VOU FM radio tower progress

I'm designing a 2-meter high radio tower for a group of musicians lead by Ally Mobbs. Here are a few progress shots of the construction. 

One of the 12 joints that will hold the tower together.

One of the 12 joints that will hold the tower together.

This is the 20 cm scale model of the radio tower. These will be sold as kits with a radio transmitter or receiver. 

This is the 20 cm scale model of the radio tower. These will be sold as kits with a radio transmitter or receiver. 

Assembling a Prusa i3 MK2S kit

Back in August I assembled a Prusa i3 MK2S kit. It took about 8 hours in total - I think I read somewhere the world record was 4 hours? Anyway, I took my time with it and it was pretty enjoyable. The instructions were easy to follow, and after doing the initial calibration, the printer told me "you did a good job!" This printer now lives at a new makerspace in Kyoto called Kyoto Makers Garage.

Here's a time lapse of the build.

Looking forward to one day putting together an MK3!

New project: laser cut plywood snare drum

I'm starting a new two-part project involving digital fabrication and drums. The first challenge is to design and build fully laser cutter-able drum shells. The first prototype isn't finished yet but it's already looking pretty cool so I had to post a few pictures of the process of putting it together.

The 340 pieces that will eventually make up this 14 inch snare drum were cut from 6mm plywood on a laser cutter. Each layer of wood is staggered so that the joints where the pieces lock don't form a weak point on the shell. I designed the drum in Illustrator to be assembled without having to use glue, the idea being that, with the interlocking pieces, the 4mm dowels, and the pressure of the hoops when they go on, everything will hold together. We'll see if that turns out to be true or not, but at this point it's already feeling pretty solid.

For the hoops, lugs, and hardware I'll be recycling some parts from a rusty old snare drum my friend bought for ¥360 (a few bucks). Part of the idea behind this was to come up with a super cheap way to DIY make a drum, and at this point I'd estimate the total cost is going to be around $30.

Download laser cutter files for the Survival Blanket paper models

Last month I had a solo exhibition which featured a series of paper houses, planes, and cars that I designed in Illustrator and cut out with a laser cutter. Now I'm making those files openly available for anyone to download. 

They aren't easy to make, and definitely require a little patience and some skill with gluing small parts, but I hope you'll give it a try and support your local makerspace.

The House

This house was "re-designed" for the laser cutter but is almost identical to the house in Chris Ware's graphic novel "Jimmy Corrigan The Smartest Boy On Earth".

The Car

This model is loosely based on a Volvo.

The Airplane

This is an almost to-scale model of a 747 if it didn't have any curved surfaces.

One fun thing with these is that you can scale them up or down to almost any size you want.

just a few weeks

Production for Survival Blanket is proceeding in full force. Just a few weeks until the opening so things are getting a little hectic juggling a full time job, freelance work, and getting ready for this exhibition, but I get the feeling it'll all work out somehow.

Paper 747

Made this little paper model 747. 

Looking forward to making more and lighting them on fire to make tiny model crash scenes.

Next I need to make the little people and rafts.

Atlas Sound - Bedroom Databank Vol. 3 album art color variations

Just for fun, I made some color variations of the geometric pattern on the cover of Atlas Sound's Bedroom Databank Vol. 3. I was curious what the pattern would look like cleaned up and with a fresh color palette.

This is the original album art.

And here are some my color variations.

A few years ago Bradford Cox took a couple dozen unfinished tracks he recorded at home, split them up into four albums and posted them for free on his blog. Most of the songs are demos, sketches (or scribbles) of sound, recorded cheaply and quickly. 

Here's a track from Bedroom Databank Vol. 3

(MTRL) Making a wooden USB drive

This is a draft of a blog post that I wrote for MTRL KYOTO. It doesn't go into much detail but I thought it was interesting enough to post here too.


Hi, I'm Connor, one of the directors here at MTRL KYOTO. Part of my job as director is making simple projects using our fabrication tools to serve as examples of things you can make here. So I'll be writing about some of those projects every now and then.

Today I want to share a little bit of the process of making this wooden USB drive.

The first step, as with any project, was to choose my materials and my tools. I knew that I wanted to use a piece of Japanese wood called Hoh that I had been saving for a couple months. The wood was pretty flat but too thick to use with the laser cutter, plus I wanted it to have a uniform look, not box jointed like laser cutter made enclosures, so I went with the CNC machine, a KitMill Qt100 from Original Mind, a Japanese mill manufacturer.

I jumped into Fusion 360 to start making my 3D model. First I broke off the old plastic case and modeled the insides of the USB drive. I then designed the enclosure around that so that it would fit snugly inside.

Next, using a handsaw I cut a couple of small blocks of wood, one for each half of the enclosure, measured both blocks and used those dimensions to start generating some toolpaths. Toolpaths are basically protocols that tell the CNC machine how to move, how fast to move, and what endmill to use. Once I finished my toolpaths and simulated them, I exported them as gcode. Gcode is basically just a long list of coordiates. Move left 2 mm, move back 1 mm, and so on. The CNC machine reads this list and follows the commands exactly.

Once I had my gcode exported and saved, I took it over to the CNC machine, loaded the file and pushed go. It took about 30 minutes total to finish both halves of the enclosure. The finished enclosure snapped together perfectly and held together even without glue, but just to be safe I attached them with a little glue and sanded everything nice and smooth. A few weeks later I picked up a nice piece of Japanese cherry and decided to make a new enclosure with a slightly harder wood. I think I prefer the cherry to the Hoh, but I've got a bunch of other types of wood I want to try so I might make a few different versions!