I'm currently visiting 29C3, the 29th Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg together with my fellow CCCfr (Chaos Computer Club - Erfa Kreis Freiburg) members.
Had a great time so far.
Sadly I found out I'm nearly out of filament just when I packed the car and there are (surprisingly) only 2 other people with 3d printers here and both use 1.75mm filament. ...while I run on standard 3mm.


Missed most of the talks because I was either talking to people and getting great solutions for current issues, lectures being full or by being tied up because the 3d printer was still running or the soldering iron hot.

personal projects done and presented

Managed to get quite a lot done too.
  • At the moment I'm printing a belt tensioner for my titanium ABP belt on the 3D printer.
  • Designed and printed a first prototype of an adapter to use Saeco dual-height coffee pad holders in my coffee machine.
  • Converted a japanese EEG toy to european 50Hz mains frequency, added a port to get the raw signal and decoded the protocol in a logic analyser. (Didn't manage to connect the EEG to my R0cket because of issues setting up the R0cket module build environment.)
  • Designed a completely new camera flash based on the YN460 II but with a better battery case,  switch between batteries and mains power supply, integrated umbrella holder, space for an Arduino Nano to remote control the power and not just trigger the flash remotely.
  • Did a lot of Arduino prototyping using different sensors.
  • I still plan to reanimate my old N.S.E.C.T. toy robot and connect it to an Atmel in the remainng 2 congress days.


Necomimi EEG on the inside

I'm trying to connect a TGAM1 EEG sensor to a R0cket badge for 29C3 / Chaos Communication Congress of the Chaos Computer Club.

Because I have not found and photos online:
This is what the Necomimi EEG toy looks like on the inside.
Below the sticker. Are 4 PH0 bolts.
A main PCB on top of a breakout-board and a

The large breakout PCB is secured by 2 PH00 bolts.
This is the 60Hz US Version.
Beware of the third PH00 securing the tiny main board below.

The main board looks to be a
Thinkgear TGAM1

So to convert the notch filter to european 50Hz interference:
"Tie the M pad to VCC pad to select 60Hz, and to GND pad to select 50Hz notch Filtering frequency."
The M pad being on the hidden side of the board.
M=TP7 has 100KOhm to P4-1(square)=VCC and 1MOhm to P4-2(round)=GND .
So M is indeed tied to VCC for 60Hz.
So we have " 57.6k Baud with Normal* + Raw Output Mode"
"Normal Output mode includes the following output: poor quality value, EEG value, Attention value and Meditation value.".
Thus maybe it's enoug to sniff the existing serial communication instead of replacing/reprogramming the original microcontroller.

There is a surprisingly large solder-bridge below TP1 and R12. No idea about it's purpose.

Interestingly P4=power is not connected. Instead the GND and VCC on P3=serial communication are used.
All test points are easily accessible, so attaching a microcontroller should be easy.

I don't know if the boards are permanently connected or if this is a very tight socket as there is some black plastic beweet the board where they connect.
I also can't see the microcontroller used as it's hidden by the TGAM1 board.
...stay tuned (My Multimeter battery is dead, so I can't continue to check how the solder bridges are wired.)

The protocol seems to be 57600bps UART at 3.3V as documented and is described here and here linking here.
(frame structure: 2x 0xAA sync, 1x payload-length, payload, 1 byte checksum (sum payload, lowest 8 bit, inverted))



3d printed vacuum cleaner attachment for CNC done

I finally got around to actually mounting this.
Works great!
Sits super tight and sucks like hell even without brush brisles added yet.

Maybe some day I'll add LED lights and a mounting for a cheap USB endoscope camera.
...or you can do that as the design is published under CC-BY-NC-SA.
It's paramtric, so you can easily change the meassurements to fit different spindles and vacuum cleaners.


    Thing-o-Matic 3rd dino

    The Z stage of the Thing-o-Matic has 2 unused mounting holes in the back.
    Yet it only supports it's heavy extruder from the left and right using long levers.

    When transporting the ToM in a vibrating vessel, maybe even non-upright, there is lots of stress on these tiny bolts.
    (Think of having it on it's back in the overhead compartment of a train.)

    So I designed this to support the extruder stepper from the back with a third "dino".

    License: Creative Commons CC-BY-SA (no -NC)


    Parametric tablet stand

    I just mounted a selfmade 0.025mm thick titanium conveyor belt with Kapton surface to the smaller one of my 3d printers.  ..works great!

    One of the first things I printed with it was this:
    I really like Nexus7 Stand by Parametric Design but I wanted some changes.
    Using the stand in a train I found the viewing angle to be too steep.
    It's also very small. So the headphone cable on one side of the (landscape) tablet pulls it away.

    Thus I made a parametric stand.
    One that has 2 slots to use the tablet in 2 different viewing angles and that is wider.
    Both angles and the sizes are asjustable before it's 3d printed.
    And yes, it does carry it's own Thingiverse ID engraved.

    2012-12-10 Titanium belt and parametric Nexus7 stand


    The Long List of Google+ Issues

    This started as a looong Google+ comment.

    Android app still sucks. Here is why: (long list)
    Apart from the already mentioned things it has major issues with notifications and bad networks.

    Like you clicking on a notification about a new comment... And it silently fails, showing just the comments it already loaded, not informing you that there are a dozen other ones it failed to load.

