Prototype: Sugar Cast & Testing in the Tide

 3D Print + Sugar Cast   

3D Print + Sugar Cast

 

The point, again, of making a mold (Part 1) and casting in sugar (Part 2), was to prototype the interaction of the material in the salt water of a river that connects with ocean.  I plan to install models of Fort Humboldt at the mouth of Elk River in Eureka, CA.  I want these to dissolve slowly over the course of, at least, several hours on April 23, 2016.

 Pier 4 Beach, Brooklyn Bridge Park.   

Pier 4 Beach, Brooklyn Bridge Park.

 

I took the sugar cast and a camera down to the East River at Brooklyn Bridge Park, to see what the tide would do to the object.

An issue that became apparent immediately was weight: the strength of the tide massively surmounted the weight of the model, picking it up once the water rose high enough and beginning to toss it in the waves.

 

The model survived for about 1:39:00 in the tide.  There was a significant rise over the hour, so two problems were obvious:

  1. If the model was heavier or secured somehow, it would quickly be submerged
  2. If the model was heavier but not secured, it would still be jostled and potentially lost or impossible to track (for viewers).

I lost sight of the model a number of times, but fortunately found it again.  I also impacted the total dissolve time by rescuing the model and pulling it out to snap documentation photos.

TAKEAWAYS

  • The sugar models in combination with moving water will be gorgeous, unusual, and therefore compelling.
  • Tidal waters may not be the best option — a unidirectional stream (like the mouth of the river instead of the shore) will be optimal.
  • Most likely I’ll be looking at a dissolve time of several hours.  This will be better for the opportunity for many people to find and see the installation, but will make documentation of the dissolve more challenging.