Animation Project 3

I used this project as an opportunity to explore non-humanoid animations, drawing on concepts from the first stop-motion assignment.

I used Blender to create a model of an LED, and put together a quick rig with a silly idle/walk/jump animation set. I had hoped to refine the animations, but spent so much time troubleshooting the Blender to Unreal pipeline that I did not have time nor energy to go back and refine.

I spent a good hour and a half reading up on and experimenting with the Blender to Unreal export/import process. After learning a decent amount about the Unreal animation engine I discovered something was off with my bone structure; Unreal was adding an extra “root” bone from the origin of the world that offset all the other bones in the armature.

After even more digging, I realised that my problem I was having was a direct result of a previous bug  between Blender and Unreal, where Unreal removed the first bone of any skeleton named “Armature” (the Default in Blender). My best guess is that the recent bugfix has overcompensated and, at least in my case, is adding an extra bone to my “Armature” skeleton.

The simple fix was to change the skeleton name from “Armature” – I chose ‘Skeleton’. After that everything worked fine. It’s a simple solution but took over 2 hours to discover.



Rig with Weights


Full Circle: A Hand Cranked Power Supply


In my first assignment for Fabrication I created a hand-cranked flash light with parts from the junk shelf. For this final assignment I thought it would be wonderfully fitting to expand on that concept and create a hand crank that could power my other assignments, or any projects in the future.

Continue reading “Full Circle: A Hand Cranked Power Supply”

A Steampunk-Slash-Kitschy-LED Light Thing

Since discovering my partner’s sister makes plant stands out of copper I’ve been wanting to try use copper in a project, and since seeing Ben Light’s 2×4 enclosures I have been wanting to explore that technique. With this week’s prompt – “use 2 materials” – I thought I could bring those two goals together.

Materials & Connectors

I purchased some copper pipe, connectors, and a pipe cutter from Home Depot. I found a piece of 2×4 in the scrap shelf. I used M3 and M4 machine screws and magnets as fasteners.


As shown in the 2×4 instructional video, I used the band saw to cut off a small section of one of the larger sides. Since it’s the band saw the piece I cut was awfully wonky, but I figured it wouldn’t matter too much since the grains on either side would match up regardless.

I used a forstner bit to core out the inside.

And a knife to straighten out the edges a bit, making room for a bulky arduino.

The base was a little warped so I thought that adding some aluminium supports might help straighten it out, as well as add a bit of aesthetic charm. I had some magnets lying around that I wanted to try use to hold the lid in place. Installing them was a matter of carefully measuring the holes, finding the right size drill bit, and a frugal application of superglue. I thoroughly enjoy the effect.

I went through a couple of design iterations for the copper structure on top. My primary motivation was that I wanted some sort of light display coming from the structure, but beyond that I was simply playing around. The first was far too simple for my liking:

But I eventually found an arrangement of pieces sort of reminiscent of a Star Trek ship (I say sort of with a lot of leeway)

Drilling holes in the side of copper, for the plastic light rods, was a little difficult. It seemed to me as though the copper was so soft that as I stepped up in bit size the larger bits had a tendency to eat away big chunks of the metal, leaving wonky and irregular holes. Perhaps for version 2 I’ll use the drill press for more accuracy.


The final step was to wire the electricals, align the LEDs with the drilled holes (that was a tedious nightmare), and assemble the structure. The copper is soft enough that I could slightly deform the ends of each section so that the rods simply pressure fit into their connectors. This was a lot quicker and safer than trying to learn how to braze copper within a week.

Since  there are no external inputs other than power, all I needed was a small hole for a DC jack I had. Sadly it was not a panel mount so I had to figure out a way to attach it (superglue).


A fellow student saw the completed version and said “it looks great! What is it?”
Honestly, I don’t know.