The Maximum Frustration Compressor is a real-time clock of the global warming index (GWI) connected to a Trompe-L’œil 3D print of an experimental cold fusion reactor.

On the image is a clock dial connected to a stepper motor. As long as the global warming index increases, the clock’s dial spins erratically. The dial is connected to an Arduino networked to a Raspberry Pi microprocessor connected to the web and a live clock giving data about the current amount of carbon in the earth’s atmosphere. 

The 3D modeled cold fusion reactor is connected to a post-nature branch and stone, which electronics and data have now occupied. An LCD monitor with a global warming index (GWI) reads out on the LCD monitor connected to the world wide web with white storm clouds composited in real-time moving by on display.

The display sits in a puddle of oil & water within an oil pan, and a mirror at the bottom of the pan projects an overhead spotlight back to the installation’s walls.

The word frustration in the title is that solar, wind, geothermal, and wave power already provide real solutions to many of our energy needs. We continue to follow dreams of free energy independence and supremacy with carbon extractivist policies of fracking, coal mining, and oil refining that continue to pollute our environments.

Still, fusion does offer hope, and China’s Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), also known as the Chinese Artificial Sun, sustained a nuclear fusion reaction for more than 17 minutes in Jan of 2022. The superheated plasma within the reactor reached 126 million degrees Fahrenheit, roughly five times hotter than the sun.

Maximum Frustration Compressor by Ken Rinaldo

Cold fusion is one of the cleanest energy sources available because it can replicate the sun’s physics through merging atomic nuclei while generating high energy outputs for electricity generation.

The 3D model of the cold fusion reactor without the CNC frame
The 3D model of the cold fusion reactor without the CNC frame

Given that we do not yet have any of these technologies yet implemented, though we have workable solutions today, such as solar and wind, this work offers frustration and hope simultaneously. It is important to note that humans have worked for 70 years to achieve cold fusion.

Web-connected spinning clock dial. As long as global warming is increasing, the dial spins erratically. Photo Ken Rinaldo

We are still working on cold fusion, though we have not yet achieved it. In contrast, we have workable solutions today; the clock hand will continue to spin erratically, emblematic of the erratic weather the earth is experiencing. If the dial on this 3D print stops spinning erratically, it is a sign that global warming is not increasing.

Regretfully, the dial is constantly spinning as the number continues to increase, given our global addiction to carbon-based energy extraction and burning.

Maximum Frustration Compressor by Ken Rinaldo. Photo Dan Shellenbarger

The dead branch also has lichen growing and continues to consume the energy supplied by the sun initially.

Post nature dead branch and stone-holding electronics to the Maximum Frustration Compressor. Photo and work by Ken Rinaldo


CAFA MUSEUM                                                                                                         Beijing, China,  April 3-May 2023
Eco Vision Plan Exhibition invites the Maximum Frustration Compressor curators Jing Siyang and Dean Song Xiewei of CAFA Beijing.

THE URBAN ART SPACE                                                                                               Columbus, Ohio Oct-Nov 2019
Faculty of the Department of Art exhibition showing the 3D animation of the Continuous War Train, the worldwide premiere of the Maximum Frustration Compressor & Automatist human and machine drawings.


CNC cut frame, 3D print, Arduino microcontrollers, Stepper motor, Raspberry Pi processor connected to the web, rock and stick, oil pan, and mirror.

Ken Rinaldo; concept, construction electronics
TradeMark Gunderson Raspberry Pi interfacing to web
Ty Pavia illustrator cut files for CNC
Nate Gorgon CNC milling of the frame
Amy Youngs video capture