Category Archives: engineering

Something I made


So this is a mobile bar I designed and built for Black Ankle Vineyards, below is what the wood looked like when I started.






Basically some water damaged oak left over from them building their tasting room.

I initially planned something utterly insane and complicated, but my fiancee suggested something a bit more minimalist and industrial and while more expensive (pipe isn’t as cheap as you’d think) it ended up looking good.

So I did three rounds of sanding, one with 80 grit, then 180 grit, then stained it and sanded again with 180, stained it again and then applied a high gloss finish.




Ended up really smooth and shiny.  Because each board weighed about 80lbs this thing is pretty heavy, so I reinforced the bottom with left over pieces that I applied similar prep to as well as the end caps.  I used 3 1/2 inch lag bolts to hold it together which also sort of match the galvanized steel 3/4″ pipe used.


Overall I’m pretty happy with it.  I’m building a matching one and then some insane table that I’m sure I’ll post when I’m done.



There are as many states as there are switches, however the states most certainly take precedence.  The state is the mind and the setting of the thought that drives the choices of the switches to their ever-changing sequencing pattern.  States of butcher, baker, masochist waiter etc…  all require different sequences that are specific to the mindsets required to perform those particular duties, just as lover, hater, poser, player would be subsets of those states.

States are pre-selected or chosen randomly based on proximity to the appropriate environments or those occupying the environment.  Postnatal photographer, tender of bar, recorder and maker, driver of cars.  Stimuli decides the choice of state, but over a longer period of time.  The stimuli affecting a phone operator would have profoundly different effects on a mechanic and would thereby lead to a different state.  State is determined by sequence which is determined by stimuli which is determined by environment, however the state weights the sequence once it is reached, although weight of the state is determined by the time it took to reach the state.

Or something to that effect.


Things that have been and will be

2013-01-08_20-37-27_347As many do, I have recently been neglecting my blog a bit.  It is not because of laziness or disinterest, but due to productivity in things other than writing; namely designing and building a book shelf and getting my portfolio together for grad school application, which includes making a new piece of art and figuring out how it’s going to work. Hopefully what I’m working on will yield acceptance, however the idiosyncranicity of my previous work along with the likely horror with which my past professors are regarding my requests for letters of recommendation may prevent a positive review of the material.  The first few large scale projects I attempted were not only ridiculously ambitious, but were also undertaken with so little practical guidance that they were doomed at conception.  This is not to say that these projects/presentations/performances were failures; all I’ll say is that in retrospect I fully realize that a good deal of the potential existent in my undergraduate projects was wasted because I didn’t know the right questions to ask.

The photo above is part of my current machine/instrument.  It is skeletal at the moment, but once it’s wired to the microcontrollers I’ve built, each switch will trigger a loop of one of my compositions which were constructed to represent human emotions and other abstracts.  So remorse, anxiety, etc… My impressions anyway.



The building has sixteen apartments.  There is nothing outside the building.  Apartments can communicate with those above and below them, but can only look at the apartments beside them.  Apartments being looked into do not know that they’re being looked into as the apartment that they look into is not the one looking in at them.  Adding to the complexity is the movement of the apartments; apartments on higher levels can descend and look into the apartments below them without those apartments ever having knowledge and likewise those lower apartments can look in at those lower etc…  This activity can result in having the highest apartment looking into an apartment that is observing another apartment that is observing another apartment that is observing another apartment.  The difference with the last apartment being that it is unable to communicate with the four apartments who are observing it and its most immediate observing apartment is unaware that the apartments above are able to descend, as is the case with subsequently high apartments, although they, including the top-level, acknowledge the possibility that apartments higher than theirs might be observing them.  The situation would deteriorate if someone in the apartments above was to tell a resident below that they were being observed.  Another wrinkle is that the bottom apartment can change its perspective by moving to a different position on the grid which in turn changes the default perspective of all the apartment above it.



Photo credit:

Obscenely Complicated


So I’m building things again.  I’m sure I’ll post some pictures of the sadly pedestrian kitchen island I designed in a few days.  On the bright and not-so-bright side, I designed something today that is ridiculously tedious and tricky; the thought of building it causes me nothing but dread.  The bright side however is it would be neat.  I cannot disclose what this thing is because it could end up being a gift, although the chances of me having 20 hours or so to build it between now and Christmas are pretty slim.

To construct this item I will have to craft and assemble over 150 pieces that will fit together in a variety of ways to construct the finished product, which happens to be small, meaning all the pieces will be small, meaning construction will be on the meticulous/maddening side because as anyone who invents or designs and constructs anything will tell you; initial designs/prototypes only work seemlessly about 2 times out of 100.  Also, people tend to get irrationally angry when you build them something and it doesn’t work or look like something from Ikea, Pier One, etc….

I’ll be happy when I’m building machines again.  Building furniture makes me feel like an inept 15 year old in shop class.  At least the properties of electricity don’t change when it happens to be rainy (one of the specifications for the island was that it was at least partially constructed using 2X4’s, which warp in a variety of horrible ways; I hate them very much).  So maybe I build this thing, maybe I just relax and see if I can buy something in the same ballpark.  The potential recipient will doubtless see this post and then more than likely request the ordeal, which might be fun in that desperatetofinishsomethingwithoutcuttingoffafinger way.



Moving items to make room for larger pieces of an item that will be made and sit beside another item that will be modified, but will sit on top of an additional item constructed out of spare parts which will free up space to construct a smaller machine out of toggles that will form a device to talk to a program that will prompt compositions constructed out of deconstructed field recordings reconstructed to represent an approximate opinion of abstracts that link together to form a system of ever-changing complexity which hopefully yield something more than, “hey that’s neat”, but inevitably will yield just that.

Something built

Six digits on a freely rotating axis with a depressable tread in center that would trigger a spinning grip.  To traditionally steer a wheel with such an apparatus would be unecessary in that the wheel; being held by the tread palmed appendage(s), would be moved by the motion of the spinning tread in favor of the push and pull that is generally employed to direct a vehicle.