Making a project move or effect the physical world is an exciting prospect, but stops many creative people in their tracks. Physical computing platforms such as Arduino are a great place to begin learning about collecting data and/or using actuators such as motors.
Often times, however, the emerging hobbyist or media artist will become frustrated by limitations: “I know how to control this motor, but how can I use it to animate the arms of a doll?” Or mechanize the flapping wings of a wooden bird? Or 100 birds?
This workshop will serve as an introduction to simple machines, linkages, couplings, basic mechanism and how all of these combine into more complex machines. We will cover many critical concepts including levers, block & tackle, gears, work, force, machine elements, and most important, translation of force. Focus will be on creative applications.
Workshop hours will be divided between lecture, demo and labs with a small final project in the end. The workshop will be almost entirely analog. We will be focusing on materials, methods and applications; When combined with physical computing savvy, these skills will help bring your ideas to life!
Michael Kontopoulos is a Los Angeles based artist-designer-tinkerer, and a recent graduate of the MFA program at UCLA’s Design | Media Arts program. His personal work mixes the media of sculpture, physical computing, programming, and video.
- No physical computing knowledge is necessary. Rotating elements will be provided for the final project.
- Some tools and materials will be provided; Others will be brought in by each participant, as needed.
- Comfort with tools (cutting, sanding, drilling), geometry, physics are a plus. Craftiness and visual thinking skills are a huge plus.
Note: With each lecture and demo, I will be showing A TON of examples of mechanical motion in: The machines around us, Notable DIY projects, Fancy-pants Artworks, Funny online videos. The goal of the workshop is to demystify the concept of mechanisms, give you an overview of construction options, and the vocabulary for extending your experiments beyond the workshop.