Kim Smith

Machine Design

Our group project, to build a machine from Nadya's modular machine kit. Hardest part was coordinating a group so it was all of the CBA section. We organized into groups, finalized our idea, and spent about 3 weeks executing our machine: a cake-licking maching. Sort of an art piece + subtractive tool.

To see the complete project documentation check out this page

For this entry, I am focusing on my contribution to the project

Team Frame

As team frame, we were responsible for the design of how to orient the machine arms. We decided upon a deltabot configuration. We opted to create a sturdy base for the arms out of hydrostone. The second main component for the frame was a piece for the top to sturdy the structure.

Designing the Base

Raphael and Yasushi designed the model for the base in Rhino. They created the positve design and then created the negative.


It should have been easier, but it ended up consuming a lot of time. We first had to glue a few pieces of foam together with wood glue. We clamped it down and let it dry overnight. We used the ShopBot with a quarter inch endmill to mill the negative. Had some difficulty creating the toolpath since the piece barely fit on our foam and we needed to preserve the wall structure for the casting. I did not set the cut depth and the speed deep and fast enough and it took way too long to mill. But once we started, just kept going. It milled pretty piece came off and so I had to trim it with a knife and reglue it to the piece.

Preparing the Mold

I gessoed the entire mold, making sure that it was well covered. After the gesso dried, I applied Johnson Wax as a releasing agent.


The mold was so big! Vera and I casted it from drystone. It was difficult in that it took several batches to fill the piece, 8 buckets, and so the layers were setting at different rates. We mixed each layer as we poured and hoped it would work out. It set fine, but took all day to completely dry. Releasing it from the mold was also a challenge. Eric helped with a hot wire and we cut through the mold quickly. Hardest part was cutting out the holes in the mold for the machine arms. But after about an hour, we got it. Done!