Poll dancing

96% of people polled want MakerBot to hire me to blog for them.  4% hate me and would rather have a sharp poke in the eye than read another word I’ve written.  Oh well, you can’t live your life without controversy.

I’m leaving this poll open until MakerBot hires me, so we should all just get used to it.  :)

Google Maps – a stalker’s best friend

It gets cold in NY at night

It gets cold in NY at night

Ah, Google, you always know how to build an online tool that straddles the line between helpful and creepy.  Streetview plus Google Maps?  You are truly mana from heaven for stalkers.1

So.  It gets kinda cold outside at night.  I forgot to bring a sleeping bag, so I’ll just crouch down into a little ball, huddled over this laptop for light and warmth. 2  That Penke truck has moved since the Google van took that picture, so there’s not much of a wind break.

You guys going to let blog for you, or what?

Could I at least get a tour of the BotCave?

  1. Not that I know anything about stalkers.  Because I don’t. []
  2. A modern day hobo-caveman.  Robo-caveman?  Scrawling my dreams on the internet walls. []
August 28, 2010 | Comments Closed

Counter proposal for MakerBot Industries

Sometimes you just need to turn a problem on it’s head.  I see that’s it been over a week since I submitted my job application1

So, here’s my counter proposal – I will continue to blog incessantly UNTIL you hire me!  Ha – and you thought it was going to be irritating to have me camp out outside, not showering, and stinking up the joint.2 Just wait until I clog up the RSS feed with every bit of nonsense I can dream up. 3

  1. That’s right, I stayed up until 1:27am on Wednesday morning writing it, overslept, and was late to a meeting the following morning…  Worth every moment. []
  2. You see, I’m not above harrassment. []
  3. For those astute readers, you’ll notice I actually added a new category to this blog.  Some posts are now categorized as “Random nonsense.” []
August 27, 2010 | Comments Closed

DIY laser cutting

Peter Jansen's reciprocating laser concept

Peter Jansen's reciprocating laser concept

Peter Jansen’s latest post about selective laser sintering (SLS) is nothing short of amazing.  Most of his posts on the RepRap Builders blog posts deal with his adventures and research into SLS fabrication – basically directing a laser over a bed of powder to fuse powder in successive layers into a 3D object.  Since the object is being created in a bed of powder and any new layer is supported by the powder above it, the powder print media becomes it’s own support material.

His latest post diverges from his adventures with SLS 3D printing and details his efforts at building a DIY laser cutter.  His idea is for a “reciprocating laser” which would change the focal length or the height of the laser above the material being cut.  Peter points out that commercial high power laser cutters essentially brute force burn through the entire depth of the material to be cut.  They’re so powerful that it doesn’t matter that the laser is out of focus and “cooler” at different depths.

He has demonstrated a proof of concept using much lower power laser to cut material by lowering a much lower power laser as it cuts material.  The downside is that the lower power laser requires a much longer time to burn through the material – having to hit the same area several times at different depths to cut all the way through.  His proof of concept setup was about the size of a CD/DVD drive – since CD/DVD drives, motors, and housing provided most of his building materials.  So far he’s been able to burn through most of two CD case backs – about 2mm together.  He’s hoping to push it to cut thicknesses up to 3.0mm to 4.5mm.

The incredibly small size of his setup means that it can only very small pieces of material.  However, this gave me two ideas:

  1. If the low power lasers are so cheap, why not install multiple lasers at different focal lengths?
  2. If the entire setup is that small, what about making the entire setup mobile? 1  Think hexapod CNC mill.  If a laser cutter wheeled or hexapod robot was as small as a CD drive, you could conceivably just take out a large sheet of acrylic or thin plywood, set the robot in the dead center, and let it go. 2
  1. This reminds me of one of my favorite sayings.  “If Mohammed won’t go to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mohammed.” []
  2. The robot could stay oriented in any number of ways.  You could draw a grid on the material, the material could have a thin paper coating with LeapFrog style micro-dots that told the robot it’s location, you could project a grid onto the material with light or guide it with another laser like a laser guided missile. []

Note to self, too

The Mummy Box Set - and detail of box

1. The Mummy Box Set - and detail of box

One of my favorite movies is The Mummy, and the coolest prop in the movie is a hexagonal puzzle box. When I get a chance, I’d like to design this object too. Here are some photos and informative links I’ve found:

  1. The cover of the Mummy Box DVD Set.
  2. What appears to be a homebrew prop replica.
  3. What appears to be an actual movie prop.

Sure, it’s frivolous.  However, I like the design challenge inherent in replicating this prop, getting the pieces to fit, perhaps even getting it to spring/pop open.

Home brew prep replica

2. Home brew prep replica

Mummy Puzzle Box Stats
Measurement of height 6-7/18″
Measurement from front to back 3-3/4″
Measurement of width, all sides 2-3/4″
Measurement of width, corner to corner 2-3/4″
Measurement of height 1-1/2″
Measurement of width, from base 5″
Measurement of all links 1-1/4″
Color Antique Gold
Other design details Top shows Seti I’s Horus name (men-maat-re), flanked by Anubis on the left and a male figure on the right, separated by vertical lines. Sides are inscribed with haphazard hieroglyphs including “Son of Re” and “Amen-Re.”
Puzzle Box - full picture

3. Puzzle Box - full picture

Puzzle Box close up

3. Puzzle Box - close up

3. Puzzle Box - side view

3. Puzzle Box - side view

Why doesn’t MakerBot carry PLA any more?

I just noticed they don’t have this any more.  It seems like it’s a popular choice and people1 are able to get it to print well.  The odd thing is that their store doesn’t say they’re out of stock, it doesn’t list this any more.

What’s up with that?

  1. who aren’t me []