Solar Circuit Sculpture Pumms The Night Away

A word of warning: Google for the definition of the word “pummer” at your own risk. Rest assured that this beautiful solar-powered circuit sculpture fits the only definition of pummer that we care to deal with.

For the unfamiliar, a pummer is a device from the BEAM style of robotics, a sort of cyborg plant that absorbs solar energy during the day and turns it into a gently pulsating light that “pumms” away the dark hours.

[Mohit Bhoite]’s take on the pummer is an extraordinary model of a satellite executed mainly in brass rod. His attention to detail on the framework boggles our minds; we could work for days on a brass rod and never achieve the straight lines and perfect corners he did. The wings support two solar cells, while the hull of the satellite holds a dead-bugged 74HC240 octal buffer/line-driver chip and all the other pumm-enabling components. A one farad supercap – mounted to look like a dish antenna – is charged during the day and a single LED beacon blinks into the night.

No schematic is provided, but there are probably enough closeup shots to reverse engineer this, which actually sounds like a fun exercise. (Or you can cheat and fetch the PDF copy of the old Make magazine article that inspired him.)

Hats off to [Mohit] for a top-notch circuit sculpture. We’ve seen similarly detailed and well-executed sculptures from him before; something tells us this won’t be the last.

Thanks to [Varun Reddy] for the tip.

17 thoughts on “Solar Circuit Sculpture Pumms The Night Away

  1. “For the unfamiliar, a pummer is a device from the BEAM style of robotics, a sort of cyborg plant that absorbs solar energy during the day and turns it into a gently pulsating light that “pumms” away the dark hours.”

    Cyborg sunflower.

  2. The straight brass rods remind me of a time in school, in electrical engineering.
    At a certain point, we had to do something similar (although Way less sophisticated) using straight copper wire. (slightly bigger diameter. 1 mm / 1.5mm if I recall..)
    Basically what you did, was take a length of electrical installation wire, secure one end in a table clamp, strip it, take the other end in a set of pliers and yank hard! The sudden strain would pull out all the bends. even it it’d break, it’d only do so at one point, and you’d still have plenty of length to use (and both lengths would still be straight.)

  3. HAD: “Google for the definition of the word “pummer” at your own risk.”

    Me: OK…

    Google: “When someone opens a can or bottle but only drinks 1-2 sips then forgets it.”

    Me: OMG!!! I am so offended?!? No, wait, I don’t get it.

  4. Searching up and down through the net, trying to find a chat or forum of enthusiasts for this hobby, and I have come up with nothing. What’s more depressing is that some of the sites that I have found in the past that have inspired me to try my hand at making these, their links and some chunks of the pages are falling out of existence. I would be really jazzed if there was a chat for a place for others that want to know more about this niche project and keep it alive.

    What’s more depressing to me is that some technical friends who know of the BEAM robots said that with the fading away of the chips used for making these works of art, that things would have to adapt to using MCU’s or little microcontrollers. I wasn’t really enthused with that mentality since it totally sidesteps the meaning of these circuit designs.

    Now if someone out there knows of a resource, chat or forum for enthusiasts of this topic, please PLEASE let me know. I have searched around on AliExpress for the proper chips and I am stocking myself up on what I can find.

    Site that inspired me: http://www.smfr.org/robots/

Leave a Reply to joe Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.