I am finally at the lake to test ride the red r/c boat that I finished putting together this morning. It's gloomy and the lake is a little bumpy from the Memorial Day weekend boating traffic but I am getting this boat in the water shortly!
I can't be up here at Allatoona around lunch time without a fresh sandwich... so let me start with this!
Here is what we look like after ripping through two LiPo batteries! All went well so I didn't have to jump in and swim to the rescue (I was prepared though)! The boat is sealed with this cover and gets cooled by water. The intake is underneath at the back, then goes through the ESC (Electronic Speed Controller), then through the motor, then out of the boat (shown by a blue arrow).
I wish I had done more 3D scanning this year... but in any case here is Henry and Grady!!
I am almost done rebuilding the red r/c boat! I didn't expect to spend that much time doing this but it is kind of tricky putting all the electronics back in with limited space. As with everything r/c, you have to get all components placed properly and configured perfectly to have the best fun! A few more steps to the lake...
R/C boat season is here! Since one of my boats fried last summer which seriously impaired the look of the shell, I decided to gut it out and repaint the body. I used my airbrush and the result turned out great and it was fun to do! Next up... put all components back inside the hull and take it to the lake for a test ride.
Some stickers and homemade decals of course! I sealed everything with a coat of Rust-Oleum Gloss Clear spray.
After several coats of red.
I have been going to the USA BMX Dixieland Nationals for years. It is a yearly event and I enjoy going to watch, take pictures, and hang out. This even surely has a different culture making it somewhat intriguing. The racers are grouped by ages from 3 to 45 years old.
The whole BMX park was rebuilt recently with a brand new track and facilities!
Some kids got serious air during the races.
The mob of racers lining up to the gate although there is a whole logistic and everyone seems to know when to line up. What are you looking at... I am more punk than you!
Here I am biking to the event, with a backpack for my camera and plenty of water for the ride. I can get food and more water at the park.
You better believe it! The place at which you are least likely to see me... a sport even! The opportunity presented itself and I had not yet seen the brand spanking new stadium so here I am... (waiting for my burger to cook). Henry said that he saw me on the jumbotron but I missed that.
I am not an expert but I felt that our seats were pretty good!
Apparently, 3D printers are not enough anymore... so here is a 3D pen!! I have not tried it yet but I think it will be awesome to use the 3D pen to add on to 3D printed objects or just to design a 3D object by hand. Just insert the plastic filament into the pen, push a button to heat the tip up, and you're ready to draw with plastic in thin air!!
Another mod for the Anet A2 printer... I added a MOSFET for the heated bed platform to improve heat dissipation and prevent those connectors on the main board from melting and catching on fire (like some other users experienced). I designed and printed a small holding platform for it that neatly attaches it to the printer's side below the main board.
Here we are at Piedmont Park in midtown for the annual Dogwood Festival! It's a beautiful afternoon, there are tons of people, and I love to see what all the artists are creating!
Another 3D printer? Yes... why not?!? This is the Anet A8 kit and also needs to be put together. My engineering crew did so well building the Anet A2 so I am very confident that this A8 challenge will be a success too!
Here are two 3D printed parts to improve the Anet A2 printer. The part on the left below is the second fan holder and shroud to cool down the printing plastic. The part on the right is used to tighten the X and Y axis belts. Those two mods should drastically improve the next print. Check back soon...
Building this kit was great but updating the firmware and installing the leveling probe was a pain. The firmware had to be updated because the original one did not allow for a leveling probe which I ordered as an add-on.
This first test print clearly shows that the stock printer needs some modifications to get better results. The circular shapes are deformed which is a belt tension problem, the gaps in the print are an under extrusion problem, and the stringing is an over temperature issue. Let's see what happens once those issues are addressed!
First test print after the firmware update and getting the leveling probe wired correctly. I also changed the tape on the platform with a sheet of PEI.
The chip highlighted is where the firmware had to be rewritten. The connector highlighted is the leveling probe which was wired brown/blue/black but had to be blue/brown/black in order to work. It took me some time to figure out the wiring issue which was not documented anywhere.
