How to Make [almost] Anything

Nathan Melenbrink

Machine Building

This week we worked with the Modular Machines that Make framework developed by Nadya Peek, Ilan Moyer and James Coleman. You can find more information about that here. I found it to be an excellent project promoting the democratization of machine building, allowing for as simple of a process as possible for making your own fabrication machines. I've outlined my personal contribution to the group project here, but the group write up is posted here.

  • Tools: Laser cutter, Modela mill
  • Materials: Modular Machines that Make components
  • Software: Rhino, Grasshopper, Gestalt
  • Year: 2014

Project 01a
As a group we decided to make a light painting machine. It would move in two axes. Initially we hoped to and an LED node so that the LED color could be commanded within the gestalt framework, but we didn't have time to implement that. Andrew Mao did a very thorough explanation of the complications involved with that. So here the LED just loops through rainbow colors independent of position. This is a composited time lapse image of the light painting machine.
Project 01a
For my contribution, I started out working with Tout and Andrew, and later with Vincent to get the gestalt nodes working correctly. We had some issues getting the python files to correctly reference each other. Ultimately Nadya helped us troubleshoot, and Vincent and I got it working over the weekend.

I next worked on generating the toolpaths (see above). I wrote a very simple Grasshopper definition that would take an input curve (already scaled to the workspace of the 2 axes in millimeters), divide the curve into waypoints, and the format those points into a list that could be processed by the gestalt scripts.
Here is a video of the first test of the motion.