Hi, I’m Lukas. This is my second year pursuing this project — a project dedicated to building a type of kinetic sculpture called a strandbeest, invented by Dutch artist Theo Jansen. You have no idea how many times I have written that sentence over the last year. Too many times. I’ve done a lot of thinking about this project, telling my story, how the project bridges multiple disciplines, how it challenged a way of thinking and my work ethic, what it actually means, and my ever troublesome relationship with technology. You can read all about that in my earlier blog posts.
Since I ended last year physically empty handed (aside from a pocketful of metal bits), I have begun this year the same way, although armed with a whole barricade of knowledge. The main purpose I have for this year, primarily this month, is to prepare for a talk I was invited to speak at in early October, called the TECHedADVIS conference. I have under a month to prepare for the talk, yet very little to show for it. My goal, then, is to fabricate an entire aluminum leg. Just one leg, can’t be too difficult right? Easier said then done.
I spent this weekend in Westtown’s design and engineering lab, in an attempt to mill more joint pieces for the leg. Last year I ran into considerable issues in getting the CNC mill running smoothly, so I have enlisted the help of CNC expert and Westtown parent extraordinaire Christopher Witter to help figure out some bugs with the machine — most of which are completely inexplicable. For example, sometimes the end mill (the mills “drill bit”) will come robotically careening down into the part or, worse yet, into the vice that holds the part that’s being milled. It’s extremely terrifying, and is really a horrible feature in any relationship between machine and aspiring machinist. It’s lead me to develop mild trust issues. This time around, in milling an end of a joint piece, the machine only went off on it’s own business once, and I was quick enough to hit the emergency stop before it did any serious damage was made. By the end of the day, I had milled a perfect part. Hopefully there will be more to come.
PS: For this weeks extra, I found a book that’s right down my alley:
This book (and exhibition) explore’s how digital fabrication such as CNC and 3D printing, have affected art, architecture, and industrial design. This book displays some amazing works that beautifully accomplish exactly what I’m trying to do. Great inspiration.