Week 11, 2015 – Still Printerating…

3D Printing still dominates much of what’s going on in my world at the moment.  This week I made what I consider to be my first ‘real’ part; my skate bearing filament spool holder.  Sure, I made that webcam mount and whatnot, but it turned out so rough and unrefined…  I needed these spool holders for various reasons that I’ll get into when I write a post about them, but for now, you can see them in action here:

My spool holder in action.

The spool holder, doing its job.

 

I backed a Kickstarter campaign for a new controller board that sounds like it’ll be a drastic upgrade for any 3D printer or laser cutter you put it in.  Not just in performance, but also as far as interface options.

Cool 3D Printing Links:

Week 10, 2015 – Embuggerances

(Credit for this week’s post title goes to the late Sir Terry Pratchett.)

Just so we’re clear, I’m not off to as bad a start this year as it looks; I actually have every weekly post sitting in the queue in draft form, but various Embuggerances have prevented me from providing the visuals that were to be associated with the posts…  (Don’t spend too much time thinking about the fact that this post is dated the 8th, and Terry Pratchett passed away on the 12th.) And the biggest problem is, that the first of the posts that is held up is the reveal for the big secret that pretty much every post after that touches upon… So I’m hard-pressed to make the posts individually, without media, or any other possible stopgap measure.

Anyway, I hope to have things sorted in time for this week’s post.

Week 07, 2015 – Keeping Track of One’s Head

So, for my birthday, and to keep from losing my mind while waiting for my 3D printer to arrive, I bought Elite: Dangerous.  Even with my Saitek X36 HOTAS it quickly became clear that there was an element of immersion drastically lacking.  The game was developed with the Oculus Rift in mind, but that’s a little out of my reach at the moment…surely there’s an intermediate step, I thought.  Head tracking!

Read more…

Week 06, 2015 – 3D Printering

First off, I’m sure there’s some questions anyone interested in getting their own 3D printer might have, so I’ll try to answer the most basic ones:

Where did you get it?

eBay.  It’s a CTC 3D branded Chinese copy of the original dual-extruder MakerBot Replicator.  I got it for $550.90.  Though it dropped another $50 days later. That got me the printer, a 1kg roll of (in my case) no-name red PLA filament, a bag of screws and stuff, an SD card, etc.  Shipped via FedEx.  EDIT: As of February 21st, the price seems to be back up to the original $700, which is unfortunate.

How good of a copy?

Well, I replaced the generic firmware it came with– which I guess is based on an earlier open source MakerBot firmware –with the latest official MakerBot firmware, right from within MakerWare… Yeah.  In fact, the hardest part was getting the damned timing right for hitting the reset button on the back of the printer, so that the controller board is rebooting just as you try to upload. Basically, other than probably skimping on material quality where they could (Though that doesn’t seem to be a problem… I mean, other than the working bits, it’s already just made out of plywood anyway.) the only difference between this and a vintage MakerBot machine would seem to be the lack of a MakerBot ‘M’ button as the interface’s enter key. Only time will tell how durable it is.

Any problems so far?

Mostly just me trying to climb the learning curve, and tumbling back down.  Though the bed is slightly uneven– it dips in the center –but that’s a very common problem regardless of the printer.  And hopefully that’s been resolved, as I’ve got a 0.25″ borosilicate glass plate to put on there that’s flatter than anything.  Haven’t installed it yet though.  It’s also a wee bit rattletrap; when it arrived, it’d already lost a bolt from the housing (I eventually found the nut in the box, and reinstalled it.) and one of the bolts at the back of the print bed, that hold in the upright section behind it, came undone and fell out… That was a bastard to put back in.  Basically, I’ve just gotta make sure to snug everything up, and get some loctite the next chance I get.  Luckily it does come with a bag full of extra hardware.

What are you using for filament?

I bought a little over $200 worth of HATCHBOX brand filament from Amazon, via Fire Sale Merchant. (Fulfilled by Amazon, though often it will default to getting it direct from Fire Sale Merchant without the benefit of Prime and you have to choose the ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’ one under other sellers.)  They seem to be the only source for this brand of filament.  Both their PLA and ABS are very nice, though their ‘transparent’ ABS is a bit of a misnomer… It’s more of a ‘translucent’, at least, without post-processing to reduce the diffusion properties of the surface. (Haven’t tried that yet.) Sadly the prices for the 1KG spools have gone up $6 to ~$30 since I bought mine.

