Alphabet Series MakerShed

A is for Alphabet

Welcome to a series of posts about my experience as a “maker” of things. The Make revolution, or Internet of Things, is here to stay. I have enjoyed watching the tools and technology evolve since my first Apple IIe in the early 1980’s to the introduction of Shockwave3D in 2000  which led me to Unity3D,  VR, and fast-forward to today’s Augmented Reality,  Arduino micro controllers,  sensors, 3D printers, laser cutters, and my favorite woodworking tool, the Handibot 2.0

How do I combine all of this into one theme? It’s as easy as A-Z or in the case of numbers, 0-9 (It’s all just zeros and ones after all.)

Alphabet Series

Join me on a series of “rapid experiments” from A-Z leading up to the
Charlotte Mini Maker Faire (October 8th, Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC)

I have recently focused on using the Handibot 2.0 to create a series of woodcut blocks to “print on demand” at the upcoming technology faire. I decided to create an alphabet set, or font, that could be used to embellish a series of associated woodblock images that visitors can print, while I proceed to output some more printing plates on my Handibot 2.0.

Creating an Alphabet is also a great way to practice design of multicolor “process printing” which uses a series of aligned blocks to create color overprints, similar to the traditional 4-color printing process (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black). I am using a Wacom Tablet to retain the hand-drawn style, complete with imperfections and minimal ‘undo’ with respect to the traditional woodcut medium.

Of course, I am not restricting my designs to CMYK or even RGB. Some prints are monotone, some look best in duotone, some tritones use a 3rd plate to create accent colors, and some very ambitious images will use full four color separations, or posterization.

Each letter has invoked a side project, of which there are many! All of the ideas are from my personal sketchbooks. Some concepts have been “in progress” for a week, a month, a year, or more! Some items have been on the front burner, and this is a “kickstart” to breathe new life into the builds that begin to emerge from the drawn pages into real life. The beta test of the interactive art installation for this new series will be shared at the Maker Faire which is my favorite audience to share with, and learn from.

Usually, when I create a really innovative concept sketch for a new product, feature, contraption, invention, or artistic endeavor, I will mysteriously see it on  Kickstarter, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, or even the nightly news, within a day or so.  This is part of the excitement of being a Maker.

Is any idea truly unique, or is everything built from a collective experience? There is great merit in the concept of Open Source, so I encourage anyone reading this to expound on the ideas! Make them better, make recommendations, provide formal design critique, or try to make money from it somehow… (Share the good, bad, ugly, and revenue with me freely!)

Or just enjoy them for what they are today; Visual expressions of design and technology that I am inspired to create every day. In the spirit of continual improvement, nothing is ever truly finished, only created and sometimes destroyed.

Check back for new posts semi-daily, following the letters A-Z, and a final countdown to the Charlotte Mini-Maker Faire

Bonus Round: Once finished, the entire set will be a web compatible font icon library,  suitable for printing or web use,  available at