Thursday, December 15, 2011

Know Your Meat.

For time time being I have decided to transfer over to in an effort to work on a blog that corresponds with my upcoming thesis show, ‘Know Your Meat.’

'Know Your Meat' is a politically based, artistic endeavor to encourage people to expand their knowledge on meat production in the United States. Please feel free to follow me on there at as I work through my last semester at Miami University. And as always, thank you for the continued support!

Here is a preview of what is to come:

Friday, October 22, 2010

AMTS, CNC, CAD/CAM...acronyms, acronyms, acronmys

For those of you who do not know, I have been doing my research on CNC (Computer Numeric Controlled) Milling machines in order to write for a Technology Grant available at Miami University. The interesting thing is that we already have two CNC's on campus, a 3-axis in Engineering and a 4-axis one in Architecture. So the challenge has been trying to find a machine that offers different possibilities then the other two on campus.

To explain a bit about the difference between a 3-axis, 4-axis and 5-axis:

A 3-axis has an x, y and z axis. Meaning, that the drill bits moves in a left-right motion as well as a front-back and up-down motion. This allows flat sheets of material to be shaped from the upper side only.

A 4-axis has all the same features as a 3-axis, but has a rotary attachment that allow the object being cut to rotate allowing it to be shaped from the top, bottom, front and back. The only thing this does not allow for is undercuts.

A 5-axis gives the drill bit (or in some cases the table of the machine) the ability to move at different angles allowing for said undercuts.

So back to my research. I had the opportunity to go to the Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Show (AMTS) in Dayton on Thursday. Being one of about 20 women at this show, as well as probably the youngest person actually looking to purchase a machine, I felt a little intimidated at first, but adjusted quickly.

I found it quite easy to talk to manufactures as most of them seemed quite interested in my endeavors. Being in a group of mostly engineers, many were shocked to find out that I was an art student and that this machine would be going to the School of Fine Arts for use. Many had no idea that some artists knew so much about CNC's (as I was told on several occasions) or that we used CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing) in our work.

Although I went there at first telling manufactures that I was looking for a smaller scale, CNC Milling machine with 5-axis capabilities that could cut non-ferrous metals, I quickly learned that the difference between a 5-axis and 4-axis is not all the substantial and that most 5-axis machines are not 'true' 5-axis machines.

The biggest concern in writing this grant is that we find a machine that can cut non-ferrous metals (something the other two CNC's on campus do not do). The question has now become, what is the best bang for our buck. Right now there are two possibilities:

1. A 4-axis machine that fits on a desk top, can cut wood, plastic, wax, non-ferrous metals etc. but cannot do undercuts, for about $22,000-30,000 with the software that we need.


2. A 5-axis machine that is 4ft x 2ft x 2ft, can cut ANY material with undercuts, for $85,000-95,000.

Although the 5-axis would be very different from the other machines on campus, it is a little overkill and the likelihood of us actually getting it, considering the cost, is not that great. The 4-axis machine would serve virtually all the purposes we need it for, can cut metal, is an ideal machine for jewelers (and is actually advertised that way) and is about $60,000 cheaper.

I was told I would learn a lot and I certainly did. Now we need to make a decision...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

What's cooking?

I was indirectly reminded that I have not updated my blog in ages. Well not ages, but in internet time 4 months in close to a couple years, right?

Anyway, I am about to head back to school in a week and have been trying to figure out what I want to work on for the upcoming year. I started some sketches earlier this summer, but none of these ideas seem to be related at this point.

Therefore, I started thinking about my last year of undergrad when I was working on my BFA and how that all came together. Luckily I had a lot of work that was related through a similar theme, but still was not really sure why I was making what I was making. I had the privilege of having and interesting professor who encouraged people to make meaningful work: work that did something for others and was not a bunch of self-indulgent, self-centered work. I have been trying to work on kitchenware for the last year with most of the emphasis being placed on the design of the piece, while still maintaining an interesting concept. How to merge these ideas?

For the last year, I have been really interested in cooking and even moreso, healthy cooking. (For those of you who do not know, I keep a small photo album/recipe book on Facebook of the recipes that I have tried.) This interest has caused me to come across a lot of articles about childhood obesity and on a broader basis, the general eating habits of people in the United States. Being someone who likes to make fun pieces with a toy like aesthetic, I think this affords me the opportunity to explore some of these ideas on a broader basis.

Some questions I have been thinking about include:
How do you get children interested in food?
How do you get children to choose a healthy option over an unhealthy alternative?
How do you make kids understand the benefits of choosing healthier options?
What kind of products would help kids make better choices?
How do you make these products kid friendly, but fun?

Although I have some ideas about this, I would love to get opinions form other people as well. Thanks for you continued interest and I look forward to hearing some of your ideas.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Roach Approach

Ok, so here is the deal...I am going to be traveling to Prague at the end of May to do a work shop with some other students. (I know, you feel bad for me. Right?) Well, plane tickets are expensive, as is food, lodging, etc. and I could use to raise a bit of extra money to help alleviate some of that expense. So, I came up with the 'Roach Approach.'

