Monday, December 31, 2018

A New Series is Born

I like creating series. One off robots are cool, but there is something about a series that I really enjoy and today I just finished 2 in what will be my newest line. They use old analog light meters as the body. I came across these meters a few months ago while rummaging around on Ebay. I didn't really do much with them robot wise, but did make some old school ray guns. After all ray-guns are cool
Fast forward to last month when I used one of the light meters in a robot I made as a gift for my buddy Lisa's daughter (she is a photographer ). I loved the way it came out so this week I grabbed the other two and went to work. This is what I came up with.


I love the way these look. These are on swivel bases, an idea I got from my wife, and creative consultant, Lori. The GE light meter serves as a great base to work with, the size is nice, about 6 inches tall, and they have great personality. I already found a few more meters on Ebay and ordered them yesterday. These are fun to build and will make a great robot army!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

2 New Additions

The last few weeks have been satisfyingly productive. I finished 2 robots that were partially complete. On the first one I was having issues with finishing the head. When I decided to give up what I had been planning the whole thing came together quickly. Hooray for being smart enough to know when to let go of an idea! Here is the finished product.


The second one I really like. The body is an old mechanical relay from the U.S. Navy. The head is from a projector bulb I pulled out of the trash at work. The arms are old dental drills. This one really works and is a little different than most of my others.


A resolution I am going to try and stick to is carving out more time in the Robotrium. Like any creative endeavor, the more you do it, the more you want to do it. Plus its always very rewarding. For now I am looking forward to the show I got into that begins in January. I decided to list both robots for sale, which is a big step given how attached I become to them, but its time to see if there is real interest, and a show in the South End is a great place to do that.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

I'm in another Art Show!

I got the good news on Monday, 2 of my pieces made it into another show. The Beacon Gallery Is running the show Analog / Digital starting January 11th 2019. I entered 5 pieces and 2 were accepted. The gallery reported they had a large number of entries, so I consider myself fortunate to have made the cut. It's always very exciting and energizing to get this kind of recognition. These are the pieces that made it in:



I am leaning strongly towards listing both for sale. I love both, however Angus is one of  kind. The Gallery is in the South End, which is a fantastic location regarding exposure and traffic, so I may just go for it and see what happens. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

2 New Works

Over the last few weeks I have managed to carve out some time in the studio. Its a personal goal to try and incorporate that into my weekly routine (such as it is). These past few weeks saw me start and finish 2 more robots. In this case I think the productivity had more to do with building 2 more of types I had already done, which is way easier (no endless hours staring at something trying to figure out how it goes together) rather than me focusing on working. Either way though being productive makes me want to be more productive, which is good because that's what I want to focus on.

This one looks like the one I gave my friend Lisa last month, it uses some of the stuff she gave me.

This one is the fourth of this type I have done. Being wheeled its a little different from what I usually do, its also somewhat smaller since it has no legs. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Friends Give You Parts - Again

Lisa, one of my co-workers and all around creative and cool person, gave me some parts a few weeks ago. Just 2 old valves from the steam radiators from her house. I loved the way they looked so I jumped right in and things came together quickly.

This is what she gave me:

And this what I gave back to her today:

I've decided that going forward, if I get usable parts from a friend, my goal will be to give them a robot from those parts in return. I did this once before for my buddy Amina. One of the challenges I have with these things is that when I make one, I want to keep it. Hopefully this will be a way for me to curb that inclination and get more work out there. I love the reaction I get from my work and today made a friend smile, what could be better than that?

Friday, October 5, 2018

No Robots, but much Coolness!

So last month I got a rare, and historically super geeky opportunity. I was on the U.S.S. Constitution when it did a turn around cruise in Boston Harbor. How incredibly cool is it to be on the worlds oldest commissioned warship, a ship that was named by George Washington? Well I thought it was awesome. The cruise was to honor Gold Star Families and educators (that's how I got on board). They ship went out to Castle Island, was saluted by a National Guard Battery, returned the salute, and then went back to her birth. All told it was a 3 hour cruise and just tremendous. We lucked out weather wise too, it was perfect.

Monday, September 17, 2018

More about the Process

Its been a while since we have looked around the Robotorium to see whats "up-and-coming". Given that I wanted to post a few images of what I am working on and combine that with more musings about my creative process.

First Up: A Pile of Heads.

Many times I begin a project with a body part, most often is a torso. Heads are right up there though. I usually do not have a  preconceived notion of what the final product will look like, but prefer to just start with a part and go from there. The end result is driven by materials, paint, patina (dirt), and availability of parts.

Heads are fun, fun to make and think about, but also critical to the final personality. Of the ones above, only the gas pump/meter has a potential body. Its the film strip projector you can see a bit of in the photo. The rest will sit on the bench while I ponder potential uses for them. 

Next are two pieces that are in the works. The first is waiting for me to figure out its legs.

