Generative Heat Transfer

Category : ideas May 24th, 2015

Imagining fractal-like heat-transfer mechanisms. Combining ideas like


and my previous exploration:

Fractal Spirograph Related to Scaling Gears. Slack-line balance?

Category : ideas Jul 23rd, 2014


I posted this sketch a while ago of an idea for a kinetic sculpture made of nested planetary gears.  Which was a derivative of the log spiral gear thingy. These ideas are basically the same as, or extremely related to, this!:


more here:

and even better this:

These are interesting visually, and certainly could lead to some nice kinetic sculptures. But I also find them stimulating because they suggest fractal-motions, and maybe are even related to kinematics in organisms. The radius of curvature of the paths makes these wonderful crescendos and cascades. The motion actually reminds me of the counter balance (or counter torque) motions in slack-lining. (like tight rope-walking but on a not-so stiff strap) While trying out slack lining with a wonderfully happenstance acquaintance, I was informed that the best way to use the arms to counter-balance is to ‘loosen-up’ and move the arms in a smooth, graceful sort of way. Instead of holding the arms rigid and pivoting only at the shoulder, all the joints (shoulder, elbow, wrist, fingers!) get involved. These sort of motions may be similar to the tentical-like spiral kinetic sculpture I made and its analogous animation (above right). It did seem to help me balance better. While this is wild speculation, as I have been to lazy to try any real attempt at analysis, I wonder if these motions are somehow better for counter torquing while balancing? I wonder how the tails of various balancing creatures (cats, squirrels) behave.

Geometric nonUniform Fractal Trees

Category : ideas Jun 17th, 2014

There is something so nice about fractal trees. Here are some that I generated in rhinoPython using L-systems as described in the Algorithmic Beauty of Plants. L-systems are a really neat way of defining and creating various fractal and fractal-like geometry so that one does not need to write new code to make different fractals. Im thinking about making some little connector pieces so I can make models of these with dowels. I like them because they are highly regular and geometric in definition, yet somehow my eye sees them as rather organic from some angles, especially when the trees have certain branch angles (20 degrees seems quite nice).

I say nonUniform fractal because of Mandelbort, ch.16, Trees; Scaling Residues; Nonuniform fractals in The Fractal Geometry of Nature.

Capoeira in Amsterdam

Category : Uncategorized Jun 17th, 2014

Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art / dance / music tradition that I enjoy doing. I found a great academy here in Amsterdam and over the weekend I participated in a Caxixi-making workshop. A caxixi is a rattle that is one part of an instrument called the berimbau, which is the most important part of Capoeira music. Here is the Caxixi I made:0616141852

a neat method of weaving, and pretty clever means of closing the top off so it looks seamless and stays closed. Makes me think about robotic manufacture of radially symmetric objects haha…

In Amsterdam

Category : Uncategorized Jun 14th, 2014

Wow, I have been in Amsterdam for a week.

Here is the bike I bought, on the first day too, since it was immediately apparent that a bike is essential to living here.


I am working at joris laarman studio, a fantastic design studio that uses developing technologies and methodologies, like 3D printing, CNC milling and computational form generation. I am working on the MX3D project. The project is to develop and explore the 3D printing in steel using a MIG welder and a 6 axis robotic arm. So far I have been working on dealing with programming the robot to follow complex paths. While the robot gives a great advantage in that it can position the welder, which deposits steel, in nearly any orientation and position, it also can be extremely difficult to program so that it can follow complex paths without running into errors. In the same way that the human arm has limits on the angles that the various joints can sweep out, the robot can get stuck if a joint rotates too far in one direction. It turns out much of the stuff we do when we move objects around with our arms and hands is really complex and quite clever. Trying to imitate this is a challenge.

Anyway besides thinking about singularities and robot configurations, exploring Amsterdam has been quite interesting. I checked out the Van Gogh Museum, which was very nice and rather inspiring, hung out in Vondelpark (the biggest, most popular, and absolutely stunning park in amsterdam) and did some touristy sightseeing in the central part of Amsterdam. Amsterdam is riddled with canals, which create a fantastically layed-back ambience, in combination with the multitude of single-speed bikes. (Some might argue that the legality of marijuana might have something to do with said ambience, but from what I gather very few dutch smoke weed! Its mostly tourists, apparently). There are even house boats and little houses that are built in canals!


more soon…

Scafolding -> house

Category : ideas May 21st, 2014



PIR, PUR insulation panels

Contour Crafting, Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing, Termite Robots

Category : ideas May 1st, 2014

Contour crafting is a layered additive manufacture technique, much like that of ABS or PLA 3d printers such as the makerbot, but with the addition of trowels which shape the extrusion to create a nice surface finish. Check out Also check out the projects that Behrokh Khoshnevis is working on. Pretty neat.

In one of his papers (contour crafting paper) he talks about the possible applications of contour crafting, especially the fabrication of building walls and roofs. It presents some pretty fascinating ideas about modular rebar, electrical and plumbing systems that are integrated into the wall-extruder.

I wonder if techniques like the electron beam additive manufacturing and  Joris Laarman Lab’s MX3D project might be applicable to a rebar reinforcement system for extruded walls and roofs.

One problem with these systems is the need for a giant gantry system to make something big. The aforementioned paper suggests mobile robots which move about to access various parts of the structure, much like a set of human workers moving about while working on a large building. I wonder if it would be possible to create mobile robots which are designed to move directly on the structure they have previously created. This is similar to the ‘termite robots‘ project, but with extrusion instead of discrete-unit deposition. (here is the termite robots paper, here is the self-organizing system research group). One problem with such a system would be feeding material to a robot that keeps moving around. One advantage would be the ability to make structures that are many times larger than the robot itself.

Another thing all this stuff makes me wonder about is dedicated extruders for specific cross sections. Like an extruder head which prints a circular cross section, so that it can make tubes. Mounted on a 3D robotic positioning system, like a multi-axis robotic arm, one could make tubes that follow complex space curves. That would be neat.

Ohmu Robot

Category : Uncategorized Feb 26th, 2014

Hey, this random Ohmu Robot me and a few talented Miyazaki fans made last semester:

(I did the mechanism design and building. used fantastic software Linkage Simulator to design leg linkages  and Solidworks to model it. Uses a little dc motor, with a drive wheel contacting the ground for motion and crankshaft for all the little legs.) Thanks CMU robotics club!!


2013-11-24_14-07-42_258 2013-11-24_14-23-35_917 2013-11-24_14-07-35_632

3D print

Category : Uncategorized Feb 25th, 2014

0113142038 0113142038amodeled in blender. Using blender array modifiers and subsurface divisions.

fractaly kinetic sculptures

Category : Uncategorized Jan 26th, 2014
fractal gears. inspired by sequence from electric sheep and blender's array modifiers

fractal gears. inspired by sequence from electric sheep and blender’s array modifier.


An idea for making nested planetary gears in a fractal-like manner. I explored a similar idea earlier here