    Why can't you add additional circles to share a posting with after it's posted?

    And of cause that notification is gone forever once clicked.
    No matter if it actually succeeded in loading the content you are being notified about.
    ... So much for transactions.

    Notifications between multiple Android devices and the web (with the Nexus7 and 10 tablet usage grew even stronger)

    Why is there still no Google+ for GoogleTV?
    It's so image centric that it's unusable for reading the texts on tablets (the background image has higher priority then the few bytes of comments), yet it needs to be sideloaded=pirated for the big screen of a GoogleTV.

    And images not being zomable in the web?
    The larger your physical screen is, the less you are able to read text in images.

    Having to log out and in In the Android client all the time because it does notify only for that one account and one page?
    What's the point of having e.g. a GoogleTV or a tablet that's shared between people? People having work and private accounts! Discouraging the Businesses that spend tons of money in Google advertisement and want to work "on social". Be agile. React fast to follower comments and posts!

    Still no API!
    Not a single multi-protocol twitter client can integrate Google+ and give people a smooth way to move over by cross posting for a while, their posts becoming longer and more image-heavy then Twitter allows and finally leaving Twitter for Google+.
    Your competitor is Twitter, not so much Facebook!

    There is not even an account and page selector in the "share with" activity of the Google Plus app.
    Very bad user experience. 
    You have to select and download and type content again because you suddenly notice that your Google+ app is currently in the Page instead of the account or the personal instead of some after-dark account.

    What's the issue with *Nicknames*?
    I can't find people that I have known for years because I know them by their nicknames. I have no clue and I don't care about their "real names".
    They don't want me to know their real name and for good reason!
    PS: in the Android contacts app it doesn't fine people when I search for their nickname entered in gmail-web as "nickname: _____" in addition to their real name that I don't know from the top of my head because I only use it for paper-mail and door-bells.

    *Image ordering*!

    The ability to *add additional images* to your last post. Not making all images you could possibly need, then typing, then sending, then finding out you are missing one but only being able to edit the text.
    (It's already an improvement that you can edit texts you entered on the phone in the web. Previously they turned up empty when you hit "edit".)

    Why isn't *Blogger* better integrated into Google+ ?
    Google+ is microblogging, Blogger is (macro)blogging.
    I can inform people here about a blog-post but I can't turn a microblog-posting that gets too long into a full blog post.
    I *can't copy&paste* because all + and # will be removed from the text, garbling the text beyond recognition!

    Don't get me started on how poorly practucally all Google Android software is tested on slow and unreliable networks.

    Every Twitter client stores a posting you send and *retries* until it can upload. Google+ doesn't. It forces you to keep the Google+ client open, thus highjacking your phone until network stabilizes enough to send out the posting.

    Edit the posting you just sent due to a type? The one that's still in memory?
    You have to load it from the network again!

    When you use multi-signin on the web and select menu->link to this post?
    It keeps the /0/ and /1/ in your link. So you can't jsut paste that link anywhere because if this happens to be your work account /1/, people clicking that link will get a login screen instead of the posting.

    The Google+ web site fails terribly when Ajax responses are login-pages injected by hotspots you're passing by. It doesn't retry and you have to load all that heavy, bandwidth eating imagery again! While not a bug in Google+ it is becomming very common and should be dealt with in error handling code soon.

    Oh and there is no reasonable place to give bug reports like these...


    testing asymetric speeds per 3d printer axis

    Since I mounted my new extruder and replaced that unreliable Makerbot MK6 junk,
    my Thing-o-Matic got much more reliable.
    I can actually think about larger prints again.
    It cannot possibly reach the speeds of stare of the art printers like the Ultimater (lightweigth Bowden-Extruder and Y stepper not moving a heavy X stage) or the Type 1 (strong longneck stepper motors).

    Testing a long pause

    Today I tested doing long running prints by simply doing a pause.
    Pause while bed and extruder are kept warm works well.
    A pause with both cooled down mid print for 9 hours had the undesired effect I expected. The ABP belt cooled down and the object fell of.

    Testing asymetric speeds

    So now I'm trying to speed up the print job instead.
    30mm/s worked fine.
    60mm/s worked fine too and has become my new default speed. (Twice what I had for 2 years now.)
    At 90mm/s and 120mm/s the Y stepper lost steps. It has to push around the X stage, so it bears the most heavy load.
    Now I tightened everything down and greased the Y axis with PTFE.
    I'm trying to limit the Y axis to 80mm/s via machines.xml
    (Value ius "4800" because the unit in there is mm/MINUTE while everything else uses mm/SECOND.)
    At the same time the X axis is allowed to move at 120mm/s extruding and 150mm/s travelling.

    ...let's see how this works out!
    Print time estimation changed from 1h40m zu 1h1m .

    Fist result: FAILED
    ReplicatorG seems to generate correct g-code that stays below the maximum speed on each axis.
    However when executing it, movements that specify multiple axis (as is the default in 5G = use of G1 commands with 5 arguments covering all 3 axis + extruder + speed) some sanity checking code comes in and disallows the movement. Even though the slower Y axis isn't moved in the command or it's part of the motion-vector is below it's per-axis limit while the total speed is above the limit.

    That test is a bug in ReplictorG and can be disabled with the preferences setting
    "[ ] Review GCode for potential toolhead problems before building"

    Second result: FAILED

    X at 120mm/s
    Y at  80mm/s
    Error message disabled.

