Piecing It Together / Wk 9 / 3D Printing

FINAL DESIGN: 3-piece puzzle of a tree maze (Top Cover,  Middle, Bottom)

– 2 player game to race against one another
– Pieces can interlock together and contain metal ball bearings for the game
After we figured out the design for the tree maze, our next steps were to see how our design would translate into the 3D print using the LuxzBot Taz and UltiMaker machines.
1.) INITIAL 3D TEST PRINT: In order to see how the specs would translate to the printed form, we printed our initial design file that we were playing with. We were able to figure out how to take the Tinkercad file, save it as a (.stl) file, load it into Cura to create the (.gcode) file, and then transfer (.gcode) file to an SD card to print on the LuxzBot Taz machine. The total print time for this piece was 2 hours. The main problem from that we ran into with this test run was the depressions printed raised lines, so the extruded parts of the opposite piece could not interlock to close.

2.) MAKING ADJUSTMENTS: We needed to adjust the files to make the depressed line strokes thicker and deeper so the walls of the maze could fit right in. Also from class feedback after showing our sketch in class, one suggestion was to make the maze more in-tune with the concept of a ‘tree’, so Jenn made the lines inside the maze more branch and leaf-like.



CURA VIEW – 3 pieces (bottom, middle, top)


3.) 3D PRINTING PROBLEMS: We made the pieces smaller hoping to lesson the print time, which for this job was estimated at 3 hours. The problem with this was that the pieces were lifting off from the bed and moving around. We tried printing these files a couple times by making the file bigger and waiting for the machines to cool down. During these trials, we noticed that the different color plastics also affected how hard and soft the 3D piece was. We had more success printing with the opaque white plastic, as opposed to the clear and black plastics that were more flimsier.

Prints lifting and moving from the bed

Many failed 3D printing jobs

4.) RAFTS AND BRIMS: While trying to solve the problem with the plastic lifting from the bed, we tried adding a raft and a brim in Cura to help keep the piece down as it printed. It still didn’t work well on the LuxzBot Taz, but when we used the UltiMaker machine, the print was able to finish without lifting off from the bed. 

Printing on Ultimaker with raft around design

Nature of Code / Exercise 3: Datasets

For this week’s assignment, I decided to think of a dataset that I would like to use with a supervised learning machine learning algorithm and want to concentrate on finding patterns and similarity within images. At first I looked at the Instagram API because I wanted to try to find ‘magazine covers’ from the feed without hashtags or geotags, but since the Instagram users own their images, there seems to be a lot of restrictions. So I remembered from another class that the Smithsonian API could also be used to explore the images and through that I found the Cooper Hewitt API, which seems to format the data as JSON files. Below is an example of how they used colors to classify the pieces in the museum.


Data Art / Project #3 / Place & Space

DATA ART #3: Place & Space
Paths in Space – Melissa’s Week on the Moon


Melissa Parker
Anne-Michelle Gallero


Melissa and I exchanged OpenPaths data and used it to create our own interpretation of each other’s week in outer space. Below is Melissa’s week on the moon visualized.

MoonPath from annemgal on Vimeo.


MoonPathAbstract from annemgal on Vimeo.





Piecing It Together / Wk 8 / 3D Puzzle

Jennifer Tis
Anne-Michelle Gallero


To create a 3D maze in the shape of a tree on either the 3D printer or on a wood panel using the CNC machine.








1. After collecting some photos and links of 3d mazes and puzzles that we liked, we decided to continue with the maze idea as either a 3D printer object or using the CNC machine after seeing some examples of wooden mazes online.

2. Created a maze from a puzzle  generator online: mazegenerator

3. Started building the 3D version in Tinkercad and figured out that we could build the object in Illustrator and then import it in Tinkercad as a SVG file.

4. Initially, we were having problems importing the file because Tinkercad would disregard the complex shapes with grooves and simplify it into a filled-in piece. We needed to create the twists and turns of the shape as an object instead of a stroke. Attempted to rebuilt the maze from scratch in Illustrator to turn all the lines into a combined object (and not just lines).

5. Needed to find a simpler and faster solution of taking the stroke and turning it into an object… and after doing a google search, discovered “EXPAND.”  By applying the “EXPAND” feature in Illustrator, it turns the stroke into an object.
6. Importing the new SVG file into Tinkercad: The Tinkercad program still filed in the shape as a solid piece, so opened the SVF file in Fusion 360 and it maintained it’s original shape in there.

7. Next step will be to prototype and test the design on a 3D Printer.

Nature of Code / Exercise #1 / Binary Tree

full screen

EXERCISE #1Visual Binary Trees: I wanted to concentrate on something visual and understand binary trees in code. The samples above (heavily relying on Dan Shiffman’s video tutorial and source code on binary trees viz) are really basic playing with colors and shapes in p5 taking inspiration from Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec’s Dear Data graphs to help myself understand the mechanism of the code. I definitely need to work on this more to come up with something more original. Eventually, I’d like to model it after these neural illustrations done below by neuroscientist, Santiago Ramon y Cajal.


