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The Shack is Back! - Our own Meredith Scheff for Radio Shack

I am so happy that Radio Shack has made the decision to return to it's roots and I'm even happier that they've tapped our own Meredith Scheff to help them tell the world about it!

Strowger Switchgear

I just finished a project for Jeff VanderMeer's Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities and while I can't show you the sculptures I made (we're saving that for the book's debut) I can tell you that one of the pieces exemplified a new aesthetic for me, sort of an early 20th Century electro-mechanical style which I want to call Electropunk. Unfortunately that moniker is already in use as a variant of Synthpunk, so it remains un-named for now. Anyway, here's a video of a Stowger switchgear phone system. I used components similar to these in the piece I made for Jeff's latest book.

The North Skirt

It's finally finished, and that means, I finally get to show it to you. The NorthSkirt is a soft circuit project that incorporates my redesigned flexible soft-circuit boards (now, StarBoards), a hacked NorthPaw kit, and a strong desire to have a soft-circuit project actually DO something.

What does it do? It points north, silly.

This post is part 1 of 2- the next one I'll have a really exciting announcement about StarBoards. Way more info after the cut...

Flight Recorders are the new black

I've been geeking out really, really hard on flight recorders lately. My next project is related, and I've been tracking down as much information as possible on these amazing things. You know what I'm talking about- black boxes. They often offer key audio and  to any doomed flight.  I'm totally obsessed with them at the moment, and while a tad macabre, they are amazing hunks of technology filled to their gills with near on indestructible electrostuffs.

more after the cut.

Magic Eyes

(image: cyclopian overload magic eye)

It was in Boston, and I was wandering up and down Center St. in search of a cup-o-joe and a bun. My spidey sense tingled and I turned: across the street, the silent siren-song for makers: a big, handwritten sign 'FREE' above a pile of electronics. Hello, nurse. Took a Twit-pic and posted my discovery.

Almost immediately, pal CTP pointed out that two out of the three contraptions had Magic Eye tubes. I had never heard of them, so I powered up google. Needles to say- these are right up there with Nixie tubes in electronic awesomeness.

More info and pics behind the jump..

DIY Vacuum Tubes

Instruments of Amplification

If you were popped out of the timestream and found yourself suddenly in the distant past, how much of our modern technology could you re-create? I've often thought that I could climb back to the vacuum tube era of the 1920s or so.

Author H. P. Friedrichs has realized this thought experiment and gone a step further by re-creating the transistor as well. You can read detailed descriptions of these adventures in technology in his book Instruments of Amplification.

Instruments of Amplification, written and illustrated by H. P. Friedrichs, is jam-packed with nearly 300 pages of history, science background, basic theory, and hard-to-find hands-on details pertaining to the construction of an amazing array of homebrew amplifying devices.

Rooted in the same "build-it-from-scratch" philosophy that made his first book, The Voice of the Crystal, a success, Instruments of Amplification reduces complex devices to their essential elements and then shows how they can be constructed from commonly available materials.

Instruments of Amplification is available from my favourite bookseller, Lindsay Books.

Jules Vernian Analog Synthesizer


Steampunk Analog Synthesizer

It makes me happy when people write me about things they've made, and when they've been inspired or have adopted techniques they've learned from the Steampunk Workshop it makes me very happy indeed!


Peter wrote me a while back with some pictures of his latest project, a Jules Verne inspired analog synthesizer with etched brass control panels.  Now, I cut my teeth on a vinyl copy of Switched-On Bach and I've been a fan of analog synth heroes Tangerine Dream since High School.  So I was very excited to see this.

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