Saturday, February 17, 2018

Makerspace 3D Printing Safety video

I still don't get to choose my thumbnails for these videos.

This video was made so that I can stop doing the 3D printing training in the makerspace manually, and features one of the more coordinated edits at the 2:14 mark that I've ever had to do. Chances are if I didn't point that out here, no one would ever notice it.

I feel like these videos require a slightly higher production quality than my other videos, because it's for a job I'm getting paid for, but for a channel that is not generating the revenue, meager as it is, that my other channel is. There's a sense of irony to this. However, the problem is that this has been clogging up the works for my other channel trying to get this out and putting me behind schedule. It's stressful, but in the end I hope will be worth it. I've already taught my first two students this way, so the time saved will only grow from here.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Gearbest Doesn't Suck video

For the record, everything about this thumbnail makes me uncomfortable.

I posted this a day early because, while I'm showing Gearbest some love, I didn't think this was the right video for a Valentines day upload. But come back here tomorrow.

This is a video I wanted to get out before doing any videos that promote items sent to me by Gearbest. It occurs to me, after making this video, that maybe I'm picking a fight that doesn't need to be fought. I put a lot of effort into this video, changing locations 3 times to keep it moving and interesting, and maybe Gearbest doesn't need my defense. Chances are you've already made up your mind, and that's fine. You don't mind them, then fine. You don't like them, there's very little I can say that would change that.

I guess this is for those on the fence, or those who have never purchased items overseas, whether it be from Gearbest, Ali Express, or Deal Extreme. Let this be a warning about the fact that you're not going to get the Amazon experience with them. But maybe if you go in, eyes open, you won't be surprised and you may be a little more forgiving.

I will admit, international shipping can have it's gotchas. I've never had to deal with UK customs demanding additional fees for incoming orders, but I have had to deal with internationally shipped Etsy orders disappearing and having to produce a replacement and ship it at my expense. I've also had to deal with 10 orders going through just fine, and one being shipped back for no good reason. So I sympathize with companies having to deal with countries with inconsistent shipping experiences. However, just like Harbor Freight trying to do better than the past, I'm sure Gearbest is trying to improve their customer experience. Because low prices will get you into business, but if you way to stay in business, you gotta up your game.

I did fail to mention that while I try to capture a positive experience in my videos, I also don't hide the negative. Go back and watch any of my reviews. I always bring up the down side that I experiences. I'm can't turn a blind eye to bad experiences. And sometimes, as I said in the video, I may have experiences after the review with the printer, and when I can I will return to share more information.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Full Color in Tinkercad Video


I could take this opportunity to talk about a lot of different things. I could talk about the on-screen keys utility that I'm using, and I do want to know if anyone noticed that and if it helped. I could talk about my relationship with XYZ Printing where, in exchange for a Davinci color I am contractually obligated me to make these models, and how I feel about that (not bad, actually). Or I could talk about problems I'm having with the Davinci color at the moment now that I've finally got some more ink (and what a fiasco that was). I could talk about how their web site is almost completely inadequate to the task of hosting 3D files. I could talk about how their software isn't getting better like they promised. And I'm sure that these things will be talked about at some point. I'd love to point out how I chose different ending music and how there's a blooper at the end of this video that I think is pretty funny. And I guess I just did, for those last two.

But right now, I want to deep dive into the BotBlitz robots that this video gave me the excuse to release to you.

First complete prototype in single color FFF
The 3D models in this video are a part of one of my long term projects, and I'm excited that I have a reason to release some of them to you. This set of pawns will be employed in multiple adaptations of classic board games that you probably haven't heard of, that will be woven into a sort of lore. The world of BotBlitz is basically this:
BotBliz robots live together on a ship in space. Each one has a unique simulated personality and a job to do. But they dream of one day escaping to a new and untamed world where they can play all day.
There's a bit of a perspective shift difference in the world of BotBlitz that I kind of enjoy. To the alien (traditional, big eyes, bulgy brain head) who bought and installed these robots to operate the mundane operations of his flying saucer, these robots are his property. However, as the components that make them are so advanced, they have AI with personalities, and so to them their "owner" is an oppressive overlord who wants to yoke them down, when all they want is to frolic. This is, of course, a bug that will be patched in the next software update, but this alien is terrible at his maintenance schedule, and isn't that what he bought the robots for in the first place?

