Updates and Maker Faires

I noticed that through all of the tinkering, learning, and sciencing that has been going on as of late, I have been derelict in my duty to update this blog. Since the error of my ways is now explicit, here is a pulp fiction style fire hose of all of the “things” that have been going over the last few weeks. Skip the topics that don’t appeal to your interest. ❤

3D Printing: The good folks over at Anycubic 3D printing managed to find an extra Kossel printer lying around their warehouses and offered to send me the unit to test and write about. Naturally, I took them up on the offer. I’ve spent the last few days working with Jack to assemble the nuts, bolts and carbon fiber bits into a machine that is straight out of science fiction. Unlike the standard Cartesian printers, a kossel printer has a Bowden extruder extended from three motion arms. Apparently there is a lengthy list of advantages and disadvantages associated with kossel printers, which, I cannot wait to confirm or deny.  Since the Arduino based board is the same the as my I3 printer, I don’t anticipate any issues putting this monster to the test.

Moving on from the R&D side of printing, I am still steadily printing out “needed” items for around the house, though my need to update firmware, drivers, and other software caused me to switch from a legacy version of slicing software to a newer, shinier, stronger version of “Repetier”. I have not been able to get the same quality of print since. Newer software brings more variables to tweak, which means murphy has more ways to get his gremlin hands on my efforts. I really like the options available in Repetier, so I have no choice but to slog through the process of figuring out new software. I’ll post detailed findings on this in a future blog.

Fusion 360: Speaking of slogging through new software, I have to admit that my progress working with Fusion 360 CAD design has stalled mid flight. The last effort I made on this program was to design and then print a desktop base for a kinect camera, which strangely enough, functioned as designed. If anything, this should have motivated me to continue my efforts in Fusion 360 design… but then Game Maker Studio 2 was released.

Game Maker Studio: I’ve been beta testing this integrated development environment (IDE) since YoYo games developed the first iteration of their product. I prioritized game development and coding over other endeavors due to us deciding to homeschool Jack next year. He loves video games (Starcraft, Star Wars Battlefront, etc) and has continually expressed a desire to develop his own games, so, why not get him started on doing so at the age of 7? Game design integrates well with all other lessons for his age: reading, writing, mathematics and can even be expanded to include business and marketing. His little head can dream up some pretty creative ideas, and offering another medium to express those ideas cannot be a bad thing. If I can only convince the wife to develop her 2-D artist and animation skills, we might actually have a viable shot at being an Indy game studio.

Podcasting: We did it! we managed to gather a panel and talk about the military and STEM related topics. After spending 8 hours editing the damn thing using Adobe Audition, I realized that having the capability to isolate burps, chewing, umms, ahhs, and even a train, does not necessarily mean that I have the skills to do so effectively. I should have known this was the case after having the same experience with every single project I undertake in this maker world. Oh well, practice, practice, practice. We did manage to salvage a cobbled together episode that was soft launched a few weeks ago, and we are scheduled to record another episode (this time using push to talk) this weekend. We are still trying to work through a format, and what kind of discussions we are going to have; to me, this is part of the fun.

Website: The website has gone through three iterations of theme changing, and graphic design. What currently exists, is what I think I will stick with, less I be the coder that continually scraps perfectly good code in a chase for perfection. I used an artist on Fiverr to come up with the “construction grade” basis for the webpage (and for the Twitch and Youtube channels) and am quite pleased with how it turned out. If you like what you see, please leave some feedback.

Maker Faire: The NoVA Maker Faire is tomorrow. Need I say more?


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