Portable Music Illustration

Amro Arida

Tonight's Homework

Ashley Newton

Blog about the problems you encountered today within your project -- how have you solved or are in the process of solving them?


What are your plans for tomorrow and what do you hope to accomplish?


Include pictures that are useful / illustrative of what you worked on, etc.


Abby Watt

This studio consisted of building many different prototypes and failing multiple times before we succeeded. Our group was the dj station and mainly focused on having a good sound system. The first prototype was an actual octopus that we would 3d print and each leg would be robotically controlled and do something different, a leg with a microphone for the karaoke machine, a disco ball that comes out of the head, etc. However, this was more creative than realistic. The design quickly changed to be an octopus inside of a box. It was inspired by the constraints of the box that our coaches provided to us. It was a box with two flaps that open and close for a top. Our design ended up being very similar to the box used for scaling in that it was a box with flaps that opened outward with two support triangles (one on each side) holding the flaps up to create a platform for an ipod/phone/ipad/computer to play the music. Inside of the box were speakers, a light, and a platform that was attached to a pulley system that would then move it up and down. On top of the platform was a disco ball and four octopus arms that had servos that would allow them to move up and down and dance to the music.

Overall, this project involved a lot of trial and error. For example, Scotty had to make a total of eight different prototypes for the octopus arms, before he was able to find the most efficient and functionable one. There also was a lot of designing in rhino, attempting at 3d printing it, finding something that doesn’t work or could work better, and then we adjusted our design in rhino and repeated the same process until satisfied.


Josh Roy

Yo Dawg I Herd You Like Trianglez is a unfolding pyramid that is capable of filling an entire room with lighting effects, one of the integral parts of any good party. The pyramid is made solely using triangles and pyramids, hence the name. 

The pyramid is made of three main components: the outer pyramid, the inner pyramid, and the lighting pyramids. 

In addition to being used as a container for all of the other components, the outer pyramid has ultraviolet acrylic panels that glow. Each of the sides contains one UV acrylic panel as well as one UV LED strip to illuminate the panel.

Each of the sides can also unfold to expose the inner pyramid as well as the lighting pyramids. The base of the outer pyramid is raised about five inches off the ground through the use of four pyramidal feet. This allows the glowing sides of the outer pyramid to be viewed from the side, since they are still at an angle when unfolded. 

The inner pyramid acts as a casing for the arduino and all of the electronics, but also provides light and has a head that can move up and down. This pyramid is made of white plastic which glows when the internal LED strips are lit. In addition, the pyramid has a head that can be raised and lowered. Both the LEDs and the head can be timed to music to create an interesting lighting fixture.

There are also four smaller lighting pyramids aboard this structure. They are placed at each of the inside corners of the outer pyramid. Each pyramid projects triangle shaped patches of light around the surroundings of this project. Each pyramid has an internal LED strip as well as a piece of plastic, similar to the plastic in a kaleidoscope. The light from the LEDs is fragmented by the plastic and projected in the shape of triangles. 

Since the lighting pyramids are mounted on servos, they can spin in time to music and move their projections. When the outer pyramid is closed, spinning the lighting pyramids causes the sides of the outer pyramid to unfold. 

Our group focused on the “Mega Lights” aspect of the portable party machine - designing a mobile piece based around the experience of changing patterns of light. We started by brainstorming and consulting one another on the pros and cons of each design,sketch, and idea we had for the Mega Lights section. Afterwards, we came up with a good list of materials and supplies that we needed for the pyramid, but then realized that some of the materials that were needed could easily be made in the tool shop. Beverly tested materials for the projection tube, a detail inside the pyramid that shows a reflection with LED and cool reflection paper.

Towards the end of first week, our group decided to change the shape of the projection tube, from a circle to a triangle. This would change Beverly’s whole criteria of brainstorming because she would have to change the locations of tbe LED lights and materials. It came to our attention that by having  smaller triangles in the bigger triangles, would project a more  efficient effect of the lights.

It regularly happened that the design would change as a result to the measurements of the triangles being  moved to a different location on the pyramid. Each day there was something different for Beverly to change or add to the design. For instance, during the first week as a group we failed to take measurement of the objects that were going in and out of the triangle. Furthermore beverly took measurements of every single object being placed on/in the pyramid, in order for josh to make adjustments so that everything can fit. SHe then, worked on rhino with Saeed and gradually got a better understanding of it. And day by day, she  went through various of designs for the triangle to see which one our  group had preferred. In essence she spent all her time on rhino, which seemed to be an interesting experience.

