Tuesday, December 12, 2017

I got a Commission

I have some of my small robots for sale at the Holiday Shop at the Mosesian Center. A person saw them and contacted me about a commission. She saw the birds and was wondering if I could do a fish. I jumped on the chance, even though its not what I focus on. She requested it be on a stand and also said it was gift for her partner who is an Electrical Engineer. Here is what I came up with.

I liked the way it came out, but best of all the client was very pleased. It was a fun creative exercise that pushed me a little, which is good. 

Friday, November 17, 2017


I finished this one a week or so ago. Its a little different regarding the arms. I have a ton of old wire laying around and wanted to try and incorporate it into my work. I'm happy the way it worked out. I also like the feet made out of speakers.

The head is a reconnaissance camera magazine from a U.S. Navy Reserve Patrol Squadron - I think that's cool!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Donation Robot continued...

The Donation Robot is moving right along. As I said in my 9/27 post, this is planed to be used in conjunction with fund raising at the Mosesian Center, and hopefully provide me with some advertising. As of now the only thing I have left is to finish the arms and then work out a minor stability issue. So far I'm pretty happy with how it's turned out.

Making a Series

I really enjoy making a series of robots. I find that having at least 2 of a type around is very satisfying. Here is the latest the I finished, the EE series.

They are all similar, but just enough different in detail to make each one visually intriguing.  I think that as I get into selling these works I am always going to want a few series around. One always makes me giggle, two even more so.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Latest EE 1626

Here is the latest creation. I have been working on this one a while but was sort of held up by how to attach the big wheel to the body. I knew I wanted the main wheel, trailing wheel combo, but figuring out how to make it work took a while. In the end I fabricated some brackets to make it all work and am happy with how it turned out. I have two more in the works.

People's Choice Award!

I was quite flattered to learn that Weston #4 tied for the People's Choice Award at the members show at the Mosesian Center. How cool to have my work recognized by other artists.

Here is a screen grab of the award winners, congrats to everyone, it was a great time!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Donation Robot

I'm working on a large robot based on an idea that Kimberly Thompson, The Director of Exhibitions and Studios, at the Mosesian Center, floated by me. She suggested a Donation Robot to use as part of fund-raising events. It would help make donating fun and generate some advertising for me. I liked the idea and have been working it steadily. Here is what I have so far. 

I got the body from a guy in Northfield MA (thanks Zach!). Nothing like driving 90 miles to get a free piece of junk from someone you never met. The body is an old dental x-ray machine, the head is an old electric fence transformer. Now I need to figure out the arms and how to make it a little more interactive, but I love what I have to date. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Members Show at the Mosesian Center

The Mosesian Center's members show starts next week and I have 4 of my robots in it. Once again I'm happy to have gotten my work in and really thankful for the support the center has shown thus far.
These are the 4 that got in.
Weston #3

Weston #4
The Diver

This time around all 4 are for sale. I hope they all sell, I hope none of them do. I become very fond of them and have trouble making the decision to sell any but that time is here. We will see how it all turn sout. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

X-382#2 and other things.

Here is the second in the X-382 series. I love the way this series has turned out!
I am entering this one, and three others, in the member show at the Mosesian Center. This time everything I enter in for sale. I had a great meeting at the beginning of this month with Kimberly Thompson, the Director of Exhibitions and Studios from the center (thanks again Kimberly!). She had a bunch of great advice regarding next steps with my work. One idea in particular struck home with me. In fact I'm off on a bit of a road trip this week to pick up the main piece of what will be my biggest work to date. I will post some updates as this new project develops. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

We have so far to go!

If you have not seen this story, I highly reccomend it. Another bit of news that made me laugh at the current state of robots, as they are, not as I had envisioned them. Oh well.

Guardian news 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

First X-382 Finished!

Here is the beauty shot of the first X-382.

As I said in my last post, I'm very happy with the way this one came out. Its big, about 2'6" tall, and heavy. I have two more in the works. I entered this one and 5 others in another art show at a gallery in Cambridge in September. I will post here when I know the results!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

New Series - X382

Here are a few pictures of my new limited series. I have 3 in the works and I'm really happy how
X-382 is coming out.


For Sale! 7 of The Five.

