So, up until last week I had a perfect record. 144 weeks since I started doing this posting something every monday, usually a screed hastily smashed out on sunday night, I have never missed a post. A couple of times I posted around 11:30 monday night. Even when we took a trip to DisneyWorld, I managed to type something up on the Nexus 7 tablet and had it posted for monday. Unfortunately, last monday technology failed me. I was heading out of town and wouldn’t be back until late on monday so I decided to use the post scheduling feature of my websites content management system. My post consisted entirely of a single picture and a short caption. The post didn’t get posted, and the caption was lost to the digital ether. That picture went up on tuesday, and I couldn’t be bothered to recover the caption. Technology, I’m not mad, just disappointed.
On the other hand, the content of that post was the first object ever extruded from my 3d printer. A few weeks ago I wrote about assembling the machine. That was as far as it got. Assembled. I was able to start the thing up and shuttle the print head around a bit, but I couldn’t get it to graduate from demo mode to actually printing.
After some investigative diagnostics, I managed to figure out that the temperature sensor for the print bed wasn’t working. Actually it was smashed practically back to sand. A handy safety feature for the printer is that it won’t try to heat anything up if it can’t tell what temperature it is. So that’s good I suppose. Less good was waiting for the replacement parts to arrive. Thermistors cost somewhere south of 40 cents, but they are apparently required to circumnavigate the globe before they can be delivered to you, so I had to wait weeks before I could find out if this structure I had constructed could actually print at all.
A quick solder job later and the new thermistor was installed. The printer started up just fine and accurate temperature readings started squirting out of the print bed. It wasn’t until the next day that I managed to get it to print one very small part.
I printed a tiny thing that I had modelled in Blender and hastily ran through software that breaks the model down into tiny slices and converts that information into g-code, a common language used to control automated machines. I printed that a few hours before we left on our trip. I took a picture of it and created a post scheduled to go up mid afternoon monday, a time I knew I would be driving. The post never went up, but I would say that, technology wise, I came out ahead.
Next week I’ll probably be back to writing about games again. On mondays.
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