Dear Friends of The Great Fredini

Coney Island has been an important place in shaping my identity as an artist, primarily through my involvement with the nonprofit arts organization Coney Island USA. For over 35 years, CIUSA has provided a staging grounds for a huge range of artists, performers, actors, playwrights, musicians, filmmakers and practitioners of just about any other artistic discipline you can think of, entertaining NYC’s diverse audiences and preserving aspects of uniquely American popular culture, such as the iconic Mermaid Parade. CIUSA has done remarkably well in helping to shape the neighborhood’s revitalization, but the organization is still financially reeling in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy and needs YOUR help! This March 19th, I am being honored at Coney Island USA’s Spring Gala, so I am forwarding an appeal from longtime board member and friend Mark Alhadeff. Please consider taking out a journal ad or buying a ticket to what may be CIUSA’s most important fundraiser ever. Coney Island USA needs your support so that it can continue making America’s playground a special place for generations to come!

-Fred

CIUSAGala

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 12.54.12 PMMarch 3, 2016
Dear Friend of The Great Fredini:

I can say with confidence that every recipient of this note will know what a special person Fred Kahl is. But, just in case you forgot, let me remind you: He is a man of vision, intelligence, and good taste. And most importantly, he is a person with a giant heart.

Further, if you’re as lucky as me and have known Fred for decades, you will also know that Fred has always listened to the advice of Joseph Campbell and “followed his bliss.” This has led him on many incredible journeys, and the ultimate destination of most of those trips has been Coney Island. More specifically Coney Island USA (Coney’s resident not-for-profit arts group) has been blessed by the presence of Fred’s energy and creativity since the 1980’s. From neon sword swal- lowing to a 3D Luna Park, from acting on our stage to serving on our Board, from a spiral wishing well to an awesome electric chair — Fred is part of the very fabric of Coney Island USA.

Now that a few strands of silver have appeared in Fred’s luscious locks we here at CIUSA have decided it is time to honor the Great Fredini. Fred has been named “Man of the Year” and will be celebrated at our Spring Gala on Saturday, March 19th. The Gala is without fail the must-attend event of the Coney Island social calendar and dedicating it to Fred was a no-brainer.

I am writing on behalf of everyone at CIUSA to invite you to join in this celebration of Fred’s life and achievements. There are two easy (and not mutually exclusive) ways to get involved:

  1. Attend the Gala in Coney Island on March 19th. Tickets are available now (and a great bar- gain). Show your love to Fred in person! You can learn more by visiting: http://www.coneyisland.com/gala
  2. Let Fred know how much you care about him by putting a customized notice in the commem- orative Journal. The Journal is distributed to all Gala attendees and becomes a keepsake. Get your message about Fred in there: http://www.coneyisland.com/gala-journal

I do hope to see you at the Gala, to read your message in the Journal and to share your joy in the year of the Fred.

Sincerely,

Mark Alhadeff

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 12.53.15 PM
Friend of Fred
Coney Island USA Board Member

3D Scanning at the Brooklyn Museum

I was recently at the Brooklyn Museum for the opening of the exhibit Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861–2008. Its a great exhibit and I encourage everyone to go check it out! While there, I took the time to take pictures of several objects to use to generate 3D models of a few Coney Island Artifacts, as well as some beautiful architectural details.

This process of photogrammetry  or “physical photography” as I have come to call it involves photographing an object many times from all angles, taking care to ensure that each image is in full focus. Once photographed, software analyzes the image to find the same point in multiple images and generates a 3D model of where in space each camera was. From there, a point cloud and 3D mesh can be generated. Its a laborious process but its a very accurate way of generating 3D models of still objects like sculpture.

Here’s the processed scans:

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 6.45.31 PM

Spook-A-Rama cyclops head from Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park (Courtesy of the Coney Island History Project)

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 6.44.25 PM

Pegasus Statues from the Coney Island pumping station. (read about these here)

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 6.15.49 PM

Bacchus Keystone from the Brooklyn Museum Sculpture Garden. This scan came out amazing, with incredible detail to it!

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 6.34.57 PM

Another Great Keystone!

