Scratch-built "freedom press"

Artist Shawn HibmaCronan scratch-built this beautiful printing press for San Francisco International Airport's Terminal 2, working in steel, bamboo, oak, cork, and rope.

I cut the bamboo gears with a CNC router. A few of the steel parts -- namely the counter weight and head arms, as well as the FREEDOM text -- I waterjet cut from 3D SolidWorks files. (I like SolidWorks because it lets me run the gears and get the tolerances perfect.) The steel frame is made out of 3" I-beam that I cut and welded together in my studio. I had to buy a bigger saw and a nice welder for it.

This build was great. Problem solving and finessing things into place for months = happiness. One of the toughest things was keeping all of the components aligned, greased, and square with all of the welding I was doing. Welding and heat makes steel move and do weird things. There are so many tight tolerances and chunky pieces of steel that had to be spot on. It made for lots of fun moments with a big mallet.

The Press (Shawn HibmaCronan)

Building the Freedom Press (Craft)