Data Art / Project #2 / Text & Archives

PROJECT: Aesop’s Fables

CONCEPT: Data Art project using archives from Project Gutenberg and taking the text for Aesop’s Fables to animate the stories and letterforms, while highlighting the fables’ lessons as an art installation for children.


DA_Fables_ProcessingVideo_3 from annemgal on Vimeo.

The rough sketch below shows how I would like to play with the text and illustration to make the story come alive. I would like the text to be more graphic and dynamic. For instance, using the text as paint to break words apart from the sentences and animated the letters so they start falling like rain or scrolling line by line within the space to simulate water or wind. It’s something I need to work on if I continue developing this idea. I also want to take the list of characters (animals, trees, gods & goddesses, etc) and visualize their relationships and the number they appear in each story as another feature to this piece.


Avant-Garde Art / Wk 6 / Final


ARTWORK: Found Tweets Colorized

DESCRIPTION: 9 small rectangular canvases (6″ x 4″), painted with a range of skin tones and displaying a single found tweet referring to essential human needs and wants.

I started thinking more about immigration after doing my first assignment for a Data Art class.  My project needed to be more abstract and less info graphic-like with lists and numbers. This led me to try to think more about the issue of how to capture more of the essence rather than showing data in a graph or bar chart. When you look around yourself, especially in NYC, all the people that you encounter or ride the train with makes you question, “why does a person or family leave their original country?” And it mostly comes down to the essential human needs of food, money, work, second chances, safety, religious freedom and a better life. Since I just finished a Twitter Bot class and learned to do searches with the Twitter API, I wanted to try something with that. For the last 10 days, I took sample of data of each of the words [money, work, second chances, safety, immigration and a better life] and collected the results. And since results for the morning might be greatly different than results at night, I tried to tooks samples of data from each hour of day.

Monitors, Projectors or Paintings? Figuring out how to display the piece
I liked how my prototype as gifs could show more tweets and my original idea for the piece was to figure out how to get real time tweets on the searches, but I realized after reading through the data that there’s a lot of things to filter out, like retweets, racist comments, spam and I’m still trying to figure out how to code that. The process of reading all the data and trying to see patterns and find meaningful tweets, I felt like this piece was turning into a collage by using found tweets by chance occurrence. And with Marina’s feedback in mind and references that she suggested, I decided to turn this into a series of paintings which would help to make it be object like and a more permanent way of capturing a digital moment that would otherwise be lost in the digital abyss. The only downside is how to pick 1 tweet to represent a whole word found.

Tweets Colorized: Many Skin Tones
I had an idea at first to photograph people and color sample their skin tone colors for a more actual representation, but lucikly one of Marina’s references, she sent along the colourstudio site and I used that as a guide for the background colors of canvases.

This piece is a mash-up of many different artists’ works that I’ve encounter during this project and have been inspired by. This has been done before and to me this reflects conceptual and procedural art in the sense that it’s not the actual product, but the idea that’s impactful. Through this project, I gained a lot more insight into the many different meanings of these ‘words’ from many different kinds of people/tweeters. Twitter contains  a lot of noise that you would rather not spend your time reading, but sometimes there are a few ideas or statements that could resonate. And Twitter is a good places to get different perspectives after an specific event or a moment.

Avant-Garde Art / Wk 5 / Draft for Final

INITIAL IDEA:  My original thought was to create a p5 or processing sketch with 3 boxes across a canvas with a line of text inside each box (similar to Jenny Holzer’s Truisms or Ben Rubin & Mark Hansen ‘s Listening Posts and using colors inspired by Byron Kim’s Synecdoche). After seeing ICP’s Perpetual Revolution: The Image and Social Change, Thomas Dworzak’s “Instagram books” collection and taking Allison Parrish’s Twitter Bot class, I thought it would be interesting to explore the Twitter API and extract snapshots of tweets associated to particular words. I wanted to take an issue like immigration or skin color and search for particular words like “immigration,” as well as words associated to it like “better life” and “dreams” on the Twitter API and display the tweets in each of the 3 boxes.


TWITTER 3.9.17 / 11am


1. In an effort to learn and practice my Processing & P5 skills, I decided to work in this medium as my final project.  Since I’m still learning how to code and parsing data, it’s taking me a while to make the code work and look the way I want. The draft above was actually done in Indesign and Photoshop, but I’m determined to code this in p5, so the API or a text file of tweets loads into the canvas automatically.
2. Extracting data from Twitter API. My initial idea was to have 3 panels, flashing different shades of skin tones with twitter feed info of the words: ‘brown’, ‘white’, ‘black’ in the tweets. These particular words are so general that they convey a wide range of meanings from actual color to people’s names, so I decided to change the word search to ‘immigration’ and the things that migrants strive for like ‘second chances’, ‘dreams’, ‘better life’, ‘happiness’ to see more positive tweets. After seeing the results for these word searches, I felt like I needed to filter out a lot of information like retweets, the user’s Twitter name and abundance of mean or negative tweets.
3. Design – 3 boxes of text vs 1 box. It’s probably better to focus on 1 line/ 1 box of text at a time. I also want to add more design elements or more animation to this so it’s something that I need to work on, as well as figuring out the coding for this.



