Daniel Harper: Still Crazy After all These Gears

If you want something done right, do it yourself.

If you want something you’d never think to do, ask Daniel Harper to do it. He’s an industrial designer, artist, model-maker, sculptor, inventor, and all around jolly guy who spends all his time thinking up new ways of doing things. Crazy things.

His past accomplishments include chairs that turns into inflatable showers, salt and pepper shakers shaped like noses, toys of every shape and color, and one of my all-time favorites, the Ashhole (which we designed the packaging for) — a device that turns any empty beer bottle into an ashtray. Dan and MSLK have collaborated on a number cool projects over the years.

Dan’s latest creation is no doubt his most ambitious. One part Rube Goldberg, one part steampunk, and 110% Dan, he clearly stole the show at the Re/Build, a collaborative exhibit in Brooklyn’s 1889 gallery.

Conceived, designed, and produced in under three weeks, this project was part of an exhibit sponsored by Brooklyn-based manufacturer MPS. Having access to surplus materials, idle machinery, underutilized manpower, and a vacant storefront, they asked fellow designers and artists to create pieces for the show.

Dan’s contribution consists of a giant structure you walk on in order to turn a series of wood and plastic gears which, in turn, help to raise a 35-pound medicine ball up a corkscrew-shaped device.

An earlier prototype here shows the corkscrew mechanism…

Dan fine-tuned it in a 3D CAD program. The files were exported from the computer and machined by MPS. It was amazing how well-made each and every part was.

Here’s an image of the wooden flaps which you walk on to turn the inner gear:

Each flap is attached  via wire to crazy arc-shaped pieces…

Dan is reloading the 35-pound ball as eager gallerygoers wait for their turn…

An intrepid gallery goer takes a spin. You can see the ball has been raised about halfway…

Please don’t ask me why or how he came up with this. Only ask yourself how quickly you can make it over to Greenpoint to see this yourself.