acrylic

Piezo speaker housing by kelly heaton

Here's a prototype of a housing for a piezo speaker that I will actuate with analog electronic insect sounds. The shape of the housing and mechanical pressure on the piezo element will change the pitch as well as the volume. I made this housing by first laser cutting 1/4" acrylic and gluing the stacked rings to make a pyramidal-shaped buck — see images below. Note that there's a central hole all the way through the buck to aid the vacuum forming process. I’ve vacuum-formed .080” and .090" acrylic sheet over the buck (both work fine) and used a laser to cut the shapes out. My registration needs improvement, but you get the idea. The piezo element is mounted inside of the housing by a short length of plastic tube that I glued in place.

Below I show my process to cast the acrylic buck in plaster (using an alginate mold). I will use plaster, wood, or metal bucks in the future because acrylic deforms in the vacuum forming process. In either case, it is critical to use mold release.

Why am I doing this? Because when RadioShack went out of business, I could no longer buy the piezo speakers that I used for my insect sounds. I was forced to reverse engineer the part --which turned out to be a blessing because the sound of insects is heavily dependent upon the mechanics of speaker design (not just the electronics which drive the speaker). For a previous blog entry on this issue, link here or read about my project “Hacking Nature’s Musicians” on Hackaday.io

Electrolier in progress by kelly heaton

Scenes from my studio (May 24, 2018). Dyed and embroidered velvet moth wings, custom analog electronics, laser cut acrylic, wire sculpture.

Kundalini, 2018 by kelly heaton

Kundalini, 2018 (detail). Watercolor, acrylic, and analog electronics on paper. 15" x 11" x 3"

Kundalini, 2018 (detail). Watercolor, acrylic, and analog electronics on paper. 15" x 11" x 3"

I'm on a chip in the clouds by kelly heaton

"I'm on a Chip in the Clouds," 2017. Watercolor and acrylic on joined paper. 31" x 37"

Here's the story of how this crazy painting came to be. It was a rainy day, and so I started in my studio with a self-portrait in which I appeared to be daydreaming --hence the colors and thoughts around my head. At some point, the sun came out. I prefer to paint in the beautiful landscape that surrounds my home... so I joined additional paper to my canvas and went outside. Lost in my thoughts and distracted by my computer, I wasn't really present in the landscape. So I encapsulated myself on a computer chip that is floating in the clouds. And now, after all, my artwork has become a digital image file that I upload to the cloud.

Sundog, dream catcher, and man by kelly heaton

I've always felt that I could "see" electricity, but then I stumble when I try to paint it. I've gone back to working with the landscape to paint nature's electricity, or at least to study it as best as I can. Here's a sundog, dreamcatcher, and man as seen in Clarke County, Virginia (watercolor and acrylic on paper, 2017).  #painting   #art   #watercolor   #acrylic   #landscape  #study   #dream   #meditation

I've always felt that I could "see" electricity, but then I stumble when I try to paint it. I've gone back to working with the landscape to paint nature's electricity, or at least to study it as best as I can. Here's a sundog, dreamcatcher, and man as seen in Clarke County, Virginia (watercolor and acrylic on paper, 2017). #painting #art #watercolor #acrylic #landscape#study #dream #meditation