Noah Howell Project Portfolio

This page serves as a portfolio to represent my work during my time in the Aesthetics of Design class at CU Boulder. This class taught me to integrate both form and function to intrigue and impact the viewer by challenging me to analyze and create things within certain aesthetics.

Upcycle Project

[1] Stardust Motel Print – Ed Kiley

The goal of the upcycle project was to choose an aesthetic and recreate it using found or recycled materials. For my project, I chose to create something in the same aesthetic as some 1950’s signage, noted by bright colors, sharp geometries, and the starburst shape shown above in figure 1. I decided to make a mock version of the Stardust Motel sign using pieces from aluminum cans and plywood to form a piece that would stand three feet tall.

I first asked the CU Recycling Center if I could take some of their surplus of aluminum cans, then cut and washed them to prepare for applying to the plywood frame I cut using a bandsaw. The image below shows the final design I created in Solidworks.

I then cut out all of the can labels such that I could attach just the plain colored aluminum to my piece in a collage. The gluing of these pieces took several hours, and I am happy to say that I have created an art piece that stands proudly in my living room.

Helpful Links:

Upcycling Project Aesthetic – 1950’s Signage

Upcycle Progress – 1950’s Signage

Upcycle Design Report – 1950’s Signage

Main Project

The main project in this course tasked me with creating a piece with moving parts aligned with an aesthetic of my choosing. I decided to create something that was important to me, and I felt represented my time in college as graduation drew nearer. I first decided on gears as my medium, though I am not impressed with the steampunk aesthetic that is most commonly associated. I moved forward by turning these gears into something more natural, and decided on creating gears shaped like nautilus shells out of wood that could be wall mounted. My goal was to preserve the woodgrain and turn an aesthetic that is most commonly industrial into something more natural.

I moved forward by creating a design for these gears as well as the back plate they would be mounted to.

I planned to lasercut the more intricate gears and cut the back plate using a bandsaw and fillet the edges using a router. This worked out after some trial and error, since the laser cutter was troublesome with the thicker wood I purchased for this. I wanted to mount these using wooden dowels connected to ball bearings, which would allow for smooth rotation of the gears. I used a lathe to take the wooden dowels down to 8mm from 22mm, then attached them to the back plate with bearings mounted into the center of the nautilus gears.

The final piece put together rotates smoothly, and with a finish applied will become a perfect addition to my wall as a symbolic culmination of my work.

Helpful Links:

Post 6 – Interactive Wall Art

Post 7 – Gear Project Alternatives

Post 8 – Gear Wall Art Design Preview

Post 9 – Nautilus Gear Considerations

Post 10 – Nautilus Gears Progress

Post 11 – Nautilus Gears

Post 12 – Nautilus Gears, You’ll Never Guess How

Previous Post
Aesthetics in Design Portfolio
Next Post
Project Portfolio – Helen Do

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.