LASERS!!! On looking for excuses to play with our new laser cutter ~ NOTlabs just created some signage for our friends at Dumbrella for San Diego Comic Con 2012! After a few experiments, we decided to go with laser cutting wood and acrylic ~ and having sanded clear acrylic with inlayed wood letters suspended from a clean black pipe structure. On the next page you can see how the process unfolded, and how fun watching the laser cutter in action is!
Entries tagged with: NOTlabs
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LASERS! NOTlabs is now outfitted with a Rabbit Laser 80-1290 laser cutter that has an 80 Watt laser tube and a 4’x3’ cutting area! This (in combination with our Makerbot) means we can create 2D+3D designs and start cutting, prototyping, and playing with them immediately. The machine works by bouncing a laser beam off of 3 mirrors to a focusing lens that directs the beam downwards into the material. Essentially it is an extremely precise and powerful upgrade from our hand held X-acto knifing that can cut through things such as 1/2” wood or acrylic. Since the beam is very thin we are able to make very precise cuts, as well as etch intricate details (like the etching you’ve seen on moleskines, MacBooks, etc.)
We explored whether to build our own (i.e. LASERSAUR), or go for a smaller Epilog or Universal laser cutter which Shawn has worked with extensively in the past… and the Rabbit Laser 1290 model with an 80 Watt laser tube was the best option. It’s been nice having the 10” Z-height as well as a pass through for when we want to send larger objects through the machine. It can reach up to 1000 dpi (which is plenty since we’re focusing on cutting versus engraving). On nice design details, the parts tray is a great catchall below the workbed which you can easily slide out to empty scraps or find valuables which may have fallen through.
The story behind Rabbit Laser USA distribution is a fascinating one: short story being that Ohio engineer, Raymond Scott, was looking for the best quality with greater affordability and when ordering his own, ended up taking over a full shipment of machines (which he then needed to sell), learning about importing/customs(re)crating/etc, and exploring the factories in China, and more… and a few years later, it has evolved into a family business, where he and his wife Carol (and even his young daughters help out!) have a warehouse in Ohio, carefully inspect and test each machine that comes in, they come out and personally install the machines and train you for a day with each purchase, and have a great feedback loop with King Rabbit in China to constantly improve the design details and software needs for the laser cutters. In the day that Ray came out, i learned more than i ever imagined about not only how a laser cutter works and how to take care of it, but so much about the business side and interaction with the King Rabbit manufacturing standards, facilities, and more as well. But back to the UNBOXING… or uncrating, rather… it was quite the adventure, so take a peek on the next page to see the uncrating and setup!
NOTlabs (the NOTCOT physical, experimental, play/make/hack/exploratory studio of sorts) has been quietly evolving faster and faster… recently you’ve seen the new Makerbot Replicator that just joined us… and i’m a bit overdue in sharing some of our other machines and projects with you… And loving skateboards (remember our Skateboard Swing?) first up ~ staring at the ugly, boring ceiling fan that hung above us led to the idea of of skateboards as fan blades! And sure enough a few days later, skateboards and a nice simple ceiling fan was acquired to test with! take a peek at our skateboard ceiling fan experiment on the next page.
It has been quite the (educational) adventure joining our NOTlabs director, Shawn Sims, and Golan Levin as they launched their Free Universal Construction Kit project… from learning about toys and 3d modeling, to the different 3D printing techniques and materials, to Intellectual Property and Patent law! One of the most exciting and interesting aspect of the project to me personally has been what the average person without access to top of the line manufacturing machines can really 3D print at home, and how does it work? Thanks to the amazing folks at MakerBot, today we got to find out through their Replicator (with dual extruders)!
Anyone can download the variety of Free Universal Construction Kit pieces on Thingiverse, send them to their 3D printer, and shortly after have toy adapters to play with! Of course depending on the resolution of the printer and the printing technique, some pieces will work better than others, so it was thrilling tonight to get to try them out on the MakerBot (the originals were made on an Objet) ~ on the next page you can see a full unboxing and the preparation of the MakerBot Replicator as well as our first “home” printing of some Free Universal Construction Kit toys! (And yes, this is the kind of project that has kept us busy in the NOTlabs till 4:30am!)
