Sunday, December 27, 2015

DesignSpark Mechanical - The Best Free CAD Program

For 2 years my CAD program-of-choice has been DesignSpark Mechanical (DSM). It was so easy to use and feature-rich.

Today I came across this video by Hoffman Engineering [Christopher Hoffman]. Hoffman did such a fantastic job of capturing the best qualities of DSM that I wanted to share it on my site.

Additional Links:

Tell me your experiences if you have tried DS or another product.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Cobblebot - Roller Bearing Fix With 3-D Printed Shims/Washers

If you participated in the Cobblebot Kickstarter campaign in 2015 you may have received your kit and are enjoying some of the challenges of low cost 3D Printer builds.

Many supporters have expressed their issues with the roller bearing assembly and various rub issues with spacers, washers, eccentric spacers and bolt heads. In this video I show how I am solving for these issues.

Here are the 3D print files on

Most Likely this will work for all the different versions of the Cobblebot machines. Both Cobblebot Kickstarter campaign:

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Mouse Pad Print Bed Trial #01

The latest craze in the print platform has moved beyond hairspray and blue tape. There is a new product called BuildTak at that many users are loving. The downside is the expense, go to their site and see.

Looking at their video's and photos on the web I couldn't help but notice how similar the surface looked like my mouse pad. Granted, they do not have a rubber backing but how but testing a quick 10x10mm cube to find out if sticks.

Here is my first attempt that literally took me 30 seconds to set up. Let me know if you think this can lead to something awesome like buying cheap mouse pads, ripping off the backing and making our own BuildTak quality build surface.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

ZeGo Delta Printer - First Print with J-Head Bowden Extruder

First Print! Although I never received the 3D Print head attachment from the website (post their Indiegogo campaign) I have been working on developing my own 3D Printer attachment. Here are my first real results.

The very first results were so poor it was clear there were leveling issues and I was not yet finished with calibration. This was the first time the print head moved level with the platform.

Regarding the MK8 J-head Hotend Bowden Extruder. It was a struggle to get this extruder working and it still "clicks" as it tries to push PLA filament through. I have much to learn with Bowden extruders as my only experience thus far has been with direct drive.

Hot-End Used: MK8 J-head Hotend Bowden Extruder

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Absolutely Brilliant Depiction of the 80's

Came across this expectantly on Steam today. A few weeks ago I saw the music video for this.. before I saw the actual 30 minute film. That is a first.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Extremely Low Cost 3D Printable 3D Printer / Plotter / CNC Machine

This last Christmas of 2014 I searched for many linear actuators on because I was given $70 worth of gift cards. To my surprise there are many nerd supplies on Amazon stores for the CNC hobbiest. One purchase I almost made was to buy 10 DVD drive linear actuators, just to have and play around with.  Here is one such listing of 5 micro stepper motors with mini screw rods.

Well Wootin24, over on, created a mini XYZ axis CNC controlled machine using those DVD drive linear actuators. He claims this can be used for 3D printing, too. 

Check it out here:


Thursday, January 22, 2015

DnD Map Plotter - Part 2 - Plotter Hardware


Here is the first image I created. What else would I have drawn?

All the 3D objects can be found here:

Many thanks to the website for the inspiration to design this plotter.

In the first image below, notice one of the string travels all the way through to the corner idler pulleys? Need to keep that in mind in my 3-D parts.

Image Credit:

Notice the 45 degree offset of these two pulleys in the picture below... I will need to use the diameter of the idler pulleys as a parameter when spacing the two holes.  OH NO! will I actually have to multiply a parameter by the square root of 2!  Yay, I'm using one of the 3 things I remember from my college degree.

Image Credit:

Monday, January 19, 2015

China builds world's first 3D printed villa and tallest 3D printed apartment building

If you follow 3D printing then you already know that companies are desperately trying to print in concrete paste. We have seen demonstrations of concrete walls and a child's playhouse but who pushed this technology the furthest, WinSun. 
"Shanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co, made a new announcement that will take 3D printed buildings to a whole new level: they have built the highest 3D printed building, a 5-storey residential house and the world's first 3D printed villa. The villa measures 1,100 square meters and even comes complete with internal and external decorations."
Click here for the exclusive by

Preview the Villa and the Apartment building, and a video showing how walls are constructed below.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Saturday, January 3, 2015

DnD Map Plotter - Part 1 - Introduction

After 3 years of playing Dungeons and Dragons, Savage Worlds, Star Wars, Traveler, Dungeon Crawl Classic, etc. it is time that I became the Game Master for the Dungeon and Dragons 5th Edition campaign, "Hoards of the Dragon Queen".

Becoming a Game Master is new to me so I am learning that I have to read, read, and then review what I read. After reading, next is getting the miniatures and drawing some maps! Well, I can't just draw maps with my fingers, can I?

Time to make a plotter to draw these maps for me. The approach will be to design a rigid plotter following the CoreXY design. The link shows a great write up but below is the primary mechanics behind the design.

My approach will be to use: 
  • Ridged Aluminum and metal yard sticks for the basic structure.
  • Many 3-D printed parts
  • 2 stepper motors (these are very affordable 28BYJ-48 from Amazon)
  • 1 Arduino
  • 1 PC/ Laptop
  • 1 Servo (to lift the pen) 
Here are some demonstrations of the CoreXY movements: