Desktop 3D Replicators? Wow,This Is the 21st Century

“STEP INTO THE 3D PHOTOBOOTH AND IMMORTALIZE YOURSELF!”, the MakerBot store on Mulberry Street in Outer Brooklyn/Manhattan says on its website. That sounds like “Beam me up, Scotty” come true, with a dash of  The Immortals. The reality is a little bit different, but still pretty cool. This is not a clone machine, but a copier. A 3D copier.

Retailing for $2200 and up, The Replicator could make lots of models or household objects for you.

Retailing for $2200 and up, The Replicator could make lots of models or household objects for you.

If you want to make a photocopy of something as large as your house or as tiny as a penny, just use a Xerox copier. Take a picture of your house, or just toss the penny on the copier’s glass, and hit Copy. Or Start. That’s the way it’s been done since, well, before I was born. If you want a 3D copy, that presents a problem—or it did until recently. Brooklyn’s Madagascar Institute—a place that teaches mostly shop classes like welding and operating power tools, and also some crafty stuff like sewing—actually offers a class on 3D copying, using, in Star Trekian parlance, a Replicator.

3D printing is harder to master than your average 2D Xerox—at least according to people who’ve never tried to operate a worn office copier—which is why the Institute holds three-hour-long classes taught by Colin Butgereit. Butgereit, who’s been a member of Madagascar Institute for more than a year now, also works for MakerBot Industries, which manufactures the MakerBot Replicator.

“I provide people with the knowledge to generate the files so that the printer can essentially make or build the object,” he says. “It’s a three-hour class, and you can do a fair amount of printing in three hours. The bigger it is, the longer it will take, so we stick with the smaller stuff.”

He usually has four students a class, which works out to one printer per person.

Let’s talk quality. Say I want a copy of my right hand. The printer’s output will be “pretty close to an exact replica,” Butgereit says. “You’re still going to see that it’s for the most part printed; you’re going to see lines, you might get some polygons or different shapes that you would never see on a hand because it’s been computer generated. It also depends on the software—with high-end stuff it could almost look exactly like it.”

Okay, but what about scars? I have a great one on my right index finger dating back to my sophomore year in college, when I was helping a guy work on his ancient, oil-soaked car engine. The wrench broke, I shoved my hand into the dirt-caked starter mount, and after a trip to the ER I ended up with an inch-long scar full of stitches and black grease. Oh, yeah, I stuck my thumb in a table saw. And also, my, um, wrinkles? (I’m, uh, older, so they should be self-explanatory.) “Only if it’s a sort of geographic,” he says. “If it stood out, either from convex or concave form, that’s where you might see it. So far as color it will never show up.” So no black grease, but you’ll see stitches and veins.

For the home hobbyist or designer, this Solidoodle makes up to 6x6x6" objects and sells for around $500.

For the home hobbyist or designer, this Solidoodle makes up to 6x6x6″ objects and sells for around $500.

What about size? The penny, no problem. But the house? He has an answer to that one.

“Fly all the way around your house until you’ve taken enough photos so you could see every part of your house,” he explains. “When you have that, download the Autodesk application [Autodesk manufactures CAD software] on your computer or iPad, and process it and email it to Autodesk. They will essentially send you back another email of the image compiled from the data.” Load it into the Replicator and voila. As for the house’s square footage, “Technically it could be to size,” he says, “but I’m guessing there’s no 3D printer to handle a house. You’ll have to scale it down.”

If you’re interested in the 3D printing class at Madagascar Institute, go to eventbrite.com. The class runs $65.

Executive Editor Phil Scott writes about science, travel and aviation. 

>For a glimpse of the future, where you don’t worry about losing your keys, you just print up a new set before you leave the house, or don’t keep a toolbox, you just print what gadget you need when you need it, and instead of putting it away, you just toss the used one into the materials recycler.

Amazing 3D Printer – YouTube.

ODD CONNECTIONS: ‘Avarice’ at the Brooklyn Museum and ….

Brooklyn Museum "Avarice" Fernando Mastrangelo 2008IT’S A SHOW-STOPPING GRAND FINALE TO BROOKLYN MUSEUM’S GREAT-HALL EXHIBIT Connecting Cultures: A World in Brooklyn, and no wonder, for the piece is spectacular. To Brooklyn Artisan’s surprise, it’s even more striking in situ than Gaston Lachaise’s monumental “Standing Woman” –  which we’d gone there to have another fond look at. (That, and the bronze foursome from Rodin’s “The Burghers of Calais” who’re standing around in the covered courtyard.)

What stunned us – and won us –  is the disc-shaped piece almost ten feet in diameter that’s called “Avarice.” Part of the museum’s collection of contemporary art, it was made in 2008 by Fernando Mastrangelo, who was then 30. Mastrangelo is a Brooklyn-based artist (whose mom lives in Texas, one learns from his Facebook page). As the name suggests, “Avarice” combines art and politics. Its artistic basis is, of course, the circa-1500 Aztec Calendar Stone – which recorded the creation story of the Aztec world – with the face of Tonatiuh, the Sun God, at the center. The political statement is what it’s made of, a wry example of Marshall McCluhan’s dictum that “the medium is the message.” The media in this case are:  White corn, white and yellow corn meal, epoxy, fiberglass, wood, and metal. (And maybe just a small shovelful from the recycling bin?)

In adjacent panels, some cobs and a Coke. Sounds like a summer snack in Mississippi.

In nearby panels, some cobs and a Coke. Staples of an American summer diet.

Toothpaste, spark plug, sliced lunch meat, see anything else?

Toothpaste, spark plugs, deli sliced meat. (Photos: Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.)

The museum sign also tells us, “The depiction of corn-based products draws attention to Mexico’s mass cultivation of corn to meet energy needs (via ethanol) and foreign consumer demands.” The Aztec visual reference brings up the whole sordid story of the Spanish Conquest; the devil in the details, however, is the “avarice” of North American agribusiness and consumer culture. Take a look at these close-ups and the large image at top, and you’ll find some telltale items.

Political art is nothing new for Mastrangelo; his 2010 TED Talk spoke of art as an evolving way to record history, to tell the story and capture the spirit of one’s times, including in today’s digital world. Last year he had a 3-month show in Miami at the Charest-Weinberg Gallery called Black Sculpture. The gallery write-up makes clear this is not about race. “After creating exact molds based on the work of Frank Stella and Ad Reinhardt, Mastrangelo casts his reliefs out of compacted gunpowder. The pieces teeter on the precipice of annihilation.” Yikes, talk about jimmy-crack-corn. “Yet the pieces are not simply bombastic,” the gallery says; “submerged beneath the tense potential for destruction is an elegiac calm. They give form to the Existential angst that inspired their Cold War-era predecessors….The black gunpowder, coupled with the Reinhardt’s cruciform and Stella’s teleological line work, firmly suggests an end of something.” Indeed. One hopes all future shows will be firmly No-Smoking zones.

Brooklyn Artisan came across what seemed to be a clear Brooklyn influence in Mastrangelo’s other discographic work from 2008 (click through to have a look). Though our favorite was composed of “Turquoise Sugar, Red Arbol Chili, Corn, Corn meal” and titled “Xochiquetzal,” we knew at a glance its visual vocabulary was from Brownstone Brooklyn’s   ornate plaster ceiling medallions, including the hole for the chandelier.

Meanwhile, back in the Great Hall: The stated purpose of the Brooklyn Museum exhibit is to “create new ways of looking at art by making connections between cultures as well as objects…. Connecting Cultures: A World in Brooklyn was a joint effort of the Brooklyn Museum’s curators, organized by Kevin Stayton, Chief Curator. The installation was designed by Matthew Yokobosky, Chief Designer at the Brooklyn Museum” and financial support for the long-term installation came from Lisa and Dick Cashin. Brooklyn Artisan salutes them all, but as much as we enjoyed working the room, we do admire this comment shown on the museum’s own web site: “it’s a strange collection that doesn’t seem to sync with each other. reminds me more of a victorian living room than a museum exhibit.” — Posted by Tameka G.

From totally outside the museum scope, there was one more odd cultural connection we couldn’t help making. Last fall Brooklyn Artisan visited another great hall exhibit, “American Made,” put on in Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Station by Martha Stewart. In our photos made at the time, take a look at the sign and its detail.

Painter's tape, sparkly braid and bating brush.

Painter tape, sequin braid, brush.

From the exhibit in Grand Central's Vanderbilt Hall.

From Grand Central’s Vanderbilt Hall.

