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Final Project

It seemed like a good idea at the time…

So, originally I had chosen to work with homemade bioplastics. I thought I should create something useful, something i needed. So, I decided to go with a set of cutlery that i would mold out of bioplastics that I made at home. Seemed easy enough. But I had nothing but problems.

To start, I did research into different recipes of bioplastics, especially hydrophobic bioplastics which could be used for eating, etc. I ended up with this recipe. It seemed easy, but it wasn’t. I had constant problems with the exact formulations, and it took days to cure. I thought that I would soon find a formulation that would work, but it either came out too gooey or so brittle it cracked. I couldn’t seem to get a middle-ground area. It all came out garbage.

I’m not really sure what i was doing wrong. The mixture, the oven maybe, I’m not really sure. I tend to also do this with food a lot, so perhaps i should have anticipated problems. What’s more, I was almost out of money for my project. With so many bad batches, I thought I should instead use a material that was easier to work with, so I made a last-ditch effort to make epoxy molds and then cast in clear acrylic.

This also went poorly.



In the end, perhaps because I didn’t use enough Vaseline or something, But molding from epoxy turned out to very problematic– and unfortunately ultimately too expensive to try again, as I had run completely out of money. So this didn’t work out, and now I’m broke.

Material Spectrum Final – Bio Rice. Auriel &Nicholas

After experimenting with bio-plastics we wanted to continue our experimentation. We initially wanted to explore applications of our bio-plastics. Plastic bags, pouches and other items usually made from fabrics. We wanted to create thin layers that we could potentially cut and sew.


We had the ideal to change the attributes of the base bio-plastics, to mimic different sorts of fabrics.

we had the condition that: The extra ingredient had to be a raw material that was bio degradable.

We were interested in using rice, because of it’s quality to soak up water/liquid. we wanted to see if we could have the rice soak up our bio-plastic concoction and become a material that could be used for sculptures or even like the fabric-like materials that we initially set out to create.

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we tried two different methods, one with cooked rice and one with raw rice. we tried to soak the rice in our mixture before we heat it up, but in order to get the rice to soak up nicely it needed heat.

For the most part the plastics would start to harden before the rice could fully soak up. However, we were successful in creating a few big spreads that were pretty thin, as well as some more dense collections.


The outcome of the bio-plastic/rice mixture seemed to hold properties of insulation. We decided to make several coasters and pot holders from the mixture of cooked rice while we planned to cut and sew the sheet of bio-plastic/raw rice mixture due to its thinner sheet like consistency which would have made for an interesting material to use for making fabric base items.






Final Project

For my final project, I combined a lot of material research and experimentation to create a few different prototypes to support my major studio 2 research.  The project speculates the future of wearable tech as it relates to a changing landscape:

In the year 2050…

…the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions, the projections are that the global average temperature will be 8 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than present by 2050. That amount of warming will likely lock us into at least 4 to 6 meters of sea-level rise in subsequent centuries, because parts of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will slowly melt away like a block of ice on the sidewalk in the summertime. At 3 meters (almost 10 feet), on average more than 20 percent of land in those cities could be affected. Nine large cities, including Boston and New York, would have more than 10 percent of their current land area submerged (Source: UA’s Institute of the Environment.)

New developments are emerging everyday about this:

A large portion of the world’s population lives in coastal areas. Even a 1-meter rise will affect 100 million people worldwide; higher sea level rises will affect even more. A 2- meter rise in seas is enough to submerge huge expanses of commercial and residential real estate, dispossessing people, forcing migrations away from coastal areas, and putting an end to the productive use of developed land along coast lines and flood-susceptible waterways.

My final project focused on developing future wearable products for humans living in aquatic environments.


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This piece is an experimentation in using bioluminescent algae as a “material” and functional light source for the wearer at night.

Bioluminescent dinoflagellates are a type of planktonic algae inhabiting coastal ocean waters. Individual cells of Pyrocystis species are relatively large, and slightly discernible to the unaided eye. At night, bioluminescent dinoflagellates emit blue light, called bioluminescence, in response to movement in the water. Bioluminescence becomes visible only after nightfall, driven by a circadian rhythm which is entrained by light-dark cycles. Bioluminescence can only be observed during the entrained night
period, and is best observed several hours after nightfall. Abruptly moving a culture of Pyrocystis from light to dark will not result in bioluminescence, due to the circadian control of this chemical reaction.

Here is video documentation of me testing the algae:

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This piece is my interpretation of a wearable coral prosthetic that is designed to be able to support underwater plant life and sea creatures. I modeled the coral in Maya and printed the pieces on the Objet printer. Again I was interested in developing devices that promoted a symbiotic relationship between the human body and their immediate environment (in this case being an aquatic setting).

I also added bioplastics into the experimentation process to see what would happen. I had failed with bioplastics before, but this time I decided to follow the recipes that were successful from my classmates.

I used 1 tsp glycerin,1 tsp vinegar,  4tsp water, 1 tbs tapioca starch

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I tried embedding 3d printed scales that I made into the plastic itself to see what the result would be. It turned out to be interesting because the plastic added more flexibility to the pieces. I ended up not using this method for my final piece (which was a muscle sensor that triggered sound), but have ideas for more experiments with bioplastics in the future.


Final Project


So initially I had wanted to work with Kombucha and make a book, but that wasn’t going to pan out so instead I continued my midterm with materials and techniques from both parts of the semester.

Using 2 of my 3D printed skulls from this past winter, I created a two part mold. It was nice to be able to make molds at the same time because the prints are identical!

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Using the recipe that worked best last time Janni and I tried bio-plastics, my first cast came out pretty solid. Unfortunately, although using the same exact recipe I was not able to make another cast that was even remotely useable, and neither were the experiments. I thought that the issue was the shape of the face of the skull mold being too nonuniform and not allowing the mixture to cure properly. This doesn’t seem to be the case because I tried to make multiple casts in both molds and neither were successful.

