Archive for 2013

Haptic Synapses Live during #C2SV 2013 at Works/San José

We had a fun time playing at Works/San José on september 28th during #C2SV’s first year. Here’s a photo Steve took of Derek and Charles.

We played for 3 straight hours, but here are some clips of our performance:

Where my helical interpolators at?

ParadroidAbstractMix81min.mp3.mp3 for more info

laser cutter design portability

I’ve had my full spectrum engineering gen5 hobby laser for about 8 months, and I’m enjoying using it. I’m not a total newb to using a laser. I had a couple months of intensive usage at Tech Shop years ago.  After that, I bought a CNC Router, and after that a 3d Printer.  I tinker with a lot of different things.

Over the years, I’ve seen a range of design files that people have shared.  For the 3d printer, typically you’d go to Thingiverse to get and share designs that you can use in your device.Thingiverse has some design files for CNC routers…   Some things make sense to share for a 2.5D personal manufacturing device.  And I guess if you’re making 2d things with the laser cutter, then of course you can share all kinds of clip art and whatnot.

A 3d printer is fairly straight forward.  The output is handled by the media you’re printing with. Your slicing software just accounts for everything and spits out machine code to do the right thing.  And things usually go well and you end up with what you were trying to end up with.

If you’re making 3d things from 2d media with the laser cutter, things get more complicated. If you pick up someone’s design on thingiverse, it’s designed for a specific thickness sheet good to cut the shapes out of.  If the design has finger joints or cross braces or is a box of any kind, it has to be designed with parts precisely cut to fit with whatever you’ve chosen to make your project out of.

Exhibit A:

The iPhone 5 stand by Kip


I like this design. A lot. It’s clean, thoughtful, and looks like it would take all of 10 minutes to cut out.  The description says it’s cut from 4mm thick plexiglass.

I guess “plexiglass” is the same thing as a sheet of acrylic.  So I’d go with a sheet of acrylic. I just went out to my garage and measured easily 20 pieces of acrylic, and NONE of them are 4mm thick.  So if I threw a 4.75mm thick sheet of acrylic onto the laser and ran this file as-is, none of the joints would fit because they’re expecting a thinner material.  So it would be a total waste of time and materials.

So, I’m here to do some wishing.

I wish there was a 3d cad program that would let me draw an abstracted design without specific thicknesses until I know what material I have in my hand that I’m going to use in my project. For the iPhone stand above, we know there are 4 pieces.  So if my wish came true, I could say “here’s the overall dimensions, this piece should have this critical angle, this edge should not be programmatically variable, but the rest of these pieces are dynamic.


Oh. I guess that would be a parametric cad program. Anyone ever heard of a parametric cad program aimed at designing for a laser cutter?

moar life!

The laser is working well enough to feel good about my ability to reliably make cases. This is good. I need to assess what parts I have and what I can do in the short term. There’s been a lot of thought going on inside my head about what’s next. Not sure what I’m going to do yet, but believe me, I have beatseqr on the brain again.

More activity!

This is the second unit that I’ve migrated to a new acrylic case… in two days!

Signs of life

It’s been a productive few months. I bought an industrial fume extractor for the laser. I’ve been getting a lot of experience with this particular laser under my belt making sculptures and whatnot, and over the last couple of weeks, major movement on beatseqr case design. Welcome back white acrylic case! Still dialing in all the parameters, but feeling good so far.












Haptic Synapses live at Empire Seven Studios, June 26 2013

We were lucky enough to be invited to play at the SF Design Week in Silicon Valley event at Joe Miller’s solo show “Mass Produced Original Thought” at Empire Seven Studios. It was an amazing body of thought provoking art, and I’m really glad to say we had a great session and everyone was really happy with how it went.

Photo by Natacha Madrigal

Photo by Joe Miller

Haptic Synapses live at SubZERO 2013

We played on the Gore Park stage! But we also hosted the stage, and we were too busy all night long to have enough time to get the recording equipment running. Oh well.

Photo by Robert Zuchowski

Photo by Robert Zuchowski

Photo from the stage by Steve Cooley

Photo from the stage by Steve Cooley

Photo by Robert Zuchowski

Photo by Robert Zuchowski

april 2013 works in progress

I helped kickstart Full Spectrum Laser’s 5th gen 20×12 hobby deluxe laser last year. They delivered the laser, and I tried and failed really quickly at building my own fume extractor.  I bit the bullet and purchased an industrial strength fume extractor, and now I can use the laser without polluting the air. Yay!  So: game on!

Cuts so nice you gotta hear it twice.
ideas taking flight
hard to see cousin

My head is overflowing with new ideas that feed off these initial tests. All very exciting!

Don’t Use IDs as CSS Selectors – find out here

I made a graph that helped me figure out if I can use IDs as CSS selectors.  One side of the argument is “NO NEVER” and the other is “Well, it depends.”   I obviously don’t spend any time working on CSS for fun. You only need look at the website you are on now to see this fact.  For fun, I make things, and  for work I also know how to make some level of html/CSS/javascript/php/mysql.  So this concept hit me as being novel today. But, wait… does anyone care?  Then this graph entered my mind.  I’m pretty sure it’s right. Maybe not.



The bottom axis is number of css designers affected by using IDs as CSS selectors, starting with a value of “nobody” on the left and “everybody” on the right.

The left axis is the number of pages using the stylesheet in question, starting with a value of “zero” with “greater than zero” in the middle and “infinity” at the top.

The trend line in the graph is linearly up and to the right.

Now you just need to figure out where you are on that graph.  To me it seems like the more pages you have, the more designers will be affected by the choices made about the strategy.  Certainly no strategy with even zero designers can lead to awful no-fun times to change the layout of a page… but if designers=0, do I really need to have all this strategy for a site that only has a handful of pages?  I’m really not so sure.   Ok, I’ll think about it.  Classes for styling, IDs for javascript. Ok, maybe. Maybe I should do this, moving forward. Hmm. I don’t know. I’ll have to think about it.

Live at johnny v’s San Jose ca


Live at johnny v’s San Jose ca



Haptic Synapses Live at SLAP!!!

February 7th, 2013. Johnny V’s San Jose, CA. Thanks to eom sessions and SLAP!

Haptic Synapses Live at SLAP!!!

February 7th, 2013. Johnny V’s San Jose, CA. Thanks to eom sessions and SLAP!