The pinnacle of technology

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Introducing Mr. Fruzzetti:

I like to tell people I was born with a soldering iron in one hand and a wrench in the other.  When I was two, my parents bought a car with me in mind.  It was a bucket, so they got a good deal, but I was only two, so we had plenty of time to make it nice.  With my Dad teaching me, I started wrenching immediately.  When I was five, I was a constant NES player, but as a five-year-old I always had hands encrusted with food and grease and gunk; my controllers were always getting dirty and unresponsive.  I had to determine a safe way to wash the internals so the controllers would work again.  It was refurbishment, but I didn’t relize I was doing science or product work.  Age eight, I started throwing the SNES controllers when stuff went bad.  So I had a need to discover how to work plastics (especially with a “sacrificial soldering iron”), how to reattach components, and in general how I could modify my environment pretty easily.  Why isn’t everybody in to this kind of stuff?

Because I can’t see pictures in my head, I have a distinct advantage over need-to-visualizers.  When you think you ‘see’ how it works, you’re building a preconceived notion of how the pieces must fit together.  You’re already weeding out ideas that may be worth maturing.  Because I don’t ‘see’ anything, I have better access to all the ways the pieces might be arranged in order to get what I want out of it; I therefore often arrive at unconventional, but effective, solutions.  This is especially true when geometry is concerned in a mechanical system.

When I see a product, I really think about what I’m looking at.  The design, the parts, the tooling to make the parts, the assembly, the raw materials and time costs.  My dad was working on an invention when I was like five and I guess the idea seed sprouted.

Check it out: when I was about sixteen, I saw a new click pen design in which the barrel had two little catches for a triangular pivot.  Because the principle was that it fit in there crooked and had to be in order to work, it took humanity a long time to get to it.  This reduced the moving part count from three to two.  I.  Was.  Blown.  A-way.  I never stopped thinking about all of this, because it was a whole new way to investigate the (manmade) world.

When I was nineteen, I started a company with two friends that made custom routers, firewalls, servers.  We found SanDisk and developed out the use of a 40MB Solid-State IDE drive ($300 at the time) for our hardened product.  We sourced blue LEDs for everything, because they were BRAND NEW and nobody had ever seen them ($4.99 a piece, but worth it).  People loved it.  Company closed eventually; I learned a lot.

I have written two provisional patent apps, one of which is for a device I use every day in the classroom.  The marker caddy clamps onto the caps of six Expo markers and locks them in while still allowing the markers access to the caps.  You hold the caddy and just pull off the marker you need.  I developed this product from an idea: First, I got a free paint stir stick from Ace Hardware.  I felt like I needed to speed up color-coding on the whiteboard, because color-coding is king of clarity.  It is now an injection-molded, market-ready product I can buy by the hundred or more.  I did all that.  It was fulfilling!

It wasn’t until I became a parent that everything inside me started to grow fast again like when I was a kid.  Watching my children grow has painted my mind with wonder and I started asking myself more questions about the living.  And now I realized: we are never ‘full-grown;’ we’re always developing!

Speaking of investigating the world: As a twenty-something, I began to consider the machinery of the natural world from the same perspective as the electro-opto-chemo-mechanical.  I realized there is no difference, that life itself is also made of machinery.  To truly consider the features of nature’s machines means considering nature invented the first stun gun, the first barbed hook, the first suction cup, the first submarine, the first air scrubber, and the first recycling.  And us.  And here we are, thinking we’re so high and mighty because of our pointless electronic trinkets.  As it turns out, we’re the slow ones to the party here.  By two billion years.  And it really shows.

We need to learn how to use nature’s technologies for all our needs in the immediate future.  Every single thing any human does with a manmade tool or material can be done by a biological one, once we learn the code.  We are not playing god; we are learning how to do things respectfully of our earth by doing this.  The manmade technology is really what you could consider the ‘abomination.’  We dig up poisonous stuff, cook it, then pour all the crap that won’t cook off RIGHT ONTO THE SURFACE OF OUR PLANET and call it asphalt.  Plus when you see the benefits of what biological systems can do, you immediately realize how superior they are.

Nature does things staggeringly well by comparison.  I’m dumbfounded by the sheer beauty in the way all biological machinery works.  Self repair.  Self replication.  How can you not take notice and realize nature has all the cool tech we want?  Not only the individual instance of the species, but the species itself and its complements among the whole earth.  That works amazingly well too.  It’s so scalable, diverse, innovative, sophisticated I can only be humbled by the brilliance of it.  I don’t need to ask myself how it got here to get lost in philosophy; I can do that just by accepting that we are and wondering what that means.

Another interesting question turned out to be: “When do we actually come alive?”  While I rolled this around in my brain I was living my life.  I came to examine it every once in a while.  Maybe baby comes alive… When the first voluntary movement occurs?  When the first neuron fires?  At fertilization?  I thought.

Of course the most elegant solution came to me when I wasn’t thinking about it consciously.  I love / hate it that some of my best inspiration is totally un-harnessable, and I’m sure many of you do, too.  The answer?  IT DOESN’T.  That’s right.  It doesn’t come alive ever; the germ cells were already alive before they met.  Even before they were secreted by the parents, the germ cells lived and breathed and metabolized.

You inherit the life itself from your parents, who inherited it from theirs, who… You are just one instance relaying that life over time.  If you plan your life that way you will find greater harmony because you will deeply respect your obligations to your children.  You’ll want to raise kids who both (a) are good people and (b) raise good kids. This is really hard, btw, like clean fusion power hard.

Therefore: the life we live isn’t our own, but only one instance in a beautiful cascade that, when properly curated, could be the only true “perpetual motion.”  I need to feel a part of something immortal, yet personally temporary.  After all, I live inside the most incredible machine that has ever existed!  And so do you!!!  You have your own!!!

