Ups and Downs

Well, my RepRap is still being a pain in ass, but I think if I leave it for a day or two and come back to it with a fresh perspective I’ll be much better at problem solving than if it’s 11pm and I’m shitted off at it. The guys from the RepRap forums have been helpful so it’s good to know that everyone else has just as much trouble getting these things up and running.

If you are considering getting one, my advice, honestly, go check out the www.rapman.com.au site. They cost twice as much, but they work out of the box -  my pal Chris is now a distrubutor of them and i’m sure he will help you at as much as he can. If I wasn’t $900 into this one I’d be saving my pennies and going the ‘almost ready made’ route.

So that’s the downs covered, what about the ups you say?

My skiver works! That’s an ‘up’ … and the sun is out, so it’s been a good day.

Today I plugged in the new beast, put on safety goggles, turned it on and stood back. It whirred to life – despite having what look like 50 year old LEATHER straps as belts – and seems to run like a dream.

The only time-waster was that someone in the recent past has decided to have a ‘let’s just dial all these adjusters to the other end of their useful position’ party on it, so it didnt work at all at first, but after watching some YouTube vids and getting my head around the geometries of it all, I adjusted everything to the right-ish spots, sharpened the bell knife and she cuts like a razor now.

There are a few fine adjustments to be made, but for now I know it skives, so rolled edges and thinned here I come!

There’s something particularly awesome about vintage equipment, look at these knobs and dials, priceless.

Anyhoot, off to make dinner now, Dani has started firing the first of her bowls for the NGV shop collection so she is off manning the kiln. I think i’ll lash out and have a pie.

Listening to : Steel Panther today, hair metal = instant motivation.

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.

Robots R Us

ta-daaaaa…. Derek the 3D printer is now a functioning robotic device!
Granted it still doesn’t actually print anything as I’m yet to completely nut out the plastic extruding part, but as of Thursday night I can send a 3D file from my computer to Derek and he comes to life, whirring and buzzing and moving around (bless his heart) thinking that he is dutifully printing me out something useful.

This afternoon will entail some more ‘hot end’ construction – rowwrr – and hopefully by Sunday night I’ll have some plastic melted all over my desk that I can claim is a ‘rapidly prototyped object’.

Here’s a video. woooo.

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Listening to : Lento – Icon
“The second album of the Italian monsters of slowness”

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… ?

Good Fortuna

Hey people, 9 days and no posts? tsk tsk.

Apologies again for the lack of exciting news, but after the last big deadline I retreated in to the house to get some admin and freelance nerd work done – to replenish the always empty bank account!

The only real shoe news for this week is that I managed to bid on and win an old Fortuna Skiver at a Lockwood auction in Ballarat last week. The Parker Leather workshop there was closing / moving to Thomastown so they had a variety of sewing machines and general workshop fitting for sale. So after a few practice bids on some lower priced items to get my poker face on I managed to lock down the skiver, pay in cash and have it (awkwardly and single handedly) loaded in to the Camry within an hour.

(Janine, if you’re reading this I ended up paying exactly the same as you did when gst etc was included.)


Here it is. Hopefully nothing on there that can’t be restored with some WD40 and black paint.
Laminex is a bit stuffed though, so I might need to get something sexier there.

I then had to reconfigure the shed AGAIN to fit in another big bit of machinery, but i’m sure I’ll be much better off for it… and those of you with keen eyes out there can rest easy that my edges will now be rolled and smoothed instead of ‘intentionally’ ragged and lumpy.

So, no news other than that.
I have lots on my plate as usual so as soon as the leather starts to fly out there I’ll be snapping photos and keeping you informed.

Listening to : Wu Tang albums and Shellac’s “1000 Hurts” a lot lately for some reason.

ps. It seems I need to make more gifs to keep up with the visual insanity that goes on over at DI$COUNT.
ahhh! my eyes! Those girls are bananas.

Debutante.

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.


Finito!
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]


TwentyEleven – Week Eight

Hey people, not going to be a lengthy post tonight as I’m a little tuckered out after a big weekend. I had a 2 day rock-fest jamming with my pals Nick and Nick (in no particular order) and developed a new even more unlistenably slow and heavy style of music than what we started with.

That said, I have some new stuff  on the bench and would hate to miss the chance to show off a little!

After my recent weaving adventures and some internet reading, I narrowed down my material requirements to some sort of “silk tweed” – and then managed to find an AMAZING piece of fabric on eBay finishing that night. Good timing? You bet it was.  48 hours later I got hold of a (larger than expected) piece of tweed made from recycled sari silk in the most ridiculous amount of colours. I have incorporated it into a new pair of prototypes and am now set on sourcing, or weaving my own, tighter and finer version of this fabric for my production models. This one is just a little too chunky and is hard to work with on a shoe pattern scale, it just needs to be woven much tighter.

TOP : Fabric + First sewn up pattern test
BOTTOM : Patterns cut + Sunday night’s effort at lasting. Missing buckles, platform and heel.

There are some good points (better technique) and some bad points (changed my design half way through, added straps and buckles, regretting it now that they are much harder to make) of these ones, but on the whole I’m happy with them. Will have soles and heels added this week, ready for Dani to wear them – finally a pair in her size! Drop in for a visit at Pieces of Eight later this month for a viewing.

Listening to :  Talking Heads – Little Creatures

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?

In Motion!

Hey hey, seeing as we have a new camera here that we have so far only taken photos of our niece with, and a few trees, I decided to give it’s “full HD video” capabilities a go last week and made a nuisance of myself hovering over Dani’s shoulder for an hour while she did some work on a necklace.
In her words this is “not very interesting” and she would like me do it again when she is making “something good” … but a little editing and some floaty music makes any old task seem much more watchable.

I’ve also used some of my new skills in video treatment / colour grading etc to get a bit of a 70s look going on here. I hope you like it!