Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Interview with Lou Anders video

This was an opportunity that kind of came upon me quickly. My son discovered the Thrones and Bones book series rather serendipitously. That the book had the rules for a board game in the back was a complete bonus to him, and he was immediately hooked by the idea. Being the board game affectionato I am I immediately recognized this game as a tafl variant, an asymmetrical style of game that is notoriously imbalanced. But this version of the game had a number of rules that seemed like they might address the imbalance somewhat.

My son made a paper copy to try it out, and when I tweeted about it the author, Lou Anders, responded. Then my son began work on a 3D printable version of it, after which Lou and I became best buds. When he mentioned that he just bought a Prusa I3 I realized I had an opening for an interview. My son was thrilled.

I clearly still have some technical issues to iron out. I don't know why my audio was so choppy. Hopefully I can get those trouble shot before my next video on Saturday, an interview with the guy who co-designed the Ur board I uploaded recently. It's going to be an interesting interview, and I did a writeup about why on Pateron.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Where you can meet me this summer vlog

I was really on a roll with the Wednesday and Satruday uploads, and then I missed Wednesday this week. The reasons are multiple. I did record a video, but then I botched the audio. And between the new baby and everything else I have going on I just never got back into recording until... well, just now. But this gives me an opportunity to tell you about everything I have going on.

IF you want your own Anet A8 3D printer, use this link and the coupon code AADPR to get it for $159 and give a little back to support what I do:

The biggest thing I have going on is a run on my etsy store that's keeping my printers running at full tilt. I have to coordinate my videos for between prints. But feel free to make matters worse. Buy your own 3D printed game of Ur:
In the UK:

I'm teaming up with 4H for some 3D printing camps:

In August I'll have a booth at the St. George Board game Con

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The makerbot story video

This is a lecture that I've used in the past when teaching PowerPoint, to show my students how a PowerPoint presentation doesn't necessarily need to be a list of bullet points to be engaging. So I put together this little presentation relating Makerbot's relationship with the maker community to a high school drama and it amused me how well the analogy held up. Makers loved associating their name with Makerbot, like we were writing our name next to theirs in little hearts in the back of our trapper-keepers. And in the end they spurned us and, well, we acted like that love struck little girl would, impotent to do anything, but thrilling with every failure. And that's just not healthy for us or them.

The truth is Makerbot has had their hard times and we've had some times too, and while we didn't have those times together like we planned in home room, it's time to accept that they've moved on and to move on ourself.

While uploading this video I found this interview with Nadav Goshen. The interviewer was brutal, trying to get him to blame someone, anyone, for Makerbot's failure and to admit that they made mistakes, and with every reply it turned it to a positive and sidestepped the interviewers attempts to focus on the negative. Honestly, TechCrunch should be embarrassed with how their interviewer treated him, but Nadav did an excellent job. Of course, you don't get to be CEO if you can't talk your way out of a bad interview, but he won me over with that one.

I attempted, again, in this video to record it all in one take with all the elements in place and recorded live. You can see the slideshow on the screen behind me. But I messed up the outro so I had to load it in the editing software, and I'm glad I did because that's when I noticed that the screen I was uploading wasn't set to full screen, there was the browser window around them, and so I had to overlay the overlay with the pictures from the presentation. It's a delicate dance to get it right in one take, especially with so many elements, but I'm gonna get it right one day.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

3D Printing the Royal Game of Ur

I didn't intend to have two board game videos out in a row. Believe it or not I've got another board game project I'm working on in collaboration with my middle son coming soon. I think I'm gonna finally get enough project together that I can justify another run a GenCon, if I can get the scratch together. Should be a good time.

This was another video where I did it all in one take, only this time I managed to get an endcard. However, I'm not sure I managed to save myself any time. I spent so long doing retake after retake to get the one I wanted that I probably could have just shot it the way I did before. The music was too loud, there's no way I could have known that at the time, and I can't fix it afterwards. When this technique works it's gonna be great, but until then there may be some rough patched. I hope you'll all bear with me and give me the feedback to let me know if it's working.

