Rollerforms - Midterm Prototype
Josh Nimoy

I took all week to build a prototype of my thesis object, and it's only half complete at this point. Below is a photo of the finished thing that I plan on bringing to the midterm crit. Next week, I am going to start putting paper on it and use a pencil (and eraser) to adjust the pixelated design so that it might be more customized to making the letterforms. Tonight, I reached a point of conflict, as I have in prior prototyping sessions. I just want to keep going on and on with the work, but I know that I must budget my time amongst everything else in my life (such as sleeping, other classes, outside job, etc.). The reason I have chosen to cut off work on the prototype at this point is because I have finished the "platform" aspect of the object, and now I can say I will begin the "content" aspect of it; so it's a clean break in a 2 part process. This, and I know I will be putting a lot of effort in the coming days to tighten up my midterm presentation so that I can say what I want to say, and come out to the audience the way I really want to come out to them. While building the below contraption, a lot of ITP students kept approaching me asking me what I was building. I felt it very easy and natural to keep the Java applet interactive demo open and running so people could understand what I was building.

From the side, you can see the curvature of the servo motors, arranged this way in order to maximally pack the front dowels, while also allowing the back dowels to be as fat as they need to be. This size difference creates more angular range from less angular range. I could not have figured that out without having built the previous prototype (wood & metal, hand cut).

Each plastic piece of this object had to be laser cut in order to ensure precision in each duplicate. That, and I wanted to make less work for myself. Below is a photo of the laser cutter at NYU ITS, slicing my plexiglass into small fittings.

Below, a photo of the object, half assembled. I learned a lot tonight about what I need to change in the file, and in the material process in order to keep this assembly process smooth. Also, from this object, I begin to imagine 5 or 10 lined up in a row, spelling something out together. This was not a vision I was previously allowing myself to have.