    Made a proper bug report and submitted a patch for the Line 420 in replicatorg/machine/Machine.java at http://replicat.org/reporting-bugs .
    "We should have a response for you within one business day"
    ...let's see about that.
    Answer a few hours later:
    Ben McCallum, Dec 05 15:02 (EST):
    Hey Marcus, Thanks for the email. I'll pass this along to the devs. Best, Ben
    Update: One week later I need to "update" my ticket so it won't be automatically closed because nobody acted on it.

    The second layer was nearly 5cm off due to lost steps on the X axis. It seems that X cannot go to 120mm/s either.

    Third result: 

    Limiting both axis to 80mm/s now.
    Layer height increased from 0.27 to 0.4mm to reduce layer count and thus print time.
    No larger nozzle to test with. ;)

    I think I need some kind of wire card or cable drag chain for the ABP platform.
    The cables are shaking loose at these speeds.
    (Already tighened a lot of bolts. They'll have to get nylocs. That threatment helped with nuts shaking loose on my beloved RepMan. However tiny M3 nylocs will be expensive and hard to find compared to common M5.)


    I'm not sure if this is the X axis skipping or of a cable from the ABP platform got entangled and prevented the platform from moving in X.
    I secured the cables with tape and will try again.
    At 80mm/s.

    Fourth result:

    Looks like when you use all of the tiny 100x100mm platform, the X+ end switch cable and the ABP cables do touch and can entangle.
    Given that the steppers have much less force at higher speeds, my hypothesis may be correct.
    If there was X skipping, I should have seen it happen much more often and not all at once.

    ...still printing.
    This is a >1h print. Both to get the part done (an upgrade to my CNC) and to get reliable results by printing for a long time.

    Lost a lot of steps in Y but none in X.

    It's getting late.
    Premature results:
    maximum speed for X: 80mm/s
    maximum speed for Y: 64mm/s

    Maybe X can go up to 100 or 120mm/s. That remains to be tested.
    Increasing layer height from 0.27mm to 0.5mm had issues with convex surface details but generally works.


    On 3d printing and Creative Commons NC = non commercial

    My designs are usually CC-BY-NC or CC-BY-NC-SA .
    Here is my understanding of this.
    Please comment if your interpretation differs from this.
    If you know of any interpretation or discussion about NC and SA regarding designs for 3d printing, I'd be glad to list them here!

    Short version: You can make and change them but not sell them.
    Because if anyone is selling my design or physical parts I designed, that should be me.


    Any derived design gives attribution that it is based on this one.
    Nobody else is free to call him/herself creator of this design.


    "copies or adaptations of the work to be released under the same or similar licence as the original"
    Printed objects (in my understanding) are not copies or adaptations of the design. They are the design "in all media and formats".
    The medium here is a physical object. It is therefore not a derived design but just another representation of the same design.
    Changed designs however need to have the exact same license (or one that CC has publicly declared to be compatible).

    Even without the SA part derived designs are still Non-Commercial.


    You may not sell the design and you may also not sell 3d printed or CNC milled or otherwise manufactured physical representations of the design for money.
    Legalese: "in any manner that is primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation"

    You are free to make physical copies for yourself or friends.
    You are not free to sell them in a shop.
    You are free sell the service or 3d printing designs in general and accept this design as given by your client to be made.
    You are not free to advertise this design to be made or sell physical copies to anyone but that one client who ordered you to make it. (e.g. that client using your website to open a virtual shop.)
    You are free to give one to a friend for free.
    You are not free to give one or many away as advertisement.
    You are free to sell a personally used machine that just contains a replacement or improvement I designed.
    You are not free to sell (a) new machine(s) and advertise that it contains my improvement.


    Testing Sailfish firmware and new extruder on Thing-o-Matic

    I just mounted my new extruder and am now testing the Sailfish firmware.

    How to mount an extruder on a Thing-o-Matic

    This isn't easy.
    Makerbot Industries does sell alternative toolheads but does not have connectors on any of the toolhead cables nor are the extruder mounting bolts easily accessible. (Or accessible at all.)

    Heat up the nozzle, pull out the filament and let it cool down.

    Remove the M5 bolts holding the "Dinos" (the arc with the hoolhead).
    Take of the toolhead and dinos.
    Lower the Z-platform as much as possible.
    Turn the toolhead until the stepper points upward. The 4 multing bolts for the extruder should not be level and point to the back of the machine.

    Now carefully fiddle your M3 ballhead hex driver through the hotend and unscrew the bolts. Do not remove them. Gravity should keep them just in place as long as you are slow and careful.

    Have a Dremel ready in case anything doesn't fit down to the millimeter.

    Be sure your cables are not twisted after changing the extruder.

    Sailfish - first print

    Had to write a "Thing-o-Matic with ABP and Extruder MK6 (Accelerated)" machine profile.

    Easy to do by copy&pasting from the HBP+MK7 and the ABP+MK6 profiles in Sailfish/replicatororg-0040-windiws-r003/replicatororg-0/thingomatic*.xml

    Using the jog-controls, I found, I had to reverse X but not Y and the A=stepper.
    Heating up and extruding into thin air at 185°C (PLA) worked.

