My Sculpture Weblog: The TKS Modular Sculpture.

Introducing the TKS, The second in a collection of magnetically modular mini sculptures. Everybody is aware of I really like iterating round an concept and my final small magnetic work was ripe to broaden upon. 

The primary of the collection was the NC3. When engaged on that piece I wrote concerning the novelty (and perils) of utilizing magnets. I mentioned that I’m cautious when utilizing supplies which can be inherently novel as a result of novelty itself can turn out to be the dominant medium, one with a brief shelf-life. 

Whereas I’m all the time cautious about how I make use of mechanics to make sure I’m pursuing sculptural ends, it’s straightforward to turn out to be dogmatic to ones detriment, and it happens to me that with the intention to really perceive one thing (like novelty) it helps to lean into it every now and then. 

So with that mentioned let’s dive into what’s behind this new piece. 

Along with magnets, I’ve added some ball-bearings to the configuration, as a result of if I’m going to discover mechanical novelty, nicely, it must have layers. 

This leads to a magnetically modular piece that not solely spins, but additionally has a outstanding tactile feeling when rolled round within the hand. This piece is as a lot a pleasure to carry as it’s to have a look at. 

There may be extra to why I discover this work so fascinating, so lets maintain going.

One other subject that arose whereas engaged on the NC-3, the work that preceded this, is that it was primarily based on well-defined geometric ideas. The NC-3 was constructed round a platonic strong referred to as a octahedron. This new work is constructed on one other platonic strong, the tetrahedron. 

Whereas working towards machine work requires good working information of varied geometric principals, I’ve by no means actually thought-about what I do to be “math artwork”. Should you dig round a bit, you will see that that math artwork is kind of its personal factor (see my sculptor pal George Hart). Math artwork shouldn’t be actually one thing I can lay any actual declare to (for lack of true mastery) however my work typically overlaps with it on the edges and this can be a case the place I wished to push into that sphere, if just a bit. And so I fairly deliberately adopted the tetrahedral format as my start line slightly than simply being a handy coincidence. 

The body work for your complete piece was constructed round one thing referred to as the “dihedral angle” which is the angle between the faces of a given form. The dihedral angle of a tetrahedron is 70.529° and it is a crucial angle as a result of it’s used to make sure all the magnets sit nose to nose when assembled.

The remainder of the visible kind was derived from utilizing that angle as a constraint. 

Along with fundamental geometry, this work had various extra technical engineering challenges that proved a terrific alternative to use some fascinating physics ideas.

For starters, not like a octahedron, mating the components of a tetrahedron with magnets doesn’t current a simple resolution by way of arranging the polarity throughout them. Getting 4 particular person items to draw the opposite three meant that I couldn’t merely apply a single polarity (north, or south) to every half evenly. As an alternative I ended up with a polarity map just like the one you see above.

The result’s that whereas the NC-3 was absolutely rearrangeable, this work actually solely assembles one or two methods.

Getting the magnetic meeting solved was only the start nevertheless. Making the remainder of the mechanics play properly meant discovering a candy spot between the mass of the components and the magnetic forces employed to carry them collectively.

My first prototype for this sculpture had two most important points. The mass of the chrome steel spinning components was a bit on the heavy facet, and the magnetic pull holding them collectively was a bit on the weak facet. This meant that the centrifugal power of spinning the sculpture was susceptible to sending these stainless components flying off.

To make the components lighter with out wildly altering the piece, I utilized what is named the square cube law, which states that an object’s quantity will increase (or decreases) at a larger fee than its floor space when being scaled. 

A easy instance is {that a} 1″ dice has a floor space of six sq. inches and a quantity of 1 cubic inch. Should you double its dimension to a 2″ dice, the floor space will increase to twenty-four sq. inches (an element of 4 or 22).  Nevertheless the amount of that very same dice will increase to eight cubic inches, (an element of 8 or 23)

Virtually utilized, by lowering the general dimension of the components by a mere 3%, I used to be capable of make your complete work a full 10% lighter (I additionally fiddled with some inside dimensions to squeeze that additional 1%).

To extend the magnetic attraction between the components, I needed to transfer the magnets nearer to their goal. How a lot nearer would make a distinction? It seems a really small quantity, and the inverse square law is find out how to clarify this. 

The power of attraction between two magnetic poles is inversely proportional to the sq. of the space between them. On this occasion I used to be fixing for magnet to metal, however the principal is identical.

After crunching the numbers, I calculated that I may enhance the magnetic power by an element of two.6 just by transferring the magnets a mere .016” nearer to the components I wished to stay. 

This small design change was trickier than it appears, nevertheless it made an infinite distinction. Now the components all connect fairly securely.

That is all fairly fundamental stuff to an engineer, however I nonetheless discover it immensely satisfying to have the ability to floor components of my work in some actual nuts-and-bolts logic. Within the video above I talk about all of this a bit extra casually.  A video is price 1,000,000 phrases nevertheless, so hopefully it helps clean out all of the “umms” and “ahhhs”that come out of my mouth.

One other enjoyable factor is that since these items include magnets they type of discuss to one another when moved in proximity. 

I’m happy with what number of pursuits of mine I used to be capable of wrap into this little work. I hope it helps display how pursuing machine-work as a visible medium consistently brings one into contact with different spheres of information. 

I’ve by no means needed to look far to discover a catalyst for a visible idea and this piece embodies this concept properly. Who is aware of, possibly this can find yourself being a 3 piece set. 

Simulated shade pallet for the version

In order is customary, I’m going to supply these up as an version. 

I’m including pink and yellow to my anodizing line so there shall be heaps to select from by way of colours. 

 I’ll publish a sign-up beginning Friday April sixteenth at 10 AM EST. I’ll embrace particulars of the sale in addition to the value at the moment.

As all the time, feedback and questions are welcome.