some things

What have I been up to since January? A number of things have kept me super busy for the last half year, here are some of them below!

Las Vegas Mini Maker Faire! 

We held a Mini Maker Faire on the 2nd February on a gorgeous sunny day! I had an amazing time volunteering and helping the main organiser Pawel.


An amazing day of makers, adults, kids, robots and circus performers, check out the video below for a great summary of the day.

 

We opened SYN Shop the hackerspace!

After 2 years of careful planning and patience, we threw open the doors of SYN Shop in February. An incredible amount of work went into making this happen. Thank you to Downtown Project for generously supporting us as we get out feet off the ground. Our hackerspace boasts some great tools that our monthly membership offers you access to. SYN Shop also has a community led education series, with many classes each month. You can learn to solder, use a sewing machine, lasercut, 3d print or 3d model just to name a few classes that have already happened.

Thanks to http://clclt.com/ for the photos below:

 

For more information, visit http://synshop.org and also watch the first episode of SYN Shop Talk (featuring yours truly) for a tour of the space and an interview with two of our members:

 

I attended Maker Faire Bay Area!

This is one of the ‘official’ Maker Faire events put on by Make every year. It was my first time visiting the Bay Area, and I had a blast!

I got to see Brook Drumm in the flesh, the inventor of my Printrbot Jr:

 

In the second episode of SYN Shop Talk below, you can skip to 1:25 to see our summary of the weekend!

We also got to visit Noisebridge, a hackerspace in San Francisco. So cool!

 

 

Downtown Podcast fun

Pawel and I made a sign for the Downtown Podcast, using the awesome tools and materials from SYN Shop! We used the lasercutter, soldering tools and some danger room woodworking tools to produce the final, LED lit sign.

Here is a work in progress shot, after I had given it the final coat of varnish and sanded the edges to look all nice:

 

and here is the final result:

and the happy new owners, Dylan and Adam:

We got to present it on the show which was rather fun!

I’m also pleased to announce that I’m the new co-host of the Downtown Podcast, which has been a lovely opportunity for me. Not to mention fun:

 

 

Nodebots Day!

Pawel, Bill and I ran the Las Vegas chapter of World Nodebots Day on July 27th. It was a tonne of fun!

A nodebot is a robot that you can control via javascript using node.js

I made the following “Kittynator” bot below:

 

And the proud hackers at the end of the day:

 

 

As as expected, I’ve been playing around with my Printrbot Jr whenever I’ve been able to find the time. More on this soon!

I have been enormously fortunate this year so far, and look forward to what the rest of the year holds for me here in Las Vegas.

 

Printrbot Jr Adventures

Having a 3D printer at home has been such a blast so far. It’s been about a month since my Printrbot Jr arrived on my desk at work in a box marked ‘fragile’ and I’ve learned so much about it already. I’ve been tinkering with software configurations, replacing whole parts of the printer, tuning belts, cursing lots and also laughing at every mistake and funny print I get. I’ve been collecting half finished prints and oodles of twisted looking melted filament.

I’m still compiling all of the knowledge I want to pass on (in an entertaining format of course) so for now, here’s some of my more successful prints. You can see little clues such as my Y-axis being a little wobbly still (the visible ‘lines’ every 10 layers or so), but overall I’m incredibly impressed with how this $US399 machine is capable of.

I have put an American quarter and Australian 10c coin in each photo so you can get a feel for the scale of these objects. Enjoy!

Naturally, one of the first things I tried to print was an owl. It’s on Thingiverse here. This owl became my ‘white whale’, as every time I went to print it, something different went wrong. Finally, I started seeing a pattern emerging, and worked out that there was something wrong with the gcode being output to the printer (gcode essentially tells the printer how to print the layers, like when you spool a file to an inkjet printer for example). I downloaded a different version of the owl, flipped it and it worked fine. Weird! So now I have all of these 3D printed logs with feet on them, and they all have failed at the exact same point. They look kinda creepy! But I kept them.

An eggcup, very cute! I downloaded it from Thingiverse here.

