Print Your Own Robot: Part 5 29c3

I’ve finally gathered my wits after a whirlwind tour of Europe, starting at CCC, giving some talks and connecting up with potential collaborators, to Berlin to meet hackers I hadn’t seen in years, to Brussels to play with some material science experiments in impact resisting plastics. While at CCC I gave three talks, two lightning talks on digital fabrication and the strange world of news advertisement, and a 15 minute talk on the methodology and philosophy behind my soft robots. I’ll be uploading the short talks sometime soon, but for now please see my soft robots lecture after the jump. Continue reading

Foldy Zoetrope

I made little foldy zoetropes to send folks for the holidays. Now that they’re all sent out and people have had a chance to enjoy them, I figured I could reveal the design without anybody feeling less special. I should release the design and talk about the process behind making them. I should have time for that soon. In the meantime, check out the construction tutorial video after the fold. 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

How They do That: The Sapporo Can

Many of you will be familiar with the tall, elegant Sapporo steel Sapporo can pictured on the right.  It’s a lovely tapered pint glass shape, with subtle creases every half inch along its surface. You might be curious as to why cans are almost never this shape, how the standard beer can is made, and what sets this one apart from a manufacturing perspective. In this post, I’m going to hunt through the clues left on the can itself to diagnose how this thing was made, and how the manufacturing process elegantly dictates the product’s final form.

The story of the standard aluminum can is fascinating. It goes from a simple disc of aluminum metal to a fully formed can in a scant few steps. How It’s Made has done a very complete diagnosis of the process, and The Engineer Guy has a brilliant video describing the function of the pull tab. However, the process for making one of them has almost nothing to do with the construction of one of Sapporo’s steel cans. Continue reading

Feather Mohawk Tutorial

I’ve had a heap of requests asking how I made my feather mohawk. Well, yearn no more: I’ve made a complete feather mohawk tutorial and it’s up on Instructables.

The process is actually pretty simple. First, you get some feathers, buckram, glue, and a brush. Then, you trace the profile of your head to get some basic measurements, cut out the buckram to form a skullcap and a support for the feathers, sew ’em together, and glue the feathers on in layers. The most frustrating part is that feather fuzzies get everywhere and there’s pretty much nothing to be done about it.

Now, go out and make your own. If you do end up making one send a photo my way or tag me in it so I can see how it came out.

QuahogCon’s Closing Keynote

Some months back I gave the closing keynote at QuahogCon. It was an overview of the digital manufacture techniques available today focusing on 3d printing. I gave detailed information on how to interface with them, what properties different techniques impart, and how to generate geometry.

You can find an audio recording of the presentation here. You can also download my resources (containing links to artists, 3d printing companies, software tools, and awesome projects) here. You can also find my presentation’s visuals on Prezi.