Christmas, Birthday, etc

It’s not that I’m not materialistic or a complete stoic.  It’s just that my interests are so simple, narrow, and specific there just isn’t a whole lot I require out of life.  But for other happy and fortunate life complications1 I’d live in a studio apartment almost completely devoid of furniture except for a futon, small table, one (perhaps two) and book shelf.  Give me a library card and a laptop and I’ll show you a content man.  For example – one of my hobbies is origami.  Which boils down to basically a lot of paper. 2

While this means I’m easily content, it means those family and friends are frustrated at the thought of having to find me a gift. 3  So, for basically the first time ever I’ve put together a wish list with stuff I would love to get (in rough order):

  1. aka family []
  2. A hobby which, hundreds of years ago could only be practiced by those precious few who had access to a luxury such as paper, can now be practiced by anyone in reach of a paper recycling bin. []
  3. 500 sheets of A4 bright white multipurpose paper???  Score! []
  4. Since I have none of the equipment or skills to perform SMT soldering []
  5. Someone mentioned the modular thermistor set ups don’t detect temperatures properly – about 10 degrees too low?! Update:  Rick of MakerGear clarifies this was the result of a ring terminal mounted thermistor.  His modular thermistor kit pictured at the bottom of the this page shows that this kit allows you to make the entire thermistor attachment far more modular by covering it’s terminals in PTFE sleeves and then adding a connector.  This only makes me want this kit more.  Thanks Rick! []
  6. Preferably one with George Plimpton’s face []
  7. That’s a Simpson’s reference, FYI []

PTFE versus PEEK thermal insulating barrier

How do you choose whether to use a PEEK or PTFE barrier?  Well, I asked the benefits of using PEEK over PTFE thermal insulating barriers in an extruder assembly and Nate True gave a fantastic summary:

PEEK is more rigid and won’t bow out and leak everywhere with ABS. It would be better for PLA except that PLA likes to stick to everything. So PTFE (being not sticky) is preferable for PLA. ABS is very slippery by comparison so PEEK is more than adequate for it.


I’m still rockin’ my black ABS coil, so I’ll probably have to add a PEEK barrier to my MakerBot wish list.1

  1. The bit about BBQ is a joke about the over-use of acronyms. []
March 30, 2010 | Comments Closed

Well, there’s your problem

I’ve been fiddling with settings on my MakerBot for the last week or so trying to improve print quality.  Skeinforge setting this, Skeinforge setting that.  Up, down, left, right, set it to pi, increase the print temperature, decrease the raft radius, adjust the feedrate speed.  Unfortunately, all I managed to do was decrease print quality.  Over the last two days I noticed the filament was coming out fairly slowly and today I noticed I kept stripping the filament.

Well, it’s because ABS oozed down the barrel threads and around the nut.  Yay.  Time to break out the blow torch, eh?

In disassembling (mostly) the extruder I found:

  1. Plastic down the threads of the barrel
  2. Plastic that had oozed onto the nut below the barrier
  3. Plastic still stuck inside the barrel itself
  4. A plastic plug inside the PTFE barrier and a slight bulge to the barrier

Plastic on the threads is not a huge deal, but not trial either – it mostly peeled off in spirals.  Plastic on the nut is not a big deal – I pulled that off with some needle nose pliers.  Plastic inside the barrel can be drilled out using my drill bit and rubber band trick.1

Plastic inside the PTFE barrier…  well, now, that’s a different animal.  I’ve succeeded once in rescuing my PTFE barrier from PLA oozing down the threads, but in that case there wasn’t a plastic plug inside the PTFE.  The problem with a plastic plug inside the barrel is that I can’t really drill it out.  If I try to drill it out from the top, I’ll probably still leave a bit of plastic where the barrier meets the barrel.  If I try to drill from up from the bottom, I stand a good chance of ruining the part where the PTFE meets the barrel – creating a small gap where plastic can get stuck.

Thus, I think I will drill out the barrel and slap in a new PTFE barrier.  Since I have this old (ruined?) one lying around, I have sliced off about a 2mm wafer to use as a washer on my next heater assembly. Using a small hacksaw blade did the trick – even if it left me with a relatively uneven slice.

