Latest update

Well since I didn't go to the maker faire I started doing a lot of long awaited fixes and upgrades to my Bumblebee II printer.  I'm putting the E3D V6 hot end back on it, building a regulator board to provide power for the Raspberry PI, and power for the lighting so I won't need separate power adapters.  I'll only have one power cord going forward.  I also am going to do the same thing for the Hippie so it too will only have the single power cord.

I'm toying with the idea of converting the Bumblebee to a Bowden extruder, I've got all the components except I need to print the extruder itself and the Bowden mount.  I think once I get some other things printed that I need to get down that'll be the next thing, then dual extrusion.

I have a prusa I3 kit to build, but it's going to be a group build with the robotics class so they can learn about 3d printers more, and we haven't gotten that scheduled yet.  But I've been going through the kit and looking at the parts and I have to say I'm very impressed for a $320 kit.  The only thing I think I'll be changing is using a RAMPS and a graphic LCD instead of the melzi, but I might try experimenting with the Melzi first to get the auto-bed leveling working.

I am also going to start building my 3DR rostock printer, which I'm very excited about.  That thing is just going to be a blast I think :)

Burlington Mini Maker Faire

Unfortunately due to work I am not going to be able to present at the Maker Faire.  It's a bummer because I had some nice signs setup for the display, and I was really looking forward to scanning people.

Burlington Mini Maker Faire

Work has been very busy lately, and that combined with the upcoming Maker Faire I haven't had a lot of chances to work on much.  I still need to make some minor fixes to my printers to prepare for Saturday, and I have to make some signs and start printing out the Yoda heads :)

I have ordered another printer, this is actually a kit from Banggood for an acrylic Prusa I3.  I'm going to add a heated bed to it and we'll see how well it performs.

I have also been working on cleaning up my two workshops at my house in preparation for the Laser Cutter build.  I've finally got the last parts I needed (the laser tube, power supply and controller) so I'm ready to start the assembly.  The first step is to hook up all the electronics and make sure that's all working, then I'll be starting on the frame.  I still haven't decided what material to use for the panels, but I might get some panels from Inventables to use.

Then I have my Rostock 3DR to put together, I've had all the parts, but again no place to build it.  I had let my workbench get cluttered and it's just not good to try and put together a printer in a cluttered workspace :)

I also want to put together my 1.75 extruder for filament, and also the chopper so I can do colors more consistently.

Two more updates

The first one is about my Libelle first flights.

I took it out to a local park (Gibson park) and went out on the soccer field.  Did my assembly of the plane, range checked it, checked the controls, and started with the trim flights.

It was pretty spot on, only took me 5 trim flights to get it dialed in where I could throw it and just watch it glide and land on its own :)

Then I tried a side hand throw and it did pretty well again, flat flight, forgot to turn on landing mode, but still landed well.  Did another side hand throw, then did a full DLG launch throw but didn't try to push it.  

It climbed well and floated really good, I was really enjoying it a lot.  Next DLG launch and all of a sudden it goes into a left hand spiral VERY hard. Flips over and noses straight in with the wing halves going separate directions away from the fuselage.  During the entire time I was frantically trying to correct it, but had no response.  Took a look at the plane and couldn't figure out why the left aileron was all the way up, or the rudder all the way hard left.

Took the radio and tried turning the ailerons and the rudder, and I heard the servos but their was no motion.  Turns out the servos had been stripped :(

So I think I'm going to just buy a whole kit again and build another one, buy some new servos and then get started again :)  I just had too much fun on the short flights I had.

The other update is on my personal smart watch project, well it's actually the OSWatch Project.

I've gotten almost all the parts to start assembling it, but I missed ordering the TTL to usb converter that I need to program the Microduino.  That's been ordered and hopefully should be here soon.

In the meantime I downloaded the iOS app source code to my new laptop, and compiled it and loaded it on my iPhone 5s.  Worked the first time, so I'm very happy with how that went.

More updates to follow as I continue to actually get some of my projects done!!

The Olio glass blowing studio in Winston Salem

I was so excited to find out about The Olio, I've gone to another glass studio in Durham called Firefly Hotglass and made an ornament and a glass heart, but it's a bit of a drive.

They were having a special session this afternoon for making a Shamrock or a Paisley in celebration of St Patricks Day, and I had to go out and check it out.

The studio is impressive, very well laid out, and I love the glass shop out front where they sell a lot of what they make there.  The atmosphere is awesome, it's more of a workshop/glass shop mixed together, and they use a lot of recycled material from the tables and benches, to the actual glass they use for blowing.  They purchased a recipe that allows them to recycle beer bottles (clear ones) and other commercial bottles and mix it to make glass that works very well for glass blowing.

The teacher was awesome and explained what we were doing and why, and I had an absolute blast.

If you've ever wanted to try glass blowing definitely attend, if your just curious about how it is done come by and watch it's very kid friendly as well.  

Be sure to read the guidelines about what clothes and shoes to wear as you will be working with VERY hot glass :)

Various projects getting done

Finally got some free time this week to work on some of my project backlogs.  

