Monday, April 18, 2011

Open Make Session 4: Wood

"People go, "Why are you building this stuff?" But...why not?"
~Scott Weaver, toothpick artist
Saturday at the Palace of Fine Arts, we learned some of the ways in which wood can be used—including, as shown above, gluing toothpicks into a model of the Palace of Fine Arts itself. This is only one small element in Scott Weaver's incredible kinetic sculpture of San Francisco, a work he has been building for 37 years. A photo is not sufficient—you really have to see it in action:

There were woodworkers, luthiers, a table display of Japanese saws. Once again, there was much to see and do, and not enough time to take it all in before the plussing session began.

This was the last Open Make before next month's Maker Faire in San Mateo. Accordingly, the focus was shifted from working on projects to the process of exhibiting.
Dale reminded everyone about the tight parking situation at the Faire and suggested arriving an hour before one's exhibit slot. It looks like about two dozen projects have been submitted to the Young Makers exhibit this year. Here are a few of them:

The Follow-Me Car uses an arduino program to recognize and steer toward the circular paper plate.
Johnavi's ocean-themed roller coaster, shown here as a scale model:
Isabella's kinetic horse:
The pizza was quickly consumed. Thank you, Tony, Michelle, Dale and Sherry, for feeding everyone.
In the McBean Theater, Scott Weaver spoke at length about his toothpick building techniques; Bernie Lubell introduced us to Jules Marey, the inspiration for many of his wooden pneumatic machines; Jessica Hobbs emphasized the importance of collaboration in building last year's Burning Man Temple; and Saul Griffith talked about his software program to aid in designing objects from any material. This gorilla is one such example:
Using the same software, Saul had also created large inflatable robotic animals, which were onstage with him. The brontosaurus and elephant, he told us, could be ridden by a child.

The complete webcast can be seen here.

Now it's back to fine-tuning the projects until we meet up again at—

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