The smell of plastic and ideas hung in the air…

This past Saturday I went to a meetup of 3D printer owners, users, enthusiasts, and folks who are just plain interested in the topic. The event was put on by Make:Seattle/Eastside and took place at the awesome StudentRND facilities. The meetup was a special one because it brought together a varied range of 3D printers so that people could get a first-hand, up-close look at different makes and models, learn about pros/cons of each, and share in a wealth of experiences. And to see the Rostock delta robot printer. 😉

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Back to where we began

After getting settled in our rental home in Redmond, it was nice to be able to get my Thing-o-Matic out of it’s Pelican case and set up to print some fun things. But as I started to get things rolling, something just wasn’t right. Perhaps it was the software update I did to the latest ReplicatorG; perhaps something physically shook loose in transit. I had a pressing need to use my 3D printer, but couldn’t. What to do?

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An age of optimism. Again.

It is often said that the Art Deco period was an expression of optimism through design; clean lines, simple forms, smooth sophistication, pushing towards a brighter future. Whether or not that’s true, I like it; both in design and philosophy. It’s starting to show.

It’s probably more directly due to spending this weekend in antique stores in Bellingham and Anacortes, but when I sat down to make a new base for one of my wife’s IKEA lamps today, I ended up with a really cool design for something so incredibly boring.

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Now there’s fun to be had!

Finally! After a month in cramped temporary housing, we’ve settled into a nice rental house in Redmond, Washington where I can once again begin my 3D printing journey. I even have a dedicated space in the garage for leaving my Thing-o-Matic set up! Yay!

Over the past month I’ve been amazed and inspired by the landscape, flora, and fauna of the Pacific Northwest; this place is definitely having an impact on how I look at the design of everything. The driftwood above even reminds me of the sliced cardboard assemblies of 3D models. Of course the cool temperatures should also make for a better quality experience (both living and 3D printing) than the 100+ degrees in Austin. 🙂

Updates soon!

All boxed up, ready for launch

Rocket designed by Brooks Protzmann, printed on loaner Replicator.

Today was packing day. The packers called at 8am and said they were downstairs; we had not gotten the pre-pack call from the central office to warn us of their arrival time. Springing to action, we labelled some last minute areas as “pack” / “don’t pack”, herded cats, and made breakfast using up as much of the frozen breakfast items as possible. By 2pm the packers were walking out the door, leaving a trail of full boxes in their wake.

Thus marks the end of my 3D printing, and blogging, for a few weeks; next week is driving 2300 miles with a wife and four cats, and the delivery of all of our stuff is sometime the week after.

In the past several weeks of downtime:

  • I’ve been able to evaluate options in 3D modeling software with an eye towards 3D printing (Bonzai 3D is quite good, Cheetah 3D is a “no”);
  • design and 3D print a few versions of objects I needed to help gel some of my thoughts related to my new job;
  • work out that making hexagonal tubes that lock together while keeping constant thickness to all walls is near impossible with a 3D printer;
  • and make some minor repairs to my Thing-o-Matic.

Once I’m back up and running, I have a few concepts I’m going to 3D printing and writing about, and talk about options for my next 3D printer 😉

Bonzai 3D as replacement for SketchUp?

[ UPDATED 5/18/2012 – See Below ]

After the announcement of Google selling SketchUp to Trimble, there was talk (here, and here for starters) about what to do if SketchUp goes away (or at least the free version). I mentioned on one of the threads that I was going to look at Bonzai 3D (B3D) when I had a chance, and well, I’ve had a chance! I couldn’t find any first-hand use reports of B3D for making things for a Makerbot (or other at-home 3D printer) so I’d take a crack at putting something out there.

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Smart kids and 3D printers

Thanks to my co-worker Brooks, I had an opportunity to sit with my Thing-o-Matic and a loaner Replicator (thanks Makerbot!) at the ACE Academy Innovation Fair here in Austin yesterday. The Innovation Fair was kind-of like a normal school science fair, but included guest speakers, a proclamation from the mayor (officially it became “ACE Academy Innovation Day” yesterday), and more. Unlike normal science fairs where kids have dioramas of the earth’s layers, or maybe a hamster in a maze, these kids had exhibits like new, innovative forms of lightning rods for houses, cool robots, 3D LED matrix cubes, and a new type of “flame in a can” over which they were roasting marshmallows.

I knew the day was going to be awesome when as soon as we put the Replicator on the table, a tiny little girl (I say in the 6-year-old range – no lie) complete with plaid dress, bows in hair, and glittery shoes walks up and asks excitedly “Is that a 3D printer?” to which I, in shock, replied it was. “That’s so awesome! Well I’ll be back when you’re printing something.”

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Have you noticed that things have been quiet here for a few weeks. In May my wife and I will be moving from Austin, TX to Seattle, WA, and have been preparing for the move for a while now (though we still haven’t packed).

While I have been 3D printing things here or there, I’ve not had the opportunity to document as I normally would due to other, more pressing, matters. The lull in posts is simply a temporary thing; once we’re settled after the move there will be some fun new posts (and maybe even some new gear to talk about) 🙂

Moving on, city to city.

Blinded by the light (but not for long)

When you start work at frog, you are given your choice of computer type, desk type, and a selection of useful desk items, including a nice IKEA TERTIAL desk lamp with a nice, bright, CFL bulb. These lamps are great at illuminating your desk, but they also can cause pain to any coworker who happens to be on the wrong side of the shade.

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