DFN Happy Hour No. 30: Jingle bots, jingle bots..

Coming up Friday at 5:30 pm PST members Barb Noren (BarbMakesThings), Tod Kurt (todbot) and Carlyn Maw (carlynorama) proceed with the holiday making. Barb has some Fishmas tunes while Carlyn and Tod have the AxiDraw singing away drawing ornaments on the tree!


Last Week Redux: December 4th

Blog post | Video

Beverages Consumed

  • Carlyn: Orange seltzer, pomegranate juice, sake
  • Barb: Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse
  • Tod: Golden Road Mango Cart, yet again!

“Thanks for Existing!” Awards

This Week Preview

Tod & Carlyn

A close up of the plotter drawn December Advent Tree. It shows all 10 of the days that have passed so far in December inscribed into their squares.
December Tree through December 10th


Tiny little 30mm x 30mm “toys” for each day.

  • 2: The numeral 2 can be inferred from hatch lines in various directions.
    • Pigma Micron 005(?)
  • 3: 3 Holly leaves and berries (Ilex aquifolium). Fill drawn by hand b/c shapes weren’t complete so the built in hatch tool didn’t work on them.
    • Prisma Color: True Green and Crimson Red
    • Pigma Micron 02(?)
  • 5: 5 circles at 72 degrees to each other, 2x overlaps removed to make a stylized “Christmas Rose” (Helleborus niger)
    • Mondeluz Aquarelle Colored Pencils (weighted, see below) 3720/03 and 3720/07
    • Pigma Micron 005
  • 8: Tesseract. 8 squares at 45 degrees to each other. With this shading pattern, can start to see an octagram, much like the selburose (a Norwegian knitted rose pattern).
    • Prisma Color: Spanish Orange and Canary Yellow
    • Pigma Micron 02(?) 03(?)
  • 10: Obelisk of Montecitorio, also called Solare, brought to Rome in 10 B.C.
    • Mondeluz Aquarelle Colored Pencils (weighted) 3720/18 and 3720/30
    • Faber-Castell PITT artist pens 232, 199 B tip and a 199 S tip

Colored pencil with a binder clip attached to the unsharpened end. Several small ball shaped neodymium magnets cling to it like a fancy 18th century french hair-do


I’m not very experienced with pens and paper (when my 9th grade teach said I could turn my essays in on printout, my little dot matrix went into overdrive and I’ve never looked back). So messing around with pens and the AxiDraw (and just the aesthetics of plotters in general) has turned my eye towards 70s-era design. My “day 4” piece was the MICR check font I recall seeming so space-age when I saw it as a kid. Seeing the weird shapes of the MICR numbers without context makes them seem like alien symbology, which I guess they kind of are. For my “day 9” I went to 7-segment LED displays. I remember these displays being the epitome of high-tech with their otherworldly monochromatic red light. Now we’re so used to LED light it doesn’t seem strange. For my “day 6” I wanted to do something with hexagons (the bestagons). By now my design sense was firmly 40 years in the past. So I combined a very ’70s yellow-brown gradient (done with 4 marker types) and a six-unit pattern of hexagons. Hexagon grids was very space-age then, what with the hexagon-based space frames and geodesic domes.

By far the most difficult aspect of doing multicolor plots on the AxiDraw has been registering pens of different diameters. Carlyn came up with a clever trick of using transparency film to make re-zeroing easier, but I always am off a bit (see how the red of the “9” is a bit off) But one of the best aspects of the AxiDraw is the *tup* sound the pen makes as it drops to the surface. Listen to it in the video below.  


This week, I celebrated Fishmas by making a recycled kelp wreath out of plastic bags from Sprouts, since grocery delivery doesn’t let you use your recycled bags and I’m swimming in them at this point since I don’t want to just recycle them or throw them out. It’s woven onto a frame made from a cereal box and is decorated by some of the very bottle caps I pop off at the beginning of the show. It really needs lights, but we’ll get there.

On the robot octopus front, I’m slowly making progress on getting Nixie’s new arms assembled and hooked up to the servo. I’ll show on the livestream some of the modeling that I’ve done to make all of the parts line up properly. And of course, I had to switch out the filament on those 3d printed parts for something sparkly and blue from Proto Pasta.


I make things that do stuff. The best, though, is teaching others to do the same. Founder of @crashspacela Alum of @ITP_NYU

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