Building an 'Interocitor'-An Alien Communication Device Steampunk Bonsai the Final Part

Introduction: Building an 'Interocitor'-An Alien Communication Device Steampunk Bonsai the Final Part

                                                                                             I Built An 'Interocitor' By Mistake!

                                                                            See the strange developments that began to take shape. 
                                                                                                     By: Jefferey Alan Wilson Sr.
                                                                                            "I made it at Techshop San Jose Ca."

At first this was to be the final part of a 3 part series on 'Electric Bonsai' or some call it 'Steampunk Bonsai'. Then as I continued to build my device strange things began to take shape and it took on a life of its own. Within 24 hours of activation intersecting vortexes converged and some witnesses at TechShop here in San Jose brought to my attention that my device was responsible for bringing the giant atomic meteor down on Russia.,b=facebook

For safety reasons I shut down the device, now it sits in a dark storage closet. Yet, the solar powered robotic LED eyes continue to glow. As far as making an 'Interocitor' is concerned I will say this: when I was building the device strange objects would show up on my workbench from questionable sources. Without knowing their true function I did build these objects into the art and mysterious things began to happen.

I think powerful vortexes were generated when all of the low level force fields combined at once. The solar panels turned the wind generator, that intersected with a second solar field feeding a Lithium storage unit powering LED lights. When the two cross magnetic fields were introduced into the mix is when the compass started going crazy while in the solar field effect. 

A new art form I call 'Electric Bonsai'.

There are some basic rules to this medium:

Rule #1: Have fun.

Rule #2: Because this is sustainable art you can't buy anything new, accept for glue, solder, bonding agents, sanding aids, sealers, cleansers and batteries (hopefully rechargeable by renewable energy such as Solar or Wind) .

Rule #3: All materials must be repurposed, recycled, junk, garbage, donated, broken, discarded, used or given away. (OK, if you have to buy anything then go to the Goodwill, get it at a garage sale or purchased at the Dollar Store or must be marked down at 50% or greater at a discount store like Walmart, Target).

Rule #4: Something must work on your art form. Just gluing a bunch of stuff together doesn't cut it. You must be clever enough to figure out how to make it work by hand or electricity or steam or wind or solar. Make it come to life and have a character, a 'personality' if you will. Your art work MUST NOT ever be plugged into the grid in order for it to operate. Power must come from renewable means or human power.

Rule #5: Try to use 'Human-Energy' and/or Human open source programming intelligence as much as possible. And when you can try and use solar or wind energy when you do use power tools. If you have to use the Grid-plan your model for as little energy use as possible. (Night time electricity is cheaper then day time electricity in terms of kWh Kilo Watt Hour. (Look on your electric bill, this is how the utility company charges you. The average American household uses 35 kWh and day. Yet, in Las Vegas in the summer to keep the air conditioning on 24/7 the average daily use is 55 kWh! (I used to live there. Now I'm back home in Silicon Valley San Jose Ca. home of the PC).

Rule #6: If you use a controller board it must be open-source and affordable. Arduino and the Raspberry Pi come to mind. You must share the code on your first and all publications. (Purchases of a controller board does not violate the you can't buy anything rule). In fact it can be pretty cool when you give your art a brain.

Rule #7: Follow a 'Theme'-but not if your in another mood. The 'Theme' I use and have coined is Eco-Steampunk Sustainability.

Rule #8: Your art piece should tell a story and have a name. Part of this medium is to bring things to 'life' and give it character. The first living interactive sculpture I will introduce is named 'Windy'.

Rule #9: Let the interactive sculpture 'tell-you' what it want's to be. Don't force it! Go with the natural flow. Think nature not machine. Bonsai because you have to 'train' the medium to work with you in the direction it wants to go. Also, because it's a ZEN thing.

Rule #10: Use good engineering. Just as IBM used to say 'THINK' it out. Merge technology with hand craftsmanship. And don't make an 'ugly' model. This is a saying we use at our Remote Control flying field. Just because it can fly don't mean its pretty. Use good craftsmanship; clean cuts, no glue drips, nice solder joints etc. Rate your model from 1-10. 1 = ugly as sin, 10 = perfection. Don't make anything under a '7' because it will look like crap. And never make a '10' because it cost to much and takes to long. If your a student trying to make a '10' your going to fail your classes because you'll be using all your study time up. And, if your married and spending that much time on a silly model, then you won't be married for long!

Why a new art form? Because economically we as a society have gotten out of hand. We have become a 'Disposable  Society' where we throw everything away without even thinking about it. That is why I love the movie WALL-E so much. It really shows the destructive path we are on.

OK, before we get started here's what Steampunk is all about; it is the fusion between The Victorian Age and Science Fiction. It has the 'Jules Verne' look. You know the guy that wrote Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Around the World in Eighty Days.

Most 'Steampunker' agree that there are 3 themes to Steampunk. 1). Western 2). Victorian 3). Post-Apocalyptic. We respectfully submit a 4th theme, because we live by its main principle which comes from Architectural Graphic Standards Eleventh Edition in the section on Sustainability. Sustainable Design Framework of Good Design Principles and Process. Principles of Sustainable Design page 832: 3). 'Respect relationships between spirit and matter'.

Our 4th Steampunk Theme is: 'eco-Steampunk'. If we live by its main principle we shall never reach an Apocalyptic Era.

