Archives for category: Uncategorized

This morning I walked two blocks from my apartment over to the park by the Walter’s Art Museum in Baltimore, in the shadow of the Washington Monument.  There are many large statues in this area, and for smaller ones, one at each ‘corner’ of the circle that goes around the monument.  Metal letters spelling out the words “War, Peace, Order and Force” are below each. I brought the Sense and my laptop out to scan one of them.

In the Sense scanning software, you have options right when you open the software.  It asks you if you’re scanning a person or an object, and then it asks you how big the object is… small medium or large.  I scanned the War sculpture and the next scan using the object and large settings.

I think I made a mistake and didn’t have color on when I exported the file, and I loaded a new scan so all I’ve got are the exported .ply and .stl scans.  When I opened the .ply in Meshlab, there was no color data, so I’m assuming I had a setting wrong when I exported.  While scanning I know that color was on.

Overall using the scanner feels a lot like the other PrimeSense scanners, but the software is really what sets it apart.  It’s simple and straightforward, no need to jump between software packages to go from scan data to printable object.  When I scan with my Asus Xtion Pro, I needed to originally struggle with the ReconstructMe settings to get it to initialize, save using the command prompt, load the file into Meshmixer and clean up the scan there manually. I like doing it manually with meshmixer, and don’t mind the command prompt, but the average consumer wouldn’t use a device where all those steps are needed.  Doing it with the Sense software was a breeze.  Of course, that’s why this costs $399 and not ~$150 like the others.  The software is certainly the biggest added value to this scanner over the Kinect or Asus. 

I bumped in to Yair at Dooby’s (where I’m currently typing this up) and did a quick 15 second scan.  I got it right this time and was able to export the color data. I didn’t go back and tell it that I was scanning a smaller thing, nor did I switch the setting to ‘person.’ Sorry Yair, now 3d systems thinks you’re an object and not a person.

I liked the feedback it gave me while I was scanning, though it was frustrating at times.  It helps guide you to make sure the scanner is the right distance away from the object.  It suggests 15″.  While I was scanning the War sculpture, It would sometimes switch from “Too Close” to “Too Far”  as I passed by parts of the sculpture which protruded more, like the horse’s head. I did find that it would keep scanning even if it was telling you that you were too close or two far.  Being too close made the scan go very slowly, and being too far would sometimes make you lose tracking.  It does a nice overlay to help guide you to line up the scan with the sculpture if you lose tracking, and usually can find itself and resume.

Overall this is a great device and excellent software execution by 3D Systems.  I’m glad they let us save out the .stl and .ply files and that they’re not locked in to the system.  You can download the War sculpture here.
Shapeways link

Empire City Garrison

I got to attend comic con with the Empire City Garrison of the 501st Legion.  I’m a member of the group and we go to events dressed as Star Wars characters and raise money for charity.  This event was cool because we did Blast-a-Trooper, where kids would get shots at us using automatic, semi-automatic, and pump-action nerf guns.  They loved it, and we raised over $1000 this weekend just doing that.  Hallmark made a large donation for us to be at their booth, and another group donated $7000 worth of books for us to be at their booth for a while too.  As an organization as a whole, we raised over $11 million in 2011 and $14 million in 2012.

Lar deSouza

Another cool thing I got to do was get the artist of one of my favorite web comics to draw a sketch of me, and he recorded a video of the process while he was wearing my Google Glass.  Lar deSouza works for Blind Ferret Entertainment as the artist on several comics, including Least I Could Do.  I came up with the idea for have him do a first person video of him making a sketch, and he decided to do it of me, which was pretty cool!  It’s a pretty awesome sketch of me and he did it in only two minutes.  Click on the video to check it out!

RFID badge check-in/check-out

There were a lot of people at comic con, but it did seem like less than last year.  I think this is because the event organizers did a cool thing with the badges.  Each badge had an RFID chip, and you had to scan it both to get in to comic con, and to leave.  If you forgot to check out when you left, then your badge would still be in the ‘checked-in’ state, and if you tried to re-enter, you would be denied access.  This prevents the typical cheat of two people entering the convention with their badges, and then one of them leaving with both badges to give one to a friend waiting outside.  With the RFID check-out built in to the badge, the badge in his pocket would not work for the third person waiting outside since it would still be checked-in.  It’s a pretty neat way to prevent multiple uses of the same pass, while still allowing re-entry for paying guests.  Here is a video of me walking down the hallway from the main area over to Artist’s Alley:

After meeting many many people at the Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire last Sunday (which was awesome), I was invited to come speak at the Saint Patrick’s School in Rockville.

At the Saint Patrick’s School, I was lead to a classroom where I set up.  The Young Inventors group had their inaugural meeting yesterday, where I spoke and demoed 3d printing and other forms of fabrication to an after-school class of about 50, 5th-8th graders.

They learned more than they would ever want to know about Han Solo in Carbonite, as well as a lot about different 3d scanning programs, modeling programs, and methods of 3d printing.  About 35% of them already did 3d modeling in the form of Minecraft.  Those kids were especially excited to learn about other ways of 3d modeling and other solid primitives.  I explained Boolean operations while showing what they look like in AutoCAD, and showed them many things I’ve made.  Good times.

