Artificial, Interactive Sculpture Art Gallery Piece

Introduction: Artificial, Interactive Sculpture Art Gallery Piece

This instructable was created in fulfillment of the project requirement of the Makecourse at the University of South Florida. (

This instructable will cover the necessary steps in how to recreate Artificial, an interactive sculpture art gallery piece. We will be covering all aspects of the build process including the initial design, 3D Modeling, Arduino coding, Fritzing, and assembly of printed parts. This project was a philosophical exploration of a person’s place around technology and vice versa, so remember to put on your philosophy hat while 3D Modeling away :)

Step 1: Theory and Idea

Do you believe technology helps or hurts us?

A large part of this artwork is the theory and ideas of the creators of the work, therefore it is necessary for you to consider where you stand among the people VS technology debate, and allow those opinions to influence the design. While designing the artwork, I wanted to stray away from an overall negative view of technology while still being critical of it, so the design was softer and more personable. If your personal view is that technology does more harm than good, perhaps your personal design of the monitor and other pieces should be sharper, more mechanical, and more difficult for an audience to look at.

Step 2: Deciding How to Represent Your Theory and Idea

What kinds of Arduino enhancements will accurately represent your idea and theory about technology?

We chose to represent a hectic and chaotic albeit neutral view of technology. In order to represent the chaos, we came up with the idea to use blinking LED lights representing notifications. The neutrality of technology is represented in the whiteness, the plainness of the screen design.

What kind of viewpoint do you want to showcase for your Artificial sculpture?

If it is something positive and fun, a more colorful and round design would be better suited. If it is more negative, a sharper design, cutting corners, blackness and darkness would better suit your idea and theory.

Step 3: 3D Sculpting

This project is comprised of 2 3D Modeling components-- The Monitor and Stand and the Representations of Social Media. They are both modeled using Autodesk Maya.

Step 3A: The Monitor and Stand

  1. Change working units in Maya to inches.
  2. Create a cube polygon.
  3. Scale it to 8x6x1.
  4. Use extrude tool to create the shape of a computer screen.
  5. Model a 2.5x1 inch hole for the LCD Screen in the center of the modeled computer screen by creating a cube polygon of that size and using the function boolean difference.
  6. Model 3 0.13 inch diameter holes 0.5” inches from the bottom of the screen to house the LEDs by creating a cylinder and using boolean difference.
  7. Model a 2x1x.25 inch rectangular hole for the stand in the bottom of the screen using the steps described above.
  8. Model 4 0.25 inch diameter x 0.5 inch deep holes on the back for pegs to hold the back and front of the monitor together using cylinders and boolean differences.
  9. Create a cube polygon.
  10. Scale it to 8x6x1.
  11. Use extrude tool to create the shape of the back of the computer, it should be concave and have room to store Arduino UNO board and breadboard.
  12. Model a 0.5x0.5 inch hole through the bottom to let the battery’s wire out.
  13. Model a 2x1x.25 inch rectangular hole for the stand in the bottom of the screen using the steps described above.
  14. Model 4 0.20 inch diameter x 0.45 inch long pegs in each corner to fit into the holes made on the front of the modeled screen.
  15. Create a cube polygon.
  16. Scale it to 2x1x2 inches.
  17. Use extrude to create the shape of the stand.
  18. Use extrude to make the base hollow.
  19. Model a 0.5 inch hole for the potentiometer in the center of the stand.
  20. Ensure all 3 pieces fit together by moving them around in Maya.
  21. Select all, triangulate and cleanup figure.
  22. Export each element as a separate OBJ file and send to 3D printer.

Step 3B: Representations of Social Media

In order to represent social media or the part of technology that we interact with, I chose to have it spilling out of the screen. This is a physical manifestation of us interacting with something that is otherwise not tangible.

We chose to do 3 dripping “Goops” because of the Rule of Odds stating that things in groups of odd numbers is more visually appealing and better structured. While modeling I worked freely and started smaller at the top and larger at the bottom, representing a natural drip.

It’s important to make sure that the measurements are correct and that it will properly attach to the screen once printed. The best way to do this is to make the “Goops” against the Monitor to test to see if it will measure up, and then export that 3D Model for further manipulation without changing the dimensions that you know will fit the screen.

Step 4: Code

#include LiquidCrystal_I2C lcd(0x27,16,2);

int led1 = 6;

int led1State = LOW;

int led2 = 7;

int led2State = LOW;

int led3 = 8;

int led3State = LOW;

int pot_speed;

int potPin = A3;

unsigned long previousMillis[3];

const long interval = 1000;

void setup() {

//LED Pins

pinMode(led1, OUTPUT);

pinMode(led2, OUTPUT);

pinMode(led3, OUTPUT);

//Serial Print



//LCD screen




lcd.print("I hate what is ");


lcd.print("not authentic. ");


lcd.print("What you see is ");


lcd.print("not what you get.");


void loop() {

LEDblink(led1, 100, 0);

LEDblink(led2, 200, 1);

LEDblink(led3, 300, 2);



void LEDblink(int led, int interval, int array) {

unsigned long currentMillis = millis();

if (((long)millis() - previousMillis[array]) >= interval){

previousMillis[array]= millis(); //stores the millis value in the selected array

digitalWrite(led, !digitalRead(led)); //changes led state } }

void POTscroll() {

pot_speed = analogRead(potPin);


for(int i=0; i<16; i++){


delay(pot_speed); } }

Step 5: Assembly

  1. Acquire 3D printed parts.
  2. Post process them by sanding.
  3. Paint them using acrylic paint.
  4. Acquire Arduino parts.
  5. Connect the 5 volt pin on the Arduino UNO Board to the positive power rail on the breadboard and the ground pin to the negative rail using 2 jumper wires.
  6. Make the LED component
    1. Solder 2.5 ohm resistor to the long pin of a red LED. Solder a jumper wire to the other side of the resistor. This wire will supply the LED with power.
    2. Solder a jumper wire to the short pin of the red LED. This wire will connect the LED to ground.
    3. Repeat with 2 times.
    4. Thread the wires of the LED through the appropriate holes in the front of the printed computer screen.
    5. Connect the power and ground wires to breadboard attached to the back of the printed computer screen.
  7. Wire the LCD Screen
    1. Connect the VCC pin to the positive power rail on the breadboard attached to the back of the printed computer screen.
    2. Connect the VDD pin to the negative rail on the breadboard.
    3. Connect the SDA pin to Analog Pin 4 (A4).
    4. Connect the SCL pin to Analog Pin 5 (A5).
    5. Insert the LCD screen to the front of the printed computer screen.
  8. Wire the Potentiometer
    1. Solder jumper wires to each pin.
    2. Insert the potentiometer to the stand.
    3. Connect the leftmost pin to the negative rail on the breadboard.
    4. Connect the middle pin to Analog Pin 3.
    5. Connect the rightmost pin to the positive rail on the breadboard.
  9. Close the front and back of the printed computer screen and slide on stand.
  10. Attach the power source, a 9 volt battery, to the Arduino board via the hole in the back of the printed computer screen.
  11. Attach the organically modeled shapes to the front of the printed computer screen in their respective places.


  • Arduino UNO and computer connection wire
  • Breadboard
  • 3 LED lights
  • 3 2.5 ohm resistors
  • 1 potentiometer
  • LCD Screen fit with I2C bus
  • Jumper wires
  • Autodesk Maya 3D Modeling Software
  • 3D Printer
  • 9 volt battery

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    3 years ago

    I like the idea.