Piecing It Together / Wks 5 & 6 / Gear Box Midterm

WEEK 5  (Prototype)
I decided to focus on the Karakuri mechanical box, so I can explore the mechanics of gears and translate the paper form to a wooden version. To help me get started, I used the paper templates from the book, Karakuri: How to Make Mechanical Paper Models Move. I was able to cut and assemble a paper model of the box and gears as the start of my prototype.


• • • • •
WEEK 6  (The Construction)
The next steps for me was to draw the flat pieces into a digital vector format so I could easily adjust the pieces into an updated design using wood with a 1/4″ thickness.

1) Taking the box apart and measuring the individual pieces to translate them into a vector form in Adobe Illustrator. (TIP: When I used a regular ruler to measure, it was a little frustrating to get precise measurements. Instead, I used a precision ruler that I’ve had for years to help me measure the exact fractions. And when I need to convert the fractions to decimal points quickly, I keep a conversion chart of fractions to decimals by my desk and in my sketchbook.

2) Template in Illustrator and making gears:  I struggled with drawing the gears but after watching some YouTube videos, I figured out some quick and less frustrating tips in gear making. Start with 2 circles (diameter, diameter with length of teeth), then a star (to help guide the placement of the teeth), use the ‘Outline’ tool in the ‘Pathfinder’ tab, ungroup and set the stroke to Black, and delete the lines that are not needed.

3) Testing the template on a vinyl cutter: I tested the template on a vinyl cutter first. This helped me correct template by adding or removing lines that should of been cut versus needed to be perforated. Adjusting my template before trying the template on a laser cutter definitely helps save time. When using the vinyl cutter, I first started off with 100# Bristol paper which required a deep cut blade and I experimented with cutting the template on wood paper as well. The wood paper has a nice finish, but it’s too flimsy and the vinyl cutter didn’t cut all the way through so I needed to over the edges with an Exacto knife. I also need to figure out the correct settings to get the vinyl cutter to cut through thick sheets—I had the same issue with the 100# paper stock.
4) Testing the template on the laser cutter and more prototypes: Translating the flat pieces to something that has depth, particularly the 1/4″ thickness of the wood. I first tried cardboard and then wood. The challenging part of this task was recreating the box without the paper flaps. After seeing a rough prototype of the wood version and how I glued it together, the thickness of the wood added to the length of the cube and if I glued it that way,  I would need to make some ‘sides’ shorter in order to compensate for the added depth.  (NOTE: the laser cutter didn’t go through the wood completely after 3 passes and needed to run through the laser cutter a couple more times to cut through the wood. Also book enough time to do this.)

5) Constructing Boxes with Interlocking Edges: I actually tried to construct this last semester for my PCOM midterm (and before I learned how to use the laser cutter), but I couldn’t get the grooves to match perfectly and ended up buying an acrylic cubed enclosure from The Container Store. I tested a rough version on cardboard with the laser cutter first, but ran into the same problem of figuring out where things should interlock, so I carefully worked on laying out the  interlock in Illustrator and spacing the grooves apart by 1/4″ (which is also the same size as the wood thickness).  In Illustrator, I also laid out each side of the box like a cross so I could easily see what was connected to what and tested the grooves next to one another. After each round, I tested a paper version on the vinyl cutter a couple times, taped the pieces together and was able to mark with a Sharpie, what grooves were unnecessary or missing to adjust my template.

6) Laser cutting with the final template on “wood”: For this latest version, it took an 1 hour to do 9 passes through the laser cutter. It did cut through to almost everything except for 2 gears with the longer teeth, which were luckily my backup pieces that I didn’t need). I was very happy that the sides interlocked with no missing pieces and decided not to use wood glue to lock them together cause the interlock fits tightly together. On my template, I tried to keep the pieces interlocked while it was laser cut, so the sides would fit together smoothly when constructing the box.

7) Work in Progress: In order for the gear mechanism to work better, I need to make the holes (or squares) in the center of the inside gears and the big circular ‘turner’ smaller and the long beam a little thicker, so it has more tension and doesn’t allow the gear to slide around as much. In the paper version, there were small paper tabs to glue onto the beam to keep things in place. By making the holes a little tighter, I’m hoping that it will keep things in place better. I also want to add a top piece to the box and attach it to the gear mechanism. I was thinking of trying to animate the wheels of a Mars Rover and have little human figures inside the ‘gear’ box, standing on and around the gears to convey the idea of them controlling the Rover’s “movements.”