Dhruv Jain

Computer Controlled Machining

Model of an empathy pavilion

During a course project in Spring, I proposed an idea for an empathy pavilion that is prevalent across multiple times and spaces in the world. In this session, I prepared a small model for it using the shopbot. The pavilion is a room-sized installation of a erodable material like sand, that lets people walk on it and create their path history. This path eroded structure is then re-constructed in a different location in the world to allow for empathetic realization, which is then carved further by people in that location. The final structure is replicated again at the source site and the cycle continues for collaborative empathetic eroding process across space scales. In order to keep history, we also incorporate mood fossils which are hand-sized blocks of concrete material that hold life stories told by people and are embedded in the pavilion. Once shaken by another person, they will play the recorded story, making the pavilion also an empathetic experience across time scales in history. The small model is an artpiece that shows the instance of the pavilion after many years of erosion process.

After running the simulation mathematically, I arrived at the eriosion structure for the pavilion. I coded the model using rhino and exported it as DXF file. Then that was loaded to the shopbot to carve it out. I selected the default settings recommended by Tom for both the rough and the finish part and it worked out well. It took a lot of time though - 6 hrs, and so I had to run the part overnight. I bought the rigid foam from Home Depot for this, only to realize that it was available in the lab. I cut the big foam into three square parts using the table saw and stick them together to reach the required depth.

As you can see in the Figure 1 and 2, my first attempt was a failure. I accidently pressed the stop button when the part was almost complete. The rough batch was already done, so I tried to reposition the tool to the x-y position I remember and run the finish part again. But, alas, when I ran the positioning command, the mill cut through my model. I was extra careful when I milled my part again using the new block of foam. After succesfull milling, I coated it with two layers of gesso and it turned out quiet nicely.

Figure 1: First attempt - spoiled when end mill ran through the model

Figure 2: First attempt - spoiled when end mill ran through the model

Figure 3: Finished part, with gesso coating