Moore’s Law: How the Future Came To Be Stuffed in a Stocking

Apple II computer, 2 disc drives.By David Fay Smith  COMING UP ON 30 YEARS AGO, I WROTE A BOOK called A Computer Dictionary for Kids and Other Beginners (Ballantine, 1984), to explain bits and bytes to children and their parents. This Christmas, my wise wife gave me a copy of iPads for Seniors. And so it goes.

At Costco recently, I bought flash drives for Christmas stocking stuffers: $10 each for SanDisk 16 GB flash drives – solid state gizmos with retractable USB connections that will bayonet into practically any fairly modern PC or Mac and provide a convenient means of backing up or transporting files from one computer to another. These are about 1 ½ inches long and weigh a third of an ounce.

Just to be clear, 16 GB is 16 billion bytes (actually 16, 384,000,000, but who’s counting?) A byte is equivalent to a single character or letter, so 16 GB amounts to some 2 billion 8-letter words or about 40 typical 50,000 word novels.  [Read more…]

Here’s to Orville and Wilbur: The Makers and Flyers

Yesterday was Kitty Hawk Day, which provoked this reminiscence.

THE WRIGHT BROTHERS NEVER TRUDGED UP THIS DUNE BAREFOOT. That’s what I’m thinking last spring as I try to negotiate the wings of a 1902 Wright glider up a sandy winding trail carved out of Jockey’s Ridge with Kitty Hawk Kites’ clean-cut manager Bruce Weber and assistant recreation manager Andy Torrington. This exact replica was hand-built in 2002 by renown Wrightist Ken Hyde and The Discovery of Flight Foundation–sort of an artisanal business for the aviation set. This glider’s heavy—about 150 pounds—and bulky—302 square foot of flexible, yellowing canvas wing built just like the original—the same ash and spruce and weatherbeaten,  cross-stitched canvas.

Speaking of kites: Wright Brothers 1902 glider

Speaking of kites: Wright Brothers 1902 glider

The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were tinkerers; they came along before mass-production. They were the kind of guys who today would be found at the Makers Faire and the 3rd Ward or taking their kids over to the Robot Foundry in Gowanus. While the closest they ever got to flying in Brooklyn was Governor’s Island, they did own a small bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio, a city that produced more than its share of earth-shattering inventions. (The cash register? Yup, that was born in Dayton.) Everything the brothers did was hand-crafted, from their bicycles to their first powered airplane.  If there’s anything to learn about growing an artisanal business, just read a biography of the Wrights.

So far as the ’02 replica goes, fewer than 30 people had ever flown it, but last year Hyde loaned it to Kitty Hawk Kites.  It looks fragile, it flexes, creaks, but it always bounces back into shape. It’s tougher than it looks. [Read more…]

A Tale of Two Libraries

The Kensington Library opened November 15, 2012.

After a nearly three-year renovation, the Park Slope Library reopened in September.

INSPIRED BY A NEWLY ISSUED LIBRARY CARD from the Brooklyn Public Library and by a tip from Madeleine Appell, an instructor at Kingsborough Community College, I went to visit two branch libraries to look at the architecture and design of the buildings.

As new as it gets

The Kensington Library branch opened on November 15 in a newly built, LEED-certified green, sustainable and fully ADA-compliant building. The new building replaces an older location that was a few blocks away in a former catering hall from the 1960s. This light-filled open space is cool as can be, yet warm and appealing, even as it stands out from the surrounding residential neighborhood of traditional-looking low-rise homes and mish-mash storefronts. I love the daylight that streams in from the glass walls and skylit atrium, along with the arty Calder-like mobiles suspended from the second floor. This would be a fun, cheery place to spend a few hours reading or surfing the web.

Sustainable features of lighting, heating and cooling systems, and thoughtfully-selected materials and finishes are invisible in such a well-designed and people-friendly space. The Kensington branch has been one of Brooklyn’s most active library locations with over 100,000 items in circulation. It’s hoped that this beautiful new space will provide an energy-efficient and healthier environment for users and staff. Unfortunately, according to the Daily News, this may be the last branch built from scratch. Due to budget realities, the Brooklyn Public Library is considering preexisting storefront locations for new branches.

