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Kinetic Sculpture

You can use a cricket and a motor to add motion to art.
stuff you need
  • PICO Cricket
  • Motor
  • Craft/art materials

What is a kinetic sculpture? Basically, it is art that moves, but the art and the motion can take many different forms. The possibilites are endless!

This is the idea for the sculpture I wanted to make, but yours will probably look very different.

I had been playing around with a motion module that spun and bumped a wheel up and down. This reminded me of the motion of a tornado, which lead me to think of the house caught in the tornado in the Wizard of Oz.

If you can already imagine your sculpture, think of what kind of motion you need and what mechanism is going to make that motion happen.

Or, if you're looking for ideas for what to make, try starting with a motion...what does it remind you of?

Once you've decided an idea, think of what materials and tools will you need to make the art part.

I decided I wanted to use wire to make the tornado and wonder foam for the house. I used a pair of pliers to help shape the wire and a hot glue gun to attach all the pieces together.

Next, make your art. Keep in mind that you may need to modify it when you attach or build in your mechanism.

Voila! With a little elbow grease and glue, my moving part is done and ready to be attached to...

...the mechanism. I had found this motion module in the office next door. It was close to what I needed, but I wanted it to spin and move up and down more.

You may have to try many things or make many adjustments to get your mechanism working how you want it to. I tried a bunch of combinations of wheels and gears before finding a solution that worked well.

Here is what I came up with. Click the picture to see the changes I made to the original module.

Now for the program...

Think of what your motor will do. Does your motion change direction? Do you need a slow or fast motion? Does your motion start and stop at certain times?

After 3-4 tries, I found a speed fast enough to spin the motor, but not too fast so as not to send my house flying. Click the picture to see a video of this twisty tornado.

Here are some other things you can do with your sculpture:

  • Add a background or other scenery
  • Make it interactive--add a sensor to trigger the motion
  • Tell a story with it
  • Show it to a friend!
What else
Kinetic Sculptor Arthur Ganson
Kinetic Sculpture Boxes
See Cabaret Mechanical's virtual exhibitions
Check out this workshop on making automata and understanding motion

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