MAKEzine Interview Postscript

Recently I was interviewed by Make Magazine for their series Meet the Makers. You can listen to the podcast here. What follows is some extra links, photos, and resources that help illustrate the projects I mentioned in the interview.

I was incredibly flattered when Mark Frauenfelder asked me if I wanted to be one of the makers interviewed for the MAKE Podcast. I jumped at the chance. Now, having concluded the interview just a few minutes ago I wanted to share some links to the projects I mentioned, offer up a little further reading, and provide downloads for the open source designs I alluded to during my chat with Mark.

This is the tensegrity structure I built as a class project ever so long ago. It’s made of cotton string and 3/16″ dowels and supports a 1/2″ steel ball bearing exactly 24″ off the ground.

Here is a picture of the metal rod tensegrity structure I mentioned. Here’s a photo of the load bearing one that was a class project way back in college.

I talked for a bit about Smooth-On, the company that makes a whole bunch of mold making and casting projects, and how they had a tutorial on getting a metal look using cast plastic and metalized powder. I’ve found the relevant section inside one of their Youtube videos here. You might also want to look into the SFX powder pigment Pearl-Ex for playing with adding cool colors and effects into your casting/sculpting projects.

If you’d like to find out more about my huge mobile pipe organ project, The Anywhere Organ, you can find pictures up on Flickr, a running record of the progress I’m making up on its Tumblr, video of it in action here, and downloads for the design on Thingiverse. Continue reading

How to be Seen

Early on in my days as a maker, I really struggled with documenting and publishing projects. Almost everything I make starts life as something I wanted to build, something I wanted the experience of playing with. Most often I build because building things is gratifying in and of itself, and the other aspects (recognition, money, internet fame) are ancillary. However, only ever being beholden to myself made for some pretty shoddy documentation. I have few if any photographs of my projects from college and my record of things before that is more or less nonexistent. Over time I’ve discovered that a huge motivating factor for me getting things well documented, taking time out to photograph a project in progress, and updating my records, is having other eyes on me. Having other people witness my work validates it, gives it context, and creates a network of fascinating relationships and interactions that help fuel the next piece.

I don’t think I need to emphasize how important documentation is. Objects have a nasty habit of being pretty solid and aren’t often seen hurtling through cables at the speed of information. I know, Thingiverse is neat, but if you truly want to convey the awesomeness of something to another human, it’s infinitely more likely that they’ll extrapolate the fact from a picture than take the time to print and assemble your design. So, if you want the world to feel the impact of your handmade steam powered arduino based self balancing stainless steel unicycle junkbot, you’re going to have to show them… by force if necessary. Continue reading