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An abandoned Burning Man dog gets to turn the table - or sled. A bike powered sled pulled by people, and driven by a dog.
An abandoned Burning Man dog gets to turn the table - or sled. A bike powered sled pulled by people, and driven by a dog.
73 backers pledged $2,108 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$2,108

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So now I find myself building an art car, I mean sled, which rolls on wheels and is pulled by three bicycles and driven by a 4’ 10” tall, soft, toy dog with a mechanical right rear leg. For more details take a look at the video.

Why do this? Why not. As with all such whimsical projects the reasoning behind it is difficult to explain, and if it doesn’t strike you as justifiable by its sheer silliness and absurdity, then maybe this is not the project for you.

It wasn’t long after I found and named DOOP in the aftermath of Burning Man, 2009, that I knew he would be coming back to "the Burn" in the future, I just wasn’t sure when and in what form. For a while it looked as if he would be a camp dog, hanging out in hammocks and feigning some type of attitude (although quite what type was hard to imagine, which you would understand if you had met him back then – he was a rather pathetic pup).

I’m also not sure when I came up with the idea of having him drive a sled with people dragging him around, but it must have been while on the runners, staring at the rear ends of a team of dogs, on one of my annual winter sledding trips. It was probably at one of those points when, lost in the mesmerizing rhythm of fast dogs on fast snow, I am snapped back into reality by a dog glaring at me over its shoulder reminding me that we are now on a steady incline and it’s high time I jump off and help by pushing.

Who will pull the sled? Anyone who wants to jump on a bike and peddle. Using passing persons is actually a cost saving device as utilizing stray people means I don’t have to maintain a series of kennels, or a people yard, and at least for a short time it will keep them off the streets and out of trouble.

Why $1,972? This is the basic amount of cash needed to create the sled as envisioned – sled, bikes, miscellaneous hardware, lights, fire….. The sub frame needed to strengthen the sled and to which the wheels are attached is being made from off cuts of steel. As many recycled/upcycled/repurposed materials as possible are being used in this build, the most innovative “material” of which is DOOP himself.

Any additional money raised over and above $1,972 will be applied to the cost of transporting DOOP to and from events; he needs a trailer (rented, bought or built), as he has no desire to ride the sled from venue to venue, even if he could round up enough stray people willing to drag him around. Then there are other items not included in the basic build budget, such as spare parts, bike repair supplies, a battery charger, propane for the fire, contingency funds to cover overlooked details or unforeseen brilliant ideas and design updates, and so forth.

What else is DOOP good for? Besides just being fun and an enjoyable, interactive machine, it is also another opportunity for us – the ArtifexGroup – to create the second in our series of projects through which we cooperatively build art and teach other design and fabrication skills (the first project is our flagship – literally – the C.S. Tere who many of you will be familiar with). ArtifexGroup was founded on the idea that when people are given the right tools, materials, and education they can create a better world. We are a volunteer group of beginner to experienced Metal Artists who intend to help people with their individual art, as well as bring large and small collaborations to life. (www.artifexgroup.org).

In addition to Burning Man, I intend to take DOOP to other art and maker events to represent the work of ArtifexGroup, for example, the Bay Area edition of Maker Faire, which we have participated in for the last 2 years. Being a much smaller and more manageable size, he will be invaluable as a demonstration of our work and purpose. 

Why a sledding Pennant? Why are you using “sled” and not “sledge”? What does Scott of the Antarctic have to do with this anyway? All great questions which I intend to answer in the near future both here as updates and on DOOP’s section of the ArtifexGroup website.

So please, consider throwing DOOP a bone, so to speak. Even $1 would be a much appreciated treat. Take a treat for yourself from the rewards list to the right. Thanks.

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Fly the flag with a sticker featuring DOOP's personal sledding pennant and sent with lots of thanks.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    DOOP's personal sledding pennant in the form of an embroidered sew-on patch, also given with oodles of thanks.

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    23 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Your very own DOOP commemorative, brass, dog collar tag, hand stamped and complete with necklace chain - that way if you get lost folks will know who you belong to.

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    Limited 7 backers
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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    A little bag of DOOP treats; a sticker, an embroidered patch and a dog collar tag. A full set of basic DOOP ID items.

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    Limited 14 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A special edition, short sleeved cotton t-shirt, hand screen printed with a unique DOOP design. Great for sledding on a sunny day.

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    4 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    Another special edition item - a long-sleeved, cotton t-shirt screen printed with the DOOP pennant. Great for wearing when cleaning out the kennels on a cool day.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Dog's Day Dessert: Do you like handmade ice cream? Well, here is your chance to enjoy an abundance of the good stuff, all served in one very special bowl. Thanks to a generous gift from Eva Bernhard, owner and Ice Cream Queen of Cool Moon Ice Cream and official purveyor of handmade frozen stuff to the DOOP project, we can reward you with a "Dog Day's Dessert", a special version of her grandest sundae: 10 scoops, 5 sauces and as many spoons as you need - public and/or friends' participation required. This mountain of cool delight will be served in a limited edition, ceramic, bowl, emblazoned with the DOOP sledding pennant leaving you with a great brain freeze and a lovely, useful, souvenir "human bowl". This reward must be redeemed at the store in Portland. Details will be provided.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    A very special and unique reward - an individually made, fused glass pendant or small dish - your choice. Either item will feature the DOOP pennant encased within layers of glass, the top layer as clear as DOOP's favourite sledding conditions - ice.

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Funding period

- (21 days)