Main Project: Top 5 Constraints

Moving forward with the chicken wire framing and construction, there are a few constraints, as there are with all projects, I need to consider:

1) Material and Structure

The biggest constraint moving forward is developing the actual structure of the owl sculpture. There are a ton of different ways I can go about creating the base structure of the sculpture, all involving manipulating the chicken wire in differing ways. There are two primary methods of constructing the frame with the chicken wire frame currently that I am considering – either to simply bend the chicken wire into the desired shape using the natural hexagonal pattern of the fence as the underlying structure; or to strip the chicken wire down to single pieces and then weave them together to form the base structure. It is also very important that I can form the sculpture while still retaining access to either the head of the owl or the wings, for the next constraint.

2) Dynamic Component

Since I’ve decided that the dynamic component of the sculpture is to involve a moving part, it is crucial that I build up the proper electronics in order to achieve the movement I want. This will involve motors or a servo and some basic programming for movement; but the important thing is that it all needs to be integrated into the sculpture, which means that not only does the sculpture have to fit electronics, but also be flexible enough to implement the movement without breaking or damaging the sculpture. Thus, I need to figure out a way to maneuver past the constraint (the requirement of a dynamic component) without damaging the sculpture itself. In the end, it might involve simply designing the sculpture in a way that I can access the electronics necessary for the movement. Moreover, I need to build a system which can rotate the body parts itself in the first place, which will not be easy.

3) Size and Cost

Another constraint is the ultimate size of the sculpture, and the associated necessary materials it will take to build the sculpture. Fundamentally, the size of the sculpture will be limited by my budget and the time required to build the sculpture (not to mention the fact that I am a complete amateur when it comes to building a sculpture out of wire). Generally, I was thinking to build the sculpture to about the size of a real owl – that is, something ‘desk’-size.

4) Aesthetic and Building with Intent

At the end of the day, it is especially crucial to consider the aesthetic that I will be working to, and to keep it in mind while beginning construction. Since the main goal of the project is to express some kind of aesthetic, if I am unable to work with the material towards a specific aesthetic, then the project will be a failure. The aesthetic can be changed with how the wire frame is manipulated – as well as the overall stature of the sculpture. In general, while the chicken wire is beneficial towards a more contemporary or surreal aesthetic, I think that it may be difficult to manipulate the chicken wire with intention; without errors or discrepancies in the form. These mistakes will ultimately detract from the final piece.

5) Design Process and Construction

In terms of the actual building of the sculpture, there will be a major constraint in how I can go about the process. In the first place, I don’t have too much time to iterate and experiment with the sculpture and the dynamic component. I will have to dedicate a major portion of my time in actually developing the structure of the sculpture, as well as figuring out how to properly incorporate the dynamic component. The design process will be heavily limited especially since I have a constraint on the actual material and budget I have; the sculpture will inherently demand a lot of iteration to achieve the look that I want, since I am unaccustomed to working with chicken wire in the first place.

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Kyle Neubarth
    March 9, 2020 12:07 am

    This project stands out to me in that it seems like the whole piece will be made with one chunk of material, all at once. Because of this I feel like it might be helpful to do rapid iterations (practice making parts of the bird, small parts to prove that your design will work). In working with my gears project this process has been especially important, usually because I mess up my plans fairly often.

  • I think your use of chicken wire is a very good choice. From my experience, chicken wire is generally pretty forgiving if you need to rework or re-bend areas, but is strong enough to maintain it’s shape fairly well (unless it’s dropped or something, but I don’t see that being an issue with what you’re trying to accomplish dynamically).

    What other materials will you be using the create the look of the feathers and face of the owl?

  • Kevin,
    For the dynamic constraint, have you taken into consideration the chicken wire shearing as it is flexed back and forth? I don’t know much about that material but I can see where that would be a problem. Anyways, what do you plan on using as the dynamic piece of this project?


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