"Hello world" was today! Cable management just had to wait... as we were so eager to plug everything in and hoped for no smoke to come out. Once the screen lit up and no smoke came out, we immediately wanted things to heat up for plastic to ooze out of the hot end, which was a success!! We still need to configure everything before we test print anything.
A moment of happiness when plastic is smoothly extruding out!
We will take care of this cable madness soon...
When the weather is perfect and I absolutely need to get away from technology! The BMX track at the Wild Horse Creek Park is usually my turning point when I go biking. It is the perfect place to hangout, rehydrate, and socialize a bit before riding back. Such a great afternoon!
Less than a week into the build and we are a bit over half way there! The picture bellow is where we left off last Friday. Great job boys!!
Our first session went really well! We had a couple hiccups caused by the poor instructions and misleading English but I guess we will get used to that... It is so much fun and I can't wait for session two!!
Another 3D printer? Of course! This is the Anet A2 kit so it all needs to be put together and the build starts tomorrow. Grady and Henry will be joining in for this highly technical project! Legos to the extreme...
I finally had a chance to try this new Raptor PLA filament. Stronger than ABS, PETG, Co-Polyester Blends and even most Nylons with a tensile strength at over 6,000psi! It is FDA approved and dishwasher safe. It prints like regular PLA at a slightly higher temperature then you bake the printed object in the oven for 10 minutes to heat treat it.
Fun fact: I have purchased 37 boxes of bearings so far (more on order). The single boxes contain 8 bearings and the double ones 16. So a quick math equation reveals an astonishing amount of 296 bearings! Perhaps I should have bought some Bones Reds stocks...
And we are back up and running! The Ubis 13S hot end was not difficult to install and rewire but the calibration took me a while. After setting the precise distance it needs to be from the platform when printing, I kept getting jams. That means the plastic melts and gets stuck in the nozzle and the motor starts skipping because it cannot push the filament down the extruder anymore. Lowering the red insulation sock and fan took care of the problem. It has been printing for about 9 hours now with no issues!
Unless your company spends thousands of dollars a month at McMaster-Carr, you are not going to have the privilege of getting their catalog... McMaster-Carr is a company that specializes in materials and supplies of maintenance, repair and operations with over 555,000 products with a catalog of nearly 4,000 pages! Thanks Landon for hooking me up with one of these!!! Pure awesomeness!
Here is the replacement hot end extruder for the broken printer. This is the Ubis 13S hot end which is a newer and improved version from what the printer was running. I have to 3D print the fan holder before I can assemble everything. I am hoping to take care of this over the weekend and get that printer back and running soon! Yayyy!!
One of the printers is down. 3D printing almost around the clock certainly brings wear and tear of the machines and maintenance is an ongoing process. With a lot of very hot moving parts, something is going to "explode" (or get loose) once in a while. I have ordered the new hot end extruder model for that printer but it will be a bit of a pain to install because it has different connectors which will require rewiring the whole thing back to the controller located underneath. Ahh life is so difficult ;)
The craze continues but a change is in the mail... I have printed and put together around 200 spinners in one week and a half. Six different models and a few dozen colors to choose from. It's been a lot of fun but I can't have another week like this... ever :)
[Click on the picture above for full resolution]
I am certainly not the only one enjoying these spinners! Some people are going to be so happy to get theirs...
Fidget spinners are becoming more popular so I decided to start making some! I ordered a massive quantity of ball bearings but since I was so impatient to get started, I stopped by a local skate shop and picked up a box of Bones Reds.
A few spinners I have implemented so far.
A rendered picture of my first design prototype. It has steel ball inserts and looks very punk!
I am pretty happy with my first attempt at etching glass using a drag engraving bit spring loaded diamond. I bought a 16"x20" piece of glass at Home Depot to do some tests. This is my banner for my gervqc YouTube channel.
Final result shown with bookcase doors in the background to contrast the engraving.
CNC drag engraving bit spring loaded diamond. With a diameter of only 0.3mm.
