What's happening now at Because We Can

Meet us at Autodesk University Las Vegas 2012

Meet us in Vegas! We'll be presenting at Autodesk University again this year. Keeping it low-key this time after last year's keynote, we're just giving a single talk on digital fabrication. Thus giving us time to go to lots of awesome classes, meet up with great people, and visit a wonderful tiki bar. We'll see you there!

The LongNow's new salon space

We have been involved with The Long Now for years. They are just too cool for us to stay away. But recently they asked us to help them design their new salon space. Of course we accepted!

Their current space has an open office over a museum and book store that shows off all their various projects. They also try to use the space for receptions after their very successful lecture series they hold in a nearby theater within Fort Mason. They noticed that there are more people having more interesting conversations in these receptions, so they want to turn the space into one that could accommodate this use all the time.

We have been working closely with them to make the new layout a modular design that will fit their unique needs.

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By day, the space will serve as museum, library, event space, and coffee bar. It will allow for The Long Now to expand upon their very successful lecture series into smaller, more intimate events.

By night a cerebral salon space that serves inspired cocktails and promotes conversations through the exhibits on display.

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To help fund the project, artisanal bottles of Gin and Whiskey are being made by St. George Spirits, using the Juniper berries and botanicals from the clock site.

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If you purchase one of these bottles, it will be kept at the salon, in traditional Japanees Bottle Keep style, for you to enjoy there. The bottle will be lowered down to you from the ceiling, where all the bottles are kept, like a full ceiling chandelier.

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We are looking forward to seeing this project go into construction. And it will happen sooner if you all purchase a bottle!

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It will not only serve as a fund raising vehicle for the non-profit, but act within the community and larger society to help further the primary goal of the Long Now: to foster and encourage long term thinking.

You can see our full project page for more images here.
And find out more about how to support The Long Now salon here!

Welcome to the new site!

We've just migrated our site from Drupal 6 to the new Drupal 7. Huzzah! We took the opportunity to fix some outstanding issues & revise our theme. It's a snazzy new one that auto-adjusts for device and looks awesome on tablets (and soon smartphones).

We'd love to know what you think of it! A few minor tweaks to go, so things will be a little fluid for a bit.

What better time to take your site down and redo it when everyone isn't looking due to the election?

We had some Halloween fun....

Jeffrey and I had some Halloween fun last week, designing and making our outfits with lots of flair additions made on Frank.

The costumes were very esoteric: "Miskatonic University Archaeologists".

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We made a box for each of us. An apparatus used to scan the local vegetation and inhabitants. They glowed an unnatural color from within and allowed for lots of 'fine tuning' with their dials and buttons (and they doubled as as a small bag).

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We carved aluminum plates to add authenticity to the boxes.

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And a large plate to adorn the leather strap.

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Finally, a final touch of matching emblems for our hats.
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Hope you had a great Halloween too!

Gamer-themed coffee table ideas

Design is an iterative process, where changes occur as the best solution presents itself from the back-and-forth between the client, the physical constraints, and our ideas. And so sometimes ideas we've come up with for a small part of a project no longer fit into the larger picture. These orphaned ideas are still cool, so we love to share the sketches for them with you!

Recently we were asked to produce a gamer-themed coffee table as part of a larger office remodel we're doing. The lounge it was slated for changed ideas, and a so overtly gamer themed custom coffee table didn't really work anymore.

The first idea we came up with was this Tetris-styled table, where the blocks are various shades of wood inlay into a maple top portraying an endless perfect game falling into place.

The next idea was for an 'ultimate battle' space invaders styled table, where the 'bad guys' get more and more modern as they ascend up the table. This one would be black resin inlay into a maple top.

Really loved the progression of characters on this one.

The last idea was for something a little more modern as games go, and it's for a portal-themed table. An LED-ringed mirror on either side of a nice maple butcher-block top makes it appear as if the top is endlessly passing between the two portals, one red and one blue!

