Downtown Columbia Mini Maker Faire

I went to the maker faire today.  Definitely a different environment from one of the bigger maker faires, and felt more casual (and comfortable).  Also kinda nice that with it being outside I got to enjoy some fresh autumn air.

Here are some of the people I came across and chatted with while I was there:

Tech Changers  www.techchangers.org

  • As I recall they teach various tech-related subjects in schools.

Sayakat Cosplay www.sayakatcosplay.com

  • A cosplayer who demonstrated some of the techniques for making cosplay armor with foam and a heat gun.

Turta LLC turta.io

  • A group that was showing a variety of Raspberry Pi hats.

ChocolateFrogs ChocolateFrogs Flickr

  • LEGO designs!  I particularly enjoyed the Stargate gateroom with Jaffa fighting SG-1.  Also, the 11th Doctor with Finn’s face, from Adventure Time.  And THE DREAD GAZEEBO!

Digital Harbor Foundation’s 3D Print Shop www.digitalharbor.org/printshop

  • A youth operated 3d printing shop.  Neat.

Rebel Legion www.rebellegion.com

  • Star Wars cosplayers.  There was a woman dressed in a well-made Rey costume, multiple lightsabers, and a guy in a really elaborate cosplay of Baze Malbus, complete with 3d printed heavy repeater cannon!

MoCo Makers www.mocomakers.com

  • These guys had some interesting stuff, including a few kickstarters they were running.  Some things that caught my attention were that they had some chips made at one point, and they had a cool display program running that changed live camera footage into outlines in an image.

Circuit Breaker Labs CircuitBreakerLabs Etsy

  • This shop makes jewelry from circuit boards.  I thought this one was particularly appropriate for the technomancer theme.
  • I got this cool necklace from this group.20191013_204010

PROJECT UPDATE 10/11/19: Test Assembly For Maker Faire

Soooo…. I need to check the Maker Faire website more frequently.  This past Sunday I was looking to see if there were any maker faires coming up at any point in the relatively near future.  Only one I saw… this upcoming Sunday!  It’s the Downtown Columbia Mini Maker Faire, in Columbia, Maryland.  Nothing else shows up on the map in my area right now, so it’s this or nothing for a while.

Enter panic mode.

I need to network and meet others in the hobby, so I’m definitely going.  I think it’d be better for conversations if I had something to show… but the only thing I had going on at the moment is the keytar project, and it’s not gonna be finished for a couple more weeks.  I’m waiting on my logo decal and I need a Saturday or Sunday morning to epoxy the greeblies and let it set for most of the day outside so I don’t fill my home with fumes.  Then letting it set, priming/painting, decals, and another few rounds of painting with clear layers.

Buuuut, I figured I could get it assembled (I had to quickly order some more parts) and have an early version of it on hand as a demonstration of what I do.  So that’s what I’ve been busy doing.

I went ahead and remade a couple of pieces to fix a couple of things I wasn’t happy with and add a grip to grab the keyboard more easily.  I also sanded and wiped down all the plastic parts I’m planning on painting, since I had already started the process.

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Here’s a new reference photo for the retaining nuts, by the way.

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I assembled as much as I could, waiting on the other parts to come in before dealing with the inevitable cabling issues.  I forgot how many little components needed to be added back in from the original keytar!  I had to go tracking them down from the various containers I had put them in.  I had forgotten about this thing and the button associated with it.

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Exterior

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Interior

This piece right here still needed some holes drilled and unnecessary parts trimmed off.

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The screw assortment was a LIFESAVER!  DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS SORT OF BUILD WITHOUT IT!  I kept finding out that the screws that had worked previously didn’t always work the best, or interfered with changes that had been made since their original fitting.

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I ordered a belt amp and matching audio cable to connect to the keytar to continue the whole “decker disguised as a rocker” motif.

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As some of you probably see coming, I forgot that those cables use a much larger connector.

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Facepalm

Amaz… I mean technosummoning to the rescue!  I ordered an adapter.  I checked to make sure it works by playing the Ghostbusters theme on my phone.  Works great!  Now I just have to figure out how to get comfortable with the other settings on the amp.