The designs of the robots were largely homages to classic robots from TV and movies that I loved. I made very little attempts at subtly on this point. They were also designed to print on their heads to remove the need for support, and so that they can be flipped over when their tagged out, for purposes of the game they were developed for. It sometimes took a lot of creativity to get the designs right, and there were other robots who didn't make the cut, yet.
  • Cymon. Color: White. Inspiration: Joe Larson original. Bio: The Cymon series robots are the maintenance for your maintenance bots. They will handle keeping your other robots up to date with the latest software patches. This Cymon, however, is neglect in it's duties when a patch came in that threatened to erase the personalities of it's friends. It instead considers itself the teacher of the group, always learning new things and passing along what its learned to the rest. It has filled its data banks with all kinds of information about worlds beyond the walls of the ship the BotBlitz robots serve on, and longs for the day to experience these things first hand. Kind, compassionate, and always willing to listen, Cymon has also become a dreamer, and passes it's dreams and hope to the others.
  • Vic. Color: Red. Inspiration: V.I.N.CENT from the Black Hole. Bio: Vic is a hovering multi-purpose bot designed to get into small spaces with tools to fix any problem. He also has a strong sense of adventure and a level head. He never runs from danger, and is rarely in a situation he can't handle. He's always the second (after Kittitron forms) to put himself between his friends and danger. Quote: "I can handle anything"
  • Twiggy and Theo. Color: Yellow. Inspiration: Twiki and Dr. Theopolis from Buck Rodgers. Bio: Theo is a vast, intellectual, problem solving, platter shaped robot that can not move on it's own. Theo also loves telling jokes. Twiggy is Theo's ambulatory unit and interpreter, as Theo speaks a compressed computer language that cannot be parsed by the others. Twiggy usually doesn't get the jokes making him the perfect straight man. Quote: "Biddi-biddi-biddi, I don't get it."
  • Robbie. Color: Green. Inspiration: Robbie the Robot with a little Robot from Lost in Space thrown in. Bio: Robbie scares easily. His official job is a fabricator. He's equipped to build anything in his fusion recombinator core, which makes him the most valuable member of the family. Maybe that's why whenever there's trouble, Robbie can be found running in the other direction. Quote: "DANGER, DANGER, DANGER!"
  • Marvin. Color: Cyan. Inspiration: Marvin the Paranoid Android. Bio: To others, Marvin may seem depressed or paranoid. He's got the biggest brain of the entire BotBlitz family, so he's capable of calculating to a million decimal points every possible outcome of an event and weighing them against each other. Then, he considers what will happen if he tells everyone what's to lose, then he considers what will happen if he doesn't, then he considers what will happen if he's the last bot of the family who hasn't gone to rust. Quote: "Here I am, brain, bigger than this room, an you want me to open a door for you?
  • Kittitron. Color: Pink, multicolor if you can. Inspiration: Voltron and Hello Kitty. Bio: Kittitron is actually 5 separate kitty robots that usually spend their time in what looks like lounging or resting, but what is actually advanced surveillance and charging their power cells. When danger threatens, they combine to form Kittitron, defender of the BotBlitz family. Quote: "Meow form the head."
  • Funny Ed. Color: Purple. Inspiration: ED-209 from Robotcop. Bio: Funny Ed always wants to chase and tickle everyone he sees. He also loves surprises and always has a smile on his face going as he peeks around every corner. He may be the shortest in the family, but he doesn't let that get him down. When he's not using his ticklers to make others laugh, he uses them to deftly untangle wire messes. Quote: "Please prepare to be tickled. You have 20 seconds to run."
I've definitely put a lot more thought and effort into these robots than I should have. But, I'm always open to more. What other classic robots could I add that would fit with this group?

