top of page

June 22nd, 2017.

It has been far too long since I last posted an update. Why? Because we have been building!

So, here is a fast summary of what we have been up to.

 - Lots of final designing and model making, for example the lanterns that are attached to the support legs for the canopy.


PtP = Puddletown Panorama
"the puller" = the tow vehicle that moves the PtP around during events
"the platform" = the PtP trailer
"the panorama" = the rotating drum that holds the five card viewers 
"a viewer" = one of the five stereo-card viewers in the panorama
Don't forget to check out our Gallery (under the More button above) for lots of photos of the PtP.

August 16th, 2018

Far too long since an update, my apologies. We've been busy with upgrading some of our lighting, adding bling to the side lanterns, and much more.

But first, a follow up to my last post. We were eventually accepted to exhibit at the Bay Area Maker Faire, but it was about three weeks before the event which was just too little time to gather enough crew, cash and ourselves to follow through. So we took my old kinetic vehicle of doom, DOOP (Dog Out Of Place) instead. Fun was had by all. We will apply again for next year, meanwhile we have been invited to take part in the Portland Mini Maker Faire, September 15th and 16th, so mark your calendars accordingly.  

However, before that looms Burning Man and the Puddletown's second adventure in the dust.

A big problem for us last year was the high heat and its impact on the 3d printed mechanisms that turn the cards in the viewers - they melted. Really. So over the winter I have been working on a metal replacement. This has not been easy;  using available gears, chain and other parts (found by one of the crew at an estate sale of the worldly goods of a machinist who worked for Tektronix), trying to design and fabricate a system that will fit and work inside the existing viewers (I can't afford to rebuild them), space so tight that even I have trouble getting my hands inside, not to mention short arms vs. deep boxes.  Anyway, the break through occurred two nights ago at about 12.30am. Check out the video - you may need to turn up your audio as it seems to load with the sound muted. Sorry for the vertical format - it does fit the subject matter however, and the big black zones either side. I am not a wiz when it comes to posting videos.

We head for the dust on Monday and the crew and I can't wait to once again bring a little stereographic magic to the creative wonderland that is Burning Man.

June 1st, 2018

Well, we were wait-listed for the Bay Area Maker Faire but with such limited funds, we couldn't afford to go out further on our skinny financial limb with the possibility of not being accepted after all. So we sat and waited, hoping for the best. By the time it came - they did accepted us eventually - it was only three weeks before the event and logistically we just couldn't pull it off at such short notice.  Better luck next year I hope.


Our epic fabrication skills were not totally absent from the Faire as we took Claire's other creation, DOOP (a mechanical dog that drives a real dogsled pulled by pairs of humans on bikes) for his fourth appearance at the Bay Area gathering where DOOP was awarded his third Editor's Choice blue Ribbon. 

Meanwhile, we have been invited to apply for the Portland Mini Maker Faire in September which we will definitely apply for. It will hopefully be the second attendance for the Puddletown.

Build season is heating up - literally and metaphorically - as Burning Man fast approaches.  Build pictures to come soon.  New viewer mechanisms, new bearings on the Panorama drum, new tires for Tiberius, new cards............and much more!

April 18th, 2018
As summer draws closer with each passing day, Claire and the crew have been working away on refurbishing the viewer boxes to make viewing smoother, and more playa resitant, than ever before!

In the foreground we have last year's card carriages. Unfortunately, the hardware that joined each slat proved not to be quite as sturdy as we'd hoped. In the background we have the nice, new, much stronger hardware that will give us much smoother and more durable performance in the days ahead.

Restoring the card mounts to ensure a tight, solid fit

Adding new, stronger hardware and strong canvas straps by hand to make sure visitors enjoy a smooth and trouble-free viewing experience!

