulbs and brass – classy (but, dare I say, overdone?) look.


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c.) The Lighthouse

This was a very crowded light shop – it made it hard to sift through. Lighthouse has a wide range of lamps, from the gimmicky to the elegant to the slightly off-kilter.

IMG_4197 2.JPG

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d.) New Generation

This is the place to go for making lamps! I wasn’t very inspired by their lighting collection, but I love all the lighting parts they sold. I know where I am going when I figure out what to make for the lamp fixture assignment! They had all the parts of the lamp that I often overlook.

I’ll have to visit again very soon!

IMG_4201 2

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e.) A & E Bowery Lighting

They had a mixed range of lights – hard to categorize. I did notice they had more interactive and animated light fixtures.


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f.) MoMa Design Store

On my way to the subway station, I stumbled upon the MoMa Design store. Ugh, I swoon when I’m in there. If only I could make something as nicely designed one day.



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Energy Wk 3: Kinetic Project

Sukanya, Sid and I worked came up with many ideas. Below are some of the sketches – it was not easy for us to decide. After many different ideas and exploration, we decided to make a  kinetic hammer. We were inspired by Professor David Rios’ kinetic pedal synth. See here for reference video:

So we booked office hours with him to go over the materials and advice. We then sketched out a general idea of the circuit and form.

As we were making it, we realized how similar this tube and spool device was to the comedic “ShakeWeight” workout device. So we switched our idea to be a kinetic shake weight! See infomercial below!

For fun, I tested the magnet wire! Pretty cool.

Then, I tested the amount of voltage it generated without the diode rectifier to convert the current to DC.


We put all the parts together to make just one part of the hammer.


We ordered the parts very last minute, so we only had these 2 spools and those magnets to use. The rest of the parts we bought from canal plastics and canal rubber.

We first made the circuit with the diode rectifier and hooked it up with the multimeter to read the amount of voltage generated when we shake it. See Sukanya below, shaking to generate voltage.


We then added the LEDS to the breadboard to see how many we could light up.

We could light up many it turns out! We put them in parallel with 2 pairs in series.

We drilled holes on the top of the wire spool for the LEDs. Instead of 4 diodes as the rectifier, we used a rectifier chip and attached it to the bottom of the spool. Then voila, here’s out LED Shake Weight!



As we waited for our materials to be shipped, another project was made with a stepper motor!

Light Wk 2: Observations

Early Morning Exterior: 


Sunday, 02/10/19, 10:41 AM
Midwood, Brookyln

This is not that early morning and almost noon time as the shadows indicates. The shadows are slanted at around 4pm/ 5pm on a clock, which makes a lot of sense since this was taken near 11am morning. They are also crisp and create dark, cool shapes. Even the ridge running along the middle of the rooftop is almost a pure black. The side of the building that I am taking a photo faces east.

Night Scene:


02/12/19, Tuesday, 7:45pm
Broadway & Lafayette, New York

Although it is night time, it almost feels like it isn’t. This is partially due to the spotty and colorful light situation. There are multiple sources spotlighting specific regions. The headlights from the vehicle shine their bright lights on the roads, highlighting the grooves the cars have created on the slushy surface. Other vehicles in the background are also casting a sharp fluorescent light onto the ground. The three dimensional form that the snow and water have created are especially fun to look at because of the harsh and spotty lighting situation. Because of the bus lights, the raindrops are more clear and obvious to the eye. Even when the snow is a mushy mess, I still love seeing how light glistens and reflects off of it.

Light Wk 2: Candle

Code here

When you touch the circle “button”, the light will go to flickering state. If the button is pressed for 2 seconds, the light goes to “wild” flickering state. If the button is pressed for another 2 seconds, the light will go off. After 5 seconds of being off, the candle will light up again.




This week, I was excited to a.) capture the beauty and movements of a candle, b.) switch my work flow so that I program more. My personal goal was to try and spend less time on fabricating and challenge myself with the code.

a.) I first tried to map out how the LEDs of the Neopixels are numbered. This helped for making arrays and knowing how the indexing would work.

steps and numbering

b.) I observed the candle and ideated the various states that I wanted to recreate.


c.) Based on the flickering/ blowing out candle observation, I decided on 2 states, but initially ended up with 4 states: a.) calm, b.) crazy, c.) wild, d.) off.

