Machine Building Cardboard Construction Kit

September 16th, 2015

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This year I taught the Machine Building class in Fab Academy with Neil. We covered mechanics, machine building, and system integration, and I used the slides James and I made for How to Make Almost Anything last semester. For the assignment, we used the Cardboard Machine Construction Kit James Coleman and I developed for the Machines that Make Project, and thusly fab labs around the world made the most weirdly wonderful machines. I particularly liked the precision ketchup application machine, the courgette cutting machine, the sand gardening machine, the phone scanner machine… well I particularly liked almost all of them. Good job everyone!

You can watch the class here, and see the results of the students’ assignments here and here, or in a little trailer above!

This cardboard machine construction kit trailer featured in a talk I gave about doing/making/thinking in fab labs at the 11th Annual Fab Lab Symposium which was at Symphony hall. I was in the “Tools” track with Tomas Diez, Matt Keeter, Amon Millner, Fiore Basile, and Ara Knaian, and we were moderated by professor Marty Culpepper (who remained gracious even though I made fun of him for perpetuating male engineer stereotypes). At Symphony Hall, I also performed with Construction (the band I’m in with Marko Ahtisaari) this time featuring Neil Gershenfeld on the bassoon!

Construction’s first gig was at MIT, and our second gig was already at Symphony hall! Lol.

Photo by the inestimable Stanley Rowin.

There’s another song from Construction featuring Neil on bassoon at the beginning of this video:

While the Modular Machines that Make cardboard construction kit is open source and documented online, we’re working on ways to make it easier for people to make them by kitting up some of the parts. Stay tuned for that, and meanwhile check out the design files at is by nadya peek. she'd love to hear from you.