Structur3D Printing in new digs

Structur3D visit at St Leger 169

It was almost a year ago that I met Charles Mire and Andrew Finkle of Structur3D Printing. I had heard they were by kwartzlab and chatting about their paste extruder attachment for 3D printers, but I only met them in person when they joined the Communitech HYPERDRIVE accelerator program. Communitech’s Director of Editorial Strategy, Tony Reinhart, asked me to do a story on Structur3D. One story turned into two as we discovered that both Structur3D and I were on our way to San Mateo, California in May for Maker Faire. More recently, upon graduation from HYPERDRIVE, Structur3D moved into their new home over on St. Leger Street just a few blocks from the Hub.

I bumped into Charles last week and he said to come by on Friday afternoon for a beer. So I did. Above, I had Andrew model the holy trinity of local startups: company t-shirt, the requisite tech-uniform hoodie, and the engineer’s iron ring from UW.

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Hub Haps #017-our destination

Headphones on, medium volume. Puttin’ some familiar flavour in yer ear.

Me being a photographer, you might reasonably assume that I’m visually driven. True, but I’m also a keen consumer of ambient sound. I think of places I frequent as having a palette of sounds. A sound signature of sorts. Work places in particular have very distinctive sounds: the click of the door strike, the bleep when someone joins your conference call, the hiss of the coffee machine, the whirr of the paper towel dispenser, the elevator bing. The example above is particularly delightful because of the long rumbling decay that rattles on long after you think it’s done.

Alright, Hubsters, where is this? And what other sounds define the Hub?

A friend of mine, David Jensenius, explores sound in his art and in fact we talked about ambient sound palettes right here at the Hub during the Fluxible conference last year. David created an iPhone app called FoundSounds that allows you to capture, geotag, and share environmental sounds. It also allows people to take a “sound walk” and experience previously shared sound based on location. iPhone-deficients like me will have to continue to share sounds the hard way.

Like all of my best gigs, I learned a few things trying to capture the clip above. I shot this on my BlackBerry Z30 mounted to a tripod and it can be pretty painstaking to square up the shot. Also learned that –32C windchill makes even 5-minute shoots painful. Speaking of wind, it can totally overwhelm the microphones and obliterate the audio you’re actually trying to capture (click through for my no-cost fix for that issue). Over the course of three separate shoots on this, I discovered that my coat makes a *crink* sound every time I turn my head to see if traffic is passing by. I also have an intermittent habit of talking to my gear, which undesirably shows up in the audio track. I learned Adobe Premiere Pro has an occasional fit and becomes convinced your media is offline. And finally, I learned (again) the necessity of recording a chunk of ambient location sound without the specific “action” that you’re going for. If we’re learning, we’re winning.

Click through for the reveal and a makerly tip on recording audio outdoors with your phone.

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Hub Haps #016-Thalmic test-driving a variety of arms

Thalmic at the Hub 002

I caught Victor Janzen helping out brand ambassador Deviya from Thalmic today at the Hub. Thalmic had multiple teams on site and no shortage of willing participants. The goal was to collect sample data from a variety of users wearing the Myo.

Click through for a few more pics…

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1shot #219-FOUND

UW maker study wrapup lunch 021

The absurd work requires an artist conscious of these limitations and an art in which the concrete signifies nothing more than itself. It cannot be the end, the meaning, and the consolation of a life.

Camus, Albert, The Myth of Sisyphus, 1955

Driving across Victoria to the Hub, I saw this sign on a post at Lawrence Ave last week. Didn’t have time to shoot it then, but today I stopped, and climbed into a snow drift so I could capture this thing that had me thinking since I saw it. The “FOUND” is so bold and the picture or description of the found thing is almost completely obliterated. It seemed like an Existentialist’s poster. Man, I could riff philosophically all day, but I’ll have to settle for this post.

I see art everywhere.


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UW maker study wraps up and looks forward

UW maker study wrapup lunch 007

Remember that UW study in the make-o-sphere that kicked off around this time last year? Well, it came to a successful conclusion very recently and we all met up for lunch yesterday to celebrate. Here is PhD student Katie Kish with Professors Jason Hawreliak (now at Brock) and Stephen Quilley (UW) who drove the study.

Funded by a modest grant from the Metcalf Foundation, this posse connected with various partners to run four makerly workshops to teach everything from welding to sewing to electronics to woodworking. I’m not an academic, but I think it’s safe to say that equipping folks who wouldn’t consider themselves makers with hands-on skills results in all sorts of positive outcomes. The good news is: this is just the start. The group has plans to build on this proof of concept, not only studying but also supporting a maker ethos right here in Waterloo Region and more specifically within the context of the university. Outstanding. Follow their progress on the ReMaker Society site.

