Archive for category Art in process

Feeling sleepy yet?

Feeling Sleepy, Yet? and several related pieces are all done and installed at HB Punto Experimental Gallery.

 

Feeling Sleepy Yet in motion

Feeling Sleepy Yet in motion

Close up of Feeling Sleepy Yet?

Close up of Feeling Sleepy Yet?

I’m really happy with this one. It was a simple idea that should have been very fast to make, but as usual, thoughts crept in and complicated it.

Original drawing for idea

Original drawing for idea

Of course when you start making it, you come up with improvements and changes and then…

Closer to the final product

Closer to the final product

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Feeling Sleepy, Yet?

Here’s a new piece that I really like a lot. My last show is interested in authority and it’s implications. I think most things are really voluntary and we tend to go along with whatever we are told. This isn’t a bad thing, or a good thing, it’s just a thing. At least that’s how I see it. I could be wrong. So…. the sheeps came out for this one.

Six little sheep spin around over a fence jumping for all time. Well, as long as they are plugged in at least.  So once again, I had the usual debates with myself on the piece. Here’s some of that history.

Starting out

Starting out

Pieces and parts. it all gets edited and changed

Pieces and parts. it all gets edited and changed

Basic premise seems ok

Basic premise seems ok

Gotta make the sheeps.

Gotta make the sheeps.

Refining the design and getting colors right

Refining the design and getting colors right

Almost complete

Almost complete

Final piece installed and complete.

Final piece installed and complete.

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How it gets out of control, so fast.

I am making a piece that will self level itself. So in theory, it’s all simple. Read an accelerometer, see what the values are for the x and y axis, ignoring the z axis, update a servo motor and see if all is level. I did something based on this a long time ago, using other peoples software libraries. Now I am writing my own library and all the code.

The hardware is pretty simple on this one. I am using the Arduino Uno platform and a off the shelf carrier board for a freescale accelerometer. So as I am playing with it, I realize that a servo motor isn’t my favorite, since it typically has no holding torque when not powered or being told to be in a certain position, no problem, I’ll use a servo motor. So I dug around in my parts box and found one. It’s important to know whether the servo is unipolar or bipolar. Web searching the part number on the motor was a bust, so you have to work a bit to make sure what it is. It has a little gear on it that comes out and will be helpful later. Turns out that stepper motors are called that because they make little steps to more. This means that each step is a certain percentage of a circle. Turns out my motor is 7.5 degrees each time or 1/48 of circle. That’s not going to be good enough for leveling something, unless it’s already level. So now we get to complexities. I have to make a carrier that will hold my accelerometer and tilt it some percentage of a degree and do it accurately.  That means I have to add gearing and divide that number down quite a bit. Which leads to these next photos.

Front view showing tray for accelerometer

Front view showing tray for accelerometer

Rear view showing motor and gearing. Also a nifty dinosaur at the top...

Rear view showing motor and gearing. Also a nifty dinosaur at the top…

So this worked. And it worked ok. But I can’t seem to ever leave ok alone. I had time on the laser cutter at MakerPlace, so I did some design work and then did a little CNC mill work too.  And that gets me to what I have to tell me what is going on with my accelerometer.

Front view :note the scale on the bottom. There's three lines so you know you are even with it.

Front view :note the scale on the bottom. There’s three lines so you know you are even with it.

Top view. And I did make an etch line and fill it with paint to make it nicer...

Top view. And I did make an etch line and fill it with paint to make it nicer…

And that’s how it all gets out of control. Now I have a ocean of software to write to get it all working. I did get the stepper motor running and it swung back and forth in time to a Nina Simone song, which I was very amused by.

 

 

 

 

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More fun with lights.

New piece.  Started in last weeks post, but I’m interested in the power of touch. I think it’s our most important sense by far, but usually takes a backseat to other more fashionable senses like sight. Without touch, you might have a hard time eating, but I am guessing you can still eat with your eyes closed. In any case I think that the simple act of reaching out can change everything for the better. It’s not a unique idea and my dogs demonstrate it well. So here’s a new piece that covers the idea of touching, almost.

Before you design a circuit board, you probably want to test out your ideas. There’s a cool way to do this called a breadboard. It allows you to plug wires into it and make connections. Of course this method is going the way of the dinosaurs since most new components are surface mount only. I proudly wear my dinosaur badge and still breadboard almost everything I make. I do this to write my software and make sure everything works before I commit to a board design.

Breadboarded circuit for development

Breadboarded circuit for development

This was my development system and I targeted all the software on it. I’ll keep it intact until I need the board for the next project. Which means this little thing is coming apart soon. Keeping with with my dinosaur theme, I still write a flowchart for every bit of software I write. Sometimes for figuring it all out, but always is helpful two years from now when I try to figure out what I did. Here’s a sample.

This magically turns into working software

This magically turns into working software

Once satisfied, I designed a board to match that breadboard. Here’s how that turns out.

Main board for piece

Main board for piece

What’s all this going into you may ask? It’s going into this box.

