By Craig Couden
Photo by Szymon Klimek
Without an everyday reference for a sense of scale, Szymon Klimek’s intricate mechanical creations could easily be mistaken for twice their true size. Made from 0.1 millimeter sheets of brass and bronze, Klimek’s miniature machines dance effortlessly in wine-glass enclosures that measure little more than 4 inches across.
Klimek’s latest creation, Sponge, is a steam engine-like machine named for the latticework of tiny, interconnected brass pieces that expands and contracts as the engine runs. Sitting in a wine glass about a foot tall, a small silicon solar cell powers a concealed electric motor, which drives the 3-inch flywheel. He doesn’t work to a specific scale, but customizes his designs for each glass: the opening of Sponge’s wine glass and the diameter of its flywheel differed by less than a millimeter. CAD programs assist with design, and Klimek, 57, assembles most of the machinery outside of the enclosures, cutting and shaping the pieces by hand. He says the wine glasses lend a bit of elegance to the display, and the spherical shape allows viewers to see the work from any angle. Sealing the top and gluing the machines down with clear resin also protects the delicate pieces from dust and curious fingers.
Living in Poznan, Poland, Klimek entered into the world of small-scale making in 2004 with a miniature steam locomotive and coal wagon, measuring about 3 inches. He’s built close to a hundred handcrafted brass and bronze miniatures, including ornate carriages, early 20th-century roadsters, and yes, even a ship with billowing sails that fits in a wine glass. Since 2008 he’s created nine “active devices.”
Next, Klimek wants to tackle a more challenging material: steel.
Above is an excerpt from MAKE Volume 30.
From the pages of MAKE Volume 30:
Until recently, home automation was gimmicky, finicky, and user-hostile. But today, thanks to a new crop of devices and technology standards, home automation is useful, fun, and maker-friendly. In the special section of MAKE Volume 30, we’ll show you: how to flip any switch in your home with a smartphone, home automation without programming, controlling your HVAC with an Arduino, a webcam security system, and a wall-mounted Notification Alert Generator (NAG) that plays timely reminders as you walk by. Plus, you’ll build a Yakitori Grill, a robust R/C flying-wing airplane, sturdy furnishings from PVC, and more!
Broad Sustainable Building (BSB), a Chinese architectural firm builds medium-cost, super-saving utility buildings and to promote a futuristic urban lifestyle. They are planning to build the world’s tallest building, the Sky City Tower in Changsha, Hunan, whose 220 storeys will be erected in unbelievable 90 days. This timelapse video shows another project by Broad Sustainable Building, which is a 30-storey hotel that went up in 15 days. The architecture and designs of their buildings should be extremely seismically robust and environmentally efficient.
Its 220 stories will provide a total of 1 million square meters of usable space, linked by 104 elevators.
Zhang said Sky City is expected to consume a fifth of the energy required by a conventional building due to BSB’s unique construction methods, such as quadruple glazing and 15-centimeter-thick exterior walls for thermal insulation.
The company’s construction methods also seem to save money.
According to Chinese newspaper 21 Century Business Herald, the total investment in Sky City is RMB 4 billion (US$628 million), compared with US$1.5 billion on Burj Khalifa and US$2.2 billion on Shanghai Tower.
Oblong industries is showing a nice little demonstration where they show a 3D operating system with motion-based interaction design. We have all seen this interaction design before in Minority Report :), but this one comes quite near to the interaction design shown by Minority Report. You will need quite a large office to work with this system, but i am sure this interaction design could be combined with Google’s glass project, which really would be a cool device!
On this years Maker Faire, Massimo Banzi, one of the founders of the Arduino project presented the new retail packaging design for the original Arduino microcontroller board. Massimo presented some sample packages of the new retail design, which were designed by Todo studio, which is run by Giorgio Olivero. Massimo was Giorgio’s professor at the Interaction Design Institute in Ivrea, Italy.
Here you can find a Flickr gallery of the new very stylish Arduino retail package design.
Ben Light has really been getting into working with the CNC machine, and it shows with his latest creation, the Turn Table Lamp. The user simply spins this plywood lamp to adjust the brightness. At first one may think there is some electronics involved to achieve this, but it’s actually done with a pair of polarizing lenses — a simple technique that yields a beautiful effect.
Apparently there’s a retro vogue going on in the design world when it comes to appliance, lamp, and power cords. Shown here, a selection of colorful braided fabric cable looms available from Sweden’s FRINAB Fristad Industri Aktiebolag. The cable is available in small quantities, online through their NUD Collection brand, which includes a webshop that will sell you either mix-and-match custom lamp cordsets or just the cable. They have 44 different colors and / or patterns; the 10 foot length costs $14, and the longer, 20-foot length actually costs more, on a per-foot basis, at $35.
They’ll send you free samples, too, in the colors of your choice. Shown here is a scan of the card they just sent me, with two three-inch whole cable samples on the left and two loom-only samples on the right. [via adafruit]