Summerized Blog

Just got back from Berkeley


Whew, I just dropped off the Speedo Mandala Clock at the Play Berkeley Digital Media Conference. there was a little debacle over the display case, and I ended up buying an acrylic one at Tap Plastics at the last minute.  

What a beautiful campus! I've never really explored UC Berkeley before, and it looks lovely.

Lady Gaga sized earrings


These Fractured Gem earrings are my first jewelry design in Rhino; I created them before the Diamond Wireframe earrings. Since I didn't know much about the program, it took me a long time to make them.

Early on, I thought the piece might be ready to 3-D print, and uploaded it to Shapeways. I promptly received an email from their automated system saying the design wasn't watertight, was too thin, and had several other problems too. A little later, I got an email from a human, giving me advice on how to fix my model. Customer service is one of the great things about Shapeways.

I started to pay more attention to the thickness of my models, as each material has specific tolerances.

But the biggest difficulty I had was getting all the component pieces joined into one watertight piece. I was having real problems with the Boolean Union command. To solve this problem, I posed a question on the Rhino newsgroup. Fortunately, there were many experienced users willing to help a noob with a basic question.

After some persistence, the pieces joined, and I uploaded the model. A few minutes later, I received the "Congratulations, your model just became printable!" email from Shapeways. Booyah!

I ordered one each of the earring and black strong and flexible and white strong and flexible. They arrived about two weeks later, and are really lovely objects, simultaneously evoking alien and luxe sensibilities.

The only problem is that they're twice as large as I'd intended. This taught me the importance of keeping close track of the size of my models in Rhino. Since my clubbing days seem to be over, maybe I'll use them as Christmas ornaments.

Their large size does let me see the texture of the material very clearly –- it almost has the velvety finish, and feels very solid and precise.

As for Boolean Unions and Joins, this is still a frequent problem in my new designs, which are more complex. I don't know whether this is a particular weakness of this program. Judging from the newsgroup and other online discussions, other people have this problem in Rhino too.

I'll be resizing this file soon, so it can be made available as earrings.

Speedo Mandala Clock to be shown at Play Conference

Woohoo, my Speedo Mandala Clock was chosen to be shown at the Play Berkeley Digital Media Conference this weekend! The conference is at the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. It will feature Wired's editor-in-chief, Pixar Animation Studios, and more.

I’ll make Manhattan


I recently directed design for a graphic wall installation for Martinkovic Milford Architects, as part of their pitch to design interiors for New York Pizza Palace, a chain of restaurants in Asia.

Working with the vernacular New York signs made me feel nostalgic; living there was a lot of fun. I wanted the installation to express the kinetic energy, grittiness and charm of the city.

The collage is designed to be mounted to a brick wall. It wraps around video windows showing New York street scenes, extending to the back of the restaurant.

Margaret Penney also contributed her design expertise on this project.

You can see more images of the project here.


My first attempt at “tabletop photography”


I've been wanting a tabletop photography kit for a while, to take decent pictures of my 3-D printing experiments, as well as other projects. After reading endless Amazon reviews, none of the kits seemed like the perfect choice. I finally settled on the 30" universal photography kit by EZcube. The cheaper kits sounded like they would have weaker, flimsier lights.

The EZcube itself is pretty interesting — 30" x 30," and folds up to the size of a small pizza, for storage. So it's very compact. But actually getting it folded is like making a particularly difficult origami model. After multiple attempts,I've finally got the hang of it.

As a (very) novice photographer, the lights seem decent and sturdy, though they could be brighter. The backdrop is wrinkly when unfolded, and the wrinkles show up in the photos. I followed the advice of some of the reviewers, and put a piece of white paperboard into the tent to shoot against, instead of the backdrop. This worked much better. Also, the kit could use a storage case.

I was shooting some pictures of my Speedo Clock (which I'm now calling Speedo Mandala Clock), to submit to a call for entries for an art show. They turned out alright — the main benefit of the tent seems to be to diffuse the light, making the shadows less severe.


I'm just using a point and shoot camera — a couple-year-old Casio Exilim. Annoyingly, when the center of the clock is in focus, the outsides are out of focus. I've tried a couple of different modes to try and fix this, but they haven't made a difference. At least I got good enough photos to enter this competition with. I'll have to revisit this focus issue though.