I love getting new tools! I just got this one today called a feeler gauge which is used to measure gap widths or the clearance between two parts. Each blade is made out of steel and has a different thickness. This will be very useful to calibrate the Z-axis of my CNC machine. In other words, I will move the cutting bit let's say 30 millimeters up from the platform and calculate, using the feeler gauge, the gap between the 30mm and the bit (if any). I can then make changes in the software so the machine will precisely travel the distance it is supposed to. Machines are very cool but they need maintenance so they continue to perform well.
Wow is all I can say! This weekend was like summer in January. I went biking on the Silver Comet Trail both yesterday and this afternoon and had a great time!
The Science Night at Sarah Smith was a big success!! A huge thanks to Grady, Riley, and Viren for coming along and speaking so eloquently throughout the evening!
I have recently updated my phone to an iPhone 7. I was under the impression that the iPhone 6 and 7 were the same size but after comparing the dimensions on the Apple website, I realized that the new model is bigger by 0.2mm. That really isn't much but for a case, precise dimensions are crucial. So I modified the 3D model on the computer to reflect those dimensions and also made the camera hole bigger then added a few filets to round up some angles.
My first test print is the grey case. I didn't quite like the rectangle look of the camera hole so changed the property of the filets and reprinted in glow-in-the-dark blue just like my old one.
A snapshot of the 3D computer model.
Happy New Year to you all! I spent several hours rebuilding this mini quadcopter today. After a very bad crash that split the whole thing in half months ago, all parts had to be 3d printed again (click here if you don't remember). Since I just got a roll of grey filament, I printed everything the same color. This quad was originally red, then neon green, orange, and now version 4 in monochromic grey!
Fully built but I have not done a maiden flight yet because it has been raining all day...
All the 3d printed parts required for the build. From left to right: flight controller plate, top/camera plate, base plate with vibration dampeners inserted, skids, and arms.
I went biking at the Silver Comet with my friend Dylan this afternoon. I had not seen him in a while so it was great to hang out in this perfect weather! As I usually do, we went out several miles then branched off to the Wild Horse Trail which eventually ends next to the Powder Springs BMX track. What was bizarre about the Wild Horse Trail though was that someone had recently painted a different animal face on all 35 off-the-ground sewers! If you are ever biking on the Silver Comet Trail, I suggest that you check it out... it is a fun detour to take! I took a picture of a few of them. [edit: Congratulations to Grady for spotting one I had not seen! So there are 36 of them total]
A quick water stop on a high bridge to enjoy the views (Olley Creek).
That was the first one [we saw] on the trail.
We had to stop again for this one... great painting skills.
A few very bright birds along the way.
"All good things must come to an end" they say... I am back in Atlanta and had a blast at the "Lego party"! It should not come as a surprise to anybody that the first box set I picked was the "Black Gate" from "The Lord of the Rings" simply for its name and darkness! That box had 656 pieces and took me several hours to complete. It was not a competition but rather just a fun time while talking and being silly. Even after 2 days, there are still many sets untouched...
My friend from Lexington, KY called me up yesterday to invite me over for a Lego party after spending over $7,000! The idea of reconnecting with my inner child by indulging in days of Lego building really appealed to me so I drove up this morning! After helping him unbox everything, we had built a wall of about 70 box sets which we estimated to be around 50,000 pieces. Now if you would excuse me... let the fun begin!!!
[Click on the picture above for full resolution]
I finally had the time to take the second Printrbot printer apart to fix it and perform some maintenance. I could still print thin objects with it but once the extruder bridge would get to a certain height, the left side would continue to move up after each layer but the right side would get stuck. I removed the bottom and side panel to get a closer look at what was happening and found that a cylinder piece was loose (see the red arrows below). The cylinder had two set screws that were not tight enough to secure the Acme rod to the motor shaft so at a given point, the Acme rod would slip out and no longer turn with the motor. It's now fixed and recalibrated!
