Back to the Future again.

Quick note to let you all know that my robot is sort of back on track… I’m currently back to where I was a week or more ago, with it merrily ‘printing’ away – although no actual plastic is being extruded.

Seems there is some sort of issue with my extruder part, as it gets MEGA hot, and then everything shuts down. This is bad, but in a way it’s good… a symptom is better as I have something to diagnose… when it “just wont work” is when all hope is lost as I dont even know where to begin explaining to people who know how to fix these things.

AND……….. we have purchased our first retail shop fittings! Wooo! Unfortunately a Melbourne store called Mac Pelican are closing down (due to the need for a well earned rest and some baby raising time) but from it’s ashes will rise Dead and Buried V1.0. We still dont have a shop, logo, plans, money… um, anything really, but now we have racks and glass boxes! Very. Very. Exciting.

Sneaky Preview

Hey kids, no time for a proper post tonight, we’ve had a very tiring weekend (too old to be partying on both Friday AND Saturday nights anymore) so an early night is the only thing to fix that.
But in case it’s a few more days before I get back on the blog-o-tron, here’s some photos from last week’s work to keep you interested and clicking back for more!

First up, Dani has been elbow deep in porcelain, getting to work on the 120+ bowls she is making for the NGV.

… these aren’t the most glamorous photos, but the sun really loves those facets so I thought I’d put them up.

These ones are fresh out of the molds, still soft and easily damaged, so they have their own shelves now.

I’ve been filming her as she makes them, so keep an eye out for another nice floaty musical video when she is done.

Secondly, I also managed to start another pair of prototype shoes last week. I was aiming to have them done by tonight (haha, as if) but so far all I’ve done is the sketch > pattern > test fit process.

initial sketch

taped up last + heel roughed in

patterns on some leather… with skiving allowance for the first time in ages.

…first pullover, with rolled edges. Only making one for a test fit.

With heel and an indication of the rand i’m thinking of attaching. Not sure yet if there’ll be buckles or any other detailing. You can’t see from the photos, but there is a zip on the inside ankle area.

Thats all for now, I’ll be back later in the week with some more detail shots of (hopefully) a completed pair of booooooots. It’s Dani’s birthday next weekend, so we’ll be offline a little whilst we ditch the computers for a few days. We’ll be at the DI$COUNT exhibition on Friday though, so if you see us, say hi!

Robots WERE Us

Robot Construction Journal, Entry 47 :

Things were working, then they weren’t, then they were, then they weren’t, then the smell of burning electronic circuits, then things weren’t working.
I turned things off and went to look at Facebook. That is all for tonight.

Seems something has gone a little wrong in Derek land. He sort of works, but there is a burning smell around and I think it means bad news.

Will keep you updated when/if someone from the Mendel Users Group comes to my aid.

Words of Wisdom

I just checked out model Tiah Eckhardt’s blog (because i’m obsessed with redheads at the moment and will need to do a photoshoot in the near future) and whattayaknow, the first post just HAD to be reposted on here.

Follow this list and you’ll be a-ok.

Well, maybe just the last line… “hang out with Steve”.
Never a truer word has been written.

Listening to : psychrock… ?


Hey kids, today I’m proud to announce that the first pair of Steven Phillips handmade heels made the ‘scene’ last night when Dani wore my prototype pair #002 to the Penthouse Mouse opening!

It seems a real deadline is all it takes for me to pull out the stops and get something completed – when I realised that I was 90% done on these yesterday afternoon I suggested to Dani that it might be cool to have her wearing them in a room full of pretty much every fashionista in Melbourne town. She liked the idea (although she hates wearing heels and even my cork and foam filled softies still got some complaints after a few hours of standing around on concrete) and rocked them like a total demon with RED TIGHTS, yep, fuckin’ cool.

So, here are some photos of them being finished on the bench, and a couple of them from their new home, a plinth we had left over from Dani’s last arty exhibition which is now on display in our lounge room.

cork platform construction from 3mm sheet…

cork, glued, shaped, sanded.

platforms, wrapped and foam sheet added for a little more bulk / softness

platforms all attached… showing the beginnings of a YSL Tribute style inset platform detail.

Laser cut heels, ready for wrapping.

Again, my outer sole is a bit ‘raw’, but I don’t have a decent belt sander to finish them properly… I am aware though, and will be sanding, lacquering and foil embossing my soles for production models.