I found myself in the LA Convention Center at WESTEC - the ultimate manufacturing show from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers… wandering the amazing tools, waterjets, 3D printers, CNCs, microCNCs, robot arms, welding devices… and SO much more. With mobile phone in hand, i walked away with even MORE pictures than you’ll see on the next page of warning graphics labels than i imagined. They are AWESOME. You can see about 30 of my favorites on the next page… it’s amazing how many ways these machines can hurt you… and the way they are depicted! See the graphical goodness on the next page!
P.S. As we start ordering more machinery for NOTlabs… we may need to start exploring our own warning graphics!
Toys (specifically Lego, Lincoln Logs, Duplo, Fischertechnik, K’nex, Krinkles, Tinkerytoy, Zome, Zoob, Gears Gears Gears, etc) + 3D printer + Free Universal Construction Kit = MORE ways to play with your toys! Picture the crazy structures you (or your kid’s) wildest imagination can flourish in as every piece can connect to every other piece… or how many more toys you will need to buy to fully utilize the Free Universal Construction Kit’s capabilities…
While the monster of a Universal Adapter Brick was quietly launched at Golan Levin’s Eyecode solo show at UCI’s Beall Center for Art + Technology a few months ago, it’s exciting to see the rest of the kit finally available! So, freshly launched this morning from Golan Levin at F.A.T. Lab and our own head of NOTlabs, Shawn Sims comes the Free Universal Construction Kit. It is “a collection of nearly 80 adapter bricks that enable complete interoperability between ten popular children’s construction toys. By allowing any piece to mate with any other, the Kit encourages totally new forms of intercourse between otherwise closed systems — enabling radically hybrid Constructivist play and the creation of heretofore impossible designs.”
You can see the full chart of all pieces, download the full .stl pack, find just the piece you need on Thingiverse, and even watch the 80’s style advert for Free Universal Construction Kit on the next page!
Next… if you have a 3D printer, and have fun toys, AND print out some pieces… i’d love to see what you (and/or your kids) create with them!!! Please share pics!!!
The latest from our NOTlabs head maker/fabricator/hacker, Shawn Sims, as he adventures through LA visiting some amazing fabrication shops/people!
Barnacle Bros. is an East LA sculpture and custom fabrication shop that has been serving the arts and entertainment industries since 1997. “Barnacle Bros is an artist studio founded in 1997 by a friendly group of artists, craftspeople, performers, and local personalities. The folks at Barnacle Bros. are well versed in all media and processes. We specialize in wood, metal, fiberglass, composites, foam, resin, bronze, aluminum, stainless steel, stone, sculpting, casting, mold-making, models, miniatures, furniture, architectural elements, prototypes, and, of course, puppets.” Smilee and Karl specialize in the crazy, weird, and hard to build, and gave me a wondrous tour through their shop. Stepping into their space you will find yourself surrounded by remnants of Hollywood sets, clowns, knives in rocks, and 20 foot tall faces. It’s nothing short of awesome to wander through this workshop and get to see how it’s all made. The company gets its name from one of it’s first jobs where they molded and casted bronze barnacles form a pier on Venice Beach, and has since pulled off many more crazy projects for artists and festivals all over the world. Take a peek at more pics on the next page!
It started with a random idea of making use of the plastic milk crates in NOTlabs for shelving… to wondering about wooden ones… to searching craigslist… to THIS… which lead to a random little roadtrip out to Ontario… to meet with John Mihovetz, quite the collector of found objects, architectural salvage, and repurposed home furnishings… and see the remainder of the 4,000 vintage wooden soda crates he bought in the midwest 6 months ago and has been selling off since. It seems like it was quite the find/investment!
Anyhow ~ now we have 15 amazing vintage wooden soda crates ~ Pepsi, Squirt, Crush, Dr. Pepper, 7up and more ~ and after some clean up, perhaps some awesome shelving in NOTlabs… but for now, take a peek at some of the details on the next page!
I’ve been lusting after the Parrot AR.Drone for years, (remember their amazing outdoor play area at CES in jan?) not sure why i never gave in to it till now, but NOTlabs definitely needs some fun toys… and running around Fry’s, there was one just there… calling to be brought home! So here’s a peek at the unboxing ~ and a few random images from test flights… but to be honest, it’s so fun to fly, it’s hard to remember to take pics of it at the same time, especially cell phone pics since you’re using iPhone/iPad and/or Android to control it! Touted as the first AR Flying Video Game, it’s gorgeous, amusing, surprisingly stable and even has two cameras mounted on it (front facing and downward facing)… so take a look at what’s inside the box on the next page…
p.s. i’m sure Shawn will be coming up with more NOTlabs projects to dronehack this one in to when we’re not busy flying it around the lab/yard. So more to come… and we might need another to properly play each other!
p.p.s. fun to see what other apps people have been developing for it!
