Main Project: Top 5 Constraints for Mood Rings

The top 5 constraints I will be holding my main project to are as follows:

  1. Aesthetic: Kawaii or Cute
  2. Dimensions: Roughly 6 cubic inches
  3. Movement must be satisfying – either very smooth or nice clunks
  4. Designs between the slots in the rings will take advantage of the rings’ rotation, possibly as far as a zoetrope
  5. Base must be very stable

I ended up wanting to go with the Kawaii aesthetic once again, as I think especially in this context, it will work really well. Here is a link again to my original blog post for an in-depth review of the Kawaii aesthetic. The key aspects of Kawaii that I’ll be hitting on are the soft, Easter-esque color palette, as well as big-headed/big-eyed characters. Another big part of why I’m choosing this aesthetic is that it’s a style of art I’ve been drawn to for a while now. Here’s a close-up of a seal’s face I drew, that is fairly reminiscent of what I’ll be shooting for in each of the slots of the rings.

Faces like these will be placed along the perimeter of each tier of ring, as described in my last blog post here. Below is an additional sketch of how one of the rings will look, mounted on a tripod base.

I’ve decided roughly 6 cubic inches will be an appropriate size for this project. It’ll give me enough room to have roughly 10 pieces of headwear, and 6-8 faces, with the inner most ring being a sort of continuous design. That’ll leave us with up to 80 different possible combinations, which should be plenty to keep the user from growing bored of the designs. It should also be small enough to not feel like it’s crowding any surface it’s on.

Above is an example zoetrope, which you’ve probably seen before but just not known the name of. This one is meant to go on a disc that will spin, though the more common version is a shade with a series of cutouts that revolves around a light source. The movement of the pattern is such that it appears to animate whatever the subject is in the image. Depending on how much time I’m able to sink into this project, I will design my own zoetrope to match the aesthetic, or may end up editing an existing one to better fit the Kawaii aesthetic.

Finally, a wide, relatively heavy base will be an important element to this toy. If I successfully design the gear system such that it is fun to spin, the user will naturally want to spin it as fast as they can. Because of that, I’ll need a very stable base, to avoid a tip-over, and to also prevent it from sliding it around as the user recklessly cranks away. I’m thinking a tripod shape base will give it plenty of stability, either made out of a heavy material, or I’ll attach suction cups to each leg, so the user can “lock” it in to place.

Most likely, I’ll go with the heavy material route, as this will make the toy feel like it is higher quality than if it were very light. I may also end up combining the heavy material with the suction cups to give it extra security. Thanks for reading, please let me know of any ideas for the base you may have, or if you have ideas on materials to use for the rings to help contribute to a satisfying feeling to its turning.

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5 Comments. Leave new

  • […] Main Project: Top 5 Constraints for Mood Rings […]

  • I just want to start by saying your drawing of the seal made my night!

    As for making your own zoetrope, I would just be careful about getting too far in before realizing that you may need to switch routes and use a pre-existing one. To me, it looks like that would be quite a task to take on, so it will be important to plan ahead for all steps of fabrication.

    For the base, I think that a heavy base would probably work well on its own, so the suction cups may not be necessary. Especially because I don’t think the rings will be too far away from the tabletop, so it’s center of gravity will be relatively low to start. Visualizing how I would use this, I think I’d probably have one hand on the base anyway while the other hand spins the rings, but that’s just me.

    • Thomas Buckholtz
      March 10, 2020 12:30 pm

      Haha I’m glad you enjoyed him!
      You’re right about the zoetrope taking a lot of time, especially since I’ve never attempted one before. But, it does look pretty similar to a flipbook, so I think with the capabilities of Photoshop and spring break, I should be able to pull it off!
      Thanks for your thoughts on the base, I hadn’t thought about someone just bracing it with the other hand. I think you’re right, I’ll likely just go with the heavy base then.

  • Hannah Walsh
    March 8, 2020 10:20 pm

    I don’t have any idea for a base or suction cups, but if there’s room to add suction cups, you may have room to add literal weights. You can buy most weights in any size and shape, so if there’s a spot on the underside of the tripop shaped base, that may do the trick

    • Thomas Buckholtz
      March 10, 2020 12:31 pm

      Thanks Hannah, I hadn’t considered weights! I’ll look into what different dimension weights are available, but I think this would work really nicely as it could allow for me to 3D print a base rather than worrying about finding one that’ll fit my toy pre-made, or a more complicated manufacturing method.


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