Mat Janson Blanchet's academic works in progress


Body building

Posted on March 10, 2018

IMCA 400

Top and bottom panels diagramTop and bottom panels

When I was designing the wooden body for the cabinet, it was suggested to me that I add ventilation holes in case the motors heat up. The Concordia Maquette Shop has a CNC machine, however the size of my designs were too big. Tatev Yesayan, a member of the TML, suggested that I contract the work to uMake. I did just that, and the results of their work was quite good!

Wooden body parts

On Tuesday morning, I went to a wood shop to purchase a 8′ x 4′ plywood for the back panel of the cabinet. These dimensions are wider than what the Concordia Wood Shop sells, hence the trip. Even when cut to the appropriate dimensions—64″ x 43″—the panel still is huge! Now I have the basic parts to construct the body of the cabinet.

Of ink and staining

Wood staining testWood staining test

I intend the cabinet to be tinted black, however I do not want it to have visible brush marks. When discussing with the technicians of the wood shop, they suggested that I use ink to stain the wood. I did a first test, during which I poured 2-3 layers of ink in some 15 minutes, and the color turned out nicely. However, I hadn’t sanded the wood, and its surface was not so nice after the tinting.

For the second test, I first sanded the wood. Then, I sprayed a bit of water on the wood, so that it surface could have its “whiskers” pop out, and then I sanded the wood again. After that, I used ink again, and the results were quite satisfying.

The next tests will be to discover what type of finish is ideal. I tested with a readily available varnish spray, and I will see soon how that turns out. A specific varnish was also suggested to me, which I may test as well next week.

All in all, I believe I have a good path forward.


As I intend to build a glass window, I started discussing with Tom, one of the wood shop technicians, about how to plan the structure of the frame. I have to discuss with a glazier about making the window glass. Maybe I could provide them with the frame, and they could then add the glass accordingly? To be confirmed.

Interior design

Red velveteen

During my presentations of the project to my class, I casually mentioned I’d like to line the interior of the cabinet with velvet. It’s becoming an intention of mine, and with the help of my good friend Catherine Brodeur—who used to be a fashion designer—it seems like it will actually happen!

Third pass

Steel after 3rd pass grinding with 150 grit paper

Finally, I spent some time to improve the bottom bracket. I used 150 grit sand paper and rotating sanding, and the results are getting real close to my desire of a mirror-like surface. There were quite a few scratches left, but I think that I will be able to get the surface to an acceptable results with another pass, that one of 220 grit.


Posted on March 10, 2018

IMCA 470

Well-spooled pickup

This week I didn’t make as good progress as I hoped I would. I admit that the amount of time I invested into building the Kinetic Cabinet may be to blame.

I spooled the pickup for which I had broken the wire, and finalized another one for which the connections were broken.

I again tried to make the signal generator circuit work, this time with those new pickups—as suggested by Garnet Willis—but to no avail. At this point, I must make a choice if I want to be able to build my sound sculpture: do I stubbornly push forward to use an EBow-like circuit to activate the strings, or do I find an alternative? Out of desperation, I actually wrote an email to EBow, describing my project and asking them to sponsor me, although I don’t hold much hope in that avenue. Garnet also said he may have an idea to help me, however I don’t how available he is. Finally, I am thinking that I may have to explore creating a rubbing wheel, like that of hurdy-gurdies.

A decision must be taken soon and I must act accordingly if I am to build my sculpture. I am almost thinking of creating the sculpture without a self-playing mechanism, making it closer to an instrument, as a first iteration.