Category Archives: art

Art Therapy for Those with Limited Mobility

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

Art is one of the fundamental ways humans express themselves and it occurs in every culture going back to the beginnings of humanity. Art therapy is a valued tool that bridges the disciplines of psychology and art and has been undertaken by Iraqi war veterans, victims of violence and other traumas.

But what about individuals whose limitations prevent them from holding a paint brush or manipulating clay? Haddon Pearson is a local creative type who is working with a child psychologist from the University of Chicago to develop systems that will enable people with limited mobility to make art. He will discuss some of the technologies and ideas that they are exploring to lower the bar for people with limited agency to express themselves.

The technology we’ll visit tonight is a Makeblock plotter that will potentially serve as the motion actuator for 2-d graphical output. The plotter is not feeling well at the moment. NERP aims to fix it, but first we need to understand the hardware and software that runs it. Andy Sowa will lead a live troubleshooting and learning session with the collaboration of the NERP Meetup.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at
Meetup NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and
http://pumpingstationone.org/

Doors open at 6:30pm.
NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source,
raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Pumping Station One

Share this!

Hack a Replacement Wacom Tablet USB Cable

usb-cable-hack

 

WP-White-Bar 550x20

Did you lose the USB to USB Micro B cable that connects your Wacom pen tablet to your computer? Don’t panic! This is not necessarily another propriety piece of equipment you can only get from the manufacturer. There is a quick fix.

The cable that comes with the Wacom may alarm you to have lost it; it looks unique, since the smaller Micro B end has a 90 degree angle turn. This is a design element possibly for aesthetics and maybe to prevent the cable from pulling out easily from the tablet while it is in use. You do not need a replacement cable exactly like the one that shipped from the manufacturer. What you need is a replacement cable that fits.

This is where cable replacement gets tricky because the Micro B port on the tablet is deep and very narrow. Most cheap, off the shelf cables have both ends encased in a massive brick of rubber that will not fit the tiny 6 mm tall by 12 mm wide Wacom Micro B opening. You can take any old cable and make it fit by whittling down the rubber as close as you can to the metal. A box cutter with a sharp, new blade works well. I tried to improve the look of this hacked cable with a single wrap of electrical tape, but had to then remove the tape as that still made the Micro B end too thick to attach.

If you want a neater cable to use for the long term, beyond this DIY quick fix, step away from the cable aisle in your electronics store and head over by the cell phone accessories. The Micro B cables marketed for smartphones tend to have a sleeker design, more color choices and smaller rubber grips which will insert into the Wacom. Bring your pen tablet with to make sure the cable you select will fit before you leave the store. Also, be sure you get a combined data and charging cable, since charging only cables that look similar are usually in the mix of products for cell phones.

Share this!

Woodshop @ Pumping Station: One

When I took over the Pumping Station: One wood shop (a little more than 2 years ago), I started making cutting boards as my metric on how functional the shop is. I reasoned that it’s an excellent entry level project, and most of the users of the shop would be people with no woodworking experience. The first boards I made at the space were pretty good, but every step was a chore. The jointer could never stay sharp for more than a month, the planer required weekly maintenance, dust collection was a hassle, and it took 10 minutes of setup to do jobs that should take only seconds. Well, little by little, training, equipment upgrades and accumulation, shop days, and community has made the shop much easier and safer to use. My most recent cutting board demonstrates what the shop is capable of.

Last year, one of my favorite coworkers invited me to her wedding, and I decided that I’d make her something special. After discovering the color scheme in her kitchen, I chose padauk, purpleheart, and cherry and made a design in a free cutting board design program.

cutting board

To prevent the wood from warping while in service, I milled the wood square (rectangular, really, but it’s woodworking jargon) and let it dry for two weeks in the shop.

lumber used

As expected, the boards warped again as they dried. I milled them again and two weeks later, they were still square, so they were ready to glue up. After the initial glue up, I had a board that looked like the top board in the design program. I planed down one side of the glued-up board with handplanes and then ran it through the planer the board was flat. At that point, I set up the tablesaw sled to cut the board into $1 \frac{5}{16}$ inch wide strips. I created the pattern by flipping every other strip.

cut boards

After cutting the edge-joined board into strips, I glued up those strips and gave my board to a friend who ran the board through his 40 inch drum sander, to flatten down the glued up strips. My target thickness was $1 \frac{1}{4}$ inches, so I was thrilled with the $1.227$ inches that I achieved. At that point, I used a handplane to clean up the edges, and took an obligatory picture of my handplane with the produced shavings.

almost hit my mark

shaving porn

After getting the board milled to the desired dimensions, I set up the router table to cut handholds. After the handholds were cut, it was time to sand. And sand. And sand. And then sand a little bit more. After about 10 hours of sanding, I decided that I was going to get an angle grinder style rotary sander and handle that work in maybe an hour for all future boards. When I was content with the smoothness of the board, I soaked the board in mineral oil overnight, to seal the board against water. At the end of the soak, I wiped away as much mineral oil as I could, although the board kept bleeding mineral oil for about a day. At that point, I used a mixture of mineral oil and beeswax to seal the board and create the beautiful finish that I achieved. I applied the mixture, waited for it to haze (I waited about 90 minutes), and then wiped as much away as I could. Then I sanded using waterproof 1000 grit paper, which buffed the finish and filled in any potential gaps. Then I used a polisher to polish the board until I achieved a glassy finish. Project complete.

purple orange yellow

color shot

corner defect

gloss handle examination

 

Share this!

