Monday, May 12, 2014

Frankie's Readymake: Sand-casting 3-D Prints

A few weeks ago, Scott Kildall and I collaborated on the project Readymake: Duchamp Chess Set.  As part of our experiment, we invited various artists and makers to contribute documentation of their own iterations to the project.  Many awesome and talented people have been pitching in... and I am eager to publish a post dedicated to their readymakes in the near future.

However, one in particular I couldn't wait to share - mainly because the entire process is documented and I am a process JUNKIE.

Frankie Flood, best known in Milwaukee for his super power to shape and manipulate metal with his mind, has taken his readymake to the next level.  He has employed the age-old tradition of sand casting to transform once-plastic 3-D prints into robust bronze statuettes.

For the purpose of this post, I will attempt a lay-person's run-through of his process (with photos stolen from Flood's blog.)

Step One: Obtain large metal sand-casting mold thingie.

Step Two: Obtain smelting furnace and graphite crucible.

Step Three: Play in tiny sand box.

Step Four: Half-Bury 3-D Print in tightly-packed sand.

Step Five: Apply corn starch (who knew?) as a release-agent.

Step Six: Bury 3-D print alive, pack tightly.

Step Seven: Remove 3-D print, leaving empty cavity in the shape of said 3-D print.

Step Eight: Snack Break!  Prepare sandwich as pictured above.

Step Nine: Use furnace to melt desired material (bronze, aluminum, cheese, etc)

Step Ten: Be Frankie Flood.

Step Eleven: Pour stuff in thingie.

Step Twelve: Separate.

 Step Thirteen: Receive degree in Alchemy.

For the real deal, plus way more photos, plus Flood's take on combining new technologies with old craft traditions, check out his blog posts, here, here and here!

Arduino workshop @ Stritch

This month I hosted a three-night Arduino workshop at Cardinal Stritch University, open to all students and focusing primarily in basic circuits, introduction to creative coding, and making stuff!  The (small) group of students who attended ended up collaborating on the following:

The Draphon: A robotic dragon-dolphin hybrid.  I was actually pretty impressed that in just three two-hour sessions, and with no prior experience in circuits+coding, these guys were able to pool efforts to create a functional robotic object!  Demo video below:


I finally released my new open-source project, Cubecube.  In collaboration with Kavi Laud, this hardware project explores one possibility for creating 3-D computer models by manipulating real-world objects with your hands.

 Kavi and I launched the official website/wiki for the project (, and I created a build-guide and published on (here).

This project features one of my first professionally-fabbed circuit boards, which I was pretty stoked to unbox.  I ordered it through, the company whose software I also used to design the board.

This project also features some of the trickiest and smallest assemblies I've ever designed, like the inside of a building block (pictured above).

This project is still very much in progress, but now that it is (finally) documented and published online, I plan on taking a break from it for a few months, maybe the summer.  So many other fun things to make in the mean time!

Keep your eyes peeled at for updates!