Update from the Shop #10

It is officially the BEST time to be at the shop, right now. This is it. This is the memorable chaos, the crunch-time problem-solving, the begging each other to just come here and help me carry this thing, it’ll just take a sec, seriously please.

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Buncha bark lickers.

The Flaming Lotus Girls share our shop space with dozens of other artists, and there are several other large projects in progress, with the same timeline and due date as Xylophage. There’s Charlie Gadeken’s HELIX which is coming together beautifully, with its punchy colors and swirling metal shapes all gathered in bins around the shop. There’s Flash.It, whose successful Kickstarter video has us really fired up to go scale their gorgeous and distracting blinky climbing wall out in the desert. And there are other people working on other things that we’re just too busy to stop and inquire about. The short of it: there is a FEARSOME amount of activity down here lately.

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There are actually 14 people in this photo, but 11 of them are moving so fast you can’t even detect their blurs.

The most exhilarating part of being here now is the bullet-time ninja-weaving one has to do in order to cross the shop floor. Three or four people at a time are propping and guiding 20′ pipes into the pipe bender, feeding them in so the pipes can bend into curves and then arc their way out the other side, climbing higher and higher as their bends become more pronounced, arcing into the air in graceful curves. But they’re being shaped along planes that aren’t easy to anticipate — and anticipate you must! Because making your way through the shop, between all these active projects, is like threading a very dynamic needle. Also, it’s damn loud down here. Every welder is constantly in use, the plasma cutters are buzzing, the grinders are going off, and of course the Xylophage bark is being hammered into bumpy shapes. There’s a heroic amount of bark going onto this thing, look:

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Sara and Adam pet the bark.

It’s difficult to describe; you should really come experience this quality of hectic productivity. The Flaming Lotus Girls always shine under pressure like this, and we’re at our best as we sprint to the finish of the build.

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a brief To-Do list.

If you’re not here, you should be. And if you are here, uh, would you mind just helping me out over here for a sec? I just need you to hold this one thing in place while I lift this other part around it…

Update from the Shop #9: A Whole Bunch of Happy People

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The Adventures of Victor and the FLG!

We were super lucky to have a fabrication rockstar on our crew this past couple of months. Vic is an artist from Adelaide who makes sculptures that feature mechanisms and automata, not a far cry from what we do. He came over in June to support Xylophage’s build, and he kept a blog of his adventures in the metal shop.

http://victorandtheflg.blogspot.com

His posts are really thorough and fun to read, and they give a great idea of the problem solving and collaboration that constitutes the big art production experience.

His story begins, “Sara, who was doing some welding at the time, broke the ice — ‘So, what can you do?’ In a matter of minutes I was grinding some welds back and then disassembling the root substructure.”

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Vic hard at work

We miss you already, Vic! Thanks so much for all your excellent input and hard work!

Update from the Shop #8: Geek Field Trip

The geeks had a big build effort this week, and while we love the comfort of the Box Shop lounge and geek area, there are more of us than there is horizontal space to build on. So we crossed 3rd Street and regrouped at Denise’s house, where there was brighter light and more chairs. There was also a Pelican case of alcohol to get us started on a night of intense soldering.

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Not messing around.

Note that lemon tart? It was Pi Approximation Day (22/7). Important dates like this are not lost on the geeks.

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Craig and Lance fooling with electrons, Ted futzing with code.

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Ellen and Rich discuss the finer points of sound manipulation.

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Lauren attaches components to circuit boards with the sheer power of her charm.

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There were so many of us, we spilled out into the hallway. Sam toasts to YOU, dear reader. And MCT, down on the floor, is battling code.

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MCT (see? he’s doing something), David and Corey, writing code to make the lights behave, fighting the good fight.

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Jane wields the soldering iron like the tiny bludgeoning weapon it really is.

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Issac fishing through a bin of components.

It was an excellent night of productivity, and as soon as our next wave of orders come in, we’ll get to have yet *another* big build. We have miles of cables and wires to build, more boards to solder, and other sub-systems to assemble.