January 16th, 2018.
A belated Happy New Year from the Puddletown crew!
As we continue to work on repairs and renovations, ready for the 2018 event season, we hope you will check out our new WISH LIST page (button above) and help us out with a donation of cash or materials. We are applying for some art grants and organizing fundraisers in the coming winter months to keep ourselves going.  New pictures coming soon, not to mention a new page of stereo-photos....yes, really!  As they say, its "under construction".
November 25th, 2017
Thanksgiving weekend
It's Portland, so it rained, but that didn't stop a bunch of the crew from coming over to Flat Rat Studios to start work on the winter refit of the Puddletown Panorama.
We managed to -
  • check that all was dry and in good shape under the covers
  • extracted one of the viewers so we can start designing improvements
  • got Tiberius (the row vehicle) off the trailer so we can start servicing his engine and rebuilding his slip cover (it was damaged coming back from Burning Man in September)
  • cook and eat a crew lunch that didn't involve leftover turkey!
The PtP buttoned up for the winter - we used the upper part of the canopy frame to form the support for a tarp.
Oh the fun we had!  For two days the PtP showed off stereo-photos of Portland taken by Cascade Stereoscopic Club members. We didn't count the number of folks that came to use the panorama, but it was hundreds.  Everyone loved it (despite a few mechanical problems - our first generation viewers were pretty worn out after such heavy use at Burning Man), and we had inquires from several people about bringing it to other events.  We even got a stamp of approval from a gang of puppets!
September 16th and 17th 2017.
Portland Mini Maker Faire, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
The PtP at the Portland Mini Maker Faire; we had lots of eager visitors and several took advantage of our ramp to access the platform.
We enjoyed showing stereo-photography to a very diverse crowd over the course of the weekend!
August 27th - September 4th, 2017.  Burning Man, Nevada.
After a couple of false starts, we pulled out of the Flat Rat Studios' yard on August 23rd and headed south to the dust. The following 14 days were filled with ironing out a few wrinkles, and fighting some frustrations related to the extreme heat this year (the temperatures coupled with the tension and loads on the viewer mechanisms caused the 3d printed pulley wheels to distort), but we remained functional for the entire event and achieved our goal of  bringing 21 years' of stereo-photography to the citizenry of Black Rock City. 
Setting up in the cool of the night.  
In line at the DMV (Dept. of Mutant Vehicles) for our night permit.
Daily maintenance.
Out and about!
August 18th, 2017.

Sorry for the silence, but we have been frantically getting the PtP finished in time for its debute at Burning Man. We leave for the dust in a couple of days, so this is a very fast update.

Basically, we did it!  As I type, the PtP is in the final stages of completion. I promise a HUGE update once we are back fro the desert. Meanwhile a HUGE thank you to all of you that have supported us in so many ways - financially, with your time, skills materials and general encouragement.

Claire and the Puddletown Crew.

July 24th, 2017.

.........more stuff is getting done!

We have already printed out about 300 cards, and now we have started to mount them ready for use (below, left).










The railing around the platform includes decorative lighting tucked under the railing edge.  The lighting is LED ribbons encased in a defusing sleeve and enclosed in copper - repurposed, 1/2 inch diameter copper pipe, to be exact.  Each length of pipe is drilled with two rows of holes to allow the light out. Here the pipe has just been drilled and is waiting to be de-burred (above, right).

July 18th, 2017

More progress. So much so, that I'll just give you a bullet point run down, plus a few photographs.

  • The box to hold the generator and a matching toolbox have been built and are being painted.

  • The skirts that will dress up the sides of the trailer have been cut, fitted, attachment holes drilled (in skirts and trailer frame) and they are in the process of being painted.

  • The design and method of fabrication of the dedication plaques on the lanterns (an IndieGoGo perk) have been figured out and the first one made - celebrating a dear friend and mentor, 3d pioneer and all round good egg, Ray "3D" Zone.

  • The lanterns are being made from brushed stainless steel and all the parts have been cut and they will be shaped and fabricated next week.

  • The decking for the trailer has been cleaned (it is salvaged lumber from a demolished patio) and given its first coat of stain - a dark, burgundy red.

  • The first of the card carrying belts that go inside the viewers has been made and will be test fitted this week. All the parts for the remaining four have been cut and are ready for assembly.

  • The receiving sleeves for the feet of the canopy frame have been welded in place and the canopy frame itself will be fabricated next week.

Some of the skirts and parts of the generator box drying in the Flat Rat yard, Portland, Oregon.

The first of the dedication plaques, seen here on the back of the mock up of the lanterns. We originally planned to make the lanterns in brass, but a donation of brushed stainless steel sheet came our way, so we put it to good use.  The parts are cut and await assembly.

The first of the belts that hold the cards inside the viewers, seen here under construction.  When finished, they will hold the stereocards a bit like a Rolodex.

The first of the canopy frame receiving sleeves. This will hold the foot of one of the vertical supports in place.

Perhaps our biggest news involves the Panorama Puller.  After much consideration of our financial, time and human resources, I made the decision to suspend the building of the original Puddletown Puller, probably until this winter.  In the meantime we still need to be able to move around, so we acquired a beaten up, bladeless, ride on lawn mower and we are in the process of rehabbing it to look like a Victorian stereo camera - really!


First job was to attach a tow hitch to it, which called for raising the seat and inserting a supporting frame in order to provide enough clearance to get the coupler on the trailer over the hitch ball.  This in turn resulted in a few other chassis alterations which are now complete. I've already made a mock up of the "bellows" which will hide the engine compartment and we have a design and fabrication plan for the front "lenses". The seat is about to be recovered and I have already made a little bling to dress up the center of the steering wheel. Watch this space.

The alternate Puller with its newly raised seat, adjusted clutch pedal  and hitch.

Bling for the Puller - the central steering wheel boss showing off the PtP initials in relief  copper work.

Last but not least, we have been frantically making cards and creating the Puddletown Panorama card library. More about that in an upcoming post.

