The final push to installation: volunteers welcome!

September 14th, 2013 by SLSolarz

Hello and thanks for reading my blog!

This is me testing out my bench at the half-way point.

This is me testing out my bench at the half-way point.

At the time of my last posting I had only 2 sections of my Musical PVC Bench completed.  Again, many thanks to the TC Makers volunteers who helped me get to that point!

Here are all 6 sections lined up as they will be when bolted together.

Here are all 6 sections lined up as they will be when bolted together.

Every section is now welded together.  You can see in the attached photo that I still have some sanding to do (mostly of excess PVC cement) and that it will need to be painted in order to hide markings and solvent stains as well as to protect it from the sun.

My mentor, Jantje Visscher, tests out the full bench.

My mentor, Jantje Visscher, tests out the full bench.

Anyone interested in volunteering to help with final steps will be welcomed. Remaining steps are sanding, spray painting, finishing paddles, attaching paddles, welding/cutting metal anchors & bolting sections together by Sept 22.

Willing to help?  Email me at slsolarz@gmail.com.

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Help build a musical PVC bench, improve a St. Paul community and learn how to solvent weld

July 6th, 2013 by SLSolarz

Hey, thanks very much for checking out my blog!

Last week I promised to discuss the influence of Chuck Taylor shoes on my chair design.  However, I need to take a short break from my rocker to create a bench for a block-improvement effort in the Dayton’s Bluff Community.

This is the bench that I designed for the block improvement effort at Dayton’s Bluff. To construct it, I must solvent weld 210 pieces of PVC pipe. I need a few volunteers to help cut PVC pipe and solvent weld so that I can finish the bench by July 20, 2013.

This is the bench that I designed for the block improvement effort at Dayton’s Bluff. To construct it, I must solvent weld 210 pieces of PVC pipe. I need a few volunteers to help cut PVC pipe and solvent weld so that I can finish the bench by July 20, 2013.

In this post, I will describe the bench design and invite you to help build it!  Interested?  Shoot me an email at slsolarz@gmail.com!

All participants will learn how to solvent weld PVC.  The skill is used to build many exciting maker projects from potato launchers  to musical instruments like the ones played by the Blue Man Group.  In fact, the bench that we build can be used both for rest and to play a few tunes while waiting for the bus!

Two sets of foam-rubber paddles with wood handles will be attached to the bench using a small gauge steel cable.  The paddles create a musical sound when the player strikes the top end of the pipe (the foam rubber must cover the entire opening) forcing the air out the bottom very quickly.  The length of the pipe determines the pitch of the note.  Shorter pipes produce higher notes and longer pipes produce lower notes.

Two sets of foam-rubber paddles with wood handles will be attached to the bench using a small gauge steel cable. The paddles create a musical sound when the player strikes the top end of the pipe (the foam rubber must cover the entire opening) forcing the air out the bottom very quickly. The length of the pipe determines the pitch of the note. Shorter pipes produce higher notes and longer pipes produce lower notes.

 

To make construction easier, I designed the bench in 6 sections.  Each section is 39 inches long and 19 inches wide.  Five of the sections are identical (just oriented differently) and one section is unique. Once I have all of the sections on site, I will bolt 3 pipes from each section to 3 pipes in an adjacent section.

Pink, orange and green colors identify 3 of the 6 sections that comprise the PVC bench.  The bench will be made in sections for ease of transport and installation.  The Dayton’s Bluff Community Council will remove the bench in the winter to avoid damage from snow plows.

 Pink, orange and green colors identify 3 of the 6 sections that comprise the PVC bench. The bench will be made in sections for ease of transport and installation. The Dayton’s Bluff Community Council will remove the bench in the winter to avoid damage from snow plows.

 

The design uses PVC pipes of 5 different lengths with the longest pipes serving as the legs of the bench.  Standard bench height is 18 inches and each section of the bench has four 18 inch-long pipes.  Placement of these bench legs will be important for balance and stability.

