stuff I’ve built

Monday, June 6th, 2016

3D printed Hunters Point gantry crane & Sutro Tower

This is the Hunters Point gantry crane in San Francisco. It’s the largest gantry crane in the world and was decommissioned in the early 70s. It’s visible from most of the bay, but most people aren’t aware of its size and don’t notice the 8,400 ton behemoth looming over the water. At 209 feet high, the crane’s runway is a hair shorter than the Golden Gate Bridge’s roadway. The largest cranes in the port of Oakland are only 240 feet high and much smaller in comparison.

The gantry crane is 730 feet long– a bit longer than the AT&T ballpark where the Giants play, or a little more than three 747 aircraft long, if you prefer to measure things in airplanes. It’s taller than the Statue of Liberty and weighs as much as the Eiffel Tower. In short, it’s a very large hunk of metal.

The crane was built in 1947 to swap gun turrets on ships and can lift a million pounds. In 1959 the tower on top was added for Operation Skycatch, a program for testing missiles. Polaris missiles were fired from below and arresting cables strung up through the tower would catch the dummy warheads in flight before lowering them down for testing.

This project began with the goal to design and 3D print a 1:1000 scale model. I’ve since printed models in a variety of sizes and materials, as well as modeling the Sutro Tower in the same manner. Pictured are prints from 3-12 inches, in plastics, steel, nickel plating, brass and bronze.

Printed models are available for purchase through my Shapeways store.

For more information about the crane and for a lot of old photos, hit up

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Neighborhood Bookshelf

After giving a newspaper stand a makeover and some wooden shelves it was installed on a San Francisco corner in order to test the viability of a free, non-curated, book exchange. Ideally, it remains cared for and in use, and like a community garden, fosters a sense of ownership and consideration,  reminding the anonymous city dweller that they live in a community with neighbors.


The box has been going strong for four years now with no help from me. People in the community have repainted it after it was vandalized and have installed replacement shelving. It’s worse for wear, but remains surprisingly cared for, used and resilient.

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

Forever Stamp

A pen, pre-stamped envelopes, blank Mother’s Day cards, and small, glossy pictures of flowers. That was the inventory of each kiosk that we made, which we then installed on the San Francisco streets– each one placed next to a USPS mail box. Reminders of the price (“Free!”) and to, “Wish your Mom a happy Mother’s Day,” were liberally strewn about each box. [With David Harmatz]

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011


Tiny doors installed into the recesses and alleys, meant to arouse a sense of wonder and mystery and to heighten the awareness of passersby, so they might examine their surroundings a little more intently. The doors were made by me, my friends, and by artists around the country, including an entire sculpture class at Yale, courtesy of their professor and my friend, Scott Braun.

All content © Copyright 2021 by Jeff Waldman.
Subscribe to RSS Feed – Posts or just Comments

WordPress Themes by Graph Paper Press