Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pantographyville Next Stop

OK! I needed a break from the Gimp anyway. Well, the pantograph works like a champ. It required a bit of tinkering to get it and the image platform at the block-face level required for block imprinting, got it!

The rig took up allot of room on the table, cause it`s temporary I didn`t cut anything. I found stuff that added up to block-face and either clamped it or set rocks on it to keep it from sliding (the forces involved weren`t much).

The first experiment was with fonts for arithmetic blocks. They were sooo crisp, but tended to use the room allowed for figure stretching to fill the space less interestingly than hand drawn ones. This pointed out how highly accurate aspect-ratio was in the image transfers, so-what,eh?

On the first foray into Pantographyville our block spot-lights the genius of Walt Kelly and V T Hamlin particularly their strips "POGO" and "ALLEY OPP".

The force of the weight (usually my cell phone) on the pencil arm of the pantograph sometimes rolled the block out of the stage-blocks when working close to the edge. Even that small of a weight makes a tweakable pencil image of amazing accuracy. Notice,it`s a little tough picking out that left Oop face on Hamlin-Kelly-blocko2. Cause I`m erasing that crap. Well, I am. The other faces are looking cool enough to invest a burn in to see if they`re possible. Even with good hints from the pantograph, and a simple looking scene, I couldn't`t see any hint-o-Hamlin except the trippy bell-bottom leg. Good thing wood erases good .

Finding the small scenes that will burn and still reveal at least a hint of the artist being remembered is a weird and picky direction to go, but if it works it could open up a cool vein-o-blocks. I want to see Degas and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec blocks, how about Henri Rousseau, or Edward Gorey, gnahhh, gnahhh, gnahhh!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Merry Arithmechristmas boy I like sayin that

The fraction block was`t looking as good as I wanted so I did another one. In case anybody`s counting, yeah yer being shorted one Indian`s O Tha West block. Instead here`s a tease fom the Olmec (aprox. 1400BCE to 400BCE) block so far it`s still in pencil, but it`s fun pencil.

This post includes the two cube root blocks, the two fraction blocks and the first of two varios tribes indian blocks. Unfortunatly I didn`t get all the indian tribes named on their style faces. The research I did was image oriented, tilted at first toward diversity, then more toward a celebration of their cultural richness. I did this research at the public library, and unfortunatly didn`t get tribal origins pinned down on the first few faces. I hope to remedy this eventually, and apologize if I stepped on any religios toes, as I am only a student of these cultures ( and a rookie at that).

On the mass production front, I`ve begun experiments with a pantograph.

It`s built outta yard-sticks from homedepot ($.61 each, took 3) from somewhat incomplete plans and partial instructions found on the web. In the first tests it produced much better reductions than enlargements, but so far I haven`t gotten it to mark on a block face yet. Hey, gimmie a minute, I`ll provide the links eventually (such as they are).

Monday, December 14, 2009

R0 H0 H02

Now see, there it is again. I wanted the headline to read Ro Ho Ho squared but I couldn`t even sneak up on it with a cut, paste, back door like (mañana) cut and pasted from Wictionary to get tha ~ to get over the n. Anyway I finally got the square root blocks done and three Roman numeral blocks. I even did tha-one with the XII and the IIX adajacent to each other, it felt pretty dumd though.

The plan for the next addition to the set is the two cube root blocks and the fraction block. This leaves room for the next two blocks in "The West" series to fill our the next five eh?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ho Ho Ow, Damn that`s Hot!

Fa la la la hah! Props to Santa, man with all the soot, smoke, and hot ceramic
pipe, I couldn`t even get in the chimney, much less down it. Just as well, I guess, my best efforts at coming up with the 4 or 5 sets of arithmetic blocks I wanted to share with my favorite tiny humans are still well beyond my reach. When Niko first saw the arithmetic blocks he wanted to share them with Chloe and Madison`s cousins, but none of us has been successful making the shift into mass production necessary for this to happen.

But hey, tis the season, there is still hope for the hard-headed. I`m still working on the peels of the original Chloe/Madison set with a few picture blocks tossed in for spice. Today`s installment includes the odd, even, prime, the fibonacci, and the first of the three blocks in "The West" series.