Retrofit plus

Back in Brownstone Brooklyn, the Park Slope Library, known as “Prospect Branch,” reopened in September after nearly three years of renovations. As befits the neighborhood, this building is replete with the columns, paned-glass, and details found in the landmarked homes surrounding it. Renovation has brought new lighting, technology, climate control, and accessibility to this 1906 building that was part of Andrew Carnegie’s legacy. It was all in use when I visited this afternoon—kids, parents, caretakers, and the occasional grown-up, all gently engaged with books and computers, in comfy, well-lit spaces. A row of strollers were parked neatly by the entrance.

City Councilman Brad Lander notes that libraries routinely provide internet access and computers to the 50% of New York households without high-speed internet, as duly noted by the activity I observed in both branches today.

Kensington Library. F train to 18th Avenue. Kensington/Boro Park
<< Nearby: Korn’s Bakery and Cafe K

Park Slope Library. F/G train to 7th Avenue; R train to 9th Street. Park Slope
Nearby: Colson Patisserie >>

Joy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekend to-do lists.

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn, November 16, 17, 18

Stanley & Sons, The Tailors, from Brooklyn Makers,
a book and photography project by Jennifer Causey.

Starting up: holiday crafts and food, plus ways to feed your head too.

BE SURE TO CONFIRM with each event or venue as schedules and availability continue to change for many things.

Friday: A good day to take advantage of Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s free weekday admission during winter hours. “Times like this remind us that plants, trees and gardens are about renewal,” from Garden News. Tuesday—Friday: 8am-4:30pm.

Urban Agriculture: United Community Centers Farm,
East New York, by photographer Rob Stephenson.
Opening exhibit Friday at BRIC Rotunda Gallery.

Friday: On Purpose: Art & Design in Brooklyn, 2012. Opening reception, BRIC Rotunda Gallery. An exhibition featuring the work of multi-disciplined designers, architects and visual artists that address the environmental challenges of contemporary urban living. Topics emphasize sustainability, diverse creative solutions, desire for beauty and working together to build community. Brooklyn Heights. 7pm-9pm.

Saturday & Sunday: Julemarked Danish Christmas Fair, The Danish Seamen’s Church. Modern and traditional Danish art, craft and delicacies: Christmas ornaments, Bodum, Dansko, as well as aebleskiver, meatballs and candy. Nearby Plymouth Church hosts a restaurant with smørrebrød, beer and glogg (Saturday only, 11am-5pm). Brooklyn Heights. Saturday 11am-5pm. Sunday 11am-3pm.

First time for the holidays in Brooklyn—The Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market

Saturday & Sunday: Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market in Brooklyn at East River State Park. A curated craft collection from indie makers; workshops including a DIY wrapping station; music from some of Brooklyn’s best DJs; free-to-use photobooth from Magnolia Photobooth Co., and local sweet and savory treats to round out the day. Williamsburg. 11am-6pm.

Sunday: Hands-On Pie Making: Pumpkin Pie at The Brooklyn Kitchen. This two-hour class aims to teach home cooks to make a crust—including the daunting lattice-top—and a mini-pie to take home and bake. Taught by Millicent Souris, author of How to Build a Better Pie. Williamsburg. 2pm-4pm.

Sunday: The 10th Anniversary Chili Takedown. Taste 30 chilis—“America’s favorite pot of hatred,”— mostly local and mostly from veteran Chili Takedown entrants. Park Slope, The Bell House. 2pm.

Sunday: Radio Unnameable Ciné Barbès Rewind/Replay Series. Documentary portrait of WBAI-FM radio personality Bob Fass who revolutionized FM in the 60s and 70s with free-form programming. Interviews and performances by Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Carly Simon among others. Q&A with co-director Jessica Wolfson after the screening. Park Slope, Barbès. 5pm.

Read: Jennifer Causey’s Brooklyn Makers, part of the Makers Project, features inspired photographs of 30 of Brooklyn’s self-styled creators, i.e., Brooklyn Artisans.

Sign: NYC Food Trucks Petition. We love our food trucks; we’ve all seen and heard about them during Sandy’s relief and recovery actions; they are valuable to our city and worthy of our support.

Joy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekend to-do lists.
Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn, November 9, 10, 11

A chance to recharge, support and giveback: theater discounts, house and history tours and it’s Meat Week NYC with events to benefit Sandy recovery

Best of is glad to be back with more eclectic things to do in Brooklyn and Outer Brooklyn.
BE SURE TO CONFIRM with each event or venue as schedules and availability continue to change for many things.

Miguel Cervantes in the classic Giant, performed at the Public Theater. (photo by Karen Almond.)

