The Helix Wave is installed in the Great Hall of the Museum of Discovery, Little Rock, Arkansas. When I first looked at the lobby I realized that there wasn’t enough headroom to position the mechanics above the wave, and so I came up with a horizontal design. This turned out to be a lot of fun to make, and has the additional advantage of exposing the helical drives so that it’s easier to see how they work. The long horizontal runs of the white Dacron strings also provided unexpected patterns when contrasted against the dark wood of the ceiling.
The wooden slats are hollow and made of 1/8″ Maple ply with a Basswood frame. The helices are made of aluminum, and ground steel rod, fitted with bearings and a split collar for the string attachment. Each slat has a pair of “grasshopper legs” which ride up and down and are designed to catch the slat in case a string breaks. But the way they move makes me think that there is another sculpture that can be built exploring those articulations.
Special thanks to everyone at the Museum for a great experience in Arkansas. Thanks particularly to Mark Anderson from the Science Museum of Minnesota (who commissioned the sculpture and expertly coordinated it’s integration into the Great Hall). Thanks to Joe Ansel for contract help, Michael Prados for mechanical engineering, Chris Potter and Richard Vertz for fabrication help, Reid Johnson and Tobias Lawson for installation help. And thanks to the Flying Fish restaurant across the street from the Museum for their delicious catfish sandwiches!