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8/31/18

It Slides, But Is It A Slider? The MG-1

(Update!) I added a copper one to the mix.


OK OK, lets jump right to it with this new pocket sized kinetic sculpture work.

 I know I said in my previous post that we were at the end of the "Slider" series (and we are... I mean... it was) but bare with me because while this new work runs the slight risk of making me look like a liar, I am going to argue my case as to why this work is a bit different.

So let me first admit that this new kinetic work does have a sliding action reminiscent of some of my other small sculptures, but this piece is actually quite different mechanically speaking. In terms of the engineering, it is much more of a tangent to my earlier works than first meets the eye.


Aside from the motion, mostly everything else about this piece is different from what is indicative of one of my other slider sculptures. 

For starters, in place of the mechanical spring loaded "detent" that is the hallmark of my earlier sliders, this work uses magnets to create a positional locking action. Also, rather than having an insert that slides within a bore on the body like a Slider, this work only has two identical halves that glide smoothly on a series of ball bearings in tracks that serve as guides for the direction and limits of the motion.


As far as the sliding action goes, think of the difference between an old wooden drawer that runs on wooden rails verses a modern drawer slide that has ball bearings to guide the drawer. From a mechanical perspective, it could not be more different. So yes, it still slides, but in the name of differentiation, lets go with the term "glide".

 I am calling this work the MG-1, I am sure you can parse that out if you think about.

The magnets in the work keep the steel ball bearings in place, eliminating the need for a keep or cage.

Since I began working on these smaller editions, I have been bouncing between the challenge of making simpler pieces (like the original worry-stone) and indulging in much more complex designs (like the S3). Within that dynamic, I have often wondered if I could make a kinetic work that only involved machining one part (I do not count all the purchased bits like springs bearings and magnets).


It was a tougher problem than I thought, but after lots of experimenting I finally arrived at this design. There are clearly two halves to the composition, but the halves are perfectly identical, so process wise, we are only talking about machining one distinct part.


Aesthetically, I think there are some familiar themes from my other pocket works, but there is also plenty here to distinguish it from my ever growing body of small kinetic works. The challenge of crafting something simple yet unique is really something that appeals to me lately.

I made so many iterations of this work that I could probably make half a dozen different versions of this design. I will try to resist the urge to create a whole family of these, but they are fun.  


Functionally, the work has two types of motion. It can be actuated between your fingers sort of like rubbing two coins together. The magnets provide an interesting haptic feedback as they jump from position to position. It is a difficult sensation to describe, but very satisfying. 


Additionally, I left enough extra motion in the bearing track to allow one to extend the work past its magnetic stopping point, so that if you release it quickly, it will have enough kinetic energy to spring back to its center position. This is also quite satisfying.


So yeah, I hadn't planned to do another small work so soon, but lightning strikes when it does and I am committed to following my muse where ever it takes me. One never knows where this small kinetic sculpture journey will take me next.


 I remain humbled how popular this series has become and I am pleased to hear the range of reasons these works resonate with people. Some are really into the fidget factor of these works, others the aesthetics, I personally like that the former leads to the latter in interesting ways that I cannot predict.  

Hopefully it makes some of you stop and consider just how blurry the lines between fine art, craft, and commercial design really are. 


So, down to brass tacks and "How do I get one of these?"

For those of you interested in adding this work to your collection, I will do the usual pre-order style sign up sale this coming Wednesday September 5th at 11AM EST

You will have to wait for the sign up link to go live to learn the exact price as I do not post pricing on publicly facing media. This work will be on the more affordable end of the scale (relatively speaking). But as with all of my small batch one time only limited runs, the development of the work still required tons of design time, some goofy custom setups, and multiple operations to machine, so the price will be what it will be. I know most of you understand the work that goes into each of these designs.

  Once all the sign ups are in, I will give everyone my best guess on shipping once I have the production schedule sorted. I will be double tracking this work alongside another project so this may go a little slower than usual, but only slightly.

Again, I will post the link for this sign up sale on Wednesday September 5th at 11AM EST. 

I will post it here on this blog, and on my Instagram account.

I will leave the sign up list open for as long as I can, but I will shut it down as soon as I feel I have too many orders to handle. This sometimes happens quite fast. 

This will very likely be your only opportunity to get one of these, so I encourage you not to miss out if you are inclined to add one to your collection.

Good luck, and as always, comments and questions are welcome. 



Also, for extra credit, above is a video walk through with a complete tear down to show everything in more detail. 

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