Always Be Knolling
By Joel Senger ‘05, Instructor for the
Boatbuilding & Restoration Program at IYRS
I think to be a successful instructor or teacher you should never underestimate what your students already know. If you have an open mind to their ideas and their life experiences they will, in turn be more open to what you have to teach them. We are a school and our students show up to learn, but along the way I sometimes learn strange and new things from them.
A few years ago I learned a new concept from one of my students that has bled into my most life. Dave Sinaguglia or
@mancampcabin is a former student and an amazing artist. He had posted a picture of his tools on instagram all lined up and organized with the hashtag #alwaysbeknolling. This sparked my curiosity and I had to ask him “what is knolling?”. I think his exact words were “it has its own Wikipedia entry so it must be legit” He also told me to check out an artist named, Tom Sachs.
The term was first used by a janitor named Andrew Kromelow who worked at Frank Gehry furniture shop. Frank Gehry was designing chairs for a furniture manufacturing company by the name of Knoll. Knoll was famous for mid- century modern angular furniture, especially chairs . Mr. Krowelow would walk the shop floor arranging workbenches and misplaced tools in right angles to the surface and edge of the tables, a process that he called Knolling, as an ode to the furniture that Knoll produced. The result was an organized surface that allowed the user to see all objects at once.
Tom Sachs an American sculptor spent two years in Mr. Gehry and adopted the phase from Mr. Kromelow. It became very important step in his artistic process and the mantra of his shop. “Always be knolling”. As you will see in his video, he borrows the part of the phase from an Alex Baldwin line in Glengarry Glen Ross, “Always be Closing”
His shop manual 10 bullets lays out how to knoll:
VIDEO Always Be Knolling (ABK) Scan your enviroment for materials, tools, books, music, etc. which are not in use. Put away everything not in use, if you are not sure leave it out. Group all ‘like’ objects. Align or square all objects to either the surface they rest on, or the studio itself A Perfectly Knolled Surface
This idea has recently become a photography aesthetic, and I am know seeing photo all over Instagram with the #alwaysbeknolling or #abk or #thingsorganizedneatly, some of these pics are beautiful in the simplicity. I see it in print ads and magazine articles.
Another one of my students, James DelAgulia told me about a class he took in college on the subject of visual systems. He says there is science behind knolling at 90 degrees. “Basically, there are cells in the brain which fire specifically to vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines in your visual cortex. Recent research indicates that there are more cells that fire specific to vertical and horizontal lines. Thus, you could safely conclude that these orientations are more recognizable on a bench top, easier to discriminate, and more effective as an organization technique.” Basically, it’s easy for your eyes and brain to see straight vertical and horizontal lines and anything else and you save time looking for stuff if you can see it easier.
So what can we learn from all of this? One, that even if you are in a teaching position never stop listening and learning from those around you even your students. Second, get organized, knoll your benchtop, desk, and your home, knoll your life. I say to my students “a clean shop is a happy shop and a happy shop is a productive shop”.
Always be knolling.
01/23/18 DIY Drones in DM&F
By Ben Clifford, Student Ambassador for the
Digital Modeling & Fabrication Program at IYRS This blog is Part 1 in a two-part series.
There’s no better feeling than watching a drone you researched, built, wired, and programed fly up into the air and crash straight into the ceiling of the workshop. The drone is perfectly fine, in case you were wondering. While it may only be built from a $99 DIY kit from China, the drone we built for our Tinker Principles class last semester are designed for use in high speed racing. When properly calibrated and piloted, these LHI Emax 250 Racing Drone kits can reach speeds up to 80 mph, and are durable enough to survive crashes at that speed. Let’s now take a trip back in time to the beginning on this project in the long ago month of November in the year 2017…
We began with kits that contained basic components: the drone chassis (frame), standoffs, screws, motors, propellers, and various electronics to connect the flight controller circuit board to the remote control (but more on that later). We received no instruction manual with the kits, so we turned to the Internet to find some clues as to how to assemble the thing. After locating
some useful websites, we organized and sorted the contents of the kit using a method called “Knolling”.
Knolling is defined as
“the process of arranging related objects in parallel or 90-degree angles as a method of organization.” You start by gathering all objects or parts into one area, then grouping all “like” objects together. In the above image, you can see that I have knolled my kit by grouping the chassis pieces together, separate from the electronic pieces, and then further arranged each by general sizer and shape. I then further grouped sets of pieces together within these major groups of parts. The practice not only helps you quickly organize and take inventory, but can be very meditative as well.
