The Casette Clock was inspired by the casette tape. It features clear acrylic windows on the top to allow one to see the passage of time as the tape moves from one spindle to the other. There are are on both flat faces which reveal the double-sided time tape. Once the tape moves from one cartridge to the other, the motors automatically reverse and LEDs on either side of the clock tell the user which side holds the current time. Thus, no manual rewinding of the tape is required and the clock is completely autonomous.
The design task was to create an electronic piece that displays time in an innovative manner and to use at least two manufacturing processes.
The body was laser cut from acrylic and the curved outer shell was formed using polystyrene sheets.
The electronic components (an Arduino and two servo motors) were held in place using custom-designed 3D printed parts from ABS. Programming was done in Processing.
The final product.
What We Learned
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE COMPLEXITY OF A PROJECT
Though we had the complete idea of the project along with a list of parts we needed, the executions proved more complicated than we anticipated.
While the holes for the wooden dowels in the acrylic frame looked structurally sound in the virtual world, they were too large in reality which left too-thin structural supports. The acrylic ended up cracking and we had to wait for new ones to be laser cut. The calibration of the servos also proved challenging. We couldn't quite get the two servos to synchronize which ended up tearing the paper time tape. Due to the available hardware and time constraints, we had to make the time tape looser (which didn't look as slick as we wanted it to). The largest problem was figuring out how much the respective servos should spin depending on how much time tape was on each roll. To fix that issue would mean we would have to delve into the issues of gear ratios and sensors which was prohibitive.
The final product admittedly works for a few minutes before the time tape goes out of sync. This was a very valuable learning experience which taught us we need to consider EVERYTHING in a concept and not just be fuelled by enthusiasm hoping everything will just figure itself out.
- TEAM MEMBERS: Danny Chung, Lawrence Kwok, Sabrina Wu
- ROLE: 3D modeller, interaction designer, materials research, graphics, prepare files to be laser cut and 3D print ready
- TECHNOLOGY: Solidworks, Corel, Illustrator, Arduino/Processing
- MANUFACTURING PROCESSES: Laser cutting, 3D printing
- MATERIALS: Acrylic, polystyrene, ABS plastic, wood, paper, LEDs