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 7.10.08 PM

Telamon (Male Caryatid) #1

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 5.59.32 PM

Telamon #2

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 8.14.15 PM

Architectural Detail from the Brooklyn Museum Sculpture Gardens

3D Printed Luna Park’s Latest Addition is the Helter Skelter!

It’s been months in the making but I was able to update the installation at the Coney Island Museum today with the Helter Skelter Building. I plan to have a reception event at the museum on Memorial Day, so stay tuned!                               

A Process for Glass Casting from 3D Printed Positives

I wrote recently about being selected for a Creative Glass Center of America Fellowship, but thought it was about time to show off some experimental castings I made there last fall that helped get me the fellowship. Last Summer I blogged a first test of this process, but this Fall I was able to do some more substantial castings and learn some more. Here’s some process shots:

Wheaton Arts is home to the Creative Glass Center of America in Millville, NJ, where I will have a fellowship this year, based on these experiments that I did this past fall to create a workflo for casting glass from 3D printed objects.

Wheaton Arts is home to the Creative Glass Center of America in Millville, NJ. It lives in this building, a recreation of a 19th century glass factory.

Hank Adams is the Creative Director of CGCA and he does an amazing job running a world class glass shop. Boola just likes eating scraps and thinks she's a person.

Hank Adams is the Creative Director of CGCA and he does an amazing job running a world class glass shop. Boola just likes eating scraps and thinks she’s a person.

While at Wheaton, I got to stay in this lovely vintage Airstream Trailer!

While at Wheaton, I got to stay in this lovely vintage Airstream Trailer!

These were my two successful casts. This slideshow will walk you through the process of creating them and attempt to share my learnings from the experience.

These were my two successful casts. This slideshow will walk you through the process of creating them and attempt to share my learnings from the experience.

I started with 3D prints. This is Makerbot's Artist figurine Zee, which was given to me by Rob Steiner at Bold Machines. I customized him with some devil horns made out of wax.

I started with 3D prints. This is Makerbot’s artist figurine Zee, which was given to me by Rob Steiner at Bold Machines. I customized Zee with some devil horns made out of wax.

I had three 3D Printed PLA pieces to cast altogether- A 24" tall Luna Park Tower (printed in sections), Mat Fraser and Julie Atlas Muz 18" tall figure (printed on Makerbot's Z-18 printer), and the Zee figurine. I used some cardboard and hot glue to piece together a reservoir for each print before going to make a mold around each.

Altogether, I had three 3D Printed PLA pieces to cast- A 24″ tall Luna Park Tower (printed in sections), Mat Fraser and Julie Atlas Muz 18″ tall figure (printed on Makerbot’s Z-18 printer), and the Zee figurine. I used some cardboard and hot glue to piece together a reservoir for each print before going to make molds. I also used some brown wax to smooth some rough areas of the prints.

It was a beautiful day in the shade of the Studio's smokestack.

It was a beautiful day in the shade of the Studio’s smokestack.

I made some small sprues as air vents for the fine details on the tower.

I made some small sprues as air vents for the fine details on the tower.

I also cut wire mesh to reinforce the molds with.

I also cut wire mesh to reinforce the molds with.

I just used a cardboard box for a form for Zee.

I just used a cardboard box for a form for Zee. The bigger molds used tar paper as a form to cast the plaster around the 3D prints.

The classic mold material is a 50-50 mix of Plaster and Silica with wire lath as something to strengthen it. I did a first coat a little wet as a splash coat to make sure I really have the whole surface.

The classic mold material is a 50-50 mix of plaster and silica, with wire lath as something to strengthen it. I did a first coat a little wet as a splash coat to make sure I really have the whole surface.

The mold is filled with mix and sets up.

The mold is filled with mix and sets up.

Because of the silica, a mask is very important!

Because of the plaster and silica, a mask is very important!

It was a very long day of mixing plaster in 5 gallon buckets. The big molds were extremely heavy so I set them by the furnace to dry out some. I was sore that night!

It was a very long day of mixing plaster in 5 gallon buckets. The big molds were extremely heavy so I set them by the furnace to dry out some. I was sore that night!

