I wanted to make something that tugged at the mystical part of life and it had to include LEDs, reproduction of a simple shape and I wanted it to be clean. I had a vision that I sketched out over many iterations (lot’s of them in my mind), until I came up with a central focus design. I wanted some hidden meaning, so I used a rough estimation of the Devil’s Tower (Wyoming) typography for the concentric lines and I merged different elements from a variety of medieval Alchemist drawings.
I try very hard to stick to my original idea or I inevitably end up with something I don’t like. It’s as though throughout the process, I highjack my own mind and mutant my original plans into some other beast. So, I try not to do that by lots of sketches.
Once I had a plan, I wanted to pour my first ever cast using some Smooth On Silicone Rubber for the mold and for the Urethane plastic, I used Crystal Clear (Please be very careful when using any of these products...I can’t imagine what would happen if these compounds where to get into your system. I always where latex gloves, a respirator and goggles.). The mistake I made with this mold was not spacing out the cubes enough to be able to bend the mold and pop out the cubes. I basically made a brick and had to pull each cube out by force, which was not easy.
Next, I wanted the cubes to have LEDs in them, but also be able to remove them if one burned out, so I drilled holes in the cubes. The most dangerous thing I did was tie a grinder to the table so that I could rough up the very hard surface of the plastic (sandpaper didn’t work). Please don’t do this, but I used a pair of pliers to hold the 1” cubes up against the grinder and it worked rather well.
I then drew out the topography like I wanted and printed that out and taped it to sheets of matte board, which I cut out using a variable speed scroll saw. Glued all the mats together, added the Xerox transfer*, spray painted it with a really thick coat of gloss paint, attached the LEDs three in series, and the series in parallel and glued all of the lights, electronics, and cubes in to place.
*To draw this, I mocked it up in Illustrator, printed it out, photocopied it using a real copy machine, then transferred it to the board with a Blender marker (I’m sure a lot of you know about this transfer technique) .
Finally, the frame is made from 1”x6” and 1”x1” dowels and it took about 30 minutes to figure out how to hang it on the wall because it’s so heavy. I ended up using the metal drywall screws that were rated for 50lbs each (I think).