Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
Starprobe by DonSimpson Starprobe by DonSimpson
Full-size plastic model of a space probe of extraterrestrial origin. Part of an exhibit I designed for the Life in the Universe hall at the National Air And Space Museum. (The other part of the exhibit can be seen on page 199 of a book titled "The Smithsonian Experience", in a photo called "Message pod from a space creature". I'm working on getting a good photo of that to upload.) The flat red & grey disk is about two feet across, and was designed to rotate (though it was not displayed rotating).

I did all the design and construction work myself, with assistance from Jack Hawley (who was my boss at the time, so I was his assistant in his job, which was Inventor For Hire). The larger pieces were vacuformed, plug molded, or machined; many smaller ones were stamped out with a punch press and dies. It was very nice to have all the resources of Jack's electronic and mechanical prototyping shop available. I miss that.
Add a Comment:
 

Daily Deviation

Given 2007-11-22
Starprobe by *DonSimpson. This professional, interesting statue/model really caught my attention. It has beautiful design, and while immediately recognizable as a spaceship, features unique, fresh elements. ( Suggested by bananaprincess and Featured by fourteenthstar )
:iconou8nrtist2:
ou8nrtist2 Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2015  Professional
How cool!
Reply
:iconbear48:
bear48 Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Professional
cool
Reply
:iconglunac:
glunac Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013   General Artist
featured [link]
Reply
:icondonsimpson:
DonSimpson Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013
Thank you. :)
Reply
:icontenskies:
TenSkies Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2012  Student General Artist
again, surprisingly organic and believable... great job!! :)
Reply
:icondonsimpson:
DonSimpson Featured By Owner May 1, 2012
Thank you. :) The organic look here is supposedly due to the aliens' construction method (zero-gravity field-constrained casting), which I simulated with plug molding and vacuum forming. But actually, I just like organic shapes.
Reply
:iconnicholasmcrae:
NicholasMcRae Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2012  Professional General Artist
This is a very cool model. Are there lights inside it?
Reply
:icondonsimpson:
DonSimpson Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2012
No lights. It was equipped with a motor and rollers so that the large disk could rotate, but the museum people didn't connect that part. They did ask why it didn't have lights, but if they wanted lights they should have requested them.
Reply
:iconclatu:
clatu Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2011
as concerns the Starprobe i can only conclude that a booklet on its design would please a lot of star trek fans as it is far more interesting in its design than the Enterprise. the original probe and Entity would be a welcome sight once again at the smithsonianas as it was in the early 1970 exhibit.
Reply
:icondonsimpson:
DonSimpson Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011
There are entire sets of blueprints of various versions of the Enterprise, and I think why Star Trek fans like them is that they are part of an entire fictional universe that they enjoy, rather than wonderful design values.

I should try to see what has become of the Starprobe, but I keep getting distracted by things I feel are more urgent.
Reply
:iconclatu:
clatu Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2011
...one of the very best exhibits ever. !! the smithsonian should be delighted to have a professionally built model ..one that has captured the imagination not only when first exhibited.. but to this day some 30 plus years later. created, no question, by a master craftsman and a dedicated artisan. sadly, this model has never been reproduced to the dissapointment of avid collectors .let us hope this becomes a reality while mr. simpson is still with us.
Reply
:icondonsimpson:
DonSimpson Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2011
So, Bill, did you join deviantART just to comment on Starprobe?
Reply
:iconclatu:
clatu Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011
hello Don; fact is, it WAS an opportunity as i have never seen the starprobe on my old 6500 Mac.i was given an Imac (free) & have viewed hundreds of objects never seen before. also, i have utube & SOUND! HOPE YOU ARE WELL & my comment on the probe is sincere. also , your sub-repair vehicle is quite interesting.hope you find time to turn out the " booklet" on the probe.
Reply
:icondonsimpson:
DonSimpson Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2011
I have an older iMac myself, so videos are often jittery, but I can call my friends on Skype. I'm recovering from flu and undergoing dentistry, but am reasonably well. I don't doubt your sincerity, and I, too, hope I find time for that booklet.... :)
Reply
:iconsarkazum:
Sarkazum Featured By Owner May 25, 2011
This is excellent m8, Freaky aswell, cos a done sumthin similar to this last year and named it alien probe.
Reply
:icondonsimpson:
DonSimpson Featured By Owner May 25, 2011
Thank you. While this is my design, I didn't think up the idea, which was inspired by actual human space probes.
Reply
:iconsarkazum:
Sarkazum Featured By Owner May 25, 2011
Alien pod sry
Reply
:iconamoebabloke:
amoebabloke Featured By Owner May 8, 2011
cool !
very well executed. i like the fact it has operating features, it must have been nice to have access to that facillity.
its easy enough to hack existing mechanisms from toys and junk,, but the quality of such bodgery is variable.
i find even sticking led's in things an absolute drag, but its what people have come to expect now days.
Reply
:icondonsimpson:
DonSimpson Featured By Owner May 8, 2011
I think someone at the Air and Space Museum asked me about having lights in the Starprobe, but I didn't see any functional use for them (maybe as a beacon to be located by, but that's arguable). I do like LED blinkies, but they are indeed in everything these days, and it's getting harder to use them without it being a boring cliche.

