This weeks assignment to make a joint with the big CNC proved to be a very challenging task. Getting the tolerances right mathematically stumped me a bit and it was hard to conceptualize what was going to happen in a 2D model in Vectorworks. You’d think a simple looking joint like a half lap would be easy to figure out — it wasn’t! I decided upon a half lap joint in order to make a short corner bookshelf. Once I got home though, I realized that the 90 degree angle I had planned to put the furniture was anything but 90 degrees. Now I think I’ll make a short TV stand instead for the midterm.

In Vectorworks I ran into a lot of problems figuring out where I needed to add tolerance and how to go about adding it without ending up with a solid filled shape.

Unfortunately the first attempt to mill didn’t work out because of a common problem placing the X axis all the way forward on the Y axis when zeroing out. The next day the I was able to start milling!

Mastercam was a bit of a nightmare this time around. It wouldn’t let me mill completely around the left square so I had to invididually set each side of the square which is why I think I ended up with a nasty looking edge on one of them. Also the mill didn’t cut all the way through my material even though I set the breakthrough to 0.05 and I rounded up my material thickness. I may chalk that up to the spoil board being pretty wobbly and the position of the wood on the machine was further back to avoid any X axis problems again.
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After having completed my weird looking probably not a real sturdy joint skill exercise I’m a little freaked out about using joints for the midterm. I’ll definitely need some help figuring out how to do the math associated with tolerances and jointery in general.

Nothing Midterm Progress

For the midterm our team of four decided upon an illusion that will take place inside each of our lockers. The other day we filmed each other in front of a green screen doing the activity we want to project. This was the first time I’ve ever gotten rid of a background in After Effects and replaced it with something else. The background I chose for the video as practice isn’t what I’m going to use. I also need to consider the amount of green screen space needed in order to run. The idea is to have myself running back and forth between the two metal walls of my locker as though I’m trapped inside but disappearing in and out of the walls.

I realized through this editing process that I want to change almost everything!

Green Screen Test from Marco Wylie on Vimeo.


Memory Box

In response to our visit to the City Reliquary Museum, I decided to create a narrative experience around a memory box I’ve been keeping since I was a kid. A couple of times a year or so I’ll add an object to the box – it’s now overflowing with things. These are a few keepsakes that I grabbed at random from it.

(In order to see the descriptions of the memory associated with the picture you have to make the slideshow fullscreen…or click here.)

And a funny thing happened when I started taking photos. I realized that I have the same sticker in my high school wallet from 2000 that the City Reliquary Museum has on the scavenger hunt cards they gave us! It’s the same 15th Anniversary sticker…Maybe that’s why I was drawn to this memory box as an assignment?

The big CNC


In the kitchen I find myself using a cutting board a lot, which is not surprising really…there’s one thing I’ve noticed though, about the transportation of the chopped and sliced produce into the pots and pans on the stove — there’s no easy way of doing this without picking up the whole cutting board. I don’t know about you but you I have a pretty hefty chunk of wood as my current board and lifting it over a stove in order to shove the uncooked food into a tiny pot would be a little ridiculous. That’s why having a nice hole in a light, smaller version of the cutting surface would be ideal to avoid making a mess while cooking. But do I make the hole round or rectangular? I don’t want the food to go over the edges so I may make the groove you often find around the edges of a cutting board.

Now that I’m putting together the finalized file in Vectorworks I decided upon a circular shape for the food hole. And the groove will have to be uncurved due to the 1/4 bit not being rounded.

During the milling process there was a brief moment where I thought the cutout circle was going to go flying so I paused the machine. I suppose it was a bit too big and should’ve been screwed down. Noted for next time. Other than that the big CNC definitely has a lot of crazy potential and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The most intimidating part by far was using MasterCam. The program was a bit finicky about where to press when selecting a shape and the number of buttons was a bit overwhelming. Haiyi and I both did our separate projects while supervising each other and that helped a lot – as did Ben helping us out when we got stuck with MasterCam. I’d be interested to use a different material with this machine next time. This was the first time I used wood for a skill builder and it turned out to be very satisfying. I’m happy with the results and will probably try making a cutting board with natural wood in the future.

One other thing I realized was the machine was definitely slanted just a little because when I went to take the cutting board our of the remaining plywood, the breakthrough didn’t go through on the farthest side on the X axis. Regardless, I was able to sand down the chipped wood.

For future reference: I used a down bit for this project and went to Prince Lumber for materials. The file was developed in Vectorworks.

CNC Cutting Board from Marco Wylie on Vimeo.


Jig & Coin Mill

My goal for this assignment was to engrave an “S” into a coin. At first I thought I might want to carve my own coin from aluminum but once I realized that I couldn’t get the 90 degree angel’s I wanted from an 1/8th inch bit I thought it may be cool to carve into a Euro instead. I chose an “S” for my wife’s name Sadie.

To begin, I fit my 1/8″ bit to the Othermill and then had to remember to download the Delrin custom tool library for brass because Euro’s are made of a combination of brass and nickel in the middle of the coin where I’ll be engraving.

Once I put together the file for the Delrin rig in Vectorworks I couldn’t figure out how to export it as an .svg file in order to import it to Bantam. I asked around and realized that I needed to bring the file into Illustrator in order to re-save it….and then it took me a good 15 minutes to figure out what to export it as. Turns out you need to export it to an .eps file in order for Illustrator to read it.

Once I did that it wasn’t entirely obvious whether I should keep the art board that automatically came with the .eps file once I imported it. After importing the .svg file from Illustrator I did not get what I expected in Bantam. After deleting the square I made outside the circle and adding a bit of a stroke to the circle constraining the art board to the size of the circle, I was able to get things looking the way they should.