You can download and play this version on Thingiverse:
Or you can buy a fully printed set:

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Wood Wars 3D on Sourceforge intro video

Check Wood Wars 3D out on Sourceforge:

I like to use this blog as a little peek behind the curtain, to share with readers not just information about the video, like some sort of extended description, but about how the video was made and why certain choices in the video happened. With that in mind here's some trivia about this video that likely no one but me will care about:

  • This video was shot all in one take. This was made possible because the monstrous computer my supporters bought for me had the huevos to run all the features of OBS while recording at full speed and while playing it's own background music and recording it over the desktop, all with no frame drops. I've got 2 cameras and a USB mic coming through one 7 port hub and this beast of a computer is like "eh, what else you got?"
  • I really need to learn to maintain eye contact with the camera, but in real life I don't maintain eye contact with humans very well, so there you go.
  • I have a cold.
  • Usually I record two or three videos in a session, but like I said, I have a cold, so I could only record this one, meaning I'm gonna have to scramble again to get Wednesday's video out.
  • The script for this video, more of an outline, really, originally included a bit about why I chose this setting. Short version, I'm tired of the Middle Earth inspired fantasy setting and will bend over backwards to avoid it. But when I started creating the races the idea was to make parallels to that settings, so the elks are derived from elves, the bears are orcs. However, that's as far as it got because after that the animals kind of took over. But that's why those two features prominently on the cover. I'll probably cover this again in the future. But when the time came to mention this in the video that prompt in the outline just disappeared in my eyes and so it doesn't show up in the video, and it's probably better that it didn't.
  • Man, that was a long bullet point.
I will be trying to perfect this sort of one-take editing-on-the-fly video because, if I can nail the delivery while juggling all the components like background music, then that's it, video done. No hours at the editing desk putting all these components together in post. This does add an element to my pre-processing. I have to know exactly what I'm saying, from beginning to end. I can't stop half way, collect my thoughts, and edit that out later. But this means my videos will probably be better overall because, well, I know exactly what I'm going to say. Can I trade a lot of post processing for a little pre-processing and keep my quality up, or even raise the quality? I hope so. This is one of the reasons I wanted this computer to begin with, because it will allow me to create better videos faster, not using the same technique I used in the past, but creating new techniques.

So let me know, does this video look good to you? Did it's one-take nature stand out and distract from the message of the video? Or did I do a good enough job that you didn't really notice it, except that now that you know it's there you'll never see anything else.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Robot Action Chess featured in the World Chess Hall of Fame

A few weeks back I was contacted by Nicole Tessmer of the World Chess hall of fame about including my robot action chess set in their collection. What an absolute honor.

I sometimes worry that my entire life is going to be defined by this one chess set, but I gotta admit it's pretty cool and probably deserves it. In fact I kind of owe this whole '3D Printing Professor' thing to this chess set. See, as a child I had one of those cheap, dollar store chess sets with the plastic injection molded pieces and a little piece of felt on the bottom, only on this set the felt had came off. I discovered that the ball on the top of the pawn would fit into the base of another pawn and I linked them together in this way. I hardly played chess with them, but I played with them like building toys. And thus the seed of this chess set was planted in my mind.

In 2012 I was a father with a software development job. I became a huge fan of 3D printing just as they were entering their newly accessible phase. But even as relatively cheap as they were becoming I still couldn't afford to buy one, not with a family I had to support. However, I had acquired 3D design skills in college related to an animation program I decided not to finish, and so I started designing for 3D printers and shared those designs online. I eventually entered a series of contests whenever the promised prize would be a 3D printer, and time and time again I lost.

Then, Makerbot and Tinkercad teamed up to offer a contest. Design a chess set, win a 3D printer. And suddenly that dollar store chess set I played with as a kid returned to me. I made a sketch on the bus of a voltron-like robot with the pieces of a chess set forming it's body. Then I set to work implementing that design in Tinkercad. It took a week, and many design changes, but finally I had a chess set like no other. I won the contest and my first 3D printer.

I was so excited about that 3D printer that I started a blog. That led to a couple of books. Eventually the blog evolved into a moderately successful YouTube channel. And now I'm building a career, all in 3D printing, all due to a unique chess set design, and a dollar store chess set.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

More 3D Printed spinners experiments video

My first 3D printed spinner video has yielded more views than I've ever seen (though less quality comments). But was it the cute kid, or the spinner? So going with the practice of changing one variable at a time, I made video with another of my kids, but no spinners, and this video features another thumbnail promising cheap 3D printed spinners, but no cute kid. (Though in this one I decided to include some fine print in the thumbnail.

You can download and try your own here.

Part of my motivation in building the bearings in, besides being a cheapscape and not wanting to use my limited supply of really cheap bearings, but also because by making the bearing included I can save a little space in the design and made the spinner more compact. Why does that matter? I have no idea.

This series is going to have one more in it. At least. I don't want to make this a thing, but spinners really have something compelling about them.

PS. Does the music under the videos help?