Kinetic Show:LA

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Mark and Wendy of CRASH Space and FlipBooKit have put together a truly unique exhibition called Kinetic Show: LA at ARENA 1 Gallery in Santa Monica, featuring a ton of tech and kinetic art. This is well worth checking out! What’s more, both of my Hexachords are on display to see, hear, and play. The Arduino-powered Hexachord has some shiny new code under the hood. Tonight is the opening, and it’ll be running through October 6th, so make sure you get out to see all of the fun!

 

hexachords-gallery

CRASHspace at Maker Faire

If you’re heading to the Bay Area Maker Faire this weekend, make sure to come by the CRASHspace booth and see all of the amazing things our members have made. There’s Theron’s 8-bit ukulele, Daniel’s retro modules, Steve’s “Jacob’s Splatter” (a combination Jacob’s ladder and levitating fountain… high voltage and water ftw), Nate’s zoetrope, and I’ll have both of my Hexachords there as well.

 

We’re located at the southwest edge of the Expo Hall, right across from the south wall’s doors. More pictures soon!

 

IMG 3144

Prepping for Maker Faire 2015

Maker Faire Bay Area is just a week away! I am so excited, and sooo busy.

 

Last year for Maker Faire, I showed my first Hexachord, a 3-foot-tall six-chambered rotary instrument. This year, I’ll be showing both the original and a new version. It’s a single-chambered design with six necks radiating from the center, and played by six servos hooked up to an Arduino Uno. Have a look at all of the in-progress pictures here and stop by the CRASHspace booth in the Expo Hall to see the completed instrument!

 

Hexachord interior assembled

Hexachord top  New Hexachord Necks

 

I will also be running workshops at the FlipBooKit booth in the Maker Shed, so come on by. There will be a sneak peek of my new ‘How to Make a Custom Animation’ video playing in the shed along with the original assembly one. Here’s the finished animation from my demo!

 

 

See you there!

Hexachord at the STEAM Carnival

If you’re heading to the STEAM Carnival this weekend, be sure to check out my talk about my Hexachord.  See it in person, and hear about how tinkering factored into its construction.

 

I’ll be presenting both Saturday, Oct 25, and Sunday Oct 26 at 1:15pm.

 

Me and hexachord

The Hexachord – Part 3

The Hexachord, Part 1

The Hexachord, Part 2Hexachord full

 

Hard deadlines are good in many ways.  I’ve been involved enough with this project to spend all my “free time” on it, but when I set the deadline to have a working version done by Maker Faire, it really lit a fire under me.  Regular Crashspace meetings to show my progress kept me accountable, lots of checklists kept me on task, and limited time available to use the woodworking tools made me organize very efficiently.  

 

It is endlessly frustrating to find that you have a couple hours free at home and the tool you need is at the hacker space and unavailable.  So I scheduled my home work time as prep for working at Crashspace.  Need to cut something at the space?  Spend time at home calculating, measuring, and marking so that you can jump right into it when you get those couple hours at the band saw.  Want to use the drill press?  Leave it for the end of your time at the space, so if you need to leave early, you can still use a hand drill at home.  Cut all necessary pieces for the hinges quickly, and then assemble them later.  

 

And make sure to set aside a little time to socialize.

 

I designed my Hexachord to have removable parts.  The hinges are bolted on, so a sound chamber can be easily replaced or removed for transport.  The face with the motor and pick arm is held securely with removable pegs, so that I can change the face to one that has multiple pick arms for playing more than one sound chamber at once.

 

Stained sound chambers Face close pegs Face back

 

The motor was salvaged from a video cassette rewinder.  It came with a convenient belt and wheel, to which I attached the plectrum arm base – a hand-cut wooden gear I’d made a couple months before and was dying to use.  My original thought was to drill into the gear at an angle and secure the arm into that, but it wound up being more feasible to build a structure from bamboo sticks that would support the position of the arm.  For one thing, it was easier to adjust, and for another, I just plain like building with bamboo skewers.

 

The knobs were stained to match their associated sound chambers, and all were placed on the same side so that the Hexachord could be played by one person standing in the same place.  Each converted their rotary motion to the yoke mechanisms placed behind each sound chamber.

 

Knobs Mechanism
Mechanism in Mechanism out

 

I unveiled the completed Hexachord at Maker Faire as planned, it was well-received, and I got to drive home with the lovely view of an Editor’s Choice ribbon hanging from my rear view mirror.

 

Finishing touches Me and the Hexachord Editor's Choice

 

Here are the promised videos: one of my interview at Maker Faire, and one of the finished Hexachord in a quieter environment!