Sunday, March 9, 2014

Adjustments... Are needed.

It's been a really busy six weeks.

I'm taking 19 units, trying to be as much help as possible at Mind-2-Matter and manage to actually eat good food (and make sure my husband eats good food too).

I'm at "school" like 30 hours a week. Which is sheer torture to me. I'm not a classroom person. I was home schooled. I have been taking "distance learning" classes since they involved watching a class on cable access TV. Online classes were a dream come true for me. This is the most time I've spent "at school" in a week probably since I was in the 4th grade. It's torturous.

I also have to adjust to different standards since transferring from AAU to SFSU. Even at 19 units, I still feel like I have "free" time (which is totally an illusion as I'm trying to do a million different things at the same time). At AAU, if you tried to take more than 12, you were likely to suffer a nervous breakdown. I worked full time and took 6 units for a couple of years while there and that was close to overload too.

I have noticed that concept is more important than execution at SFSU. I have also found that people don't really take deadlines seriously. I have one class that I think we are about 2 weeks behind in because that was how long it took for everyone to turn the first assignment in. I had it done on time. No excuses. I've never seen instructors move due dates before. It has always been turn it in (even unfinished) or get no credit or a drastically reduced grade for being late.

Another adjustment for me is the idea that everyone must avoid having feelings hurt at all costs. (I had a teacher bring cookies to lessen the blow of crits) Some how everyone is supposed to feel good about themselves at all times AND feel like they are important no matter what. WTF? I had a group project that no one was cooperating on. I took the lead and tried to manage it (some how it's too difficult to use an online learning interface, but these people are online 24/7 for other things). Like herding cats. I sent an email because the project deadline was looming rapidly indicating that people needed to step up and contribute. I also reminded them that we were to submit a list of the group and each individual's role within it. Apparently this was hostile, aggressive and bordering on violent language. It possibly could have been deemed bullying (seriously? bullying? we're in college people).

Apparently showing up to class on time is totally optional as well. I have one class that starts at 5:10 and ends at 7:55. There are a couple of students that don't show up until 7 p.m. The instructor doesn't take roll but I don't have the balls to try that. It would  be my luck that he would try taking role if I tried to show up late.

Let's just say that after 4 years of no nonsense, school is to be treated with utmost professionalism and no spared feelings, this touchy feely crap is hard to take.

The good news is I can be out in 2 semesters provided they actually have the classes I need available. But state schools are a bargain. It's basically a flat rate for anything over 6.1 units. After breaking down my tuition and fees with the number of units I'm taking, the per unit cost is about $70 a unit. Almost as cheap as community college!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Working with Chance - Shifted Perspective

After thinking about what we have been discussing indeterminacy and working in chance in my conceptual strategies class, I decided to apply it to my independent studies class as well.

In 3D printing, a lot of variables are left to chance. There is no guarantee that your print will be successful. If you print the same object 1,000 times, there are any number of things that will effect the outcome. Ambient temperature, material, hot end temperatures, computer issues, hardware issues, and more can change the outcome of your print.

Case in point:

This is an 18 gallon tote filled with failed prints (going back about a year - there are more that have been thrown away or are in other boxes as well). Some failed due to equipment failure. Some failed due to material failure. Some of them we have no clue as to why they failed. 

This box is intended to be run through a "filabot" style machine to reclaim the expended filament. Mind-2-Matter and LaserGnomes try to be as green as possible, so reclaiming spent filament is inline with our  business plans. I figured in the meantime, I could do a bit of reclamation myself. 

I spent some time digging through the box to create a sculpture from failed and discarded prints. Since we design and print a myriad of things from engineering parts to organic shapes, it was an interesting melange of components to choose from. 

We had a number of MegaFire and SlugFire shells that failed for various reasons or were made prior to additional revisions that lead to our finished retail ready products for NERF blasters.  We also had a number of failed flowers from another project that we undertook for Valentines Day. 

Obviously it's time to get a larger photo tent :)

Shifted Perspective

Shifted Perspective

Shifted Perspective

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A change of topic

It was pretty cool that GoldieBlox won the Intuit small business competition for a super bowl commercial earlier this month, but it keeps crossing my mind that I don't remember toys being so divisive when I was little. We had toys. I don't remember EVERYTHING being pink, purple or turquoise for girls and primary colors for boys. 

