Ring Wave Fast Light-Streak Kinetic Sculpture
(major modifications 2014)
Design & Construction: Carl Pisaturo.
Materials: machined aluminum, stainless steel, polycarbonate, brass & epoxy; LEDs, DC motors, ball bearings, custom electronics.
27" high, 32" sweep diameter.
The Ring Wave machine makes visible the strange paths of colored LEDs as they travel on 3 axes at high speed.
The 3 axes (1 vertical and 2 co-axial horizontal) are speed-controlled independently and the 4 LEDs can be switched on or off. The horizontal axes radii and LED radii are asymmetrical to better separate the color bands. A wide variety of patterns can be obtained.
Outer axes can spin up to 25 revs per second (1500 rpm), the main axis to 12 (720 rpm).
By controlling the relative speeds of the axes, different sorts of light streak patterns are obtained. In dim light, "persistence of vision" allows us to see the streaks as complex shapes, even though they are created by point sources of light.
Although the machine has tight axes and is carefully balanced, the gyroscopic effect, inherent to this arrangement, makes its presence strongly felt. The resulting dynamics, especially at the spokes, are severe and vibrations are unavoidable, The machine must be strongly built and fastened down.
In 2014, after 6 years of operation, the Ringwave machine underwent major safety and aesthetic modifications, resulting in Ringwave 1.5
The following changes were made:
Spokes slanted off-verticle for better pattern generation.
LED shades were modified to vary pattern "line weights" of different colors.
Spinner axes strengthened against fatigue and ball bearing failure modes.
Main axis balancing weights more securely mounted.
(photo at right) Mod project nearing completion. A spinner assembly is on the balancing stand undergoing static balance fine-tuning.
(photo below) Freshly machined hub for Ringwave 1.5. Two of these were central to the 2014 modifications. The complex form results from slanted spoke mounting, balancing requirements, and weight reduction.