Category Archives: Technique

Technique: Cardboard Art

Don’t know about Chris Gilmour’s cardboard art? Neither did I, but this is some pretty amazing stuff. The above photograph titled “BIKES” is at a 1:1 scale, and as you can see there is no shortage of detail. He uses standard cardboard to create his amazing life-like sculptures. Probably one of most impressive things about Gilmour’s work is that his craft is not accomplished with the aid of a machine, but rather true sculptural technique.

Why post this on a DIY site? Well there is a lot to be learned from Gilmour’s craft. In an age of 3-D printers and CNC machines, our ability to conceptualize and simply build a model from simple materials is being lost. Trial and error through conceptual model making is becoming a thing of the past. Yet when I see Gilmour’s work I see an idea from start to finish, especially through his understanding of scale and interpretation of material. So the next time you’re working on a new concept, sit down, sketch and build that scale model.

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Technique: Supporting DIY’ers and Makers

“Tinkering With Tomorrow”

I recently attended this event at the New America Foundation . You can watch the video attached to the link and the agenda of speakers is attached as well. Great stuff.

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Technique: Engineering Development

I thought I would just provide a video to explain what the individuals at Open Source Ecology are working on, and I’m sure they’ll do a better job than I would. But seriously you should check out the amazing work that these bright minds are producing. More specifically they have been developing the Global Village Construction Set which as their Wiki page explains is: “a modular, DIY, low-cost, high-performance platform that enables fabrication of the 50 different Industrial Machines that it takes to build a small, sustainable civilization with modern comforts”. This type of ingenuity needs more press, be sure to check them out.

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Technique: DIY Bike Building & Repair

Have you always wanted to build your own bike? Interested in becoming a mechanic, or just tired of getting ripped off at your LBS (local bike store)? You should check out United Bicycle Institute in Ashland, Oregon. Here you can learn how to build your own frame, become a certified mechanic, and learn just about everything you need to know about bikes. The prices do vary depending on classes and they now have a Portland OR location if your not interested in going to Ashland.

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Technique: Yurts

For those of you that aren’t familiar with Yurts, well you’re missing out. Yes tents do have some controversy these days:

But not to worry this isn’t a tent, and this isn’t a movement (unless you want it to be). Structures similar to yurts have had a long history of supporting nomadic tribes and are prevalent in Buddhist and Mongolian culture. The company “Pacific Yurts”, in the U.S. have been making quality yurts for the last 34 years and they have multiple styles that suit just about anybody’s tastes. These can range anywhere from $4,000 to $9,000. If you’re not interested in purchasing one of Pacific’s yurts you could always go the DIY route, and honestly why wouldn’t you? Here are some links if you’re feeling ambitious:

DIY Yurt Website: Includes plans, photographs, and additional info

DIY Yurt project: One guy’s attempt at building a yurt from scratch.

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Technique: Tumbleweed Tiny Houses

Jay Shafer is an interesting guy. One day he decided to build himself a small house (89 sq ft) and then travel with his house, eventually turning his experience into a business. He has since been designing and building small houses with his business “Tumbleweed Tiny Houses”, creating houses that are both mobile and stationary. His approach to design is simple: keep it small. Check out his blog to follow him on his small house living mission.

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Technique: Rain Barrels


How can you harvest rainwater? Furthermore why would you want to collect rainwater? Consider a rainy season followed by weeks of severely dry weather, and you tend to a healthy, bountiful garden. Depending on where you live, a drastically dry summer can be detrimental to your garden and water bills, not to mention extremely wasteful. One of the details that I would like to add to the Micro-Studio design is a highly efficient rain barrel that will be connected the gutters system on the roof. The intent for the water collection system is to supply a garden, and for supplying a small shower. I was able to find a local supplier for rain barrel kits, based out of southern Maryland called “Aquabarrel”. I should be able to get a free (or very cheap) barrel from connection that I have, but I will definitely be purchasing the kit that the supplier sells. I will be following up with a tutorial on how to set-up the rain barrel kit, and later a step-by-step on the shower plumbing connection.

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