It's really interesting to see the Lego then and now ad that was written about on Huff Post recently. Looking at the 1981 image, that's how I remember childhood. I don't remember everything being pink, princess themed or looking like a bag of glitter threw up all over it. 

I don't remember being told that anything was out of my reach or that certain things were for "boys" or "girls". Maybe this wasn't normal. But it seemed awfully normal to me. 

But then again, I remember being far more engaged in creative play than having toys when I was young. Maybe there were some advantages to not having a lot of money. 

I remember playing "mad scientist" and writing notes about my potions (typically made from plants and dirt in the yard). I imagined charting data (I was pretty convinced my nail hardening potion that was made from ash and several other things totally worked). 

I remember making plant based dyes using crushed plants (my favorite was crushing purple flowers and trying to draw with the "ink" I had made. I tried to weave baskets from pine needles. I built a loom in my tree house and spent hours weaving yarn. 

I helped my dad pull engines from our cars. I had a 6' long poster of a Lamborghini on my wall for years. 

Sure, I had my Barbies, My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake and Cabbage Patch Kids. But I don't remember having much in the way of pink (Barbie's Corvette was sort of the exception). And Barbie would hang out with GI Joe and fought a lot of battles. 

I learned how to use tools. I learned how to work on a car. 

None of this was ever presented to me as anything other than normal. Now we have groups devoted to trying to convince girls that it's cool to build things or like science. It just seemed normal, at least in my life, to build things, make things and experiment. 

Perhaps my family was more progressive than we knew. But my parents and grandfather always encouraged me to try everything that interested me. 

Having that encouragement has given me some amazing life experiences. And I'll be honest, when I got older, I did experience some of the "but girls don't do that" mentality. 

When I became a firefighter, my mom and grandpa supported me, but other people would ask why a pretty girl would want to do that. I was ready to join the Army. Again, a lot of why would a pretty girl want to do that. I don't think I realized that was a prevailing viewpoint until I was 18!

Kids react in the way the adults around them. When the women around them defer to men to do "man" things, it sets that up as the norm. When the men around them feed into that idea as well, it makes it seem to be normal to have a division of male/female roles. 

Just do things. Don't classify things as feminine vs. masculine. When you are a child, anything is possible until the outside world tells you otherwise. Perhaps it's time to take a note from Nike and "just do it".

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Hot Trend: Brass, Bronze and Gold Finishes

And we at Mind-2-Matter, know a thing or two about brass.

Currently we are casting brass and pewter with little to no problems. We've also tackled bronze as well!

Brass Impeller

Bronze "Lazard" by Justin Kelly
Brass, bronze and gold tone finishes are all the rage in decorating right now (in moderation I can understand, but it sort of reminds me of the Golden Girls and the 1980's horrid bathroom fixtures when overdone). 

The resurgence in popularity apparently has been building since early 2013. I know that when a former employer would offer vintage brass pieces, they'd sell out almost instantly, but I didn't realize how far reaching it was. House Beautiful called it out in December 2012, Apartment Therapy was singing its praises in 2013 and it seems like the love of brass is still going strong, especially at New House New Home

There is certainly a nostalgic bent about brass and bronze. Brass always makes me think of my grandpa. One of his favorite pastimes before his hands got too bad was going to the thrift store and restoring brass pieces. 

The Brass Minimal Surface Cube (above) is an awesome example of what Mind-2-Matter can do. This form is based on theoretical mathematical principles that would be near impossible to bring to reality without 3D printing. Using traditional milling methods, it would be impossible to generate this object in brass, bronze or any other metal. We've developed a technique that has made it a reality. 

The Bronze "Lazard" is another example of bringing digital assets to life. It was originally created as a model for a class Justin took and it's been brought to life using 3D printing. We've then used our process to cast in bronze. This is an amazing took for digital modelers who may want to create a physical object from their digital assets!. 

Got an idea? Contact us. We can help you bring your ideas from mind to metal :)