Decades ago, before LEDs, there was an artist named Milton Kommissar who did fantastic light sculptures with hundreds of tiny programmed incandescent bulbs (sometimes with clusters of three colors so he could produce any color or intensity of light) that made moving 3D patterns and shapes of light. His control system was a custom box that took commands from an Apple ][ computer he programmed in a computer language called Forth [link] (which is also my own favorite computer language). His works were awesome and visually compelling, but he is pretty much unknown today. I could go on for some time about art forms that use emitted light, but I won't....
Reply
:iconamoebabloke:
amoebabloke Featured By Owner May 10, 2011
milton sounds like my kind of guy !
i was part of a multimedia art collective for years we used sound, lighting effects and pyrotechnics a lot in our work, often these were site specific installations, so ive spent many hours cobbling together bits of wire bulbs and batteries for some effect or other.
we had a guy on the team who could design and build just about anything electronic, timers, faders, amplifiers, sequencers, you name it.

also i have a book somewhere entitled "kinetic art" published in the late sixties,
a compilation of clever contraptions full of wires cams motors magnets and good old fashioned light bulbs.

every piece in it is described in minute detail with diagrams and photos.
the old fashioned approach to lighting is far more interesting and i much prefer the light emitted by incandescents, over florescent lights and leds.

thanks for the reply i have been checking out some of your other work, very different to this also very cool indeed.

Reply
:icondonsimpson:
DonSimpson Featured By Owner May 10, 2011
OK, inspired by this conversation, I went to KALA Art Institute, where I saw an installation of Milton's work back in the early '80s. The first thing I found out was that I had his last name wrong; it's spelled "Komisar". He went on to LEDs and more advanced controllers, and programming other artists' light control systems, and is still around (age 76), though doing "other things" now. I'll see if I can get in touch with him. [link] [link] [link]

There is a local art collective called YLEM that I run into from time to time. One member was a woman who knitted EL-wire sculptures. I was a member for a while, but didn't really earn my membership.

I have a book titled "Kinetic Art: Theory and Practice", copyright 1974, that fits that description, though I did some of my own (very simple) light works before getting the book. I was working with an electronic engineer and costumer named Gary Anderson (he once did a concealable backpack Tesla coil so that he could shoot lightning bolts between thumb and forefinger as part of a costume), but he died of brain cancer and I had a lot of financial problems, and I eventually gave up on doing things like Milton was doing.
Reply
:iconamoebabloke:
amoebabloke Featured By Owner May 12, 2011
i was nothing more than a rigger/fabricator sometimes performer with my group but i had some sort of involvement with them for nearly ten years, i miss the use of the studio space and the creative company, there was always something interesting going on.
the driving force behind the group, called Blisbody by the way, was guy called Mark Anderson he is still working as an artist and is gaining quite an international reputation, the last time we spoke he had been working on something in the US.
his work encompasses a lot of the things we have talked about, definitley one to keep an eye out for if you like this sort of thing.

funds are hard to come by for the arts here in England it is desperately hard to make any kind of living from it, our work was often noisy edgy and quite dangerous, not in SRL territory you understand, but never very popular with the mainstream establishment.

i would love to be able to do this kind of thing again but i have neither the talent or the drive to make it happen.