So you’ve seen the Making Of… well, here is a look at our 6 playful experimental mini videos of new ways to look at Bentleys! Watch them all. We had fun finding the perfect clips and fun music to set the mood for each one…
Nothing quite like new toys, new cars, good friends, and a day of experimenting in beautiful LA weather with Mister C being the home base for the day… two weeks ago we brought our new Contour+ mini HD action cam with us to meet up with Bentley’s fleet en route to Monterey… armed with suction cups, we had far too much fun mounting the camera and driving all over beverly hills, bel air, and late night through the tunnel in santa monica and on pch… take a peek at the setups, as well as the beautiful 1936/37 Mercedes Roadster we found!
STENCILS! So NOTlabs is the newest division of NOTCOT that is handling all things MAKING/Fabricating/Experimenting related… as it grows and evolves over the next few months, i can’t help but to share some of the silliness we will be exploring here! First up ~ i was curious about the world of laser cutters ~ and in need of an updated stencil (my old one from years ago was hand cut and has soaked up so many layers of spray paint by now!)… so Shawn pulled me into the lab, grabbed the NOTCOT logo eps, and before i knew it i was staring at the laser cutting through acrylic sheets that were lying around. Take a peek at it all on the next page!
p.s. i SO need a laser cutter. If you (or anyone you know) happen to be selling/upgrading any of your machinery you think NOTlabs may need ~ drop me a line!!!
Love this Robo Mimicry from Shawn Sims + Karl Willis at CMU. There’s something magical about those huge robotic arms we always run into in manufacturing plants ~ big bright colors, mesmerizing to watch them assemble, paint, and do just about anything more powerful and precise than a human can… consistently… but there’s a lack of the fluidity and possibility within them… and since Shawn Sims showed me what initially looked like lightwriting pics on his iphone that were already visually mesmerizing… i was even more pulled in upon realizing they were 1) created by those awesome robotic arms 2) they were mimicking in z-space what a human had initially shown it through moving a hand around naturally… and using a Kinect as it’s eye…
The playful potential of taking the precise, programmable motions and actions of these robotic arms ~ and exploring their artistic and more “human” or organic motions ~ opens up a whole world of robotic lightwriting graffiti, painting, or a synchronized visual display (whether multiple robotic arms in one location, or across the globe) ~ the ability to explore ways that others may interact or control these robotic arms and have beautiful visual/motion captured results just send my head spinning with ideas… and perhaps that’s exactly why Shawn and i are teaming up for NOTlabs to see where else we can go with this space where art, technology, and culture are constantly overlapping… (While NOTlabs is in quiet incubation mode at the moment ~ feel free to follow us on Twitter as we figure out where we’re headed!) But for now… take a peek at the videos and images of the beautifully organic movements of the awesomely orange ABB4400 robot that is tucked away in CMU’s Digital Fabrication Lab as it fluidly dances and mimics with light on the next page!
Vertical Gardens! I’ve been fascinated by them the last few years, and it’s been fun to watch how they’ve evolved. In both style and ease of installation… so many tools and containers and techniques have popped up! Well, in researching various options to set up my own, Leo Corrales and I got frustrated and inspired and came up with a new NotConcept, merging parts of many we loved into a new design! Whether we’ll make it, is still uncertain, but it sure feels tempting! Combining the Wine Bottle Hydrogarden concept… with a more modular wall like structure… and something fun we could lean against the wall instead of mount… and our favorite big chunky frame look… take a peek on the next page at both our research on Vertical Gardening as well as our idea!!! And let us know what you think, what you’d want in your dream vertical garden, and maybe we’ll keep evolving the idea (or even MAKE one!) But first… to the sketches and renders!
Random spontaneous research of the morning - staring out the window at the finches that keep hopping along the sill and pecking at the window right in front of me, i started day dreaming about bird feeder designs, and as a result started hunting down unique bird feeders on NOTCOT.org - which naturally lead me to scouring the ends of the internet to see what else was out there. Here are 14 of the coolest things i found that don't meet your standard/gawdy options... also i'm kind of wondering whether a bird feeder could be a fun next project for NOTConcept?
p.s. like all roundups, click the images to find out more!