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I’ve designed and printed a sleeve to interface the adapter into the case through the big hole that until now served no purpose on the case.

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For now I’m using a dab of hot glue to hold it in place.  I think I can remove it later for the paint job.  First time I’m actually using this particular hot glue gun.  Anyway, a bunch of tape, command strips, and screws later, I finished getting this assembled.

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Exterior

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Interior

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IT’S ALIVE!!!

Turns out this thing is heftier than I expected.  Main thing I’m trying to figure out I’m going to carry this while walking around.  It appears that the way the strap is mounted, if I just try to rotate the sling to the back the load directions change and cause the strap to slip off the knobs.  This might have to ride slung under my arm this trip.  Maybe later I can figure out a better way to carry it.  Right now I’m just hoping it doesn’t rain, because PLA can absorb water a bit, and the case overall isn’t sealed.

Anyway, I’ve got it put together, I’ve tested it with some music on the belt amp, and I’m trying to get everything together for going to a maker faire (maker coins, additional accessories, etc).  But at least I have something more to show than just claiming I do some 3D printing.  I hope to meet people at the faire, make some contacts, and maybe get some suggestions on how to solve a couple issues.

 

In other news:

I felt I needed another thing to have on display regarding 3D printing, and since I don’t have a booth of my own it needed to also be wearable.  Well… when I was thinking about it, I was watching Extreme Ghostbusters episodes, so I decided to make a miniature of the ghost trap Kylie wears on the back of her armor.

I didn’t see one on Thingiverse, so I decided to design one from scratch on Autodesk Fusion360.  Then I had to do a bit of splicing of files for the twist lock and belt clip.  It was supposed to come off easily for handing to people to look at, but it fits a bit too snugly and I don’t really have the time to adjust the connector.

Here’s the result:

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Note, the parts for the connection are combined from other files, and they will be noted as such in the final Thingiverse entries.

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So, yeah, now I have something I can have on me to hand people to look at if they have questions or want an example.  And for any other Ghostbusters fans, I know some people are gonna disagree with the layout of the feet on the trap, but as an engineer looking at the reference picture I had, this is how they appeared to be laid out.  Three feet and a handle spread out as if there are 4 feet.

Project Update 09/30/19: Keytar Tray

This past weekend I finally drilled the holes and test fit the screws into the nuts hidden inside the backs of all the tray mount pieces.  Here’s how I have those concealed.

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Retaining nuts

The screw hole is premade into the model, and there is a corresponding slot for the nut to slide into.  The slot is shaped to prevent it from turning.  With all these bits installed, here’s the keyboard held in it’s tray for ease of access to the inside of the case.

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Keyboard in tray… finally

For reference, here’s what the backside of some of the pieces look like.  The groove at the bottom is to match the screws that punch through for the hinges.  You can also see a couple of the screw holes.  I was gonna show more… but I really don’t feel like disassembling the whole tray right now.

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A couple of these holes weren’t centered quite correctly, but conveniently I was able to gently carve out the holes in the direction I needed to shift them with my 3D printing chisels.  Well… except apparently I misaligned one of the holes within a 3D printed component with the retaining nut slot, but the piece seems on solidly enough without it.  If I care enough to later I will fix the model and replace the component.  The way I’ve designed it I can replace individual parts later.

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The back of the tray with my adjustment marks.

Turns out I was still missing some screws earlier this week, and I got fed up with getting screws piecemeal when I’m always using #6-32 machine screws.  So, through great technomancy (Amazon) I summoned this kit.  It’s got everything I could possibly need in #6-32 machine screws.

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I’m sorry Home Depot, but we’re not exclusive

I also tried yet again to fix the underpower issue with the Pi itself.  I ordered this battery, and a cable with inline switch that is specifically supposed to be for a Raspberry Pi.  For a little while it seemed to work… and then I started seeing that annoying lightning bolt again.  This battery is supposed to have smart output of 5V and up to 3.1A (depending on what is attached), but it still showed a power warning.  For reference, a Pi is supposed to use 5V and 2.5A.  It may be because I had another peripheral (a thumb drive) installed at the time.