I love the look and feel of this one. I am quite happy with the head, which is a combination of  an electrical service conduit and an old projector bulb. Right now the base I have it on allows it to kind of wobble around, and I may leave like that. But the skeletal nature of the arms keeps making me think of replicating that in its legs. I need to think on it some more. 

The  there this:

Not the best photo, but this uses an old projecting microscope as the body. Its kind of different from what I have done in the past, which makes it cool. The challenge here is what do I do to round out the body and what kind of head do I use with it. Again this needs more thought and tinkering. trying various parts, figuring out how to attach them and how they work, or don't work, as a whole. Like any other creative endeavor its part tinkering, part head scratching, and part flash of inspiration. 
Hopefully this post gives you a sense of how I get "from here to there", its never a straight path, but always a fun one to walk. 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Summer's Over, I am Back

Summer break is a big deal if you teach, like I do. My summer pursuits tend to turn towards outdoor activities, thus the lapse in postings. But school began anew this week, and with so begins my work in the studio. Below are a few things I have just finished up.
I always wanted to build a couple of old school looking ray-guns and finally got around to it. Here is my take on the classic 1950's ray-gun. Both use soldering iron handles as a base. The top one uses an old light meter for the body, whereas the bottom one I built the body up off of the barrel using some bearings and drive couplings.

Vernon, The House Robot has been at the Mosesian Center hawking for donations but will now become part of this falls members show. I need to change out his batteries, but if you are near Watertown, swing by and check him out, he's a personal favorite.

Apologies for the picture here, but this ones kind of big and the spot I usually use (with the nice neutral background) didn't work because of his size. Anyway this is a variation of a few I had built before. This one has a slightly more malevolent air to it. I love the face and the way the arms came out. I always try to get the end result to be visually and stylistically cohesive and I think this one is a good example of that. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Nothing to do with Robots

Lets call this a tonsorial diversion. About a year or so ago I started shaving with a straight razor. It appeals to the tool user in me. I think straights can be elegant looking tools, and the thought of shaving with something 100 years old is really cool. Anyway I managed to put a nick in one and needed to find a person to hone it out and bring the razor back into fighting trim. One thing lead to another and I found The Perfect Edge in Shrewsbury, MA. only an hour drive from me. Its run by Howard Schechter a honemeister extraordinaire, and all around fascinating and funny man. I spent the morning with him learning how to hone a razor, how he got into importing Belgian Coticules as well as some of the science behind what happens when you rub a piece of metal on a rock. Anyone at all interested  in straight razors, honing, or even making one of your own (he can show you how) should check out his site, and if your in the area, pay him a visit. It's always a pleasure to spend time with craftsman, and Howard ranks right up there.

The razor I nicked that Howard fixed for me and a Zulu honing stone I bought from him while I was visiting. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Donation Robot

I finally finished the Donation Robot and dropped it off at the Moseisan Center for the Arts. Its there right now as part of the annual fund drive. I am happy with the way it turned out. Lori and I actually miss it, its customary home is in the kitchen. For now though its in Watertown, so if your looking to see it head on over and check it out.

Here it is "In Action!"

Monday, April 2, 2018

How Much is that Robot in the Window?

What it worth? That's a tough question, one I wrestle with - a lot. Since I have decided to try and sell these its been hard to try and figure out pricing. Its hours of work and the parts do not always come cheap. But here is an example where things worked out better for me regarding costs. Take one of my latest pieces, Angus. His head is made of a surplus submarine periscope film magazine.

Now I got this part from Surplus Shed in Pennsylvania, a great place to look for oddities, specifically optical stuff, but they have a ton of other things, like this. Anyway, the last time I ordered a few of these the package had the original U.S. Navy inventory tag. Check out what Uncle Sam paid for this. 

Yup, you read that right, $16,818.00! Now I would say that makes Angus here just a little more valuable, wouldn't you? Nothing but the best for the Robotorium. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Amina's Birthday Present

So about 2 years ago my friend Amina gave me 2 old Weston electrical gauges. They sat for a while, as things do around the Robotorium, but when I got going on them I really loved how they worked as a platform. I liked them so much I bought a bunch more a few months after I finished the first ones. It proved to be a good call, they really work well and are fun to build off of. Anyway it was Amina;'s birthday this month so I gave her one of the the ones I built using the parts she gave me. Weston #2 now has a new home.

A few new pieces.

Apologies for the long intermission, but its over now. Below are a few newer pieces I finished. These 2 are pretty typical for the aesthetic I am going for. The one below I finished over the Christmas break. This one is a little different in that it has no legs. Its a heavy piece, and the legs were giving me some challenges, which led to the thought that it since looks pretty cool as is why bother with legs, so I left like that, I mean who says a robot needs legs anyway?


I have had the body for this one sitting around for about 2 years now. I really like the piece but it took a while for the whole thing to come together. I finally just grabbed the body, sat down and got to work. The head was giving me some challenges until I was in Lowe's and walked down the electrical supply isle and found the service hood that worked like a champ, especially in how well it held the old microscope turret I used for his face.