    Now on to the first print.
    Selected G-Code Generator "Skeinforge (50)".
    In generating G-Code a dialog popped up that seems to override many settings of the Skeinforge profile. I don't like that at all. I like having Skeinforge profiles for each machine+material combination. Entering 3mm filament instead if the default 1.85 and 185°C instead of the insane 230°C.

    After heating up, the the toolhead stays at maximum Z and prints in thin air instead of the ABP.

    I found a G-Code "M132 X Y Z A B (Recall stored home offsets for XYZAB axis)".
    Maybe I need to set and store the Z-position of the ABP belt somewhere.
    The Install Guide and then Setup Guide don't mention anything like this.
    OnBoard Preferences have a tab "homing" with "X/Y/Z home offset (mm)".
    Z is at 109,4mm. This is the height of my ABP belt. So it looks correct.
    The machine thinks it is at X=24,984mm Y=-44,211mm and Z=10.000mm while waiting at the top.
    Found out through this issue that there is a calibration script you are supposed to run.
    The setup guide didn't tell you to do this.
    Generated G-Code again...second print.

    Still prints in the air, way above the ABP platform.

    Changes the "Z home offset (mm)" from +110 to -110mm.
    Pressure on the extruder arm is very tight but I can't see any sign of it giving or cracking.
    (Tightened it until it extruded as much as it does when I press the extruder arm with my hand.)
    No effect. Still prints in mid-air.
    Reversed my change.
    No mention of this in the troubleshooting guide.
    Added some "G92 Z110.3" and "G92 X-57 Y-57" to the end of the homing sequence. (Taken from earlier G-codes I used before the update to Sailfish.)
    This issue looked similar. Double checked that I had indeed checked "Use default start/end gcode".
    This issue looked similar too but my machines.xml has maxfeedrate=1000 and homingfeedrate=500 aready.
    Problem found! It had the wrong machine configuration loaded. They all sound very similar.

    next print...

    Now it does move down to heat up. But too far left of the nozzle-wiper.
    It is at command 360 when heating up. I should find and change that command.
    Changed the parking positon in start.gcode, didn't help. bed-temperature seems to be overriden by something. My change from 100 to 120°C didn't make it into the final gcode.
    That's why I don't like programs overriding setting in other programs.
    ...found the issue. machines.xml had the HBP instead of my ABP version of start.gcode referenced.
    Now my wiper-position and my prefered 120°C ABP temperature are regognized.
    G1 X60 Y-60 Z10 F3300.0
    M6 T0
    G0 X60 Y-57
    instead of  X25
    Some issues with first layer adhesion to the old ABP belt in my very small test object. A raft solves that.

    Fist impression: The new extruder seems to fix my extruder-reliability issue with the MK6. (At first glance. Need to test with long running, large prints.)

    Faster speeds (still 30mm/s)

    Trying: 60mm/s (instead of 30mm/s). Didn't find a setting to change extruder RPM from 1.89 to something higher. Hopefully PrintOMatic scales that correctly. Temperature remains at 185°C for the nozzle and 120mm/s for the bed.

    It seems that the nozzle doesn't extrude right away and there is a skipping noise once every time the extruder starts up. Maybe it reverses too much. Increase filament pressure slightly doesn't help. Maybe I should increase the temperature.
    The extruder RPM was aparently scaled with the doubled feed rate.


    Trying extruder at 200°C (instead of 185°C) and 60mm/s (instead of 30mm/s) now.
    No skipping noise. Extruding starts right away. The increased temperature seems to do the trick.
    I'll have to see if that higher temperature creates warping in large, slender objects.

    Hardly a visible difference between the same object printed at 30mm/s(185°C) and 60mm/s(200°C)

    The final cooling down and ejection via ABP still needs some work. It seems to cool down and down and down but even after getting below 40°C it still didn't go on to start the belt.
    Also I was missing the code to stop heating the belt after a print in my stop.gcode.
    Maybe I can change the nozzle wiping in start.gcode to do multiple passes over the wiper.
    Just to increase reliability when chaining multiple objects to be printed.

    Even faster (120mm/s)

    Loosing steps in Y (front/back) but not X at 120mm/s. Doesn't work (yet)

    Slower (90mm/s) 

    Trying 90mm/s at 210°C now...
    This is 3x my original speed that I was limited to for years! It would make 4h prints print in slightly more then 1h.
    Still loosing steps in Y.

    Back to 60mm/s

    ...just to make sure it still works.
    Keeping the 210°C and my multiple-wiping procedure.

    60mm/s works!


    GoPro to NERF gun connector

    Status: Project finished!

    I designed a mount for a GoPro camera to the picatinny  rail of a NERF foam dart gun.
    The NERF part is identical to my "NERF dual gun connector" connector and thus should fit perfectly.
    I obviously coult not test how well the GoPro part fits.
    It should be a very tight (0.1mm allowance) fit and follow the curve of the housing. So the camera will not shake loose and will always film straight ahead.
    Both sides for the NERF rail and the GoPro M6 bolt are tapered to make insertion easier.

    Update: perfect fit!

    Update 2: improved version with trapped nut

    NSECT Arduino Anti Aircraft

    Just some notes on a possible new project.
    Just collecting links and notes and testing the concept at this point.


    • Android based computer vision test works.
    • NSECT not yet recabled to be controlled by an Arduino.
    • NSECT foam dart gun not yet modified to add more degrees of movement.