thanks for the links genuinely interesting stuff, all the best.
Reply
:icondonsimpson:
DonSimpson Featured By Owner May 12, 2011
Well, I think you're doing some neat stuff. Best wishes, whatever you do. :)
Reply
:iconcephalopod78:
Cephalopod78 Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2010
Don, that is amazing and quite a flashback for me as I had that book in my younger days and remember the spacecraft thinking that's what I want to do someday, build models !
Reply
:icondonsimpson:
DonSimpson Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2010
And here you are, building models. :) Good stuff, too.
Reply
:iconcephalopod78:
Cephalopod78 Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2010
Well you inspired me! I always thought that the little greeblies inside the glass bubbles were the coolest!!!
Reply
:icondonsimpson:
DonSimpson Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2010
Those were fun to do. My bin boxes of greeblies are actually labeled "greeblies 1" and so on.
Shared cultural heritage. :)
Reply
:iconcephalopod78:
Cephalopod78 Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2010
Absolutely. Thank You!
Reply
:iconpeteamachree:
PeteAmachree Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2010  Professional Filmographer
so cool
Reply
:icondonsimpson:
DonSimpson Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2010
Thank you. :)
Reply
:iconmuzungumbaya:
MuzunguMbaya Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I love the retro look. It feels like it floated right out of the Bioshock games.
Reply
:icondonsimpson:
DonSimpson Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2010
I was trying for an organo-tecnic, stuff-flowing-into-other-stuff look. But my love of Art Deco, and of old machines, creeps in.... :)
Reply
:iconanimallover1990:
animallover1990 Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
that would be an awsome submersable and space ship
Reply
:iconnirkramer:
NirKramer Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
Amazing!
Reply
:icondonsimpson:
DonSimpson Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
Thank you. :)
Reply
:iconkalicothekat:
kalicothekat Featured By Owner May 30, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
Love it! The design is so sleek and smooth and futuristic, and yet the browns and reds give it an organic feel! Awesome work!
Reply
:icondonsimpson:
DonSimpson Featured By Owner May 30, 2008
Yhank you. :) :) :)
Reply
:iconang3ll:
ang3ll Featured By Owner Feb 29, 2008
that look wo seet eyes to me o.O
Awesome work in this piece!
Reply
:icondonsimpson:
DonSimpson Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2008
The three little domes are indeed meant to look somewhat eyelike, like the three eyes of the creatures that made the starprobe....
Reply
:iconamykollaranderson:
AmyKollarAnderson Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2007
Sweet piece! If you haven't seen her work, you should check out Lee Bontecou. Her retrospective catalog is AMAZING!
Reply
:icondonsimpson:
DonSimpson Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2007
Thank you. :)

I am familar with Lee Bontecou's work, and like it very much. If I had a good picture of the underside of the Starprobe, you might find it somewhat Bontecou-like.
Reply
:iconalisea:
Alisea Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
this is simply awesome..

it reminds me a bit of Moya from Farscape.
Reply
:icondonsimpson:
DonSimpson Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2007
Thank you. I'm a Farscape fan, This was done long before Farscape, though.
Reply
:iconvongolgoth:
vonGolgoth Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
From the thumbnail I thought this was that mutated fish from the Simpsons. You know, the yellow one with three eyes? ...except its black and red here...
Reply
:iconjevinart:
jevinart Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2007
wow! that's pretty cool. i knew a guy back in the 80's who was making a spaceship about 6 feet long in one of the bedrooms-turned-studio in his apartment. love the concept and execution.
Reply
:icondonsimpson:
DonSimpson Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2007
I knew a guy like that, too. His name was Joel Hagen, and besides the spaceship (which he made a fitted travel box for), he did some amazing ceramic skulls of alien creatures.
Reply
:iconjevinart:
jevinart Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2007
sound very cool!!! your work, tho, trumps all.
Reply
:iconmiuco:
Miuco Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2007
I was going to say that this reminds me of "Batteries Not Included!", but someone already said that. :)

Good job.
Reply
:icondonsimpson:
DonSimpson Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2007
Several other people said that, but if it's true, it's true. :)
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×
Download JPG 892 × 559




Details

Submitted on
November 15, 2006
Image Size
330 KB
Resolution
892×559
Thumb

Stats

Views
8,806
Favourites
225 (who?)
Comments
110
Downloads
96
×