I had a great weekend, mostly just sitting at my computers! I had several design projects to finish up, web pages to update, invoices to complete, and updating my Tool Database in my CNC software. With the new milling bits I have received lately, the database was quickly becoming disorganized and difficult to navigate. I took the time to reorganize and enter all specs for each bit... while listening to music of course! Oh and if you didn't know this about me, I hate the imperial system and love everything metric! Fun fact: There are only 3 countries in the world that are still officially using the imperial units (Liberia, Myanmar, and the United States of America)...
I am so happy to be done making and installing a leveling probe for the Z axis of my machine! What I had to do until now was to use the computer to manually lower the router, little by little, until the bit barely touched the surface to be carved then set that position to 0. It was a tedious process that often resulted in going a little too far down which damaged the very tip of the bit. The way this probe works is by first attaching the alligator clip to the milling bit and placing the grounded metal plate underneath. Then all I have to do is tell the computer to lower the router which automatically stops as soon as the bit touches the plate because the electricity flows once metal touches metal. Finally, I can set the position to 3 (the thickness of the plate) and the 0 will be the actual surface to be cut.
First test working as planned!
The connector added is shown with a red arrow. I have not yet mounted it to the box for testing. The black wire is soldered to the ground and the red to the A5 pin on the Arduino board bellow the motor controller.
New milling bits yet again! I had never bought tools from Amana before so I am excited to try these. This box set is specifically for aluminium... and the bits look so mean!!
I cannot come to Florida without seeing the ocean... After eating lunch at a waterfront restaurant, I came down to the beach to walk a bit and take some pictures. I personally had never seen the Atlantic Ocean that blue... mesmerizing!
Now that's what I am talking about! Notice how the coating of the charm on the right is perfectly even. I am super happy with the result and I know someone who will too!!
Finally the colors and accessories I have ordered a while back came in! There are so many colors available that I opted for a basic color kit. One of the white bottles is actually a clear high gloss and both blues are different (Ford Light Blue and Rally Blue)...
This was a complete success! The chrome layer was powder coated evently and cooked up perfectly! The result is truely amazing... So I have to figure out how to properly apply another coat...
This was a complete failure! The chrome layer went on really well and cooked very evenly but I obviously sprayed way too much translucent blue afterwards. I came to realize that I don't like the translucent blue even with a chrome base so I will get Rally Blue and see. I will carve another one until it looks perfect... (Henry will certainly agree with this!). The picture on the left is the bare aluminium 6061 cut and the one on the right is its sad twin brother Smurf.
I had considered getting the powder coating equipment before but this time, it's real! This process uses a fine thermoset polymer powder which is applied to metal electrostatically and then cured under heat.
The powder gun and system. It has a 15000 volts and a 25000 volts setting. The gray button is used to activate the electricity, the red probe connects to the metal part or a wire touching the part, and the silver quick release connects to the compressor.
Translucent blue is all I have right now. I am still waiting on the other colors to ship. Translucent colors are fun but I read that a lot of people spray a coat of chrome base first then apply the translucent color. I will be testing that next.
It would be toxic to use your kitchen toaster oven or oven to cure the powder so I got one dedicated to this process. The powder flows once the part gets to 450° and cures at 400° in 20 minutes.
Here is my first test using a scrap piece of aluminium 6061 I used to cut a charm for Henry. It is not perfect but I know what to do next time to get it right!
Here is a short video compilation my friend put together from our trip yesterday. I think you will know which footage came from me...
Hiking is in session! The scoping loop today included Dahlonega, Blairsville, and Ellijay. The leaves are definitely not at their peak but it was still very fun to get out of town. My friend and I hiked, took pictures, flew drones while videoing, stopped at small stores, drove around, and explored. R&A Orchards in Ellijay makes fresh amazing apple dumplings! It is worth the detour, believe me!!!
A quick stop at Mountain Crossings offered nice views, cool pictures, and a short hike.
Taking pictures of course... and waterfalls are always a must. I hike with a lot of equipment so I am fully prepared for anything!
Getting ready to fly up and down waterfalls. A quick selfie before madness begins! Oh and why do I have to look so serious?!?
