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The Colors of Red and Dirt - A Textural Study | by unicoherent
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The Colors of Red and Dirt - A Textural Study

So I was taking a course in sculpture where I was learning to use the program SolidWorks to model 3D objects. The code describing the object would then have to be translated into a set of commands that could be read by the "machining" behemoth located in a well-locked-up production room. For our final project, students could create any sort of model they wanted so long as it met 2 conditions: it had to be relatively small (I don't remember the exact dimensions) and it had to be possible for the drill-based machining box (to call it a machining machine just sounds wrong to me) to manufacture out of rectangular chunk of steel - because it WOULD be manufactured for us. This mean that our models could not be hollow, and could not contain any empty space parts underneath any solid parts (meaning, among other things, that they would have to have a flat base (unless, that is, we could convince the machine operator that it would be possible to make the object if done in multiple separate sessions – this could be done for something like a coin, where the machine would carve images and words onto the top side, then the machine would be shut down, the coin would be flipped over, and the machine would carve other stuff onto the backside – but the object had to be of a shape that could be securely clamped into its new position (upside-down, sideways, whatever) after all the matter from the first session had been removed (you could not, for instance, have the machine create a cone standing up and then have the machine hollow out part of the bottom of the cone because a cone could be held securely while sitting upon its point. You COULD, however, have the machine create the hollow space first, and THEN flip the chunk of metal over and carve the exterior into a cone). He didn't like the idea in general, but that was mainly because he would have to manually alter a lot code himself in order to create the sessions, since the program to automatically translate model-code-to-machine-instruction could only translate a single model (represented by a single file) into another single file (and a single file for the machine equaled a single, uninterrupted, session of drilling). The program would crash if somewhere along the way it noticed that the model required impossible instructions from the machine. Anyhow, one day the whole class trouped outside to an old shack filled with scrap metal to search for material we could use. I had to hunt around a lot longer than anyone else because my object was larger than anyone else's (though still well within the required bounds). This mean that a piece of sheet metal 3/4 of an inch thick wouldn't cut it. And it seemed the entire jumbled pile that reached up to the ceiling contained nothing but pieces of sheet metal. So I spent some quality time alone with the metal waste and found some interesting things hiding in there – including this piece of painted metal that looked like it been in a destruction derby world-tour. (I did also, finally find a hunk of metal about the size of a brick that met my needs.)

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Taken on March 13, 2008