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Sinterit Lisa Print Review Video




It's difficult to make an honest assessment of a printer, based on the prints alone. Especially a carefully curated group of prints. There's a lot of questions that the prints alone don't answer. Like:
  • How easy is their software to setup and use?
  • How much space does the printer require (including accessories)?
  • What settings had to be adjusted to get those immaculately accurate moving parts?
  • Is the manual written in a language that I can read?
  • Is their tech support in my time zone?
  • Is it, in the end, going to be worth it?
The way I see it, even if this is the easiest technology to use in the world, I don't kn ow if I can recommended it in the general case, if only because of the cost, texture, and monochromatic nature of the prints. However, I think that it does has utility beyond what FFF 3D printing can do. I feel the same way about photopolymerization, laser cutting, and CNC milling. I still suspect FFF 3D printing wins out for price and functionality, and it's exciting seeing the technologies filling in the gaps that FFF isn't good for, finally becoming more accessible.

I'm a little worried that my update schedule is going to slow down as I am currently in the grips of some microbe with a vendetta against my... uh... I'm sick. Kinda ran out of steam there, didn't I. That's kinda my modus operandi at the moment. Which could make for a hilarious video if I could get up the gumption to record one. Hopefully this thing will pass soon, because I've only got two more videos I'm ready to release at the moment. Prayers if you got 'em.

Friday, January 26, 2018

How to make $100 per month with 3D printing video

  1. Have a passion
  2. Get motivated to make money
  3. Fail early, fail cheap
  4. Strike oil
  5. Turn passion in to habit
I'm expecting this video to do well. I'm not often right on these sorts of expectations, so... I guess we'll see. That's part of why I broke it into a 2 parter. But also, because part 2 gets real, real quick, and I wanted to keep this half light. It wasn't for the run length, I can tell you that. I'm perfectly okay with a 3 minute video if that's all I need to get the point across. But this one came out to a comfortable approximately 10 minute length, so I'm okay with that

This is the sort of topic and question that I don't think many people actually are wiling to face head on. However, it's not unknown. The tips and tricks for starting and running a business are known quantities. Why is a 3D printing business any different? I think it's different because of the magic of 3D printing. You start to think anything is possible, even that this slow, cumbersome, manufacturing machine could support you. But the problem with magic in the real world, is behind the curtain there is a lot of hard work, sacrifice, persistence, dedication, good habits, and occasionally failure. The same can be said for 3D printing and for business.

I feel like this video perfectly captures the dual nature of how I feel about this subject. On the one hand, I don't want to scare anyone away. In fact I think more people need to try to make this work. Hence the shallow, excited-Joe sales pitch. But on the other hand this process took me years and a lot of going the wrong way before I ever got the idea that there was a right way to do it. From 2014 till now, before it took off, and it still hasn't quite taken off. While others, like Tom, Angus, or Joel, made YouTube success look easy, and even made it look like they were making a living with YouTube and 3D printing, the truth is, Joel still works at Adobe, Tom recently had to change jobs, and Angus... I think he just moved out of his parent's basement, but I'm not sure. The point is, crack the surface of the success creme brulee and underneath you find something more sweaty than sweet. I think a dose of reality is healthy, but I don't want to entirely close the door on the dream. If no one rides the dragon's tail, how will anyone fly?