Rhino had many glitches, which made it very stressful in terms of designing the triangles. During the final days we were all very anxious to see the outcome of the triangle projection lights.. It was clear to me that my designs needed to be perfect and concise,  because Beverly’s triangles projected majority of the lights in the project; but the process of making these designs were difficult. We were challenged by our coaches to make the design perfect, because it made us not settle for anything less.  


Evan LaBelle

The Portable Party was more of an artistic piece that questioned why a party had to complicated to set up. We were inspired by a group of people who called themselves ddp. They had been trying to make a world wide dance party that could be setup in an instant. Our design is a box that can be opened with the press of a button which will start an LED, lift a disco ball, activate our “octopus arms”, and play our music. The top folded open, allowing for all of its components to activate.

There were many useful features that we were able to design. For example, the speakers could receive a radio transmission, or bluetooth so that it would be able to sync with local audio infrastructure. This allowed for it to be more usable in even the largest parties. The arms worked by a series of interlocking gear like pieces. The first gear was turned by a servo, which would result in the other joints moving as well. The final design was four arms that would wave about during the party as decorations. These were made of translucent acrylic that would bend the LED light in weird ways as it moved adding an interesting design and lighting effect. The interface of the party box could be a tablet, phone, or laptop. There is a built in stand if the dj wants to place their interface on the box, or it can be controlled remotely by a dj, or even the audience.

Process: Inner Pyramid (Ellis Cordaro)

Ellis Cordaro

The initIal idea for the portable party project was a pyramid that would have a speaker inside of it and would attach to a bike. The pyramid would be powered by the cyclist (chain driven) and would be able to change volume based on the user's speed and would have a lifting top to sound could escape. When everyone came together to integrate their ideas with one another's we split into groups based on the general use of the product. Beverly, Josh and I all wanted to make some sort of lighting fixture for the party. So, the bike mounted pyramid morphed into a compact and portable light fixture. In addition to the pyramid, we decided to add an outer pyramid which had a smaller pyramid enclosed inside of it. It also included smaller pyramids lining the perimeter of the inner pyramid. We then split up the work between the three of us. My portion of the project was the inner pyramid which originally included lasers, a projector, LEDs and a fog machine. However, the group decision was to get rid of the lasers and projector. We also decided to move the fogger to the bottom of the larger triangle.

The next step was prototyping. The  prototype included a truncated pyramid with a height of 6" with 4 trapezoid shaped sides and a square base with a width of 12". The top half consisted of 4 triangles with a base measuring 6" and a height of 6". The prototype was laser cut and was made from 1/8" plywood and the panels were joined by wood glue. The next iteration included the same plywood panels but was joined by polycarbonate strips and screws. Unfortunately, the strips did not provide adequate support. A wooden frame was then designed for each of the panels which were now made from HDPE. Next, hinges to join the panels to the base. I experimented with many different materials to join the panels to each other. It was decided that 3D printed brackets would be used to support the panels. Unfortunately, they did not print correctly and broke immediately. So, instead of making the brackets from an extruded square, it was necisary to draw the profile of the bracket on Rhino, extrude it, offset the surface and added a thickness of 5mm. There was also an effort to use brackets for the top pyramid. However it turned out that the holes would have to be so close together that the bolts prevented each other from being attached to the panels. So, with the last work day approaching, the top panels of the pyramid were hot glued together.

Another large part of creating the inner pyramid was making the lifting mechanism for the top. So, using a CAD software for making gears, a three spoked gear was made and attached to a motor. A notched acrylic rod was also made to would fit inside of a bracket holding it to the top triangle. It was originally attached using a 3" wide 3D printed pyramid bracket. However, the 3D printed pyramid was useless because the slot for the acrylic diagonal instead of perpendicular to the edge. So, it was substituted by a laser cut panel with a slot that used an acrylic solvent to attach the two pieces to each other. The panel was then attached to the pyramid head using hot glue (because of time constraint). The motor also needed an acrylic panel that would position it correctly and provide a guide for the notched acrylic piece. The motor ended up being attached to the acrylic using tensioned fishing line. After changing the tolerances of the slotted plastic many times and adjusting the motor, it needed something else to guide the rod. So I made an acrylic piece that would attach to the same panel that held the motor which had bearings on it and acted as a guide for the acrylic rod. One problem was that the motor was hitting the inside of the top triangle preventing it from closing completely. So, the entire panel was flipped upside-down (as suggested by Sean). The final steps to finishing the inner pyramid was attaching RGB LED strips and wiring the motor that was connected to a servo and attached to an arduino which Josh programed. Because of a lot of other work to do on the other parts of the project, the LEDs never got programed. However, on a positive note, the motor mechanism worked quite well.