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New Battery

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New Cable

In the middle of editing this, while taking photos, I noticed this on the back.

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D’oh!  This appears to have a 2.4A limit per port like some of the others.

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Anywaaay, I’m gonna keep tweaking this thing, and see if it has something to do with a USB drive being plugged in or a change I made in the OS a while back that was supposed to use more onboard memory on the Pi rather than on the SD card.

Wish me luck!  Or, better yet, if you have any suggestions on mobile power supplies for Raspberry Pis (that don’t involve adding a hat inside the semi-sealed case of the Pi), please let me know.

 

In other news:

Still playing through Borderlands 3 as Moze.  Kinda hard to say no to having my own mech.  I bet you can guess my main in Overwatch back when I played.

I think my filament spool had a couple discontinuities in it.  I was trying to do a long print overnight this week, and this was the result.

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No power of Greyskull.  I am le sad.

I assumed that the filament had tangled and snapped.  When I went to unsnag the spool of filament… I found this:

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A segment of filament that was disconnected on both ends.  Makes me wonder if I had a faulty spool and just hadn’t come across the break in the section yet.

 

Side lessons:

Don’t ever get attached to a character in Dungeon Crawl Classics, they will die unexpectedly.  And I’m not just talking the level 0s you would expect to die.  I think I’m gonna adopt the Goblin Slayer Abridged method in the future.

NO NAMES

PROJECT UPDATE 09/25/19: The Return of the Keytar

Okay, so it’s been a while since I had made some progress on my keytar cyberdeck build, mostly because my 3D printer had broken down and I had to send it in for replacement.  As seen in last week’s post, I have the printer back and I was testing it out with some other prints that I’d been wanting to do.

This week I’ve printed the remaining components for the tray mount, most of which had been waiting on the SD card already.  Except that bottom middle piece…. I had to shave 2.53 millimeters off of the model, re-export, re-slice, and re-print it.  Oh well, more experience in modifying parts in Fusion 360.  I’ve been learning a lot about that program while using it… including that it sucks when they run an update to change the interface at inopportune times!

To make sure the finish quality was as good as possible I printed these parts at the same settings I used for printing miniatures.  Takes longer, but it was higher density, thinner layers, etc.

Now I’ve got to figure out how I want to measure where to drill the holes, then continue the litany of things to do (order more stickers, redesign the power system, prime, sand,  sticker, clear coat, matte coat, assemble).

By the way, if anyone happens to be interested in looking at the models, I’ve posted them on thingiverse here with a really lengthy name:
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3880609

I should note that these files would need tweaking if anybody else were to print these.  The tolerances make the connecting bits fit loosely.  They’re more like guidelines to help get the parts where they need to be, but not a solid fit.  By the time I realized it I was very much not interested in going through every connection point and adjusting.  I’ll add that to my mental lessons learned folder: design test fit parts for the connections before going into full production mode.  Just make the connection you are trying to test and a bit of material to be able to handle it for testing.

New Logo/Maker Coin

So, if anyone’s been paying attention, I’ve created a new logo for this site, based on a new maker coin that I designed.

For a brief explanation/history of these, here’s the guy who came up with them.

Video made by Maker’s Muse, please support his videos

It’s an object you can use as the equivalent of a filament swatch and to show people what 3D printing can make.  It’s helpful as a “1 standard print” for testing filaments, printer calibration, and slicer settings.

I thought it was about time that I made one of my own.  Then, through some manipulation in a couple programs, I converted it into a logo.  I think the symbolism is kinda obvious.  Technology + magic + a medieval wooden door = Technomancer’s Sanctum.

If you want to print one of your own, you can find it on Thingiverse here:

Technomancer’s Sanctum Maker Coin

This one I printed (in two pieces) on my replacement 3D printer, which finally arrived today!  Seems to work pretty well.  The parts printed fine on the first attempt, and the center door pressfit solidly into the coin!

