Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Serving of Shapes/ Collabortive 3D Art Installation

I am in the process of preparing for a Serving of Shapes, a collaborative art installation including four public workshops exploring 3D printing and design. After the public 3D rendering workshops, we will be selecting a group of the public creations to print and install in the show. The process of sketches and models will also be captured in a digitally printed tablecloth. (printing will be done by Spoonflower).

To kick off the workshops in the gallery space at the de Saisset Museum, I will create a few 3D printed installation to give the public a feel for what 3D printed objects are. I will share some of my reflections on local agricultural history though my installations. Below are a few concept sketches.
This sketch concept reflects on the fruit blossoms falling like snow. When the valley was filled with fruit trees, many recall that the blossoms looked like snow on the trees. The bowl will have motifs pulled from artifacts from Japantown and Heinlenville and will integrate a view of the mountains.
Washing Day. I was drawn to a photo of kimonos drying on the line on a California Japanese farm 48 hours before internment. Japanese Americans farmed much of Santa Clara Valley's land before WWII. There was a great desire to assimilate more after the war; forks replaced chopsticks.
bees hanging from filament. Swirls represent scent of blossoms on the wind

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Soundscape Audio Collage Project

I have been exploring creating the first sample of a sound collage for a public arts project tied to bus stops in San Jose, California.
Here is the first test of a collage representing the area in and around King and Alum Rock Road in San Jose. I look forward to collecting more audio to make these compositions richer. I have a lot more recording to do of community elements and am enjoying this audio journey into various communities.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Tinkering in Tinkercad

I have been fixated with learning Tinkercad and teaching it to others since I learned about it in a Techshop class in October. I have several projects in the works that will bring Tinkercad and 3D printing to education settings. Working with the de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University, I have been mapping out a public art workshop series and art installation for January 2014. The project is calls a Serving of Shapes/ an Exploration in 3D Printing. This 3D printing workshop invites the public to reflect on Silicon Valley's agricultural past and technology infused present. We have also applied for an Applied Materials Excellence in the Arts Grant to take the workshop on the road to the Dr. Roberto Cruz Library in East San Jose for a teen workshop and to the Mayfair Community Center for a teen workshop. I am creating a library of objects. Here is a link to the wasp/bee design below on Thingiverse:
Bee and cherries printed from a library of 3D objects I am designing for the workshops. The project will also result in a picnic tablecloth that integrates the public's designs and design process.
Working with a teacher at a local Cupertino elementary school,  I am guiding a 4th grade class in exploring Tinkercad as they create chess pieces that reflect upon their literature reading. They are creating chess pieces that are literary characters and they are explaining how their chosen character is suited to the roll of the chess piece they selected. We are printing the chess pieces on the used Afinia 3D printer I purchase off of Craigslist a month ago.
4th grader designing a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chess piece.

Stanley character from the book Holes as a King chess piece. Created by a 4th grader at Stevens Creek Elementary in Cupertino, CA.
Side view of Stanly chess piece.
Percy Jackson chess piece (King chess piece) by 4th grader at Stevens Creek Elementary in Cupertino.
I will be posting the lesson plan for this project soon, but here is a link to the worksheet the students used.

I just discovered Makerbot's lesson plans: and look forward to delving into these for curriculum!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Youth art in the Street

The 101/Capitol Expressway-Yerba Buena Rd Interchange Improvements will include these youth designed panels. The next step is to drill holes for the bolts and then they will be powder coated with color. These laser cut sheets of steel will be integrated as decorative panels on pillars at the entry points of the bike and pedestrian freeway overpass at Capitol Expressway. These patterns were created by 6th grade students at Renaissance Academy at Fischer in San Jose, CA. Additional student work will be at the Tully/101 Interchange and will take the form of concrete textured lane dividers.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Early Steps in 3D Printing

3D printed wasp parts
I purchased a used 3D Afinia printer last Wednesday (off of Craigslist) and got it set up yesterday. In January I will be teaching 3D printing workshops at a library in East San Jose and at the Mayfair Community Center using this printer. I am hopeful that these workshops will be the first steps in creating consistent programming and dedicated tinkering spaces. I will also be bringing this printer to the woodshop/science lab at Joseph George Middle School in Alum Rock, San Jose. In all the workshops I will be introducing Tinkercad and SketchUp to students.

