Plywood gifts for Chur

Chur is a sound system/theme camp/workshop centre/temporary community/group of awesomely inspiring people.

Designs by Simon Crook, routing by the Vertigotech router in my basement.






Allegedly, Islamic artists deliberately introduce mistakes into their art, as only God is perfect. Well, I screwed this one up without such an intention. Spot the bit I forgot to cut out.

Router-made signs for KnowYourStuffNZ, Kakariki and Sanctuary

I’ve been making a heap of signs with the router.

Turns out my favourite technique is to mask off, cut the signage through the mask, and then spray the cut areas. This gives coloured inlaid lettering which is resistant to getting scratched when bouncing around in the back of the ute on the way to festivals.

The best guide to this technique that I’ve found comes from totrand on Youtube:

For a mask I’ve been using the self adhesive film from Bunnings. I’ve been using spray on shellac to help the mask stick to the ply and to stop paint from bleeding from the cut areas along the grain.

The tool for most of these was a 1/8 inch down cutter. I had got up to 700 metres with the first one with no visible wear before I rammed it into a clamp and snapped it off.

KnowYourStuffNZ can’t have a sign that says “test your drugs”, so I made a heap of alternatives.

They ended up all over the place.


And some art, in the style of Gordon Walters.

One for the Sanctuary, with lettering from Melissa Mepham. This one I did in melamine-coated chipboard. This gave great sharp edges that looked good in sunshine. I thought it might have problems with humidity from being outside. Turns out it cracked horribly. Oops. Won’t do that again.

And some for Kakariki Brewing Company at Beers at the Basin.

…and now I’ve a few more to do.

What my Kiwiburn art project is not

I’m taking a break from spinning LED things and doing something else.

My Kiwiburn art project is not:

  • A drone that hovers relaxingly just above the heads of meditating people
  • The Bureau of Unerotic Discourse
  • A large-scale video display with one foot per pixel, like a literal foot
  • A trebuchet that launches hippies into the river
  • A t-shirt saying “you’ll never work this event again”
  • A robot arm that will shave only the left half of your head
  • An empty cardboard box labeled “The Tyranny of Expectations”
  • A scent
  • The Stabotron
  • A robot that assesses how sexy you are, but only to other robots and that thinks humans are just disgustingly organic
  • The best goddamn cup of tea in the world
  • An acroyoga workshop that contains no actual acroyoga learning but is focused on helping you get the perfect selfie
  • A performance piece where you ask me what my Kiwiburn art project is and I make up a bunch of lies coz I want it to be a surprise

The Flying Carpet

While lying on damp, cold, and hard ground at Kiwiburn one night, we decided that festivals are more fun when dry, warm, soft, and fluffy. So we made a festival blanket that we named the Flying Carpet – fluff on the top, waterproof underneath, padding in the middle, and LED animations around the edge (Teensy, FastLED, Li-ions, as per usual).

Heteronormatively, Wendy did the fabric; I did the electronics. Here’s her tutorial on how to make one yourself.

Best Kiwiburn Ever!

Picture by Peter Jennings

Very brief summary:

  • Returning to Kiwiburn, with my closest people, who’ve also been away.
  • Helping to build and light the Effigy. The Effigy crew. The resulting meat blanket.
  • New site, oh yes.
  • Finally getting the Hat Band working and out in public. Ooo… it’s shiny. It lasted three days before an expected hardware failure.
  • Being really glad I’d put a dim mode on the Hat. Otherwise no-one could look at me, coz 180 LEDs. I’m not that anti-social. Well, not always.
  • All the smiles.
  • Poking nature with a stick.
  • Cuddle piles with all the fluff.
  • Being happy enough with the durability of the Mitochondrion that I can just give it to anyone, no matter how munted.
  • Realising that I’m very happy with my life.
  • No FOMO, but a bad case of FOMP – Fear Of Missing People. I didn’t see enough of far too many people, in some cases I didn’t see them at all, but as Wendy says we were “focused on deepening connections with people I already know rather than forming a whole bunch of new ones”

There’ll be a proper write-up of the Hat Band hardware, when I’m less shattered. And some pics and video.

Project States and Goals

Mitochondrion, 3.5 – Awaiting a free weekend for me to tear down 3.4 and re-build

  • Power regulator for microcontroller to stop it crashing
  • Replace broken wooden parts with FR4
  • Replace batteries with ones that aren’t munted
  • Get sound code working
  • Get accelerometer code working

Mitochondrion 4.0 – In design phase, light boards look easy, power management trickier

  • Faster computer by at least two orders of magnitude (probably Arduino/ATmega328)
  • New LED drivers for smooth colour & brightness fades (definitely PCA9635)
  • Surface mount RGB LEDs (probably Osran LRTBG6TG, but if anyone knows of an RGBA, 20 mA surface mount LED, then do let me know), and more of them
  • Tighter ends and ports (mini-USB)
  • Maybe wireless control
  • Maybe lithium batteries (maybe 40 10440/AAA size?)

Mitochondrion 5.0 – In conceptual phase

  • At least ten times brighter LEDs (LedEngin LZ4-00MA10 10W RGBAs currently at head of the queue)
  • New LED drivers (no idea yet)
  • Definitely lithium batteries
  • Higher system voltage
  • Internal temperature monitoring to control power level and stop it melting

Sky Tigers/Sky Jaguars – In conceptual phase

  • It’s a surprise

My Dick – In conceptual phase

  • Possibly too dangerous and/or illegal to think about further

Oh, and a house to build.

Other people’s projects:
60-foot penis painted on roof
Transparent aluminum snowboard

From here

Kiwiburn Project Number 2

Given that the Mitochondrion has taken over my life, I wanted to do something else, something very, very simple for Kiwiburn. So The Avenue is the anti-Mitochondrion – no high tech*, no complicated production processes, no etching, no super-fine soldering, no details, tolerances plus or minus a thumb or so, instead of a tenth of a millimeter.

Something so simple that I could just knock it off with no hassle, Instead, here’s four hundred and eight pieces of wood (plus scrap), each labelled and cut to length:

Even so, it’s impressive how fast you can get through all this by thinking ahead and planning how you’re going to make stuff. I used to be a process design engineer (in name at least). This only took seven hours production time to get to this stage, finishing it off took another six. On site assembly will be four nails for each of eight assemblies.

Budget (except for EL wire) has been five dollars for superglue, the rest was stuff just lying around Newtown or Horokiwi.

* EL wire is low tech right? I think the Egyptians had it.

Dog Stakes

Does anyone have a dog stake or two that I can borrow for Kiwiburn? By “dog stake”, I mean one of these:

Or indeed any other means of making a fixing into earth that can take a substantial vertical load? Tent pegs, even big ones, are great for horizontal or low-angle loads, and can be bodged for vertical loads but there’s better ways to do it.