Anything else?

Well, I’ve been keeping some notes on print quality– such as the fact that the transparent white ABS extrudes better at 245°C but I need to do some proper test parts. (Like extrusion temperature/speed tests) I’ll tell you this though; Elmer’s purple glue sticks do wonders for making prints stick to the bed regardless of filament/substrate…even combinations like PLA directly on a Kapton-covered printbed.

What’s next?

I want to get some HIPS and a gallon of Limonene, some PVA, some NinjaFlex, some carbon fiber filament, some T-Glase, some Taulman 618, some Taulman Bridge, and a copy of Simplify3D.  Once I get experience with dissolvable support materials, flexible materials, high-strength nylon and reinforced ABS, and other exotic materials, I should have a pretty good handle on the current 3D printing landscape… Plus I’ll have that much more to offer on 3D Hubs.

Week 04, 2015 – SPAAAAAAAACE!

So, two days until my birthday! (Who am I kidding? We all know I’m posting this way after my birthday because ‘procrastination’ is my default mode of operation.) Something big is in the works!  Of course, to keep me from literally climbing the damned walls in anticipation– waiting ironically not going hand-in-hand with procrastination –I bought a game to pacify myself; Elite: Dangerous… It is, to say the least, pretty freakin’ awesome.  And I just had to bust out the Saitek X36 stick and throttle…even though the bloody thing doesn’t work under Windows 7 64-bit, and I’m literally using a Saitek X45 driver that I edited the USB VID/PID for to match the X36’s…

And I needed it, because this is a hardcore space sim. You’ve got control over everything.  I’ve seen video of a guy slipping contraband past station customs by making a docking request 7km out from the docking perimeter, accelerating straight at the station’s dock, and then cutting power to all his ship’s systems to reduce his heat signature below the customs ships’ detection threshold, and taking it into the dock on inertia with near-zero visibility– because his cockpit iced up from the cold –bringing everything back online, and throwing it into reverse inside the station. This is basically porn for anyone who’s ever wanted to be a space pirate or something.

Anyway, it got me thinking that, given the new awesomeness I’ve got arriving soon, maybe I should start thinking about making my own stick and throttle? Maybe even some control panels.  And I’m not the only one interested; I’ve already got somebody willing to throw in for one.

ヽ(。∀゚)ノ彡 SPAAAAAAAACE!!!

Week 03, 2015 – Big Things

2015-01-21 *Sigh* Yes, I’m back-dating these posts because I didn’t want to start the year off badly when the reason I kept being unable to sit down and write them was because I had so much cool stuff going on!!!

So I got a small investment from my mother, for my birthday. It’s going to buy something very, very, very, spiffy.

When I show off what it is, I’ll also be announcing what I hope to become a new feature of the site, as well as listing some projects I want to undertake.  Other than that, I’m still waiting on the screen printing article because I’ve got a few small but important items coming in, and because there’s a lot of photos I’d need to take that I haven’t yet.

Speaking of screen printing, I found a cheap IR-based flash dryer for $400 that some guy sells…builds them himself and it’s basically just the panel with a metal box built around it and a light switch to flip it on and off.  So I went straight to Intek and they quoted me a price under $200 for the same panel. (Way under.) Between that, and building my own 36-inch-long exposure unit– so I can do all the way up to 36×31 frames –for about $200…  I’d say I’m good on that front, it just might take me a couple months unless I come up with another source of funding.

Anyway, just over a week until my birthday!

 

Week 02, 2015 – On The Horizon

2015-01-21 *Sigh* Yes, I’m back-dating these posts because I didn’t want to start the year off badly when the reason I kept being unable to sit down and write them was because I had so much cool stuff going on!!!

For starters, I spotted this in the Adafruit Twitter feed: A DIY PCB ‘printer’ built around the laser pickup out of an Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive.  Oh man, to have one of those…

Second, I bought some fabulous stuff from Silkscreeningsupplies.com again: Several new colors of ink, a roll of pallet tape, spatulas, ink clean-up cards, and more… Plus I never detailed the items I picked up on Black Friday… And there’s still more ahead, so I’m going to do a couple big Screen Printing posts to cover it all! (Probably the beginning of February.)

