Archive for artisan’s asylum

Pumpkin Marble Track

Posted in Sculpture with tags , , on February 22, 2013 by Spark

Wow, I’ve been terrible at updating this blog lately!  That’s partly because I haven’t finished very many projects in a while, and partly because I keep forgetting to post the projects I have completed.  I’m gonna catch up with a few old projects and then give some updates on what I’m working on now.

Back in October, I got to carve giant pumpkins with power tools along with a handful of other artists from Artisan’s Asylum.  I decided to turn mine into a marble track.  Check it out!

Here’s a video of it in action:

Check out the rest of the pumpkins here.  They’re all fantastic!


Hexapod on

Posted in Robotics, Things with tags , , , on May 3, 2012 by Spark

The hexapod robot is making the news!  We’ve shown up on, hackaday, slashdot, BoingBoing and a few others.


Gui rendered a concept model that gives a good idea of what the robot is going to look like:


Stompy, the hexapod robot


Right now, I’m working on the PID controller for the joint actuators.  I’ve got a bare-bones PID algorithm working and I’m going to add a few more features to make it a little more robust.

Trebuchet Competition

Posted in Things with tags , , , on May 2, 2012 by Spark

Last week I entered the Trebuchet Competition at Artisan’s Asylum!  Nick Anastasia, Alex Phillips and I made up team Percussive Maintenance.  We spent a week from Sunday April 22 to Sunday April 29 designing and building our trebuchet, the Small Adjustment Tool.  Artisan’s Asylum provided a pile of lumber and assorted hardware, and we had a week to come up with a trebuchet that would throw water balloons with a maximum counterweight of 100lbs at targets set up on Cambridge Commons.



There were a couple other floating arm trebuchets, but ours was the only arm-slides-over-cam style.  We were looking great in testing with a range of at least 150′ and good consistency between shots.

At the competition, we had a couple shots to calibrate our trebuchet, then ten shots to hit the first target twice.  The targets were plywood castles, set up at 50′ for the first round.  Our first calibration shot went a little long, so we pulled some weight off and tried again.  The next two shots were dead on target.  Figuring we were all set, we went ahead with our ten shots for the qualifying round – and not one hit the target!  They were going all over the place, landing anywhere from 10 feet to 100 feet in front of us.  The only thing we can think of is that the wind and unevenly filled water balloons combined to add a lot of variability.

Even though we lost in the first round, we had a great time and built a really cool trebuchet.  Overall, I’d call it a win!

Check out Kieth Simmons’ photos of the competition here