    Take my old N.S.E.C.T. toy and have an Arduino run it with 2 H-bridges.
    Redesign the turret to turn in 2 dimensions.
    Then add camera and distance meassuring and computer vision to target low flying quadcopters.

    Step 1

    Attach 2 H-bridges to an Arduino to control the 2 DC motors for movement.
    Then also attach turrent, LED and gripper -controls.
    Trying to copy the work of Jeremy Parton here.

    • Jeremy unsoldered the receiver chip and connected the Arduino to the (now free) pads.
    • "Keep in mind I used resistors (I suspect it was 100 ohm) between the Arduino and the NSECT board.
    • "I also strongly support converting to an H Bridge instead of the existing relays. As far as I could tell the biggest killer of NSECTs was the start-stop motion and the motors shredding the gears. A soft start would go a long was to extending the life of the gears in the legs."

    Step 2

    Redesign the foam-dart turrent with 3D printed parts to move in both dimensions.

    Step 3

    Add an old Android phone with a camera that can speak ADK with the Arduino.
    Run OpenCV or similar to detect and track flying objects with the blank sky in the background.
    Tell the Arduino the heading. Have the Arduino meassure distance via ultrasound, look up the balistic curve and fire away.

    The "OpenCV Sample - color-blob-detection" works well and seems to do the trick!


    1. official download and official documentation
    2. Android OpenCV 
    3. also OpenCV 
    4. object tracking on Android 
    5. Android ViewerCV

    2012-11-29 N.S.E.C.T.


    Rant about Google Now

    My comment on a posting about Google Now got somewhat lengthy, so I'm turning it into a Blog posting:

    Would be more amazing if Google Now actually worked.
    • Completely oblivious to train schedules in my calendar.
    • Not offering non-local trains to reach my destinations.
    • Not offering bus schedules in all places I was ever at.
    • "Leave now" notifications not leading to the corresponding cards (but instead to Google Now in general with a completely unrelated set of cards).
    • Constant, annoying routes to places I've never heard about, let alone having any intent on going there and to meet people I've never gone to meet in the past (they just happen to be in a village less then 100Km away at the moment).
    • Oblivious to airplane reservations in calendar, email and the Lufthansa App.
    • It's a glorified weather app that is limited to the weather where I am instead of where I'm going.

    And why is that website  insisting on scaling up to be 2x2048px, 2x18" wide? I takes forever to scroll over even one of these giant, multiple screen height photos. The text is practically unreadable that  way.

    "Google’s going to know when my flight is, whether my package has gotten here yet and where my wife is"
    It was completely oblivious of my flight even though flight number, locations and time zones on calender entries,... where there.
    It never found out about any of the packages I got standardized tracking emails for. (DHL, DHL-Express, USPS, FedEx, Amazon emails with tracking numbers,... in German and in English.)
    It can't even figure out where I live, where I live during weekdays and where I work (despite having Latitude active),
    let along who I'm affiliated with. (Even though it probably knows about my Google Accounts and thus the Google+ circles.)


    Thing-o-Matic upgrade to Sailfish/Jetty Firmware

    While waiting for my new extruder (because the one I printed myself physically broke before I was able to print my improved, stronger one), I'm upgrading my Thing-o-Matic to the Sailfish firmware everyone is talking about.

    First step was to solder the Interface Kit that is collecting dust since at least 2 years.
    I did solder some buttons 180° reversed but they work nonetheless.
    Interesting fact: The display is black while USB is connected but fine without USB.

    Next step: Download and unzip the software.
    ...takes ages on an old Atom based EeePC despite my flash disk upgrade.

    After updating to "MakerBot Motherboard v2.X(Gen4) with Mega 2560" the interface reacts extremely slow and I can't connect via USB anymore. (Solved, see next issue below)
    Serveral seconds to register a single key press on the interface kit.
    Rebooted the PC, now I can connect but it can't find Toolhead #0 and the console is full of "timeout" messages.
    Consequently I can jog but not turn the ABP gelt or move/heat the extruder.
    My versions:
    • Thing-O-Matic with an MK6 extruder (no MK6+), ABP and Gen4 interface kit.
    • ReplicatorG-0040-windows-r003
    • "MakerBot Motherboard v2.X(Gen4) with Mega 2560"
    • Sailfish Firmware v4.1 (r720) 
    • Extruder Controller v3.6, AtMega168 (was way too small to read at first.)
    • Update: Extruder control firmware now 3.1
    Update: Forgot to open cable hell, dismount the extruder control board, so my angled USB plug would fit and upgrade the extruder firmware. The step was not mentioned in the installation manual.
    Much faster now, toolhead can be manipulated.
    The firmware of the stepper controller is not updated through it's connection to the main board.

    New issue: Display width smaller then firmware thinks it is. Extruder and bed do not heat. (solved)
    ...this is going to be a loooong night.
    There is also a problem with ReplicatorG that luckily is of no consequences here. The list of machine types is longer then the display and does not scroll.
    • Update: Found a setting "onboard prefs"->Motherboard->Misc where the display is set to "20x4" while it is "16x4" 
    • Problem: That dialog is smaller then the screen(1024x600) but the "OK" button is outside the window (I can barely see it's upper corner) and the window cannot be expanded in height. Only in width. 
    • Update: I was able to create a virtual display 768px high and the upper 4-5 pixel rows of the button became visible.

