masynmachien's time as an AIR Answered
I had the honour and pleasure of spending the month of July 2013 as an Artist in Residence at Instructables HQ. An unforgettable experience! I feel like I cannot even begin to describe it, so forgive me for keeping it simple.
The most tangible amazing thing is the unbelievable workshop, a true makers heaven! I mainly worked on the laser cutters and the 3D printers myself, but these are just a part of the new workshop set up at Pier 9. There’s also the experimental kitchen, the sowing corner, the electronics lab, the high-end CNC machines, a complete wood shop and a full blown metal shop.
More importantly however was working among the people behind Instructables. To experience up close how they work very hard to make Instructables not only the biggest and best Show-and-Tell buy also the best “maker medium” ever. Having just moved to the new facilities at Pier 9, there was a lot of extra work to get the workshop accessible and operational, but they moved mountains to get us Artists in Residence onto the machines and making things.
Working alongside three other Artists in Residence was also unique chance. Usually, when I’m surrounded by makers, most of them aren’t older than 12. But even as each of us had his inner kid very much alive, having some serious making going on around you is very inspiring (as some of my Instructables will show).
I also very much appreciate how my daughter Tika was warmly received when see joined me at Instructables HQ.
One month was far too short to spend with the people at Instructables HQ. I was constantly torn between on the one hand getting to know the people better and on the other hand leaving them continue there hard work and trying to make as much things as possible myself. And to make it even harder there were the lures of the magnificent city of San Francisco and of the Bay Area. My conclusion is clear: I want to come back!
But then, being a month away from home is not easy either. Tika joined me during the second half of my stay, which was great, but I missed my wife and youngest daughter. Back home in Belgium I’m first taking some rest, spending time with family and friends, working on some due home improvements and preparing some kids workshops. Writing up the Instructables on the projects I did will take some time. They will be published over the coming months. After all, I have about 15 new projects to document.
The thread through my AIR was a laser cut (advent) calendar. A series of toy/gift assembly kits designed to be laser cut out of one acrylic sheet and to be wrapped into a cardboard package opening separately on each kit. The only parts added to the laser cut parts are some elastic bands, screws and nuts. The idea is to have a calendar that is easily made in several copies, with designs accommodating for thickness variations in the acrylic sheet and a concept of cutting and wrapping it all with little handwork. I managed to design, cut and test 13 different toys/gifts. I consider it the first chapter of a full advent calendar. I will make an Instructable on each of the 13 and put them in a collection, together with an Instructable on the calendar concept.
The eye catcher of my stay was an iPhone/iPad (or Android) controlled RC Blimp with video feedback. For this I used the plug-and-play Dension WIRC system. This system leading to rather heavy build (200g) comparted to my other blimp projects, I decided upon using a large spherical balloon. From this (and from watching Doctor Who) sprung the idea to make it into a large eye. I named it ‘In the blimp of an eye”.
The project that was the most of a learning experience was designing and 3D printing nested dolls. Deviating from the classic Russian dolls, I learned how to design these in 123D Design, how to calculate sizes and experienced the possibilities and limitations of
different 3D printing techniques.
I hope you will enjoy reading the resulting Instructables, just as I enjoyed doing these projects at Instructables HQ.
I want to thank once more the people at Instructables and Autodesk for this wonderful opportunity. Thank you, thank you, thank you!