# Is that Cuckoo a 1-day clock, or an 8-day clock?

Because of the economics of cuckoo clock repair, you can easily find old, dirty cuckoo clock movements on eBay for a fraction of what a new movement costs. These movements come with no documentation, so you get to work out which chains, weights, and bellows (cuckoo whistles) are right for them.

In this post I calculate the run time (1 day vs. 8 day) of a cuckoo movement I recently bought, and the Links Per Foot of the chain it uses. These two numbers tell me what parts to buy to make a clock case for this movement.

Continue reading Is that Cuckoo a 1-day clock, or an 8-day clock?

# Calculating a clock’s Ideal Pendulum Period, The Sequel

In an earlier post I calculated the ideal pendulum period for the Korean clock by counting its wheels’ teeth (outer teeth) and pinions (inner teeth). This post is an update based on the errors I made while attempting to do the same for my second clock: the Ansonia kitchen clock.

What follows is a more detailed “how to” for calculating the pendulum period based on gear ratios.

Continue reading Calculating a clock’s Ideal Pendulum Period, The Sequel

# Geometry, Gothic Architecture, Rose Windows, and Christmas Ornaments

(first published on Needhamia.com in 2007)

I find the rose windows of Gothic cathedrals awe-inspiring. From the rigid formalism of Chartres to the flamboyant explosion of Tours, their marriage of geometry, philosophy, and aesthetics with stone and glass is awesome. Built at a time when science and spirit weren’t as divided as today, each window is a statement of the beauty, order, and harmony in the world. Using only a pair of compasses (dividers) and a straight-edge (an unmarked ruler), the Gothic architects created myriad lace-like designs, making stone hang in the air and glass sing.

# Making a Jack O’ Lantern (Old School)

At this time of year when Sparkfun, AdaFruit, and Arduino tweets are filled with high-tech Jack O’ Lanterns, I thought I’d document the making of an Old School Jack O’ Lantern.

# Collaboration is not Part of Making; it’s the Heart of Making

This post is about what I’ve learned about Making through the Robotic Glockenspiel project.

Even at the beginning of the project, I was “standing on the shoulders of giants“:

As I learned things, I’d document them for others:

• I blogged at major points in the project. I could have blogged more frequently.
• I tweeted synopses of the blog entries, to point to the blog
• I made YouTube videos from the very start, of the little soldering projects I built to relearn how to solder
•  Once the software was (mostly) working, I put as much as I could think of on GitHub:
• my Glockenspiel Arduino sketch
• my Midi file reading library
• my SD-card simple persistent settings library
• The circuit diagram, in Fritzing format
• the Bill of Materials (parts list)
• the public domain MIDI files of the Christmas carols, as well as the Aria Maestosa source files for the carols.

Sharing shaped my thinking and the structure of the project:

• Blogging made me imagine what someone like me would like to know about robotic instruments and glockenspiel construction.
• Making YouTube videos made me think about how the project demos well or badly, and pulled me out of the technical bits into the user experience.  Trying to make a video of the glockenspiel playing showed me how unacceptably loud it was.
• Tweeting made me think about how to get the word out about what I’d done so far, and what media to use to connect with like-minded people.
• Open-sourcing the project on GitHub seriously changed how I organized the software (I created the libraries and examples of how to use them), and stretched my ideas of what a Git repo was for (e.g., Bill of Materials). It made me think of reusability of the code.

Sharing sends many messages

At work, Jessica and I discussed what Sharing Making says, and came up with these ideas:

• The foreground message: “how to do what I did”. You’re giving people a recipe, that’s hopefully complete enough to be useful.
• It’s a resource list: “Here are links to the sources I used to get where I am with this project”. It lets people find more detail and the people who created those details.
• “I appreciate the work people put into the resources I used” – making a resource list gives kudos back to the authors.
• “How I got here”. It’s a journal, showing your process of creation. Not just the recipe, but a guide to how to be a chef who creates recipes.  This is the big reason you want to share your project as you go rather than when it’s “finished”.
• It shows authority: “Now I know how to do this.” “I’ve got chops”
• Advertising that you’re a resource: “I’ve shared this much; ask me questions about problems you run into”
• An advertisement for collaboration: “These are areas I’m interested in” “Contact me if you want to work together in an area”
• Most importantly: if you only share the demo – what you did – you’re only saying “look at how great I am and you can’t be”; if you share how to duplicate the project, you’re saying “I’m nurturing the community”. I’ve seen how when people only post a photo or demo, the first comment on it is “So, where’s the source?”

So far, I’ve only written; I haven’t actually participated in a community

• I’ve blogged, tweeted, youtubed, and githubbed, but I haven’t heard from anyone who’s used this info, and I haven’t offered changes to anyone else’s Open Source project – yet.
• Everything I’ve said about “sharing” is just speculation at this point. I look forward to actually collaborating (in some way) with other people who are into music technology.
• I need to “advertise” the project so people can find it. Once it’s more complete, I can put it up on the Arduino Blog, Sparkfun’s site, etc. I can also do more exercises to make the libraries I’ve created more useful.
• Life is all about creating long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships. Linda says writing isn’t about one fantastic book; it’s about continually writing  wonderful new books for your growing audience. In the same way, Making isn’t about one cool project; it’s about building relationships to Make stuff that’s so much more wonderful than you can make alone.

# Cutting and Tuning Robotic Glockenspiel chimes

After a few weeks of experimentation, I think I can now write sensible notes on how to cut and tune the chimes for a glockenspiel (metal xylophone) out of metal conduit. This is the first step of my Robotic Glockenspiel project, which I hope to end with a network-connected, Arduino-controlled set of chimes that can play Christmas carols.