Calm = normal state
Crazy = flickering
Wild = randomly wild flickering (like right before a candle blows out)
Off = when it’s so wild that it eventually blows out.



d.) Simple fade: I first attempted to do a simple, pulsing fade that loops through all the neopixels. Here is my code for that. 


e.) Different intensities: I tried to create my initial 2 states (calm and crazy). I used a touch sensor to switch between the states, but was not set on using it as my final sensor. I was still hoping to play around with different sensors.

Code is here. 


d.) testing piezo (ultimately unstable, therefore fail): I tried testing the piezo, but when I console logged it, the reading of the amount of movement was very unstable and hard to get the lights to show the different states.

Here is the code for my attempts with the piezo.


e.) testing accelerometer: I really wanted to try the accelerometer for the candle. I was hoping that the more you move the candle, the more it would flicker and eventually go out like a flame. Unfortunately, I ran into road blocks with my code and my soldering for the accelerometer went loose. I also realized from this test that the interaction would be weird if I had the wires attached to the arduino like that.

In the end I decided against using it for the final piece, but did enjoy trying to learn how to use an I2C accelerometer. Here is my code for that. 


f.) Timer: I just had to bring this up because it caused a headache for me. At first I used the Simple Timer Library. This was helpful but realized it counted the seconds from the start of the program. In order for me to have my touch sensor react to the amount of seconds that is being pressed, I needed to record that press time into a new variable. I ended up not using the Simple Timer Library, but writing my own if statement to create a timer that starts when the button is pressed.


g.) Form: Unlike my usual flow, I focused on the form after I had figured out my code. This was very hard for me to do since I normally want to jump into making the physical product. Nonetheless, it was good practice for me to push myself. By Monday, I was able to start making the the enclosure and diffuser.

I thought of different types of diffusers: resins, paper cylinders, already found containers (gum bottle). See sketch below.


In the end, I decided upon a crystal. I found the refracted light in the crystal rock to be so magical. It really distorted the light so it was hard to tell the source. It also reminded me of the rocks used in fireplaces. See below for example.


I decided to go with it and focus on how to enclose the touch sensor and Neopixel in a way that would go well with the rock. I went simple and used white acrylic I already had to build a box to house the touch sensor.


h.) Fabrication: see subtraction post for details on milling.

first I started with measurements.

I also wanted to make some holders for the touch sensor and the neopixel to sit on nicely. See sketches below for my mounting ideas. I combined with my subtraction homework to use The Other Mill, to get a 2.5D part.

Soldered my Neopixels and sensor on a pcb board.

Enclosure close to being done!


After doing this I realized, I am not a big fan of the white acrylic. It made the enclosure look slightly translucent, but it was too late in the game to change. Ideally, it would be black acrylic, not white.

I added the crystal on the top and added in one extra in between calm and wild state, called crazy state.

Final, final code is here. 



Stumbled upon some helpful resources/ libraries when playing around with different sensors. Need to be sure to keep these in mind for the future:

Accelerometer MMA8451 Data Sheet:



Subtraction Wk 2: The Other Mill

Very exciting to use the The Other Mill! Again, I combined this with my light & interactivity class, and cut sensor and led holders for my candle enclosure.

See final images and process for the candle here.

I followed the step by step procedure on the ITP subtraction site.

1.) Made measurements of my parts and enclosure on paper:

fab measurements

2.) I went on Illustrator to create all the svg files for the cut outs and engravings.

example engraving

3.) Placed the files in Bantam Tools and adjusted the settings to fit my 1/8″ flat end bit and my 0.125″ sheet of acrylic.


4.) After inserting my bit into the machine, cleaning the acrylic with the alcohol cleaner, and double stick taping the back. I went on Batam Tool GUI. First thing I did was home the bit. Next, I began milling! Woohoo!


5.) Pieces are cut! Engraving is also there! This is all too exciting!

6.) Piece 1: Holder for the Neopixel


7.) Piece 2: Touch Sensor holder. Engraved the part with the solder and metal sticking out from the other side.

8.) And most importantly, I cleaned up! It gets pretty messy in there, so I made sure to clean up my winter snowstorm.

vaccuming the other mill

9.) Full enclosure: