Dec 31

2018

Hey All,

I almost didn’t blog for the whole year. To be truthful, it’s been hard to write this past year. Lots of amazing wonderful things have happened to me in 2018, but I’m exhausted. And this blog was easy to overlook. I want to write again, but at my own pace. I’m going to try to start again.

That said…. BEING A FATHER IS AWESOME! I have an amazing little mini me who is 20 months old and is just so much fun. He has made me grow in ways I never even knew imaginable.

Maker Faire Orlando 2018

My friend Jacob and I worked on an awesome project for Maker Faire Orlando this year, and I am so proud to say we won Maker of Merit! It is a deep honor to me to win that award. And of course it’s Raspberry Pi related ūüėÄ

We made a 4096 LED pixel framebuffer display powered by the Raspberry Pi!

LED Display playing a clone of Snake
Prototype at the Orlando Science Center

How it works?

We are using P10 LED panels as the basis for the screen. P10 means a 10mm dot pitch, so 10mm between each LED. They range from 3 – 10mm. The panels also usually come in a size of 16 x 32, but luckily they are daisy chainable!

The Raspberry Pi can even handle upto 32 of them in 3 chains! For our purposes we only used 8 16×32 panels in one chain.

8 P10 Panels, daisychained to an Adafruit LED matrix bonnet, connected to a Raspberry Pi 3b+, with power distributed via a CFOL Distro 8 board.

The above picture may look complicated, but it’s not that bad.

8 P10 panels are daisy chained together using a standard HUB75 cable (it’s like an smaller IDE cable).

The panels are mounted together with the orange and red 3D printed brackets.

The first panel is connected to a Raspberry Pi 3B+ via an Adafruit LED matrix bonnet.

The power for the panels and the Pi comes from a 10amp DC supply, which plugs into the bonnet. The bonnet powers the Pi, and has two screw terminals for the voltage output. The +/- screw terminals connect to a CFOL Distro 8 PCB (in the center of the board) which takes the input and breaks it out to 8 screw terminals. We only need 4 since each cable powers two panels, but it gives us room to expand.

After that we use https://github.com/adafruit/rpi-fb-matrix to copy whats on the HDMI framebuffer out onto the LED matrix!

and Voila! You now have a giant low resolution display!

Many thanks to Adafruit for making such a great beginner tutorial that we could jump from, and building a great bonnet for the Pi!

Happy Making and a Happy New Year! Here’s to a wonderful 2019 everyone!

-Shea

Sep 02

Monoprice Maker Ultimate or how 3 point leveling made 3D printing fun again

Hey All,

TL;DR: IMHO 3 point bed leveling is so much better than 4 point bed leveling and auto bed leveling.

So the PiPlay Portable Kickstarter has ended, and we have been doing tons of fulfillment these past few weeks. ¬†One of the add-ons was originally a laser cut case, but realistically, it didn’t work well.

My friend Nick from P3DCreations was able to design us an awesome 3D printable case at the last minute, and the demand for it was high. ¬†Higher than I could reasonably print on my current printers. ¬†3D printing is a lot slower than laser cutting, so I needed to add a new printer to my “print farm”.

Enter the Monoprice Maker Ultimate

The Monoprice Maker Ultimate is a rebrand of the Wanhao D6 (or Duplicator 6) which itself is a mix of an Ultimaker and a Zortrax M200.  I have been printing with it non stop for the past 2 weeks and it has been a workhorse.  I love this printer.  It has made 3D printing fun for me again.  Pro Tip: Wait for it to go on sale, as I got mine for $550 shipped.

Leveling Up

The difference comes from how you level the bed. ¬†The most common bed is a piece of aluminum with 4 screws attached at each corner. ¬†As you screw down each corner, you are bending the bed, trying to make it flat enough for your print to adhere correctly at all points. ¬†Realistically you end up warping the bed. ¬†Every time you get one point leveled, you’ve just unleveled the opposite point.

Auto bed leveling uses a probe and triggers when it detects the bed. ¬†It does this at multiple points on the bed at the beginning of each print to determine the shape and warpness of the bed, and then tries to correct the skew as it prints. ¬†When it works it’s amazing, but if it doesn’t you risk damaging your bed, hotend, and printer components. ¬†Also, depending on the controller board and software determines how well the software can compensate.

On the Maker Ultimate (and numerous other printers) the bed is leveled by 3 screws.  One in the front and 2 in the back.  Doing this makes a plane and makes leveling a quick affair that just works and tends to stay in place for longer.

I also like that the bed is stationary and just moves on the Z axis, rather than i3 type 3d printers that moves the bed on the Y axis. ¬†I’m not a fan of how much motion is generated when moving the bed like that. ¬†I’ve had failures due to the wobble of the bed causing a print to fall off.

There are many great i3 printers, and a well tuned printer will make good prints on any machine, but man, I’m so pleased with this Monoprice Maker Ultimate.

It’s made 3D printing fun again.

 

Aug 23

Gone too long!

Hey All!

I’m sorry about the lack of posts. Being a Dad is the most amazing time consuming adventure I have ever been on! I am currently on paternity leave, and of course I thought I would have tons of down time to post and update….all the parents are collectively shaking their head.

He’s 4 months old now!!! ¬†Can you believe that?!

More updates soon.  I got some awesome Nintendo stuff to post.

-Shea

May 26

Friday Post: PiPlay Portable funded :D

Hey All,

Thank you, to my backers, and supporters, for helping to fund the PiPlay Portable. I’m so excited to get to make this.

We just got the latest prototype boards in, as well as our stickers from StickerMule.  We were also able to get some polybags for real cheap (they are in beta, so why not!)

Also MegaCon is this weekend!  I finished making my Nintendo Switch Arcade Machine and made it an Ultra SF2 Machine.

Have a great weekend all!

-Shea

May 20

PiPlay Portable – Last Day

Hey All,

This has been an exciting week.  The PiPlay Portable is fully funded, and we have less than 12 hours to go on the Kickstarter!


Sam has been growing so fast! ¬†I love being a Dad. ¬†It’s an experience I am so happy I get to have, and of course I have 3D scanned him and got him 3D printed…

 

I also won the Community Leadership award from IMS Global at the LILI conference.  I had no idea I was even nominated!!  I am really humbled by this.  Thank you IMS!

Apr 28

Friday Post: PiPlay Portable is fully funded! And meet the newest member of the PiPlay Team!

Hey All,

The PiPlay Portable Kickstarter is fully funded!!!  Thank you to all of you.  We are super humbled and excited that we get to see this kit succeed.

In even more incredible news….

I’m super excited to introduce our son, Sam, born Monday April 24th.

Mother and Baby are doing great. ¬†We came home from the hospital yesterday. ¬†I’m so excited for this new chapter in our lives.

Have a great weekend all,

-Shea

Apr 15

Arcades! Arcades! Arcades!

Hey All,

This weekend is Star Wars Celebrations! ¬†While I’m not able to go, for the past week I’ve been helping Free Play Florida finish their 10 foot Star Wars arcade cabinet for the convention. ¬†This thing is awesome! ¬†And MASSIVE!

This machine will be at Free Play Florida and Orlando Maker Faire this year ūüėÄ

SwitchCade

The Nintendo Switch has come out, and I have put a ton of hours into The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild already. ¬†This is one of my favorite consoles so far. ¬†The eShop already has Neo Geo games and a new Street Fighter game is coming out ( Ultra Street Fighter II ) so of course I had to make a Nintendo Switch Arcade Machine ūüėÄ ¬†The files to make your own are on Thingiverse: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2235516/#files¬†

Have a great weekend all!

-Shea

Mar 31

Friday Post: Fix It Felix Jr. running on the Raspberry Pi!

Hey All,

This post is made possible because ELTechs has provided me with an early version of Exagear Desktop 2.0.  This is commercial software that was provided to me free of charge.

One of my game room goals has been to have a full sized Fix It Felix Jr. arcade cabinet, and now that I can run the game on the Raspberry Pi, I’m one step closer!

The desktop version of Fix-It Felix Jr. has been notoriously hard to find.  It has been released as a flash game, an Apple iOS app, Android app, and even a homebrew Sega Genesis/MegaDrive ROM, but never as a stand alone application.

The version that ran at Disney Quest, and which was on tour at some of the themeparks, was never officially released.

Recently though, it got released to the internet, and I quickly grabbed it and ran it through a hex editor to see what makes it tick.  

It uses a 3rd party framework called FOCAL, which powers many small games on desktop and mobile, made by Code Mystics.  I was excited to finally have the software, but I wasn’t thrilled that I needed a Windows machine to run it.

Enter ExaGear Desktop.  An inexpensive (~$27) x86 emulator with OpenGL support for the Raspberry Pi.  It’s acts more as a virtual machine, running an x86 distro of Debian (or Ubuntu) inside a shell on top of Raspbian.

To get it working once you have purchased Exagear:

In a fresh install of Raspbian, you need to make sure to run sudo raspi-config and enable FULL Open GL support.  After that, install ExaGear ( sudo ./install_exagear.sh ), and then double click on the exagear icon on the desktop to bring up the shell. Run sudo apt-get install wine, then run wine FixItFelixJr.exe .

Wine should start up and asks to install some dependencies.  And then the moment of truth, the Fix It Felix Jr. window should pop up, and the game will be fully playable!

You can even change the window orientation and run it full screen!

I’ll be uploading video of the game in action ASAP!

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea

P.S: Baby Silverman is expected any day now !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Mar 24

Friday Post: Politics

Politics (or how I bought trumpsucks.gop and you can too).

To those who may not have guessed, I am not a big Trump supporter.  I am a Bernie Sanders fan.  I am an independent progressive who thinks science and technology are the way forward.

This week the Republicans tried to bring their Trumpcare bill to the House¬†which would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), and… they failed. ¬†One thing I noticed in the GOPs marketing is that they kept touting this new site called readthebill.gop. ¬†It’s a slick site, showing off their failed bill and how great it will¬†be, but what really intrigued me was the top level domain: .gop.

I wanted to know more about this.  My google-fu led me to www.join.gop which incredibly enough allows you to search and register for domain names under the GOP brand.  WTF?!

OK, naturally I tried donaldtrump.gop and various others, but they were all unavailable. ¬†But of course, the GOP must have disabled anything that says anything negative about themselves….right?

Well here we go. ¬†And it’s only $20.16. ¬†Surely they wont let it through.

Ok, so I bought it, but surely someone must confirm these orders manually right?

Yeah, someone’s looking at it and this will be bounced back.

WAT?

I actually own trumpsucks.gop now. ¬†This can’t backfire at all.

-Shea