With great power

Comes abuse.  I’ve come to realize that OpenSCAD can indeed be abused.  It’s so easy to import several objects and manipulate them that I wish I had gotten around to learning OpenSCAD a long time ago.  You can do some pretty amazing (and scary) things with just the import and translate functions. 1

And, in retrospect, I probably could have whipped up that Voltron remix in a fraction of the time if I had OpenSCAD at my disposal…

Oh well, that just means the next time I’ll be that much better.

  1. I also scaled Disney’s head to an appropriate size, but it wasn’t compiled by OpenSCAD []
January 28, 2011 | Comments Closed

Your argument is invalid.

A pink panther lady with Walt disney’s brainy-head bottle opener whistle!

A pink panther lady with Walt disney’s brainy-head bottle opener whistle!

Okay, Erik, my excuse is that I can’t help myself.  If someone asks me to do something ridiculous, I just can’t not do it. 1

But, man, who actually wants a pink panther lady Walt Disney’s brainy-head bottle opener whistle?  That’s just crazy, dude.  You can print out Pink Panther ladies all day long, but how the hell do you explain printing one of these to your wife?

  1. Can I misuse OpenSCAD, or what??? []

OpenSCAD tutorial outline

They’ll continue, but I think the next one will come out on Friday.  So far I’ve covered the interface of OpenSCAD, 2D forms, and 3D forms.

My goal is to show people how to use OpenSCAD in a way that is intuitive and builds quickly on what was taught earlier, with a secondary goal of getting the reader to be able to make something useful as quickly as possible.  Here’s the rough outline/idea of where I’m going:

  1. OpenSCAD interface
  2. 2D forms
  3. 3D forms
  4. Union/difference/intersection
  5. Rotate/mirror/translate/scale
  6. Variables/module
  7. Linear and rotational extrusion
  8. Using other programs to make using OpenSCAD easier (Sketchup, Inkscape, Notepad++)
  9. Include/libraries
  10. Conditional and Iterator Functions

I know I’m leaving a lot out of that outline.  What would you like to see?

January 25, 2011 | Comments Closed

Robotics Work Area

My work area

My robotics work area

I thought people might be interested in seeing what my robot work area looks like. 1  Part of this last weekend was devoted to organizing the contents of the above library card catalog, putting things in appropriate drawers and labeling them. 2

You can’t really tell from the photo, but each of the Three-Dee printing ‘bots is sitting on a separate filament spindle kit.  I’ve got clear MakerBot PLA loaded underneath the Thing-O-Matic (“Flexo”) and black MakerBot ABS loaded under the Cupcake CNC (“Bender”).3 On the surface of the card catalog you can see a pink bracket I printed for my daughter so we can hang a bathroom towel4 at her level.  I’ve got a power strip duct taped down to the back left of the card catalog.  This has made the entire thing the perfect stand-up computing and soldering station.5

The drawer labels are difficult to read from that image – in large part because of my tragically terrible handwriting. 6  In case you’re interested, the highlights are:

  • Two different drawers labeled, “GLOWSTICKS”
  • One drawer labeled, “GLASSES”
  • One drawer labeled and filled with “NOTEBOOKS”7
  • One for “SPEAKER BADGES” of various kinds.  Admittedly, most are just from attending different conferences.  About a third are from when I was speaking at such conferences.
  • One drawer labeled and filled with various kinds of “TAPE”
  • One for “ORIGAMI” with paper and half-completed projects
  • One for “SANDPAPER” of differing grades
  • One drawer for “CABLES” and one for “USB CABLES”

I’m probably using almost 30 drawers, which is only half the front side of this library card catalog.  It’s got 60 such drawers on the front and back. 8 910  This monster occupies what was originally called a “living room.”  Now we just call it our “robot room.”  I was lobbing to change the name to either “The Robotics Lab,” “The Lah-BOHR-Ah-tory,” or the “Laboratory” but the idea did not receive the required 67% of household votes.

The way that I look at it – I could quadruple my robotics hobby and still have enough drawers for it all…

  1. It’s a bit messy, but worlds better than before I tidied it up. []
  2. I had posted a description a while back, but this probably explains it all much better. []
  3. FYI, Flexo has a small magnet installed behind the front panel.  That way I can affix a detachable magnetic soul patch. []
  4. What color do you want, honey?  “Pink, PINK!”  *sigh* Now, if ONLY we had a robot that could make a pink towel hook for you…  “Daddy, stop being silly.  Of course we do!” []
  5. I use a long wooden tray when I solder or assemble something with small fiddly bits.  That way if I drop something it falls into the tray. []
  6. If anything, the JPG compression probably helps the readability. []
  7. Including my DIY homebrew recycled paper and shopping bag analog notebook []
  8. The sad part is this thing is SO huge and SO heavy that if we move, we’ll never be able to take it with us. []
  9. It took an unreal amount of fuel, beer, and pizza to move it to where it is today. []
  10. If you live in the Bay Area and are interested in it – drop me a line. []

New favorite test object?

The low profile whistle.

Not sure if it came out well?  If it whistles, it came out fine.  If it doesn’t, you need to tweak the profile more.  That’s a crazy dead simple non-subjective litmus test.  It’s a big-ish file, clocking in at 14 minutes, but this is for the “large” whistle.  I need to download the SCAD file and try out one of the small whistles.

January 24, 2011 | Comments Closed

One other decent possibility

A coat hook.

The thing I like about “samples” is that they can actually be useful.  So, a whistle, a bottle opener, a coat hook – these are all things that people could examine and then actually use.  That way, their utility lives beyond simply being examined once as a curiosity – they become a thing that has realized its potential.

| Comments Closed