Posted in: News- Feb 27, 2012

Holy crap, we made BoingBoing! It’s not a total surprise – we got a request for high res images this afternoon – but … we made BoingBoing!

Just look at it – isn’t it beautiful?

Michael and I are both Makers and former programmers. BoingBoing has been a serious cultural touchstone for me, and it was definitely a factor in the character of the studio we founded. I’ve been an avid reader for close to 10 years, and it was there that I was first introduced to, among other things, the maker movement. Making BoingBoing is a very real, and very exciting milestone for us. Put another way, I’m a huge fanboy, and this is RLY RLY COOL!.

Thank you Cory!

Full disclosure: A couple of weeks ago, we had the pleasure of meeting Cory at a reception when he was in town to speak at UT Arlington and persuaded him that he really needed one to review. We only got to speak to him for a few minutes before the talk, but he is very much the charming, and genuinely nice guy that he appears to be. As a speaker, he’s good enough to make material and view points that I was mostly already familiar with into a talk that was interesting and extremely engaging – and I swear I said all of the same things before he did the write up!!

QR Code Hacking

Posted in: How To- Jan 06, 2012

While there is considerable debate whether or not QR Codes will “catch on”, they are beginning to show up in more and more places. Although a code can store as many as 4,096 characters of text in any format, QR codes are most commonly used to provide easy access to a web address. It makes sense, anything beyond a basic domain name is a pain for people to enter themselves, and while many services exist to alias URLs into shorter paths, the result is hardly user friendly.

Still, to many designers at least, QR codes are generic and ugly. Someone realized that QR codes implement error correction and that means that a certain amount of the data can be corrupted without losing effectiveness. For a long time, it was largely a trial and error process of deleting sections and seeing if it was still readable. Odds could be increased by padding the code out with additional data. But there is another way to better your odds. The secret was explained to me in this great blog post.

Here is the process I followed to create one for Artifacture. First, I created a QR code using one of the many websites devoted to offering that service. I used


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Gear Christmas Tree

Posted in: Design, Product Development- Jan 02, 2012

After the doing the Gear invitation, and spending a little time in The Joule, we decided that it would be a good idea to create a Christmas tree that would fit in with the rest of the theme.  After some experimenting and brainstorming, we hit on the idea of counter rotating gears as the tree form.

To stay true to the feel of the place ( pictures below ), we elected to make the gears a combination of dark stained wood teeth around an acrylic core.  Since the tree would be moving, we decided against trying to make a set of meshed gears to drive the rotation – non-metal gears would mark, and would shed material over time even if perfectly meshed, so instead, we created a gear form with a silicone rubber contact surface.  It’s elegant looking, and simple to fabricate.  More importantly, it’s easier for the hotel staff to assemble and disassemble, and safer to guests and staff since there are no meshed teeth to create pinch hazards.

The photos shown are a 1:8 scale model.  The final tree would be approximately 7’2″ tall with the largest horizontal gear approximately 4′ across.  If we cannot reach an agreement for the Joule installation, we plan to make scale kits available next Christmas – and potentially full size ones as well.

Kinetic Gear Wedding Invitation

Posted in: Client Work, Product Development- Dec 31, 2011

The project began with a time crunch.  One week ( it actually turned out to be 8 days ) from first meeting to final delivery.  However, they were willing to let us go a little nuts, so we signed up.

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Assembling the Frabjous puzzle/sculpture

Posted in: Client Work, How To- Dec 25, 2011

For those who are not into puzzles and would rather just put your Frabjous together, here is a step-by-step video to follow.

Frabjous Acrylic Sculpture

Posted in: Product Development- Nov 28, 2011

We have long been fans of George Hart’s amazing geometric sculptures. One in particular, the Frabjous, was talked about in the Maker community, including an excellent explanation by Evil Mad Scientist Labs on why the pieces fit together the way they do.

Naturally, when we got our first laser cutter, we had to make a Frabjous. When George made his, he sanded the edges and glued the pieces together. While I have a lot of patience, that seemed like a lot of work! But at the time, we happened to be exploring the use of finger joints for assembling boxes and thought perhaps it could be applied here. Sure enough, it could!

After a lot of refinement, we approached George about licensing the design for production. He was in the process of putting together content for the Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) opening in NYC in 2012, and agreed that we could produce it for MoMath. We are ramping up production so soon you will see it at a museum gift shop near you. In the meantime, you can purchase it through our Etsy shop. MoMath receives a portion of each sale.