Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Time to abandon this warp

It's getting silly. Oh well, guess I can't weave fine threads yet. The last few warped have taught me that. That's the conductive yarn in the purple sections. Sadly this yarn works much better when knitted. It's frankly useless in a woven structure. At least for potentiometers, the contacts are too haphazard and unreliable and the resistance value fluctuates wildly. Nae use.

Monday, 23 January 2012

4-step sequencer

not really textile related exactly, but I do intend to plug whatever fabric I happen to make on the loom this week into this code and use it to generate sound.

this is the code

i'm really just putting this up here so I have it in another place in case I lose it because I'll no doubt forget how i did this and have to figure out from scratch how i did it if i lose the file.

the main thing about this is that it doesn't matter that much really  what resistive range I can get on any particular textile sensor that I create now because I'm not using the actual value of the resistor resistance (ugh, whatever) to enter values into the program. what i'm doing is mapping the range of the whole resistor to a different variable. so whether the range of the resistor is 0-10000ohm or 0-200000ohm it doesn't matter, I can just map those values to the range of 0-1000

With any luck the cloth will work out and I can make a little sequencer control panel out of cloth.

Arduino is so much fun.

Wish my dog would relax though.

//variable pitch square wave generator
//reads value from potentiometer
//maps said value to provide Microsecond delay
//Andrew Kieran

int potOne = 0; // timer pot
int potTwo = 0; // step one pot
int potThree = 0; // step two pot
int potFour = 0; // step threepot
int potFive = 0; // step four pot
int potOneOut = 0; // mapped value from pot one, timer repeat
int potTwoOut = 0; // mapped value from pot two, step two frequency
int potThreeOut = 0; //mapped value from pot three, step three freq
int potFourOut = 0;
int potFiveOut = 0;
const int potOnePin = A0;
const int potTwoPin = A1;
const int potThreePin  = A2;
const int potFourPin = A3;
const int potFivePin = A4;
const int outPin = 9;
unsigned long Timer; // hmmmmmm

void setup() {
  pinMode (potOne, INPUT);
  pinMode (potTwo, INPUT);
  pinMode (potThree, INPUT);
  pinMode (potFour, INPUT);
  pinMode (potFive, INPUT);
  pinMode (outPin, OUTPUT);

void loop () {
  potOne = analogRead(potOnePin);
  potOneOut = map(potOne, 0, 1000, 0, 1000);
  Timer = millis();
  Timer = millis();
  Timer = millis();
  Timer = millis();

void stepOne(){
  while (millis()-Timer<=potOneOut){
    potTwo = analogRead(potTwoPin);
    potTwoOut = map(potTwo, 0, 1000, 0, 5000);
    digitalWrite(outPin, HIGH);
    digitalWrite(outPin, LOW);

void stepTwo(){
  while (millis()-Timer<=potOneOut){
    potThree = analogRead(potThreePin);
    potThreeOut = map(potThree, 0, 1000, 0, 5000);
    digitalWrite(outPin, HIGH);
    digitalWrite(outPin, LOW);
void stepThree(){
  while (millis()-Timer<=potOneOut){
    potFour = analogRead(potFourPin);
    potFourOut = map(potFour, 0, 1000, 0, 5000);
    digitalWrite(outPin, HIGH);
    digitalWrite(outPin, LOW);
void stepFour(){
  while (millis()-Timer<=potOneOut){
    potFive = analogRead(potFivePin);
    potFiveOut = map(potFive, 0, 1000, 0, 5000);
    digitalWrite(outPin, HIGH);
    digitalWrite(outPin, LOW);

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

another noise test, two printed failures (damn shame) and the state of my desk right now

 This is a foot long piece of fabric with a line of stitching running up and down it, I used the conductive thread in the bottom spool as the sewing technician reckoned it wouldn't be strong enough to go in the top because if too much tension. It has a greater resistive range than the knitted strips from the last post. between, errrr, 1 and 10K, or 200K or something. I think it's between 1 and 10 or 12Kohm, but the resistance varies wildly because it's difficult to get a good contact. or something. God knows.