 

This is a view from underneath the bench illustrating how many 18 inch-long PVC pipes there are in each section.  Only the longest (18 inch) PVC pipes touch the ground and, thus, it is only the 18 inch pipes that are displayed in this view.

This is a view from underneath the bench illustrating how many 18 inch-long PVC pipes there are in each section. Only the longest (18 inch) PVC pipes touch the ground and, thus, it is only the 18 inch pipes that are displayed in this view.

Please contact me at slsolarz@gmail.com to help build a bench for a better block in the Dayton’s Bluff community!

Origami chair redesign: fixing FLW’s problem?

May 28th, 2013 by SLSolarz

Thanks for checking out my blog post!  As I promised in last week’s entry, this week I will reveal whether or not I solved Frank Lloyd Wright’s design problem.  The Origami Chair famously has a tendency to tip forward; especially as the sitter scoots forward in preparation for standing up.  Wright’s solution was to add anti-tipping feet; he added metal caps to make the extra pieces look more intentional.

This photo provides a good view of FLW's anti-tipping feet.  They are the pieces of ply with the metal tips.

This photo provides a good view of FLW’s anti-tipping feet. They are the pieces of ply with the metal tips.

My thought was to make the front feet larger, providing a greater surface area and, therefore, a lesser proportion of the sitter’s weight on the front corner of the feet.  Good idea??  I originally made the feet about 4″ long (a 25% increase from the FLW model) and then sliced off a couple of inches from the bottom of each side of the chair, doubling the length of the feet.  Result??

I still had a tipping problem.  The seated person wasn’t in any danger but the experience of getting up from the chair could still be a bit startling–not a desirable quality for a chair!

I considered tossing the chair out and moving on to another project until a fellow member of Twin Cities Maker mentioned that a chair with a tipping problem might make a great rocker.  Thus began a new design!

So, next I carved a model rocker out of polystyrene foam.

Here the foam rocker is taped to the table to approximate how it would look once attached.

Here the foam rocker is taped to the table to approximate how it would look once attached. The paint chip that I have taped to the side is a color I considered for the chair.

Determining the arc of the rockers turned out to be quite a research project.  Eventually, I found a simple formula for finding the length of the radius of the circle from which the arc should be drawn.  That is seat height x pi.  I brought my model and 2 tubes to a steel-bending expert.

One of my rockers is finishing its final bend. This machine has a limit of 2 in diameter metal.

One of my rockers is finishing its final bend. This machine has a limit of 2 in diameter metal.

Next, I made several steel plates to screw to the feet and tail of the chair so that I could connect the chair to the rockers.

Positioning the chair, just right, onto the rockers was challenging.  If there is a next time, I will get help holding the chair as I weld it to the rockers.

I propped the chair just as I wanted it to sit on the rockers so that I could design the hardware to connect the front feet.  You can see on the left that I used a plate welded to a square rod to connect the tail.

I propped the chair just as I wanted it to sit on the rockers so that I could design the hardware to connect the front feet. You can see on the left that I used a plate welded to a square rod to connect the tail.

 

Next week, I will discuss creating the exterior of the chair.

Origami chair redesign: a plywood foundation

May 22nd, 2013 by SLSolarz

Over the next several weeks I will post photos of my rocking-chair project as it progresses.  I welcome your feedback and hope that you will help me find a name for this chair.

My design is inspired by 2 sources: the Frank Lloyd Wright Origami Chair and the Converse All Star sneaker.  I’ve always wanted to re-design the Origami Chair as an updated, cool lounger.  The Converse reference came later, after hours of observation, when it struck me (and my friend Ann who stopped by the Hack Factory for a critique session), that my placement of masking tape around the rockers was reminiscent of a pair of red sneakers (more on this in a future post).

This probably looks like a simple chair to make but there are no right angles so it was tough!

This probably looks like a simple chair to make but there are no right angles so it was tough!

A few years ago I made a large, black lacquered version of FLW’s Origami Chair and I kept one for my own home.

My original, very large version of the origami chair.

My original, very large version of the origami chair.