Here is my first attempt at carving a halftone picture. Although it looks all right, there are still many variables to tweak to get a better final product. I painted a piece of MDF black then used a software to convert a picture into dots and finally setup the toolpaths for the machine.
The weather is cooling down and I love it! It is finally possible to be outside and enjoy yourself... Here I am at the river for a quick hike! I will be hiking in north Georgia the next several weekends as the trees start changing colors! A backpack, a sandwich, a bottle of water, and a camera... I can't wait!
Here is the assembled Tiny Arcade kit I got at the Maker Faire. It is ridiculously small but super fun! Thanks TinyCircuits! Now it's time to program some games...
Maker Faire NYC 2016 was once again awesome! Despite all the rain predicted for the entire weekend, it ended up just being cloudy with not a drop of rain the entire event!! It is so much fun to walk around and talk to people, make contacts, get ideas, and watch makers of all ages simply doing the same thing for the same reasons.
Night view of Midtown from my hotel room in Manhattan, New York.
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The real Makey mascot was very busy... you had to take turns to get your picture taken with it!
It was nice to meet with Brook Drumm again! He is the CEO and founder of PrintrBot, the company that made the two 3D printers I have in my classroom. He was not at the Faire as a presenter but just to hang out. Awesome!!
A lot of kids had found the zone where they could build a marshmallow shooter out of PVC pipes and were having fun all over the event with them! (No... I did not get shot!)
Aside from grabbing all kinds of goodies from different presenters like stickers, pens, pins, and business cards, I did get a few cool things. A poster of the event (as usual), a big plush Makey with a puny keychain version, a small mechanical robot kit (which I believe Henry found a good home for), a lockpicking manual (since I already have the whole kit), an Arduino audio projects book (thanks Apress for the freebie!), and a minuscule arcade game system (which you program games to transfer and play on).
I just received new carving bits and I am like a kid on his birthday! These are a variety of bits to cut woods, plastics, and aluminium. Just like anything else, quality bits cost more but they work better and leave you with a final product that you like and appreciate. Much like pencils, shoes, and car tires, they wear out and need occasional replacements. I love shopping... at the comfort of my keyboard!!
It is now easier than ever to hang any piece on the wall that was carved with the X-Carve! Using a simple widget in the software along with a keyhole bit, it takes less than a minute to cut one. Then the head of a screw can enter one side and gets locked in once you slide the piece sideways.
An afternoon at the lake... a quick getaway from Atlanta! The nearest place to enjoy a fresh breeze, cool water, a sandwich, and some r/c boat fun!
Nerd craziness is about to happen again! I will be in New York City soon for the 7th annual World Maker Faire and I am starting to get real excited!! Everything has been planned... I have plane tickets, hotel room reserved, and a weekend pass for the event. Expect pictures upon return...
Who has never dreamed of seeing a street with their name on it?!? It is easier for some people than others to find one depending on their last name... As Henry found out this last weekend while visiting Columbia in South Carolina, their main street was renamed to Gervais Street. Even though it already exists somewhere, the following one is my personal official one!!
Mounted using a flange and PVC pipes which I spray-painted with a textured gray. It has the slight industrial look I was aiming for...
Final look at the cut out street sign.
Street sign being carved out of two-color HDPE plastic. It took about 30 minutes to carve, not including the computer toolpath setup and physical clamping of the board. The hardest part was to find the official font used on street signs in the USA. I had to do some reading to educate myself on the topic... Learning is always so much fun!!
It was an awesome Labor Day weekend in Chattanooga. The goal for the entire long weekend was to bike everywhere and never use the car and I succeeded! I have been in Chattanooga many times before but I had never taken my bike up here. It is such a fun town and I am always happy to visit!!
A view from the other side of the Tennessee River. The Walnut Street Bridge is the longest walking bridge in the USA with a total length of 2,375 feet. It was a pleasant surprise to run into Robert slacklining with some friends under the bridge!!
The heat required frequent stops while biking along and near the Tennessee River. Let's get in the shade, drink some water, and enjoy the scenery!