The patterns seem to be getting better looking to me, but there`s way too many to go for me to go back and tweak up the first few yet. Well drag out yer round pointed scissors and yer glue stik. Set up the tv-tray table and go to cuttin anda foldin while watchin re-runs (you don`t need to watch em so close). Good luck, hope the picture matched tabs hide yer seams, they worked pretty well on the test block (da fish). Well, I got my five blocks to photograph and assemble into today`s peels, mañana.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Merry Arithmachristmas

Ho ho ho, merry arithmechristmas. Well they`re finally here, the first patterns for the Blocklogic arithmetic blocks. They were slow coming and won`t be all that fast in unfurling. Originally the plan was to make a plan and a list of the block-set but instead I tried to concentrate on making a few sets of the blocks, ouy! Whata pain in the butt. The one at a time cutting with a band-saw improved the quality, but even a belt sander and a jig to hold 16 blocks at a time didn`t make it fast. Hand mortissing, free hand lettering, multiple fonts, and wood burning the letters made each block take about two anda half hours.

Much as I wanna see these in play this version may not be very common. The printer version should take about 10 minutes apiece to print cut fold and glue. Making the first 5 patterns, of a set of 21 with some picture blocks to round up to 27 (to fit inna cube), took me about an hour each with photoshop.These were slow but I think they`re gonna make good arithmechrismas ornaments so I`ll still continue to crank em out. This will also be the plan for the set. Somewhere in a later post I may post definitions of the symbols, maybe not.
Here`s the link to the list on wikipedia that was the source of most of my favorites.

The set being mapped is the only set so far and are all on home-made blocks.
So far my research has yielded a number of manufacturers of blank blocks. , but I haven`t tried any of them yet.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

17 Fish-block

Well I`ve finally run the arithmetic blocks into the ground. Don`t get me wrong I still think they`re cool but I`m tired of dreaming about them. This block came to me at the edge of sleep. I had to get up and write myself a note for in the morning. It worked great, so well in fact I was inspired to play some more. Next came the spikey cat, the escaping puppy, the swollen bunny, the irritated cat, the star-gazing dog, Yak with mountains, barking night dog, and the texture blocks.
Ahhhh! Above is the 17 fish block as a full size peel, with image tabs to help hide the seams. It works pretty good, I asembled a couple to test the pattern. More to follow.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Arithmetic Block Set Specs

Well the entire first set of digits and symbol blocks are ready. The complete set of blocks contains two serial blocks, one odd, one even, one prime, one fibonacci, three Roman numeral, two square-root, two cube-root, one fraction, four factor, and three symbol blocks. This comes to twenty one number blocks and a total of twenty eight symbols. The symbols include a great many more than I ever heard of studying arithmatic. The real criterion for making the list was cool symbols that might be possible to explain to a kid. Some of them are going to be a bit of a stretch, to use in an equation correctly or to define in a usefull way. There is no doubt they look cool and they`re definitly thought provoking, heck makes me want to learn more math. Well they`re all sealed. Now that theyr`e photographed the list of definitions of the symbols on them is next, but it aint ready yet.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This Neopolitan Has Nine Layers Already

We are once agian indebted to The Plush Neon Monkey, just couldn`t leave it alone.
I`d hoped carefull thought might generate a few more fun number catagories for block content.
Look-out! There`s more than a dozen diferent block configurations so far. These pictures represent an in progress preview of the first arithmetic blocks, still unsealed.

The latest additions include lower digits of square roots,
cube-roots, roman numerals to twelve, and one block of fractions. These are in addition to serial on two blocks, even, odd, prime, and fibonacci blocks already made.

The block holder mortis-jig and the gang sanding-jig have made mass-production as easy
it seems likely till I`ve got a belt-sander.

