Seej at Maker Faire Detroit 2012

July 31, 2012

There are splintered shields and broken hopes among the solder blobs on the ground at the Henry Ford, site of Maker Faire Detroit 2012.

MakerBot Industries was kind enough to give me the opportunity to talk about Seej at their booth on Saturday. Afterwards I hung around and played Seej against passers-by, losing more often than not.

While I was playing I realized that players need a way to commemorate their games. I usually travel with a backpack full of tools, including a Sharpie. So I signed and dated a few bloxen and left them with the booth crew.

Unfortunately there’s not a lot of room to write on most of the current designs. This is remedied with the Tournament Bloxen; it sports a large, flat plaque upon which players can immortalize an event:

Flagrant stagecraft alert: I didn’t have this tournament bloxen at the Maker Faire, but if I had, this is exactly what I’d have written on it before handing it over to a victorious opponent.

I’d like to accumulate a mantel full of these, signed by different Seej players.

The gentleman in the Makerbot t-shirt is Matt Griffin from MakerBot Industries, all-around nice guy and excellent child wrangler, refereeing a match.

The younger kids seemed mostly interested in building structures out of bloxen. MakerBot had printed a few dozen bloxen of various kinds and colors, so there was plenty for them to work with. Look at the size of this stack protecting a young Seejmaester:

This kid destroyed me in about five turns.

Note: if you and/or your child appears in one of these photos and you’d like it removed, please notify me immediately.

Download the Tournament Bloxen from Thingiverse.

All work and no PLA makes Zheng a dull boy

July 27, 2012

I’m headed off to Maker Faire Detroit in a few hours, and I needed a new Penny Ballista to take on the crew from MakerBot in a no-models-barred Seej match. So I personalized the nock on this one and gave it a go printing with PLA.

The Replicator can print in (at least) two kinds of plastic: ABS, which is the stuff LEGO bricks are made of, and PLA, which is a biodegradable wonder plastic made from corn.

PLA works better than ABS at lower printing temperatures. I’ve been lowering the extruder by 1° every time I print something new, and still haven’t found the floor.

This is my first set of prints with PLA, and I like what I’ve seen so far. I bought this roll from JetJet2004 on Amazon a couple of weeks ago, and I haven’t been disappointed with it yet.

I also printed some Seej Bloxen, Riveted, which aren’t available on Thingiverse: if you want one, you’ll have to solve the
Cryptstone Challenge.

So! Find me walking around with a ballista in my pocket at Maker Faire Detroit on Saturday. I’ll be the pale geek in cargo shorts and a t-shirt.

Newest atom in the blingiverse

July 25, 2012

I printed a copy of these about a week ago and one of the Zhengspawn festooned them with gold spray paint and epoxied rhinestones. They’re apparently a big hit at FIRST Lego League camp.

The STL files for these are available on Thingiverse, or Shapeways will print you a more durable and intricate set out of gold-plated stainless steel.

Benzene, done that.

July 24, 2012

I’ve always liked the anecdote about Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz and his fevered daydream about the chemical structure of benzene, and apparently I’m not alone.

Regardless of how much truth there is to Kekulé’s story, I try to sneak the word “ouroboros” into conversation as often as possible. It’s a lot easier for me now that I can say, “Hey, check out the ouroboros I designed on Thingiverse.”

You can see some rectangular bits of sprue protruding from the base of the model in the photo above; they exist to keep the model from toppling if the extruder tip nicks the top layer of the print. The sprue isn’t in the final model.

I have a dual-extruder replicator. The unused nozzle in this single-color print kept bumping into the right prong of the snake’s body as the extruder traversed the X-axis. This tells me my nozzles are out of calibration by a micron or two.

I solved this problem by rotating the snake 45° around the Z-axis so the prong tips moved out of X alignment, which is a handy cantrip to have in one’s grimoire.

This is a fairly fast print so I was able to go through lots of iterations to get it right:

This model is future-proofed, at least for a while. There’s some detail in the eyes and mouth that is going to have to wait for the next generation of extruder technology to be fully realized. You’ll also note some slight nickeling in the curve of the body, but I designed it to be smoothed easily so we can squeeze another few years out of it.

The tail and mouth are connected by a couple of polygons– this is the one artistic change I really didn’t want to make but I just couldn’t get the model to print reliably when they were separated.

I’ve got the serpent broken out as a separate model, so maybe if I get the time she’ll be transincarnated as cobra.

1.75mm ABS Green
10% infill
Feedrate: 25
Layer Height: .2
HBP Temp: 116°

Just a normal day at the office

July 19, 2012

New Seej model coming soon. Couldn’t resist the pun.

Funky color combinations

July 17, 2012

This is my newest favorite color combination: it’s 1.75mm ABS Green Filament scraps under the LED lights from my MakerBot Replicator.

No Photoshop saturation filters: this image is straight out of the camera. The little structure to the left is the base to the Zheng3 Firecracker Cannon.

A nice piece of design on the Replicator that you don’t often see in demos is that the lighting inside the build volume starts blue and gets redder as the machine warms. That was a little piece of magic for me the first time I fired mine up. Well done, Makerbot Industries.

Gossamer Failure.

July 16, 2012