Each year I try to tackle another set of complex skills and build something interesting for fun. Being creative, resourceful and motivated greatly deepens my problem solving and creativity. Here is a selection of some of my projects. Some involved learning a lot about cooking a specific cuisine, or learning how to weld, or learning how to use a camera beyond “automatic mode”.

In 2018, my son wanted a Captain Rex helmet from the Star Wars Animated series, The Clone Wars. I first had to learn how to build, configure, program and successfully use a 3d printer and related software ecosystem, then found a good model online, then printed out all 18 pieces and carefully glued them together.

I then used automotive bondo/putty to fill in the gaps between the pieces. The next steps involved lots of sanding, followed by paint and finally ending with battle damage which my son loved doing. Inside the helmet I added motorcycle foam and ensured that the back of the helmet snapped on and off with rare earth magnets. Finally, a tinted visor was fitted onto the helmet.

 

In 2014 I helped a Burning Man Art car project that had a Class A RV converted into a US Revolutionary war era 3 masted sailing frigate. This involved metal work, welding, woodworking, painting, automotive tasks, and many other skills. 2014 is the only year I have gone to Burning Man, but each year since I still help out the crew of this art car project with annual maintenance tasks as the team is so wonderful and the work is fun.

In 2012 I wanted to build a custom camera controller so I could do time lapses and long exposures without buying a $500 remote control unit that only had 1 function (time lapse) for my Canon 5D Mark ii, so I did some research and found an open source project for the Nintendo Gameboy that worked with Canon cameras and had a variety of great capabilities.

I already had a Gameboy from years ago, and found an old cartridge that I could retrofit to fit a custom circuit board that I had printed for my use, and then customized the open source firmware to my liking while I figured out how to do a side booting system that loaded the Gameboy from a custom cartridge. I used it happily for the next four years before finally there were a number of excellent and powerful camera control systems to buy.