NOTCOT Note: It's been a very crazy month for us all, sorry for the delays, but here is the final installment of NOTConcept 002 from Hero Design Lab! Here are some glossy renders showing off how we envision a fun aesthetically pleasing modular series of speakers, projectors, ambient lighting....ENJOY!
NOTCOT Note: Here's part two of NOTConcept 002 ~ more thought out sketches exploring the idea of the tiki torch styles and gnomes to create a modular ambient multi-sensory experience outdoors... and i must admit, as i go through the sketches that Leo Corrales and Jenny Lemieux from HERO Design Lab have done for this round, i can already imagine how much fun a garden party or dusk, movie on the lawn party would be with these surrounding you and helping create that perfect outdoor musical/projector experience.
To start off - here's the Alfa gnome (there are also alfa trees), which will incorporate a projection unit... either to create flood light or to project your last trip vid (alright maybe the match of the day that you're watching with your buddies)... See the rest of the clan of gnomes and their corresponding tiki torch speaker trees after the jump!!!
NOTCOT Note: This week has been a bit off... i'm still trying to catch up, but freshly in my inbox are the first rough sketches of NOTConcept 002! Jenny and Leo (of HERO Design Lab and i have been playing with ideas on what can be done to create more ambiance in our outdoor spaces. We played with discussions of solar power, lighting, music, projections, and just subtle objects that add character to our spaces. Ultimately we decided to head in the direction of outdoor speakers you least expect... creating a whole new way to achieve surround sound outdoors without needing to completely "hide" your speakers. As with NOTConcept 001 feel free to comment and brainstorm with us as we stretch our minds and play with new ideas.
First sketch above is the Gnome idea... Tapping into the kitchy world of garden ornaments - this media pod channels the essence of garden gnomes. You could have a clan of 'gnomes' that would generate your surround sound/light/projection/media experience.
See the sketches of the other 5 ideas after the jump!
Can you believe we're already at the final installment of the first NOTConcept, a NOTCOT and HERO Design Lab collaboration? So, you've seen the research, the sketching/brainstorming, the concept development, and here is our final piece of NOTConcept 001 - the Ultimate Grill! Here are the 3D renders of the product, and some photomontages of the product in context. Lots to see after the jump ~ in particular, i love the details of how you can swap in different logos/symbols/anything really in the grill plate itself to mark the food differently (whether that is NOTCOT, or "medium rare" and "well done", or a little veggies only symbol)... also its versatile enough to be hanging, or with a floor stand... anyhow see below and the details are outlined!
Happy Pi Day ~ and for all of you who wonder where all these crazy posts and ideas and inspiration come from... well for the sake of my amusement, here's something silly i ended up with tonight (blame the lack of sleep and insanity that is LA this week... also Linhchi brought me a sun jar and combine that with my vinyl cutter.... ) Naturally all the craziness that you see propagating across the network comes from somewhere! But where? My glowing jar full of NOTCOTs! (Whatever a NOTCOT may be, that, as surprising as it is to most, is still quite unknown). So for today's random project, NOTCOTs are like fireflies, visual manifestations of all the crazy inspiration lighting us up?
Ok, so basically, Sun Jar+ Vinyl Cutter = Jar of NOTCOTs (and this will probably continue to evolve into other ideas...) Also, on Sun Jars, although i've gifted and recommended these solar powered glowing jars often, this is the first time i've been gifted one! And i must say for the next one i gift, i will ditch the packaging, personalize it in some subtle way for the recipient, and present it as simply the jar, with a beautiful ribbon to tie a notecard on. See more pics below! (also the dissection of my sun jar...)
So, last week, in collaboration with HERO Design Lab, NOTCOT kicked off NOTConcept 001 with the brainstorming + sketches of what the future grill might look and function like. With input from readers and friends, we're excited to show you Part 2, more detailed sketches focusing on a specific concept that has evolved from idea B1 (the hanging grill/pod idea) and C-series (the "smart fire jacks" idea). The result is this new series of concepts around modular heating elements for cooking, and the various housing they can adapt to... see all the ideas below!
NOTConcept: The Ultimate Grill Part 1. Well, we showed you some of our research on the many grills and induction implementations out there, and now for Part 1, we have 20 ideas to bounce off of you! Yes, those above are only three of 20 sketches that you can see fully after the jump. And those 20, are our favorites of even MORE that didn't even make it off the sketchbook pages and into photoshop! Keep in mind these are the crazy first round of brainstorming types of sketches we start with, before we start to narrow things down based on tighter constraints... and we're looking to have fun conceptually, so, don't worry about trying to actually build any of these - tomorrow?