It is one thing to design 3D objects in TinkerCad or SketchUp and it is another thing to really design objects for successful 3D printing. As I begin to print objects, I am learning how to modify designs for printing. Above is my first attempt at printing a wasp I designed using Sculptis, Illustrator and Tinkercad. The legs printed much thinner that I expected and the slots for their insertion into the body were too small. I will thicken the legs in TinkerCad and will widen the insertion slots in the body.

Currently we are printing with ABS, but I will be purchasing PLA to use with students. Seeing the amount of material wasted in the rafts and supports, I would prefer the waste to be recyclable.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Student Art on the Street

Two years ago 6th grade students at Renaissance Academy at Fisher in Alum Rock, San Jose explored community identity in patterns. They created radial pattern designs on paper and photographed their community using single use cameras. The photos were used as source images in pattern explorations as the students used the software Repper. The resulting patterns (both paper and digital), along with their written statements, were submitted to the local transit agency (VTA) and to the San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs for review and a handful of the designs were selected to be integrated into the hardscaping of a transit improvement project at Tully and 101.
Below are photos of concrete lane dividers. Large laser cut steel "entry pillars" will also be installed at the entrance of the pedestrian/bike freeway overpass. These pillars also integrate a collection of student designs.
Here are past posts related to this project: test formliners and Student Pattern Reflections on Community and Student Patterns for Freeway. 

Tinkering with LED lights and pipe cleaners

Recently we have been exploring creating simple circuitry tinkering projects. Last week in a 4th grade class we explored a project using pipe cleaners and LED lights. I had initially intended to use electrical wire but thought, why wouldn't colorful pipe cleaners be conductive? After stripping the ends off of two pipe cleaners and testing them out, I realized that they were conductive and the cool thing is that you can keep adding pipe cleaners to the structure and the circuit will not break. Unless you cut off the fuzz, the pipe cleaners stays insulated. In a google search I saw that there were several Instructable projects using pipe cleaners and circuitry: light up necklace and light up ornaments.
It was also cool to find this Stanford graduate project using pipe cleaners in a DIY kit to introduce  high school students to digital electronics: Logic Bites

MATERIALS FOR EACH STUDENT: 2 pipe cleaners with ends stripped of fuzz, five additional pipe cleaners, construction paper, tape, small rubber band, a disc battery (from IKEA store), one LED light with anode and cathode legs curled. Colored pencils optional. (more materials info here)

The simple circuit: two pipe cleaners (with ends stripped of fuzz), one LED light (with legs curled), two paper clips, rubber band and disc battery.
  1. Show samples of Alexander Calder's wire art for inspiration.
  2. Students check that their light works with their battery by having it straddle the battery. Set the battery aside.
  3. Students wrap a  raw wire end of a pipe cleaner to a paper clip. They take their second pipe cleaner and attach a paper clip in the same way. They should have two pipe cleaners, each with a paper clip foot. They should double check that they wrapped the wire tightly around the paper clips and that the wire of the pipe cleaner is touching the wire of the paper clip.
  4. Now for the LED light attachment. The other end of each pipe cleaner is wrapped around one loop of the LED light (the anode and cathode legs need to be curled with pliers to create the loops). The LED light now looks like it has two pipe cleaner legs with paper clip feet.
  5. Students test out the circuit by touching the paper clips at the same time to different sides of the battery. 
  6. At this point they have a working circuit. They attach one paper clip foot to the battery with a rubber band or tape. The other paper clip foot is the on/off switch that they tap against the battery to turn on.
 Students now pick up extra five pipe cleaners and a sheet of paper to turn their circuit into wire art.
 More photos of the student work here: Tinkering with pipe cleaners & LED lights 
LED light on.
The on/off switch

a clown with light up hat, a  student's rabbit with light up nose, and a student's blue tree with light up star on top.
A student's light up flower

