Dead Nuts: a search for the ultimate machined object

July 27 – December 1, 2019
Member Preview Night – Friday, July 26, 2019

The machinist is among the most exacting craftsmen. It is the resourcefulness, ingenuity and skill of the machinist that creates the critical parts that allow an idea to become a reality. At the extreme confluence of precision, accuracy, invention and design, there are objects that continue to inspire these makers because they represent the finest work and the purest forms.

This exhibition will present objects that makers and enthusiasts themselves have proposed as “the ultimate machined object”. Posed as a question in 2009 to an online forum called Practical Machinist, over a period of several months, a small community debated “What is the ultimate machine object/mechanism?” They proposed their favorites in an ongoing conversation of posts and responses.

Some objects represent the primal building blocks of mechanization: the wheel, the lever, the screw. Others are examples of tremendous complication: a Linotype machine, an aircraft engine, a microprocessor. Between these extremes are seemingly humble objects that belie their sophistication but have revolutionized the world. Our global standard of living is built upon these technologies; this exhibition attempts to elucidate what is so special about these objects and why they were proposed as the ultimate machined object/mechanism.

Guest Curator: David Cole


MCD Machinist Bar presented by Center Hardware: During the run of the exhibition, MCD’s John and Robyn Horn MakeArt Lab will be open for visitors to explore materials and design their own machines with supplies and tools provided by Center Hardware. Learn more about hours, related events, materials and see visitor’s creations here.
The MCD Machinist Bar is free with admission. Children under 12 require adult supervision. Materials include small parts not suitable for small children. Activities for younger kids also provided. Open during business hours, excluding meetings and rentals.

MCDDead Nuts: a search for the ultimate machined object
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