What’s the best MakerBot sample you can think of?

Okay, what’s the best thing you can think of that exhibits the possibilities of a MakerBot or RepRap? 12 If y0u’re going for something that shows off the utilitarian potential, then a bottle opener or thin profile whistle might be it.  If you’re going for something that shows off what you can achieve with just printed parts – a Leonardo Robot or Rubik’s cube clone.  And, if you’re going for something that shows off the precision and detail that is possible, it’s got to be a Pink Panther Lady.345

When judging such things heavily weighted by print time, I suspect the thin profile whistle might be one of the best options.

What do you think?

  1. Yes, I know I ended the subject of this post with a preposition, but what the heck.  The first amendment protects “free speech” not just “correct grammar.” []
  2. Amiright or amiright? []
  3. And, really a bottle-opening-pink-panther-whistle-lady-that-transforms-into-a-dinosaur-and-voltron that shoots open-source-lazzors might just be the ultimate thing to print ever. []
  4. Mind, it should shoot lazzors, not lazzor beams. []
  5. Remember kids, lazzor beams can be dangerous. []
January 24, 2011 | Comments Closed


Why is tonight a good night?  There are a number of reasons.  But, right now I have my Bender and Flexo making parts simultaneously. 1

Two robots!  Will my extravagances know no bounds?!

  1. Bender is my Cupcake CNC, Flexo is my Thing-O-Matic. []

OpenSCAD tutorial, take II

So, I’ve been working on some OpenSCAD tutorials over at the MakerBot blog.

What did you think of them?  Are they too high-falutin’ or too basic?  Are they too serious?  What would you like to learn next?  I’m probably going to cover 3D forms next.  Do you want to see more tutorials?  What other things would you like to learn besides OpenSCAD?  (That will give me a good excuse to learn it too!)

Happy camper

Today was a long Long LONG day.  What was supposed to be an 8 hour round trip drive evolved, by means of persistent fog, traffic, accidents and road work, into a 10 hour round trip drive.  Oh, and I was at my destination meeting for less than two hours.

Upon my return I discovered two long overdue checks from clients at my PO Box, a PILE of e-mails in my inbox, and my Doctor Who Series 5 DVD set at my house.  It’s a pretty cool set with a lot of extras.  I’ve got the U.S. release which includes a shimmery motion cover, a Pandorica themed DVD holder, some pretty cool art all around, and three art cards.  None of this would have made me purchase the set, but they really are quite nifty.

When our old DVR was going bad and we replaced it, I lost several episodes of the fifth season I was hording like a miser.  See, some of those episodes were aired in their entirety – which meant the episodes were 1 hour and 20 minutes long.  But, after the premier of the episode they were aired in only edited formats such that they fit into an hour with commercials.  However, this meant that there are probably many episodes with several minutes that I’ve never seen.  I’m by no means a completist or collector, but it would be nice to see these bits as originally intended.  Or, at the very least, as those in the UK got to see.  :)

Imagine, if you will, the first episode without the fish custard???

7 hours, 16 minutes

I’ve got a work meeting tomorrow that will require round trip travel of 7 hours and 16 minutes over 426 miles.

I’m not looking forward to this.  I have to arrive at 10am, which means I have to leave my home at about 6:00 AM.

Believe me, I’m really not a morning person.  Not only am I not a morning person, I don’t really like driving over long distances.  I figure the meeting will take about two hours, I’ll get nothing accomplished, and then I’ll drive back.  I could probably get back to the office at about 4pm or so, but I won’t.  I’m going straight home.


January 17, 2011 | Comments Closed

Scrapping for parts

Over the weekend I took apart two old DVD players for parts.  I found some interesting small motors, magnets, tiny precision rods, and some other assorted odds and ends.

Today at work our office manager mentioned that some e-waste recyclers were coming out to pick up some old printers and other stuff.  I suggested we pull out any left over paper, toner cartridges, etc from the assemblies.  I would have liked to have scrapped these machines for parts too, but:

  • There’s only so much time in the day.
  • I don’t have any screwdrivers and other assorted tools at work.
  • Hanging out in the middle of the office taking things apart might raise eyebrows. 1

As I did so I realized that the toner cartridges contain thin precision rods.  Those could actually be kinda useful.  I think the next time we have old printer cartridges at home (or work) I might take one apart to see what kind of magic it hides.

  1. “Um, did he forget his meds again?” []
| Comments Closed

Do you want to learn OpenSCAD with me?

I’m really just learning OpenSCAD right now.  I can make some basic shapes, put things together, and whatnot.  I was thinking about putting together some super super basic tutorials that would take a user from knowing nothing about OpenSCAD to knowing as little about OpenSCAD as I do.1  Is this something you’d be interested in?

Please leave a comment and let me know.  What would you like to know about it?  What would you like to learn?

  1. Perhaps even a little less! []

ReplicatorG v0023 error

“This should never happen, deltaX in addValueSegmentToPixelTable in euclidean is 0.”

And, really, this is just one of MANY such errors.

Also, Marty was kind enough to slice it up in Zaggo’s Pleasant 3D software.  He took a look at the OpenSCAD code and didn’t see anything nasty in there.

I dunno.  Do you?

OpenSCAD, ReplicatorG, why can’t we all just get along?

I need to bolt some shelving to the wall.  Yes, I know the shelves came with some hardware for doing that – but I own a 3D printer and I can design BETTER hardware.  I whipped something up in Sketchup and printed off some brackets.  Next, I needed a slight variation in order to bolt two shelving units to each other.  (Something for which their hardware wasn’t designed).

Unfortunately, ReplicatorG just puked all over itself as soon as I tried to slice the bracket.  I had been tinkering with OpenSCAD for the last week or so, so I figured I’d give that a shot.  Here’s what I tried:

  • First, I tried building the bracket up out of just rectangular boxes.  This was okay, but cumbersome.
  • Next, I tried to design a really really complex polyhedron in the shape of my bracket.  This was a nightmare.  To do it properly, you need to design your object such that you’re defining each of the triangles that make up the object.  If you get set up the triangles by putting the numbers for each corner in the wrong order, in a less-right order, or did some other benign thing, it would make a mess.
  • After chatting with Clothbot, I tried to define a cross section of my bracket as a flat image in Sketchup (again), then tried to expert it to a DXF through a plugin.  I just couldn’t manage to extrude that flat DXF into a 3D image.
  • So, I went back to Sketchup and tried to tinker with the file again, fixed it in CADSpan, exported to STL again, fixed it up with NetFabb again, and ReplicatorG still barfed it up.
  • Back to OpenSCAD (again).  This time I tried to assemble a 2D cross section of other shapes.  This didn’t work as I tried to tinker with the “linear_extrude” function.
  • THEN, finally, I tried to define a polygon (not a polyhedron) based upon the coordinates I had used originally to describe the bracket when I was attempting to build it out of triangles.  This worked to describe a flat 2D section of the bracket.  I tried the “linear_extrude” function again and it worked well.  I then punched a few holes into the bracket with some small cylinders and exported to an STL again.  It’s my understanding that OpenSCAD makes quality STL files – without holes or other cleanup required.  While that may be the case, you guessed it, ReplicatorG tossed its cookies when it saw this bracket.

So, what is it? Is it the bracket?  Sketchup and ReplicatorG?  Is it OpenSCAD?  Suggestions?