Using the chair at my home, I started my new chair by tracing a pattern onto poster board.  Then, I made another pattern about 2/3 the size of the large one, tweaked the proportions and used that pattern to cut the plywood.

I am interested in learning tips for sanding complicated shapes like this.  It is a slow process for me.

I am interested in learning tips for sanding complicated shapes like this. It is a slow process for me.

The seat and back are carved from spray foam and covered in body filler then sanded, more body filler, then sanded...

The seat and back are carved from spray foam and covered in body filler then sanded, more body filler, then sanded…

Once I assembled the plywood pieces I carved an ergonomic seat and back out of spray foam.  To create a smooth surface, I covered the carved foam in body filler and then did a lot of sanding.

Next week I will discuss the main design problem with FLW’s Origami Chair and whether or not I solved it.

 

Strange Attractors Project for Northern Spark 2013

May 16th, 2013 by videoman

David Bryan, Riley Harrison, Cali Mansty, and Aaron Prust are presenting multiple projects for Northern Spark 2013 on June 8th in Downtown Saint Paul! Northern Spark is an overnight interactive festival starting at 8:58pm and ending at sunrise!  We are inviting everyone to come and hang out, and enjoy the festival!  The Hack Factory will have three spaces setup for people to come and interact with the Art.

We are also in the process of fundraising for this project, currently we need about $3,800 to help cover the costs of materials, and $4,200 total to cover rewards. We receive all funds that are pledged.

Go donate now!

So lets talk about one of the projects, Strange Attractors.  You may remember me from such things as the Raspberry Pi powered cat feeder.  While I’m at it again, and making stuff with the Raspberry Pi.  I was asked create a few blog posts for MCM that talked about the Raspberry Pi Camera module that I’m going to use in my next project.

Strange Attractor1Image credit: Alex Weber, http://www.flickr.com/people/8123185@N02/

I am creating an art piece, Strange Attractors, for the Northern Spark Art Festival on June 8th.  Read the rest of this entry »

Minne-Faire: Feb 13th, 2-11 PM at the Hack Factory

January 18th, 2010 by videoman

Twin Cities Maker is going to have a Mini Maker Faire at the Hack Factory on February 13th, 2010! Come one, come all! We’re planning to have the fun start at 2 PM with local makers exhibiting and playing in the newly acquired space. We will also have an Art Show and Party later that night for people to come and experience the space and have some refreshments.

We are looking for you to join us and we are also looking for people to exhibit! If you’re interested, please contact us at twincitiesmaker@gmail.com so we can reserve a spot for you! Also come to our regular Wednesday night meetings if you would like to help us out or get some ideas for your table.

ADMISSION IS FREE!

There will be raffles throughout the day for maker stuff. Light refreshments will be provided at the art show and party.

Makers for the day include:

  • Tim Kaiser – Hands-on music, plus a performance
  • Joseph Rand – DIY Wind turbine
  • Ed Vogel – Displaying of super cool electric cigar box guitars
  • Stefan – Showing off some amazing air cannons
  • Replica Prop Forum – Replica movie props
  • Adam Wolf – Display and playing with Arduinos
  • TC Maker sign-up table – Join and become part of the TC Maker community
  • TC Maker’s tables to show off your stuff!
  • Pat Arneson – Noise toys
  • Tripoli Minnesota Rocketry Club
  • Meg Koslowski and Andy Rennert – Art cars on display! Transform the thing you drive into something that is a work of Art!
  • Nick and Jim of TC Maker – Presenting a life size “Operation” game complete with red nose!
  • CazTek – Featuring flame throwers and pulse jets and other fun engineering feats!

Please join us to support the Hack Factory and local makers by becoming a member or making a donation.

Hack Factory
3119 E 26th St Minneapolis, MN 55406

Mini Maker Faire 2-6 PM
Art Show & Party 7-11 PM

Refreshments are being provided courtesy of CazTek Engineering , a local design and engineering firm.

Click one of the images below to get a full page PDF copy of a promotional flyer.

Tim Kaiser    ?    Hands-on music, plus a performance
Joseph Rand    ?    DIY Wind turbine

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