I am selling laser cut, roach jewelry.

$15 necklaces

$10 pins

$10 hair clips

Plus shipping if I can not bring them to you or you cannot pick them up (in Oxford)...but you could save on shipping if you order multiples for your friends and family. I will start shipping in May.

Color Choices:




(They are incredibly delicate, so you have to be careful with them)

Why Roaches? you ask.

Franz Kafka. Franz Kafka was born in Prague and is actually buried there too. So in honor of him and my trip to Prague, I decided on a roach theme for his most famous short story "Metamorphosis".

So, if you would like a fun piece of jewelry and to help me pay for my trip, please contact me on here or at And tell your friends! Please, please, please tell your friends!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Grand Plans for Etsy

Although I have had an Etsy account for quite some time I have not been the best manager or promoter of said site. With that in mind, over the summer I am planning on changing this, making new work and really getting this up an going again. In the mean time, I have renewed some of my older listings and will be adding images daily for the next month, as well as over the course of the summer. Below are some of the image I have listed so far and please stay tuned for more!

My etsy site is:

And me get this going and tell your friends!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Roto-Caster (Part 2)

I knew when I took on this project that it was going to be a challenge as this is my first year every really working with wood and certainly my first time working with gears and moving parts that are not hinges. I have encountered a few problems (and general tips that seem to be missing) with the instruction I posted from the Internet in Part 1.

The first is the top arrow which refers to the larger of the two black gears. This gear has a set screw in it and has to be tuned to the point of contacting the bolt that goes through it. This gear is meant to move with the bolt as the caster rotates causing the white gears to move the inner, smaller frame (Hint: the white gears need to be tapped to a larger size so that they do not split (or tear up your hand) when putting the bolt in.)

This same large gear brings me to my second problem which is the arrow at the bottom of the first image. Because of the thickness of the gear, the small amount of clearance between it at the outer frame and the possible chance of warped wood, any time the caster rotated, the gear would hit the outer frame and stop moving. To solve this problem I had to re-cut the piece of wood for the outer frame on the left and attach it to the end of the base as oppose to on top of it (you can see in the image below where the two pieces used to be joined and where they are located now.) This move allowed me an extra 3/4 inch clearance and I would recommend just planning on this change from the beginning and buying slightly longer carriage bolts.

Finally, the third problem comes with the smaller of the two black gears, as seen in the image below and the middle arrow in the top image. Although this gear has a set screw in it just like the large black gear, you do not want to set this screw to lock with the through bolt. Instead, this gear needs to remain still with the wood on the outer frame. This requires having a grove for this gear to fit and making sure it stays in place and does not rotate with the bolt. My solution to this was a good amount of strong epoxy.

The last and final problem I hope to encounter in this piece is that, although I ordered the motor over 2 weeks ago, it took me contacting the seller on Ebay to find out that the motor I ordered was out of stock and that they were refunding my money. So, please stay tuned for Part 3...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Roto-Caster (Part 1)

I have been working on making a set of salt and pepper shakers using a mold. Originally I turned and carved some wood forms, made a mold with an inner part and tried to cast them out of resin. Although the second casting turned out much better than the first, I still found myself to be unhappy with the visible seam on the interior of the shakers. After discussing this with a friend, he suggest that I try slip casting (a very common way of working in ceramics.)

Now, if you do not know much about resin, it is a lot more fluid then slip and dries at a much slower rate (on average 24 hours). I did a test to see if this would work and realized very quickly that not only did it waste a ton of resin, it would take forever to build up enough layers to make the shakers. So, back to the drawing boards.

After another discussion with the same friend, he suggested that I look into roto-casting, which is a industrial process to make hollow forms where a machine continues to rotate on two axises as the liquid dries, leaving a smooth even application of the material throughout the mold. After doing some research online, I found out that not only could you make your own roto-casting machine, there were several detailed instructions available online to make them.

A few links below include a video of a home made roto-caster and a link to the site I am using to build mine:

Thus far, I have ordered all the parts and am waiting for them to come in. Please note that if you try to build one, the company no longer carries the A 6G 3-110037 Urethane Belt, but does have a similar product that is A 6B 3-110037 that is the same thing, just made out of a slightly different material.

With the use of the internet, access to a woodshop and the helpful people at ACE Hardware, I have found all of the materials I need to make this happen. Below are the pictures of all of the wooden parts that I have built while waiting for my internet orders to come in.

This first image are the built wooden parts (unassembled).

Assembled with bolts.

Rotated to show the two moments that take place.

And finally with the braces that will hold the mold once finished.

So, that is what I have to update so far. Stay turned for Part 2 and hopefully many future castings. Although I am taking a brief vacation to attend the 2010 SNAG Conference in Houston, I hope to have this up and running in the next 2 weeks.