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What is certainly successful was the rubber mold; it captured the detail of each layer of the 3D print which is interesting in terms of a cast object. The visual languages and technique are inherently juxtaposed. 
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SO in order to get a successful skull I made some in plaster:
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(Accidental combo of bioplastic and plaster)

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In the end I am pleased with the plaster casts, I think it would be interesting to try and combine the materials and see how they adhere/do not adhere/ create new textures. DSC00605 copyDSC00606 copy
To continue this project I would like to mix materials, make a large quantity of these and install them in a space.




natural dye // bio paint


I experimented with natural dyes and making bio paint with several different materials. Most of the processes involved boiling or juicing things to retrieve the color, however it was difficult to establish the viscosity that is needed for paint. The natural dye yielded a better outcome due to the fixative that I created by boiling vinegar and water. I imagine that if I boiled things for longer periods of time, the strength of the colors would’ve have been more vibrant and not as faded as they appear on the fabric. Some ingredients had absolutely no effect, for example coffee grinds, but I think it was also due to the time it was boiled for.

I looked at several different blogs to assist with making this bio paint and natural dye. I found that most of the dying processes were to help with food coloring, so there was already a mixture that could retain the color from the fruits or vegetables. The paint I created involved using the coloring from the boiling process along with corn starch. I think if I added more corn starch, the paint would’ve been thicker but there is also no permanence with this biopaint. The liquids were very watercolor-like and would fade after painting a stroke or so. I believe that the paint probably needed some ingredient that would attach to the surface better, and corn starch is too temporary.

The PDF I attached has all the documentation of this process. I think certain colors already have a natural vibrancy that can be easily extracted and so the beets were very effective whereas the lemons weren’t strong enough.

Cantilever Project [ Chris, Ambroise, Auriel ]

The Task:

The task is simple. Create a structure that extends horizontally from the edge of a stack of textbooks. Next week you will be building the weights that we will use to destroy said structure.

The Rules:

1) You must design the “platform” for the weights so that it is greater than or equal to 12 inches away from the edge of the  surface at the top of the stack of textbooks.
2) The “platform” for the weights must be at least 3 inches wide by 3 inches deep.
3) You cannot have any vertical supports that are touching the ground underneath the structure.
4) No part of your structure can be more than 4 inches below the plane of the top surface of the textbooks. You can build as high as you want.
5) Your structure must have a section to rest on the top of the text books that extends at least (>=) 8 inches away from the textbook edge. This will be where one member of your team place their hands to provide the counter balance. (see diagram)

The Materials:

  • The 30 sticks of balsa wood provided (or less)
  • The amount of glue in the one bottle provided (you are allowed to dilute the glue with water during the building process)
  • no more than 5 ft of “general sewing” cotton thread.


The goal of our cantilever was to spread the pressure caused by the heavy objects throughout the structure, and into the shelf. To do this, we sketched out possible scenarios and blueprints for how we thought the energy should be propagated.

It is important to know that none of us have any engineering/architecture background, the concepts were purely thought from the head, and replicated on paper. Because of this, we ended up with a design centered around a super structure (is what we call it). This super structure served as a strong mass that could hold its branches in place. 


(With the super structure in the middle, we started planning the height of the construction as well. As you can see, the poles are reinforced by adding more wood instead of just 1 rod)


We proceeded with a post-and-lintel type of pattern, very basic and highly inspired by KAPLA, a wood construction game that we played when we were younger, as well as Japanese vertical and horizontal architecture.


The long arms that make the CantiLever were built by binding many wooden rods together, and applying the Elmer’s glue as binding, much like ciment. The string you see in the above picture bound the thick arms to the long rods that were “stretched” across the entire length of the construction.


* very important *
These rods were then aligned with the arms, passed through the super structure, and bound to the back. The interesting part is where the rods meet the super structure. The post-lintel pattern enabled us to pass the rods THROUGH the architecture, while the horizontal rods kept it squeezed and tight into place. No glue needed on this area of the project.


When we brought the structure to test out in class, we were amazed by how much weight it could hold. We held the proud position of 2nd place. As expected, the CantiLever snapped around the base of the arms and superstructure, right where the wood meets the corner of the shelf.


Final project

For my final project, I wanted to explore further the possibilities of making molds with bio plastic. On my first approach I had problems with shrinking process after cooking the bio plastic. I read that “wood flour” or “saw dust” should prevent from it. Additionally, I wanted to explore food colors and tattoo colors.

First I printed a new 3D object on the Makerbot and made a mold out of it:






Comparing to my last bio plastic experiment, my second attempt didn’t went out that well.
I figured out that the colors I used delay the drying process of my bio plastic. Last time I used special sculpture colors. Furthermore, the casts were extremely brittle.

The recipe I used was: 
1 table spoon | Corn starch
1 table spoon | Water
2 tea spoon | Glycerin
1 tea spoon | Vinegar

Ingredients Properties
Vinegar | Less brittle
Glycerin | Flexibility / Moldable
More Starch | More rigid
More Water | Less consistent

The colors I used:

Without colors:

Red food color with “wood flour” / “saw dust”:

Cast with red food color:

Cast with black tattoo color:

Another tattoo color:

Cast with only food color:

Biodegradable Plastic Option From Shrimp Shells

The Harvard Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering went looking for a different bioplastic base. Chitin was an obvious answer. Most famously the main ingredient in crustacean shells, it also appears in the wings and armor of many insects and the cell walls of fungi, making it, according to the Institute, the second most common organic material on Earth. It can be thought of as the invertebrate version of keratin, which mammals use to make fur, claws and fingernails.