Making a Makerbot (part 5) – Kapton and Makergear nozzle

Last time I checked in, I had added the heated build platform and a Paxtruder to the Makerbot. However, things were not quite perfect: things were not sticking to the platform, and I kept getting occasional jams in the nozzle. I could tell things were not quite moving, because I could see the filament “snaking” […]

Making a Makerbot (part 4) – Paxtruder

An area that causes problems in the Makerbot is the filament drive mechanism. It has to be adjusted just so, or the filament will get jammed or strip. The system that keeps the filament engaged with the drive wheel is an acrylic idler wheel, which is sometimes uneven or wobbles. Also, the adjustment for idler […]

Making a Makerbot (part 3) – heated build platform

I got around to assembling the heated build platform for my Makerbot. The heated platform is super-useful, as it prevents printed pieces from warping as they cool, and removes (sometimes) the need for a “raft” to help pieces adhere to the platform.

Heated build platform in action, printing an Escher cookie cutter

I’d been […]

Making a Makerbot (part 2)

Added some additional finishing touches to the Makerbot today to make disassembly easier, and make it easier to manage.

First, a terminal block mounted on the extruder body. This allows individually disconnecting the motor and the heater barrel from the extruder, and using shorter wires.

Terminal block on extruder head

Unfortunately, the spacing on […]

Calibrating skeinforge for a Makerbot

I recently built a Makerbot, and have been working on getting it to print nice-looking objects. This was an interesting learning process, and I thought I’d outline what I did, in case it is of interest. Most of the effort was in configuring a software tool called Skeinforge, a program that will take a 3D […]

Making a Makerbot (part 1)

I recently put together Makerbot #1479, from Batch XIII. This is a simple 3D printer, a device that actually prints real objects using ABS plastic. It’s sold as a kit of parts for self-assembly.

The process was quite straightforward, but I made a number of modifications that seem to make it more reliable and easy […]

"Visual Streams" at the Exploratorium

"Visual Streams" installation during testing

For the past several months I’ve been volunteering at the Exploratorium, the famous science museum and playground in San Francisco. One of the projects I’ve been working on is called “Visual Streams”, an installation that represents the different aspects of the human visual system. I’ve built on previous work […]

Video fun with Open Sound Control

I’ve been working on some fun stuff lately, automating VJ software using the Open Sound Control protocol. It’s been an interesting experience: OSC is a potentially revolutionary way of allowing users to extend software for live performance.

I’ve been using Resolume VJ software for a while now, it is a good way of performing with […]

My favorite camera is a toy camera

Takayuki Fukatsu’s Toy Camera is my favorite camera now.

The randomly applied effects make you look at your photography in a new way – it’s really uncanny.


Making iPhone ringtones with free software

One of the many appealing features of Apple’s iPhone is the ability to make custom ringtones. However, as with most things Apple, there is a an official (and limited) way of doing things, and an unofficial (and much more fun) way of doing things.

Officially, if you want to make a ringtone from a song […]