MakerBot Thing-o-Matic 3D Printer Assembly Photographs

Hello, Slashdot. 🙂 After 12 hours of punishment, everything seems to be back up and responsive. Enjoy the pictures!

[Skip to the HD slideshow on Flickr.]

After an estimated 16 man-hour assembly effort, my brand new MakerBot Thing-o-Matic is fully assembled. The extruder motor is bad so I can’t print quite yet, but assembly is complete and the MakerBot support folks have been cool about shipping the replacement part. The new motor should arrive early next week.

The Thing-o-Matic is an Open Source 3D printer very similar to MakerBot’s earlier models (such as the Cupcake) as well as the RepRap, though MakerBot’s designs clearly depart from their RepRap origins. This is an extremely abbreviated set of high-level assembly pictures for those curious about the process. Assuming you already have a healthy assortment of common hand tools, the Thing-o-Matic “kit” version will set you back about $1,300 (USD).

The assembly process is intense, to put it lightly. Instructions are generally correct and straightforward 90% of the time, but given the intimidating complexity of the project, insane number of parts and dexterity required for some of the assemblies, simply locating the correct widget can sometimes be challenging. As the online assembly guide progresses, the instructions increasingly rely on your prior knowledge of repetitious concepts. We’re talking sanding, soldering, cutting, punching, scrubbing, gluing, and screwing hundreds of bolt/nut combinations. Only attempt this project if you’re the type of person that wakes up with ideas on the order of, “I think I’ll build an air conditioner this weekend.”, and actually completes the task. Like I said: intense.

[See the high-res slideshow version on Flickr instead.]

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Pictures: Cape Cod

I was over in the Boston/Cape Cod area earlier this month. Only got to site see for a couple hours but still thought I’d share the few shots I have. What I learned while visiting..
  • My grandma once used Jackie O’s toilet.
  • I’m about 2 megadollars short of being able to live there.
  • Every photo you take would be perfect for a viagra ad.

Pictures: Costa Rican Landscapes

I recently returned from a week-long trip from Costa Rica. These are best frames from the trip and are intended for large format viewing. Flickr royally sucks at that (everything is shown low-res by default), but you can nab higher-def shots with a few clicks if you have a 24″+ monitor and would like to fill your screen.

Contact me privately if you’d like copies of the highest resolution RAW sources. (JPEG == Yucky.)

Costa Rica 2008 Flickr Set

 

Rails 2.0: Gmail SMTP With ActionMailer

Marc just checked in a nifty little Rails 2.0 plugin to the OpenRain public subversion repository which encapsulates the voodoo required to use a Gmail SMTP server with an otherwise ordinary ActionMailer configuration. Gmail requires TLS security, which is why this is useful. Grab the plugin for your Gmail-mooching Rails 2.0 site, here.

Note: I previously wrote about how to do this for Rails 1.2.x here.

Update (2008.06.25): Broken download link fixed!

 

Penguin Pimp

picture-5.pngI Celebrated my friend Gilraen’s birthday by molding figurines out of Sculpey, which turned out to be an excellent party activity. Karen started off with a cute penguin body, but somehow we ended up with a pimp: complete with hat, cane and technicolor dream coat. There are.. hmm.. “other” complementary figurines, but I’ll refrain from sharing those pictures in the name of cleanliness. Maybe the wine had something to do with it? Whatever.. good times 🙂

Invited To The Pentagon

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Mugr.com was recently invited to the Pentagon to demo our facial recognition voodoo as a potential biometric component to TIDES: Transportable Infrastructures for Development and Emergency Support. It was a very last minute trip with very little instruction and direction regarding what to prepare, so we packed up our Mactops and hopped on a plane.

The subway ride at 5-something AM local time (3AM at home) after an all-nighter came cold and early, and shuttled a variety of more well-rested military types, who periodically would share a silent glance as if to say “OMG U N00B.” (Yes, in all capital letters with no exclamation point.) The guest check-in process was straightforward, and we soon found ourselves inside a small tent-like shelter booting our Macs if for no other reason than to warm our hands.

The event itself brought in a diverse mix of (mostly) military, many of whom were happy to engage in our biometrics demo and subsequent discussion. I had many wonderful conversations with Dr. John Francis of the U.N. and many DoD personnel over at least a half pot of coffee. A fabulous experience, this goes to show how huge opportunities can spring up whenever, wherever.

Would you risk your time, reputation and money for the opportunity? I know I’m game.