 

Okay so I’m going to admit here that I decided to print this because I wanted to freak out my 3D printer and really punish it. Well didn’t it return the favour and freak me out with how well it did! While it’s definitely far from a perfect print, I was captivated for hours watching this thing emerge layer by layer. Incredible. Btw this is a ‘retired’ design by the wonderfully talented Jessica and Jesse of Nervous System. They have uploaded their retired designs on Thingiverse here. This bracelet is one of my favourites.

This above is Winterfell, from the TV series Game of Thrones (based on a series of books by George R. R. Martin). Can you hear the theme song in your head already? I’ve had in stuck in my head since I printed this yesterday. This print is really small, less than 8cm x 8cm, and only 208 layers tall (that’s less than 2.5cm). There are some pleasing little details in this one, like tiny windows and doors in the buildings. I like this one a lot. This model is also on Thingiverse.

More soon!

Owl Posse in the press!

Recently I was contacted by Etsy, asking if I would support them featuring one of my jewellery designs in their Shop Til You Drop Summer Shopping Guide. The piece was the Oh My Gear ring. I was so humbled that they wanted to show my work in a print insert, I didn’t actually believe it until I received the press in my hands (thanks for sending, Jess!). How exciting!

 

 

If you’d like a copy, you can buy this month’s Shop Til You Drop magazine in Australia with the print insert in it. You can see the online shopping guide here, and for a limited time you can purchase any of my rings for 10% off using the coupon code ‘STYD’. The same goes for any of the other things in the guide, all 10% off with the same coupon code, huzzah! Thanks again to Etsy, they are brillant people.

Happy new year!

I love this time of the year, mainly for its opportunity to start fresh, and mull over the lessons learned.

This year taught me that I really should believe in myself more, because I’m capable of things I never used to allow myself to even entertain. This year was tough but also very good to me. I am very lucky to have the life I have at the moment, and I’m trying to savour every day of it.

And to end the year on a high note, I had a wonderful December. I had my first white Christmas (!!), and my second holiday season in America. Having winter at this time of year really makes it all feel a little more magical in a way.

The beautiful slopes of the Montana/Idaho border.

 

I bought some Monte Dolack prints, which show the true beauty of Montana.

 

 

 

I found this chair while thrifting things for the new SYN Shop venue, for $10!! The style is so beautiful and it’s in great condition. The adorable yeti is by the talented Teresa Watts.

 

And lastly on a quick note, I (finally) bought a 3D printer! A Printrbot Jr to be specific. It’s brilliant. More to come on this, after I tinker endlessly and print all of the things for now.

The Vegas Vernacular Project

The town of Las Vegas has an interesting history. However due to the nature of this place and  in order to keep up with our tourism demand, history is easily hidden by constant demolition and reinvention of buildings and neighbourhoods.

There is fortunately a group who cares about preserving history more than most people here. They are the wonderful folk of the Vegas Vernacular Project. Vegas Vernacular in a nutshell, is photographing hand drawn signage before the inevitable happens and all of it disappears forever. They held an enormously successful gallery showing recently, which was highly educational and eye opening.

A blurb from the Vegas Vernacular website:

“These signs were not intended as art. Instead, they were  created, as were their bigger  brethren on the Strip, to lure in potential customers and casual wanderers. The ‘splash art’ the sign makers created  is artful, bold, bright, garish, and sometimes cheesy and absurd. Without our being fully aware of it, these signs have helped shape our emotional relationship and experience of the city. But now, they are at risk.”

“With the increasing use of vinyl lettering, digital signage and screen-based advertising, they are an endangered species. Not only are the signs in danger of being lost, so too are the sign makers and their skills. They are a disappearing part of our history and soul that we are committed to preserving.”

Pretty awesome, hey?

Of course I could not resist buying a piece photographed by none other than the amazing Mark Johnson, which now sits pride of place in my bedroom.

isn’t it fabulous?

Serious props to Bryan, Mark, Jeff and everyone else involved in this stellar project. They are looking for more photographers (no need to be an expert or have fancy equipment) so contact them via the website if you’d like to help out!

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Me

Welcome! Owl Posse is an up and coming contemporary jewellery line. It features super cool digital manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing and laser cutting. You can shop the collection here!

Designed in Melbourne, Australia and Las Vegas, NV USA.

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