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.

 

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!

Feb 11

Friday Post: Simplify3D customer service is the best!

Hey All,

Not much to report on this week. ¬†I was having issues with really bad stringing on my prints from my SeeMeCNC ERIS 3D printer. ¬†On fully enclosed prints, it’s been great, but on anything with overhangs or open spaces, the stringing has been incredibly bad.

I use Simplify3D as my slicer, and it’s been worth every penny. ¬†This past week I get fed up with making the adjustments myself, so I emailed Simplify my settings file, pictures of the issues, and within a day they sent me back a new settings file, for a printer they don’t even officially support, and it’s now working 100% better.

Prints are more dimensionally accurate and I have almost zero stringing!

CURA and Slic3r are really good free open source slicers, but it’s been totally worthwhile to pay for Simplify!

I also bought ANOTHER new 3D Printer, which should arrive in a week or two, and I’m excited to see it in action. ¬†I will be doing a review of it so be on the look out!

The model is a surprise for now.

Sep 11

Updates Updates Updates

Hey All,

Sorry for the long delay in updates. ¬†Been extremely busy with the campaign and some personal projects. ¬†I needed the break but I’m back.

Good News

The Florida primaries are over, and it is only myself and a Democrat in the race for Florida House District 49. ¬†I am currently polling in the high 30s, which is pretty damn good considering I’m an Independent¬†with about $1000 left running against a politician who has raised over $100,000.

Does money help? ¬†Of course, but the more I talk to people and tell them my platform, and more importantly, what type of person I am, the more support I am getting. ¬†I am so thankful for the wonderful support my friends and family are showing me during this campaign. ¬†It’s been amazing so far. ¬†Can’t wait until the November election ūüėÄ

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The PiPlay Advance board is coming together! ¬†We have another iteration we are getting ready to test! ¬†More news on that soon ūüėÄe6e6230260da234de488a393ef5bd7cb_preview_featured

I’ve been playing a TON of Overwatch lately, and in a few of the maps, you can run around some arcade machines. ¬†They look like traditional Japanese Candy Cabs, and I love them. ¬†I really want to make my own real¬†version sometime, BUT, I was able to do the next best thing. ¬†A modder released the model files for the arcade into Source Film Maker, and I was able to export them OBJs, convert them to STLs, and then clean them up in Tinkercad, so I could 3D print them.

img_20160911_200504425

 

 

Sad News

In sad news, last month my Grandfather passed away.  I want to thank the other campaigns for offering their condolences and being decent about the whole thing.  It took a toll on my family of course.  Right after he passed, my Grandmother went into the hospital (for what looks like a heart attack), but she is doing better.  It was just a heck of a month.

Today is also 9/11, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention anything about it. ¬†I remember 15 years ago, a senior in high school, watching the events unfold on TV in a class room. ¬†The administrators were going room by¬†room turning off TVs and telling the teachers to go back to their lessons. ¬†I’m glad my teacher turned it back on when they left.

At 17, all I could think about was how my cousins lived in NYC at the time, and hoping they were OK, but not really worried, because they were also kids, what would they be doing close to the towers?  I remember a lot of confusion and worry about what was next.  I remember a lot of ignorant and hateful comments being spoken in the following weeks, and a lot of misinformation from my fellow classmates.  I was just numb.

15 years later, the big thing I take from 9/11 is that we should never respond to these tragic events with reactionary legislation. ¬†The PATRIOT Act is probably one of the worst bills that was pushed through during that time. ¬†In hindsight we see that, but we can’t forget the lesson in case of future events.

Thank you.

-Shea

Jul 04

Happy 4th of July!

Hey All,

Happy 4th of July! ¬†Go eat some hotdogs, grill some burgers, and watch some fireworks. ¬†That’s my plan for today ūüôā

In other news….

Amazon is selling the Monoprice Maker Select 3D Printer at the incredible price of $279 with Prime shipping!  The Maker Select is based on the Prusa i3, and is considered one the very best reprap open source printer.  This price point is killer as well, since it is normally $350.


I couldn’t resist and purchased one (so my Makerbot clone will be up for sale in the near future lol). ¬†I’ll be posting a review of it soon!

Thanks everyone!  Have a great holiday!

