Friday, July 11, 2014

The future is 3d

The future is now!!!!!

But really, It's totally now. I received my 3d printer yesterday and BOY am I exited! I assembled it last night and wired it all up and printed my first cube. Below is a picture of the tolerances on my first print. They were only .15 mm off!! not bad for a first print!!!

Look at that nice Caliper
 For the build photos click on my dropbox album ->

Bonus pic of me in a Dinosaur hat for you guys. 

So anyways that's my Printrbot Metal simple, I look forward to printing more and more cool things! Stay tuned (uh to my blog I guess, I doubt you're viewing this on a TV) for more cool stuff!


Thursday, July 10, 2014

PrintrBot Simple Metal - Pre-Review?

Hello to the many people that read my blog. (which is like 7 people). My PrintrBot Metal hasn't arrived yet :( That's the bad news, now the good news is that I have my room setup to accommodate a 3d printer now! For those of you who haven't seen the original Printrbot, below is a picture of the laser cut one. Pretty cool right?
Look at this cheeky fellow
Now fast forward a year or two to 2014 *time warp noises*. I'm in the market for a 3d printer and I don't want to spend a lot of money on my system but I still want a good product. Introducing the Metal Simple from Printrbot. It's basically the same design, with the X-axis bed and the ZY-axis arm, but it's ALL made of METAL. Which adds like +10 to it's sex appeal... if a printer can have such a thing. Here's a link and a picture ->
Industrial Beauty
Now, if you're wondering, I did buy the kit option, because first, I can probably assemble it without breaking it and two, I want to do it. Meh I have the internet if all else fails, and Printrbot does a good job with their instructions.

Shipping Woes

Now I haven't actually received my Simple Metal yet. According to the site there's a 1-2 day lead time which is totally understandable, and a ton better than makerbot's. My lead time was a WEEK, now take into account that one of the days was the 4th of July, that's still pretty unreasonable. 
I contacted support and they told me that they didn't have enough metal parts to put together a full kit and apologized with a 10% off coupon. That was good enough for me, I can understand that there are going to be production issues with a smaller company. Now I'm waiting on USPS to deliver that package  before Friday!

Getting ready for my bundle of Joy

Like any good parent, making sure you have a place for your baby before you bring it home is important. So i decided to accommodate my printer before hand so it felt at home when I got it. Now I'm going to use a bulleted list, bear with me.

Things to do before 3d printer gets delivered:
  • Setup laptop with Octoprint for network printing [x]
  • Cry deeply over the longer wait time for my printer [x]
  • Buy tools and materials for the baby [x]
  • Clear off some precious desk space [ ] 
  • Hire Private Investigator to track the package discreetly [ ] 
As you can see, that list is pretty comprehensive and is almost done. Check out my octoprint screenshot below

In closing, I'm exited, maybe a little too excited but excited non the less. I'll post pics (or video) of the assembly / unboxing then post more about my prints! and as always thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The future is now!

Hello comrades. It is your glorious leader, Tom. So good news, I bought a 3d printer from This one specifically Man am I stoked. I ordered it Monday but there's a lead time of 1-2 days and the thing still hasn't been processed :(. I wanted it by the 4th to play with this weekend, but I guess I'll have to suck it up. I'll be writing a review about the thing once it gets here, maybe to an unboxing (because that's original). I'll finish this post later

Thursday, June 26, 2014

IndieGoGo Campaign Officially Launched!

Check it out above! Please help support my project to send a weather balloon payload to space!

I will be making more updates as I organize more things. If you'd like to see me and talk about the project, I will be at the KC Maker Faire this weekend.

Happy crowd funding!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

New Project: High Altitude Weather Balloon

Alright, you people better settle in. This is going to be a long post.

 Okay, now that I've warned you, I'm glad to announce my new project. It's going to be a weather balloon to SPACE (or like 100,000 feet). This has long been a desire of mine to send a tiny box filled with gadgets to space, and I have the money to pursue it now.

It all started out with a passion for space...

About 5 years ago I thought it would be a good idea to take an old para foil kite from our garage, make a Styrofoam box, and slap a camera inside to see what the ground looks like from the sky.
This is very similar to the kite I had (and probably still do)

This is similar to the rigging system I used later on.
Then I found this gem on my old youtube account.

 That's footage of my old house and property. Pretty shaky I know. This footage was simply breath taking to me when I finally pulled the kite down and looked at the film. This was before Google Earth had the definition it did today, you can imagine my excitement that I had being able to record this insane point of view with a kite, a camera, and a windy afternoon.

Now fast forward a couple of years to the summer of 2014. I just finished my first year of college at ISU in Computer Engineering and I'm currently (at the time of this blog post) working as an intern at Garmin International. This idea was rekindled partially out of the money that I'm making as an intern and the go-and-do-it mentality at Garmin. With all this background and passion to do something, I want to go higher and I want to see more than ever before.

I want to see the dark sky. I want to see the edge of the horizon arc in front of me. I want to experience space.

Enter the weather balloon, a simple device that will transport a scientific payload directly up, pop at its max altitude then fall back to Earth with a parachute. No electronics needed... unless you want to get a good view. This is also where Garmin comes into play. I have an employee discount on their action camera called the VIRB Elite. You might ask why I didn't just buy a Go Pro instead. For a couple of reasons actually.
\/ Check it out below \/

First, I have a good discount being a Garmin associate
Second, the VIRB uses a better camera sensor (a better chip from the same company actually) than the Go Pro.
Third, the VIRB is actually made to be outdoors and doesn't need a case, and also has a much better temp range than the Go Pro.
Fourth, the VIRB has automatic altitude tracking using GPS, meaning that it can turn on and off at certain heights making it PERFECT for this type of project.

Not only will the VIRB take video but it will also do GPS tracking as well.

I'll also use a GTU10 for tracking the balloon after it comes down.

Thanks for reading part one of my high altitude weather balloon project! I'll be posting more updates as I get parts / make designs for the gondola.

Monday, June 23, 2014

New project coming soon!

Stay tuned for details

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Hacky freescale power adapter