My phone and GoPro securely fastened... a must for any cool bike ride!
Final wooden box for the Victimizer's buttons! It looks so much better than the previous cardboard box version... I also put connectors to the side so it is easy to power it down and disconnect.
I cut a map of Georgia as I special request out of Georgia pine wood. It is 20 inches high and 3/4 inch thick finished with a few coats of shellac. Notice an engraved star where Atlanta is located. Well that was yet another fun cut! Let's see what's next...
Cut with the X-Carve and painted by hand. I spent hours working on this for my little 6 years old cousin but his favorite comic is now something else so he doesn't want it anymore... I don't know what to do with Fred... I guess I will find a place to put him up! Ahh kids these days :)
I am building a new box for the Victimizer's buttons with Pine wood to replace the red cardboard one from last year.
Painted cut with black acrylic then sanded to remove spills.
Carved with a 60 degree Vbit. It was my first time using a Vbit and I really like the result!
I really enjoy the X-Carve and have been using it more and more. But it creates a lot of dust especially when cutting woods and MDF and I have been increasingly frustrated at how dirty my expensive computer gets during these cuts. So I had a five sided acrylic box made to enclose my laptop during those messy carves. I just need to cut out some slots for the cables and my computer will stay healthy and clean!!
No... I do not play Pokémon Go. But I do collect international Pokémon cards! So far, I have English, French, Italian, German, and Japanese cards. I am looking forward to expending my collection with more languages!
It's time to say goodbye to Québec! I enjoyed my twenty-two days up here and it was super nice visiting my family and friends. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end so here I am making the long journey back to Atlanta.
The three-hour trip to Québec City is a mountainous wild ride through the Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier.
Always on the lookout for wild life, especially moose.
About another hour to Québec City.
Quaint narrow streets in the old section of Québec City on the way to grab something to eat for lunch before heading to the airport.
A cloudy sky taking off from Jean-Lesage international airport in Québec City.
A little bit of shopping... A few Québec flags, Astérix au service de sa majesté, Astérix et le domaine des dieux, and Dictionnaire des expressions québécoises.
Hanging out in Chicoutimi and walking the bridge over the Saguenay River. It's not the best weather these days but at least it is not raining...
What is summer without the fresh taste of some exotic fruits? See if you can match the five fruits in the picture bellow to its name (you can check your answers at the bottom of this page): Pitahaya, lytchee, kaki, papaya, mango.
I love the DHC-2 Beaver seaplane! It is loud, it flies well and I really wish I could be the pilot for just one flight! See ya!
Kayaking at my lake house in Québec! Although the water is still a bit cold (70°F), the weather is perfect to enjoy the great outdoors.
Guess where I am? A few days in Québec City then off to my lake house three hours north! The Canadian dollar bills are colored and made out of some sort of plastic... so if you do laundry with money in your pocket, it's no big deal! Bonne fête nationale du Québec!!!
A great late afternoon hanging out and flying with Robert and Brant. I really need to get some airgates so we can start doing some racing action!
A quick turn on the Atlanta skyline... Buckhead on the left, midtown in the middle, and downtown on the right.
The yaw turns were a bit sluggish but I usually fly with a Möbius camera on board instead of a GoPro. The GoPro weighs 85 grams compared to 45 grams for the Möbius. That difference has to affect the flight experience...
When flying confidence sets in, flying craziness is often the next step... with the high risk of getting into some trouble one way or another! I only need to print a few plastic parts but this will need a complete rebuild! Maybe Robert will volunteer once again..!..!
I just spent a week in Michigan visiting some friends and it was awesome! It sure was a long drive there and back which I obviously expected... What I did NOT expect though was to get a flat tire on i75 north near Cincinnati, OH. If there is one thing I really cannot do is mechanics and anything related to cars. It took less than an hour to get someone to my location and put in my full spare tire in. Good time to stretch and clown around!
Answer to post 07/04/16: From left to right: Lytchee, kaki, pitahaya, mango, and papaya.