The Final Countdown

So, with nowhere else to go and time ticking away until I become homeless, I did the only rational thing I could; Started thinking about all the dumb shit I could be making! 🤪

To that end, I rounded up some of the more interesting components I’ve acquired recently but not done anything with, and picked up a few new ones. I hope to do a Show and Tell video of sorts, demonstrating the items and discussing some interesting uses I’ve thought of. For something like eight years, I’ve been trying to become a YouTube content creator and so far haven’t produced anything…so this video may end up being a “Grand Opening / Going Out of Business” type scenario. 😑

As for the blog, I still have unpublished posts about various things which I need to finish up and post; two unpublished posts following up on my replica PAX badge, a post about MSLA 3D printers, and a post about Looking Glass Factory’s Looking Glass Portrait lightfield display, being chief amongst them.

Stay tuned! 📺

If it ain’t broke…

…give me a hot minute to really fuck things up. 😑

So, things have not been going well. Aside from a bit of a calamity which caused me to get hit with an electric bill 4x what it should have been, my financial situation has more or less stabilized. (It’d be a damn sight better if I were receiving survivor benefits, but that’s a whole other can of worms, which will be dealt with in due course…or not; it’s kind of up to Social Security…) There’s still nowhere for us to go—believe me, we spend a fair portion of every day looking—but the landlord has mostly gotten off our asses for the time being and still hasn’t burned the place down for the insurance money yet, which I took as a promising sign… On top of which, we’re a few months from having the credit to qualify for a home loan. (Coming up with a couple-few tens of thousands for a down payment is another matter, but without sufficient credit you can’t even have that conversation, so honestly it’s the lesser of the two obstacles; Good credit takes time, and time is immutable.)

Our plan to circumvent the problem of the utterly barren rental market by putting in the effort required to make home ownership even feasible seemed to be working… Which is how I should have known everything was fucked. Sure enough, a week ago we received new ‘Termination of Tenancy’ letters saying we need to be out by August 24th.

Needless to say, I don’t see how that’s going to happen, barring a miracle. 😬

Current mood: 👉😑💨

So, I’ve been away a while…

…and for once I actually have a good reason, though I wish I didn’t. On August 17th, 2021, my father passed away unexpectedly. My family has been in a desperate struggle ever since, only further complicated by the news two days later that we needed to vacate our apartments so the landlord could sell the building. Well, that still hasn’t happened, there’s literally nowhere to go, everything’s a mess, it’s turtles all the way down, etc.

My sister and I have given up on the unenviable and futile task of damage control, and instead opted to forge ahead and make a solution present itself. Or, to quote one of my favorite lines from the classic Gainax school drama/mecha space anime Top wo Nerae! Gunbuster; “A miracle will happen! I’ll make it happen!”

I’m fumbling my way toward being a grown-ass adult, with photo ID and a bank account and everything, and we’re all getting our ducks in a row and building our credit in the hopes that we can qualify for a home loan, because the rental market is an absolute clown fiesta right now.

I’m going to try and finish up the backlog of draft posts I have in the queue and start on a bunch of new 3D printing content, so please bear with me if the old stuff seems somewhat disjointed, some of them are like a year or more old and only half-written, and I’m going to be finishing them up from memory and posting them, so…… Yeah. 😬

Week 36, 2020 – Adventures in Harmless Forgery

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a huge fan of Penny-Arcade. I’ve been reading the comic my entire adult life—which also happens to be how long it has existed—but I’m also an active P-A community member, and partake of the duo’s shenaniganry in all its various forms.

Which brings us to PAX, the Penny Arcade Expo. With 2020’s COVIDpocalypse, PAX West and PAX AUS have been canceled, instead replaced with the unprecedented 24-hour a day, 9-day extravaganza known as PAX Online. In addition to openly selling the show-exclusive West and AUS merch on the P-A store, they quickly made some PAX Online merch to offer, including a souvenir badge…knowing that most PAX attendees keep their badges as mementos. I ordered a set with my PAX:O merch, but unfortunately, even the first wave of badges wouldn’t ship until a month after the convention, so for me—an absolute freakin’ nerd who wanted a badge to wear during the con —that just wouldn’t do

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Ideate, Create, Iterate

Iterative Design n. The process of testing and redesigning an idea until it works like it was supposed to in the first place.

  1. Have an idea for a thing. 💡
  2. Make the thing. 😄
  3. Realize the thing isn’t right. 🤨
  4. Redesign the thing. 🤔
  5. Repeat 2 through 4 until a desirable outcome is reached, you give up, or you lose your damned mind. 😫

Ideate→Create→Iterate.

By bringing modern ‘rapid prototyping’ capabilities to the desktop, consumer 3D printing has enabled a level of iterative design straight out of Star Trek.

I hope to use this category to write case studies, following the journey from need/idea, through prototyping and the inevitable redesigns, to finished part.