So I decided to start listing some of my work. Right now I am using Etsy, here is the link to my shop Robotorium . Currently there is the one robot listed, but I'm planning on putting more up. My goal is to use some of the time I have during the summer to try and ramp up my productivity. I also am going to shoot for another art show in Cambridge and opens in September. I'll post here once I know if I'm in. Until then it's back to the bench.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Weston #4

This is the finished robot form the previous post, More of the Process. The head on this one is a bit of a departure. Its made it using a projector bulb housing and more modern electrical parts. I do like the way it all turned out. It still has great personality and a harmony of parts that I strive for. I'm currently working on the 7th version of The Five that I plan on listing on Etsy for sale. After that I have a series of 2 larger robots that I think are going to be really excellent. Stay Tuned!


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

More of the Process

These are few images of another robot that's about 2/3 of the way done. The base is from the box of Weston bakelite meters I picked up a few months ago. For now I am sticking with arms based off of computer peripheral back plates with bits attached. I like that look.

This shows just the arms and the enclosure for the head, its a projector lamp housing. I added some other components to the inside of the head that play off of the face piece below. 

Here are all the bits, the housing for head and the face piece, a lens and PC board assembly from a digital camera. I am about finished with the arms and still working on a final version of the legs. I'll follow this post up shortly with a dry assembly in a few days. The more I use these old Weston meters the more I like them. They are a great platform. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Reclaimed Opening was Great!

Last night was the opening of the Reclaimed Exhibition  a the Mosesian Center in Watertown, MA. It was a blast. Hats off to Roberta, Kimberly, Matt and all the other people at the center for doing a great job with the show. I was very happy with the feedback I got, people loved the robots! There were lots of comments on how each one has a clear personality and how much they make people smile, which is exactly what I am going for. Here is the display of my work.

Having never done anything like this I was not sure what to expect, but it was such fun. It was also cool to be able to talk to other artist and get feedback from them. Overall the whole evening was very energizing. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Art Show and Newest Robot

The art exhibition I got into starts this week. It opens Thursday and runs through the first week in July. I'm really looking forward to this.  I just finished up this piece and am quite pleased with how it turned out.

This is about 12 inches tall. The head is an old airplane whiskey compass and the body an old electrical meter. The more of these I build the better sense I am getting as to what works well together. My goal is for all the parts to be complementary so that the finished product maintains a look of intentional design and has that "real and used" look.  

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

I'm in an Art Show - Wow!

Dear Bill ,
On behalf of our juror, Molly Scannell, congratulations! Your submission titled The Robotorium has been selected for the Reclaimed exhibition.
The above is the first few lines of an email I got yesterday regarding 3 of my pieces which made it into a juried art show! As the title says - Wow! The show, Reclaimed, is hosted by the Mosesian Center in Watertown and opens on the 27th of April and runs until 7 July. Getting my work accepted to a juried show is a big deal. There is a huge amount of validation and pride for me in this. Hopefully it his represents a next step in this journey. I'm not sure where it will end up, but this little development is pretty cool. If your near Watertown in the next few months, swing on by and check out the exhibition!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

My Vision, Defined by a 3 year old.

This video has been running around the inter-web for a day or so. I found it via Boing Boing, a blog I frequent, and recommend. First off, this is really funny, and cute and adorable. But it also captures much of how I feel about the robots I build, there is clearly joy in this young lady as she stumbles across a mechanical friend while going for a walk. There is also the absurdity, from an adult perspective, that its a water heater, one with personality, but still a water heater! A great hulking inert thing that came alive, for a moment, because a little girl went for a walk.

Rayna, I do not know who you are, but you ROCK!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Newest Addition

I finished this one up this week. I stumbled across 9 old Weston ammeters and got a good deal on them. They make a great platform to build on, I had done two using similar gauges that I got from my friend Amina. I posted about them here. With this one I kept the skeletal nature of the arms the same as before, but added a light in the head. I wanted this one to fit in with the other 2 and I think it does nicely.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

February Break

Teaching is a good but demanding job, the breaks, when they come, are much needed. Its kind of like performing all day long, a rest from being "on" all the time can often be vital. So Feb break was both restful and an opportunity to finish some projects.
This one is just about 3 feet tall, hence the photo in the kitchen, instead of an all neutral background. I love the way this one came out - it makes me laugh.  

