My Sculpture Weblog: The TKS Modular Sculpture.

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

The primary of the sequence was the NC3. When engaged on that piece I wrote concerning the novelty (and perils) of utilizing magnets. I stated that I’m cautious when utilizing supplies which are 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 simple 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 occasionally. 

So with that stated 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 should have layers. 

This ends in a magnetically modular piece that not solely spins, but in addition 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 take a look at. 

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

One other matter that arose whereas engaged on the NC-3, the work that preceded this, is that it was primarily based on well-defined geometric rules. The NC-3 was constructed round a platonic stable known as a octahedron. This new work is constructed on one other platonic stable, the tetrahedron. 

Whereas working towards machine work requires good working data of assorted geometric principals, I’ve by no means actually thought-about what I do to be “math artwork”. For those who 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 is just not 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 it is 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 quite than simply being a handy coincidence. 

The body work for your entire piece was constructed round one thing known 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 head to head when assembled.

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

Along with fundamental geometry, this work had quite a few extra technical engineering challenges that proved an amazing alternative to use some fascinating physics rules.

For starters, not like a octahedron, mating the elements of a tetrahedron with magnets doesn’t current an easy answer when it comes to 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 a substitute I ended up with a polarity map just like the one you see above.

The result’s that whereas the NC-3 was totally 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 elements and the magnetic forces employed to carry them collectively.

My first prototype for this sculpture had two foremost points. The mass of the chrome steel spinning parts was a bit on the heavy aspect, and the magnetic pull holding them collectively was a bit on the weak aspect. This meant that the centrifugal drive of spinning the sculpture was liable to sending these stainless parts flying off.

To make the elements 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 higher 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. For those who double its dimension to a 2″ dice, the floor space will increase to twenty-four sq. inches (an element of 4 or 22).  Nonetheless the quantity 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 elements by a mere 3%, I used to be in a position to make your entire work a full 10% lighter (I additionally fiddled with some inner dimensions to squeeze that additional 1%).

To extend the magnetic attraction between the elements, 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 how you can clarify this. 

The drive 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 similar.

After crunching the numbers, I calculated that I might enhance the magnetic drive by an element of two.6 just by shifting the magnets a mere .016” nearer to the elements I wished to stay. 

This small design change was trickier than it appears, but it surely made an unlimited distinction. Now the elements 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 parts of my work in some actual nuts-and-bolts logic. Within the video above I focus on all of this a bit extra casually.  A video is price one million 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 kind of speak to one another when moved in proximity. 

I’m happy with what number of pursuits of mine I used to be in a position to wrap into this little work. I hope it helps show how pursuing machine-work as a visible medium continuously brings one into contact with different spheres of data. 

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 it will find yourself being a 3 piece set. 

Simulated colour 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 will probably be tons to select from when it comes to colours. 

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

As all the time, feedback and questions are welcome.