Archive for December 2010

Christmas Loot

Merry Christmas from everyone at the Labs! While we're busy mixing together toxic chemicals and throwing them onto skateboards to make them more rad, I figured I'd toss a photo-dump of a few clay projects I've been working on.

I started clay-work when I was 12, and never had any training in it other than things I taught myself. I also stopped doing it for a solid 8 year period. I use mostly Super Sculpey, but I recently bought a big ole 10-lb box of air-hardening clay, for a future project. My tools, other than my hands, are usually a butter knife, the handle end of a paintbrush (a good rounded end), and an exacto knife. I can't really give a step-by-step for working with clay on my projects, because it's pretty much all the same strategy, which I will briefly go over right now:

Get an idea in mind. Sketch it, grab references, and settle on a design.

Grab a hunk of clay and make whatever part you want. Start with rough figures, representations of the final look. Once you get everything shaped out, start adding in finer details. You're going to spend a long time doing this. Adding, subtracting, mixing, slicing, all sorts of stuff. Just keep going until it looks right. That's how I do it at least. I'm sure there's a "real" way to do it. But then again, I'm amateur, at best.

Onto the photos:

This is the face of a large Santa doll that will be made. I left the top lip out because I was running low on Super Sculpey and it will be covered by Santa's mustache anyway. The last picture shows the face after being fired and painted by my grandmother, who is an amazing painter. (Her etsy store, in case she strikes your fancy)

Then I worked on another soon-to-be-Santa, but used a Mini Munny doll as a form. This is still a project that's long from being done:

So here's the face on the doll after baking the clay. The thing I like about using the Munny, aside from the fun little shape of it, is that the vinyl can be heated up without losing shape. You can also cut these things easily with an exacto knife. I cut off the ears, because I like round heads. Hopefully this will get painted and turned into a tiny little Santa. If not, I'll figure something out.

This final creation will have far less pictures, as I rushed this from start to finish. I made a Michelangelo (The Ninja Turtle, not the artist) Munny for my soon-to-be brother-in-law (so many hyphens.) I also took these with my camera phone, so bear with me.

So this is the only picture I have of the clay phase. I got the shape down for the most part. From this picture, I made some slight alterations and smoothed it out a bit. I didn't have the time to make it look entirely clean, because I was working in a 15 hour frame of working time. So I rushed it. I made the nunchucks by just taking two rolled up pieces of clay and putting in some jewelery chain in there. They were a pain, and I left them looking very sloppy.

Baked and painted. I'm not a painter. This took me a long time.

I used some Polyurethane spray to seal it. I also did the body and arms.

Here he is, all put together. Munny's have pieces that snap on and off, so you can actually paint/modify these things to your liking. The sealer made it a little tough to fit the pieces back in, but some elbow grease did the trick.

This is the last pic I have for now. I went to Michael's and bought a little 4-inch base, painted it black, and drilled a hole halfway through it that would fit a pencil snuggly. I cut a pencil (unsharpened) down to about 2 inches in length, and glued it into the hole. I then drilled a hole into the foot of the Munny. This is my improvised method of providing a stand. I also found some orange fabric and made Mikey his trusty belt. There's a nice shell on the back of the figure that you can't see either.

This is already boxed and wrapped, waiting under my Christmas tree. The recipient opens it tomorrow, so ideally I'll be able to grab some more pictures.

Have a Happy Holiday, and keep on makin'!

Magnets, Tools, and some Sugru

So I got some Sugru a while back and hadn't found entirely too many things to do with it outside of making slight (though admittedly, very useful) adjustments to everyday things. Putting little feet on my external hard drive to prevent it from slipping, or re-gripping my multi-tool. Then I decide to mix in some magnets.

And I came up with this.

Not very hard to do. You take some Sugru, roll it around into a ball, stick it on your wall, and put the magnet in the center. If you really need some instructions on how to use it, check out the Instructables I made for it. (yes, I called them magic nipples.) It holds tools and such, stuff that's good to have easily accessible.

After some basic stress testing I found that the Sugru will hold more than the magnet will hold, so you're limited by the magnet's strength. With this thought, I decided to ration the Sugru and make 5 "nipples" with one packet.

I did a very fast tool placement alignment, which is why you see the varied heights of all the magnets.
On the far right, you can see the size when an entire packet is used. The rest are rationed off. I worried about these smaller ones because I was thinking less surface area to grip would result in less strength. I put all my tools up, and let them hang for 24 hours. This would be my strength test.

And they all hang well. For the ruler on the left, I used a second magnet, which is a cylinder shape, so that it can hang on it. I like this as opposed to installing an actual hook into the wall because I can take off the secondary magnet and I can use the magnet for anything else I want. The T-Square next to the ruler needed two Sugru-magnets because it slants a little with the weight distribution. The tape measure needs a secondary magnet on the back of it so that there is a strong enough attraction to hold it up. Everything else holds up perfectly fine with just the installed Sugru-magnet.

So now I have this floating tool rack. I just decided to put up the stuff I use most often, or stuff that my family asks to use most often. I'm figuring out a way to put my hammer up, but I've run out of Sugru for the time being. But I like this because nothing is permanent on here. The Sugru peels right off (be wary though, you can't reapply it), and the magnets can all be salvaged should I decide I don't like this anymore.

I also put two magnets near my door (more will be added) for stuff that usually goes in my pockets.

Car keys, and my multi-tool of choice.
Supplies Links:



Keep on makin'.

Headphone Rest

I like my headphones. But most of the time, when I'm not using them, they sit on my desk, all up in my arm space, as you can see in the pic above. You can also see my computer screen loaded with icons, and asking me for a password for a wireless router. Damn you, neighbors.

For about a year now, I've wanted some sort of headphone stand to have them sit nicely when not in use. I finally had some scrap supplies, so I got crackin.

These are all the supplies I used. I had this metal pegboard-ish thing. I don't know what it's called. I know when this is in a rectangular "beam" that it's called "grid beam." I'll call it grid slice. I had some nut and bolt combos laying around, 3/8" which fit perfectly into the grid holes. So I grabbed a 3/8" drill bit and got to work.

I first decide where I want to bend this bad boy. I need to fit two bolts into it, and they've got big heads. So I need room enough for the bottom and third hole. I decide that bending right around the middle hole will be fine enough. I put on my sexy work gloves and...

Bend it, holmes. So now it's time to drill.

I figure out exactly where I want to put the hook on the side of my desk. I'm going to have to keep it a little lower, so that the bolts don't hit the drawer of my desk. After I figure out about where I want it, I mark it with a pencil, and start to drill.



You'll notice that some of the surrounding wood around the hole has chipped off. This is common with this weird particle board stuff that most furniture is made out of now. Don't get me wrong, I've had this desk for over 10 years, and it's held up nicely. But it's still fake, like my college degree.

So I pop that screw into the bent grid slice and the hole, and then put a little pencil mark in the bottom hole. I drill the second hole, and then put the second bolt through.

I nut 'em up and this bad boy is done.

They sit a little low, but still easily within reach of my arm when I'm sitting at my desk. This took me all of 15 minutes, and more of that was trying to document the process than anything else. The materials, I'd estimate, cost about 3 dollars total. I think this is a very simple solution to a space problem that many people have when they use full-ear headphones.

Look out for way less functional stuff from me in the very near future.