My gearrings from my last post have arrived.  They work for the most part.  The part printed fine, and everything moves cleanly.  The issue I was concerned about was that the gears might shift and not engage the next gear.  I couldn’t make it tighter and still abide by Shapeways tolerance for printing in their FUD material. I didn’t consider that while i had my bases covered for the shifting, that the gap i left in between the gear and the shaft might be used by the gear to tilt at an angle.  For this reason the gears sometimes get jammed.  If i make the gears thicker it will make it so the gears can’t tilt as much.  That’ll be in the next revision.  I also intend to cheat the tolerances and make it tighter than I’m supposed to.  That will also help with the distance the gears are allowed to move.  For now, this is what we’ve got… gearrings which mostly work.

They’re obviously called Gearrings.  Earlier this week, I sent the .stl file to Shapeways for printing in their fine ultra detail material.

Using a gear generator, there’s an option for slop, which is the spacing between gear teeth.  I set that to a little bit more than the clearance needed for a gap for FUD material, and set the shaft spacing to be the distance that I wanted these gears to be apart. I exported dxfs from the generator program and imported them in to AutoCAD.  I extruded the shapes, and unioned together the appropriate gears, and made sure the distance along the shaft was far enough apart so they wouldn’t fuse together during printing.  Spinning the gear shown in red should make the brown gear spin about 6 times faster.  We’ll see if it works!

The theme for Burning Man this year is Cargo Cult, which is an amazing story and I suggest you check it out. Basically there were these island natives and during the war they saw military getting supply drops from airplanes, so they started building their own fake runways in hopes that planes would land there and they’d get supplies too. The Wikipedia article is worth the read.
I’ve designed the MockerBot Fauxbricator at the Baltimore Node Hackerspace last night and used the laser cutter to cut it all out today at the UMBC PaD Lab. Thanks Amy!
It’s not 100% complete yet. and I want to add a few things. The platform can be moved up and down, the fo’struder can move left and right and back and forth. There’s even a tube to carry the fo’liment.  You can grab the WIP laser cut files here.  
It’s designed for the 1/4″ wood board that i picked up at home depot this morning.  I didn’t use the typical birch and wend for the darker wood.  You’ll also need to grab two 4′ 1/2″ dowels and some tubing.

I had a lot of fun when I went to Detroit for Maker Faire.  I stayed with a fellow named Jeff who is a professional ice carver and a man of many talents.  He let me try it out.  Here’s the video I shot through Glass of me starting out the ice sculpture.

Of course I had to let the pro finish it up, but he still let me take a bunch of pics and videos while standing nearby.  The trick is to just cut away anything that doesn’t look like a lion.

Tucked away in the freezer for safe keeping.

When I worked at MakerBot, I was part of the team that went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and participated in the 3d scanning hackathon.  One of the more popular pieces was the Bust of a Female Deity scanned by Dave Neff.  I downloaded the model, opened it in Meshmixer, and did some cool modifications as a demo for the Joe Carr and the team here.  We printed out the model here at the 3d printing store in Chicago, The 3D Printer Experience.  Here’s the result:

You can download it here on Thingiverse or order one from Shapeways.

I’ve been working hard this past week and created three cool new things.  The GlassKap MacroLens, GlassKap Crosshairs, and a cool new space blaster.  My kickstarter campaign is nearly funded (over 90% at the time of this post)  and there is still about 2.5 weeks to go.  A few people have messaged me asking for specific accessories so I’ve decided to split apart some of the reward tiers and allow backers to pledge to a particular item or two instead of buying the entire pack.  To do this, I’ve added the GlassKap Pick-One and Pick-Two as reward tiers.   Using these tiers are a good way to get the two new accessories I’ve just added today.  If you haven’t yet seen the Kickstarter, please check it out before reading on.

GlassKap MacroLens

The GlassKap MacroLens is quite cool. Here’s a normal photo taken without the GlassKap MacroLens.  Notice how the background is all crisp, and the ring is blurry. 

With the GlassKap Macro Lens, it swaps; blurry space blaster in the background, but super clear up close shots. Check the detail on the ring… and my dirty fingernails:

GlassKap Crosshairs
The GlassKap Crosshairs, not to be confused with the original GlassKap Targeting Scope, actually overlays a set of crosshairs over every photograph taken.  

The Crosshairs and MacroLens are both available through the Pick-One or Pick-Two reward tier options.  Since I started work on these two later in the campaign, and the Macro Lens is a more complicated piece, I’m setting the expected delivery date for the Pick-one and Pick-two for October, just to be safe.  I think I can get it to you in September but I would rather under-promise than under-deliver.
The third thing I made this week is the Space Blaster.  It’s modular, and I’ll be making a bunch more variations to create different pieces, and I hope to have a few to sell at detroit maker faire at the end of the month, and a whole bunch at NY Maker Faire in September. The files to print it out can be downloaded here.

If you haven’t yet seen the campaign, head over to and check it out!


I’ve had these for a bit but I wanted to post this build thread. I also made the Schwartz ring from Spaceballs, but here’s a detailed build of the pendant than Lonestar wears in the film.  I started with the screen capped reference image.

I created the 3d model in AutoCAD.

I printed it in Black Detail and in the Frosted Ultra Detail material from Shapeways.

With the help of a professional caster, I had a silicon mold made, wax cast from the mold, and the wax is used in the lost wax casting process to produce it in antique bronze. The mold is seen there in blue.

I’ve then applied a patina using liver of sulfer, disolved in water.

Dipping the pieces in the solution for a couple minutes made them dark.

To neutralize the reaction, I then dipped them in a baking soda and water mixture.

and brushed it to bring out the details.