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  • A Tale of Sound & Play

  • Sublime Radio

Fall 2022
4 weeks
Explorations:  CNC,  Woodworking,  Arduino, Soldering, SolidWorks,  

How it Works:
   To use this radio, one has to spin the base to change the channel. In order to control the volume, one must move the ball into different positions to find the right pitch.

  • A Tale of Sound & Play

           What does it mean for something to have intrinsic value? Does it have to follow the status quo? 

  •         For the radio, I consider value differently. Consider play in use: upon first look, one would probably not guess what this is. Even though it does not have the normal functions of radio(no buttons or dials or digital screens or analog functions), it still maintains the function(sound, station, and volume). 
  •         This project draws inspiration from two key concepts: the narrative of Sisyphus and my interpretation of sound and location. Influenced by the story of Sisyphus, the central theme revolves around the idea of "playing god." The perspective of viewing the piece from above mirrors the observation of earthly topography. My aim is to immerse users in an interactive experience within the artwork. Each hill features a basin, allowing users to navigate the ball across different areas or lands. Moreover, the topography holds a personal significance. Having resided in Pittsburgh for the past three years, I've identified specific places that hold enduring significance—some frequented regularly, while others harbor vivid memories. The varying heights of the hills symbolize the intensity of the location's significance to me, with each hill corresponding to a specific spot in the Shadyside, East Liberty, and Oakland areas on the map.

  • Process

Buying wood from Rockler. I ended up getting two bowl blanks.
Mapping out the topography over a map. The larger the circles, the larger the sound.
Taking the map into SolidWorks and creating the shapes. If I was to do this project again, I would use surface-modeling to make the top more uniform, but at the time I was unfamiliar with surface-modeling.
Taking the blank to the CNC. Because I had purchased a bowl blank instead of a square, which would have been much easier to use with the CNC. I needed to create at platform that had right angles inorder to set up the CNC and nail the blank to the board.
I began trying to figure out how I was going to make my idea a reality. Because I was unfamiliar with arduino, I started with light testing and worked my way up to testing different sensors to see if I could use them.
Testing touch sensors with lights.
Testing a turn switch.
Mid-way into the process I found out about these magnetic switches. They are typically used as a sensor for shaking or turning objects over. What happens is there is a ball inside the sensor and depending on its orientation you can code it to do different things. Some of these specific sensors have metal balls in them so my theory became that instead of shaking, I could use a metal ball to make the metal ball in the sensor rise in order to change the volume of  my radio.
Soldering the wires.
           Both sides of my bowl required a doublesided CNC job. I ended up having to pick places to plug later because we had to put wack screws to hold down the piece to make sure that nothing dangerous happened will the job               was happening.
I manually made some holes for wiring so it was not interfering with the movement of the two wooden pieces together.
Sanding the top of the piece all by hand. 
After the cnc job, the two pieces did not fit perfectly together. I ended up putting sandpaper around the fitted pieces and then twisting them together to sand.
Twisting to sand.
Burnishing the top with the dremel. 
Testing the fit inside. Soon into the project my internal speaker ended up breaking and I had to move to using an external one. 
Getting it to work!

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