    New issue: Display blank when USB plugged it while switching on ToM. Can I move the extruder stepper forward/backward, Belt and jogging controls on the PC now failing.(mostly solved)
    Jogging works find on the interface kit, without the PC.
    Control Panel in replicatorG suddenly also stopped to display the target temperatures in the graph. Only the current+past temperatures are graphed.
    I can move all axes and heat up via the interface kit but not move the extruder stepper forward/reverse.
    power-cycled the ToM. Display now stayed on while USB but the offset display ha returned! (Aren't onboard preferenced saved in flash?) ReplicatorG hangs when trying to disconnect to connect anew.
    Set display size again, rebooted the ToM. Now all except the extruder forward/revers is working. Why?
    After trying to extrude with 1,89 RPM jogging is failing again.
    Then jogging resumed, and failed again. It looks like axis-jogging is disabled while it thinks it is moving the extruder (wich is not moving at all).

    Last issue: Extruder stepper not moving.
    One of the extruder cables had come loose while checking the print on the ATMega168 (to make sure it's not a 368). No changes. Extruder stepper still unresponsive.
    Flashing the extruder firmware 3.1 again. Failed. Powering down. Unplugging USB. Trying again. Flashind succeeded.
    Issue persists. Extruder stepper does not move and machine has forgotten it's onboard preferences yet again.
    Checked the extruder cables. Everything connected correctly.
    Tried to uncheck "volumetric 5D extruder" but it did not help.
    The DIR LED is glowing but the STEP LED on the extruder controller is constantly off. So this may be a software issue.The fan of the extruder is also off.
    I can hear a very faind "thud" noise when pressing "stop" after forward or reverse. So something is happening.
    I found this but there is no "extruder hold" in the "misc" tab. for "ThingOMatic w/ABP and Extruder MK6 (Accelerated)".
    With "ThingOMatic w/HBP and Steptruder MK7 (Sailfish)" I can disable "extruder hold" and get at least a high pitched sound when the extruder stepper is supposed to be running. However still no movement.
    I mistook the heater cables for the extruder stepper cables.
    Will test extruder stepper cables and switch axis A=extruder with X and jog on Monday.
    If that works, it's clearly a software fault. Question is...what to do if it is?
    Solved! It turned out to be a hardware issue.

    ....(still updating this blog post)


    A fast and foldable 3D printer


    A fast 3d printer that can be folded up for transport.
    • fast -> don't move the object, move the head
    • fast -> no bowden extruder (stop/reversal issues)
    • transport -> include 1 roll of filament inside the case


    Based on the Type A Machines "Series 1" design.
    Better to base directly off the ToM to Series upgrade.

    The glass plate could get a joint to fold up, flat onto the Z rods.
    Use a reprap heated bed instead of the glass plate.
    The top XY-assembly be taken off and attached to the backside including the Z rods, now vertical glass plate and the 2 electronics boxes.
    The front would become either
    • just 3 L shaped pylons to support the front of the XY-stage or
    • a cover for the front that would in transport cover the open XY-stage
    Get away with the bottom entirely. One of the electronics boxes would need a hole
    for the hot end poking out of the XY-stage.
    Since your XY-stage is so thick, the space could be enough to transport a spindle
    of filament right inside the case.
    (What good is a printer without filament.)

    *** Blog posting will be constantly updated as this idea matures.***

    Upgrade path

    Start with the Thing-O-Matic electronics, Z stepper+spindle, small X+Y steppers.
    Upgrade later with a reprap sized heated conveyor belt (running left to right) instead of the glass plate/heated bed.


    • 21.11.2012 - idea formulated, asked Type A about the license of their laser cut files, searching for people willing to help
    • get my Thing-o-Matic extruder working again first. 
    • Start by creating parts in Alibre Design for the X/Y-stage and an assembly from the Series 1 drawings.
    • give proper named/part numbers to all existing and new parts to efficiently discuss changes.
    • (planned) 23.11.2012 - design the new laser cut parts needed during a train ride
    1. build tray with joint to folt it 90° up.
    2. detachable top
    3. new front side to act as a cover for the top
    4. right electronics box with hole for the extruder
    5. shorter bottom plate
    6. Makerbot compatible extruder+hot end mount to reuse them until an upgrade to the Series 1 extruder is feasable
    • (planned) ??? - CNC mill the plywood parts (instead of laser cutting)

    Update: I'll postpone this project and do the "regular" ToM to Series1 upgrade first to determine the mechanical load the moving toolhead imposes at high speeds.



    Type A 3d printers as an upgrade path for the ToM

    Found an interesting upgrade path from my Thing-O-Matic to a Type A 3d printer.
    I planned to sell by ToM and get an Ultimaker. But now the quote from Jetguy made me think about it's bowden concept:
    "I've had the vision of creating a fast bot. I've gone the bowden route
    in a real Ultimaker frame. The results were less than stellar and
    there is a reason why I've abandoned it. It frequently jams or chews
    the filament. It is was very dificult to tune any kind of anti-ooze or
    stringing and never met my expectations.
    While of cause the major plus for a bowden design is the limited mass to be moved and thus the speeds and mechanical stress.

