Festivus For the Rest of Us

It was a Festivus Miracle!  I created a Festivus pole for the holiday season and presented it as a gift to a relative.  Check it out:

Festivus stand and cap printed on Prusa i3 MK2, 0.2 mm layer height, 20% infill with clear PLA material.  Requires the purchase of a “6061 T6 Seamless Aluminum Round Straight Tubing, 16 Gauge, 1′ Length, 1″ OD, 0.065″ Wall Thickness” pole.  This can be found online or at metal shops.

Download the Festivus Pole and Cap off of Thingiverse and have a Happy Festivus.

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When 3D Prints Go Wrong

I’ve printed my share of things using my 3D printers and sometimes they work out and sometimes they don’t.  The toughest ones are the ones that take a long time to print then go wrong in some way.  A while back I was printing the T-Rex Skull from Thingiverse and the part separated from the build plate on hour 11 of a 13 hour print:


This T-Rex Skull printed on Prusa i3 MK2, design scaled up 200%, 0.2 mm layer height, 20% infill, clear PLA material.  The print was going well until the snout.  The firmware on the Prusa at the time was an older version, I could hear the extruder scrape across the model after each infill layer but I didn’t give it much thought until it separated from the build place.  Luckily I was home and stopped the print soon after it went wrong.  To resolve the issue, I updated the Prusa firmware and started the print again and issue was resolved:


3D print the accompanying T-Rex Jaw and here they are:


T-Rex jaw printed on Prusa i3 MK2, design scaled up 200%, 0.2 mm layer height, 20% infill, black PLA material.  Build time ~13 hours.  The material is quite reflective and it has a smooth feel to the touch.  I might add that the lighting looks great in some of these pictures.

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Dymaxion Map (Fuller Projection)

I read an article by Galvin Smith on creating a Dymaxion Globe (Fuller Projection):
Laser Cut Dymaxion Globe

Behold! Globe-tastic:

This design was a challenge. I originally downloaded the SVG file from Thingiverse and uploaded it to Ponoko. Only to have them reject it because it didn’t use the correct colors. Updated the colors, resubmit … and … Success! (Laugh) Wait two weeks, get the design back only to find the pucks I had planed on using to hold the map together were too large. (Sad trombone) Updating the map changed it size. I had to design new pucks to fit the smaller design.

Six items are needed to make this design:
A) Laser print the Dymaxion Map (Fuller Projection) at Ponoko:
Dymaxion Map (Fuller Projection) at Ponoko
Note: This is a free design for users to laser cut at their own cost.  The design contains two complete maps.

B) 12 pieces of this puck are required for each globe:
Dymaxion Map (Fuller Projection) Puck

C) 60 pieces of “M2X12” screws. The screws shown in the pictures are “M2X12 Phillips Pan Head Machine Screw Stainless Steel A2” type. These can be purchased at hardware stores or online.

D) 60 pieces of “M2X.4” Hex nuts. The hex nuts shown in the picture are “M2X.4 Hex Nut Stainless Steel A2” type. These can also be purchased at hardware stores or online.

E) Small Phillips screwdriver. This can be purchased at hardware stores or online.

F) Lots and lots of patience.

The assembly is difficult due to the small parts and the ever smaller opening to work with as the globe is assembled. I recommend that for the last few panels to be assembled, the user tapes the hex nuts to the bottom of the puck to assist in the final assembly.

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Desktop Paperclip Caddy (Three Types)

I’ve done lots of work in 3D printing over the years and I found I needed something on my desk to hold SD cards, paperclips or other miscellaneous needed items that I have to have handy and need to put in one convenient place.

Behold!  Paperclip Caddies!

Each model took ~4 hours to extrude with my Prusa MK2, layer height of 0.2mm, infill 20%, no rafts or supports.  Printed with clear PLA material.

I’ve shared the designs on Thingiverse: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2054964

Feel free to download, 3d print and enjoy!

I designed all  three models using Autodesk Inventor.  All of them are in essence the same design.  The three bin model is the base for the entire design, to generate the two and one bin models in Autodesk Inventor the user only needs to delete the extra features.

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Android Lollipop 5.1.1 built from scratch

Its that time of year again.  Another fresh build straight off the VM machine.  Check it:

AOSP Lollipop 5.1.1 screengrab

AOSP Lollipop 5.1.1 screengrab

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RGB LED Controller and Node: Part 2 – Electronic Parts and PCB Hardware

Here is part 2 where I show off the parts and PCB for the RGB LED Project:

Here are some additional pictures:

I designed the PCB (printed circuit board) using Eagle CAD. I don’t own a reflow oven so its all hand soldiered using through hole parts.

The controller and node make use of the Atmel’s ATmega328p for their microprocessors. Both are running at 8 mHz. I added space on the PCB for a crystal but the software runs fine at 8 mHz. (Shrug) The Controller and Node communicate with each other using Digi International XBee modules. The ATmega328p and XBees are powered at 3.3 volts.   Power is provided by either a nine volt battery or an external power supply through the DC barrel jack.

I program the nodes using an AVR Dragon. This is the best tool around for AVRs. It supports serial/parallel/high voltage programming.  Its been a lifesaver.  I’ve screwed up  the fuse settings in development and with some quick wiring the AVR Dragon can do high voltage programming and recover the chip. Best investment EVER! (Laugh)

The parts are all through hole, I order them mostly through Digikey. There’s an art to picking parts. I don’t know if I’ve mastered it yet. (Laugh) I order 10 of these or 20 of those and I get the oddest shaped packages in the mail. Most of these parts were meant to be fed into pick and place machines so they come in “tube” packaging and they have to put it in a box  that wont fold, spindle or mutilate the contents.  Its interesting to see what shape box I’ll get in the mail.

I hope you enjoyed this video. This is part 2 in a series where I will talk about the RGB LED Controller and Node Project.

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RGB LED Controller and Node: Part 1 – Hardware and Software Demo

Here is a project I’ve been working on for a while. It is a RGB LED Controller and Node. Here is a short demo of the finished product:

This was a challenging project to put together.  The goal of this product is to adjust the color of a RGB LED remotely using a controller.  As you can see from the video I believe I’ve succeeded.  This is the first video in a series.  I will go through the software, hardware and enclosure aspects of this product in addition I will discuss what went right and what went wrong and future plans.  I hope you will watch and enjoy the videos.

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