Introduction: Make a Teahouse Screen Portraying Caffeine Molecules
We wanted to build a Teahouse to invite visitors to drink tea and to share the science of tea.
Step 1: Choose an Image and Convert It to Dotted Halftone
We found an electron microscope image of caffeine. Our image was already black and white, if your image is not make sure you convert it to grayscale. Since we wanted to make a variable shade screen, we chose an image that had variable density of blacks, whites and grays.
Since the size of our Teahouse wall was approximately 10ft X 10ft, and we wanted 9 square panels, we resized and divided the image in Photoshop. Then we converted the image into to a dotted halftone, making sure that our dot sizes were large enough for our CNC router.
Step 2: Cut Out the Panels on a CNC Router
Import the raster image into your CNC router software (we used a Shopbot) and trace it, checking that the dots are traced as desired, you don't want big chunks of your screen falling out. Select your wood (we used 1/8" plywood) and cut it. Be prepared for the cutting to take many hours.
Step 3: Sand It, Check It and Install It
Sand the panels to your liking, and if needed coat them with urethane or paint for protection. See how the light filters through the panels, and install them in your Teahouse. Our Teahouse is a steel open cube and we used a Unistrut grid to arrange and secure the panels to the wall.
Step 4: Enjoy Tea in Your Teahouse
Your Teahouse screen wall is ready! Enjoy sharing tea with your visitors. We invited tea masters to give tea ceremonies and experts to share their knowledge of the science of tea.