My piece “Nowhere Fast” was just featured in American Craft Magazine. It’s always a shame when a large piece like this one (6 feet tall) is slipped into a montage with smaller work. It makes it even harder to judge its size. None the less its nice press.
Entering the final stages of the never ending project. All parts are degreased/painted/polished. Plenty of assembly and trouble shooting left to do though.
Finished up a pair of new masks in time for Halloween! They are both hammered from flat sheet aluminum, a relatively new technique for me. The glowing eyes on mine are glass taxidermy “Albino Antelope” backed with tiny LEDs. We were referring to ourselves as “Fallen-Angel investors”, but later settled on the simpler “Devils Advocates”.
Cam mechanism to animate antennae. This element is really simple. The difficulty is in mounting it inside a dome shape. It’s a definite down side to my preference for curved, organic shapes.
Working on an insect piece with multiple incandescent eyes. The plan is to run the bulbs at the lowest possible voltage so that you can just see the filament glowing.
Wired.com just posted a nice video about a project I played a small role in recently. The task was to create a large gravity powered mechanical sculpture that would display political messages and ultimately stamp dollar bills with slogans (that’s literally the shortest summary I can come up with, watch the video for a better explanation). My job was to produce a mechanism that would cause a cascade of money to fall from a politicians mouth, and then retract. I can’t take any credit for the great paint job, just the behind the scenes stuff.
I’ll be showing a piece along with Mark Galt and Benjamin Cowden tonight (6-10PM) at the California Academy of Sciences. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay area, tix are $12. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend checking it out. They have a terrific aquarium, natural history dioramas, and all in a pretty terrific building.
Working on a mask from sheet metal. Part of the motivation in my motorcycle project was to pick up some new techniques that could be applied to art. I’m not thrilled with this piece so far, but I can see the possibilities opening up.
It seems that the folks at Google changed their logo to honor “Little Nemo in Slumberland” today. Fun fact: My parents named me after this wonderfully surreal cartoon and not Jules Vernes Captain Nemo. Fun fact #2: In latin, Nemo means “He who is without name” or “anonymous”.
Mounting solution for gauges. The temp gauge is the original stock one mounted in a random vintage housing I had laying around. Pure luck that it fit so well. I just had to black out the face and apply colored stickers to indicate the temp range.
Early stages of motorcycle fairing.
It would be a stretch to say I’m getting “good” at this, but I’m at least beginning to see how it works. To me, a new skill is only enjoyable once I’ve reached the point where I can improvise with it. Up until now I’ve felt totally at the mercy of what the metal was willing to do. Now at least I feel like I’m gaining some control.
So, the bike project needed headlights. I came across a set of projector headlights from a car. Once free from their plastic tombs I set about building mounts to fit them to the bike. The result looks pretty good, and I think they have enough adjustability to function well. Next up, front fairing…
I definitely underestimated the difficulty in my tail light concept. I had planned to simply back the slots with strip LEDs. Turns out these are nowhere near bright enough. The solution was a hacked pair of LED car tail lights. Same light source, but each cell is encased in a tiny reflector cone which greatly increases the visibility (and they were pre-wired for two brightness levels). Needless to say the original plastic housings were not eager to play nice with my aluminum tail shape. Bandsaw, belt sander, zip ties, and some custom brackets and I can finally call it a success.
I had to make a funny overhead support arm to help hold my TIG torch for this project. I’m really glad I did too, taking the cord weight off the torch makes a huge difference in getting consistent welds.
New piece: The Pollinator.
A closer look into the reproductive process of flowers.
Materials: Timer case, bumblebee, lightbulb interior, plastic flowers, book and magazine clippings, motor, LEDs, fresnel lens.
So, I haven’t posted anything in a while but I’ve had a good reason. The image here may look a lot like a motorcycle, but it isn’t. Well, it is, but it’s a lot more. It’s a first step towards breaking my total dependence on found objects for source material.
Waaaay back when I first started making things in metal I went with found things because I didn’t have the skills to make the shapes that I wanted to. This project represents my first attempt at building forms from sheet stock. It’s a steep learning curve, but I’m beginning to see the way it works. I figure that by the time I build all the body work on this motorcycle (the tank is coming along nicely) I’ll have developed the skills to apply this technique to sculptures. I’ve had a lot of false starts, and a lot of material has wound up in the scrap bin, but stay tuned, things are starting to flow now.
Thinking of going with an old airplane theme for my bike project. Feeling pretty good about this plan to join two upside down windscreens to make a fairing that looks somewhat like a bomber nose. Bear with me if I change direction, it’s still early.
I’m excited to have finally begun my motorcycle project! I was given a Honda CX500 in poor condition as a starting point. My plan is to rebuild the tank and body work from aluminum sheet. This is a process I have always wanted to learn but have little experience with. To get over the vertigo of not knowing where to begin, I’m roughing out design possibilities with styrofoam. No telling how many attempts it will take before I eventually get a form worth translating into a metal pattern. Bear with me, this one may take a while.
Yesterday I made the mistake of saying “I kinda want to build some models of shapes to make patterns from. Maybe out of styrofoam, but where am I gonna find a huge chunk?” Then Jeremy says “Oh, theres one on the curb a block from here”.
So now I am the proud owner of a huge block of styrofoam. I had to whip up a 13 volt hot wire cutter to process it into manageable pieces. Next up is a smaller, more precise cutter to do detail work.