My second act
For those of you who have been following some of the different machinist related Makers and craft artists I have been writing about lately, you know that the scene is exploding with various machined art objects and kinetic art pieces. There is a proliferation of metal spinners, tops, and other fidget works that speak to both function and aesthetics. It has all the makings of a budding creative arts movement. It is an exciting time to be in the world of machinists, with any luck, it will continue to evolve.
It is my desire to continue to add my voice to this growing movement. And while I am at it, see if I can’t find some inspiration for larger and more ambitious machined sculpture in the process.
So with that in mind, the day is finally here to unveil a new Pocket Sculpture project, I am going to refer to it as the “S2” until a proper nickname takes hold. This one builds on the original “Slider” design and takes it somewhere completely different. I intend to attempt to spin this off into a larger sculptural object as well.
This design is a return to symmetry and a much more complex assemblage than its predecessor. And while visually, the relationship between this work and the original Slider may be obvious, from a machining perspective this work is an entirely different animal.
The original Slider was a triumph in creating complexity using as few steps as possible, this work is simply complex for how elegant it seems. This work has many more machined parts and while the Slider could be built in just 11 machining steps, this one requires well over 33 machining operations (depending on how you count).
So even though the unavoidable pull toward complexity won out for this particular design, I think it is a natural next step for this journey into trivially functional art, and I am very happy with the result.
As you can see in the above image, the sliding mechanism is double acting, meaning both ends can be extended and retracted independent of one another. With a little practice this piece can be flipped and clicked in a number of different ways. So far it has been quite a lot of fun to prototype and test.
I will say it can be a little more rough on the hands than its predecessor, but the price of finding a balance between form and function seems to be the development of a few well earned calluses.
(It’s really not as bad as I am making it out to be, but still worth mentioning.)
The visible hardware on this work is another area where I had to depart from the norm to reconcile how the sculpture worked, with how it looked. Figuring out a method to keep the ends from overextending (and sending springs and bearings flying everywhere) required a bit of a visual compromise in that regard.
So even though I had to bend the rules a bit and leave some set screws visible while the work was in the open position. It is a compromise that I can live with as the hardware is only visible when in operation. When closed, the piece is an attractive sculpture like any of my other works.
I have settled on two metal combinations for this design, all stainless steel and a stainless steel with brass inner element.
The work is 1.25″ wide and a bit over 3″ long when closed. While extended it is just under 4″ inches Long
My intention with this work is to take a page from my Spinning Top collaboration with Richard Stadler.
I want to use this small design as well as the experience of building this edition to create a larger, more elaborate “one of a kind” work.
I like the idea of using the internal logic of a functional art piece to spin out a completely non functional, full size sculptural work.
You know, intentionally going further down the rabbit hole.
I have the beginnings of a larger design based on this prototype, but I am going to take my time and let the project have plenty of influence along the way.
Important information if you want to collect one of these:
Because I am going to be building a larger work based off of this piece, it means I am going to have to limit the edition size to a much smaller batch than my last project. (probably 30 or so works total)
I will be doing a sign up pre-order just like the last time, but depending on how many sign ups I get, I will be running part of it like a SUS or “Sign Up Sale”
This is how it will work:
-I will open the preorder on Monday November 21st, at 11AM Eastern Standard time via my newsletter. I will leave the sign up open until the following Monday (1 week)
-The first 15 people who sign up will be able to purchase the works directly.
-After the first 15 sign ups, and after the pre-order closes, I will randomly select an additional 15 people using a random number generator to award the remaining 15 slots on the list.
After the sign up sale closes on November 28th, you will not be able to sign up for a chance to collect one of these. But as always, I would encourage you to join my newsletter so that you can get a first look at my sculptures as I complete them and catch future projects of this nature.
As always, comments and questions are welcome.