The next step was to measure and accurately model all of the chassis and standoffs from the kit in Solidworks. The major benefit of this step was to let us create a virtual assembly in the program from all the available parts, as well as getting more time in learning the software. One ingenious classmate thought of taking the vector outline data from the Solidworks files and using it to laser-cut a set of plywood chassis parts for everyone. We used these parts to make a secondary drone chassis that could be marked up, covered in glue, and serve as a general sacrificial framework while we worked through design mockups for the Racing Shell.
For the 3D Modeling and Design aspect of the project, we were tasked with creating a shell to cover the electronic guts of our drones. These particular kits were not designed with shells in mind, and had a very small amount of clearance between the propeller and the body of the drone. Before I began to develop designs, I did some research and found some existing designs that I though might serve as good inspiration (including the original Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier for fun). I also did several sketches to explore different concepts.
My first shell mockup was made using Bristol paper (similar to Cardstock, but more flexible). I was inspired by early fighter jets and old racing car designs.
My second mockup was based on some existing designs I had found, but I modified my original concept to include landing struts that could allow for more stabilization during takeoff and landing.
My third concept was trickier, since I was trying to use the flat paper to give the impression of an organic molded shape. I ended up doing several sketches just to figure out what shape I wanted to try and represent.
As we finished up our rough mockups for the final shell design, we got a quick introduction to Vacuum Forming by Bob Lacovara (Director of Education). You create a mold of the part you want to make, then fix it in place on the vacuum box. Once a tight seal is achieved, you turn on the air pump to pull air out of a reservoir tank. A thin sheet of plastic (or other thermoformable material) is clamped in a frame, and a heating element is dragged over it to begin melting the plastic. This is the tricky part. You don’t want the plastic to “droop” too much, because it will become too soft and can start to bubble and blister under the heat. Once you get the plastic to just the right temperature, you pull it down over the vacuum chamber and open the valve to dump the air back into the air reservoir. This pulls all the air out from between the hot plastic and the mold, creating a plastic shell perfectly fitted to your mold. There are other procedures for preparing your mold to survive multiple “pulls” from the vacuum forming, but we will get to those in a future blog.
The next stage of the project took us in a very different direction: electronics. We began by learning some basics about different circuit boards. We used two different types of boards: a Microcontroller, and an SBC, or Single Board Computer (more on that one later). The microcontrollers are commonly referred to by the name of the most popular brand, Arduino. We set up a simple circuit using a small Arduino, regulators, an Input dial, and a multi-colored LED. Using some stock programs that we learned to make simple changes to, we programed the circuit to only blink the LED when the dial was adjusted to send a specific range of input data to the Arduino. I should also mention that we learned to solder wires and pins to the Arduino on top of learning everything else. Soldering (pronounced “SODERING”) is another aspect of electronics that seems strange and complex, but it’s basically just using metal wire and a heating element to hot-glue wires and circuits together. We learned it in about 2 hours, and so can you.
It may sound and even look quite complex in the pictures above, but it is actually very easy to learn and very cost effective to get into. You can get many of the same components from Amazon, or directly from several companies including one called
Adafruit. This website not only sells a vast array of simple DIY electronics, but they also have a massive collection of DIY projects and learning resources to help you enter the world of electronics. We moved forward with the shell designs by adjusting and tweaking the best mockup from our 3 initial concepts. I made some changed to account for how we would be machining the molds, and how the vacuum forming process would pull down over the mold.
Once these changes were made, I began the process of creating the 3D model using Rhino 5. This was an interesting learning experience, as I had to discover the best way to use the program to create the shapes I had easily made with the Bristol paper. As you can see, much of the modeling in Rhino uses basic 2D surfaces that are warped, bent, and cut out of each other to create new complex geometry. The final design I arrived at was very similar to the mockup, but many of the small details had changed as I learned what the material constraints were for the thermoplastic and the machining capabilities were for the CNC machines.
Check back later this week for Part 2 of Ben’s blog post! 01/22/18 Marine Electronics Course
By Mike Armbruster, Student Ambassador for Marine Systems
As the Marine Systems program winds down to its last month we have all come a long long way. This week especially we focused strictly on the NMEA Marine Electronics course. This course involves learning and understanding the operation and installation of
radar systems, navigation systems, radio systems, antenna systems, chart plotters, GPS, fish finders, and many other systems & instruments found on a vessel.
It was pretty cool to install our radar systems and navigation systems, and actually see with our own eyes, and our own hands how these systems work. It’s a simple but sophisticated system and understanding them is key to being a good technician.