Sand Frame: Final Project Report Part 2

I am really happy  with how my project turned out. Finally the long hours of prototyping payed off. I think people at the expo liked my project. I am glad I build a wooden frame to go around the glass it really made a difference.

What it means?
I thought of what this means  for a while but wasn’t able to come up with a nice statement about it. However, just by asking people what they think they said that by looking at the sand falling down gave them a sense of relaxation or calmed them somehow. I feel the same way about these sand frames, but still find it a little difficult to come with a meaning. I guess there is something calming about watching elements from nature in motion. What do you think?


Design Elements:
The sand frame has three different natural elements: sand, water, wood and air. I like that the mixed sand color grade matches the wood in the frame.


Feedback from Expo:
I got some feedback from Saturday expo and the Monday presentation.  I got questions like how can you make it faster or how do you add more liquid in it? This made me think to add a tutorial section of how to use the sand picture frame and what to add and not add to it. Anyways in this section I will go over the main points that I need to improve on moving forward with this project.


What worked and what didn’t:
In this section I would like to discuss my initial design plans and say why some didn’t work:

  • Use Acrylic for carving out shapes –> acrylic frames bent and leaked
  • Change gap  between the glass for sand go faster –> air bubbles don’t hold sand anymore
  • Build a 3D sand frame –> does  not function as a sand frame anymore (the sand is not held by air bubbles anymore).
  • Add a pressure driver –> was difficult to implement in a sealed water environment. Also I needed a very thin  pressure driver tip to fit in the gap of the frame.


Now that I know more about my build I have some ideas for improvement that are worth mentioning.

Photo of the sand in motion
Photo of the sand in motion

Moving forward:
At some point I will build another frame this summer. In the next build I would like to change a few steps or actually change the order of my manufacturing.

  • Have the glass frames spaced out evenly by a longer space. (I used a short spacer on my build, compared with the glass I am using). Future builds should have longer spacers to go across the frames.
  • Have the routing in the wood line accurately with the glass
  • Squirt the silicon on the edges of the frame and have it as uniform as possible in order to maintain the same thickness and avoid wavy shapes.
  • Add more sand and potentially have more sand colors. Preferably a dark color and another bright color. Also when I get the sand next time I would like to maintain a different grain size on the different colors. Having a different size grain helps the sand form consistent layers of similar grain size because similar grain sizes tend to fall and remain together
  • Widen the gap in the stand
  • Try to implement a pressure driver

Where will this go?
This piece is going to be a gift to my dad when he flies in to see me graduate. He saw this in a gift shop before and wanted to buy. So I thought it was a good ideas to give the frame to him

fluid, frame, Sand, wood
Previous Post
Macro Music Box – What’s Next
Next Post
Immersion Wheel – Final Report Part II – Why and What next?

3 Comments. Leave new

  • Aly, how to make colour sand water proof, if I need blue color.

  • I think what your project represents is the passage of time, but that like life, there is only a finite amount of it to be passed. Every time we look at it we gain new perspectives into what it means. and as we age, as the sand falls, it is always different. no two formations or experiences will ever be the same, even for the same repeated action of flipping the frame over. It is life. It is death. It is a start. It is is a finish. It is art. Great project man. excellent work. It will make a great gift.

  • Anfal Abdulrahman
    April 29, 2016 12:42 am

    Aly that’s very cool. I never thought building sand frames can be this tricky. I learned a lot from your post. Also, I agree that there’s something that is soothing and relaxing about the watching the sand move. I think having colored sand or blue background on one end might be even better. I am sure your dad will like the gift, and congratulations!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.