These were supposed to be conductive. The powder form of this pigment was wildly and unpredictably conductive, but obviously when the binder-glue-type-stuff is added it doesn't conduct anymore. Shame, because they're so pretty.

And this is my desk at home. I'm making a larger bit of fabric with the uppy-downy thing going on in it to see if I can get a greater resistance range out of it. This is a 30cm-or-so square piece of fabric.

When I was a kid I had a friend whose dad was an engineer-sorta-guy and he had this huge shed and 3/4's of it was full of engines and greasy stuff and the other quarter was full of computers and soldering irons and electronic stuff. It was so cool. I aspire to be messy on a large scale like that.

I have a meeting with my tutor tomorrow. Damn shame I can't get power at my desk (grumble)

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Noise Tests

Using the conductive fabric demonstrated in the previous post, I have now hooked them up to a number of square wave generators I made last summer, using them in the place of the 470Kohm potentiometers I was originally using to
vary the frequency of the wave.

They have a relatively low resistance, being made partially, as they are, of steel. In the range of 2-7Kohms, which is a great deal less than the POT's I was originally using. This means that I am somewhat stuck with the squeaky/screechy end of the waveform and can't get any of those deep rumbles or farting sounds I love so much.

It's fun anyway. Like I say, I'm not sure for what, but it gives me a much more tangible way of measuring the variable resistance of various fabrics and so on

Tomorrow if I get time I'll be in the Print Room at college trying out some conductive dyes and foils to see what I can potentially achieve by printing traces onto fabric.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Beginning in E-Textiles

Very auspicious isn't it?

I apologise for the video being on it's side. I haven't used this camera to take video properly before, that's my excuse.

Anyway, that's an 8 needle, 200 course strip of knitted fabric, the yarn is six ends of really-rather-fine 2 ply silk/steel (1 ply silk, 1 ply steel) run together. when it's scrunched up together it's resistance changes and the little LED gets brighter as it's being fed more of that juicy current it loves so much (I = V/R, innit)

I have also used these to create press pads by seperating bits of this conductive fabric with non conductive loosely knitted wool fabric. when pressed the two layers puch through the intervening layer and make a contact. it's pretty cool.

Tonight I connected some of these sensors up to some square wave generators I made last year. Now I can make an array of hideous squealing sounds by squeezing these things. If I want to make any deeper sound I'm going to need much longer chains and make much bigger sensors, either that or find an alternative conductor, as my noise boxes were meant for taking 470K potentiometers and these are at best 5 or 6K.

Monday, 2 January 2012

State of the Loom 2012

This is the condition of my loom on new year's day 2011. Sorry, I mean 2012. That's just been pointed out to me by an observant and alert individual sat beside me. Cheers for that :-)

Currently I'm weaving a woollen rug with a cotton string warp. 200 ends at like 6epi i think. Yes, it is, I remember. It's not difficult to remember.

 There's the back of the loom, it's all got old tablet-woven bands hanging off it and random bits of fabric.

 And that's the front, I'm nearly at the end of the current rug. I've already woven one rag rug out of old jeans (took a while to turn them into strips). As it goes actually, the aforementioned individual on the couch here has reminded me that she thinks that rug that I wove from jeans is just like one she saw on Anthropolgie's website, which I assume she was studying prior to attempting to get a job there. Apparently they started in Pennsylvania, big now. Shops all over the place. I'm not actually sure what exactly they sell, but I don't get out much.

Anyway, the one I'm weaving just now is wool. Just wool, yarn from Texere. Nice stuff, but slightly unpredictable.

 See that at along the top (not the christmas lights, the other thing) is kind of a raddle. See I tried warping it up without a raddle, because I've got used to beaming warps without a raddle, but it turns out you just can't beam a rug warp without a raddle. So I rebeamed after banging a nail into the top bar once every half-inch.

The heartbreaking thing about this is that I'm a proponent of the metric system, but I still find it stupidly difficult to wrench myself away from feet and inches. Yards of course, are completely foreign to me. I understand it's American for "driveway"

And that's the cloth beam. Looks satisfyingly thick because it's got a big chunky ragrug on it. Makes me cheerful. hurrah!

 So that's the state of my loom at the start of the new year. Huzzah!