-Shea

Mar 04

Friday Post: The Flu Sucks

Hey All,

Sorry for the lack of updates, I got the flu and it kicked my ass! ¬†I’ve also been dealing with school, my grandma being sick, work, and just so much stuff on my plate. ¬†But yay It’s spring break right now, so I’m back for a bit.

While I was gone the Raspberry Pi 3 was released! ¬†How awesome is that! ¬†A 64bit Quad Core ARM core running at 1.2ghz with 1GB of RAM AND built in WiFi and Bluetooth. ¬†And it’s still only $35!

IMG_4090

I’ve also almost finished the Storm Trooper Helmet

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2016-03-02

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea

Jan 09

(Late) Friday Post: and the winner is! Also Monoprice Maker Architect 3D Printer

Hey All!

The winner of the Raspberry Pi Zero giveaway is Aaron!  Congratulations!  I will be emailing you later tonight!

Onto other news. ¬†This has been a hell of a week. ¬†Had a small health scare with my grandmother, so we¬†drove 200 miles yesterday to visit her. ¬†We spent the night and drove back home today. ¬†Hence the late post. ¬†Shes doing better, so phew! ūüėÄ

This week I implemented a cool video encoding queuing system using Redis and Django.  The module I used is called Django-RQ, and it makes it super simple to convert your functions into queue-able objects using the @Job decorator.

This Tuesday is my birthday! Woo! ¬†I turn 32. ¬†I’m content. ¬†I also start classes that night. ¬†Yay lol. ¬†I bought this as a gift for myself:

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It’s a Monoprice Maker Architect 3D Printer for $300. ¬†It’s a major upgrade compared to my Micro, but it takes a lot more to get it going. ¬†I’ve had it for two days and I’ve finally got most of the settings dialed in.

When I went to visit my Grandma I took along my Kinect sensor and used Skanect to scan her, so I was able to quickly print out a very low poly version of her as a bust.

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The Skanect free version limits exports to only 5000 polygons.  Once I upgrade I can export at full resolution.

Have a good week / weekend all.

Thanks for reading.  I really appreciate it.

-Shea

Aug 28

Friday Post: Cool Stuff for Maker Faire Orlando

Hey All,

First week of the semester is done! ¬†Can’t say everything went off without a hitch. ¬†Ran into a nasty timezone issue between servers that I just couldn’t figure out. ¬†One image, two servers cloned from that image. ¬†When pulling the info from Python one reported UTC, the other Eastern. ¬†Tried a bunch of different ways to force Eastern, but eventually used this:

from datetime import datetime
from pytz import timezone
fmt = "%m/%d/%Y %I:%M:%S"
# Current time in UTC
now_utc = datetime.now(timezone('UTC'))
print now_utc.strftime(fmt)
# Convert to US/Eastern time zone
now_eastern = now_utc.astimezone(timezone('US/Eastern'))
print now_eastern.strftime(fmt)

So yeah, that was a fun couple days trying to make sure our data wasn’t 4 hours off ūüôā ¬†Also, we might be getting hit by a Tropical Storm / Hurricane on Monday. ¬†Yay.

Onto the cool stuff!  Maker Faire Orlando!

I am working on two projects for Maker Faire. ¬†The first is with Factur and FamiLAB. ¬†We are making the worlds LARGEST arcade cabinet! ¬†It is so awesome. ¬†I can’t wait for the electronics to come in so I can help wire it up. ¬†I’ll be posting more details as we get closer to the Faire!

facturworldsbiggest facturforscale

The top panel was recently added on, but I couldn’t get a good picture of it because it is about an inch from touching the ceiling of the warehouse, and I just couldn’t get a good angle on it. ¬†This thing is massive! ¬†It’s a beast!

My personal project is a new modular arcade cabinet.

This is a 3 piece cabinet that breaks down into sections for easy movement, transporation, and customization.  My main requirement was that it had to fit in my PT Cruiser, everything from there was negotiable.  This is what it looks like so far:

2015-08-26 copy1/3 Model.  Cat for Scale.

IMG_5534 IMG_5533 IMG_5516 IMG_5514 IMG_5511Team working the ShopBot CNC Machine.

Also!

3D Printed a Bulbasaur using glow in the dark filament!

IMG_5543

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea