Emphasis Fabrication - Spring 2002

Thursday 19:15 PM to 22:15 PM and Friday 13:00 to 16:00 - Hybrid Lab

In this course students will develop advanced skill sets central to the creation of dynamic installation and sculpture. We will focus on
advanced fabrication and programming for actuation, control, and feedback. The objective is to create kinetic art that can manifest
complex variable motion and behaviors with mechanical precision. We will explore both industrial and consumer solutions to this

Learned skills or strategies will include basic metalworking and fabrication techniques, power-transmission design, and mechanical
movement and mechanical component construction. The incorporation of found elements will be explored with off-site visits to salvage

Students will learn how to program and control kinetic art while working with sophisticated motors and sensors. Learned skills in this
arena will include programming stepper and servo motors, interfacing these systems with MAX (a graphic programming environment),
scavenging for these systems, designing and implementing feedback for orientation and position, designing and implementing
electronic circuits that condition and amplify sensor signals, and performing complex behavioral emulation.


Todd Blair: Fabrication and Kinetics Barney Haynes: Media and Programming Don Day: Electronics and Sensors

Grade Break Down

Attendance: Miss 3 classes lose 1 grade point, miss 4 and you will not pass

Active participation in class exercises and mini assignments and punctuality - 20%

Assignment 1 due February 14 - 5%

Assignment 2 due February  21 - 5%

Project Proposal Presentation: Class presentation of Alpha Prototype due Week 8 - 20%

Project Proposal Presentation: Class presentation of Final  Project  due Week 12 - 25%

Week 15 Final show - 25%

Missed or late assignments will result in the loss of associated percentage

Assignment 1: Book Report
Pick an artist working in the field of kinetic and electronic art, write a report and prepare a book report to hand in. Due February 14

Assignment 2: Random Motion
Identify and bring in for a class presentation something that moves unpredictibly - it can be mechanical, a household object, fabricated or found. Don't forget heat rises, light is very fast and gravity has a strong pulling force. Due February 21
Steve Wilson's Massive Artist List

Classical Kinetic Artists

  • Hero of Alexandria
  • Jacques de Vaucanson
  • Marcel Duchamp
  • Thomas Wilfred
  • Jean Tinguely
  • Nam June Paik
  • Len Lye
  • Pol Bury
  • Nicolas Schöffer
  • James Seawright
  • Otto Piene
  • Fletcher Benton
  • Billy Klüver
  • Robert Whitman
  • Charles Frazier

Classic Groups and Organizations
  • USCO
  • EAT (Experiments in Art and Technology)
  • ZERO
  • GRAV


Sources Field Trip 1: Saturday 2/8 Just like a class - absence condemed

Sources Field Trip 2: Saturday 3/2 Optional but strongly encourged but fun

Project Proposal Presentation: Class presentation of Alpha Prototype
Prepare a working prototype of your final project for the presentaion. Due March 7 and 8

Project Proposal Presentation: Class presentation of Final Project
Final presentation of your final project presented for critique. April 11 and 12
Week 1
Friday 1/18 Introduction to the class 
  • Delineation of the areas of concentration
  • Expectations: Assignments and show
  • Possible strategies and models
  • Collect contact information for students

Todd: Introduction to Fabricating Electromechanical devices 

  • Planing your design - design, prototype
  • Sourcing your materials - surplus, dumpster diving
  • Fabricating - tools, the lab and the metal shop
Some Links Barney: Computers and the Hybrid Lab (RM. 304) 
  • Tool and Key check out
  • Computer Lab (tools & procedures)
  • Software
    • Authoring Software: Max/MSP and nato+0.55
  • Hardware
Don: Power & Control and Electro Safety 
  • Hazards of the disposable flash camera

  • powered by an innocent AA battery 
  • Sources of power

  • Sun, nuclear power plants (PG&E), chemicals, lemons and potatoes 
  • Too much energy getting loose

  • Circuit Breakers, Fuses (flash bulb in socket) 
  • Toxics Soldering, lead with the Romans, smoking the flux 
  • Heat a LITTLE too much energy getting loose 

  • liquid metal on the flesh makes for a nasty burn 
  • Tiny objects close to your eyes
  • Shock causes you to lose motor control
  • Current through your heart can kill you
Week 2
Thursday 1/24

Todd: Actuation 

        Actuators in Kinetic Art
        Major Mechanical Components in Kinetic Art

Friday 1/25

Don: Electronic Control

Week 3
Thursday  1/31

Todd: Fabrication and Materials 

        Introduction the shop 
        Materials and Fabrication Strategies 
        Exercise: Fastening and Joining with drills and taps 

Friday 2/1

Barney: Pneumatics in Kinetic Art

Week 4
Thursday  2/7

Todd: Power Transmission 

        Mechanical movement 
        Major components in power transmission 

Friday 2/8

Day off for field trip Saturday 2/8

Week 5
Thursday  2/14

Book report Assignment Due

Friday 2/15

Don: Motor Control

Week 6
Thursday  2/21

Random Motion Assignment Due

Friday 2/22

Relay Lab

Week 7
Thursday 2/29

Barney: Serial Controllers

Friday 3/1

Day off for field trip Saturday 3/2

Week 8
Thursday  3/7

Wire Sculpture Lab

Friday 3/8

Alpha Project Presentation: Critique 

SPRING BREAK March 11-15
Week 9
Thursday 3/21

Todd: Problem solving

Friday 3/22

Don:  Problem solving

Week 10
Thursday  3/28

Rube Goldberg Lab

Friday 3/29


Week 11
Thursday  4/4


Friday 4/5


Week 12
Thursday  4/11

Final Project Due: Critique I

Friday 4/12

Final Project Due: Critique II

Week 13
Thursday  4/18

Mandatory Attendence - Evaluations

Individual Meeetings - Refinement for Public Presentation

Friday 4/19

Individual Meeetings - Refinement for Public Presentation

Week 14
Thursday  4/25


Friday 4/26


Week 15
Thursday  5/2

Final Critique

Friday 5/3

Final Show