This one is less than a foot. I love the presence these have, I try to imbue them all with a sense of personality. Most of the times I think I manage to do it. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Another creation

I finished this one this week while we were getting hit with this winters first real storm. I had the day off so I spent a portion of it at the bench. This one is about 3 inches tall. I really like it, especially the fact that it has no real front or back, it kinda works both ways.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Lots going on

The past week or two have been busy. This is the bench in the Robotorium. Right now I have 6 different robots in varying stages of completion. When I get going like this the bench gets kind of crazy, but it's how I work. I love it when I have a bunch going on. It allows me to jump between projects, so if Im stuck I go to something else, or another idea pops into being and off I go. Not the most efficient way to work, but a lot of fun.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Creative Process

With this post I want to give you an idea of how I create a robot. This project took about 3 weeks and is fairly representative of how I go about designing (if you can call it that) and building one of these.
This is a timer from The Industrial Timer Corporation in Parsippany NJ. I bought this on eBay over 3 years ago. Its one of the first things I got when I started thinking about building these, so its been sitting around for quite while. 

 Originally I was going to use this old glass telephone pole insulator as the head. I was going for a Robby the Robot kind of look. I was also thinking about adding an LED inside the insulator for some subtle lighting effect.  Once I decided to get going on this project I started messing around with different heads.

I tried this, an old aircraft whiskey compass. I like the way the numbers and hash marks on the compass work with the numbers on the face of the timer, but something about this wasn't jelling. Next I pulled out an old pair of binoculars I had and a few other bits and came up with this:

I really like what this did. In this photo I have already added a heat sink to the binoculars as a sort of a mouth. There are also a set of neodymium hard drive magnets to the side of the timer. I love the face of the timer but the sides and back were basically blank and needed something to provide a little more visual interest and I like the way the magnets did that. The binoculars are sitting on a bearing and large plastic gear and the head rotates. At this point I was envisioning some sort of arms made of black corrugated plastic, or old rubber hose.

In addition to the magnets I stuck these old handles on the back. Visually they work really well with the timer and they soften the body. Now I'm getting somewhere, but I still hadn't figured out the arms.  I decided to set the whole thing aside and started messing around with some old dental drill parts I had. I ended up making these:
 Now I had a very cool set of arms that I had absolutely no intention of using on my current project. These have a kind of Terminator look that, while I love, did not fit with what I was fiddling together. Often when I am building I drop what I am doing and start messing with something else, its a haphazard way to work but I find it really fun. So now I have a pair of arms that I'm thinking would serve as the basis for an entirely different robot when inspiration struck:

So my idea was to build off of the hard drive magnets I had stuck to the side as shoulders and see if I could find a way to visually incorporate the arms I just made. This is what I came up with:
I changed the type of hard drive magnet, added a few bearings to it and came up with a shoulder that worked with the new arms. The problem was I still wanted a way to integrate the wires on the arm with the body as well as the skeleton like look with the rest of the robot, so I found this:

I got rid of the gear part of the neck and used this aluminum frame from and old blender motor and added a few bearings to the neck. These parts help to tie the arms to the body both mechanically and visually. I'm really loving how it looks. Now I need legs, but I had no idea what the legs were going to be. I need to think a bit.

While thinking about the legs I did made one slight change to the shoulder. I dumped one of the bigger bearings and added a small aluminum nut in its place. I went back and forth for a while and ultimately liked the way this looked. Now, what about those legs? When I build I try to use what I have on hand. With that I started to rummage around and came upon the parts I used for the legs of "The Five" series. With a little more messing around, and the idea of making this a tripod, I came up with this:

Visually these work. They echo the color and material of the neck the arms and the body. The black feet visually connect to the neck and body, and the gears above the feet play off of the timer faceplate. I just needed to do a little futzing around to figure out how to attach them and "Viola" a new robot joins the crowd:

I love the way this turned out. I think it has a lot of visual interest and a well thought out design. For any given project the process is pretty much the same. I start with a piece, mess around with a few ideas, which knock loose a few more ideas and eventually it all comes together.