Tardis Corset: Of Sonic Screwdrivers and Doors

Nikki forwarded a question on to me asking if it would be technically possible to build a sonic screwdriver capable of opening the door on the corset.

This led me to ask what a sonic screwdriver WAS.

Once I got that explanation out of the way (and Nikki stopped laughing), I told her I’d post the answer here:

 

Yes, but there’s no real good reason to want to.

From a *technical* standpoint what you’re really looking to do is basically apply the same principles as a garage door opener, or the push button electronic lock on your car door.  You basically turn the sonic screwdriver into the remote control for the door.  It’s a pain in the ass, but technically doable.

However in this particular case it’s an awful lot of work (and added expense) to the garment for no really good reason.  if you’re using it on yourself, it’s really just almost silly when you could just, you know, open the door. 

If you give the controller to someone else it makes all kinds of sense from a fetish corset standpoint.  But it would really require the doors be placed far more strategically- which they’re simply not on this garment.

It’s just not worth the hassle or expense to do it for this particular design, but yeah it’s *technically* possible.

 

 

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Tardis Corset Technical Notes 1: How I got here.

Before I forget all this, I’m writing it down.

As I’ve said previously, Nikki is a friend of mine. We had been speaking on Skype one night as she told me about her idea to make a tardis corset.  She had a client (Nicole) who had a credit with her and  Nikki wanted to get her in a tardis corset in time for Defcon.  While she had already built the pieces for the corset itself (since you know, that’s her actual job and all), she was stuck on how to turn it into a tardis (jokes about it being bigger on the inside notwithstanding.) and time was rapidly running out.

There’s two things you need to know about me:

1. I don’t sew.  In fact the only reason I own a sewing machine (I do own one, I have no idea how it works- it may as well be a nuclear reactor) is so my tailor/costume designer/all around saver of the day Jay Reeder from Knightly Endeavors doesn’t have to drag one to my house to do alterations from three hours away. So sewing issues are completely baffling to me.

2. Sorry for the heresy, gang, but I’ve never watched Dr. Who. Not ever. Not once. I have nothing negative whatsoever to say about it- it’s just not the direction my geekery goes in.  So understand that all this knowledge that others have about the show, and the tardis and all manner of other Whovian mystery is… well a mystery to me. The closest I get to Dr. Who generally is playing Rotersand: Exterminate Annihilate Destroy during a DJ set.

But Nikki was really worried about figuring this problem out. She knew what she *wanted* to do, but didn’t know how to get from point A to point B on it.  Not her skillset, as it were.

Luckily, it’s my skillset, so I offered to help out. What the hell, I like puzzles.

Understand that design is a process. That’s hard for goal oriented people.

No one is more goal oriented than me.  I am very much on the J of that J/P divide.  But design– a process that largely takes place in your head, not in the outside world, is very much a thing of process and perception.  It’s a journey. The project completion is the goal.

It is frustrating for people on the outside who only care about the goal to see or care about the process. But the process exists whether you like it or not.  It has to- or you get really shitty design.  It is VERY rare for an idea to pounce out of someone’s head fully formed like Athena from Zeus, and when people cling to the first idea they have, they usually wind up with really lousy results overall.

So, I first told her I would help. I have experience with this sort of geekery- as previously mentioned I’m the lunatic who helped Jay Maynard build his Tron suit (and I promise I had NO IDEA it would become as famous as it did- I did it to help Jay, who is also an old friend, win a costume contest at Penguicon. I didn’t set out to help create an internet meme, and no one was more shocked than me when it happened.)

Nikki sent me a ton of photos and information about the this particular tardis(I didn’t realize there were different models.) and explained exactly what she was trying to do.  She also mailed me her original drafted pattern, that I copied onto bond paper on my lightbox. She explained to me that ultimately she also wanted the tardis to light up.  This meant the panels could not be fully opaque (otherwise, what’s the point?)  they had to be translucent in the places you wanted lighting- in this case, the windows. I saw clearly that two windows on each side were frosted, and the others were  not frosted but darker. The tardis itself being made of wood, ostensibly, is opaque and the police box sign needed to light up as well.  Nikki indicated that the front panel needed a little door where the “free for use of the public” sign was- that she wanted to paint some sort of swirly thing behind the door.  Later on I learned she also wanted the door to trigger a sound mechanism.  It was all a bit complex. Technically doable, but not all of it was going to get done in the time frame we had.

At first, my idea was to get custom plastic pieces cut at Canal Plastics. The night before I was going to do down there I realized I was an idiot- I didn’t need to go to Canal Plastics, all I really needed to do was go to Target.

