Becky Marshall

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Prototype with me:
DIY inflatables with electric pumps and vinyl

The seed for this project was the idea of designing inflatable floating architecture. I do summer as an architecture tour guide on the Chicago River, after all. I decided to invite along anyone who wants join me on the journey, via YouTube. Keep reading to follow where the adventure takes us, as well as how to recreate the technologies I use. And, as they say on YouTube, please like and subscribe!

Part One

Join me as I experiment with vinyl cement and test whether it's a reliable method of creating a leak-free little inflatable dumpling.

An instructional diagram of an electrical circuit that makes an electric pump.

Part Two

Can my little inflatable "dumplings" bend and fold and form complex shapes?

Simple on/off circuit

int pump = 9;

void setup() {
  pinMode(pump, OUTPUT);
}

void loop() {
  digitalWrite(pump, HIGH);
}


Biomimetic loop example

int pump = 9;

void setup() {
  pinMode(pump, OUTPUT);
}

void loop() {
  for(int i=50; i<255; i=i+20){
  analogWrite(pump, i);
  delay(200);
  }

  for(int i=255; i>50; i=i-20){
  analogWrite(pump, i);
  delay(200);
  }
}

Part Three

Let's look at both digital and analog controls for the pump, different inflation behaviors, and blow stuff up til it breaks.

An instructional diagram of an electrical circuit that hooks up a pressure sensor.
PRESSURE SENSOR RESOURCES


Pressure sensor (Amazon)

Pressure sensor exploration blog documentation

Pressure sensor datasheet

Helpful science teacher's video about the air pressure science of an exploding balloon

Part Four

How do pressure sensors work? More importantly, how does air pressure work? My struggles and learnings through failure, on display for your viewing pleasure.

Part Five

Let's build something BIG. What starts out as a raft turns into a giant saddle shape: the hyperbolic parabaloid. Also, I model some weird looks.

Part Six

Inspired by my giant sun hat from the previous week, I set out to make a wig out of a bright yellow shower curtain. I also test a new glue: Gorilla PVC Glue.

REFERENCES AND CREDIT


Useful information for high-power circuits at bildr.org

MIT's Aeromorphs project video inspired forms for my early prototypes

Rich discussion in the comments of this DIY Inflatable Boat instructable

DIY inflatable raft kit, the Packraft, which uses heat sealing

DIY inflatable + folding kayak plans

Kengo Kuma's inflatable tea house is an inspiring example of inflatable architecture

This very ridiculous video of a man spending the night in a zorb ball on a pond might be worth your time

about - work - instagram