|Project by Derek Hugger||posted 09-24-2014 01:16 AM||4317 views||15 times favorited||11 comments|
Merlot is a kinetic wooden sculpture that creates a mesmerizing kaleidoscopic effect. In one orientation, Merlot’s forms create an array of stemless wine glasses. Rotate those forms 180 degrees, and smaller, stemmed wine glasses appear. Fully wound, this sculpture will dance for hours at a time.
Merlot is a sculpture that came into its final form after more than seven months of refinement, with forms evolving through nearly two dozen design iterations. It was a project that sparked challenge after unexpected challenge. The first full round of parts that were assembled did not work at all. I had difficulty getting assemblies to stay balanced, parts were moving in ways I hadn’t anticipated, and the spring that I thought was going to have plenty of excess power had hardly enough to keep an already spinning assembly moving. With the months of time that I had devoted to the project at that point, the number of failures in my design seemed almost depressing. Regardless, there exists a solution to every problem. I jumped back into design mode and got back to work.
After a few iterations, the design appeared promising. Parts were more robust, assemblies were easier to put together, and balancing everything was a simple and straight forward process. The only issue now was that my initial thoughts about the spring were true; it was putting out too much power, and the sculpture was spinning too quickly. In hindsight, the solution to this problem seems obvious, but at the time, it left me puzzled for days. What eventually materialized was a simple brake, a weighted speed limiter that wrapped itself around the main spinning assembly. With that last piece in place, Merlot was complete. It worked well, and it worked reliably.
Merlot is a sculpture that was incredibly frustrating to design, but all things considered, that frustration was good. It challenged me to think, and it forced ingenuity. In the end, it was a project that gave me a great sense of accomplishment.
For more info or to get woodworking plans, check out my website: www.derekhugger.com
A sample of the woodworking plans for Merlot are here.
Here’s a video of Merlot in motion: http://youtu.be/ejULGmJVxeM