Summary: I have been fortunate in being given at birth an innate fluency in things mechanic and a high level of competency in all things electronic.  But really I just like to do cool stuff.  Sitting still or entertaining myself non-productively feel kinda like waiting around for my last breath.  I’m proud of myself.  And I’m proud of you, in a “that’s my brother/sister, look how awesome they are” way.  And I hope you’re proud of yourself too.

Also, I have a magnetron and I’m not afraid to use it!

~ dan ~

PS – This is my personal truth; I welcome that yours is different.  Thanks for reading!

The Rabbit Hole – 19 hours in

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Good morning (or afternoon) sleepyheads!  We’re currently gearing up for another day of hackery.  Part of our team are braving the winter streets to the local thrift store to find another laser printer for the project.  Once they come, we’re going to try setting up streaming on our linux machines (if they don’t cause too much trouble)! – select Rabbit Hole/tymkrs!

The Rabbit Hole – 9 hours in

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Time flies when you’re running around doing a bunch of projects!

1) Art Mural: This will be worked on tomorrow, but we will be using Chibitronic stickers to do this!

2) The spice rack has been finished!

3) Fan piece – this one is coming together screw by screw!

Decon 007

4) For our uber project, we are making a special type of printer!  This worked somewhat, hence the paper needed to prevent the product from splattering all over the table.

Decon 008

We’re probably going to sleep now since it’s 3AM, but a few folks are going out tomorrow to the thrift store to find some more parts for the uber project!

The Rabbit Hole – 6 hours in

posted by: on November 14, 2014

Six hours in!  Some have left, some are still staying, and some projects have just been finished!

1) Art Mural: This will be worked on tomorrow, but we will be using Chibitronic stickers to do this!

2) The spice rack has just been finished!  Complete with lighting under the rack!


3) Fan piece – this one is coming together screw by screw!


4) The deconstructed laser printer has gotten a new stand!

Decon 006

Tons of discussion; three main ideas

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our inspiration table.  contains group norms, brainstorming, solostorming.  and objects.

our inspiration table. contains group norms, brainstorming, solostorming. and objects.

We’ve spent night number one looking at parts and tools and researching things on the internet.  As a result, some 200 ideas were thought up and then differentially analyzed by the team until we settled on three.  Those three are:

1) something you wear on your skin,
2) something surprisingly mobile, and
3) something that could save the world.

Seven of our team converged tonight and a lot of positive collaboration was done.  We closed at 19:50 PST, ten minutes ahead of schedule.  Tomorrow we expect the full nine teammates.  We won’t be opening until 12:00 PST, at which time the live feed at will be available.  Sorry the quality is low.  Probably we’d like to be done between 18:00 and 20:00 Saturday. Also tomorrow we’re going to try and have the capability to have live chat and media conversations simultaneously.  We are looking forward to an opportunity to answer questions.

Oh, and we reserve the right to change any of this at any time with or without notice.

Our team is structured as follows:

I am the only person older than eighteen.  I am a 34-year-old husband and dad who tries to learn something new every day.  And I try to level up every time I do anything (that doesn’t mean things always go to plan though).  A family friend and the families of several (eight) of my advanced math students are allowing their BRILLIANT teens to work with me on this project, so I am acting as their project manager and idea farmer.  I will allow each of them to introduce themselves as they wish.  I will only tell you: these kids are brilliant.

Take a look at what we’ve got right now…

retelling our story

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Team Eureka Factory – Here’s a cut-up from Chuck’s previous posts. He used different fonts for different ‘clips’, and I threw some colors in, just because. If Wordpress cooperates, you should have a mini-Deconstruction cut up.

We’re live now,  at Instructables, and on Twitter  (#DeconCutUp) , and invite your contribution of a single sentence – just a line: the first thought that comes into your head, a random image, an idea, a question, a scene, a piece of dialog – whatever you’d like – now through Saturday night at 7pm.

At the Hive open house tomorrow, where we hope to be webcasting, we’ll be doing a slightly different version of this exercise, and probably some other stuff that hasn’t occurred to us yet.  And then Sunday, we’ll see what presents itself, and what story, if any, we’ve collectively told.



connotation as communications
  subconscious dry erase board
previous experiments symbolic associations
 filtered, smelted and forged

hope, balance and justice
 urges and fears as well
just echoes and archetypes
no new tale to tell

basic thematic equations
 an  automated writing machine
We find emergent patterns
 language is a fluid thing


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Team Name Team Location
27ray Starrucca, PA, USA
Appetite Obscure Oakland, CA, USA
Bozo Nightmare Los Angeles, CA, USA
Construction Junction whats my function Springfield, IL, USA
DV Wildcats San Ramon, CA, USA
econstruccion de la Persistencia de la Memoria Detroit, MI, USA
Eureka Factory Tampa, FL, USA
Jenkstars Salt Lake City, UT, USA
less is smore San Francisco, CA, USA
MADE Makerspace Barcelona, Spain
Mallowable Anarchy Harare, Zimbabwe
Minutemen-Makers Williamsburg, VA, USA
NOP_ Vilnius, Lithuania
Rabbit Hole Rochester, MN, USA
Rhino Murphy, NC, USA
Sheet Metal Alchemist Oakland, CA, USA
StarTELEspace Spaceual Exploratory Functions Co San Francisco, California, USA
Stinkybad Shanghai, China
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Oakland, CA, USA
Sweaty Meatballs Portsmouth, VA, USA
The AntFarm Highland Park, CA, USA
The Fabricators Tulsa, OK, USA
The Illumina-Bee Detroit, MI, USA
The Imagine Nation New Orleans, LA, USA
The Windmill Factory Brooklyn, NY, USA
North Springs LaserSharks Sandy Springs, GA