During the Summer of 2017, I had had the opportunity to explore the energy industry through many different lenses; I worked on online publications related to energy, organized energy events, and had just hit the tipping point for success on the Duke LED Initiative. After having had all these experiences, I wanted to shift my perspective and approach the energy industry from the lens of an artist.
Over the course of several months, my team and I worked to design, prototype, and fabricate a 14′ tall art sculpture that represented the increasing penetration of clean energy technologies in the modern grid. The sculpture (pictured below) contains an abstraction of a turbine blade intersecting a sheet of coal, and an incomplete frame of the blade extending far beyond the sheet. See our Artist Statement for more details.
Current Status + Deliverables
We have completed the sculpture for display. The following are two images of the completed sculpture on display at the Duke University Smart Home. The following is a photo gallery of our work from start to finish: Sculpture Design Process.
Skills + Takeaways
- Prior to this project, I primarily worked with Google SketchUp for my models. This project allowed me to first get my hands dirty with Fusion 360, and learn the intricacies of the software.
- While working on this project, I learned how to use a Hotwire CNC. I was introduced to fiberglass wrapping and the process for applying fiberglass.
- The extreme importance of prior planning (i.e. budgeting, timeline preparation, and clear establishment of goals) was made clear to me through this project. When I first started the project, I expected to be finished in two weeks. However, due to not effectively outlining my goals, I was constantly changing my vision for the sculpture and scope of my work, leading to completion of the sculpture over ten months. To be fair, I only worked on it in my free time, but ten months is still much longer than two weeks.
- Some of the limitations of using 3D-printing and laser-cutting technologies for larger scale projects were made evident to me.
- Hand-sculpting foam is tedious, awful, and messy… I applaud people who do it for a living!
Awards / Recognition