 

In other news:

Borderlands 3 came out last week, so I’ve been playing that over the weekend, and having a blast.  I’m playing as Moze, so when the fecal matter hits the cooling unit I can jump into my mech and lay waste to my foes!  Still… in the words of the greenskins… NEED MOAR DAKKA!  I’m gonna have to see if I can fire more bullets per second.  I’m playing a gunner, after all.

I have business cards now!  I got tired of trying to find a scrap of paper to write down the web address for my blog when I get questions about my hobbies, so I’m now carrying some business cards wherever I go.  It should make it much easier to get the word out.

Concrete 3D Printing: Printable House

So, this has been one of my favorite topics of conversation related to 3D printing for a while… yet I don’t think I’ve ever discussed it here on my blog.  Go figure.

Anyway, in recent years multiple companies have been pursuing making 3D printers that use concrete to print custom houses.  Using 3D printing techniques, houses can theoretically be built quickly, inexpensively, and incorporate shapes (especially curves) that would be difficult and/or expensive to build using traditional methods.

Here’s one that I always liked looking at as kind of a touchstone:

https://www.businessinsider.com/house-built-one-day-apis-cor-2017-3

A company called Apis Cor, a collaboration between US and Russian businesses, built a tiny house with a fraction the time of a similarly sized house.  Less than $11,000 worth of materials, the house was printed and fitted out within a day, as compared to spending months to build a do it yourself house for a similar price.

This kind of speed and customization gives me all sorts of ideas for what could be done with housing in the future, though I’d rather not share some of them here (I can’t give away all my ideas for free)!  I’d love to own/run a company that uses these machines to build custom homes for people, though I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

I’m hoping that by the time I get around to build a house of my own one day, that I’ll be able to get one of these 3D printers to come in, if only to make a cool workshop (I doubt I’d be allowed to build the house that way).  What I’d really like to do is have one of these printers of my own, and when it’s not being used to print houses for other people, print a bunch of test designs on a large plot of land.  I’d see what kinds of crazy structures I could make, and maybe get people to use the property as a location for some scifi shows!

 

For further reading, here are a few links to articles on the subject of 3D printed concrete homes:

https://www.businessinsider.com/house-built-one-day-apis-cor-2017-3

https://all3dp.com/2/concrete-3d-printing-how-to-do-it-and-application/

https://www.sculpteo.com/blog/2018/01/03/concrete-3d-printer-the-new-challenge-of-the-construction-business/

https://www.aniwaa.com/house-3d-printer-construction/

World of Warcraft – Classic

I, like a number of gamers, decided to give WoW classic a shot.  If you’re interested in meeting up with me, I’m a dwarf named Odrek on the Atiesh server.  Those who know my gaming history know that Odrek is my dwarf fighter who has been around in 1st and 5th editions of Dungeons and Dragons, and I thought it appropriate to add another world to his slowly growing multiverse.

The graphics may be old, and some of the gameplay clunky, but I’m finding it rather charming at the moment, with a decent amount of verisimilitude with regards to the distances one would travel in such a world.

I don’t know why, but I’ve always enjoyed the process of levelling up a character, perhaps moreso than playing an endgame character at times.  While I’m making the climb, I have goals to strive towards.  New skills and armor tiers to unlock!

Since I was spending so much time walking in-game, I was considering hooking my VR treadmill up to it, so I’d get some exercise alongside my character.  I could really go for a VR interface in this game!  I love the feel and art style.  I mentioned this to the devs in the forums, and they said it would be questionable whether such an activity would get my account banned, and I’d much rather not have that happen, so I haven’t got that hooked up.
Anyway, back to the level grind!
FOR THE ALLIANCE!

General Updates:

I’ve sent my 3D printer in for replacement, finally!  Looking forward to getting back to work on the keytar and some other stuff that’s been queueing up.

I’ve ordered business cards, so I won’t have to keep writing down the contact info on bits of paper anymore!  I’ll try to keep some handy, as I keep running across people who perk up when I mention that I do 3D printing, especially in conjunction with tabletop gaming.

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