    Here is the quote from Jetguy about a possible upgrade path for me:
    And, as far as bots go, If I had a T-O-M and was shopping for upgrades, you could get someone to cut this frame in plywood for less than $100 (1 sheet of 1/4 inch plywood), then you only need about $100 in parts (8 each LM8UUs 8*$1.75, a smooth rod kit for a mendel $30, 2 5.5kg.cm torque motors 2*$20, 2 608 skate bearings, the Cupcake Y belt, 3 Cupcake Z belts, the 5 36t Gt2 *mm bore pulleys, and finally, a Reprap heated bed. I also used a 360watt 12 volt supply but you could use a PC supply mounted on the back. I call this  the ultimate T- O-M upgrade. ...
    No need to spend thousands on a new bot, upgrade what you have into a new frame. There were lots of good things about the T-O-M, but now with Sailfish, you can take advantage of a larger build area and different frame for peenies on the dollar compared to buying a new machine.

    I'll post every single edited DXF and part up on Thingiverse soon.
    I basically gave the BOM above. If I had a T-O-M, this is going to be
    a stellar upgrade for those willing to take the leap!!!!


    Let's see...

    1. Cut the plywood myself on my CNC
    2. I already have LM8UUs and 608 skateboard bearings en masse
    3. I already have a Reprap heated bed (I wanted to use it on my Repman)
    4. get two heavy NEMA17 stepper motors
    5. add *good* smooth rods (consistent diameter, straight)
    6. add a Cupcake Y belt and 3 Z belts (where to source them?)
    7. add 5 pulleys (source?)
    8. a >=360W PC power supply should be easy.
    9. finally: do my own Reprap-sized ABP design with leveling and tightening adjustment bolts.
    • Staying on the Thing-O-Matic and just designing a better ABP is less work
    • Less that can go wrong.
    • The larger build volume is intriguing.
    • I already have many of the parts
    • Extruder, Hotend, Firmware and host-software won't be touched.
    • When designing my own ABP anyway, I can build a Reprap sized heated titanium conveyor belt.
    • Update: I found collapsible Type A!!! (The space in the upper part could be designed to hole a spool of PLA when collapsed.)

    Sounds possible.

    Thinking about it....I think I can design a modified Type A case where
    • In the Z=max position, the Z-spindle and smooth Z rods can be collapsed into the horizontal plane.
    • The 4 edges can be collapsed down
    • The build-surface has a hole for the extruder in the back-left corner
    • So in the end everything can be collapsed to be as high as the height below the build surface plus the height of the Y-stage.

    Improving Gaerisls Extruder

    The issue

    In my first 2 attempty the mounting of the ball bearing simply broke...on both sides.

    The solution

    I guess I'll design a stronger lever-arm before trying this extruder to replace the unreliable(at least with PLA) in my .
    I should also try to print it with 80% infill instead of my usual 25%.

    The original is only posted as an STL. Gaerisl didn't post his source files.
    So I need to take meassurements and design mine from scratch using Alibre Design 2012. :(
    Why do so few people publish their source files to be modified and why don't we still have an interoperable file format for parametric CAD?

    Update: Gaerisl based his design on one by Jag and he not only published his source files but even published them as Alibre Design files!!! Life is great!

    Update II My strong version is printed. First try worked but I was not perfectly satisfied. So I changed a few meassurements and printed a second time. Uploaded the final version to Thingiverse of cause.

    Update III The extruder is working but I found one side of the idler-arm axis to be weak. Also  a few smaller issues.  Fixed them and am currently generating the G-Code to print a new body. ..it will be a pain to insert the mounting bolts yet again. :(  So far the new extruder is working. Only longer prints like this extruder body will show how well it performs regarding manual tension adjustment.

    Problem!!! The front part of the extruder main body, holding the axis to the idler arm, broke before I was able to print my improved version. Can't print at the moment. :(

    Update IV: testing and  how to mount the extruder without going crazy.

    Future plans

    If the NEMA17 turns out to be too weak, I can still gear it down using this. ;)
    When the extruder finally becomes reliable, I can turn to making a proper (tensioned and leveled) Quick-Change ABP belt out of the Quick Change HBP.


    New Extruder

    One of the issues I have with the Thing-o-Matic and PLA is that Makerbot Industries uses a bolt pushing a Delrin plunger onto the filament to press it against the rotating drive shaft.
    There is no spring involved.
    My guess is that this leads to my issues of the filament pressure requiring constant human observation and adjustment as the filament diameter never stays perfectly constant.
    So here I am, trying to replace the extruder with a spring loaded design (for the second time).
    I tried this once in 2011. Back then I used a geared down design and the gears as downloaded where too small by 1-2mm and would not mesh properly.
    This time I'll try a more simple, direct drive design first.
    This also has the benefit of not requiring me to reverse the stepper motor as there are no gears to change it's direction of rotation.


    Nexus 7 fails

    (I'm not at all unsatisfied with the device. I'm just pointing out where it can be improved. Much needed to have a contrast to all the hype.)

    I just got my Nexus 7 32GB 3G.
    I wanted a Nexus10 with 3G to have the resolution for camera remote control in FullHD but such a device is not sold.

    These are the first few minutes of unpacking:

    No SD Slot

    We knew about this missing, important feature all along.
    Still  a huge disapointment.
    A tablet is a really nice device to show photos around.
    Photos you just took.
    But for that you need to get the SD card out of your camera and into the tablet.

