Specifications and Constraints: Water Wheel

Since I am going for a brutalism aesthetic with my water wheel project, I want my project to match the feelings given off by this aesthetic as much as possible. Each fin of the wheel I want to be highly geometric (like square) and then a second aspect I would like to meet is the concrete look characteristic of brutalism. I think a water wheel and brutalism will go well together as I want the movement of the water to feel a bit aggressive and highly industrial. There are ways to move water in a pretty way and I want my project to exemplify the opposite of that. I would ideally like to use it with my initial idea of creating a hydro or aqua ponics system so that it does have a functional purpose of moving the water around to support plant or aquatic life. I think having a dynamic kind of kinetic sculpture based off a water wheel will be my indication that I have successfully created my projects function and then if it has mostly geometric shapes and a colorless concrete feel then that will be a sign of a successful project aesthetically.

Okinawa: Where Brutalism Becomes Zen - Greyscape

An example of brutalism architecture in Okinawa. [1]

Modern Waterwheel Stock Photo - Download Image Now - Water Wheel, Modern, Backgrounds - iStock

This is the closest picture to a water wheel that I am using as inspiration. [2] I would say that this picture is more similar to a clean, modern look, so I would want to change that aesthetic into more of a blocky look instead of the spoon shapes and also have a less shiny color, so that it more closely resembles concrete.

I think any dynamic project has technical constraints in that I will have to source a motor and set it up correctly with the mechanical wheel system, so I think technical acumen and time will be two major constraints. I also think I will need to be careful about weight and size because I will probably not be able to source a large motor that can handle a lot of torque. Lastly, I think that integration with my stretch goal of combining it into a growing system will be challenging with time. I am also getting slightly concerned about my manufacturing method, since these are a little bit difficult shapes to create and I don’t live in Boulder in order to be able to use all the special equipment there. I think I will try to use matte grey 3D printed parts in order to balance the aesthetic with the weight and cost constraints.

SUNLU PLA Filament 1.75mm 1kg Grey • ItsLitho

Example grey 3D printed filament I think I will order. [3] [1] https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.greyscape.com%2Fokinawa-where-brutalism-becomes-zen%2F&psig=AOvVaw39Qkn8u8Mc0prll8YhTwrL&ust=1679672652557000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CA8QjRxqFwoTCLDUi7Ky8v0CFQAAAAAdAAAAABAE

[2] https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.istockphoto.com%2Fphoto%2Fmodern-waterwheel-gm176072325-10374274&psig=AOvVaw3n6SBA3p768VTJ4SBo1KLl&ust=1679672719378000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CA8QjRxqFwoTCIDy0NGy8v0CFQAAAAAdAAAAABAE

[3] https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fitslitho.com%2Fproduct%2Fsunlu-pla-filament-1-75mm-1kg-grey%2F&psig=AOvVaw1RAh6vZgbuerWAfJqZo8HL&ust=1679673538089000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CA8QjRxqFwoTCPjZm9i18v0CFQAAAAAdAAAAABAF

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi Holly,
    I loved the idea of creating water wheel, it is very aesthetically pleasing and have certain technical details as well.
    I very well understand your challenges for dynamic parts as I am working on similar challenge in my project, hope you can overcome all constraints and reach till your expected build.
    It would be cool to try and make electricity out of it if the size and numbers makes case for it. 🙂

    All the best!

  • I really like this project because it sways from the typical goals of achieving laminar flow and rounded “pretty” shaping. Brutalism is a divergent aesthetic in the best way possible because it opens your project to more unique forms and goals. I agree that some of your main concerns may be the torque and speed of your motor. 3D printing will definitely alleviate some of these concerns and give the more matte coloring you are looking for. I’m excited to see how your project progresses!

  • Pere Roquet Arroyo
    March 25, 2023 8:27 pm

    Holly, I agree with you that a water wheel and the brutalism aesthetic can fit very well. I am looking forward to see it finished. The images you uploaded remind me a lot of a pelton water turbine, the only difference is that the pelton turbine has 2 spoons per arm instead of one. Have you considered the possibility of making a turbine of it? Where are you planning to put it?


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