That’s about it for now… I’m trying to get the house in order for various things that’re going on…

Week 01, 2015 – Simple Instructions…?

  1. Place ball on downward slope.
  2. Give gentle push.
  3. Watch ball roll.
  4. ????
  5. Follow through!

But of course, this is me we’re talking about; it’s never enough to get the ball rolling on just one project at a time… So let’s assume there’s a “Repeat as necessary.” in there somewhere.  It’s the last step in these instructions that’s the hard part for me, as anyone who knows me will tell you.  Not gonna lie.

Nonetheless, here it is, the New Year…again.  What’s going on?  Well, for starters, I’m hip-deep in screenprinting stuff, and approaching where I need to be to start making shirts.  I’m close to doing the CNC conversion on my milling machine…which I really should probably do the page for, as that’s just been a blank space ever since I started this site and that’s kind of sad. (Same with the lathe, for that matter.)  I put some Ability Points into some very interesting items on the Skill Tree…which I’ll go into detail about in a future post.

Right now, I’m mostly checking in, doing a little ‘station identification’, if you get me– no, probably not, you probably don’t know what broadcast television was… –next week I’ll get down to business, as I’ve got shipments of neat-o stuff arriving in the interim. Stay tuned!

Week 43, 2014 – Make Cool Shirts, Phase One

Screenprinting Workspace

My Ryonet DIY Starter Press, bolted to table in the kitchen. With a 20×26″ t-shirt/sign platen, and 20×24″ 156 mesh screen.

Well, I finally got my ass in gear and started working on things. It wasn’t easy. The apartment is still congested, and I can’t get to anything (Seriously, you don’t even want to know what it looked like behind the camera, let alone in any other room.)

Before I give you a tour of the gear, lemme run you through a quick print I did.  This screen didn’t turn out well, it was under-exposed for whatever reason, but since I knew this wasn’t really a ‘keeper’, I mostly did this to buck myself up by doing something productive, as well as to show my mother– who had come by –the process (Not that she didn’t know, both my parents had been making silkscreens long before they’d made me), and finally, to take photos for a montage to use as banners on the MAKE COOL SHIRTS YouTube channel and Twitter account. Read more…

Week 40, 2014 – MAKE COOL…whats?

Hey, welcome back!  I’m still alive somehow!  First bit of news I have to report is that I’m almost to the point where I can begin commercially screenprinting!  Progress has been slow, because I’m still recovering from all the calamities that seem to befall me with alarming regularity. However, I’m close enough that it has warranted a domain purchase!  So, say hello to MAKE COOL SHIRTS!

In keeping with my usual shenanigans, I wanted the name to be tongue-in-cheek, so originally I was going to go with ‘Shirtstorm’. (Because, for starters, I thought the fact that it sounded like ‘shitstorm’ was funny… I am a simple creature.) And the logo would be a tornado of t-shirts… But apparently that name is already in use, so I said to hell with it.  ‘MAKE COOL SHIRTS’, using a t-shirt as the T literally came to me first thing in the morning, and by the end of the day I had the domain, and the domain had a splash-page with the logo.  Looking back now, it seems like the natural extension of this site, given that developing my ability to screenprint to such a degree was a direct result of my need to MAKE COOL THINGS.  :D

Second bit of news besides the fact that I’ve drastically expanded my screenprinting capabilities, is that I bought a sheet metal bending brake from Harbor Freight.  I’m going to detail all the screenprinting stuff in the next post, because I still have one more order coming in that actually serves to really enable my press.  I also haven’t even unboxed the brake yet, it arrived Friday, and it’s still all bagged and slathered in what I’ve come to call ‘slow-boat grease’, as it’s what anything rust-prone and Made In China arrives from Harbor Freight utterly drowned in… So that will have to wait for later, too.  I should note that I got it– and ordered some aluminium from ’80/20 Garage Sale’ on eBay –in preparation for making my own flash-drying unit for curing ink on the shirts, because a heat gun was not cutting it.

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