This is the last week before the Science Fair, and it’s getting real! At first we were waiting for the experts at the Applied Labs to finish with the electronics so we decided to start working on the column for the sculpture. After a lot of driving around town to get everything we needed, we could finally start building.
We found it to be very easy to build the column and we had very little complications. But our estimation that we would only need half a day to build was very wrong, since we had to work on it for another day.
The plastic extruder was ready just in time for us to start working on the sculpture. We tested the extruder and the moment the plastic started flowing out of the extruder was a very exciting moment, all the hard work was finally paying off!
We had made a sketch earlier of what we wanted the sculpture to look like and we began with our first attempt to make the sculpture. The first thing we noticed was that it was not that easy to see what you are doing when holding the extruder. The second thing that we noticed was that the extruded plastic would break off right away and it was impossible to extrude vertically. After trying several times with different types of support we realized that our idea to extrude vertically into the air would not work. That is when we decided to put the extruder down, and use a large piece of triplex to catch the extruded plastic, this way the plastic would not break off due to gravity. At this point we also noticed that the drill that we used as the motor for the extruder was not strong enough to handle the large amount of torque needed, so we switched to using a handle to make the extruder hand-driven. We extruded straight pieces onto the triplex and we went over it several times so that it would be several strings of plastic stuck to each other instead of just one. After this we heated up the strings with a heat gun, so we could easily manipulate them and bend them around the column. We drilled holes in the shelves of the column and used wire to attach the strings to the shelves. We just kept repeating this process until the whole sculpture was built! Even though the sculpture did not look exactly like what we had envisioned, we were very happy with it and proud of it!