Friday, August 15, 2014

Disney's interactive design system for rapidly creating physical characters and their motions

Check out this amazing software designed by Disney which enables character shapes and their desired motions to be generated very quickly.

From the video description:

We propose an interactive design system for rapid crafting of planar mechanical characters. Our method combines the simplicity of sketch-based modeling with the ease of defining motion through extreme poses. In order to translate these digital designs into fabrication-ready descriptions, our method automatically computes the mechanical structure that makes the characters move as desired. We achieve real-time performance by limiting the mechanical structure between pairs of components to simple building blocks that define, trim, and propagate their motion. By focusing on shape and motion, our system emphasizes the creative aspects of character design while hiding away the intricacies of the underlying mechanical structure. We demonstrate the flexibility of our approach on a set of virtual designs and physical prototypes.

By paring things down to just a character's outline and motion, the program is able to quickly generate 2D prototypes that focus on the underlying mechanical structure. The third dimension (depth) and aesthetic considerations can come later and benefit from a different set of tools. I like what they've done here. Linkages can produce some astonishing output motions from some simple inputs. Figuring out these linkages is far from intuitive however.

Here is where you can learn more about ChaCra: An Interactive Design System for Rapid Character Crafting.

[ Thanks Seth! ]

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Thursday, August 07, 2014

Flying Pendulum Clock you can build from wood

Check out this nifty flying pendulum clock designed by Brian Law of I have owned two of the reproduction clocks designed after the New Haven antiques.

Full sized plans along with instructions showing how to build the this spring-driven mantle clock will appear in Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts Issue 56, Fall 2014. The clock employs the novel and entertaining 'flying pendulum' escapement. The patterns and instructions provided by the magazine are excellent and will enable you to cut out all of the components to build the clock.

Here are Brian Law's original plans for the Clock 17 Flying Pendulum with wind up spring on which the one in the magazine is based.

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Monday, August 04, 2014

How I became a full-time clock repairer

Every so often, my blog is actually about me. This is one of those times. I have an article in the current issue of Make Magazine (Vol. 40). I was asked to write about my recent career change to a full-time clock repairer.

A few things I don't say in the article are that I also display and sell some of my automata. I have four pieces available at the moment! I also display a whole bunch of antique clocks I have restored which are for sale. My studio is located in building that once supplied the leather belts that powered the industrial looms and other machines that filled the city of Lowell, Massachusetts.

I hope you enjoy the article, From Cubicle to Clock Repair.

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