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June 30, 2012

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Cryptstone Challenge #000 Update

June 25, 2012

Congratulations to everyone who was able to crack the first Cryptstone Challenge!

As promised, after a two-week waiting period the formerly-secret model is now available on Thingiverse for everyone to share.

The Cryptstone Bloxen will remain on Thingiverse with the password unchanged.

There’s a new model behind the Crypt door. It’s a Seej Bloxen, Riveted. This model isn’t available on Thingiverse, and (for now) the only way to get it is to crack the Cryptstone code.

This particular riveted bloxen is printed in ABS natural and then covered in gold leaf for maximum bling.

I’m working on a new Cryptstone Challenge, so set your drinking bird to refresh this page over and over again. See you soon.

Yes! We have no bananas.

June 21, 2012

Yes, We Have No Bananas performed by Louis Prima.

Verdict: banana bread is an adequate medium in which to start building 3D models.

I thought I’d take a crack at Autodesk’s 123D Catch software. Basically it allows you to take a bunch of photos of an object or space, upload them to the cloud, and get a 3D model in return.

It works amazingly well. Before breakfast I sculpted a new Seej bloxen out of banana bread.

I took about 20 photos without being too careful about the lighting, and uploaded them to Autodesk. Ten minutes later I had a tremendously detailed and largely unusable point cloud, and Autodesk had a bunch of photos of my kitchen.

A little pushing and pulling of vertices in Maya, and I got a usable bloxen.

Then I ate the original.

The topology of the scan isn’t really suitable for editing except with lattices and poly sculpting tools. The mesh is too dense and there aren’t any clean edge loops that a modeler can build from.

But! I can start with a loaf of banana bread and get a 3D model onto my Makerbot within an hour. That’s nothing short of revolutionary.

Ere long we’ll be sending 3d models of still-damp newborns to grandma on Facebook.

The interface to Autodesk’s web app is a little convoluted, and Autodesk hasn’t seen fit to make an OSX version yet. B+.

Switching gears.

June 16, 2012

So I’ve been cranking out Seej models for a couple of weeks and I decided to take a little break and work on something else.

I’m standing on the giant shoulders of Leemon Baird for his work on the Public Domain Involute Parametric Gear Set— without his contribution, I wouldn’t have been able to create the Tinkeriffic Gear Train.

This was my first experience with OpenSCAD. It’s tremendously powerful at the expense of simple interface. I know half a dozen programmers who would really enjoy working with it, and twice as many artists who would run away screaming.

I cranked out a couple of basic gears, imported them into Maya, and then hit the “make it better” button a couple of dozen times to get this final result:

I’ve been reading up on woodworking techniques, trying to find methods of fitting 3D printed plastic parts together without adhesives.

I settled on dovetails for the rack gears. This way people can print male, female, and male/female racks and link them together in as long a sequence as they like.

If you’re feeling nostalgic and don’t have an old Tinkertoy set in the basement, you can go grab a Tinkertoy Classic Jumbo Set to use with these gears.

Seej Clan Registry is now LIVE! zomg

June 13, 2012

If you’re playing Seej, get yourself over to the wiki and register your clan!

Be sure to bring a live pig for the Ouroboros, or she gets cranky.

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June 11, 2012

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Socket to me.

June 6, 2012

I can’t think of many designs that aren’t improved by making them glow. LED’s are the tinker’s equivalent of Photoshop Layer Effects.

The LED socket is my attempt to play industrial designer; I wanted to make an object that was intuitive, elegant, and easy to use. So I started small.

It’s designed to hold a 5mm LED and battery without trimming the leads.

The recessed cradle for the LED is straight on one side so the user is guaranteed to get the orientation of the cathode correct. The grooves on the sides should just fit 5mm LED leads if they’re bent with two 90° angles around the bottom of the socket.

The bottom of the socket is also grooved so that the socket can stand on its base like a candle.

Instructions: Feed the leads through the holes at the top of the socket. Insert the battery through the hole at the bottom of the socket. If the bulb doesn’t light, flip the battery around.

Once the bulb is lit, bend the LED leads around the bottom of the socket and press them into the side grooves to keep them out of the way.

This uses a DL1025 or equivalent battery.