Well you are in luck because it’s looking like I am going to be starting work on a new project that I hinted about a few days ago.
The new piece is called The Neuron Chamber and it’s a project that I have been working at in various incarnations for a little more then a year now. In fact it was this project that first inspired me to go buy a welder, a grinder and get some shop space.
Originally this was conceived as a massive, 30′ high steel sculpture of a neuron with a Tesla coil mounted inside. At the base of the sculpture would be there interactive stations where participants, if they did the right thing, could make the Tesla coil arc to a region of the sculpture.
Anyhow, now it’s much smaller — working on the Steampunk Treehouse has taught me some lessons about huge instillations — and it’s in a chamber.
The first thing that you need to know is that is also going to be collaborative work with my buddy Ben Carpenter, who runs Backbone Metals. Ben is a fantastic blacksmith with a interest in biological form and a good friend. We are also hopping to rope in some other pals along the way. Drop me a line if you’re interested in helping out.
Ben and I have been designing this piece for a few weeks now (since Coachella) and we’ve applied to The Crucible for fiscal support so this piece could debut at their Fire Arts Festival in July. We should here back from them any day now.
The Neuron Chamber has three primary components: the chamber, the neuron and the electrical-kinetic effects.
My CAD images of chamber are below. It’s essential a horizontal, fenestrated, pentagonal chamber, ~30″ high and ~82″ long, capped with two hemispheric (r=10.75″), flanged caps. The chamber its self will stand ~12″ off the ground on a forged, tripod frame. The entire chamber has been designed in Solidworks and will likely be CNC cut. The three top faces of the of chamber will have glass windows which will allow viewing of the sculpture of the neuron inside.
The Neuron, situated inside the chamber will be a sculpture of, well, a neuron, and will be composed almost entirely of forged steel elements, providing it a highly textured and organic look. This element is now shown in the CAD drawings for obvious reasons.
The sculpture of the Neuon will be embedded with an electrical-kinetic effect powered by a battery of neon sign transformers. The result will be a series of simultaneous, independent, electrical arcs, ~1″ long, that run unidirectionally down the length of the sculpture. Hopefully my design for this (more on that later) will allow us to move these arcs through some nice complex curves.
We are also thinking of making the chamber as air tight as possible and flooding it with various gases to change the color of the electrical arcs.
So stay tuned to Almost Scientific and watch this sucka come ALIVE!!!!!