Now the real limiting factor seems to be the twenty minutes to cut each mortis, and the need to limit the number of them in a day to about sixteen. The stress of the chissel turned my fingers bright red and painfull just short of blistering. Fifteen of the sixteen gang-sanded group were good and more uniform than most of those that were harder to do. The fractions were toughest to burn but they seem worth it. The Roman numeral blocks had the same inversion-juxtaposition chalenges that the six-nine block had, but it seems worth it because of the way it reveals Roman numeral construction techniques so clearly.

The next post will include the a complete list ot the arithmetic blocks and layout of each block. A list of definitions of the eighteen plus math symbols , will also be included.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

serial,even, odd, prime, fibonacci

On a recent visit to the den of the Plush Neon Monkey the spectre of block logic rose yet again. I`ve got that "crap did I carve another six fingered hand" feeling again . As he examined the first few of the arithmetic blocks I kinda didn`t want to look. "Is there some plan to how these numbers end up?"asked Plush Neon Monkey. So we began to list ways to catagorize the digits and prioritize their placement to compile an intrestesting, usefull set of number blocks. After all it`s not as much fun to finish a block like this one, deet-da-dee.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Arithmetic Blocks

Surprise, Yet another fold in the block logic. Who`da thunk tha hexahedron would get so much play. Well there`s a reason that they call`em blocks. I kinda backed into them, I just wanted something to make walls out of. The square dimension lumber at Home Depot was limited to 13/8"x13/8"x8`white wood and 15/8"x15/8"x24" oak `parson`s-table` legs (nice wood, a little pricey and hard to sand). About 5` of the 13/8" was suficient to make a fair sized pile of cube and double-cube pieces. Even with careful marking the hand-cut wobble factor was a bit disconcerting. Testing revealed that simple cubes were very popular amoung the youngest of our test-pilots. the white wood was soft, but the small size of the recess made relief symbols not very inteligable. The white wood recessed evenly,and tests with a Weller WSB25WB wood-burner made the arithmetic blocks look atainable and fun.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I meant to do that

I meant to do that, too. Well maybe not just like that. The `I meant to do that' factor doesn`t
really apply to blocks quite as easily as it does to some forms of art. The hand cut wobble factor has been humbling to disconcerting. A great deal of care was expended in precisley drawing and marking the polygons for these blocks (especially the packing set). Miter sawing every piece I can and using the sanding block and flipping the work around to keep the faces as true as possible, has still yielded some wobbly and some slightly asymitrical pieces. Well I guess block logic includes lessons in justifying. Precision length measurements seem more straightforward, and yet this dimension has given me cause to re-cut and gang-sand in an effort to make them stack better.

Ok so my ham cut blocks sometimes stack like warm cheese, hey even a crooked castle
is still pretty cool. So here`s the packing stacking set.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Indeedy, Packed!

Stacking and nesting and packing oh my! Yeah yeah, packing or crowding cylinders into a
polygon and making it fit snugly against them, has been surprisingly chalenging. The deceptively simple task of drawing patterns for snug fitting parts, requierd several attempts to just fit a poster-paper collar that didn`t bow or fall down.

How wide to not break, how thin to look like just a line, how long to fit in with at least some of the other blocks? With this set of blocks, the long piece is five and seven eights inches and the shorter one is two and fifteen sixteenths inches. The length of the long piece is also the same as three two-by-fours thicknesses.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Block-ish Blockidge-ah blocka-blocka-blocka

This is the fifth or possibly the sixth group in this set of blocks.

The first group in this set of blocks were mostly a set of regular polygons, cut from inch thick pine. Since I used a small drill bit in the hand drill the coping-saw removed the centers so neatly
that the block-sanded, grain-matching centers were added to the set.
The first group contained triangles, hexagons, pentagons, heptagons and trapazoids. My cutting wasn`t nearly neat enough, the hand-sanding was beatin me down, and giving me a fever in my elbow. The blocks were looking fun when I passed these on to my friends. I mentioned that, "I like thinking about what shapes might be fun to play with and making them in wood, but the sanding was about to shut me down".

Niko, Amy, and Johnathin pitched in on the sanding and finished the first bunch. They stained a few and gave them all a first coat of water-based urathane and let them dry. Next, they once again sanded the heck outtah all of them because the grain raised up big time. The second coat worked good and the first of the block set got played.