Merry Christmas

Well I had a very good Christmas, I had finished installing the new chimera hot end Friday, but have been struggling to get it to print a two color part. This morning I found a checkbox in my slicing software separate from the nozzle offsets that said 'Apply offsets t gcode'. I don't understand why it was there, but low and behold after checking the box this is what printed out:


First dual extrusion print! 

First dual extrusion print! 

I'm so glad it's working so well, because now I can work on these other projects I've gotten behind on.  

I hope everyone has a great Christmas and a happy new year.  

Upgrades to the Bumblebee II

I've recently been trying to get my printer back in operation after all the things that have gone on with my health recently. It's basically been a bunch of upgrades that I've been planning for a while that I've decided to go ahead and get done.  

First thing I did was I widened the bed from about 180mm to 300mm. I then changed it from an a-frame to a vertical frame similar to a Prusa i3, I also changed the x-ends to a vertical style like the prusa i3 (I have come to really like the simplicity of the i3). I've also upgraded the bed to a stiffer one with an aluminum plate, along with a laser etched grid and the printer name in the front right corner. The last upgrade for now is converting to Bowden and a dual extrusion chimera hot end.  

I am hoping to finish it up and get it running tonight, and then clean up the wiring over the holidays. Here's some pictures of where it's at right now :) 


Widened bed, new frame and Bowden conversion

Widened bed, new frame and Bowden conversion

Laser etched grid on the new bed

Laser etched grid on the new bed

The name :) 

The name :) 

Awesome get together

Had a great time meeting everyone with the helping hands project, and the kids today in Chapel Hill. These are some amazing and wonderful kids!  They had food, and games for the kids along with a bounce house.  

Then they were able to try the two electromechanical hands we have been working on, and that too was a huge hit. I got some amazing and insightful feedback and I'm ready to start on version two of the hand with what I learned.  

Then we broke out the 3D scanners and scanned some of the kids stumps, and also their heads. The first was to make custom fitted arms and hands, the second was so we could 3D print little busts of them.  

I am so glad I got involved with this project, it's so much fun.  

Update on what's been happening with me

I know a lot of people realize that I've had some health issues lately.  Well I've decided that I'm not going to try and be coy about it, I was diagnosed with Prostate cancer back in January and have been working with an Oncologist here in High Point. 

I recently created a site for friends and family who would like to keep up with what's going on, that way I'm not flooding this blog with those updates, I want to keep this focused on my projects, the Arduino class and other really fun stuff :)

You can go to MyLifeline Site and see what's going on, and if you want to comment or give support you can sign up as well.

Thanks to everyone who's helped me get this far, and I know that I've got some of the best friends in the world now I've gotten so much support and encouragement.


Tour To Tanglewood!

I've been volunteering at the Tour To Tanglewood for the past few years as a Ham Radio operator to help provide communications for the riders and organizers.

I miss being able to participate in riding in the event and raising money, but I think the need of the Ham operators is a bigger help to the Tour.

But I found out that not only can I do my Ham Operator volunteer work, I can actually raise money for MS by being a Virtual Rider!  So this year I've registered to do both, and I'm joining the Team that is organized by a co-worker Matt Aloi and supported by our company Inmar.

So if you want to help some people who can really use it please click here and donate whatever you can to the Tour to Tanglewood!!




Just wanted to update anyone who is interested, I had some surgery on 6/5 and things have gone well. I'm slowly getting better and drove for the first time for a short distance today. Still bothers me to sit in a car for any period of time. 

My abdomen is still stiff and sore in spots, but overall everything is healing well. I started rehab exercises on Monday, and while things are going slower than I hoped I am improving.

Thanks for the prayers and messages, I do appreciate it, and I hope I'll be back to normal soon. 

Hexapod is running!

Took some time this weekend to work on my Hexy hexapod.  I've been playing with this for a year or two after getting it in a kickstarter, got frustrated and put it away for a while.  Had some ideas to get it to run better (mostly because of power issues) and implemented them this weekend.

It's working fantastic (well except for a few stripped servo gears) when it's wired, but wirelessly it's extremely jerky and it's missing commands.  So the next steps are to replace the servo gears with carbon ones, and replace the controller with an updated one and install an Arduino as it's 'brain' to send the commands over serial so there's no wireless delay. Then I'll use a PS3 controller to control it and it should work awesome.

More Bumblebee stuff

At dinner tonight I got to thinking about the best way to power the Raspberry Pi and it came to me.  A very simple, effective, and inexpensive solution.

Instead of using a 7805 regulator I am using a BEC that normally I use in my RC airplanes.  The one I have right now is rated at 5 amps at either 5 or 6v.  Sure enough when I wired it up to the Pi everything started up just fine and I'm running some test prints just to be sure, but I think it's going to work out great.

It even has a low voltage alert in case for any reason it stops getting the clean 5v, and it has filtering and smooth regulated power for the Pi.  Best part is they only cost about $6 and install in a flash.

So all I have left is to cleanly mount it and the wiring, then make a board for the lights and add switches to them both so I can turn the lights off and on, and install my emergency stop switch that will kill all power to the motors and the Rambo board in case of a  mechanical issue.

Bumblebee II is running again

I finally got both my printers running again, the Hippie was pretty easy, it just needed a new hotend as the thermistor on the current one (which is over a year old) broke.

The Bumblebee II I was switching back to the E3D V6 hotend, and I was finally able to get it to print reliably and consistently.  I think the whole issue was related to my extruder, up until a few months ago I had been using a Maker Gear geared extruder and it had tons of torque so adjusting it wasn't that critical.  I switched to a Bulldog XL after the planetary gear was worn out in the Maker Gear extruder, and I had been struggling with getting consistent prints.  Half way through the print the filament would stop feeding, or it would strip it out.  I did some experiments with temperature and filament tension on the Bulldog and finally got the right settings.  I have to run the E3D a little hotter probably because of the active cooling, but the prints have been coming out great finally.

I started working on the onboard power system for the lighting and the Raspberry Pi and the lighting sections are working fine, but the Pi doesn't seem to be working correctly.  I need to pull out a monitor and keyboard and test it tonight, I'm not sure if it's not delivering enough current, but I also ordered 1.5a 7812 and 7805 chips from Mouser just so they won't run as hot.