ShrimpTest is a WordPress plugin with a LOT of promise. Basically, it is an A/B testing tool for WordPress. The plugin author, Mitcho, does a great job of explaining A/B testing and why it is important. If you are already familiar with A/B testing, you can skip ahead to 16:03 in the video to see a demo of Mitcho presenting the plugin
Unfortunately, and this is truly a shame, the plugin also suffers from an almost complete lack of development and updating. There must have been some change in WordPress v3.2 that stopped the plugin from working. The effect was that the “A/B” icon in the rich text editor was missing. Fortunately, someone figured out a work around. The super quickest way to apply this change to the plugin is to do the following:
Make sure you’re logged into your WordPress website of choice
Navigate to `http://[DOMAIN].com/wp-admin/plugin-editor.php?file=shrimptest/plugins/variant-shortcode/tinymce.js&plugin=shrimptest%2Fshrimptest.php`
I should really have entitled this post “How to mostly recover from a stalled print.” Several times now I’ve had a problem with the DrawBot stalling out and stopping a print. When this has happened, hours can pass and the little ‘bot will do nothing at all.
Such as last night. It was probably 80% done drawing Starry Night when it … just… stopped.
Here’s what I saw and here’s how I (mostly) fixed it:
I figured that, for whatever reason, the little ‘bot just seized up – but that perhaps if I could get it to respond to commands I might set it back on track.
The control software was responsive enough that I could “Queue->Export Queue“, which I did.
The problem with trying to reset the board or the control software and just feeding it the remaining part of the queue is that it wouldn’t remember where it was. So, I figured if I could convince it that it was already where it was supposed to be, it might just continue on as if everything were okay.
I had seen from prior command queues that the code, “C09,NUMBER1,NUMBER2,END” appeared to be the way the machine would apply “Input->Set Pen Position.”
I then looked at the code that I had exported from the queue. The first item was:
So, I edited the text file so that it read as follows:
…the rest of the command queue
Which I believed essentially tell the ‘bot that it was where it was supposed to be and to continue on as if everything was normal.
I then disconnected the USB cable
Closed the control software
Restarted the control software
Reconnected the USB cable
Reestablished contact with the ‘bot, “Setup->Serial Port” and selected the port of choice for my laptop
Clicked the queue to start it up again…
It seems to have worked – but may possibly have shifted up one pixel. This is why I say this was mostly a recovery. I suspect that if I should have moved the pen down a little and see if I could get it to draw the next pixel in line.
I’ll scan and post this drawing as well and will point out the spot where I tried this little fix.
VERY nearly almost called this the Cure and linked to a YouTube video. It’s really just too damn early in the morning for me to write such a thing or you to read such a thing. As much as I like the Cure, they’re not morning music, you know? [↩]
I’m curious – has anyone out there retrofitted their MakerBot Cupcake CNC, MakerBot Thing-O-Matic, or RepRap1 with a cutting device? I recall seeing an example of someone creating a laser cutter, but I was particularly interested in whether someone had made a cutting device using a blade.
If so, what kinds of blades did you use? Did you create your own? Did you use off-the-shelf replacement parts for a commercial robo-cutter?
I say “some” posts. By this I mean 3300 posts and post revisions dating back to the very first blog entry on this website going to as recently as July 13, 2011. Not including this post, I’ve got 721 published blog entries – with almost all containing this little gem:
Find and replace all instances of the above script in the CSV with “”
Deleted the contents of “_posts3”
Uploaded the altered CSV into “_posts3”
Renamed “_posts” to “_posts1” and “_posts3” to “_posts”
It’s definitely possible to create a little WordPress plugin to clean this kind of an infection out, but there’s little incentive to do so when the manual fix is relatively easy. If you’ve got this kind of an infection in your site and don’t know how to take care of it, drop me a line.
After consideration, maybe not. Following Maker Faire Bay Area 2011 I was again prompted to investigate the feasibility of a lasercutter. Now, I don’t have any great big grand plans for one – I just think it would be awesome to have one and I would be able to think of some pretty sweet uses for it if I had one lying around.
In any case, from what I can see there are some small and very professional looking fully assembled models starting around $8000. 1 As a hobbyist with no actual plans for immediate use of a lasercutter, this is way way too much for random projects.
I’ve seen a few websites that purport to have models for around $2,500 or so with kit options starting around $1800. The way I look at it, there’s not a lot that can go wrong with a 3D printer. A laser on the other hand… could blind, burn, and cut from an arbitrary distance. Besides, if a company can’t put together a simple WordPress website, I’m hesitant to drop thousands of dollars on their product. 2
There’s also two DIY options – the open source BuildLog.net and the promised-to-be-open-source Lasersaur. It’s not exactly fair to criticize them for incomplete documentation. BuildLog.net appears to be a collection of people documenting their laser cutter builds and aren’t advertising themselves as a complete tutorial. Lasersaur started off as a very popular Kickstarter project but their site was almost devoid of information or developments until they re-surfaced at Maker Faire Bay Area 2011. Going through the Lasersaur’s bill of materials I stopped tallying the cost once it hit $4,000.00. At that point, it probably doesn’t make sense for me to try building my own.
For the time being, I don’t think I’m going to invest in a lasercutter, DIY kit, or open source project. Besides, there are plenty of places in the Bay Area nearby I could have something cut or rent time on a machine. If there was a project for up to, say, $2500 and had really great documentation, I might reconsider – but I don’t see that happening soon.
I was thinking of the lowest Epilog model and one referred to as a “Turnkey Laser Business.” [↩]
Actually, huge thanks to Dave Durant for the math and answering questions, Renosis for exhaustive testing and feedback. Thanks also to all of the other beta testers of whom there are too many to name. Um, they’re playing the music,… uh, uh, Honey – we did it! Um… Free Tibet! and… um… I’m King of the World1 !!!
In seriousness, since the launch of the first ProfileMaker v1.0 less than a week ago there have been 152 profile settings generated and the beta testers generated 270 profile settings through ProfileMaker v2.0. Version 2.0 incorporates many of the things mentioned in the recent poll. 2 Here are some of those improvements:
ABS as well as PLA
Works with 1.75 and 3mm or any filament diameter you choose
Ability to change the feedrate, the mysterious gear swell, and gear diameter
I’ve already begun work on ProfileMaker 3.0. If you want to help as a beta tester, or get the math involved, or want to help kick the tires of the user interface please drop me a line or leave a comment.
of web based 3D printing calculators that solve for flowrate for stepper extruders [↩]
Still active as of right now – but get your votes in if you want to let your voice be heard [↩]
Dave Durant’s program for solving for flowrate is really incredibly helpful. It is truly a shame that it isn’t more widely used. I think part of the problem might have been people were intimidated by all the buttons and part of the problem was that it was a Windows only application. There has since been a port to Java, but that’s not as convenient as a truly web based version.
I’ve hard coded the most common options, but fully intend to bring them back later as advanced options. For now I just wanted to whip something together to help people out and show them just how easy calibration can really be. Give it a shot. If you haven’t printed at 0.2mm layers before, give it a whirl!
I’m really really looking forward to being able to enter values into Skeinforge from my cell phone.
Your suggestions, comments, questions, criticism, e-mails, etc are all welcome and invited.