Final Project Report pt 1: Geometric Wall Art

For my final project I set out to make a kinetic art piece for my room. I was inspired by the work of Matt Shlian who creates makes geometric sculptures out of paper.

Unholy 116 Your Other Left Hand By Matt Shlian


I began my project with sketches of what the underlying mechanism would look like.


After I had these sketches completed I began to model my first prototype in Rhino. The purpose of this prototype was to test out the mechanism that would create the motion in my final piece.

After I finished modeling, I put together the prototype. I learned a lot during this process such as material tolerance and helped me better estimate how much time I would need to put into the final model.

Te next step was to create a full size model. Here are some renders of the full size model I created in Rhino.

It took me about four revisions to get the final model ready for fabrication. I was also testing out some other small parts on the side that affected the some of the overall design of the model. I was planning on fabricating it out of 1/4 in MDF and 6 ply paper for the pyramids. After I gathered all of my materials I set off to laser cut all of the parts. There were about ~450 different parts in the model that needed to be laser cut. It took e about four hours to laser cut all of the parts.

I ran into a lot of issues in the assembly and testing part. Since MDF is a combination of glue and wood fibers, the areas that were cut by the laser creates a sticky exterior. This was causing a lot of problems with the gears and the cam since there was a lot of friction. I re-cut some of the pieces to account for that but it was still not working.

I realized at this point that I would take too much time to do trial and error process for all of the pieces that were giving me trouble. I decided to go back and revisit the original aesthetic that I was exploring and simplify my idea. I removed the kinetic part of it but with the help of a Grasshopper script in Rhino I manipulated the surface into some shapes I liked.

After that I separated all of the individual pieces and unrolled them onto a 2D surface so that they could be laser cut and folded to their shapes.

The only step left after that was to laser cut all of the pieces and assemble which took around another 4 hours in total. In the assembly process the pieces got very dirty from my fingers so I had to apply some layers of white spray paint to cover up the blemishes.


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9 Comments. Leave new

  • Joseph Coulombe
    May 8, 2019 7:06 pm

    What you did to make the project work for you in the time constraint ended up still looking pleasing. It’s unfortunate that you had difficulties with the gear locking but maybe some day you can revisit it and make an even better looking moving piece.

  • Hi Andre,
    This is an amazing project! You put in a lot of time and effort into making this intricate piece and it definitely shows. Although the final product wasn’t exactly what you were expecting, I think that the changes you made are what make it unique and make it YOUR design. Overall, nice work!

  • Jaehyung Lee
    May 5, 2019 9:37 pm

    I like how you pivot your project. You couldn’t get your object to move, but you made it looks like moving but the geometry of it. Great job!

  • Eleanor Pearson
    May 4, 2019 10:57 am

    This is awesome! I love the pictures of your progress and the final project looks really polished and clean. Does the final product move?

  • Nicole Maggio
    May 2, 2019 3:12 pm

    You weren’t able to get your original idea working but how you turned the project around worked out very well. The coolest part of the project is definitely the dynamic aspect where it doesn’t move, but it looks like its moving while you walk around it.

  • Really nice work! We talked a bit in class, but I want to make a point that you should continue to pursue the movement piece. It is really quality work. Nice job.

  • Ibrahim Alhajji
    April 24, 2019 1:21 pm

    Great work Andre. I really love your product . the final result looks very nice. great job. Have you thought about coloring your design?

  • Great job! I loved how the final product turned out, even if it wasn’t exactly what you were intending going into the project. I feel like a large part of the creative process is starting with an idea and running it into all sorts of issues before pushing it into a space that wasn’t exactly where you began. I think you pivoted well and it payed off.

  • Taylor Whittemore
    April 24, 2019 1:12 pm

    Andre, This project was my favorite that I saw so far. I think that the amount of work that you put into the project really shows and it looks great. I am really impressed with your ability to use grasshopper. I think that the aesthetic of your design is spot on and fits in great with the aesthetic of your room. Great job!


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