Up, not North

Belated New Year’s Resolution: Engage More with the Maker Community

January 31st, 2014 § 0

I love the maker community, both online and off. I love reading about other people’s projects, and having them read about mine. Perhaps most of all, I love meeting people at Maker Faires and hackerspaces whose work I recognize, or who recognize mine. So when I read David Weinberger’s article about blogging (and Suw Charman-Anderson’s comment on it), it struck me that, despite the fact that I love it when people comment on and post about my projects, I rarely leave my feed reader to comment on other makers’ projects. It’s still (barely) January, so consider this a belated New Year’s resolution: I aim to bookmark and follow more individual makers, and to tweet about and comment on more projects.
This raises the question of where to find cool projects. The Make blog used to be my favourite source, but they seem to be focussing less on individual projects. My current favourite is the Adafruit blog, which has a great mix of engineering, art, and design. I also like Hack A Day, although its focus is firmly on the engineering side. While not specifically a maker blog, cool projects often show up on Boing Boing, too.
I know the regular readership of this blog is pretty tiny, but I’d still love to hear where you read about (and post about) cool projects, so feel free to add your two cents in the comments!

3D printed Spoon! rest

August 21st, 2013 § 0

Since becoming a full-time stay-at-home dad I haven’t really had much time to go to the shop, and I don’t yet have a home workspace that’s safe from tiny hands. So, my recent projects have been limited to things that are purely digital. Since coding requires a little more focus than my sleep-deprived brain can muster, I’ve mostly worked on small 3D printing projects. Here’s one: a ceramic spoon rest printed by Shapeways.

Spoon! Rest

(If that doesn’t make any sense, I recommend reading this and watching this.)

I’m a little embarrassed by how happy it makes me to not have to put a dirty spoon on a clean countertop. I guess this is middle age.

Interview on The Agenda With Steve Paikin

July 8th, 2012 § 0

It’s been a long time since I’ve written, but rest assured it’s because I’ve got a big project in the works that will be properly unveiled soon.

In the meantime, I was interviewed about the “maker movement” recently on The Agenda With Steve Paikin. As always with interviews, there are things I wish I had said or said differently, but overall I think it went well. (I don’t know for sure, because I refuse to watch myself on video.)

About the experience: Steve Paikin is incredibly affable, his staff are all lovely, and the day after the piece aired a stranger on the street said “Hey, you were on The Agenda last night! Good job!” which was pretty neat.

3D-printing and lost wax casting: Question Block cufflinks and crowbar pendant

February 6th, 2012 § 8

I’ve made another round of digital-to-silver jewellery: a pair of Super Mario Bros. cufflinks and a pendant for my crowbar-loving wife. For my last jewellery project I had Shapeways manufacture cufflinks directly in sterling silver, but for these pieces I did it a little differently: I had them 3D printed in plastic, used the plastic prints to make molds, had them cast in silver, and hand-finished them. I couldn’t have done the casting and finishing without the help of my friend Norah Kerr, who held my hand through the entire process.

Keep reading for the full breakdown of how I did it, more pictures, and source files for the 3D models. » Read the rest of this entry «

Nuit Blanche Chiptunes

October 2nd, 2011 § 0

Last night I had the pleasure of co-curating an all-night concert of Chiptunes music at the TIFF Bell Lightbox as part of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche. (Clearly, I’m not too great at this whole “promotion” thing: note that this happened last night.) Nonetheless, it was an amazing event, and I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to participate. Thanks to all our amazing artists, TIFF staff, and volunteers!

My main role was in designing, manufacturing, and building small noisemakers to give out to the crowd. There were four different colour-coded notes, and during one performance the audience was prompted with coloured cards to play along.I was surprised and delighted by how popular the boards were; we gave out all 150 of them in a matter of minutes, and people were asking for them long after they were all gone. It seems there’s an untapped thirst for simple noisemakers; that might be something I have to follow up on in the future…

The circuit is just a simple 555 astable oscillator, with different resistors on each colour to create a different note. They were assembled in two marathon soldering sessions at Site 3, where I was joined by several student volunteers from Ryerson’s New Media. My eternal gratitude goes out to them! You can take a little peek behind-the-scenes in this video:

YouTube Preview Image

3D printed CCTV surveillance camera cufflinks

June 17th, 2011 § 0

I’ve been meaning to try 3D printing for a while, but when I heard that Shapeways had started offering sterling silver as a material printing option I finally decided to do something about it: I made myself a pair of cufflinks. (More photos are available on Flickr.)

I wasn’t really planning on posting about them (at least not yet), but since they’re getting some coverage under my Shapeways username, I figured I ought to at least mention it. You can buy a pair here. The pictures show them printed in unpolished sterling silver. Stainless steel is much cheaper, but I’m not sure how much detail will be retained in the print.

I’m really happy with how they turned out and I already have a bunch more 3D printed projects in the works (some of which involve the video game references that I know you love), so stay tuned!

Interactive talking Portal Turret Plushie

April 24th, 2011 § 4

I’ve wanted my own Portal Turret since I first played the game. Now, in collaboration with Leigh Nunan, I’ve made one. And it works:

Leigh made the plushie and I made the electronics.

For more information, including source code, visit the project page.

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