What kind of crayon molds would you like to see?

I like the idea of making a crayon mold with my MakerBot.  I even have a draft design sitting on my hard drive.  However, what’s a good shape for a crayon mold?  Triangular crayons, square crayons, fat crayons, thin crayons, flat crayons, smiley face crayons, Christmas crayons, Halloween crayons, Valentine’s Day crayons, Easter egg crayons…

If you could have any1 shape crayon, what shape would you choose?

  1. PG-13 []

MakerBlock Testimonial from Les H

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Les H. about helping his company prototype a design.

Jay is very knowledgeable about his machine’s capabilities and any pitfalls.  His advice enabled us to get a pretty good first prototype out quickly, which showed some deficiencies in our design, and recommended changes to make the design more robust and enable his machine to print it easily.  We are about to make the second run.  Jay’s suggestions about wall thickness, design elements and dimensional requirements have made us pretty sure that this will be the one we use (unless I make a mistake on layout or measurements).  What he printed for us was exactly what we specified, and he worked with us to accomplish a moderately difficult design shape.  I am not a mechanical designer, so his assistance filled many gaps in my knowledge. Check out the photos.  It all fit together right the very first time.

My advice, go with Makerblock for your prototyping needs.


Les H

Prototype enclosure

Prototype enclosure

They had originally expected to go through several design iterations before getting a usable prototype.  By exchanging a few e-mails and discussing their designs we were able to eliminate those intermediate print jobs.

Thanks Les!

Has anyone ever finished a printed chess set?

I’ve seen multiple chess pieces on Thingiverse, but I’ve never seen a full black and white (or any two-toned, for that matter) printed chess set.  Do you know if anyone has ever done this already?

I’ve got all 16 pieces in black ABS, but have been struggling with PLA.  Then, as I am wont to do, I’ve gotten distracted with this or that project.  I’m determined to print out all of the pieces in time for Botacon.  I’d really like to play a fellow MakerBot/RepRap operator with a totally printed set.  I’m less concerned the type of board we’re playing on – it could be a piece of fabric for all I care.

Right click

As someone with a modicum of javascript, URL hacking, and a passing familiarity with Firebug I sneer at websites that use javascript to disable right clicks.  Frankly, I’m amazing anyone would bother doing it.  There are just too many ways around these “protections” to make them worthwhile.

I recently was reading a website and started to select some text… to discover that they had included some javascript which blanked the content if you tried to select anything.  And, of course, they disabled right click as well.  There are hardly impediments to anyone who’s been using a web browser for more than a few years – but I found the experience amusing nonetheless.

If your content is important, why not do something to actually protect it rather than just annoy legitimate users?

If your content isn’t important enough to try some kind of actual protection schema, why are you bothering at all?

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Wheat Field with Crows - Vincent Van Gogh

Wheat Field with Crows - Vincent Van Gogh

I had kept a few choice episodes of Doctor Who on my DVR, including several from this most recent season.  When working late, I like to have something playing in the background.  Unfortunately, my wife deleted the second1 half of the Season 5 finale.  Shortly after our DVR started to go and the whole thing had to be replaced.  We got the new one, but they don’t offer a “comes with all the episodes of Doctor Who you were saving” option. 2

Well, it took a while but BBC America re-ran all of Season 5, which I’ve been recording.

The one episode that just gets me every time is “Vincent and the Doctor.”  The guy who played Vincent was pretty damn good.  If nothing else, that episode also included some of my favorite pieces of art of all time, including the one above.

  1. And arguably better []
  2. Guys, we can put a man on the moon.  What about a pre-loaded with BBC sci-fi option on DVR’s?  Huh?  Can we do this? []


I’m working on designs for MakerBot printable bearings.  The proof of concept tests so far have been very promising.  I’ve printed one that’s a little larger than a 608 bearing and turns quite well.

The secret is that I’m not using printed ball bearings, just the printed casing.  :)

My final proof of this part will be to install it in place of one of the bearings holding the Z axis in place.

Worse than his usual rubbish

This last season of Doctor Who has been really great.  You have probably gleaned from this blog that I’m a big fan of the show.1

I just re-watched one of my favorite episodes from this season (there were many great episodes this season) – the one with Vincent Van Gogh.

A great bittersweet episode for a melancholy day.  :)

  1. Bonus points if you can name the episode from which I borrowed the title of this post []
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I’d rather be blogging

I’m stuck at work.

I read a Penny Arcade post this morning that made me smile.

Humans are always asking us if we ever get tired of doing “Penny Arcade,” which is a reasonable question, but from here inside the mechanism it doesn’t all hook up conceptually. It would be like asking if we get tired of eating “food.” The one thing you may rely upon when it comes to our work is that it will be

1. self-indulgent,

though it may also be gruesome or oblivious, or gruesome and oblivious, depending on the day. “Penny Arcade” doesn’t have a firm definition, it’s a container object that represents our generalized creative output. We make whatever we want to make, which (luckily for us) generally means .jpegs about videogames, but it can also be morality plays about imps and businesscats, samurai with paper tubes, technoir, or any other Goddamned thing. I don’t entirely know how it works, and I don’t entirely know why you stay, but this arrangement appears to work for both of us. And, as I have suggested on many other occasions, you can’t beat the price.

You have to love that.  Every day these guys get up at the crack of noon (or whatever time they’ve chosen to brave the new day), do what they love all day long, and then begin anew.  I mean, can you imagine?  They do what they want, what they would do anyhow, and people love it!1

Now, I consider myself a lucky guy, don’t get me wrong.  I have a great family, good friends, everyone is healthy, good job working with people I like, I can pay my bills, and I have some free time to devote to doing whatever random things occur to me.  I’m probably the happiest and luckiest guy you’ve ever met.2   :)

However, I think my existence is more like Cicero from Gladiator than like Tycho and Gave from Penny Arcade.3

Sorry for the wistful/melancholy post.

Long day (and going to be a lOnNnNnNg night) at work.  :)

  1. It must be like being Tom Green. []
  2. And most modest. []
  3. Maximus: You don’t find it hard to do your duty?

    Cicero: Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to.


November 1, 2010 | Comments Closed