First I was able to complete my Libelle DLG completed, and I have to say that it went together very easily.  This is a high quality kit, and the only modifications I had to do was trim one of the servo shafts a little bit because it was too long, and notch the rear housing for clearance for the linkage.  I have it all balanced up with 18g of lead in the nose (well lead substitute ;) ).  It's all setup and ready to go for it's first trim flights which I'll probably do tomorrow, as it's the first non-rainy, non-muddy non-freezing day we've had since I finished it!

I also worked on my printer, the Hippie had a problem with a bad auto-leveling servo.  I think the one I used was one I abused in one of my robots, so I got a brand new one and installed it, and just had to make a minor adjustment to the bed leveling height and it's printing again great!

I need to re-work the next Arduino class at the ham club, as I'm having reservations about including a frequency counter in our VFO.  I like having an amplifier in the box, and I've got the parts coming to make a simple one that we can put on the breadboard.  But I want to do more with the Frequency counter, and I'd like to make it as compact as I can, so I think we'll put it in a different box by itself.

Tomorrow I'm going to test fly the Libelle, and hopefully do some first launches with it.  I still need to add a dedicated launch button to my radio, but for now I'll just practice my 'flings' without the launch button.

I'm also going to reinstall the E3D V6 hot end in the Bumblebee II as I think the problem with it stopping extruding about 20 minutes into the print was because I was being too conservative with the tension settings on the extruder.  I was having the same problem with a J-head and discovered another turn made it operate reliably, so I'm going to use the E3D again because I really like that hot end.  I also purchased a 24v fan so I won't have to worry about step down voltage converter for a 12v fan.

Stay tuned for pictures of the Libelle!!!

Libelle DLG

Well my buddy Tim AKA IFlyOS has talked me into yet another variation of the RC hobby, namely DLG or Discus Launched Glider.  Basically it's a typical glider, except very strong, and with a small handle on a wingtip that you use to hurl it into the air in the same motion as a Discus.

He recommended a new foam glider from Dream-Flight called the Libelle.  After watching some videos on youtube and reading some reviews about it I decided that this would be a good easy way for me to get my feet wet in DLG.

Total cost for the plane and the flight kit (servos, horns, battery, servo extensions) was $200 and it came within 3 days of ordering it.  The packaging was superb as even though the USPS gave it to the gorillas in the warehouse and they beat the box, poked holes in it, and damaged the outer box so bad that I couldn't slide the inner box out but had to cut it out, it came through with zero damage.

All the parts were wrapped in bubble wrap and secured with small pieces of tape to keep them from shifting around.  The manual is a refreshing change from the typical Chinese translations, it has good step by step instructions for both building, setting up your radio and your fist flights along with high quality pictures to go along with everything.

I'm going to be using some foam safe CA to assemble it, and the best part is tonight's Meetup was cancelled, and I'm only working 1/2 day tomorrow so I'll have plenty of time to work on it tonight and tomorrow.  Another huge plus is last night I finally cleaned off my workbench (well 3/4's of it) and have enough room to work comfortably on the build.

Burlington Maker Faire News

Exciting news about the upcoming Burlington Maker Faire.  I'm going to be attending as part of the WSMixxer maker space, which is a new maker space being formed in Winston Salem.  If you're interested you can get more information at

I'll be bringing my printers (as many as I have running at the time) and my filament extruder and demonstrating them.  I'll also have my scanner and I'll be scanning peoples heads and e-mailing them to them, and if they would like I'll be printing small busts on the printers.

The other thing I'm going to be involved in is the balloon launch being done by the Blessed Sacrament School of Burlington.  I have a ham license and I'll be helping them with the tracking of the balloon by building an APRS tracker that will download the balloons altitude and location for tracking on a map in realtime. 

It's going to be shaping up to be a VERY busy Maker Faire, I'm really excited to be involved in both the new maker space, and the balloon launch


I'm finally finishing up my mentoring for an all girls FRC team, at least the build portion, and will get a little bit of free time to work on some other projects.

I know the first thing I am going to do is finish up the latest video for the Arduino Class, all about how to build the DDSVFO with a LCD display and a custom built case.  We will be extending it in the next class we'll have in March and that's something else that I need to get done, which will probably be my second task to complete so it's out of the way and I'll be ready for the class.

After that I have all the components I need to repair both my printers, and then I'll get started building the 3DR that I've had the parts for since before Christmas.  I'm excited to build it and want to see how it performs compared to a traditional Cartesian coordinate printer.

That's about as far as I want to plan, as things are constantly changing with work, and I'm going to be getting involved in a new Maker Space here in Winston Salem called WSMixxer.  I'm very excited to get involved with something that is very convenient for me to be involved with, and it looks like they've got a good group of people heading it up.

Welcome to my new site

I finished the update to my site, I have my new domain up and running and imported my old site to the new V7 of Squarespace.

I really like Squarespace, it's always been easy to use, and I REALLY like the new V7 templates, it's much cleaner and not as much empty space like my old site.