learning the ropes

things I made at ITP and after: sketches, prototypes, and other documentation

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Space Planning for DPI Residency

I’m preparing for my residency at the Digital Performance Institute and have been working up some ideas of how I will use the space.  One of the challenges of working in this space will be the drawing surface; I don’t have a blank wall to hang my paper on.  After sketching a bit, one solution I’m considering is using a roll of seamless background paper mounted on a pipe above a 4′x8′ sheet of plywood which is attached to Auto Poles with some Super Clamps

1 side view

2 near camera position

3 plywood mounting

4 plywood mounting - closeup 

A 3/4″ thick sheet of 4′x’8 plywood weighs approximately 75lbs (or 34.02kg).  A Manfrotto Super Clamp is rated to hold 15kg, so I figure that a clamp at each corner of the plywood (along with some simple adapter hardward) should be able to hold 60kg.

posted by Michael at 11:30 am  

Monday, September 15, 2008

rope&pulley Story

I created a video to tell the story of the rope&pulley project and how it developed during my final year at ITP.  In addition, the video also expresses what I’m planning to do during my residency at DPI in 2009.

posted by Michael at 5:41 pm  

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

rope&pulley at ITP Spring Show

video: Gian Pablo Villamil

posted by Michael at 10:10 am  

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Upcoming Events

Thesis Presentation
Every graduating student in my program is required to give a twenty minute presentation on their thesis project. My presentation about the rope&pulley performance system I developed will take place on Thursday evening at 9:00pm EST. You can watch my presentation in two ways:

On the Web:


- the presentation is streamed live and also recorded for later viewing

In Person:
721 Broadway
4th Floor – Room 447
New York, NY 10013

ITP Spring Show
My rope&pulley system will also be exhibited in the ITP Spring Show, where I’ll demonstrate a different application of the system — as an instrument for informal musical collaboration

Monday, May 12: 5-9pm
Tuesday, May 13: 5-9pm

This Spring Show is also located at the addressed listed above, but takes up the entire fourth floor.

posted by Michael at 10:51 am  

Saturday, April 26, 2008

April 25 Drawing

2008 04 25 Drawing

April 25, 2008 [tex|ges]ture Drawing – compressed charcoal, oil pastel on butcher paper (96-inch x 36-inch). While listening to SoundGarden (“Boot Camp”) and Bjork (“Pagan Poetry”) and trying to map out my final thesis performance, the drawing disintegrated into another gestural exploration.

posted by Michael at 10:00 am  

Friday, April 18, 2008

New Pulley Assemblies

Pulley Construction 010

All of the pieces for a single assembly are together. I’m happy with the way the unit looks and feels. I’m a little dissatisfied with the way it turns, though, so I’ll need to do a bit more sanding to make sure the wheel spins as freely as possible.

Pulley Construction 006 Pulley Construction 007 Pulley Construction 010 Pulley Construction 012 Pulley Construction 013 Pulley Construction 016

posted by Michael at 11:00 pm  

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pulley Encoder Boards

Today I etched two test boards for the pulley encoders: the RJ-45 breakout board and the emitter/detector pair board. I wanted to make sure that the board design worked correctly before ordering multiple copies of the boards. After soldering the components onto the boards, I connected a CAT-5 cable between the newly fabricated boards and the interface board I made last week. Before plugging anything in, I checked continuity on the various traces to make sure things were wired properly — or so I thought. When I plugged in the unit after testing, I found that it didn’t detect rotation. I inspected the infrared LED on the detector and found that it wasn’t glowing (I used my digital camera to check). I wasn’t completely surprised; when I hacked apart the mouse circuit board, I found that the X- and Y-axis LEDs were wired together. To fix this problem, I soldered the second IR LED onto the bottom of my interface board. Still no luck. Double checking things, I found that copper traces were bridged on one of the the circuit board I etched. After fixing the bridged traces, I found that the circuit still didn’t work. From prior experience, I figured that either the LEDs, the phototransistors, or both were probably blown, so I decided to try again with another mouse.

Pulley Construction 001 Pulley Construction 003 Pulley Construction 004 Pulley Construction 005

posted by Michael at 11:32 pm  

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Pulley Fabrication at Glide Design

This afternoon I returned to Glide Design to have my pulley parts fabricated on a CNC milling machine. David Liatti tweaked my designs to make sure the mill produced the best results. The sounds of machinery running, the smell of sawdust, and the opportunity to spend the afternoon watching and learning from a man who practices the art of converting ideas into physical objects was inspiring. Thank you, David!

2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 001 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 002 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 003 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 004 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 005 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 006 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 008 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 010 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 011 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 012 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 013 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 014 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 015 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 017 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 019 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 021 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 022 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 023 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 024 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 025 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 027 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 028 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 029 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 030 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 035 2008 04 13 Pulley Fabrication 036

posted by Michael at 11:52 pm  

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

April 8 Drawing

Yesterday as I was looking for inspiration, I found an Erhu recording from the subway platform last November. I liked that I could use my rope to “bow” the sound as I applied granular synthesis to it. I used this sample yesterday for my first drawing with the Rope&Pulley. Today, I made a larger drawing. One of the ropes controls the location of the sampling “window” (ie, the area of the sample the granular synthesis engine looks at) and the other controls the output volume. This was a fairly crude demo.

posted by Michael at 9:40 pm  

Monday, April 7, 2008

April 7 Drawing

posted by Michael at 3:45 pm  
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