The speaking tree - DigiFab

I wanted to experiment with organic shaped sculptures using Digital Fabrication and I took the example of a tree for fabricating. 

It was also tying into my Prototyping Electronic Devices project that needed me to make some sort of sculpture. 

First steps I took was to sketch out my thoughts on how I'd proceed with making a digitally fabricated tree. 


I then modeled these drawings on Vectorworks which is in another blog.

I decided to follow the slices method used in the laser cutting exercise but using different tools.

Prepped the file for MasterCAM to be cnc-ed. 

MasterCAM file

MasterCAM file

The curved sides of the rings did not get cnc-ed for the first round. I realized the origin on the Z-axis on the techno router was not set right. I then proceeded with the second round where it started to curve the edges. 

I stacked and wood glued 4 rings together so the tree would be modular. 

Each of these are then set in place with 1/4" dowel pins.

Initially I had decided to 4-axis mill the branches but due the the cnc error, I had to improvise and drill holes through the birch logs with the vertical drill press. These would inhabit the wiring for the leaves and also be used to secure the branches to the bark using a dowel.

The birch logs had a paper-y texture on the outside that I did not want to lose and putting it into the 4 axis mill would mildly destroy that effect. Following is a test of the 4-axis mill -

Speaking sculpture


A sculpture that people can walk to plug in their headphones or earphones and listen. 

The voice recordings are collected from Twilio app that asks you to leave a message. 

The leaves of this tree sculpture respond to the messages received by the Twilio app and when a user is interacting with the sculpture. 

For the first iteration, I used RGB led strips and the cheap ones I bought from Lamington Road, Mumbai tuned out to be of extremely bad quality and had purple, white and green as RGB on some strips and red, white and blue on others.



For iteration 2, I used neopixels. Each leaf has 4 neopixels.  This was reliable, good quality and I had more control over the lights.

Designing for Hedwig and the angry inch - the Broadway show!


Simple Sentence

Hedwig & The Angry Inch is about the conflicts of self-identification.

Complex Sentence

Hedwig & The Angry Inch is about how we find self-acceptance and redemption despite the expectations and identities imposed on us by others.

We chose a sentence from the play that most defined our perspective and understanding of the sentiment

“It’s the direction of the aggression that defines it.”

No one can live free from the influence -good or bad- of others. How we negotiate those influences defines who we are.

Luther, Hedwig’s mother and Tommy impose expectations on Hedwig. She accepts them, grows resentful and feels trapped, until she realizes it’s within her power to escape.

Visual Research

The visual research we did for the play is indicated in this blog.

Model Box

Based on Belasco Theatre's architectural drawings we made an 1/2" scale model of the theatre.

Set Design

The visual research, model and scenes together formed the creative decisions made for the set. 


The three scenes we chose to design for from the show were -

1. The Engagement 

“To walk away, you gotta leave something behind."

At home in Berlin, Luther proposes with a ring, wig and an application for American citizenship.

2. Wicked Little Town (Reprise)

“You think that luck has left you there. But maybe there’s nothing up in the sky but air.”

In hearing Tommy sing her song, Hedwig understands that she is ultimately responsible for her own identity, and isn’t beholden to the identity assignments of others.

3. Passing the Wig

“To walk away, you gotta leave something behind.”

During Midnight Radio, Hedwig hands her wig to Yitzhak, acknowledging that she has been denying him his identity. Hedwig finds peace.


Visual Research for Hedwig and the angry Inch

Who we once were or currently are, isn’t who we always have to be

One Simple Sentence:

Hedwig & The Angry Inch is about the conflict of self-identification

One Complex Sentence:

Hedwig & The Angry Inch is about how we find independence and self-acceptance within ourselves despite the expectations of others and identities imposed on our bodies.

Three-Five Sentence concepts:

Theatre is out, debauchery is in. While previously a [flourishing doll-factory or famed theatre featuring the 10-year run of ‘Barbie: The Musical TBD’], the Belasco Theatre has since fallen into disrepair. In an abandoned state, it’s been co-opted by the local “weirdos”: a home for squatters, a dance hall for clubbers, a thunder dome for exiles. Within this space that’s at odds with itself, Hedwig and her partner Yitzhak also reconcile their own corporeal-vs-self identities and the expectations thrust upon them by others. The physical space and complimentary projections exacerbate this question of fragmented, unstable and changing identity through distortion, reflectivity, and juxtaposition. Ultimately, our heroes find and define themselves not to satisfy social norms, but their own best desires.

Catwoman progress!

So last week I thought I failed Agisoft photoscan and the software failed me. Turns out, that's not 100% true! I did end up with an obj that could be used! 

So this week we had to pull in our files into Zbrush and fill in some holes and try and smoothen our 3D model so we can have some fun with it in Unreal or Unity.


Nothing is an immediate success. I ran into some UV map issues and my texture seemed like a folded piece instead of a human skin unwrapped. I also must've moved my model after pulling it into Zbrush cause when I uploaded it back to photoscan it moved positions. 

Catwoman scanning!


Step 1 : FAIL

Align photos led to a very interesting circular arrangement and then I totally forgot to resize the box for the T-pose which made her armless. 

Step 2: FAIL

For some reason the align photos always led to the model turning upside down and the mid circle was not aligned to the model box.

Step 3: FAIL

I decided to move on from the non-alignment and still process the texture, etc. 

Now I have an OBJ file and need to figure what's up with it!






Cornell Box

I saw Aunt Dan and Lemon as a world where things are not binary. It a gazillion shades of grey.

They justify fascism but if today I don't feel compassion does not mean tomorrow I can't. 

My version of the cornell box -