Official video of Electro Tennis (with my Makerbot)

After my two recent posts discussing and sharing the things I 3D printed for the frog SXSWi opening party, frog released official videos of each of the installations. In the Electro Tennis video (embedded below) you can see my Makerbot toiling away in our workshop warehouse (it’s actually 3D printing a frog SXSW key chain, but never you mind that).

By the way, as I was being interviewed on-site, my Makerbot was in the background printing little finish-line flags I designed for the MAKE Magazine “MAKE” area at our party; there were bristlebot kits that we had routed out a race track for, but ended up not using. If you were there you may or may not have seen five of the intended six little flags laying about. I’m holding one of the flags in my gloved hands because it was cold outside and the print was warm.

You can see the rest of the frog SXSW 2012 videos here.

Change is a foot. A big, big foot.

Due to the recent purchase of Posterous by Twitter, I’ve decided to not worry about what was going to happen with the content on My Plastic Future and pre-emptively move to a different blog host.

I decided that I’d go with I could have put a WordPress implementation on one of my web hosts but I just wanted something easy and simple and not worry about maintenance (I just want to post!)

There will be some rough edges with images and previously linked-to articles, but I hope to get most things rectified as quickly as possible.

Time for vacation and looking ahead

I’m finally able to have enough time to take a vacation from work. This is my first real vacation in 2-1/2 years! I get to travel a fair amount with work (not that I love flying) so I’ve been able to get out of town more than my wife. So I’m taking her to a town I’ve been 4-5 times this summer — Seattle, WA. Land of not 110-degree days. Thankfully!

Between not printing last weekend and being gone the next two, it will be almost a month between my last print and next. Weird.

But… I already have plans for the next item — the results of a several week concept I’ve been working on in order to write both a blog post for work, as well as prepare a deck for trying to speak at conferences. I was going to apply to speak at the 3D printing conference in the Netherlands in October, but the timing was bad and I wasn’t sure I was going to be prepared enough. I’ll probably just get up on a soap box and espouse the virtues of home fabrication from the street corner.

I also have plans to switch to the MK7 extruder (in dual mode, of course) from MakerBot so as to use the water soluble PVA for support structures instead of the ABS; most everything I design needs support and going this route should make it easier to get cleaner prints (also due to the 1.75mm filament change). But first I have to use up all the 3mm filament I’ve got! That might also give MBI enough time to get 1.75mm PVA in stock. 😉

I leave you with some images from a fantastic rendering plug-in for SketchUp (and almost every other 3D software package) called Indigo. I used to use Indigo when it was alpha/beta and free to the public. It is certainly worth it as a paid product if you are using it professionally; I can’t afford the licensing to only use it here or there. The 30 day trial is enough to play with and see how far it has come since I last touched it (2007?). Good stuff. I didn’t let the images render to “completion”, but the state they are in was good enough for me to see it still rocks. I also didn’t work on any of the textures to try to make it look like printed plastic; this wouldn’t be difficult, but I’m just messing around.


This blog has its own domain now

I decided I should go ahead and buy the domain before some sleazy domain-squatter does. It also makes it easier to type as most people can’t get my last name right (a common problem).

So – will now bring you here!

I’ll leave you with a picture of my first two prints, and the item they replaced:


We’ve come so far so quickly little MakerBot. *sniff*

Alles klar, Herr MakerBot?

After leaving yesterday with a serious case of “grinding noises” and small bits of plastic filament in the extruder gear, I was anxious to return to the studio today after work and do a check-up on my Thing-o-Matic. I naturally worry that I destroyed it already; nothing new, it’s my way to worry incessantly and imagine things at their extreme.

I discovered that the front lexan plate on the extruder head was incredibly loose! (In hindsight, I really should have done a more thorough check when I opened the box instead of a cursory one). A quick tightening of all of the bolts, some mouth-air blown into the top to expel little plastic bits, a good oiling of all of the axis rods, and a cleaning of the kapton tape and all is good. A test extrusion worked without a hitch and we should be good to go for the next print (which sadly probably won’t be until next weekend due to a busy week ahead at work).

At least I can sleep tonight.

Close shave

Well, it was bound to happen, and on only the third day of printing I slammed the extruder head into the hot build plate! CRAP! Had to re-calibrate and all seems fine. Whew. On the plus side, I get really good “rafts” now (a plastic layer that allows for support structures to be built and in the end peels off the back of the print).

Was going to print two things today, but am only going to have time to do one: a robot bee pendant loosely based on a design by my wife (see: opticwaste link over there on the right). The first one was a little too small, and the second is a little too big. The finishing step is her taking the plastic piece and applying a leafing process; she already had some copper leaf, so that is our test. It looks really cool. Will post pictures later.

The second item was, ironically, a holder for a razor that would clip onto the wire-mesh baskets in the shower. Yup – Mundane Object Number 3. I will probably end up printing that tomorrow. My first two pieces that need to be assembled print. Yay.