Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Look Ma, New Feet!

my replacement foot (in white) next to an original (in black)
Update3: The store for these feet and my upgraded feet for Ikea Gilbert Chairs is over here.

Update2: look at the bottom of this post - due to popular demand, we're now selling these!

Update: thanks to Ikea Hacker for the love!

I was refinishing a six Ikea Gilbert chairs with fresh paint and polycrylic when I noticed that I was missing a few feet - they must have popped off over the years.

I went to my local Ikea, but they don't sell these chairs anymore, so the replacement parts are sadly no longer available! ...until I created a 3D model and printed up a batch of fresh chair feet.

They are a little tighter than the originals, which I'm hoping means that the replacements will be less prone to popping off.

Next, I need to paint the replacement feet with a touch of black paint.  ... or, one could just print them in black ABS, or go for a splash of color instead.

I published the design to YouMagine (an object design repository) for anyone else who wants to repair these awesome modern chairs.

Purchase these chair feet right over here!

Monday, October 21, 2013

7661 miles in 5 days

As I mentioned earlier, I recently purchased a FlashForge Creator 3D Printer.

I believe this is the most under-reported story in the 3D printing world - a Chinese company picked up an abandoned open source design, made changes, simplifications, and improvements, and their printer has been amongst the best selling 3D Printers on Amazon for months - it's currently ranked #2 (behind the $299 printrbot Simple DIY kit) and is holding a five star review average - out of 81 reviews!

This story's not all sunshine and rainbows - The FlashForge company doesn't appear to respect the original design's Creative Commons Attribution / Share-Alike licensing.  I don't see anything other than a vague "based on open source" mention in their documentation, and there are reports that they consider their design files "confidential." So they're not attributing or sharing alike. This is pretty silly considering that their printer really is a Replicator - the changes they made are pretty easy to spot on a side-by-side comparison, and some branding aside, my printer does look startlingly similar to the original Replicator Dual.

Maybe a year ago this would have bothered me, but a lot has happened since then - MakerBot abandoned this design, chose to go closed source, and join Shapeways.  Now FlashForge is the only company manufacturing this design, so if you want it, they're the only people making it.

Here are my impressions after using the FlashForge for a few days:
So far the experience has been really promising - 5 days after ordering the printer, it was at my house. Compared to most other competing 3D printers, this is amazing - a three+ week lead time is completely normal in this sector of the market.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pasta Sauce

As the nights get quickly longer and winter approaches, our once prolific tomato plant is still putting out a valiant effort.  At its peak, it was putting out more than two pints of fruit a day, but we're now down to a pint every other day.

As a way to keep the taste of fresh tomatoes around a little longer, we make a simple (and low effort) pasta sauce:

  • tomatoes
  • olive oil (extra virgin, if possible)
  • garlic
  • salt
  • red pepper flakes
  • whatever herbs you have - parsley, basil, marjoram, etc

  1. Wash and add tomatoes directly to your pot with a good glug of oil (a tablespoon or so?)
  2. Turn fire to high, cover, and wander off to chop the garlic
  3. Give the tomatoes a stir and see the skins start to come off and release juice into the bottom. Add the chopped garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. 
  4. If your herbs are dried, add them now (if they're fresh, add them at the end).
  5. Once the majority of the tomatoes have split and begun shedding their skins, mash them up with a wooden spoon and leave everything on high for a few more minutes.
  6. If you have them, add fresh herbs now. Turn down the heat and using a stick blender, puree the sauce completely. Check the sauce to see if it needs more seasoning one last time.
  7. Pour into a clean jar and cap (or use immediately). 
 If kept sealed and refrigerated, your sauce should last until the zombie apocalypse, or the singularity, whichever comes first.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Oh, the things I will make

As mentioned earlier, I'm buying a new thing.

Ok, so the printer has been ordered and I'm excited for it to arrive - I've been looking through the FlashForge Google Group and Thingiverse to see what modifications are recommended and/or necessary.

I have a running list of possible augmentations sitting over here.

As I actually do them, I'll post right here on this little blog.

Things I'm going to do in the short term:
Things I may do after testing to see if they're necessary:

Things I'll do because they look cool:
photo:  thing 119814: REplicator 1 X-Axis Cable Support Chain by Thingiverse user GeraldO

Monday, October 7, 2013

FlashForge Creator

So I've made the decision to get a FlashForge Creator (FFC), a Chinese made printer based on the MakerBot Replicator 1's open source files.

My history with 3D printers:
I've been involved with 3D printers off and on since 2008 when I purchased a set of RepRap Darwin electronics and parts and joined a local group interested in a collaborative assembly of a Mendel printer. That build didn't go so well. With a roomful of excited engineers, we were unable to get the thing to get together reliably.  After a few months of meetings, we eventually gave up even having a square frame, though most of the electronics did work.

In 2010, I successfully assembled a RepRap Mendel Prusa printer with the help of a lot of friends at my local hackerspace.  That printer was used to make several child printers.

In early 2013, I decided to try building a more modern printer for my prototyping and design business, but eventually got frustrated and decided to sell the printer I built when I realized that I need a functioning printer, not a 3D printer project.

I've also used several other printers through friends and hackerspaces - MakerBot Replicator 1 and 2, ORDBot Hadron and Quantum, Rostock Maxes, SeeMe CNC's AO-101, Up!Mini and more.

So I decided to get a commercial desktop printer.  After doing a lot of research and assessing what I want, I'm going with the FlashForge Creator.

I chose the FFC because:
  • I want a filament deposition printer, not a laser & resin or powder style printer (though I may purchase a Peachy Printer kit too)
  • I don't want a black box closed source printer (though the UP!Mini and Afinia H are really nice)
  • I want to be able to use open source toolchains and/or experimental materials if I want to, but be able to use polished tools when I need them
  • I'm not scared of a little DIY and I'd also like a printer I'm not scared to DIY on
  • It's a proven design with lots of users (if you count the MB Replicator 1 crowd)
  • It has dual extrusion if I want to go down that path
  • For the money, I don't see any other printer in its class
Next steps:
I'm writing this on Saturday (to publish on Monday). I'll be purchasing the printer this weekend, so delivery will be about a week or two from today (apparently the printer has already shipped, so I may be tracking it obsessively).

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hello, World

Welcome! This will be a record of the various projects and creative things I work on.

I'll be posting at an irregular pace.

A little about me:
I'm an engineer with industrial/product design aspirations.  I'm a fair hand at electronic, enclosure, and a little graphic and 3D design.