    Since there is no regular sized USB slot, I cannot attach a card reader.


    Ripped the case in tryin to open it using the obvious finger-hole.
    This could have been a much smoother experience.
    Have a look at the clever packaging HTC always did for their models.
    (My last one was the HTC "diamond" Touch Pro.)

    "Sim Ejection Device"

    supplied SIM ejection device....
    Looks like a paper clip to me.

    Micro SIM fuckup!!!

    Dear Google, what about telling me before that this giant tablet needs a fucking *MICRO SIM CARD*????
    Inside a slot large enough to fit a regular Mini SIM card and artificially made smaller by an inserted plastic tray.


    As a company this much under scrunity for having access to way too much data, this leaves a very bad taste.
    Of cause it's nice that the device is already personalised to the account that purchased it but this would be much nicer to be in the form of a question asked uppon purchas and/or a personalised engraved name in the case like with the Nexus One.

    Wrong translation of the question below "Sie sind nicht *me*?" = "You are not me"?

    No Telephony/SMS

    There is no telephony app (headset or bluetooth car set) nor an SMS app.


    It takes some getting used to, that the keys now change orientation too and are no longer hardware keys at the left side, where the hand is in landscape.

    Free books

    It's nice of Google to give me some books for free....but *why are they all in english*? This is a German device with a German power plug shipped to Germany and aparently already customized with a German account.
    So why would you gift me books in English?

    Missing updates

    Google took the time to customize this device with my account...but I still *have to install updates* to the supplied, basic Google apps 24h after it was shipped?
    And not "install all updates now" but I have to *open and install each single update* with multiple taps!
    Google? These are YOUR apps!

    Also: The *update button jumps* as soon as the icon next to it finishes loading.
    One more example of how *Google consistently fails to test in slow, unreliable, real world networks* all the time.

    There is also a *system update* waiting while it's still busy updating and intalling all the apps.
    Why wasn't this shipped with Android 4.2 right away if the software was already customised to my account uppon purchase?


    At maximum the speaker is not very lound.
    Barely enough for a movie in a quiet room. Certainly not enough for a room that is not quiet.


    It's very strange to not get the notifications when pulling down at the top-center like you are used to on a phone. Instead you have to pull down at the top, left edge.


    Firefox has one major issue. Every time I close a tab or navigate "back", the browser closes. (And the tab stays open)
    Seems to be Androiud 4.2 or tablet -specific.


    The swiping is nice...but worthless  without a good dictionary.
    I want my device in German but I type in German and English and sometimes (e.g. quoting or translating or simply using english technical jargon) both.
    "Language&Input" has an obvious way to select your second and third language.
    (A typical american oversight, one meight say.)
    It's hidden in the settings of the specific keyboard even though these dictionaries affect all keyboards.
    After installing british and american english, the space bar still the current language but doesn't react to any long press, flinging, dragging or similar to change it. (missing hint)
    You have to search the internet to find that after already selecting the additional languages in the settings, you still need to long-press the & key to get a menu, there disable "system language" and select the languages you want to actually use.
    (I don't know why you would install keyboard languages you don't want to actually use.)
    It also still doesn't support multiple languages at the same time. Bigger issue then a native english speaker may think it is.

    Play Store/Android Market

    No longer has a menu entry "my apps". (I'm looking for an app I once had installed but that didn't fit onto the phone anymore.)
    Screen jitters and freezes during an ap update.
    Does not show the app description in widescreen, only in portrait when an update is offered.

    Developer options

    The developer menu is well hidden now. You need to tap the build-number 7 times to get it to show.
    The crash log menu can be activated then to show under "battery status" of all places.

    The USB-driver for ADB is the one of the Nexus Galaxy. But that driver doesn't know the USB device ID of the Nexus 7 and has not been updated. So you need to manually select that driver (after becoming or calling an administrator) and ignore the warning that the driver is not compatible with this device.
    Who would think of using a Samsung driver for an Asus device?


    workshop vacuum cleaner attachment for CNC - v1.6

    I still did not find the time to test the Sailfish firmware for the Thing-O-Matic by Jetty.
    Simply because I have to assemble the Interface Kit first and that requires a ton of soldering.

    So here I am with the original firmware and all the issues I've come to known, printing my latest version of the workshop vacuum clean attachment.
    The last version I tested was V1.3 and I found a number of mistakes in my meassurements.
    So I made a number of changes:
    The top half is still split into 2 parts, small enough to fit into the tiny Thing-O-Matic build volume.
    Left and right half are however now not (only) glued together but also attached using 2 M3 grub screws and have a more complex divider that aligns and interlocks them.
    Additional camfers and roundings make the part stronger at little expense in terms of plastic.
    I did not change the lower half yet but instead want to fit the upper half first.
    Only if it fits well will I 3d print the lower half.
    By then I may have found a source for bristles to attach to help in getting all that suction down to the milled part and brush over the blank to dislodge more shavings to be sucked off.

    Update: V1.5 of top-left is a bit thin walled and the overhang is quite steep. I should design an easier to print V1.6 .
    Update 2: printed. LOTS of issues with the MK6 extruder on the Thing-O-Matic. As usual serveral hours of very careful hand holding was required to keep the filament pressure and still there are major defects.