Process: Outer Pyramid (Josh Roy)

Process: Outer Pyramid (Josh Roy)

Ellis Cordaro

Originally, we wanted the outer pyramid to be solid black on the outside with one red button. When this button is pressed, we wanted our pyramid to mechanically unfold, revealing a smaller white pyramid inside. We also imagined that the top half of the white pyramid would lift slightly higher, bubbles and mist would come out the hole, and the top half would shine lasers and lights everywhere. We also wanted there to be tubes on the faces of the top part of the inner pyramid that would shoot triangular projections.

We changed both the dimensions of the inner and outer pyramid many times and eventually agreed that the inner pyramid would have a side length and height of 12 inches. We also agreed that the outer pyramid would have a side length and height of 21 inches. In addition, we changed the light tubes to light pyramids and stationed them in the area between the side of the outer pyramid and the side of the inner pyramid.

One day, we decided to change our design so that the outer sides would fold down, but continue to unfold so that they would act as legs and raise the entire rest of the pyramid. We also realized that the bubble machine was way too large to fit on our design, and we moved the mister to the bottom of the outer pyramid in order to give it a rocket ship look.

In order to get the outer sides to lift the entire structure, I brainstormed and prototyped many different systems of pulleys and levers. Eventually, I created a full scale model of the outer pyramid with the lifting mechanism. The lifting mechanism consisted of pulleys, motors, and fishing line. The fishing line was tied from the top of each side to a pulley that was located next to the side across from the side being lifted. There was also fishing line that was tied from the top of side and threaded underneath the base of the pyramid and attached to the pulley. Each of these pulleys were controlled using a central motor. I tried to lift the structure by pulling on each of the lines of fishing wire, but the structure did not lift. When I pulled harder, the fishing line that was guaranteed to hold up to 50 pounds snapped. To make the structure slightly easier to lift, I added pyramidal legs, but when I tried the same test, the fishing line still snapped. After doing some vector physics, I realized that most of the force I applied was not actually lifting the pyramid. In order for half the force I applied to be used toward lifting, the legs had to be about one and a half feet tall. We then decided against having a lifting mechanism.

I then proceeded to make an opening mechanism, and it was successful! There was one central servo that attached to four pieces of aluminum wire through the use of a laser cut mounting plate. Each of the pieces of aluminum wire was connected to one of the sides. This mechanism was able to both open and close the sides, although it used a massive amount of hot glue. Once the inner pyramid was fully constructed, we tried attaching it to the outer pyramid, but we could not find a way to mount it without disrupting the opening mechanism. Since the inner pyramid was integral, we decided to scrap the opening mechanism.

Since the mist maker was going to be attached to the bottom, I had to 3D model and print a piece that would attach to the bottom and hold the mister and water. After this part was printed, I attached it to the bottom of the outer pyramid and turned on the mister. Unfortunately, it provided a very small amount of mist, due to the small size of the mister and the lack of holes in the holder. We decided that the mister did not provide enough smoke to be worthwhile.

In order to jazz up the outer pyramid, we decided to design some new sides. I came up with this idea, with the help of our coaches, on the last day before our presentations and the end of the studio! Each of the sides was going to have a piece of ultraviolet reactive acrylic that was a scaled up version of one of the sides of the light pyramids. This acrylic would be surrounded by a wooden frame and lit from the bottom by a strip of uv LEDs. The wood and acrylic would make up the middle layer of a side and would have a piece of black spraypainted polycarbonate on either side. The polycarbonate would have a hole that is slightly smaller than the acrylic so that the acrylic can still be seen, but will not fall out. I then spent the next two days, and some of a night, building these sides. On the morning of the day of the presentations, we finally assembled the pyramid in full. The lighting pyramids were placed so that when they rotated, they would knock down the sides of the outer pyramid.

Although we were not able to fully finish the wiring and programming, the top part of the inner pyramid moved up and down and the UV LEDs on the sides lit up. We also had a model of the light pyramids that projected triangles.