Monday, 29 March 2010

Polishing The Metal

To make the privacy cover match the other features on the body, I am polishing up the metal to a nice shiney finish. To do this, I need the following:

Emery cloth - coarse, medium & fine grit
Sanding sponges - medium, fine & very fine
Cellulose based thinnersFor some weird reason, the metal arrived with a dark surface coating, which is very tough to remove, so the first step is to use the coarsest emery cloth - 50 grit. I had to sand the whole thing by hand, which I haven't finished (so far it has taken two & a half hours, I'm going to have guns in the morning!).

Warning! You get incredibly dirty - as you can see I am covered in metal particles (which I am still trying to get rid of!).

After the surface coat has been removed, smoothing down the metal will be easier. After sanding the cover each time - gradually using a finer grain of sandpaper after each pass - it should end up lovely! & then I will remove any grease with the thinner.

The Hinges

I've got the hinges ready to be welded on by engineering. They are SOLID!

Sunday, 28 March 2010


I've handed in the body back into engineering because I accidentally missed out the hole for the front dial. I have also bought some load bearing steel hinges to be welded on. Hopefully it will be ready for spraying on Tuesday.

It's just the small things that need to be sorted now!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

User Manual

I am also trying to create a user manual to go along side the Observer, currently all I've got are the front cover & a diagram.

The Little Things

Today, I've been focusing on the smaller parts of the project - fixing some holes that are slightly too small for the components, filling in any welding marks, etc. & it's slowly coming together! The next step is focusing on the bigger issues - spraying up the body (which will get done on Tuesday), attaching hinges to both the main body & cash box door, & the internal structure...

The Results

Looks pretty sweet!

The Plates

To put the details on to the dial, name plate & coin slot, I have done the following:

Polished the metal, using a fibre mop & bench motor.

Got rid of all grease on the surfaces by using thinners.

Sprayed two coats of primer.

Sprayed four coats of black spray paint.

Leave over night to dry properly.

Etch the information into the plates using a lasercutter - speed 35, power 100.

Rub off any remaining primer using steel wool.

Polish the metal using silver polish.


Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The Info

After speaking to printmaking about acid etching details into some parts, I have decided to take the route of laser etching spray paint on to the surface of the metal. Currently I am applying primer to allow the paint to adhere to the surface better.


After talking to some guests on Monday, including Stefano Mirti, I have decided to focus the project on to using CCTV as public entertainment. This works much better with the style of the feeds (jumpy & grainy, like CCTV). I have been too busy trying to fit the rationale around the technology, rather than the content! Duh! So... The Observer is a product that critiques the invasive nature of CCTV, which tries to alter the use of it from function to entertainment. It takes advantage to the fact that CCTV is every aspect of our lives & it captures everybody's lives on a daily basis. It acts as a type of Big Brother, but for the public & the content, instead of being staged is real life.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

More Parts

Here's some pics of my big dial & some plates - I've been experimenting with surface finishes on the plates, using the sandblaster (top pic) & air sanders. I personally like the polished look!

Friday, 19 March 2010

So Close!

Engineering have almost finished my product! They just need to fix a couple of bits on the main body, but apart from that it's perfect! They have given me most of the parts so I can start finishing them - I have began polishing the pieces of sheet metal so I can acid etch it with details. The one piece that is completely finished is the eyepiece. The lens & support fits perfectly!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Circuit Box (Part III)

Done! I lasercut the plastic & glued it together. Works a treat!


To get round the adult content & include it (because it is such an obvious subject regarding the internet), I have created a Caution page for premium users. Nothing will happen if you add ten quid, but it's a talking point.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

T-Minus 3 Days Until Model Is Ready


Circuit Box (Part II)

I've milled out the box, but a little bit too shallow, so I'll make another layer with layer cut plastic. No problem!

Monday, 15 March 2010

Circuit Box

To protect my circuit & to be able to mount it to the inside of the unit, I am constructing a box for it to sit in. Currently, it is ready to be milled out.

The Colour

I have bought the spray paint for the Observer - a nice Ford Graphite Grey. It's a bit metallic, but I think it will look good after a few coats.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

New Logo

I've changed the United Networks logo as I thought the colours & the font were a bit overpowering for the object. It is now plain black & white with some simple text & slogan at the bottom. Fixed!


As I'm thinking about entering my project into the D&AD competition (& just because it will prove useful later...), I have created two boards: The Concept & The Details. I still need to make The Rationale board, but due to the fact that I am me, there's still some rationale to be cleared up as usual!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Circuit Done!

It took a while, but the circuit has been populated successfully & it works! Just need to fix a couple of loose connections, but that wont take long.

Looking Good!

So far, so good!

Content Again

I've decided to drop the "Adult" channels from my project as I just don't feel comfortable with using them & I don't think it will add anything to the experience of using the object.

After searching the web for feeds, I have used what I found to make the categories, which are above. Also, after showing one of the third years my prototype, he said he really liked the fact that the views were of really mundane, ordinary places, which makes me think that in my world of paying for content, would you pay for this? Why have these people set up these webcams if they are not making any money? Should we have this omniscience into everyday lives?

With Youtube & user created content common place, is being able to see someone sleep, get their hair cut, & watch TV classed as entertainment? Would you pay for this if it was the only content available to you online?

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Wednesday, 10 March 2010


I have decided on the font I will be using for the Observer status screen: Perfect DOS VGA 437 - a pixely sans font that looks really nice & clear to read.


That's the board ready for some populating (putting on the the components)!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

More Content

I have been trying to decide what sort of content the Observer should have & I've narrowed it to five sections: World View, Travel, People, Animals, & Adult. World View: This will include mountain tops, beaches, cityscapes & famous locations. Animals: Watching animals from around the world. People: Watching people & animals in different situations e.g. cafes, streets etc . Misc: A selection of webcams, such as airports, funny/random & any other uncategorised feeds. Adult: Pretty much self explanatory!

Gettin' Made!

Went down to engineering today to see how they were getting on, & the progress is great! The main frame is almost complete (just needs the hole to be cut) & the eyepiece is currently being turned. Looking good!

Ready for a drillin'!

This is what the board looks like after about two hours in the bath.

The Content

After speaking with my lecturer about making the content either commercial (made by businesses) or home made (made by anyone), I have decided to make it home made. As the Observer is set in an age where the internet is not free, there would be a rise of entrepreneurs on the web, trying to make money any way possible. I think if the net was free or not, this Youtube culture would inevitably appear, but its a commercially viable Youtube.

In Production

Currently my PCB board is soaking in a nice warm bath of ferric chloride! After about an hour, all of the unprotected copper will have been dissolved & only the tracks (protected with the spray paint) will be left.


Just got these great led mounts in the post - they look very evil when turned on!

Monday, 8 March 2010


The PCB's are ready to go! The copper board has been given a coat of spray paint & is awaiting laser etched. The paint is used to prevent the circuit tracks from being dissolved in the ferric chloride, which will be the next step.