ABOUT

Hi there. I make things like videos, photos, and code. During the day I program, build, and maintain camera robots for stop motion animation at LAIKA. As a creative person with a degree in Computer Science, I’m a swiss-army knife for problem solving. I like learning new things every day.

See a poetic documentary I made here. See my project log below. Contact me here.

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Orange glasses


I designed and 3D printed new temples for my glasses. Being a camera guy, I wear a lot of black. So, I guess I’ve got to work in some pops of color somewhere. Print your own with my files on Thingiverse here.

Tampy tamp tamp

I bought a broken Nuova Simonelli espresso machine on eBay and fixed it up. Okay, it wasn’t really “broken.” I think the guy who sold it just didn’t care to fix it or understand how the water sensing mechanism worked. It’s caveman stuff (or ultra clever. or both. i can’t decide). There are two terminals on either side of the water spout. If there’s a conductive fluid like non-distilled water between them, the circuit will complete. But the terminals were a bit loose and corroded… so it took a whole 5 minutes to fix.

In the past year, I’ve leveled up my machining skills but I haven’t done much knurling. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to practice by making my own 58mm espresso tamper.

Beach Radio

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I found a neat old National AB-235 solid state radio at a swap meet this spring for $5. Since it wasn’t working anymore, I thought it’d make a great bluetooth radio for the beach.

To keep the original speaker and all of its tinny charm, I needed more depth for electronics. My solution was to create a new back piece with my 3D printer that was about .325″ deeper. I added through holes for the electronics, a 9V battery holder, and an opening for a switch.

See the project and get the files on Radio project on Thingiverse.

3D printer

I bought my first 3D printer! It’s an Anet A8 (Prusa i3 clone). After assembly, adding belt tensioners, and installing a MOSFET so the board didn’t melt and burn my place down, I’ve been making small prints and dialing in my bed leveling technique. My first larger project is converting a vintage radio into a Bluetooth one.

Marking Soundbites

Last year, I came up a trick to mark soundbites as you record video interviews. Basically, you record a dummy tone into an unused audio channel anytime you hear a good clip to generate a form of metadata you can reference later in your edit suite. This tone can be made with a number of free apps for your phone or with any device that can input a tone into your camera. And best of all, this trick isn’t dependent on proprietary software.

It still surprises me that a basic marker feature (perhaps included as a sidecar XML file) isn’t a feature of most professional cameras marketed to documentary filmmakers. So often, as you’re hearing the interview you already know many of the soundbites you’ll use later. And while the Lumberjack System, for example, is a great alternative, I wanted a quick and dirty way to make this happen.

ToxRod Photographs

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My brother Mike just finished his latest hot rod project (the ToxRod), so I spent a Saturday cruising around and photographing it with him. I worked with a Fuji x100s and natural light.

Nikon L35AF lens cover

This is a replacement lens/rangefinder/viewfinder cap I designed and 3D printed for the Nikon L35AF film camera.

Last Christmas I was rummaging through a cupboard and found our family’s trusty old L35AF – a rugged, 35mm rangefinder with a sharp 2.8 lens. I loaded it up with Portra 400 and went out to shoot a few rolls, but became irritated with the worn-out lens cover falling off. The rubber lens cap either wasn’t designed well to begin with, or simply wore out after years of use and abuse. Buying a cheap lens cap wasn’t a good option because it would leave the rangefinder and viewfinder uncovered.

So, I whipped up a model in Fusion 360 and printed it out of PLA. Like the original part, it covers both the lens and the rangefinder/viewfinder glass on the front. The lens cover friction-fits onto the outer part of the lens, and the rangefinder/viewfinder cover clicks into place. I was pleased to nail the lens fit on the first try.

Download the files on Thingiverse.

Quilt Generator with Unity – part 1

Here’s a quick demo of my new generative design app for quilts.

The app shows you the device camera view with a “flying geese” quilt pattern overlaid (made with a procedural mesh). When you activate a triangle from the pattern, you can recolor the block by clicking on an area of the camera image. You can toggle between quilt and block views to refine your work.

More to come. Follow my progress on Github. My ambition is to use ARKit so the quilt be “drawn” onto real surfaces.

The LAIKA Crew

Here’s the latest crew photo / goofy selfie combo from our behind the scenes photographer at LAIKA. There’s a ridiculous amount of talent, grit, and humor in this bunch and I’m proud to work with all of them.

Working with these artists and engineers, I’ve grown more as a maker in the last year than any other time in my life – from my craft in machining and mechanical design, to software, electronics, and camera work. And while I can’t say much about the work I’ve done there in a specific way, I’d like to share an aphorism my friend G taught me: Less Haste, More Speed.

When mistakes are made in motion control, they can be serious. Badly programmed robots will carelessly, emotionlessly drive their metal arms through sets and artwork that took months to create. Or worse, they can do serious harm to people. Or waste animators time and concentration. So the minutes you spend double checking your work, setting true home marks, labeling your cables, and saving your setup files won’t be remembered, but the mistakes you make will be because they cost everyone time.

Less haste, more speed.

Pan/tilt head controller with Unity

Recently I found a Telemetrics PT-LP at surplus for cheap. Originally designed to move TV studio cameras with teleprompters, it’s powered by some hefty servos and has heavy baffling foam to maintain quiet operation. After making a power cable for it and writing a basic controller for it in Unity, I can drive now drive it around on my laptop.

Get my code on Github.