One of the first things I did when I was engaged in an advisory role is to loop in my other peeps including my pal Agnes Niewiadomski who ended up running the sewing workshop at kwartzlab. Also pitching in, particularly with guidance on women in the make-o-sphere were my good friends Stephanie Rozek, Cat Coode, and Dinah Davis. I was happy to connect Cam Turner and his Maker Club effort to this project as well. So good to have smart friends. Good on the Guelph makers with Diyode for pitching in, too.

All this goodness is intersecting with the increasing number of students I’m seeing down at kwartzlab which can only indicate rising awesomeness here in WR.



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iLL EVANS funk-hip-hop-jazz fusion at AbeErb

iLL Evans at AbeErb 103

Musicians are a lot like photographers: we practice our craft, we put the work out there, we engage the audience, and we try to figure out how to get paid. Just like venues book bands, you can book me for photoshoots. This 2-hour shoot would be $400 and deliver several dozen high-resolution, non-watermarked images for unrestricted use. For an additional fee I can do a write-up for you. If you want product or ambient shots, with space to drop in copy for promo material, I can make that happen. My blog is my portfolio, and since you’re reading this, you already know the quality of the work and my approach. Hit me on email / twitter / facebook / linkedin.

Complete serendipity intersected last Thursday’s Brother Night with AbeErb with the unique jam of iLL Evans. Brohemus and I were out to raise a glass to his dog Poppy who passed away the night before. Melancholy gave way to some great porter on the guest taps and great music at our front row table. Above, we’ve got Chris Hull (drums), Matt Sotnik (keys), Scott Alton (bass), Dakota Stewart (guitar), and Nate Payne (vocals/sax).

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Dixieland jazz for Valentine’s Day

KW Dixieland Jazz Club 186

Been here twenty years; just discovered the KW Dixieland Jazz Club. How does that happen?

Hit the Legion on Regina Street in Uptown Waterloo on Saturday, on the advice of my good friend Tony Reinhart. Said he on Friday: you gotta check out the jazz happening there, and bring your camera. What I found was three sets delivered by six players from Red Hot Ramble plus guests. I caught this photo above of the multi-talented Roberta Hunt as she leapt up from the piano. Alison Young was on sax, Glenn Anderson drums, Jack Zorawski bass, with Brigham Phillips on trumpet and Chris Butcher playing trombone.

Awesome experience with a different angle of jazz for me. The house was packed, the mixed drinks were $4.50, and the crowd was loving it. Y’all know my mission to get WR off their sofas and into the community. When I hit gigs like this, I think: I’ve found my people!

A few more pics…

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Hub Haps #015-printer envy

Hub Haps Feb 2015 029

Why is this man smiling?

Kyle Brannen, Canon Account Executive, Large Format Printers was in the house yesterday for Hub Unplugged. He brought with him the most wicked Canon iPF6400S printer, and he was extremely popular. The Canon Innovation Lab hooked up Communitech residents with the opportunity to have 24”x36” hi-res prints done for no charge. I gather the printer was running almost non-stop, pausing only for paper and ink reloads. The output was gorgeous. Outstanding blacks. At around $3600 for this rig, now y’all know what to get me for my birthday this year.

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Proto-talking at UW GreenHouse

St Pauls Greenhouse talk 006

Had a great time talking about prototyping with the St. Paul’s College GreenHouse posse last Wednesday night at The University of Waterloo. GreenHouse Director Tania Del Matto invited me in to talk about approaches to getting/staying unstuck when going from idea to action. In setting up the gig, program co-ordinator Sean Campbell told me the students were more focused on building social entrepreneur prototypes and less so in terms of physical objects. I figured a lot of my experiences in physical prototyping would translate into the social domain. As I put my slide deck together, I realized I’ve worked equally in both spheres. From my more recent 3rdThur photo review prototype all the way back to my 5+5 maker/artist mash-ups, I found a whack of meetups that could reasonably be called social prototypes.

I try to do as much listening as I do talking at these things and after my pitch I got to talk with some students one on one about the big projects they’re tackling. Elle Crevits is working on food waste (40% between farm and fork!).  Nicholas Smith taking on climate change adaptation. Sylvia Green working on cycling infrastructure (go bikes!). Alec Vyshnevski is trying to connect people with common interests to physical activities. Didn’t get to talk with everyone, but happy to connect with the ones I did. Awesome ambitions.

I got to meet the other speakers, Ali Tariq and Adeel Baig from Manulife’s RED Lab at the Communitech Hub. Interesting to hear about the opportunities and challenges of prototyping in the financial space.

Now, the TL;DR of my talk was “read less/do more”, so in that spirit I busted out some gear for the students to try macro photography with their smartphones. See differently. And *do*.


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1shot #218-live to ride


Before the latest big snow, I caught this picture of determination out in front of King Street Cycle. Never quit. At King and Erb, this is Waterloo.


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