While I’ve been putting off buying additional parts for my MakerBot, I think it’s time to invest in some new bits.  I’m liking the MakerGear modular thermistor kit ($5), MakerGear modular heater core ($15), MakerBot heated build platform ($42), MakerBot SMT Soldering Toolkit ($50), and a hotplate.2

  1. Think of it as a poor man’s precision vise. []
  2. Cue George Plimpton: “And a hotplate!” []

Significantly less disgusting than friendship bread

So-called “friendship bread” is a ball of dough you cultivate, add ingredients, split off some of the dough, give away some of the dough, make bread, and keep a little bit around to cultivate for the next batch.  Whoever gets some of the dough then does the same.  I guess the idea is there is some sort of continuity between all these loaves of bread everywhere though (oh dear god forgive me for saying this) time and space.1

Whenever I think about friendship bread I throw up a little bit in my mouth.

What I find far more interesting…  is the idea that someone could have a RepRap where every plastic part came from a different machine.

  1. I don’t profess to be an expert on friendship bread.  I could have some of the finer points wrong. []

RepRap – The Movie

I can just see the movie trailer now…  Picture a team of scientists in full body biohazard suits commenting on the development of the Mendel after the Darwin.

  • Dr. Buxom: “But, professor…  it’s mutated.  I’ve never seen anything like it.”
  • Professor McSternly: <grimly >”I have.”
  • Dr. Buxom: <now breathless> “Professor!  This is amazing!  Where?!”
  • Professor McSternly: “And you have too.” <stabs at a minority report style globe/map of the world>
  • Dr. Buxom: <puzzled> “I don’t understand…  North Africa?”
  • Professor McSternly: “Not just North Africa…”  <looks into camera>  “Egypt.” <cue music BUM BUM BUM!  Takes off glasses.>  “The pyramids.”  <BUM BUM BUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!>

Oh jeez…  Did I just write the first RepRap fanfic?

March 26, 2010 | Comments Closed

Take two of these and call me in the morning

There’s now both a RepRapMap and a MakerBot Map.  In a very small way the MakerBot Map is slightly more interesting.  Since each MakerBot is numbered and we can check the numbers against the batch numbers, it’s possible to get a rough idea of the growth of this type of RepStrap.

Now, if both maps had each ‘bot labeled with it’s date of first operation (date of birth?) we could watch the viral progression of the project. 1  Or, would it be more interesting to see the date a RepStrap first made a set of RepRap parts?

Either way…  infectious ideas defy innoculation!!!

  1. The NY Times had a really great Outbreak style map that you could push back and forth through time, but I can’t find it right now. []

If wishes were fishes…

…we’d all cast nets.

There certainly seems to be enough people wishing for RepRap/RepStrap parts.  RepRap forums, MakerBot Facebook  page, and various other forums/pages have a lot of posts from people asking for RepRap parts or expressing a desire for the fundage for parts or kits or promising some sort of exchange of goods (at least one offer of “services”) for parts/kits.

I wonder how many people out there want a set of Mendel parts.  I also wonder how many people out there want sets of electronics.  Now I wonder just how many RepStraps there would be in the world today if everyone who wanted one had one…

March 25, 2010 | Comments Closed

Seems like only yesterday

While searching up a link to the eD’s first sketch for the Mendel I realized that post is about a year and a half old.  That made me wonder how long I’ve been interested in the RepRap projected.  I first read about it in a SlashDot article back in April 2008.  I remember thinking that a DIY level 3d printer was just a fantasy.

Now, I’ve got one sitting in the next room and objected printed with it all throughout my home.  (Several window latches, a sugar packet holder, various little toys, etc).

What’s even funnier is realizing that I’ve been boring my friends and family with RepRap talk for more than a year and a half as I enthusiastically gushed about the possibilities of printing ANYTHING on a homemade printer than can make copies of itself.

RepRaps in the wild

When I hear about Darwins, Mendels, and Makerbots “in the wild,” I always picture these robots as if they were deer roaming about on the plains, carefree, feeding and migrating with the changes in seasons.  Frolicking in the sun, relaxing next to a lagoon, and hunting for roots and grubs.

Then I think about them in a “RepRaps Gone Wild” video – partying on a yacht, heedless to the shame they will heap upon their families and the permanence of digital media. 1

  1. Oh my god…  it’s, it’s, it’s…  replicating… right there in the street…  Ew…  It’s so horrible I can’t look away! []