A peek into the studio

In my most recent newsletter, I wrote a bit about our maker studio space, Forge & Craft.

There’s a lot more to say about the reasons for starting the space, how I’ve approached getting myself organised (or, um, not…), and what I’m working on. Next month is the winter edition of this year’s Wimbledon Art Fair, so right now, I’m deep into working on some pieces for display and sale there.

Since building a Brachiograph plotter back in April, I’ve been fascinated by mechanical creation of art, and bought an AxiDraw SE/A4 machine to scratch the itch to do something more meaningful. Strong recommendation towards the AxiDraw, and Evil Mad Scientist Labs who manufacture and support it – it’s an outstanding machine, user-upgradable (I added the coreless servo upgrade), and the support from the company and the community around the machines and software are fantastic. Expensive, but extremely well-made and supported.

In preparation for the show, I’ve been getting interested in the history of computer art going back to the 1960s and 1970s, and specifically the work of Georg Nees, one of the pioneers in this space. It has been a nice mix of my background as an historian; looking at generating pieces using code; and also, experimenting with how the materials interact.

Here are a few glimpses of some of the works in progress.

The Wimbledon Art Fair is a free event, with over 150 different artists in their open, working studio spaces – if you’re able to pop in between November 16th to November 19th, it would be a delight to see you.

I’ll just leave this here, and get back to getting ready for the event!

Still messing with Helperbot

This little model has been fun to play with!

A silver blocky robot laying on top of a sheet of black paper. The paper has a wireframe version of the same robot drawn on it in silver ink.

Trying out some plotter work. We have an AxiDraw in the studio and we’ll be using it in an upcoming art show in the winter. There’s a nice STL-to-SVG hidden wireframe converter that I tried out to get this image. Plotted using a silver Posco paint pen.

A large silver blocky robot with red eyes, with a LEGO minifigure about half the size in front, holding a LEGO banana. In front of that is a very very small copy of the same blocky robot, but about half the size of the LEGO figure.

Testing out tolerances on the Bambu X1 Carbon. tl;dr I was able to print the model as small as 23mm tall, but it was tricky with smaller, and even at this scale, movements of the print head were liable to break off an arm or leg at the end of the print (depending on orientation and supports). LEGO banana for scale!

I also tested out some Gedeo gilding wax on the larger model for texture and interest, it’s a nice effect and I may use that with other makes in the future.