cunning constructions

ben gabel

making and adapting

I generally assume that things can and should be taken apart. This was gained mostly from my father, an engineer and jeweler – as a child I used to hang out in the workshop and so grew up quite accustomed to seeing all manner of light engineering processes under way.

As well as  wood, I do a lot of what is at the smaller end of “metalwork”, although I’ll work on larger things if necessary.  I’ll use brazing, soldering, cutting and threading or tapping metal to create components for mechanisms, often combined with plastic and wood, and recently I’ve started incorporating 3D printed parts as well.

500-sheet feeder for inkjet

It’s useful to be able to print many envelopes without reloading, and the obvious thing to do is cut the bottom off the printer and feed in a huge stack from underneath. But it will only take the top envelope if there is always between 5 and 15g force upwards on it, which is difficult to achieve as the pile of envelopes gets lighter by serveral kilos as it is used up. 
Here a system of pulleys uses heavy chain as a counterwight; as the envelopes rise, the chain descends and lies on the ground, thus getting lighter and maintaining the correct balancing weight. Different sets of chain allow for different sizes of envelope. This device  – much to everyone’s surprise  – ran for several years, printing hundreds of thousands of envelopes.

Materials: Gateleg Table, Bookshelf, aluminium extrusion, HDPE chopping board, plastic trunking, 20m of chain (various calibre), 2mm stainless steel wire, two HP OfficeJet 8000 printers.

Smoke-FX Horse skull

A horse skull, fitted with led lighting and plumbed to a e-vape device running pure glycerine to make smoke. The vape is modified for reverse air flow (blow not suck) and activated by a small hand-pump mounted on the support stick in the body. This allows 1-hand operation of the pump and puppet.

on the streets of Cardiff

2-servo 3-movement thing

An aftenoon challenge of using two servos to actuate 3 completly different movements, at Rusty Squid’s animatronics course.

Cyborg goat mask

Purchased latex mask modified & rendered as alien cyborg. Eyes by Melissa, breathing tube and apparatus from found objects.