Waking from my winter hibernation

A lot of great projects get sidetracked, I have been busy this winter with various items. Progress on enclosing my 3D printer has technically continued.
The making of the enclosure has slowed down but things around it have progressed, a sort of feature creep. I realized that I could make things better with a slight rearrangement in my goals.
When I reorganised the area to accommodate my larger printer. I saw an opportunity to add a cool location for my smaller Fabrikator mini printer.
It all started by fitting some shelves and that sort of snowballed.

I removed the old hood and put up a new shelf a little to the right.

Extractor fan in use
Ready for action

And the new shelf

Fabrikator Mini-printer on shelf
A new location for Fabrikator mini

The other major change was I picked some  parts and assembled a new computer and brought down my older computer to the work area because this had a better video card it seemed sensible that I got a better second LCD screen .

To enable printing to my Fabrikator mini I mounted a Raspberry Pi up on the wall and added a camera so I can see monitor it on one of my screens while I am busy doing other things.

I made a space for my fume carrying hose from my larger printer so it could be nicely sandwiched straight up the wall and the shelf. I added a power bar that I can easily access.

Printing from afar (Redux)

I always thought leaving the printer unattended was risky.
I have never printed overnight. Recently. I noticed that the bed was taking a bit longer than usual to heat up. Routinely I pushed in the connector to the 12 volts to make sure it is seated properly.
I noticed it was a little warm.

Was this normal, I thought?

After finishing the print I checked the connector and this is what I found.

Melted connector

The connection had been arcing and the connector had been melting.

I checked the connector and it was rated at 10A. The bed as standard would draw around 11A, Yes there might be a derating factor for a lower voltage,


I chose to change the connector for one that is not pluggable.

So I was right; is it really safe to leave a 3d printer unattended? Probably not.

Is using the internet to start a print while you are not home a good idea?
I am not even going to try!

Linux stop motion

I was testing out a camera my wife had bought that is designed to take stop motion pictures. She wants to take pictures of her garden growing (if we get ever get warm weather).

Because I will have to do it again at some point in the future I thought I would document the steps I used.

The software that comes with the camera does not work with LinuxWine. So I started looking at how I could do this.

The pictures were in the format WSCT0000.JPG where 0000 was number counting up in my case from my pictures started from the number 0635.  WSCT is a name that is from the camera manufacturer.
1) I needed to rename the files to a common name,  to rename the files by going to the directory then going to the terminal and typing rename WSCT “”  *.JPG
This basically removes the WSCT prefix.

2) The next thing I realized was that the pictures were very large so I reduced them down to 800×600 using the Imagemagick command mogrify I typed the following.
mogrify -resize 800×600 *.JPG
This command overwrites the existing files, so make sure you have the originals.

3) Next was to join them all together using ffmpeg command this is where I had issues it did not like having zero as a prefix (0635.JPG) son I ran the command rename again to remove the prefix zero and add a letter p so my file names were now starting p635.JPG. This is because the next command would not run unless it had a prefix before the number (before %d).

4) Finally I completed the joining by running the following command
ffmpeg -f image2 -start_number 0635 -i p%d.JPG output1.mp4
This time, because I had changed the prefix, it worked.

5) Joining the pictures together, obviously there is no sound, so I used Kdenlive to transcode an audio file that I found in the Google free music collection.

Korora Linux vs Mageia for 3d printing

After playing around with some KDE distros recently, I came across an article saying that Fedora was going to incorporate 3d printing software. I then remembered that I had been using Korora Linux about a year and a half ago. I downloaded it to see what it offered and was pleasantly surprised.

Whilst there were some minor issues with updating using the Apper program, it was an upstream issue that has been reported and is being worked on I used YUMex instead.

I installed Pronterface and Slic3r and it was really easy. Simple as installing from YUM. In Pronterface I clicked connect but it did not connect. I realized it was a permissions issue. I did a quick check and found that to fix it I needed to add myself to the tty group. That was all the installation configuring needed.

As for other choices, the repositories have several other 3d printer utilities that can be downloaded: skeinforge, Cura, netfabb basic are a few that come to mind.

Overall, I really like Korora KDE edition. I had no issues setting up and running 2 monitors, and I have a spinning cube desktop. Considering the age of the computer it runs pretty well.

While Mageia5 has not quite been released, using Mageia 4 I did have to go and set up Slc3r and Pronterface from GitHub. It took quite a while and it was a lot of reading to figure out if I had all the dependencies. It is mentioned that it is proposed but I am not sure if the drivers will be added to Mageia 5.

I am pretty sure when I do my next full back up and reinstall of my main computer I will be moving from Kubuntu over to Korora.

Domes and 3d prints

3D printing seems to be constant experimenting. With the success of the multi-part rings, I have more confidence in splitting a design into pieces.
Less chance of a failure half way through a 4 hour plot
Less chance of running out of filament just before the end of a plot.
If a large plot warps it may need to be replotted – pieces take less time to replotted.
Printing larger than the 8x8x7 theoretical maximum is possible.
More work to join or glue pieces together.
Warm up and set up time multiplied by the number of pieces.
Need to allow for wall thickness being increased by extruded filament thickness. (If not allowed for the parts will be larger than expected. and be even more difficult to join together).

Adding the pros and cons up it seems that I the main con is time to join pieces and the extra work to join pieces.

This is yet another experiment – not sure how it will work, and I will understand more about the process when I’m done. One of the first pieces I attempted to print was the tip of the dome.

The tip failed on the left because I printed at 30% fill and there are alignment holes around the edge, I think they are too close to the surface for them to be used with 30% fill. The one on the right was printed at 100% fill


print with unwanted slots
When good prints go bad
Looking good
How it should have looked

3D experiments

I created this ear to go with my Dalek dome. It was an experiment really.
It is 2 circles and 4 uprights.
Rather than using plastic glue like I did on my rings, I tried out the ABS-slurry to that was sitting in my jar. ABS-slurry is a mixture of acetone and pieces of ABS.
It was amazing, maybe I was just lucky. I used a toothpick & dabbed a little on the uprights. They stayed vertical – I expected everything to fall over but it did not.

It seems very strong and so I am now carefully going over the seams of my rings to make them stronger too.

ear cage
The uprights are almost in exactly the right orientation