They were so heavin, in fact that we had to tie them onto the fork lift to lower them in the oven!

They were so heavy that we had to tie them onto the fork lift to lower them in the oven!

Hank is an expert with the fork lift!

Hank is an expert with the fork lift!

The oven they gave me was about 3 feet deep, so we gently lowered the molds in.

The oven they gave me was about 3 feet deep, so we gently lowered the molds in.

Here you can see the bottoms of the 3d prints in the molds. The next step is to burn them out overnight.

Here you can see the bottoms of the 3d prints in the molds. The next step is to burn them out overnight.

There's the bottom of the  Zee figurine.

There’s the bottom of the Zee figurine.

Overnight, the oven went up to 1000 degrees, then back down. It was about 24 hours of waiting until I could open the oven, but the molds burned out very nicely.

Overnight, the oven went up to 1000 degrees, then back down. It was about 24 hours of waiting until I could open the oven, but the molds burned out very nicely.

The Pla burned out extremely cleanly. Yu can see there are some cracks in the molds as the  PLA does expand and contract some as it heats so for the future, I can print with less infill and play with some other mold material formulas to try to minimize this cracking.

The PLA burned out extremely cleanly. You can see there are some cracks in the molds as the PLA does expand and contract some as it heats. For the future, I will print with less infill and play with some other mold material formulas to try to minimize this cracking.

We lost some mold material between Zee's legs, but the mold burned out very cleanly.

We lost some mold material between Zee’s legs, but the mold burned out very cleanly.

The molds were packed with cullet- chunks of the glass they use at Wheaton. Its a Spruce Pine Soda Lime glass. It would be nice to do some castings with optical crystal, but these were just tests so I was focused on what was available and cheap.

The molds were packed with cullet- chunks of the glass they use at Wheaton. Its a Spruce Pine soda lime glass. It would be nice to do some castings with optical crystal, but these were just tests so I was focused on what was available and cheap.

The GB4 computer is the standard oven controller and has been for over 30 years in the glass and ceramic world. I would LOVE to see someone make an internet connected Arduino oven controller with a mobile phone web interface. These things are archaic! If you're an Arduino Hacker interested in exploring this, please contact me.

The GB4 computer is the standard oven controller computer and has been for over 30 years in the glass and ceramic world. I would LOVE to see someone make an internet connected Arduino oven controller with a mobile phone web interface. These things are archaic! If you’re an Arduino Hacker interested in exploring this, please contact me! I have given this much thought and would like to work on bringing glass studios into the 21st century.

Because of the mass of the molds, they have to be slowly heated and cooled. It took another 12 hours or so to bring the molds back up and begin to melt the glass.

Because of the mass of the molds, they have to be slowly heated and cooled. It took another 12 hours or so to bring the molds back up and begin to melt the glass.

We first brought the oven to about 1200F and as the glass melted down in the molds I kept dropping more in.

We first brought the oven to about 1200F and as the glass melted down in the molds I kept adding more chunks in.

One design flaw with these molds was that they were so deep. It would be more ideal if the molds were shallower and the glass did not have to flow down so far. I ended up bringing the ovens up even hotter in an attempt to get the glass to flow all the way in.

One design flaw with these molds was that they were so deep. It would be more ideal if the molds were shallower and the glass did not have to flow down so far. I ended up bringing the ovens up even hotter in an attempt to get the glass to flow all the way in.

It was freakin' hot in there!

It was freakin’ hot in there!

Finally, the glass stopped flowing and I knew the molds were full.

Finally, the glass stopped flowing and I knew the molds were full.

The kilns need to be vented to crash them down to annealing temperature as fast as possible, otherwise the glass can "scorch" and devitrify, causing it to have a more milky appearance.

The kilns need to be vented to crash them down to annealing temperature as fast as possible, otherwise the glass can “scorch” and devitrify, causing it to have a more milky appearance.

I just turned off the oven and left it open for a few minutes at a time. The goal is to let all that heat dissipate and bring it back to ~960 asap. The problem was there was so much mass in those molds.

