First person mini

This is the first person mini I have painted. People are a lot harder than objects. I tried a darker recess on the pants to mimic shading and I think it came out well. The shape of the head at the hairline (fuse point on the plastic) is a little skewed so it looks a little off, but I think I did a decent job on the face, at least for the first try. This mini took close to 4 hrs to complete due to far more detail, double the time of the others.




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Dungeon stone alter/chest

This mini was easier due to fewer curved recesses. This one looks awesome.


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First fully painted mini


I painted this mini in a total of about 2 hrs. I used basic brown paint for the coat of the rat and created pink for the tail. I had to mix both gray colors for the stone using a small detail brush and tooth pick for the crevases. The eyes were painted black using the head of a needle because it was so small. The teeth were colored also with a toothpick and used a yellow bone color. There was a little bit of layering and I tried to use a two toned look on the brown coat using a light coating of watered down lighter brown to get at the tiny raised portions. Overall, not bad, but it is tedious and I may need a lot more practice. The use of my headlamp magnifier was very helpful, providing extra light and great magnification for the crevases.

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TimeLapse Rig

So the new electronics on the prusa allowed me to experiment with something that I conceived when selecting the electronics for bigfoot. Though they are not exactly the same boards, they do have one thing in common. An Expansion port. A number of expansion ports, actually but one was sufficient for my purpose. +5, GND, and two signal lines is sufficient to drive a pair of relays connected to the remote port of my SLR camera, and allow gcodes to tell the camera to take a picture.

The Sony alpha A100 which I have had for years has a remote port on it. I’ve never used it, because the remote costs more than half what I paid for the camera itself. But a little searching on the web(for a discounted remote) led me to this: a DIY remote for Sony alpha SLR
I managed to make a connector, and I was going to print a handle for it, then I realized that it would be much better to wire the remote up to the printer itself instead of a human-actuated remote device. I had a few relays lying around, which I could use to actuate the remote mechanism. In case you didn’t read the instructable; bridge two of the pins to activate autofocus, bridge the third to take a picture. Autofocus must be engaged to take a picture.
So I wired up the relays to the expansion port and issued gcodes which I thought would activate the relays. One worked, and one didn’t. The expansion port I was using had 6 pins on it; +5V, GND, D10, A3, SDA, and SDK. The SDA and SDK pins are for serial communication, and I didn’t really want to muck with them, but I only need 2 digital output pins to make the two relays work. Pin 10 worked fine first time. No surprise, since I was using a digital output as a digital output.

I knew that an arduino could treat an analog input as a digital out, but the Gcode M42, which controls a pin directly, just ignored the A3 parameter. So I looked up the spec for the chip, an Atmel 1284P, which my Azteeg X1 was built on, and noticed that ADC pin 3 is pin 37. So I tried M42 with pin 37: still no juice. So then I checked the schematic, just in case the wiring diagram was wrong, and a different ADC is on that expansion header, and noticed their schematic labeled ADC3 as Pin 34. So I tried M42 with pin 34: nothing.

Then I decided to try the spaghetti approach; throw everything against the wall and see what sticks. I turned off power to the motors, and started doing M42 with every pin, skipping those explicitly called out in the config file. Pin 28 made the relay trip. So now I had my answer, but damned if I know why Pin 28 controls what is labeled as A3 as a digital output. In any event, the relays both working, I plugged the connector into the camera, and flipped them both. The camera did not respond. So I tried them again, this time in the reverse order from before. Eureka, a picture was taken.

At this point I wrote a quick gcode script to take a picture at layer change(see below). And I sliced a quick test object. It homed between layers, but the camera did not activate, despite both relays tripping. The dwell time was insufficient. So I brought my laptop back up and tested the script directly(without printing) to see how much dwell was needed to actually take a picture. Turns out the camera needed almost 2 full seconds to take a picture with the relays on. And this is without autofocus enabled. I knew the camera would be taking a picture of a fixed object, possibly in the dark, so I manually focused on the bed. Also despite the spec for dwell listing milliseconds as the parameter, it accepted the value as seconds of dwell time.

Working layer change picture script:

G28 X0 Y0
M42 S255 P10
M42 S255 P28
G04 S2
M42 S0 P28
M42 S0 P10


And here is an example of the printed test object with a timelapse movie made using this rig.

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Super Duper Automatic Printer with a CD-ROM drive!

So I decided to replace the 2yr old electronics on my reprap with something newer.  Something that maybe wouldn’t overheat the X stepper driver and cause missed steps.  Since I’ve got a azteeg X3 waiting for the Bigfoot printer to be ready(no progress to the prusa being down) I went with an Azteeg X1 for the prusa.  It doesn’t come with onboard SD support, but I put SDRamps on my old controller, and could move it over if I decide i need it.  I doubt I will, as Repetier-Server doesn’t seem to use the SD card at all.  So I got the wiring all done, and plugged it into the power supply I’d been using for the ramps.  Only problem was that the ramps took two power inputs, one for the motors and extruder, and a separate one for the heated bed.  Azteeg only takes one Power input.  Well the existing power supply split the 12V supply for motherboard and peripherals, which worked fine when the bed ran off a separate input, but those lines individually were insufficient to heat the bed and run all the motors, something which I discovered after tuning the stepper drivers and trying to print.  It made a horrible noise and didn’t move the extruder.  So I tried the peripheral supply which had been in my RAID before I converted it to a server, but this caused the supply voltage to drop below 9V and the printer controller to brown out when heating the bed.  A quick googling of how to use ATX supplies with reprap mentioned that some supplies require a 5V load to regulate the 12V line.  Considering that this supply had no output for a motherboard, that seemed likely, and I had a spare DVD drive in a box, so I plugged that in and suddenly the bed heated with no voltage drop.  Now the prusa is printing again.


