Creative Works of Tom McGuire

Entries Tagged as 'Simple Fun'


June 11th, 2010 · No Comments

Tom McGuire   has been working with various forms of sculpture since about 1997 and is having a lot of fun with developing art works that incorporate all different types of materials especially electrical and mechanical parts. Much of his work is kinetic.  He says “I have to thank my parents for my education because most of my learning was at the expense of some major appliances”. He started out spending long hours in the basement tinkering with parts of old radios and fixing toasters and hair dryers for the neighbors and in the past 20 years or so has worked as an engineer for a small electronics manufacturer. I still spend a lot of time tinkering, he says, and having gathered new tools and developed new skills. A real sense of purpose for the future has been realized.

Consciousness Builds Confidence.

 Think of what the technology has done to our society today. It’s just too much too fast. People don’t understand what they are doing to themselves. We should be using these technological tools to learn and make our lives more enjoyable rather than working overtime to keep up with them. Children as well as adults should develop more consciousness of the fundamentals of technology by taking things apart, studying the elements, and building new things. It is time consuming but it has its rewards. By building things we develop the confidence to use the technology and to make it work for us. Call it “play” if you will. Like flying, it is fun once you get off the ground. One of the roadblocks is having preconceived ideas about the outcome of your work. If you just pour positive energy into an idea and keep going till it’s done it usually works. Don’t be afraid of what’s inside the black box. Open it up and play with it.

Tags: Introduction · Simple Fun

Simple Fun Projects :continued 2009

January 28th, 2009 · No Comments


I’m getting a real positive fealing this year about this approach to sharing my experiences and knowledge of technology by creating projects that use simple elements. There are so many dynamics that can be studied in the proccess of creating a simple machine. Today a young girl discovered that in the proccess of building a circuit, if you put a wire across a battery it gets hot. I told her “that’s called a short circuit”. I wish I had the time to tell her about the chemicals in the battery, the effect of dissimilar metals, and some thermal dynamics. But none the less, today in her life, she learned one more thing. I’ll keep working at this. I think it’s worth while. An exercise in consciuosness. We are stronger in the confidence of knowing.

So here is a video of a set of five simple projects that can be made with a basic toy motor a battery some wire and a small block of wood. Warning! making one of these projects can lead to hours of either frustration or intertainment depending on your point of view. In either case you’ll end up with a nice conversation piece.

YouTube Preview Image

I got the motors from (AllElectronics).

but you can also practice recycling and hack them out of old toys.

Have fun…

Tags: Simple Fun · Uncategorized

After a week at art camp…

June 10th, 2007 · 1 Comment

Wow! that was great. Sorry I didn’t post pictures along the way but it was a very busy week at the CityArts Teen Extreme 2007. Jodi, Kendra, and I (Tom) worked with a hand full of teen aged kids to put on a show of kinetic sculptures using these simple fun technics. Each of them got to take there work home but before it was over they all sat down and animated their works together with the help of a Logochip controller. For the last couple of hours people, including their parents, wandered through the gallery while their sculptures danced before their eyes. It was great, everyone was thrilled and amazed. The Kids also made video of the art camp experience which is posted on You Tube -( click here )-


 Here’s a movie I made:

(click it) theshow

And pictures: IMGP1020a  imgp1021a.JPG  imgp1023a.JPG imgp1024a.JPG imgp1025a.JPG imgp1026a.JPG  imgp1027a.JPG imgp1028a.JPG  imgp1029a.JPG  imgp1031a.JPG  imgp1032a.JPG

Tags: Simple Fun

Slap Stick

April 17th, 2007 · 1 Comment

    Sometimes you just want to smack something. Ya know what I mean. Don’t take it personal. It’s real easy to do. If you want to make some noise or knock something over just stick a stick on a motor shaft and let fly. A word of caution once the motor stops turning don’t leave the battery connected too long. It may smoke.

Click for video:


Tags: Simple Fun

A Flexable Joint

April 10th, 2007 · 1 Comment

          You can make any sort of flexible joint move with a little gear driven motor out of a toy robot or car.  Just wrap some fishing line around the drive wheel and then thread it up and around the joint. You can run one string through several joints. Here I made a worm out of sections of pink foam plastic and then taped them together. 

Click the picture to see it work.


Tags: Simple Fun

A Baby Bluejay

March 26th, 2007 · 1 Comment

     Imagine a little nest with a baby bird in it flitting around anxious for mom to come and drop a worm. This is a really cleaver use of a magnet.

               Bluejay          MotorMag

    Attach the magnet to the shaft of a toy motor with some epoxy and then attach a flat head screw to the magnet. Try to keep the screw straight with the motor shaft. You could use a toy gear motor if you don’t want it to flip around so fast. Mount the motor on a base and point it at an angle towards the top of a rod which is also mounted in the base. Now I just made a bird as an example. There are lots of things you could have bob around at the top of the rod. Make some kind of pivot joint at the top of the rod and then wind a steal wire all around from that point down to the motor.

My explanation won’t do it justice. You’ll just have to see the video.

Tags: Simple Fun

Whats all the Clatter About?

March 23rd, 2007 · No Comments

    Here’s another easy way to do something fun. And I know my friend Tab really likes noise. Take a toy motor and attach a short wire across the shaft like a “T”.  You could use glue or tape or here I used a peice of plastic rod. Then bend loops on both ends of the wire. Throught those loops make rings of wire that dangle like chain links. So as the motor spins the links swing out.

               Clatter2Now the fun part. Mount the motor into some foam plastic. Then around the motor you can put steal or aluminum rods or tubing that will have jingle sound when the motor spins. Or you could use wood or plastic that will clatter.      Click this picture to see the movie.


Tags: Simple Fun

Make a Bufferfly Fly

March 22nd, 2007 · No Comments

    When you need to do a lot of pushing and pulling use a motor and a screw.  The tricky part is attaching the screw to the motor so that it doesn’t wobble too much but sometimes that can be a good thing. Here we have a butterfly made of red craft foam sheet suspended three wires. A wire attached to each wing and one in the middle. The middle wire is connected to a nut on the screw that goes up and down as the motor turns forward and backward.

Click the picture below to see it work. Just imagine a whole flock of these.


Tags: Simple Fun

A Wild Flower

March 22nd, 2007 · No Comments

                     Here’s a simple fun idea for a kinetic art. Take some wire and wind it around a post or a cone or any shape. Then mount the bottom to a base and attach a small electric motor to the top. craft some sort of flower and hook it to the motor shaft off center, so it will wobble when it turns. Connect a bettery to the motor lead wires and have fun.


Its really fun. Click the picture to watch the video.

Tags: Simple Fun