FAB 5: Two Materials.

For this assignment, I had to use two materials that work together. I have always to build a lamp which is part silicon and wood. However, I have been working with silicon a lot lately and I decided to go with epoxy so that I could try out a new material for a change.

I wanted to interplay between the relative hardness of the 2 materials. Epoxy is fluid while wood is hard and I wanted to make something which reflects that in its form. After sketching multiple ideas, I honed in on this one.

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I wanted to build a lamp which had wooden supports but had epoxy in the middle which lights up. Once I had a direction in mind, I got started on the wood and making the base. Wood from the junk shelf, an angled cut from the miter saw and finishing on the sander gave me 2 pieces which were perfectly matched in form.

Using plain ol’ geometry to line up the holes.

Using plain ol’ geometry to line up the holes.

The next step was to make holes. I made a through hole in the center for the LEDs to pass through and two small holes for the epoxy to flow and harden so that it doesn’t slip. (Remember Mark, you said no screws!) Once I had that, I tested an LED strip and pared it down to size.

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The next step was to draw an outline and start forming the mould.

Lining the paper with plastic sheet to prevent leaks.

Lining the paper with plastic sheet to prevent leaks.

Forming the first wall.

Forming the first wall.

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Filling up the wooden blocks with plasticine clay to prevent leakage.

Filling up the wooden blocks with plasticine clay to prevent leakage.

Forming the outer layers and using clay to position them.

Forming the outer layers and using clay to position them.

Clamping it down.

Clamping it down.

Using hot glue and plasticine to fill up blank spaces and create a water resistant mold.

Using hot glue and plasticine to fill up blank spaces and create a water resistant mold.

Getting the poxy ready. I wanted to do multiple colors to create a marbled effect.

Getting the poxy ready. I wanted to do multiple colors to create a marbled effect.

So, one would expect that it would go smoothly right? I had the mould ready, the epoxy in a glass and it was all looking good.

But I made 1 big mistake. The epoxy I chose doesn’t play well with the plasticine I used. The epoxy also undergoes an exothermic reaction which basically made the plasticine more sticky and ensured that my structure failed on me. I had taken a small nap after pouring the epoxy and woke up to the epoxy fluid seeping all over the floor in the shop and creating a huge mess everywhere. Thankfully, there weren’t any people around as it was 6 in the morning and I scrambled to clean it before John came in. I finished all the tissues in the kitchen and the loos to mop that mess up and had to walk back home smelling of epoxy fluid and defeat.

While the end of the process was a complete disaster, It was education in itself. I hope to repeat this all over again soon and make something that really works and sets.