"Tensegrity" Project Reflection
How has my work changed over time? Over time, I have become more comfortable with the tools in the shop and have started to introduce more complexity into my projects. Before the start of this semester I had virtually no knowledge of woodworking and how to use power tools, but now I feel like my knowledge has grown so much and I am eager to take on challenges in class. The best example of this is the changes I made in my Heart Chair from prototype to proposal model and final project. My original design included a flat, heart-heart shaped seat back. While this looked fine, I decided the final design would be much more cohesive, and comfortable, if the seat back was curved. Making curves out of flat pieces of wood is a more challenging process than just cutting a piece to have a curved shape because it involves planning, more cuts, and trigonometry. After doing all these extra processes, my proposal model and final project has a curved back that I am really proud of because of the time I put into it. Below is my original seat back design and my improved curved seat back design!
What processes, procedures, and/or resources account for the most significant changes in my work? Share examples. Aside from my improvement in using the shop tools (I didn’t know how to use any of the tools before this semester), I have noticed a significant change in the way that I am able to glue joints in my projects. In my very first Shapes project, my gluing was very messy because I did not properly clean it up with water when the glue was still tacky. This forced me to spend way too much class time sanding the joint so the glue would go away. Even in its final form, my shape does not have a perfectly glueless joint. Similarly, the places I used glue in my prototype model were even messier because I did not spend the time to adequately clean them up or sand the excess glue away. In my final project, I worked on cleaning up the glue joints a lot and worked on sanding and am much happier how it turned out. Below are pictures of my different projects and their glue joints. As you can see, I have improved over time with the gluing process.
In what areas do I feel improvement is needed? Why? I feel like I need to improve on my planning skills before starting my projects. I have noticed that sometimes I get really excited and frantic about completing my work so I jump into it without considering all the steps and details that would create the final product that I am aiming for. One example of this was when I cut my curved seat back piece into a heart. Instead of taking the time to plan out my cut on the bandsaw completely, I went straight into cutting which caused my shape to look very irregular. This then took a lot of additional cutting and sanding to get a shape I was happy with. If I had planned out my shape more carefully beforehand, my work would have been much more efficient. Another time when I was too frenzied about completing my work was in the second draft of my Honors project. This draft was supposed to be my final draft, but because I wasn’t precise when setting up the CNC machine, the design was imperfect. As pictured below, I did not take the proper time to set up the XY position of the machine before carving and this caused some of the design to be cut off. During my group's final project, we didn't consider that we wanted to paint our final product and did many coats of polyurethane before ultimately deciding that our chair would look better painted. This caused us to waste a lot of time doing poly before painting which was an unnecessary step. If I had been more adamant about planning our final project, we could have avoided this. In the future, I plan on making much more detailed project plans so I avoid wasting time, material, and can be happy with my final project.
What specific pieces of my work are clear evidence of my growth or development? How do they show my growth/development? The progression of my "Tensegrity" chair is clear evidence of my growth. From original prototype to final "Love Seat" I improved on drilling, glueing joints together, and increasing my allowable load. In my first prototype, the allowable load was very low and the tension element failed quickly after weight was applied. Also when I drilled the support arches into place without pre-drilling, the wood cracked, causing the whole chair to be less stable. In my final model, my group and I made improvements in all of these areas. We changed the tension element so that it could hold more weight by drilling holes directly through the heart arches and feeding the cable through to create the connection. We also added triangles to support the heart arches to add stability and structural integrity to this key safety facet of the chair. To avoid damaging the arches when drilling them into place, I pre-drilled where the screw attached and unlike my other models, the wood stayed intact. Finally, as discussed above, my final chair had no glue drips which was a big improvement from earlier models. I really spent time making sure to wipe away as much of the glue as possible so it was easier to sand away the little excess. Though we ended up painting out chair so the glue did not matter too much, I am proud of the care that I put into my final chair.