For a quick recap ~ NOTConcept is a new experimental collaboration between NOTCOT and HERO Design Lab, where we will run through ideas from research and extremely rough sketches to glossy renders in under 2 weeks per project... and document/share it all along the way. Reason? We love designing, and with so much inspiration daily, why not play with fun projects and exercise our design minds/skills outside of our usual client work?
SO ~ curious what we came up with? Take a look below, and help us decide what direction to take when we flesh out one of these ideas in the next post...
NOTConcept 001: The Ultimate Grill - [Research] [1: Idea Sketching] [2: Concept Dev] [3: 3D Renders]
Introducing the first NOTConcept! This is the intro of a new NOTCOT Experiment where NOTCOT has teamed up with industrial design duo, Leo Corrales and Jenny Lemieux, of HERO Design Lab, to put some of the constant design/trend/inspiration curating across NOTCOT to good use... by flexing our design minds and skills and to bring readers further into the design process with us, we will be presenting 4 NOTConcepts in three parts each...
Each NOTConcept will start with a brief and some visual research (starting with a search across NOTCOT.com and NOTCOT.org, and making our way through the internet and real world) - for this premier project we look to design the ultimate portable grill/BBQ utilizing newer/future technologies.
1. The first post will show you various concept sketches, doodles, and ideas (which we'd love to have you weigh in on which direction interests you).
2. The second post will take one of the previous ideas and further research and flush out the concept.
3. The third post will consist of 3D renders of that concept.
(and all three steps will happen in under 2 weeks!)
Basically we wanted to find a fun way to put our skills together, and have some fun, like in our grad school days, and have an opportunity (or excuse?) to work on projects with minimal constraints - basically playing with those inspiring crazy ideas our clients never go for! So... to kick things off, want to see every interesting grill, bbq, induction piece i put together to inspire this first project? (GIANT collage after the jump!)
So you know i got a vinyl cutter! Well, people have been asking about when NOTCOT stickers would be available... and between all the insanity of gift guiding (nearly 10 days left!), holiday madness, and some big development/business transitions going on, i wasn't sure if i'd have time... BUT i've been having SO much fun with them, i couldn't keep them all to myself, so while everyone around me keeps getting random stickers this weekend, i've decided to do a limited edition NOTCOT Stickers Series 1 ~ available from now until Dec 21st (yup, i'm going to sell this series of stickers until the Gift Guide ends!). So for 20$ (and shipping) you can get a giant sheet (approx 24"x10") of 33 stickers ~ from NOTCOT logos (even one mirror image for inside windows) to pirate brontos (outlines and full bodied) to an assortment of random scissors and safety pins as well... all hand printed, weeded, transfer papered, by ME! See below for close ups and to purchase!
UPDATE: Hey Kotaku people - these ARE 5 min doodles that got scanned and vectorized and printed just to see what the vinyl cutter could do... the wiimote was next to me, so just stuck them on there ~ (and our resident engineer made the tree) ~ this whole post is really just about a girl playing with her new toy.
Sorry i've been pretty quiet... big proposals, meetings, and i've been happily forced to take a little breather the last two days... and today i'm old. Quarter of a century old. It just doesn't feel right quite yet... but i must say, its far easier to deal with when i have the best present ever in front of me...
Funny thing is, the more i write about products and review and critique, the less i had on the wishlist this year... in fact i have actually been more obsessed with what to gift others! When some of the other bloggers hit me up for the "what's on YOUR wishlist?" i came up BLANK (sorry josh spear and design*sponge! I tried!). But Dan apparently managed to go beyond reading my mind, and found me the perfect gift ~ an industrial 24" vinyl cutter, with all the tools, a few rolls of vinyl stickering (enough to cover every wall i can find at the moment), and some transfer paper... it hooks up via usb, and illustrator just prints right to it... combine it with the magic of Live Trace and... WOW. This truly is the most fun i've had in a long time... we've been printing so many random illustrator files all night, and a few of the crazy experiments shown below (jeez this thing can print super thin lines!) - from some wiimote decorating, pirate brontos on the mac apple, and just crazy stickering... expect some more amusing projects/art installations/street art/event signage/stickers.... soon. But for now, i'm taking a little break! Gift guide update for the day coming later on after i get some shut eye!