Post 9 – Sisyphus Table Top 5 Specifications and Constraints

What are the top 5 things you want your project to look like, to feel like, to do? 

1.  Draw at least 1 geometric pattern in sand

In order to call the project a success, I hope to be able to draw at least one geometric pattern in the sand bed, and then be able to clear the pattern as well. If I can get at least one pattern working, adding additional patterns should be as simple as using to create additional patterns, however due to time constraints I will focus on one pattern initially.

2. Incorporate LED lighting in the sand bed and exterior

LED lights are an important aspect of Sisyphus tables, as it is what allows the designs to pop out of the sand and be easily visible. I would like to also incorporate LEDs in the exterior as well. This could entail using a piece of clear acylic to allow the interior lights to shine through, or having separate lights to accent the outside. At the moment, I am leaning towards having a mostly black and opaque exterior, and the

3. Drawing space diameter between 12″ and 18″

Since I would like the table to be more of a tabletop piece, rather than a full standalone table, I would like to keep the size relatively small. This is also to fit within budget constraints

4. Clean, black exterior

To fit the minimalist furniture aesthetic, I would like the exterior to be clean, and black, with no unfinished parts. The table should look like something that you could buy off the shelve, not like a DIY project.

5. Intuitive user interface

I would like to have some kind of user interface to start and stop the mechanism, rather than requiring a computer to hook up to the arduino. This will most likely be a small control panel with some buttons, and I could even re-use some elements from my first project to do this.

What are the top 5 constraints you face? 

1. Price should be under $100

I am going to choose materials and components to keep the price below $100. Since I already have components such as the arduino and switches, and I am using relatively cost effective materials, I don’t anticipate this being too difficult to accomplish. However, I will need to do some more research on what motors I will use, which could affect this.

2. Stick to project timeline

I would like to stick to my project timeline as specified in my previous post. This will most likely be the most difficult constraint to meet, due to having other projects going on and the scope of this project being large. To complete the project by the deadline, it will be important for me to stick to my plan.

Week 1: -Initial Research
-Part sourcing and cost breakdown
-Initial Mechanism Design Work
Week 2: -Finish Mechanism Design Work
-Order Parts
-Begin aesthetic design work for exterior
-Start Constructing Mechanism
Week 3: -Finish Mechanism Construction
-Finish aesthetic design work
-Manufacture table
Week 4: -Any remaining debugging and manufacturing
-Project documentation

3. Converting gcode to motor movement

This constraint will be difficult for me, because it is an area that is new to me. Luckily, this is an area that is very well documented on the internet. There are lots of recourses on YouTube for controlling motors, along with dedicated Arduino libraries that I can use. I wont be starting from scratch do to the large code base that already exists on the internet, but since this is a new area for me, I will need to focus on this issue sooner rather than later.

4. Using manufacturing methods I am familiar with

I am sticking to manufacturing methods that I am already familiar with such as laser cutting and 3D printing. This does impose some constraints on how I will design the enclosure. However, since I am doing a minimalist aesthetic, I believe that I can stick with these methods and still pull of my desired aesthetic.

5. Using Arduino

While other micro controllers such a the Raspberry pi could give me greater functionality, I would like to stick with using an arduino as the brain for the project. This will just affect how I code the project, but will give me plenty of functionality to pull of the functional goals and aesthetic goals. I am also more flexible on this constraint, and it could change if I need to.


Sisyphus Table: Where Art and Technology Merge


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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Alexis Cisneros
    April 7, 2024 11:46 pm

    Hi Luke,

    I really like your project and the different specifications you outlined. I especially like the idea of making it more of a table top. I think it is a smart decision with the constraints and can help with where you can place it. Overall great ideas!

    • Alexis,
      I agree with your points, I think it will be a piece that I will want to keep, and having it be small will be easier to move around. Thanks for the comment.

  • Collin Kendall
    April 7, 2024 8:25 pm

    Adding the LEDs will make this table look sweet! I’ve seen some similar ones with timelapse’s and was wondering if you had any plans to make videos? Also if you had any ideas for different color balls maybe? Sweet project can’t wait to see it finished!

    • Collin,
      Thanks for the comment. I thought briefly about painting the steel marble, maybe black or white to match my minimalist aesthetic a bit more. I think a time lapse video will definitely be part of my final post/presentation.


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