Getting Close!

Our deadline is coming up on us fast, but everyone has stepped up into overdrive and we are nearly done. Last week lots of our teams were working well into the night on decoration, lighting, and the final fabrication for the crane supports. Today we had the pieces together to finally put the birds up in the air for the first time.




Also we’ve been doing a lot of work on the wooden centerpiece crane, finishing up the structure and framing out what will be the “skin”.

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Centerpiece work started

The centerpiece of our project will be a larger wooden crane intended to have some interactive elements. Here is Peter modeling with the basic structure.

All crane frames done!

We finished up the last of the seven steel frames for the cranes today. This was a nice milestone for the team and well ahead of schedule. Our new chopsaw paid for itself in the time we saved prepping all of the pieces







Here are some of the stencils and templates we used for fabricating all the different angles together on the different pieces of the frame. Lots of our measurements weren’t exact, but the cranes all came together with fairly close tolerances, considering we had to eyeball a lot of the angles.

Cranes #1 and #2

This weekend our team finished fabricating the first and second cranes that we will be using in the final project. As always, the first one is the hardest. The second went much quicker



This was also a training day for some of our build team, so we spent a lot of time on welding basics and shop setup to get people up and running on the various machines.


First Crane Prototype

We whipped together a prototype of the crane design from some scavenged wire shelf metal. After review, we decided to change a bit of the body structure and the wings, but overall it’s basically what everyone had envisioned. The model has an approximate four foot wingspan, and we plan to scale it up 1.5x for the final versions.

We had some reservations that the 1/4″ scrap steel we used wouldn’t be strong enough for the full scale models, but after some stress testing it looks like it will be more than adequate, and a huge weight savings over using thicker material.

What is Nozomi?

Nozomi is an art installation headed to Burning Man in 2012, created by the wickedly talented cast of makers, artists, dreamers, hackers, activists known as the Moonrock Collective and partially funded by a grant from Ignition Northwest.

Our project is inspired by the Japanese legend of Senbazuru.  The crane is a sacred being in Japan fabled to live for 1000 years. The legend of Senbazuru says that anyone who gives 1000 paper cranes will be granted a wish by a crane.  Our project combines this legend with the principles and spirit of Burning Man. Participants can fold a paper crane and make a wish, and by doing so help make the wishes of all participants come true as well.

Nozomi concept art

Seven sculptures depicting paper cranes mounted on poles will stand in a circle about 20 feet in diameter. Each will be covered with a unique decorative skin. The cranes will be mounted on poles, and will sway gently in the wind. At night, the cranes will be lit from within by shifting patterns of light. Inside the circle described by the cranes, a larger, wooden crane will sit at ground level. The wings of the crane will be covered with inscriptions in many languages,  consisting of instructions on how to fold a paper crane and an invitation to fold a crane and write a wish on it. There will be a storage location built into this central crane stocked with origami paper and markers. The body of this large crane forms a box with a plexiglass lid. Once visitors have folded a crane and written a wish on it, they can drop it into a hole in the lid.