Sunday, March 27, 2011

Zoetrope (mini)


Materials:
• 4.5” dia. clear plastic round deli container, 16 oz.
• large chopstick
• straws (must big enough to fit the chopstick, we used “jumbo” straws)
• electrical tape
• 2.25” dia. foam core washer
• 10.5”x 1” paper animation strip (with frame lines every 1.25” pre drawn)  

Tools:
• scissors
• screw
• screw driver
• tape pattern template (if making multiple or working with young children )
• hot glue gun




First, locate the middle of the plastic cup and poke a hole in it with the screw, then take a Phillips head screw driver about the size of your chop stick and widen out the hole.  Next, begin applying electrical tape strips to the side of your cup, leaving gaps no more than a few mm wide.  Note that given the cups are conical when the tape is placed straight up and down the slots should be triangular not perfectly parallel. Once you've made one good one you can save it as a template or use a sharpie to make a separate template. Templates are especially useful for younger kids as they often have trouble keeping the gaps even and straight.




Next, stick the dull side of your chopstick into the hole in the bottom of the plastic cup. Add the foam core washer (we made ours with a hole saw, but a square of about the same size will work just as well).   Make sure the chopstick is straight and add a generous amount of hot glue to the bottom of the washer and the base of the chopstick and press the washer down. 





 Cut a straw to 2/3 the length of the chop stick and slide it on. Add an electrical tape flag at the bottom of the stick to prevent the straw from sliding off. The straw will act as a bushing allowing you to hold the Zoetrope while letting it spin freely.




To use the Zoetrope draw a progressively changing image in each frame of your animation strip, place it in the bottom of the cup and hold the straw and slowly spin the chopstick while looking though the slots.

Things to do and notice: 



A Zoetrope is basically a drum shaped Stroboscope with a moving subject for observation (the animation strip) built in.  Given the slots and the animation strips are rotating at the same speed, each frame will appear in approximately the same position as the last, this makes the frame boundaries appear stationary, avoiding blurring.  At the same time the actual shapes of the drawings will appear to be changing, as each differing frame is superimposed over the last and persistence of vision blends them smoothly together, just as one would see in a flipbook. One advantage of a Zoetrope over a flip book is that it works just as well in three dimensions as in two.  The paper strip can be substituted with a series of wire or clay sculptures (or any other material) placed on a mat board disk in the bottom of the cup and a similar animation effect can be achieved. For younger students who may have trouble taping the cups a Phenakistoscope a simpler animation device that uses the same principles of operation as a Zoetrope may be a more appropriate project.  You can find many Phenakistoscope templates by simply Googling it.  The Zoetrope and similar early animation devices like the Phenakistoscope, are the technological ancestor of film and all modern forms of video media, all which employ persistence of vision blend strobbed images to the same effect of these original devices.  




Designed by Antonio Papania-Davis 2010

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