Warmer, Colder enclosure

Warmer, Colder enclosure

And the sensor that works it all out is hidden ( only sort of ) here.

Sensor in the center of the piece

Sensor in the center of the piece

 

Other fun things were making a diffuser for the LEDs. I used a laser cutter and etched both sides of a clear plate to make that.

Diffuser

Diffuser

The LED board goes under it and it works well. The diffuser is the top line of plastic above the circuit board.

Diffuser on top, board on bottom.

Diffuser on top, board on bottom.

 

Video next week along with another piece, I’m working on.

 

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Hands and other things

The little hands cast very nicely I think, originally I was going to machine the wrists and then insert a threaded rod in the hand, then I thought, while I am casting them, why not put the rod inside? So I bent the end of the rod into a U and cast them.  Worked like I wanted it to. Here’s a picture…

Little hands in the prototype

Little hands in the prototype

Also since I seem to always have several pieces in work at the same time, I am working on this one… This isn’t the final configuration, this is also a interim part to test and perfect the effect I am going for.

Frosted LED inserts

Frosted LED inserts

And here’s some of the circuit that will drive this piece. There’s a whole bunch of single board computer business that’s still to be developed.

Lighting 10 LEDs with 6 control lines.

Lighting 10 LEDs with 6 control lines.

 

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Could you lend me a hand?

I’m amused by selfies. I admit it. Not of myself but of others. I think people like to be noticed and that’s ok for me.

So, I am making new piece that will address the joy of twittering,instagramming , facebooking or whatever social media is the latest buzz.

I need some hands to wave to get the attention of passers-by and of course, I have to make the simple tasks more complex. I couldn’t go find some hands at, well, wherever you find hands. Michael’s perhaps? So here’s the process so far.

Gotta draw it first. Yes, I meant three fingers.

Gotta draw it first. Yes, I meant three fingers.

Then of course, you have to make it. I thought about CAD/CAM and 3D printing. Then I realized, it would take 10-15 minutes to make out of clay. It did. Here’s that;

Hand in clay ready for mold

Hand in clay ready for mold

Here it is in the mold. Not too much information there.

Purple silicon mold of hand

Purple silicon mold of hand

Should be setup and ready to cast shortly. I’ll post that soon.

 

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Claude Monet and dedication…

So, my beloved and I were in Chicago a little while ago. Of course any trip to Chicago requires a trip to the Art Institute. So we were there and it was suggested Mr. Monet must have painted a lot, since every big museum seems to have a couple. Turns out, he did paint a lot. WikiAnswers puts it at 1189. Other sites say 2500 works. Either way, he was busy. So… started thinking… Cezanne, 900. Duchamp obviously was busy, but the internet is no help. Miro, 2000 paintings, 500 sculptures, 400 ceramics, and 5000 drawings and collages. And my greatest influence, Calder, 15000 works.

If you do the math, which may motivate you, stun you or make you put your head down and realize the greatness of these people… If Calder started at birth ( who knows?) he made an average of 192 works a year.  Wow.

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And in record time.. video

So here’s some video of two of the pieces mentioned earlier today. I spent 3 hours trying to get premiere to do something that iMovie did in 5 minutes. I realize that’s not a fair comparison since I guess Premiere is a pro package and iMovie is for us Luddites, but somethings just need to be simpler to be used.

 

I don't feel like I am getting anywhere

click on picture to start movie

 

Management version of I don't think I am getting anywhere

click on picture to start movie

 

click on picture to start movie

 

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More new things. Moving things.

Several new pieces to report. The first two are related. I thought about the constant back and forth of most days and decided that no matter what I do, I basically return to the same point every morning. So, the piece “I Don’t Feel Like I am Getting Anywhere” was born. You operate the gear at the bottom of the piece, or the gear at the top. It spins a large gear that has steel bearings resting against it. The bearings drop into little holes and get spun to the top of the piece and then pop out at the top, fall through a series of gates and then land, you guessed it, right back where they started.

I don't feel like I am getting anywhere

I don’t feel like I am getting anywhere

 

So then I thought, maybe management might need to be represented. So they are. The difference is the management one, you push a button and a motor does the work for you. Same result, different method.

Management version of I don't think I am getting anywhere

Management version of I don’t think I am getting anywhere

And since we are having fun with marbles, bearings, round things… I made a completely manual version as well, with random twists and turns.

Completely manual version of getting anywhere.

Completely manual version of getting anywhere.

I did take video, but I have to edit it down, because it’s a 25MB file as it is. Nobody wants to wait for that download.

 

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Trying something new…

I have a habit of when I travel I find a Pollock painting at a museum and take my picture in front of it. I don’t know why I do it, but I do things I don’t understand all the time. But the fact remains, I really like some of his work and some of it can be, well, not my favorite.  So.. I thought about it and I decided to make some drip paintings, scan them, convert the scans into a graphic and then use a laser cutter to cut acrylic plastic out. Then there’s the assembly. What you wind up with is a 3D drip painting. Here’s a couple I made yesterday.

Free standing

Free standing

 

Wall mounted

Wall mounted

 

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