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I turned a cane at the makerspace from a piece of aluminium bar. I was going to just polish the aluminium rod instead of machining the entire length but the extruded rod was not exactly circular to start with so I turned it down in a screw thread pattern with a curved cutting tool.

20131007-083358.jpgHere is a close up of the threads.  You can see the curved profile they were cut with.

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Chopper status

The pallet with the frame, motor, exhaust, rear wheel, and other assorted trappings arrived at the cycleone manufacturing shop. They’re going to be doing some frame modification and motor fixing-up for me. One part that did not arrive was the rear axle, as I forgot to put it in with the rest. I’ll be shipping that along as soon as i find it. (Moving, so it ended up in a box)

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project management

so Ive moved. at least Ive mostly moved at the time of this writing. my workshop was disassembled and relocated to a makerspace, and my computer chair was designed to be more user friendly. since I am the primary user I like this a lot.

I have also deprioritized certain projects in favor of completing the others.  So pretty much all the FI stuff is on hold, except for necessary maintenance; the UAV gear will likely be sold, though I am learning to fly RC, albeit the old fashioned way.

A word on iterative design; one of the biggest stumbling blocks with iterative design is the fact that sometimes one makes a bad choice.  New information comes to light, or one learns things in development that changes the cost/benefit of previous decisions.  With agile methodology, one generally is prepared to throw away up to 50% of one’s work in order to backtrack those decisions once they are no longer the desired avenue.

A great deal of time has been wasted trying to fix a bad decision because of the fallacy of the sunk cost.  The time already spent on something justifies continuing to do something the wrong way, as opposed to throwing it out and starting fresh.

The bigfoot printer serves as an example of this.  Being that I’m (crazy) doing this all myself, I’ve decided to change the frame bracket design paradigm, and switch the X and Y drive systems from belts to thread-less bearing screws.  The bearings will give it less backlash and make the printer more versatile, in that a cutting head could now be run by the system.  GT2 Belts are not strong enough to allow that.

The Y drive system is a simple change, as is the Z, since it was already going to be screw-driven.  The X drive and the X carriage need the most amount of work, which is not entirely surprising, since those were the parts that I designed first.

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I make chainmaille. Usually when I say that people get mad and say they hate spam mail. Then I have to say no I mean chainmaille as in armor.
I weave chain into garments. I’ve made vests, sleeves, inlays, a coif, even a full neck to ankle jumpsuit. The scale inlays get a lot of compliments. They look like this.




I’ve designed new inlay patterns. I tried to pay homage to megas xlr with these patterns.


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You may not know that I have a motorcycle it looks like this

I’ve been working on for some time now but it wasn’t exactly the bike I wanted to be and in order to get it to that place I needed to pull the engine out of the frame.  Here it is just after the engine was removed.  Almost looks like there is no bike anymore, at least compared to the whole thing.



Rolling frame without engine.



Engine outside the frame.  Was completely running before I pulled it.


20130610-191837.jpgHeadlights from the front.  The bike looks so skinny without that inline 4 sticking out each side.  20130610-191832.jpg


The shaft drive yoke visible here.



All the parts I pulled off the bike are now in this bin.  Carbs, bolts, brackets, old battery box.  That last one wont be going back on the bike, as I’m going to use a smaller lithium battery and put it elsewhere.  20130610-191846.jpg


Shaft drive gear housing has to be pulled before the engine would come out of the frame.  20130610-191850.jpg


As I got the shaft housing off, I noticed that the drive gear shaft had sheared off.  You can see it here in the picture; the gear in the top center of this picture is on a sheared shaft.  It probably would run fine if I put it back on, as oil stains indicate that this has been sheared for quite some time.  20130610-191854.jpg


Here you can see the angle of the swingarm with no weight and shock absorbers.  I believe these shocks are 1″ shorter than stock, so the rear wheel would be closer to the ground, maybe touching.  Not pictured is the front forks, which are slid up in the triple trees by about 2″.

Below you can see the frame at the height I want to build it to ride at(sitting on a kitty litter bucket), and the swingarm angle with the struts, and the height it sits on the center stand.

My plan is to weld channel steel coming back from the engine loop at the height of the engine mounts and cut off most of the frame that isn’t the engine loop.  The struts will bolt to that channel steel and hold the swingarm.  Then the seat height will be just about 2-3″ above the swingarm, and I can tuck the electronics and battery just above the swingarm and below the seat.

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