… from here they went straight into a box and into the car to go meet Dani….

back home, safe and sound and on display.

Sock detail, and red interior (still need to do some work on cleaning up my glued edges)
My sewing machine was also dropping stitches a lot on these, I think my needle was blunt.

mmmm… Dior-like buckles. Hard work to make, but they step the ‘luxury’ vibe  up so many levels!
They are functional too, there is some elastic in the middle area, but the buckles really strap you in.

If I can I’ll see if can get a photo of her with the tights on too, or see if one of the 4,000 faux-sartorialist photographers there last night has a shot on their blog.

Happy days indeed. I also met a girl called Jane who is looking to work with Cambodian villagers to bring their fabrics into the fashion marketplace, so that may prove to be a handy link for me (or anyone else reading this) in the future. Email me if you want any more info.

Anyhoot, off to the shed now to start proto #003, only the next few will be less adventurous in materials selection and more focused on finish, construction and details.

Listening to – A whole bunch of songs that I slowed to half-speed.
Seems I have discovered a new type of “heavy” music… everything sounds brutal that slow and low.

Nope, not any more…

[This was a bit of an angry rant that I wrote last week… seems pointless now, so I’ve replaced it with this nice photo]

Trip to the gallery

Hey guys, dani here.  Just wanted to tell you about a project I got myself into.

I decided to put forward a proposal thinking it was worth a shot…now I find myself trying to figure out how to make 120 bowls!

They are for the NGV 150 Anniversary, and will be for sale in the gift shop later this year.  I proposed the colours come from the two very famous and very Melbourne paintings in the NGV collection- John Brack’s The Bar and Collins St, 5 pm.

I have a few colours in my range that already fit, so it should be a nice match.  I’m just peeing my pants a little.  Intern time?

troy, is this you?

Late night secrets

You know your life has changed somewhat when you’re 31, male, and up at midnight on a Sunday looking at videos on the internet… and you end up watching one about a handbag, twice.

This is total craftmanship porn.
Emma, Janine, James, Tom and Jess – watch it if you have a moment!

I now know that at least a few months of my life will be spent making bags as well as shoes – at some stage, not immediately, but eventually.
More things to learn. Great.


That’s the sound of my RepRap doing something all by itself!
It was followed by me quietly doing a tennis player’s fist-clenched-booyah sort of moment (because Dani is asleep).

Seems my little man is no longer a baby, he can walk (well, adjust his axis) by himself and before you know it he’ll be extruding PLA and working full time for his dad as a shoemaker’s heel manufacturer. Employee of the month wont be far behind after I have awarded it to myself a few times.

It was a pretty ‘free form’ day today, as there seems to be NO pictures at all on the internet of where to put all the electronics once you have them all talking to each other. The TechZone set that I have differs from the originally designed ones,  so I guess any place that fits is good enough. I did come up short on some wire though, so my placing must not be ‘optimal’ but I’ll document that for fellow builders later in the week.

Stepper controller and 12V power block

more stepper controllers, and cables, and cable ties.
More useful non-zoomed photos for other builders will be in the Mendel Build page asap.

Tomorrow night will be a full range of movement test, at the moment it only goes left (hello Zoolander printer! ok,  so it is now officially called Derek the Printer) because I haven’t set up the little sensors to tell it Derek where to stop. Then I build a ‘hot head’ and start melting plastic at 200+ degrees all over the place and hoping it forms some sort of object. Be prepared for some humorously bad failures that week people…

The whole back panel with bits of electronics hanging off it.

So no shoemaking for TwentyEleven Week Seven, but plenty of progress in other areas that will allllll add up in the end.

Listening to : Christbait – Dirtypunkmutha

Nick and I have begun to refine our jam session sounds to something very slow, heavy and evil, so i’m listening to the old masters to learn how to be brutal, Melbourne style.
You’re all invited to my eventual robot/sexy shoes/heavy metal launch party and be as confused as everyone else there will be with it all.

The Internet and me.

Dani got me this as a birthday card this year, and I love it.
It’s a Shrigley (we’re a bit obsessed with him around here)

… and the irony that I spent time looking for an image of this illustration on the internet, whilst I should be making shoes, seemed like the perfect thing to blog about… why not go all the way?
I probably should have capped it off by animating it or something, but that would just be silly.