....and that's not all we have been up to, but I think this is enough to give you some idea as to how busy we have been.


So, things are getting hectic. We will be launching our second IndieGoGo campaign in a few days, and I hope you will consider supporting us.  I promise we will try to post more updates as often as we can.

Claire and the Puddletown Pedlars.


June 25th, 2017

Here's video just in of the viewer prototype with its working mechanism. 3d printing is sooo useful.


June 22nd, 2017

It has been far too long since I posted an update about our progress. Why? Well, we have been busy doing all manner of things.  here is a brief summary of the big stuff.

  • The lanterns - I have decided to make changes to our original plans for gas lanterns attached to the support posts for the canopy.

We are now using oversize LED bulbs and going electric - at least for the time being. This is a much cheaper option,  allowing our tight budget to stretch a bit further.  They are designed to be easy to convert to gas in the future if we decide to add some flame.  Another cost saving step is to use stainless steel for te reflectors instead of brass. These are going to look really sharp.

  • The railings - The railings around the platform have been fabricated and are now in place (below, left). We raised their height, compared to the model, to eliminate them as a trip hazard.

  • Access ramp - Above right, you can see the basic frame for the access ramp. The holes will be filled in so no one breaks an ankle. It folds along its length for easy stowing under the trailer deck between venues.

  • The viewers and the Panorama - the support boards for the cards have all been cut, thanks to the good folks at The Generator, Reno, Nevada, who gave us some time on their laser cutter (right).  Having a support like this behind each card allows us to mount our images on slightly thinner card stock, which is cheaper and easier to cut. Backboards are not typical in the construction of Victorian card viewers which relied on the stiffness of the cards to support themselves. Julien, who is fabricating the viewers has  3D printed the mechanism for turning the card belt and I hope to post a video of that very soon.

  • The Puller - This is one of my favourite photographs; the chalked outline of the puller, drawn around the engine, on the floor of the metal shop. This part of the project is proving to be a bigger challenge than expected, but we love a challenge.

More soon,
Claire and the Puddletown Pedlars
May 2nd, 2017


Our basic flatbed trailer, which will be the base on which we build the Puddletown Panorama, will be ready for pick up this weekend!  It is being fabricated by M.S. Metal Works ( located about an hour south of Portland.  We can't wait to get our hands on it. Thanks, Mike!
April 24th, 2017.
Indiegogo Perks Report
The last of the manufactured perks have arrived - the enamel mugs, hoodies and patches - have arrived and will be sent out by the end of next week. All that will be left to create will be the sets of stereocards and our Guide To Free-Viewing postcard. They will be done by early next month at which point we will be able to officially fully thank all of our supporters.  
If you missed our Indiegogo campaign but would like to support us, please go to the DONATE button above, and we will happily accept your contribution.
You can still see how the Indiegogo campaign unfolded by visiting the campaign page at

I took on the arduous task of testing the new Puddletown enamel mugs - they work.

April 30th, 2017
Yay, for animation!
Julien, has been helping me by producing measured drawings for the design and now prototype production of the viewers and the Panorama itself. It was his work that helped my build the 1:1 prototype seen in the April 13th update, below.  This week he put together this nifty GIF showing how the viewers will slide in and out of the Panorama when we need to change the cards and do any other maintenance.
April 13th, 2017

The latest updates.
In the last few weeks we've made some great progress. Heath and Adam took on the task of getting a 750cc engine out of a 1987 Honda to use for the puller, chosen because it's got the power we need and has a chain drive so it can be geared down as needed. It was a bit tricky, but they got the job done. Next step is to start designing the puller to fit the engine.

In other news, Claire has made a 1:1 scale prototype of one of the five viewers that will be mounted on the rotating platform that forms the Panorama. Being able to rotate will mean visitors can enjoy multiple image selections without leaving their seat.

January 18th, 2017


What's been done so far?

Well, we are still at the beginning of this project, developing the idea, designing bits and pieces, and of course sorting out our needs and a budget. The launch of the main build will start as soon as we raise some seed money to buy materials and get the main Puller frame fabricated.  In mid to late February we will be launching the first of two planned crowd funding campaigns, so watch out for news on that front.


In the meantime, I have built a scale model of the entire PtP - a fun as well as very useful undertaking. I've started to build a prototype of the card viewers - I'll post some photos when I get a chance.


The build crew have been a huge help with getting parts of the budget worked out for our Burning Man Art Grant Honorarium proposal, as well as coming up with some fantastic ideas to make parts of the PtP look and work better.  A big one for me - one of our crew got the foundation work of this website done so that I can start to fill it in. Thank you, Sarah!

Our Honorarium proposal is due on January 31st, so until then most of our efforts will be focused on its completion.  After which I have to disappear for a couple of weeks on a job so I can pay my bills. However, I will be working on setting up that first crowdfunding campaign while I am away, so we can launch it on my return.

More soon,


bottom of page