I’d rather be making

Part way into all nighter for work, I can’t help but think that I’d rather be making right now.

<Please forgive the rambling post.  It’s late and I’m trying desperately to not do actual work.>

I was having a conversation with a friend a few weeks ago about hobbies.  A mutual friend of ours has a number of hobbies – going to basketball games, going to the movies, watching professional sports in general.  What occurred to me is that my hobbies are actually qualitatively different from his.  I’m not saying necessarily better in any way, but certainly more fitting to who I am.  These activities – watching professional sports, going to the movies – are consumptive hobbies.  They’re about passively consuming an experience.

My hobbies are rather varied.  I enjoy blogging1 , programming and WordPress plugin writing2 , origami3 , tinkering with my robots4 , making toys and gadgets, inventing little improvements or hacks for things around the house.  It’s been a while, but I even sew a little if the occasion calls for it.  This isn’t to say I avoid consumptive activities – I very much enjoy reading and watching certain TV shows.

It occurs to me that blogging is both consumptive and productive.  Blogging tends to include a lot of commentary on what others are doing.  The amazing thing about blogging about 3D printing is that there are SO many amazing people doing SO many amazing things.  As Erik is quick to point out, the amount of content generated about 3D printing has been rapidly increasing of late.  It really feels like every single day I can tune into the RepRap feed or check out Thingiverse for something truly awesome.  I suppose getting to actually print out some of the things other people are in the process of designing also makes it a participatory and even community sort of activity.

Almost a month after Botacon I’m still corresponding intermittently with the people I met there.  My day job, as I’ve alluded to, has nothing whatsoever to do with tech. 5  So, getting to meet so many people who are also intensely interested in the same things I am was just amazing.  I can’t wait for the next MakerFaire and the next Botacon after that.

Speaking of meeting people in real life…  So the day before Botacon I showed up early at the Botcave and hung out all day long.  It was a lot of fun meeting IRL the people I have watched in videos and read about on various blogs.  What surprised me, and what continues to surprise me is when I meet people who have read the things I’ve written.  Writing/blogging is a solitary and contemplative act for me.  Perhaps even therapeutic/cathartic.6  I would say that in person I probably come across as pretty much the same guy as who writes this nonsense.  In person I’m probably slightly more gregarious and alternatively self-deprecating and self-aggrandizing.  Though, through this blog and the MakerBot blog I tend to overshare a little. 7  Then again, I suppose it’s better left up to the people I met to say whether I came across as the same guy they read about.

Where was I headed with all of this?

Oh!  I remember.  So, I tend to overshare through writing where I probably wouldn’t in person – perhaps precisely because writing is a contemplative act.  The upshot is that when I meet people who have read what I’ve written it gets surreal as they reference the things I’ve written.  It’s an odd sensation.  It is probably like what an amnesiac feels like.  Part way into a conversation you’re talking to someone you kinda know as they reference things that only a friend would know. 8910

Wow.  Tony Buser just tweeted that he sped up his STL rendering engine by a factor of 100.  It’s working too.  I brought up a big STL file no problem.  I don’t know if you’ve checked it out, but it is THE way to view the best Voltron-themed Leonardo Robot derivative on Thingiverse.  Holy cow – one downside – it absolutely CRUSHES my netbook.

Speaking of Voltron…  I’m dying to print a new Leonardo Robot an augment it with those Voltron bits.  I spent my free time this weekend tinkering with my Thing-O-Matic and using my Cupcake to print off sonic screwdriver parts.  Some friends were over with their son a few months ago and he started to play with the Leo Robot.  What the heck, here kid, keep it.  I’ll make another.  ;)  The unfortunate upshot is that I’m Voltron-less.

Then again, I keep meaning to come back to that design and refine it.  I’d like to install Beco block style connectors into the wrists and shoulders for more range of movement.  Ideally, I’d separate out parts that could be printed in different colors.  Each of the lions has white parts for the jaws and, depending upon which version you’re looking at, either white or metallic legs and tails.  For some reason I seem to feel the white is more fitting.  In any case, in the perfect version of this Voltron I’d have the lion bodies printed up in white with the colored bits in a separate file for clipping onto the body parts.

Okay, more nonsense later.  :)

  1. Can you tell? []
  2. Though, I haven’t had much time for these of late. []
  3. Again, not something I’ve had time for lately []
  4. Plural!!! []
  5. What’s my day job?  Oh, nothing much.  Just being an international man of mystery. []
  6. At least, that’s what my therapist tells me. []
  7. Okay, okay.  A lot. []
  8. Yes, it is true.  You, dear reader, are my only friend. []
  9. Since we’re such good friends and all, can I borrow a five-spot? []
  10. Who the hell says five-spot any more?  I think that’s a bit of left-over lingo from reading Archie comics as a kid.  Natch. []

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