Monday, October 28, 2013

Tablecloth Capturing 3Design Explorations

For an upcoming show at the de Saisset Museum, I will be designing a tablecloth integrating workshop participants 3D designs and digital sketches. Above is a concept sketch. The show is focused on Silicon Valley's history as an agricultural center and its transformation from the Valley of Heart's Delight to Silicon Valley. The workshops will engage the public in creating 3D objects reflecting on Silicon Valley's agricultural past and technology infused present.  Here is the museum's description of the installation: A Serving of Shapes: An exploration in 3D Printing

We will be using TinkerCad and we will project onto walls workshop participants designs as they are being created. Visitors can create their designs from scratch or they can use a library of 3D shapes I create as starting points in their designs. I will create 10 or so 3D objects: acorn, canning equipment tools, farming implements, fruits, vegetables, bees, sun hats worn by farm workers, etc. Each object will be accompanied by a bit of text explaining how it is relevant to the areas agricultural history.

A selection of participants' 3D designs will be printed by the Santa Clara Engineering Department's Makerlab on their 3D printers. These 3D printed objects will be displayed alongside the tablecloth in the de Saisset Gallery.

Additionally, we are applying for an Applied Materials Excellence in the Arts Grant to support two additional workshops in the communities of Alum Rock and Mayfair. The 3D objects designed by the public in these workshops will be printed on the 3D Afinia printer I am purchasing.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Moble Maker/Tinkering Cart

Main cart components assembled.
A few years ago my dad (a retired toy designer) made this cart for my niece to sell cupcakes from. Because of permitting issues, she ended up not using it, but I recently saw parts of it in storage at my sister's garage.  This is the perfect solution for the Maker/Tinkering cart I have been envisioning creating.

I'm going to take around this mobile cart and invite kids to creatively tinker. We will stock it with muffin tins of simple making tools: cell batteries, led lights, paper circuity projects, conductive clay, brushbot parts, hacked solar lights (from garden stakes), electrical wire, switches, and hacked toy parts, etc. I have been stewing on creating a mobile cart to take around Japantown, Mayfair and Alum Rock for two years now. Recently I saw this blog posting about  a mobile 3D printer cart, so obviously others are thinking of going mobile with Maker tools as well. I hope to get my cart and supplies ready to take out on the streets of San Jose in the spring and summer. This cupcake cart would fit right in with the other carts roaming the neighborhoods selling paletas, chicharrones (fried pig skins) and Mexican candies.

Below are some photos of the set up. I need to get a new cart to fit into the assembly as the original one was hacked for another project at my sister's work. I'll post new photos once I get the assembly complete and ready to go again. I am dreaming of getting a 3D hobby printer for it, too! Dreaming big! All the supplies on the mobile cart will be used in our Maryfair Art & Design Thinking Summer Camp at the Mayfair Community Center and at the Joseph George Community Center Lab. I'm partnering with the Alum Rock Educational Foundation to expand the Art & Design Thinking camp.

All components and accessories: basic 3 parts, cup cake display carousel, cup cake storage/
transportation trays, screened bug deterrent display screen domes.

Three components before assembly:  Container Store folding shopping cart, pink umbrella 
with extended umbrella shaft and fabricated cup cake shell with prime/gloss white painted.

Progression of cup cake shell design progress/ top views
1. Left: sizing model with cardboard discs and wood separators
2. Middle: intermediate all-cardboard model with experimental fluting hot-melted in position
3. Right: finished model with 1/4" plywood discs screwed to 15 wood stake separators, with scored
plastic strips hot-melted to both top and bottom discs and wood stakes.
Note that squarish hole in bottom disc slips over shopping cart basket, while the slot in the upper
disc enables the shell to capture the handle. The upper disc rests on the top of the basket, and
the cupcake shell is sufficiently locked to the basket form.

Progression of cup cake shell designs/ bottom views
"bikes" by 3dom on Flickr (cc By-NC 2.00) Image of bikes in Laos.
Looking further down the line, it would be cool to put the set-up on a bike and also have a 3D printer on the Mobile Maker Cart.