Recently I am experiencing three big cities in at most 6 months; Seoul, Shanghai, and New York. All of three cities take important roles in the world and also have something in common; a big river. It was a great experience for me, so I wanted to celebrate and express them at this assignment.
However, with my another thought about the ‘visualizing time‘ which was my recent obsession with the physical computing class, I suddenly thought that combining these two insights would be greater.
1. There are three (or four) of acrylic square sheets engraved with each city’s major road maps, combined with a case.
2. LEDs are separately set at the bottom of each acrylic sheets.
3. Users could set a specific time via a potentiometer, and when they turn on the switch, the LEDs turn on gradually.
4. Therefore, we can naturally see the time visually with the city.
(From this line, I will focus more on the fabrication process)
Materials (Only Fabrication)
– 1 Acrylic Panel (24″ x 12″)
Step 1: Case Design
Through one of last year’s blogs, I could get a site creating a custom case at http://www.makercase.com/. The dimension was decided after considering the Arduino kit and breadboard as well as LEDs.
Step 2: Getting Roadmap Data
A well-organised road system of Manhattan gave me a big inspiration and this enabled me getting a vector roadmap file at https://openvectormaps.com/. Fortunately, the roadmap of Seoul and Shanghai were available as well!.
Step 3: Etching & Cutting
There were a bunch of layers in each of each city’s vector data on Illustrator, so simplifying the data was the key mission. I left only major roads of the city, hiding all of the minor roads and so on. Next, for the optimized and balanced image, I simulated and adjusted the each roadmap.
After that, I put them in squares and finalized the illustrator file for laser cutting.
At the sequence of laser cutting, etching was very easy but cutting required four iterations.
After cutting, I temporarily assembled every part and checked any problems and solution as below;
– No stability in the case design –> fill black acrylic paint inside the case (not outside)
– Need to fix all of the connected parts –> Use a glue
The painting was not easy than expected. Brush strokes remained so I dried and painted it again. But it could not be perfect:
Used 6 modules of white 12v LEDs for lighting. The level of reflection on the top was high when space is bright, but also not became a big problem to see (and even common circumstances).
Seoul + Shanghai (I have to sand the bottom of squares due to the space gap)
Seoul + Shanghai + New York
(Light controller is not included)
If I could go further, I’ like to make it full frame.