B.Y.O.T. Tie Dye Summer Event, Friday, 7/3/2015

tie-dye-WEB

Bring your own t-shirt, or other white item, and fill it with fabric dye! B.Y.O.T. Tie Dye Summer Event with be Friday, 7/3/2015, from 6:00 – 9:00 pm in the upstairs arts and crafts area, a free event for members. A 100% cotton item works best such as a clean t-shirt, socks, a hat, apron., etc. Washing items is helpful if they are newly purchased but avoid fabric softener, which is oily and repels dye. Twelve bright colors in easy applicator bottles and all other materials will be provided for you to hand color your item.

Share this!

Knit a Working Loudspeaker

knitted speaker

I’ve been working on an embedded speaker design off and on for the last few years, and finally got around to posting an Instructable for it.

I created knitted and non-knitted versions, and am quite happy with how it turned out. The secret is using dipolar magnets and hard drive magnets are a cheap way to do this. (Plus, a really big amp.)

Props to Sache for lending her glue and paper expertise!

Share this!

The Dumb Robot Competition for Dummies

This robot is so crappy! <3
Bioguy made a crappy robot for us!

 

Hey Hacky People,

I’m holding a crappy robot competition at the end of the month. This
competition is targeted at people who DON’T KNOW HOW TO BUILD ROBOTS!
😀

Inspired by HEBOCON in Japan: http://youtu.be/46ivFpsmEVQ , crappy
robot will be pitted against crappy robot in some type of sumo match.
Some will win, some will lose, some will fall apart before they even
enter the ring. Everyone will enjoy themselves!

Here’s the essential details you need to know:

Date: January 29, 2015 @ 19:00
Location: Pumping Station: One Electronics Lab
Register to compete at http://goo.gl/forms/XbZrvSLq97
Only the first 31 people to register will be allowed to
compete, so register early!

The full rules will be published some time before the competition
starts. Here’s the main things you need to know:

* Robots will compete inside a circular ring.
* The goal is to either knock the other robot over, or push it out of the ring.
* There will be a penalty for making your robot too high tech
(questions about this should be directed at the judges).
* If you’re playing to win, you’re missing the point! 🙂

Happy Hacking!

Edit: The rules can be found here! As always, they are subject to change.

Share this!

Maker Art: (Another) Opening Tonight in Pilsen

DSC_6394 group

My knitted-circuit artwork, Electronic Damask, was in a gallery show, NoFi, at Chicago Artists Coalition, October 24 – Nov 13. The piece was a collaborative effort, put together through the volunteer efforts of close to two dozen PS:One members. PS:One really represented at the Oct 24 opening, and I managed to drag most of us in front of the camera for a group photo with the artwork. (Thanks to Everett for the photo!)

If you missed the fun that night, you’re in luck. Electronic Damask has already been tapped for another show, and with an opening tonight in Pilsen, from 6 – 10pm.

This show should be of particular interest to PS:One members. It’s called Technologic and it “celebrates making art through technology”. It features some amazing stuff made with 3D printers, LCD screens, CNC watercolor painting, and of course a certain knitted e-textile.

The gallery, Chicago Art Department, is located at 1932 W Halsted in East Pilsen’s Chicago Art District (#8 Halsted bus runs right past it). Tonight’s opening coincides with the district’s 2nd Fridays gallery night, so there will be other openings all over the neighborhood.

You can find preview photos of the show on the facebook page. Full info is below. The show runs until December 6.

TECHNOLOGIC
curated by Chuck Przybyl

Friday, Nov 14, 6-10pm

An exhibition that celebrates making art through technology. Work featured will include robotic drawing, 3D printing, laser cutting, textile circuitry, algorithmic art, image slicing, circuit bending, and prosthetics. Although often unsung – artists having access to new technologies has historically pushed and propelled creative endeavors. The exciting new technologies of today have been pushing the overall culture of DIY and propelling the Maker Movement. This is a participatory culture that embraces tools and empowers masses of people to innovate and create. Technologic explores and showcases not only how art is currently being produced with new tools, but how fringe technologies can be used in progressive and cutting edge ways.
Viewers also have an opportunity to “go deeper” to gain further insight through series of discussions and workshops as well information on the processes at the exhibit.

Technologic is curated by Chuck Przybyl for Chicago Art Department.
Artists: Tom Burtonwood, Christopher Furman, Harvey Moon, Luftwerk, Jesse Seay, Nathan Davis, Christopher Breedlove, Christian Oiticica, Leo Selvaggio, Antoine Kattar, and Russell Prather

Opening Reception Nov. 14 – 6-10 PM
3D Printing Workshop with Tom Burtonwood Saturday Nov – 15 – 2-5 PM
Panel Discussion  Saturday Nov – 22 – 2-5 PM
Chicago Art Department – 1932 S. Halsted St. Suite 100 Chicago IL 60622 USA

Share this!