Watch these videos of Baltimore artist Tim Noble’s awesome work, for which he used MakerBot’s Gen3 and Gen4 motherboards. This is an inspiring example of the power of open source technology that we think you’ll really enjoy.
If you are anywhere in the Buffalo region, you can see these works in person! Tim will be doing a solo show at a new space in Buffalo called galeriesNFS. The details are below, and the link will bring you more details in the next couple of days.
WHAT: Opening Reception
WHEN: Saturday March 31, 2012
WHERE: galeriesNFS 25 East Huron, Suite 6E Buffalo, NY
You can get more details on Tim’s portfolio and upcoming events at http://acmespectacle.cc. Also, a nice Q&A with Tim follows below the videos.
Semi-Automatic Chalkboard from tim noble on Vimeo.
Hollowgraphy Machine from tim noble on Vimeo.
Your twitter profile says you consider yourself a hacker. What are your favorite domains to hack in? (robotics, software, etc?)
I’m an unabashed hack in many respects. Though I’m relatively new to coding, I have been a professional carpenter and bicycle mechanic for >15 years, so solving problems with materials that weren’t exactly intended for the job at hand is an old habit. It probably began when I was 20 and I bought two old 70′s VW’s and parts of a third. I managed to piece them together into one functional car, but by the time I was done, it was a far cry from anything that rolled off the assembly line. I’ve been working on robotics of one sort or another for about 5 years now, and that continues to take me into spaces of circuit, mechanical and software hacking that are new and intriguing.
Do you own a MakerBot?
I own two, in fact. Both are [Cupcake CNCs]. The first was purchased just as a lasercut kit w/o motors or hardware or PCBs (back in the day when MB sold stuff in a more modular fashion). I already had gone through the quirky Gen2 circuitry and upgraded to Gen3 on my McWire (there are some photos of that project in the portfolio on my website). I’ve since gone from Mk3 to Mk4, Mk5 and now Mk6+ extruders. I also have a unicorn thing, though haven’t used it very much. I bought my first Cupcake in late 2009 and its number is in the 300′s. The second one I bought when they were being sold off to make way for the Thing-o-Matics. I forget its serial number, but I think it was in the mid 2000′s. Both have been tweaked and altered in about every way possible as I’ve learned along with the rest of the community.
Where do you keep your MakerBots, at home or in a studio?
I keep the machines at my studio for the time being. One is operable and the other has been raided for parts, but will be resurrected sometime soon when I get the time to devote to it.
The pieces you showed us are awesome! Were they inspired by something you saw before or something original you wanted to tackle?
I’d say the inspiration for the pieces was largely original. I had spent several years working on a labor rights project having to do with a small liberal arts college in the midwest where the faculty had been disregarded and denied their voice and ultimately their tenure. The chalkboard robot was an outgrowth of my frustration surrounding the rhetoric about online education being a good replacement for classroom learning. I don’t believe that it is and I thought that the absurdity of the piece might suggest somewhat the absurdity of automating and mediating teacher/student interactions.
As for the light-painting piece, I think the swiss project “Hektor” stuck in my head a few years ago. Basically it was a robotic spraycan hacked to turn postscript files into paint on a wall. Seeing video of that project combined with a series of long-exposure pinhole photos I did about 10 years ago made me realize that I could effectively move a light in a plane and then that plane through a space to build objects out of light. I don’t recall precisely, but it probably happened late one night while hypnotized by some build in ABS on my Cupcake…
Have you used our boards in any other pieces?
Not as of yet. But I think I will, provided MakerBot doesn’t completely ditch the modularity of the old parts.
Why are these boards in particular so useful for what you like to do?
They’re useful because they’re well documented and they work withReplicator G. I am able to define a completely non-standard “build” area with relative ease and tweak skeinforge and G code (manually if need be) to get results that work well for me. The fact that it’s all open source is fundamental to both my practice as an artist, but also ethically. I wouldn’t be interested in working with a closed system. Furthermore, I’m not sure that I’d be able to as my technical skills are stronger in some areas than others.
Any other projects you might like to use MakerBot tech for?
My plan is to spend time this spring digging in to Replicator G to properly tweak it for the machines I’ve developed. I currently do a lot of ugly tricks with the G Code to get things to work right and I’d really like to simplify my workflow. I’ll continue to work on refining the chalkboard to write text by lifting the chalk in between lines, replace chalk as it wears down and, of course, there’s got to be an eraser! All of this is going to involve 3-5 more motors and various sensors. I’m pretty sure the extruder controller I have can handle it, but it’s going to involve tweaking the firmware, so I’ll have to learn a bit of C++. But that’s how these projects go, one thing to the next and lots of opportunities to keep learning along the way. It’d be nice to replace the light in the hollowgraphy machine with an RGB, but that brings up a whole other ball of complications since I’m using an xbee to blink the current white one and I’m not quite sure how I’d modify the G code.
Anyway, I’ll be posting all my design files under permissive licenses in the near future and perhaps there will be someone else out there who is interested in collaborating or solving these types of problems on their own. They may even find new and more interesting problems to solve using the work I’ve done as a base. Open culture and technology are cool like that…