My Sculpture Weblog: The TKS Modular Sculpture.

Introducing the TKS, The second in a collection of magnetically modular mini sculptures. Everybody is aware of I like iterating round an concept and my final small magnetic work was ripe to develop upon. 

The primary of the collection was the NC3. When engaged on that piece I wrote concerning the novelty (and perils) of utilizing magnets. I mentioned that I’m cautious when utilizing supplies which might be inherently novel as a result of novelty itself can grow to be the dominant medium, one with a brief shelf-life. 

Whereas I’m all the time cautious about how I make use of mechanics to make sure I’m pursuing sculptural ends, it’s simple to grow to be dogmatic to ones detriment, and it happens to me that in an effort to really perceive one thing (like novelty) it helps to lean into it from time to time. 

So with that mentioned let’s dive into what’s behind this new piece. 

Along with magnets, I’ve added some ball-bearings to the configuration, as a result of if I’m going to discover mechanical novelty, properly, it should have layers. 

This leads to a magnetically modular piece that not solely spins, but additionally has a outstanding tactile feeling when rolled round within the hand. This piece is as a lot a pleasure to carry as it’s to take a look at. 

There may be extra to why I discover this work so fascinating, so lets hold going.

One other matter that arose whereas engaged on the NC-3, the work that preceded this, is that it was primarily based on well-defined geometric ideas. The NC-3 was constructed round a platonic stable referred to as a octahedron. This new work is constructed on one other platonic stable, the tetrahedron. 

Whereas working towards machine work requires good working data of varied geometric principals, I’ve by no means actually thought-about what I do to be “math artwork”. For those who dig round a bit, you can find that math artwork is sort of its personal factor (see my sculptor pal George Hart). Math artwork just isn’t actually one thing I can lay any actual declare to (for lack of true mastery) however my work usually overlaps with it on the edges and it is a case the place I needed to push into that sphere, if just a bit. And so I fairly deliberately adopted the tetrahedral format as my start line fairly than simply being a handy coincidence. 

The body work for your entire piece was constructed round one thing referred to as the “dihedral angle” which is the angle between the faces of a given form. The dihedral angle of a tetrahedron is 70.529° and it is a vital angle as a result of it’s used to make sure the entire magnets sit nose to nose when assembled.

The remainder of the visible type was derived from utilizing that angle as a constraint. 

Along with primary geometry, this work had numerous extra technical engineering challenges that proved an excellent alternative to use some fascinating physics ideas.

For starters, not like a octahedron, mating the components of a tetrahedron with magnets doesn’t current a simple resolution when it comes to arranging the polarity throughout them. Getting 4 particular person items to draw the opposite three meant that I couldn’t merely apply a single polarity (north, or south) to every half evenly. As a substitute I ended up with a polarity map just like the one you see above.

The result’s that whereas the NC-3 was absolutely rearrangeable, this work actually solely assembles one or two methods.

Getting the magnetic meeting solved was only the start nevertheless. Making the remainder of the mechanics play properly meant discovering a candy spot between the mass of the components and the magnetic forces employed to carry them collectively.

My first prototype for this sculpture had two most important points. The mass of the chrome steel spinning components was a bit on the heavy aspect, and the magnetic pull holding them collectively was a bit on the weak aspect. This meant that the centrifugal pressure of spinning the sculpture was susceptible to sending these stainless components flying off.

To make the components lighter with out wildly altering the piece, I utilized what is called the square cube law, which states that an object’s quantity will increase (or decreases) at a higher price than its floor space when being scaled. 

A easy instance is {that a} 1″ dice has a floor space of six sq. inches and a quantity of 1 cubic inch. For those who double its measurement to a 2″ dice, the floor space will increase to twenty-four sq. inches (an element of 4 or 22).  Nevertheless the amount of that very same dice will increase to eight cubic inches, (an element of 8 or 23)

Virtually utilized, by reducing the general measurement of the components by a mere 3%, I used to be in a position to make your entire work a full 10% lighter (I additionally fiddled with some inner dimensions to squeeze that further 1%).

To extend the magnetic attraction between the components, I needed to transfer the magnets nearer to their goal. How a lot nearer would make a distinction? It seems a really small quantity, and the inverse square law is find out how to clarify this. 

The pressure of attraction between two magnetic poles is inversely proportional to the sq. of the space between them. On this occasion I used to be fixing for magnet to metal, however the principal is identical.

After crunching the numbers, I calculated that I may improve the magnetic pressure by an element of two.6 just by shifting the magnets a mere .016” nearer to the components I needed to stay. 

This small design change was trickier than it appears, nevertheless it made an unlimited distinction. Now the components all connect fairly securely.

That is all fairly primary stuff to an engineer, however I nonetheless discover it immensely satisfying to have the ability to floor components of my work in some actual nuts-and-bolts logic. Within the video above I focus on all of this a bit extra casually.  A video is price 1,000,000 phrases nevertheless, so hopefully it helps easy out all of the “umms” and “ahhhs”that come out of my mouth.

One other enjoyable factor is that since these items include magnets they kind of speak to one another when moved in proximity. 

I’m happy with what number of pursuits of mine I used to be in a position to wrap into this little work. I hope it helps exhibit how pursuing machine-work as a visible medium consistently brings one into contact with different spheres of data. 

I’ve by no means needed to look far to discover a catalyst for a visible idea and this piece embodies this concept properly. Who is aware of, perhaps this may find yourself being a 3 piece set. 

Simulated colour pallet for the version

In order is customary, I’m going to supply these up as an version. 

I’m including pink and yellow to my anodizing line so there can be heaps to select from when it comes to colours. 

 I’ll put up a sign-up beginning Friday April sixteenth at 10 AM EST. I’ll embrace particulars of the sale in addition to the worth at the moment.

As all the time, feedback and questions are welcome.