Kinetics & Electronics
Classes taught at The Crucible
The possibilities of integrating movement and sound with artwork are endless: wind-powered mobiles, motorized robots, art cars, flaming sculptures, and more. The Kinetics & Electronics department focuses on mechanical and electronics-based movement to help you create dynamic and interactive artwork. Whether you want to create large-scale Rube Goldberg contraptions or tiny robots that literally have minds of their own, these classes will help you take your creations to the next level. Learn about motors, how to program microchips, where to find components, and how to (safely) set your work on fire!
Arduino Microcontrollers: Building Smart Art
Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It is perfect for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in making intelligent creations that can sense and act in the real world. The types of sensors and actuators possible are nearly limitless! Starting with the basics, we thoroughly review Arduino’s hardware and software features. Plenty of hands-on lab time deepens your understanding and enables you to create interactions of your own. An Arduino board and accessories are provided and students take home all components that are part of their final project. NOTE: A laptop computer is required.
Digital Fabrication and Foundry
In this two-part course, you will be introduced to digital design and 3-D printing using Autodesk Fusion 360 with the goal of producing a number of pieces suitable for casting in aluminum. These designs will be 3-D printed using resin, PLA, and CNC milling. With input from the instructor, you will select one of your prints to cast into an aluminum using the ceramic shell process. There is an additional cost for larger pieces or to cast in bronze. Students who already have a 3-D printed sculpture or a wax form that they would like to cast using the ceramic shell process can call in to register for the second half of the course only.
Electromechanics for Everything
Use the simplest of electronic and mechanical components to make things spin, twitch, jump, bend, and wiggle. This class covers switches, buttons, relays, motors, servos, and solenoids. We’ll also explore some basic analog and digital control circuits, AC/DC current, and safety. The techniques taught in this class can be applied to almost any kind of project.
Flame Effects for Art
Learn to design and build your own safe, effective and beautiful flame effect sculpture with propane. You will learn many different ways of manipulating fire in sculpture including accumulator poofer effects, fuels, ignitors and electronic controls.
Learn how to make your creations move! This course introduces such simple and complex mechanisms as gears, cams, pulleys, and linkages. You will learn how to create, convert, and control movement, along with combining these elements to get the complex motion you desire. Hands-on labs using foam board, plastic, and wood deepen your understanding of these concepts, which you can apply to other materials. Personal projects and interests are welcomed and encouraged.
Youth Extreme Gizmos
Learn kinetic techniques to design, engineer, and construct a mechanical sculpture, contraption, or gadget with lights and moving parts. Using new and salvaged components, you will learn how motors, lights, and switches work, how to create mechanical structures, how to create different types of motion, and how to incorporate switches to operate your very own fantastical contraption!
Youth Kinetics Immersion Program
Dive deep in this beginning and continuing level youth workshop. Students take an immersive step into weeklong study, becoming young makers along the way. We will construct mini-sumobots, small robots that can seek out their opponents and push them out of the competition ring. Students learn to build circuits by identifying components, assembling a circuit board, and soldering parts together. We will build the chassis of our sumobots with simple materials, adding motors and sensors to help the bots move and navigate. The week will culminate with a showdown where students can pit their bots against each other!
Youth Radical Robots
Build a simple remote-controlled robot. From the wheels up, you will create your robot’s shape and personality from salvaged components, mechanisms, and electrical components. Learn soldering, mechanical construction techniques, and how to remove and repurpose these items.