Yes, Target.

Because what I really was after was vinyl, since it was flexible and very thin.  You know where you can get plain and frosted (for the frosted windows) vinyl sheets easily?  Target.

All I needed was a couple of shower curtain liners.

So I grabbed those, brought them home and set about cutting out colorforms, basically. Rerun was trying to be helpful.

 

Nikki’s original pattern was designed to draft the corset itself, and was rough on the details of the tardis parts(since that’s not what she was building).  So I made the window outlines clearer on my copies. You can see her original copy on the right.

 

Originally, I thought of painting behind the clear vinyl(so as to keep it safe if people touched it), and attaching the frosted bits to the back. So I used photoshop to create a painting guide.

This was a good idea in my head- it didn’t work out in practice.  Since the plastic isn’t porous, the paint wouldn’t dry, and it was really messy. There was no way to make the letters look good.  It was just a complete disaster.  But I did manage to get the basic idea going. Two windows were frosted, the others were not. I had glued the frosted vinyl to the back of the clear vinyl after it was painted.

Failures teach us things about how to proceed.

The first attempt:

So that was how I got to the very first prototype.  Understand that the panels that exist now were the third go round at solving the problem.

It’s about the process- how you get from an idea to a finished product.

 

 

 

Permission to sit.

So I’ve been working on this idea for some furniture lately. I know a lot of people get their ideas through sketching. Sometimes I do that, but a lot of the time I do it with photography, because I am more comfortable with my abilities with a camera than with a pen most of the time.

Last week I went to Harlem to shoot a series of photos of a friend of mine in order to get some ideas together for this project. I had seen an image of a chaise a few weeks ago that had me thinking about the positions people sit/lie down in, and how those could be abstracted in order to make furniture out of them.

clamshell

We got to talking about how we’re gotten to a point where people almost fee like they need to give themselves permission to sit in a comfortable position, since we spend so much time sitting in ways that have been designated as “appropriate”. I’ve been thinking about that and wondering if it’s true. How many people are comfortable sitting the way you’re “supposed” to on seating furniture? Does the furniture influence how you sit, or do you sit that way while fighting your furniture?

I don’t know which it is. Maybe it’s both. I know that if I continue to abstract some of the positions, I get interesting furniture. So far, I have a loveseat, a corner piece, a chaise and a chair.

I think that’s a nice little collection. It may or may not go anywhere. I have a lot of things I’m working on right now, so I don’t feel a lot of pressure on this. But the exploration is important, and I feel good enough about the results to go on to the next step and start abstracting forms out of this by sketching over the images to get generalized shapes and concepts.

So the process moves along. Some ideas you keep, some you chuck. I’m going to keep with this one for now. But before I go back to it, I have some sketches for the Miami house to do, and to make a foam core model of the chair I’m planning to prototype. And there’s always more knitting to do.

Geek chic?

Though design isn’t generally a handicraft project (really, it isn’t), sometimes, (SOMETIMES…) it is.

I had a major computer upgrade over the weekend (I’ll give it a 6 out of 10. There were/are some issues which still need resolving, but Chuck 3.0 is live, anyway.) and since one of the new pieces was a new case, I was left with some little metal pieces after the drives were put in (the little pop-out metal bits from the back of the computer.) I was going to toss them in the recyclables but I realized something after looking at them for a while.

You know? I could make a wall treatment out of this.

Checkkit.

dsc_2466.jpg

If you had a lot of these… like a lot. You could put them together in any random pattern you wanted. All you’d need is some adhesive or a shot with a soldering iron and a drill to put some holes in at suspension points. And then you have instant accent wall. I’d be willing to bet that places that build computers throw out ZILLIONS of these things that they’d be willing to part with for the low, low price of free. Best of all, you’re recycling by reuse, you can cover damaged walls, it’s easy to clean, and other than being a little handy, this isn’t that complicated.

Hm. I think this has merit….

P.S. My last entry seems to be having some sort of weird issues with comments. Jay(Maynard, not Reeder), I got your last comment and the dashboard shows it exists. I even replied to it- twice! But it’s not showing up. I have left word with the wordpress folks- we’ll see what happens. I have no idea why it’s not showing the comments. 

Never mind.  I figured it out.  I had changed my timestamp earlier this evening from GMT(the default) to EST (much as I love you guys in the UK, NYC time IS five hours behind you).  It looks like the new comments were placed based on the time change, so they wound up in the middle of the stack.

All sorted. Carry on.