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My aim was to record a number of cnc machines, lazer cutters and Objet Connex 3d printers at AUTODESK's, Pier 9 workshop where i've been artist resident for the past 3 months. I really wanted to find out which ones are interesting sound wise and suitable for modular synthesis sound processing techniques and then to apply the resulting sound bites to electronic pop musical structures within my group Chicks on Speed (for our forthcoming album, to be released in 2017).

The workshop machines i recorded included: CNC HAAS MILL, WATER JET, DMS 5 AXIS, BAN SAW, OBJET CONNEX 3D PRINTER, RAUTER, LAZER CUTTER & TIG WELDER which all became sound generators for analogue sound modulation and humorously also became new types of machine musical instruments belonging to the new and expanding field of Expressive Machines Musical Instruments (EMMI) the creation of novel robotic musical instruments to achieve an experimental music vision.

The sound filtering took taking place at Robot Speak, Haight district, San Francisco, where i'm carried out a series of workshops and jam sessions with Jordan Ginsburg and Epic Jefferson.

I'm hoping my experiences with recording these amazing machines and the first experimental outcomes can inspire others to get into seeing their machines as more than just devices to cut, add, fix, mesh and form. You could say my intractable is like a diary of the process i explored and i hope to inspire others, rather than provide a step by step guide of how to do exactly what i did, as everyone will approach recording their machining processes with different intentions and outcomes.

Step 1: Shadow a Friend on a Machine to Start Testing Out What Mic Can Work Best

For my first sound check in the workshop I was lucky to find artist technologist and co-artist resident Neil Mendoza and "shadowed" him on the water jet to carry out some of my initial tests. I think its important to work with someone else to start with, so you can focus on getting precise recordings with exceptional sound qualities before doing both the machine operation and recording yourself. Niel was in the process of building a complex and creative automated rock band machine...some of his parts for this were being cut on the water jet. I recorded Neil through his process of setting up the tool paths on the water jet through to the cutting stages.

About This Instructable

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Bio: Co-founder of art band Chicks on Speed and PhD candidate, Creativity and Cognition Studios, Dept. of Engineering and IT, The University of Technology, Sydney. Her ... More »
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