Notes dump:

How to grow a 3D Printing business. From $100s to $1000s a month

Doing books.
Paypal.
Saw my efforts grow from a couple hundred to a few thousand a month in 2017.
Twitter asked for some tips.
Survivorship Bias https://xkcd.com/1827/
  1. Have a passion. 
  2. Get motivated to make money 
    1. Have a wife who refuses to let you use personal funds for your hobby. 
  3. Be ready to fail early, and fail cheap 
    1. Won my 3D printer 
  4. Strike oil 
    1. Etsy shop and TARDIS rings 
    2. Soap Stamps 
    3. Blog 
    4. Youtube 
    5. Books 
  5. Turn your passion into a habit 
    1. Make mistakes 
      1. Underselling Tardis Rings 
    2. Get some things right 
      1. Excellent customer service 
    3. Learn 
      1. Joined YouTube Partner program 
      2. Improved videos 
      3. Started Patreon

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

You Should Be Watching BarbMakesThings Video

My first shout out video is here, and it couldn't go to a more deserving channel. I do not know why BarbMakesThings doesn't get the love. Seriously, by the time I press send on this post, my video may already be to more more views that her last 3 videos combined. That ain't right. So I'm sending her some love. More specifically, I'm sending her you. Check her out, watch her videos, tell her the professor sent you.

With YouTube's recent baffling change in policy about paying low performing channels (take that you million view promoted suicide videos) Barb is looking to lose what little revenue YouTube provided to her. Hopefully, this will inspire her to keep going, because I'm going to print out her monster chess set as soon as I see the STL is available.

Sorry for the dearth of videos last week. This week I'm on a video production roll. Right now got 2 more videos ready for upload, including the eagerly awaited "How to make $100 a month with 3D printing" and my first tutorial about putting color data in your models, which is ironic because My Davinci color is all out of ink, and I can't order any more right now because they're out of stock. I've also got many other videos fully filmed and partially filmed. So I should be able to be coughing up content for at least a few weeks.

Meanwhile, I can blame the delay on two things. First, I was setting up a slight modification to my internal work space to give me more room inside to test 3D printers, and, second, I was reviewing the JGAurora A5. I don't want to spoil the review video, but any time running a 3D printer through it's paces takes this much time, it can not be said to be going well. I'm in an odd position. This is, by the specs, a brilliant machine, every bit more impressive than the CR-10, and I gave that one a glowing review. But with so many 3D printers to review, I can only spend so much time on each. So when a printer starts acting up, if tech support isn't on the ball, chances are things will eventually fall apart and I'll have to move on. And because, any negative I can provide for this machine is shared by the CR-10, like not being open source or easily fixable, anything I say bad about this printer invalidates my previous review.

I may just have to admit I was wrong about the CR-10. I'll give it a few more days, and if this machine isn't humming like a kitten, I'll make an introspective review video and move on. Such a shame.
Currently 0/3 on the pi vase

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Call me the Laser Cutting Professor

Don't call me the laser cutting professor. But I am super stoked to have a laser cutter in the new Maker Space. To learn how to use it, and how to design for it, I decided to make a gear clock. The idea is that the minute hand has a small gear and the hour gear has a 12x circumference so that one full rotation of the minute gear turns the hour gear one hour. I liked TexasLaser's take on it, but having not embedded the fonts or converted them to splines, they became lost. So I edited the file, chose my own fonts to be a little more futuristic, and made my own gear clock.
Of course now that I'm looking it it, the whole thing just kinda looks like something fell down. Plus, I see that I missed a golden opportunity to brand it there in the middle. Darn it. Well, I guess I'm going to have to try again.

TexasLaser's original had 8 different line colors, line colors being the way to communicate to the laser cutter the different types of cuts you want. However, besides cutting and engraving, I don't know what other tricks you can do with a laser cutter, so I don't know why there were so many colors. Now that I'm thinking about it, maybe it's a clever way to force the order of things? Cutting the inside objects before cutting the outside? I don't know. I still have much to learn.
One thing I have to learn is about using cheap plywood. Ran into some delamination issues and I lost a number of parts. Fortunately, there were a ton of spares and since this clock didn't come with assembly instructions, I had to guess, but I think I had everything I needed.

I want to make the next clock out of plexiglass, but I'm really going to think hard about the design, so it may be a while.