Intro to Fabrication - Week 1 - Glowing Alien Fungi 'Flashlight'

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As soon as I learned about the specifics of this assignment to make a ‘flashlight’, I knew I wanted to make something that stretched the definition a bit and specifically had a really organic feel to it. I started thinking about what I could make that would feel like something that you would maybe find deep in an uninhabited part of the forest and not feel ‘constructed’ at all. In this same vein I took inspiration from the book Borne by Jeff Vandermeer, and specifically his description of the first time the main character discovers the creature Borne as nothing more than a slightly throbbing green blob. From there I did bunch of research into different bioluminescent fungi that do actually exist to further solidify what I wanted to make.

At this point I knew that I wanted to try and make this object out of silicone, but I wasn’t really sure of any of the other steps. However after doing some sketching and consulting my good friend Julia (who has a lot of experience with silicone) I had a tentative plan. First I created a base out of balsa wood, and attached a battery pack and switch to it. Then I wired 6 white LED’s in parallel and attached them to the base with solid core wire so they could be specifically positioned.

From here I started to make the model of the final silicone shape out of oil based clay. I had made a duplicate of the balsa wood base in order that the model would have the same base shape as the actual wired piece. Then Julia came to my rescue again by helping me to mix and pour the first round of silicone around the model to make the mold. Once the mold is done, I will pour a new batch of silicone into it, and then submerge the LEDs and based in the silicone so that they end up embedded in it.

The final mold did not turn out perfectly, but I am fairly happy with the result! It seems that I did not use enough silicone, so it did not ‘fill’ up the mold all the way to the base, but otherwise the shape turned out perfectly. There also seems to have been a slight tweak that happened to the wiring, so the lights sometimes flicker when you turn it on/ move it around. To finalize the forest look, I applied some green flocking to give the piece a mossy feel.

fabStefan Skripak1 Comment