I set the advanced properties on Bantam Tools to cut in the inside because I feared that leaving the settings as they were on default would cut the circle larger than I wanted.

I’m having a lot of trouble getting the “S” to show up in the Bantam program. It seems like it’s only taking the art board because I’m getting an outline of the board but not the “S”. The problem was that it was saving as a text file which wasn’t being read properly by Bantam so I had to rasterize the S to make it an image in Illustrator. I resized the image and set the engraving so it would engrave the middle.

Of course I took the jig off the bed which entirely ruined the point of making a jig so I quickly put it back and made another circle on the other side of the Delrin so I could make a precision “S” in the coin. I’m pretty happy with the results although I would have liked it better if it didn’t make a crazy noise and I had to stop it 3/4 of the way through the process once I stopped it to clean the debris.

I tried making it again with another 2 Euro but it immediately sounded bad once the bit hit the material so I halted production.

I really like using  the Othermill and could’ve spent many more hours experimenting with it if I didn’t have to share the machine!


CNC Milling a 2 Euro Coin from Marco Wylie on Vimeo.

New York, New York

This weeks assignment had me listening to Chimamanda Adichie’s TED Talk  “The Danger Of a Single Story”, This American Life: “The Super (chapter 1: The Super Always Rings Twice)”, and Salt Institute “Dissecting Dead Animal Man”.  While I had listened to the first two before, the Sal Institutes podcast was very interesting because it gave me a sort of directors cut of the narrative and really enabled me to understand how to breakdown an interview with someone. The way that Ira Glass goes about coloring in the story for the listener is very ornate. The sound clips that he uses and why he uses them at certain parts was very interesting to learn about. Hearing what Chimamanda had to say about the problems that arise when you only get one viewpoint of a story had me involve my wife in my assignment this week because I wanted to get at least two perspectives on what it is to be a “New Yorker” from someone who was born but not raised here and ended up living in Brooklyn — whereas, I was born and raised here and haven’t left…yet!

Credit where credit is due: Sound effects from here and here.

Skill Builder# 2 – 2.5 CNC machine

Using this small mill machine was a lot of fun once I was able to figure out how to use it! Initially I wanted to make an Ace of Spades card out of the yellow acrylic but Ben pointed out the “A”s were too small for my bit to handle so I went with a lightning bolt and cloud instead. One mistake I think I made in the process was creating a 1 pt stroke around my cloud and lighning bolt which made the line way too thick. As a result, my final piece came out really rounded and you can see how thick the line was cut out when I put the cloud piece back in the spot it was taken out of (see picture in album). I certainly learned a lot and next time I’ll be more careful about how I put together my illustrator file. The video documentation is sped up 300%.

I found the icon through google images here and separated the lightning bolt from the cloud in illustrator to load it into the Bantam program.

2.5 CNC Machine

2.5 cnc machine from Marco Wylie on Vimeo.


Teddy’s Bar and Grill

For this weeks assignment I decided to write a narrative experience of a historic restaurant that happens to be my favorite local joint. Teddy’s Bar and Grill was established in 1887 by an Irish family, later becoming one of eleven tasting rooms for Peter Doelger’s Brewery around 1910. To this day, it remains the oldest bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

When I moved to this part of Brooklyn about 10 years ago, Teddy’s was a neighborhood staple. Before all the condos and high rises appeared in the surrounding area, this restaurant always catered to the local crowd and was run by a woman named Felice when I started frequenting the place.  Most of the interior remains the same which makes it a prime location for film scouts due to the prohibition style floors, ceiling and bar.

Unfortunately, when looking for what I based my whole presentation on, I realized that there’s no proof of it anywhere on the internet! Teddy’s had a picture on their wall when you first walked in of a car crash. One day I looked harder at the photo and noticed that it had the Peter Doelger’s sign and it looked like the crash happened right where I was standing!



Irwin Response

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Some of Robert Irwin’s work sort of reminds me of Lichtenstein in the way he plays with dots. When the viewer is very close up the painting seems almost nonsensical, but then once you step back and view the piece as a whole, it all comes together to create a whole, compact structure. The similarity is further enunciated because both artists require the viewer to take a closer look at what is going on. You can focus in on the dots or you can take the whole image in as a whole. Perhaps the only difference here is that Irwin doesn’t want to create hyper-realistic images of people when stepping back and viewing his work, whereas Lichtenstein does.

In a way, Lichtenstein and Irwin both thought of the canvas as a constraint. They discovered an abstract way of portraying what they wanted to demonstrate by thinking about ways to expand their technique outside the realm of a constricted space. I think they both achieved this in the sense that you can view and experience their work differently when up close and far away.

Playing with dimensions and alteration of physical space in relation to what the human eye can understand is crucial to Irwin’s experimental work. How light and space play with each other is evident in the illusions he creates.

Then there’s the Whitney exhibit of 1977 – the empty room. You could walk into that room and say that there’s nothing it in. That there is nothing going on and nothing to be seen and no physical objects and so what is there if anything at all other than a room? But I think Irwin would argue that there are elements that are crucial to the experience of being in an “empty” space that exist beyond what we can impose on that area. What I’m trying to say is that, a room isn’t empty at all if there is light and space and a person who is able to experience it, after all, a person being in that space has the opportunity to alter it and see it from a certain perspective. One this is for sure, I think the only way to experience Irwin’s art is in person. Having read about it and seen pictures online I’m intrigued by the illusionist nature of his work and can only imagine what it would be like in person.