Lasersaur, the new open source laser cutter from Nortd Labs. Finally a precision cutting machine within reach… (a long reach, but at an order of magnitude less than prior costs for an equal sized machine). Check it out at at

Now I’m off to the laser cutting class at TechLab SF.

TechShop San Francisco

TechShop San Francisco

First visit to TechShop San Francisco yesterday for the Angular Sheetmetal class. Got checked out on the 50 inch hydraulic shear, the similarly sized bending brake, a Beverly and straight manual shear, turret punch and spot welder. Part of the long trail of getting a better source of plates. TechShop is a fantastic resource. I’m not sure I have enough free time to make membership worthwhile yet, but I do plan to keep taking classes and perhaps going on a day-use basis if that is allowed. TechShop only has a few locataions in the US, but it is well worth checking out if you are anywhere near one. The URL is

Happy Birthday Louis!










Google is celebrating Daguerre’s 224th birthday with a new doodle. See the Christian Science Monitor article.

First Mercury

As firsts go, I’m reasonably happy with it. My first mercury developed image on a traditional silver plate – a little over three years since I started. Since I can only devote a few hours a week to making progress, I’m OK with that. Lots of problems of course  – underexposure, issues with the polish, wet process marks, you name it. But I can see it and it didn’t take me multiple tries to get there. Perhaps taking a picture of the Goddess of Mercy was a good plan. A hundred more to go (give or take)  and maybe I will be at beginner status. This one is fumed with iodine only for 33 seconds to the first light golden yellow, exposed 10 seconds at f1.7 in 15 EV full sun outdoors. Developed over Hg at 100 Deg C for 10 minutes. For a the whole picture in a slightly enlarged view see here. Now I just need to figure out which of the problems to tackle first….

Mercury Pot Plate Holders

I’m still working on equipment to start making mercury developed daguerreotypes. Today I glued up the laser-cut acrylic plate holders for my mercury pot. These  holders sit between the dual darkslides and hold the plates during development One holds up to four sixth plates and the other holds up to four of my self-named 35 mm “mini-plates”. Each plate window has a fitted closure so the plate openings can be closed off if not needed. More blue tape engineering to keep them in place when used. A small gallery has a very few kind of hard to see photos.

Also this weekend I put into service a mercury vapor analyzer that I picked up on eBay. This will allow me to sample the air in my lab periodically to ensure that my fume hood is working properly. Safety first.