A New Industrial Revolution. Many believe such as I do that we are experiencing a new industrial revolution where people are starting to use their imaginative spirit and make things again. Some, even think this mindset may help bring back manufacturing to America. With the aid of new affordable fabricating machine technologies such as 3D printers, laser cutters, Shopbots, CNC CAD/CAM milling machines, accessible industrial level welders, waterjets that can cut through metal like butter and powerful computer systems and low cost programmable microcontrolers with I/O ports the sky is the limit in terms of making our dreams come true.

Eco-Steampunk is fueled by imagination, respects the planet and is fun to make.

Step 1: Using What's Available

So my friends and I hanging around the TechShop are all learning together. We take a lot of different types of classes learning all the different machines and technology.

I'm on facebook one day and my buddy Loserio sees an old picture of me when I was a San Jose Police Officer back in the day. He loved it so much he said "let me make a laser etching of that. My other buddy Eva Cooper said "Hey, I want to see how to do that".

1). Step #1, pick a software that you can bring a jpeg file into and do your editing with, before you send it to the laser cutter. He picked Illustrator because he want to highlight some of the lines in the picture that where in dark areas.

2). Next, we just went into the junk pile and found different type of materials to experiment on. Part of the experiment is the find your power settings on the laser that will work with the materials you have.

3). We worked with 3 different kinds of woods (MDF, ply, particle board) some had a finish on them some did not. It took us over an hour. When we got it right we brought it over to the band saw and cut it out. 

4). I then glued two wooden pictures back to back on the art form.

I must admit it came out pretty cool.

Step 2: Learning the Shopbot

The Shopbot is a CNC robot that cuts out wood from your computer program.

It was my next class in learning the technology here at Techshop.

1). Sign up a class here at Techshop.

2). As part of the class you are required to download a file, set the machine up and cut out a part. I did it!

3). I glued it to the art form and dated it.

Step 3: The Working Gear Set

Now, we began to assembly working gear sets.

1). Obtained various gears from left over cuttings from other TechShop members.

2). Matched metal disk from unassembled paper shredder. And glue together to make wheel hubs.

3). Matched wooden gears and use center-hole tool finder to find centers and drill holes.

4). get piano hammer and fashion a duck looking creature, make notch in gear so the 'duck' can move back and forth with magnet in the mouth. 

5). Next moving gear set is gear hubs for back of alien spaceship. The object is to glue a compass on the gear set and have the option of two magnets moving in on gears and influencing the magnetic field of the compass.

6) All the gears move and the compass moved with the magnets.

Step 4: Finishing It All Off - "Who's in Charge!"

1). Get all the screws and washers for the gears. I'm using rubber bands to have the gears run smooth.

2). I spent a lot of time mating these two big gears together so they actually work. One of the problems was the three humps that were on the outside of the gears. I thought maybe the gears would turn if I put the rubber bands on it but this was not to be the case.

3). I had to tear the glued  rubber band off the gear and sand down the humps with a Dremel tool. (NOTE: Don't be affair to experiment). 

4). After sanding and gluing both rubber bands on, I realized the two holes I initially drilled for the screws acting as gear axles no longer matched up. This happens a lot when your a maker. If you try to drill a new hole next to the old hole they will collapse in on them selves. Take a tiny piece of wood and carve it into the hole you have abandon. Apply glue and sand down to the flat surface. Now redrill a new axle hole for the lower gear.  Attach and mate both gears so they work smooth.

5). I then took the disk from the disassembled shredder made more wheel hubs and glued them to the center of the gears.  

6). The next step was to carefully place a rubber band on to the metal wheel hubs. Embellish the center with what ever is laying around. Again here at TechShop as people pass my work bench they just drop stuff off and get into the spirit of 'PLAY".

7). The working Steampunk scallop gear set was given to me for my recent birthday by a couple here at Techshop that makes and sells them professionally.

8). Using scraps I figured out how to mount the scallop gears safely because they are so delicate and still make them operable.

9). The last part was to 'crown' off the top with little creatures operating the whole contraption. It is entitled "Who's In Charge!"

10). Place it out in the sun for a test run to see if it works and make sure the rotating propellers don't hit any thing you added.YEAH, it works! After much time thinking things out there are a total of 10 working gear sets.

Have fun with your project, but be careful what it might do!

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    3 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Hello. Fellow Techshop "witness" here. This guys not joking. I dunno what type of hoo-doo he put it in, but I'm a believer.

    Look at it from my point of view.I helped him build it, and the whole time he's saying, "The towers not just a sculpture, it has to do something. It has to have a purpose." Right, whatever. So it lights up and spins around. Whoop-dee-doo. WRONG.

    He activates it, and I wake up to headlines on the internet about the meteor coming down in Russia. Which means that it occurred the same evening that he hit the on switch. I didn't even make the connection until I showed up a few days later and everybody's making a big deal about it.

    I'm sure its just a huge coincidence but if you had pulled that off not even 100 years earlier you'd be a king for sure.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    That's funny, Do you want me to show you how to make one so when you go flying maybe you'll get a new type of propulsion system going?


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Hmm....being nice, the metaphor seems seems a stretch here, but I do like the fun and playfulness of its spirit. What really strikes me however is the bait and switch of the picture. This clearly isn't about building an interociter, but rather about extending the fantasy to its outer limits. Fine, just stop using the This Island Earth stills and instead use images of your own finished piece. That way your not luring in those who have actually tried to replicate this device (or want to) only to be given a lot of gears and hot glue.