Week 48, 2019 – Catching up

The following are my current projects that will be written up soon:

  • Flight Stick — A 3D-printed flight stick. (Design from Cults3D)
  • Rudder Pedals — A set of 3D-printed rudder pedals off Thingiverse.
  • Mechanical 7-segment display — A clockwork display module. (Design from Cults3D)
  • HUD Monocle Mk2 — Second prototype version of my monocular heads up display. Using a prism to achieve a vastly simplified optical path and smaller footprint. (And an ESP32 for electronics!)

Other upcoming content:

  • ESP32 Part 2 — Follow-up to my previous post about the ESP32 SoC.
  • New Filament! — Review of recent 3D printer filament acquisitions
  • RGB Ring Diffuser — A mini-blog about the 3D printed RGB LED ring diffusers I made
  • Magic Making Machines — A post about practical 3D printing, demonstrating the iterative design process of a practical print.

Week 27, 2019 – …The More They Stay The Same

So, here we are, not eight weeks since that previous post, and I’m coming off of two weeks without internet, and almost as long without electricity. As is the case 90% of the time that our finances implode, there was no budgetary snafu on my part, just people doing whatever the hell they wanted regardless of what I or the budget said. 😑

Yes, I am acutely aware of the irony inherent in going from having had twenty-freakin’-grand in the bank just a few months ago, to this complete clown fiesta, but as I’d already explained if I hadn’t spent it my situation would probably be worse right now. (Hard as that may be to imagine.)

Hopefully things can start moving forward again, though I’m not gonna hold my breath. This situation exposed many flaws in the other members of the family unit and the—oftentimes unidirectional —nature of our relationship.😒

Week 21, 2019 – Improving your Space-Life through technology

It is well-known that I take my life as a professional imaginary spaceship pilot a little too seriously. Like “4-point harness on my computer chair” seriously. And while I certainly liked the old version of the harness, it was missing something; It was just a little too simple.

I’m not sure I’ve talked about it before, so I’ll take a minute here before moving on… I was originally planning on making a 4 or 5-point harness from scratch, and actually designed my own cam-lock release mechanism, but my 3D printer at the time simply wasn’t up to the task, and the prototype’s flimsiness really dissuaded me from the idea.

It was a little while after this that I found a 4-point racing harness on eBay for under $30…cheap enough that I wouldn’t trust it with my life, but in my case, it’s just a prop. I replaced all the plain nylon webbing with proper seatbelt-weave webbing which looked much better, and added little pull straps in red. All the new stitching was also done in a contrasting mil-spec bonded nylon thread.

Finally I 3D printed a knob to go over the release lever…which required filing off the protruding lever, and drilling holes in the face of the cam lock plate. For the last added touch, I cut some paint-mask vinyl on my Silhouette Cameo 3, and used that to paint markings on the knob.

It did the job and I rather liked it, but now that I have the new printers, I wanted to give it another go. I recreated the original knob I had designed for a far earlier incarnation of the project and printed it in some bright red eSUN PLA+

I think the results speak for themselves. 😏 At some point I’ll probably do it again, just to add the arrows back in as actual 3D printed inlays. Though I should probably also prime, sand, and paint it next time for an even more polished look…not that there’s anything wrong with the raw print…especially when viewed anything but up-close.

Week 20, 2019 – Print Cool Things

While my father was still rehabilitating until he could get around well enough on his own to come home, I was making use of my new 3D printers.

I had just gotten some of this fantastic new ‘silk shine’ metallic filament from CC3D, and decided to print him a little Buddha in bronze. The CC3D filament looks absolutely stunning. Pictures don’t really do justice to just how well it shimmers. It’s not sparkly or otherwise fake-looking, it has a fairly authentic metallic sheen. I’m curious to know how they achieve it!

(The bronze is actually more green than it appears in these images. I didn’t catch the Auto Balance shenanigans until it was already uploaded, and it wasn’t a big enough deal to fix it. I wish CC3D offered a ‘brass’ filament that looked like this, but so far they don’t.)

One of the reasons I settled on the Creality Ender 3 Pro—and in fact, literally doubled down on that decision —was the recommendation of several YouTube channels dedicated to printing tabletop gaming miniatures and terrain, as well as Fat Dragon Games, makers of some truly superb miniatures and modular terrain, whose Kickstarter I backed.

So of course I printed some minis from the campaign…which turned out spectacularly, considering the printer was basically fresh out of the box and all I did was level the bed. They even print with no supports!

I never imagined that an FDM printer could produce results like these—nevermind a $250 FDM printer —especially straight out of the box! These are results which approach that of SLA and MSLA printers…which is a subject we’ll definitely be revisiting. Count on it.

Week 19, 2019 – The More Things Change…

Bet you thought I’d go a whole six months without an update, eh? Well, it’s not for lack of trying, mind. Truth be told, there’s a lot to unpack, so here goes… It all started with a letter.

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