My initial inspiration for the main project came from a burning desire for the project to somehow be useful. After spending a week or two thinking about what useful thing I could make, I realized that I was too caught up in the functionality of the piece rather than the aesthetic of the piece. So I went back to the drawing board with the simple requirement of finding something cool to make. Needless to say, I had much better luck with this approach. The two main project ideas that I’m considering leave the door wide open to applying any aesthetic that I choose.
My first idea is to build a solar powered Mendocino Motor. A Mendocino motor uses magnetic forces to suspend a rod in the air (i.e. levitation) giving it little to no frictional resistance and lets it spin in the air with an initial push. After looking around, I found that most people placed a home made solar panel motor configuration on the center rod which gives the rod the ability to spin continuously with completely sustainable and free energy. One of the nice things about this project is the unlimited opportunities to design and construct a visually appealing base for the model. Growing up, I had a levitating globe that I was entranced by and have always had a sweet spot for anything magnetic related which makes this an appealing option.
The other idea that I have is to build a “desktop” water fountain. The main inspiration for building a water feature was a video of a water fountain clock in Osaka, Japan. It didn’t take long for me to realize that recreating that fountain was way beyond the scope of this project. Instead, I think it would be cool to make a water curtain fountain, as it would be doable on a reasonable timeline and budget. One of my original thoughts was to make an automatic plant watering device, which I could use this fountain to have a few plants growing in the basin and it would accomplish a similar task.
I really like the idea of a fountain. You could potentially incorporate some aspects of meditation or zen garden aspects of it. I wonder what you could do if you use multi-colored LED’s with the water to simulate a shape effect similar to what is in the videos. I am a huge fan of the sound of creeks and streams as I fall asleep and I think that that is super cool idea.
I love both of your ideas and I appreciate that you want to make your ideas practical. It might be interesting to try and integrate the two ideas. I have seen water curtains with patterns. You could use the Mendocino motor to create patterns within the curtain. I am not sure of its practical application, but it could make it more unique.
I really like your idea Peter. I think the motor is really cool, although I do want to see where you take it aesthetically. It kind of strays away from your initial design of designing something functional, but it would work well as appealing dynamic art. I love your fountain idea, although I totally understand that it wouldn’t really be feasible to make. It is really hard to create anything with water, especially because you can’t hold water in your possession for more than 24 hours in Boulder. I like where your ideas are headed though and your honesty of having multiple bouncing around in your head. I can’t wait to see what you decide on!
The Mendocino motor is super cool! I didn’t know those existed. That would be really cool if you were to turn it into some kind of globe. You could do it for another planet and could potentially 3D print whatever the rod ends up looking like. Do you have any ideas for the aesthetic you’d go for with the motor?
For the fountain, you could potentially use it as a fish tank and somehow implement the fountain as the water filter. I think that could be pretty cool and would bring a welcome change to the usual ugliness of a fish tank filter.