Shame that these three rough sketches won't be made real for this project. Maybe next time!

BWC Business plan update

One thing about our company you might not know: we're an Open Business. We release almost all of our work under a Creative Commons licence. Even our Business Plan.

Which just got majorly updated! We've learned a lot since we posted it last time and feel it really reflects that. If you're either into business or looking to be, check it out.

We'd love to hear what you think about it!

Friday, October 5th, it's the Oakland Art Murmur and our Fall open house!

Fall is here and this Friday is First Fridays in Oakland (i.e. the 'Murmur'). So stop by and help us join in the fun!

We are opening our doors for Because We Can's fall open house.

We'll be starting early at 5PM and going until 8PM-ish.

All are invited, so come on by! We'd love to see you.

We'll be celebrating and showing off recent projects completed and underway. It's a great time to drop by and talk shop with us as well!

We'll have some snacks, some drinks, the now-almost-complete paint job on the '67 van to show off, and more. Lots check it out!

Kids welcome, but it is a shop and a party. Lots of sharp corners. And they might learn some interesting new words!

Friday, October 5th

5PM - 8PM

2500 Kirkham St
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 922-8846

Click here for the Google Map.

BWC Intern Project, Cabinet and Benches

Now that summer is officially over, we really should tell you about our summer intern, Abigail. While she was here she was able to design and fabricate multiple pieces, from a large cabinet to some small bench prototypes.

The cabinet was a basic design that needed to store some items we have in the shop space, but we decided to go to town with the doors. Abigail had fun designing them, and learned a ton about our workflow here at Because We Can.

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Here is what Abigail says about the project:
This cabinet was my first experience using Revit to design a furniture piece. Previously I had considered Revit to be strictly reserved for modeling larger architectural models but was both pleased and surprised to discover how intuitive and efficient Revit was at modeling not only the overall furniture mass, but also the joinery details as well. After completing the Revit model, I exported the doors of the cabinet into Adobe Illustrator where I was more easily able to design the decorative motifs. From designing and building this cabinet, I believe I gained a greater understanding of the impact modeling programs have in aiding design and fabrication.

Next Abigail worked on a bench prototype for our Burning Man camp with The Serpent Twins. She made several prototypes to make sure the design would be sturdy and easy to assemble.

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About the benches Abigail says:
I took a similar approach to designing the Winged Benches as I did the cabinet unit. I first designed the overall mass within Revit and then exported the model pieces into Illustrator where I drew the decorative profiles and winged back. It was fun to design such an animated piece with such a simple configuration. Designing this flat pack bench that assembles without any additional hardware only further confirmed for me how digital fabrication enhances both design and production.

Thanx Abigail!
Good luck in school!

BWC Intern Project, Robot Head

Well, summer is ending and with that our summer interns are leaving us to go continue their educations. But while they were hear we all had a good time, and they may have even learned something!

We like to give out interns a project that they get to take all they way from design to fabrication using our in house process. They start out creating a design how ever they want to (paper or software), and then dive into our software flow. We use REVIT to make just about everything, so we make them do that too. Much of the time is spent learning the software, but what better way to do that than with a project!

After the design is done in REVIT, we show them how to take their designs into the CAM software (Aspire) and fabricate it on the CNC machine (Frank!).

Beatrice, one of our summer interns, was given the task to make a card holder for our front door. We have a few promotional pieces that we wanted easily accessible near the front. She had to take measurements, look at available materials and come up with a design that everyone agreed on.

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We asked Beatrice what she learned though the process, and here is what she said:
"My goal was to design a card holder that will draw interest and prompt people to take the cards. I also thought it would be nice to make an addition to the robot collection in the BWC office. I sketched on paper and modeled the card holder mixing Revit and Illustrator. Then Frank the CNC router cut out the wood, and I assembled the pieces by hand at the shop. Being in charge of the design and assembly steps was a great hands-on lesson on the digital fabrication process."

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Thanx Beatrice! We love your head!

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