I just turned off the oven and left it open for a few minutes at a time. The goal is to let all that heat dissipate and bring it back to ~960 asap. The problem was there was so much mass in those molds and the refractory brick holds the heat. It was a couple hours of venting before I could start the annealing cycle on the computer.

The pieces took about ten days to cool down. Annealing glass involves soaking it at particular strain temperatures, then slowly cooling it down to room temp. I left and returned in two weeks to find this.

The pieces took about ten days to cool down. Annealing glass involves soaking it at particular strain points to even out the temperature, then slowly cooling it down to room temp. I left and returned in two weeks to find this.

The molds were so heavy and by now fragile that I just dicested them right in the oven.

The molds were so heavy (and by now fragile) that I just divested them right in the oven.

Luna Park Tower.. in glass!

Luna Park Tower.. in glass!

I was slightly nervous the oven might close on me- that thing was deep!

I was slightly nervous the oven might close on me- that thing was deep!

A couple process shots of divesting Zee.

A couple process shots of divesting Zee.

The mold materiam bloke off pretty easily.

The mold material bloke off pretty easily.

revealing what's underneath...

revealing what’s underneath…

Devil Zee!

Devil Zee!

I used a diamond saw to cut off the reservoir

I used a diamond saw to cut off the reservoir

The final Zee.

The final Zee.

Luna Park tower required a lot of picking and scrubbing to get all the mold material off. I also had to be careful not to clog the sink.

Luna Park tower required a lot of picking and scrubbing to get all the mold material off. I also had to be careful not to clog the sink.

Both final castings. I have a couple parts that broke off on the Luna Park Tower that I'd like to glue back on. but overall a good first experiment.

Both final castings. I have a couple parts that broke off on the Luna Park Tower that I’d like to glue back on. but overall a good first experiment. Above you can see Mat and Julie’s legs- they proved to be to skinny for the glass to flow into.

So what did I learn?

First, the work I will make in my fellowship will be shallower castings 9-12″deep at the most. I will be making relief panels cast from 12x12x12″ 3d printed sections. I think these high relief castings will be easier to produce and yield better results. Though I like the jade-like appearance of the glass in these, I would prefer more of a translucent glass appearance for my final product. The shallower molds will be easier to cast and cool so as to avoid devitrification. I also will do some more experiments with other mold formulas. Perhaps some other mold materials will crack less as the PLA expands during burnout. Finally, I’d like to explore casting with hot billets of glass as opposed to cold chunks of cullet. Basically, hot casting ingots of molten glass from a furnace so they skin up and stop moving, but are still quite hot when they are dropped into the molds. These ingots are then dropped in the molds and will more easily be heated to flow in. This should also yield a clearer quality to the glass.

So that’s it. I hope you enjoyed. I’m looking forward to using the process to make some work during this year’s fellowship!

New Luna Park Photos By Raymond Adams

Raymond Adams (http://www.raymondadams.net/) is a photographer friend who I met out in Coney Island. He’s been shooting in the neighborhood for while now and was a Kickstarter backer of Coney Island Scan-A-Rama.  He recently came out to meet me in Coney and shot some nice portraits of me in the installation of Luna Park at the Coney Island Museum. Thanks Ray!11054745_10204541944282739_71594317_o 11034546_10204544275381015_1535181905_o 11025317_10204495361198191_1899424994_o

The Helter Skelter

Its not just a Beatles song… the Helter Skelter was a slide ride at Thompson & Dundy’s Luna Park in Coney Island from about 1907-1915. Its the next part of the model I will be 3D printing to tie together the two pieces of boardwalk I have already completed. I’m starting to grapple with how much the park changed year to year and how the main court of the model will be laid out. Its also curious how many color variations existed amongst postcards that were made as the Helter Skelter is one of the most popular of all postcards of Luna Park . Theres a bit more work to do, but I can’t wait to start printing it!

Image from Shorpy

Image from Shorpy

HelterSkelter4

$_57 (3)

$_574

$T2eC16VHJI!E9qSO8)CPBRUNzYFqIg~~60_57

$_57 (1)

$_57 (2)

$_57 (4)

HelterSkelter5

HelterSkelter6