Through Sunday: Off Broadway post-Sandy Discounts. Playhouses big and small were dark last week and as an enticement to get audiences to return, many are offering $20 tickets. Among the offerings: “A Summer Day” featuring Karen Allen, at the Cherry Lane Theatre, and $15 tickets at The Public Theater for three shows. NYTimes lists participating theaters.

Through Sunday: Meat Week NYC, celebrating the farmers, markets and chefs who bring sustainable meat to our tables. Tastings, parties, butchering and cooking demos, market tours, talks. Updates to scheduled events will benefit Sandy relief efforts. Brooklyn and Outer Brooklyn locations, check the website for specifics.

Friday: The Shooting Gallery, part of Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 30th Next Wave Festival. An interactive installation in which the audience will trigger short video and audio clips with lasers while circulating through the theater. “Creating something like a group gestalt,” according to director Bill Morrison. BAM Fisher Fishman Space, Fort Greene. 7:30pm and 9pm.

Friday: Broads for a Cause—An art benefit for Planned Parenthood. Opening reception and silent auction of artwork from over 45 female artists and tattooers. Sponsored by Coney Island Beer and Cupcakeland. At Eight of Swords Tattoo, Williamsburg. 7pm-11pm.

Saturday & Sunday: International Passive House Days. Four Brooklyn residences will be open for tours: two landmarked homes, two new construction. All use construction methods that meet Passive House standards: comfortable temperatures year round, affordable to build, energy savings, renewable. Various locations, check the website for information.

Saturday & Sunday: 21st Annual Quilt Show “Cool Quilts”. This annual exhibit showcases some of the most interesting quilts made in the area. This year’s show takes inspiration from the word cool. Lefferts Historic House, Prospect Park. 12pm-4pm.

Bldg92 at Brooklyn Navy Yard is on the tour on Saturday.

Saturday: Brooklyn Navy Yard by Bus: the Past, Present & Future of the Yard. Voted 2012 best tour by New York, this tour packs almost 400 years of city history in a little over two hours. At its peak, the Navy Yard employed tens of thousands of workers, but then stood idle for almost 30 years. In its current resurrection as a haven for artists and entrepreneurs, the Yard is becoming a model for sustainable urban industrial parks. Included in the tour is a closer look at the dry dock that’s been in use since before the Civil War, a hospital frozen in time, and the nation’s first multi-story LEED Gold-certified industrial building. Advanced ticket purchase is advised. Vinegar Hill. 2pm.

Saturday: The Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival. A one-day series of events featuring artists and publishers displaying and selling publications; lectures and conversations on comics; exhibits.
Free public exhibition. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, Williamsburg. 12pm-7pm.
Events and talks throughout the day, such as a Q&A with Roz Chast at 2:30pm. The Knitting Factory, Williamsburg. 11am-4:30pm.
Screening of two documentaries about cartoonists Joann Sfar and Ben Katchor. Followed with a discussion by filmmaker Sam Ball and subject Ben Katchor moderated by WFMU’s Benjamen Walker. At Union Docs, Williamsburg. 7:30pm.

Saturday: Farmy Folks Soiree Markets Fundraiser and Volunteer Appreciation Ceremony sponsored by the Hattie Carthan Community Farmers Market. You are invited to join in on a home-grown family-style feast, live eco and folk performances, locally grown/produced wines, local bread, more. Tickets required. Bedford Stuyvesant. 6pm-10pm.

Puppetmaking workshop at BAM, Sunday.

Sunday: Great for families The Sweatshirt Sheep Puppetmaking Workshop, Brooklyn Academy of Music. Part of BAMcinématek series Puppets on Film. Make your own puppets and then perform your creations in front of a camera. Be sure to check out other puppet programing throughout the weekend at BAM, Fort Greene. 11am, 2:30pm.

Sunday: Open Studio and Gift Sale by watercolor and ceramic artist Sally Mara Sturman. Paintings, illustrations, drawings, prints and pottery, old (really cheap!) and new (not so cheap).

Illustrated Ceramic Bowl by Sally Mara Sturman, Open Studio and Sale, Sunday

Sally’s Etsy site All Things Painted is also on sale [use coupon code: HOLIDAY1 for 20% off]. To visit her Lefferts Garden Open Studio, contact Sally for exact address. Please mention Brooklyn Artisan. 2pm-7pm.

Joy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekend to-do lists.
Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

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