A new beginning

I have certainly not posted enough on this blog.  A lot of changes happened between June last year and now; I changed job locations and have just now gotten the swing back to normal.  It’s time to pick it back up again.

3D Scanner – I’ve been working up a new design that uses angles instead of 1×1 wood for the base.  I think it’ll be much sturdier and easier to move bolts around than nails.  My biggest barriers in finishing the scanner has been stability, time, and working equipment.  The computers I have won’t work with the PS3 Camera; and no Mac will work with DAVID.  So, I have to have a PC or a Mac friendly version of the software.  In the meantime, I can still build the pieces and write the code for the Arduino so I can turn the stepper motor 1 degree at a time.  I think I may need to modify a USB cable so I can jack it into the Arduino so DAVID can tell the motor to turn automatically.  We’ll see.

I have a dream that I can go to nearby conventions (or have a trailer full of 3D printers networked) and can do scans at the conventions then send the models to the printer remotely.  It will happen and I would like to see it happen this year.

3D printers – well they’ve made a lot of progress in the last year.  The printrbot has finally started selling pieces.  That’s good news because I know the capabilities it has; I could get the smallest one and make the parts for a larger Mendel Prusa or some other variant.  The last time I calculated the parts out, I could build a Prusa for about $400 including the nozzels and Arduino purchase…the plastic parts cost about 60 bucks unless you print them yourself.  I am headed that direction.

Filabot – I’ll be working on this as one of my top priorities – I have tried to find suppliers in the area for filament with no luck.  So, the idea behind mine will be to have a grinder that I can drop pieces into and it will shred them then those flakes will go into the filament heater itself which will then extrude new filament.  This process needs to be heavily automated and pretty fast so used filament can be replaced quickly.  I would like to get the process down to one pound of filament in less than 10 minutes.  I do not know how doable that is at the moment, but we will certainly find out.

Arduinos – I need to evaluate exactly how many I/O pins I need, but I’m in the mood to build a lot of Arduinos for household purposes as well as making those for powering the above projects.  I’m going to start with a bunch of Arduino Minis and move up from there.  Arduinos make life so much easier.  I can work with AVR chips, but having them with the Arduino bootloader is very very nice.

The Summer Of Fun – Due to some unforseen circumstances the SOF was cut short before summer even started.  The projects are still there in the project binder; it will be time to kick off some of those projects once the Arduinos are created.  We have a lot of small projects that I’m going to kick off with my kids.  The great thing about the Arduinos is that we can build tiny projects, solder them all together and then attach them to the Arduino… if we decide to do something different, we can unstrap the Arduino and reclaim and parts we’ve put into it and reprogram the Arduino.  As well, the programming done for the Arduino can be reused as much as we need.

The good news about all of this is that I have a work area that’s nearly 2x as big as the original area; so I can fit all of this in once it’s all built.

First up, we’ll be working on the 3D scanner – I’ll post progress on that as it continues.

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