Final - Party Favors

Ajani Rudek

     Throughout the "Portable Party" project, while my two partners worked on the overall box that would hold food, drinks, party favors, etc., I focused on designing and creating the party favors.  By the end of the project, I had completed two favors: glowing badges, and glowing necklaces/bracelets.  After spending several days unsuccessfully attempting to 3d-print a correctly-sized container for the glowing necklaces/bracelets, I was finally able to print one that two batteries, two LEDs, and the LED strip could easily fit in.  After fully attached, the batteries, which were attached to the LEDs, would light the LEDs, and the light from the LEDs would travel through each end of the LED strip, making the entire strip glow as it is being worn.  

     While the necklace/bracelet ended up working perfectly, the badges still needed to be worked on even after we presented them.  I had printed three different shapes of badges: an octopus (the logo for the "DJ Station" group), a triangle (the logo for the "Yo Dawg I Herd You Like Trianglez" group), and a table (the logo for our "Snack-Tastic Box" group).  I had successfully designed and printed each of these shapes, but I did not have enough time to add on a part that enabled a person to attach the badge to their clothing.  Other than that missing piece, the badge also worked as intended; the LED that was attached to the light with a wire was able to shine onto the badge, making it glow.

Snack-Craftic-Box Final

Jordan Bazmore

The snack-Crafic-Box was suppose to look like a normal box that holds snacks and drinks until its turned on. In order to create that image the we had to find a way to capture the attention of everyone in the party. We each took the job of a different task an conversed on every decision to make sure we achieved that goal.

The LED lights was important because they were located on the outside of the box. We all agreed that the LED lights would fade to different colors around the perimeter of the box. We disclosed the idea of putting LED lights on the table because liquid products could spill and destroy the Box.


Process - Party Favors

Ajani Rudek

     When we were first assigned the duty of creating an object that provides the party with refreshments, we quickly agreed to somehow use the idea of creating a box that could both contribute to the party as far as lights and/or sound, as well as provide food and drinks.  After brainstorming on the first day, we decided that we wanted to create a type of cooler which would keep drinks cold and food fresh, and have speakers, lights, and possibly a mist/smoke machine attached to it.  After we discussed this idea with Sean and Ashley, we were told that our idea wasn't quite creative enough, and that too many of the aspects of the project could simply be ordered online rather than created by us (which is what they wanted).  

     While this response frusterated us, we decided to change our idea from a cooler to a box, so that we would have to lazer-cut each of the different parts of the box and fit them together, which would be followed by adding all the extra components (such as lights and speakers).  We also came up with the idea that the box could either fold into a table, or could hold a small table inside of it.  Before we began designing the box, we decided to search online for all of the objects that we would have to buy, and made a list of everything that we found that may be helpful.  Our next step was to begin using "Rhinoceros" to 2d-model all of the sides of the box, but we decided that we only needed at most two people to carry out this task, and that the other group member could begin working on another part of the project.  So, I decided to begin working on party favors that could be stored in the box.

     The first party favor that I had the idea of working on was an object similar to a glow-stick, which could be customized by the user, glow, and be worn as a necklace or a bracelet.  I decided that the best way to make this was to use LED strips, which could be completely lit up if colorful lights are lit on both sides of it.  In order to attach the batteries for the LEDs, the LEDs, and the LED strips to each other, I had to 3d-model a container that fit all of these components.  I measured the diameter of the circular batteries, the length of the LEDs, and the diameter of the LED strip, and put them into my 3d-model.  After printing, everything fit except for the batteries, and I learned that the 3d-printer prints holes slightly smaller than it is supposed to.  A couple attempts later, I finally printed a hole that perfectly fit the two batteries, as well as the LEDs and the LED strip.  I then 3d-modeled two dents in the container so that someone would be able to use a zip-tie, or another similar tool, to hold the two sides of the container together.

After I finished the glowing necklace/bracelet, I still had time to create to make one more party favor.  After brainstorming, I decided to make glowing badges that the partiers could wear.  I also noticed that all of the other groups had logos or other shapes that were regularly used in their designs, so I gathered each group's logo, and drew a logo for my group (the table that is held by our box).  Next, I 2d-modeled each logo in Rhinoceros, and lazer-cutted them using a material that allows light to travel through it, which made it light up when shined on by an LED.  I then twisted a wire around a part of the logo, and twisted it around an LED, and positioned the LED so that it shined on the logo, and it lit up.