Monday, February 20, 2017

Modeling my kids drawing 2 livestream

The best livestream to date. I know I say that every time, but I think I've worked out every technical problem I possibly can with the hardware setup I have. 45 minutes that didn't devolve into a slide show, though there were a few drops when I did some a particularly intensive tasks in Blender. At this point the only solution I can see would be a dedicated streaming rig and a box to split the signal going to the external monitor. For which I would need your help.

I wasn't even going to do this as a livestream, but I realized I hadn't set up OBS at all, so I might as well set it up to stream, then test if my stream was good. And it was.

This time I modeled my second son's character, a shape-shifter named Moe. It turned out to be a surprise hit with everyone. Runaway puns in the live chat. And my son really worked the crowd. I'm so proud. I'm surprised I managed to do this one in just one 45 minute session. The last one took 2 hours or more by the time I was done. But Moe took only about 30 minutes. It was a simpler design. So the next task is to do the prints and follow up with it. That follow up will probably be a side to another video, since I've already gotten out of my slump and I've got 4 videos lined up and ready to go. And I have to get these models in for the Pinshape contest.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

3D modeling my kid's drawing video

As mentioned in the stream, I'm starting a goFundMe to get the equipment I need to improve my videos, so if you can, please support me.

Had a good time on the stream, and got about 25% through modeling the character. However the stream got laggier and laggier as I went on until it was, once again, just a slide show. Since my last stream I've changed to an entirely different computer, so I'm back to square one experimenting with softwares.

Rage Power or Dark Gem or Force Power is now modeled, posed, and printed. We'll be painting it and filming a follow up video. Dem arm spikes. I really love the detail my kids put into these designs and I've wanted to bring them to 3D for a while now. Next, my other son has a character named "Moe" that should be a unique challenge.

This will be the first in what will hopefully be be 3 different entries for the Pinshape character modeling contest.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

PPAP video


Believe it or not, I'm actually a huge fan of the memes. Those sort of easily replicated familiar language of the "in" crowd of the internet. It's the intellectual shorthand that lets us all chuckle at each other's jokes. I've subtly referenced certian memes in the past like duplicating the unhelpful teacher for my 3D Printing 101 videos. But this video may be the first time I so brazenly ripped off someone else's thing.

So it should have come as no surprise to me when this email appeared the moment after this went live:
Know what? I'm okay with this. Honestly, that's fair.

The amount of work that went into this one-minute video was seriously crazy. Modeling, printing, recording me dancing badly, recording the pen-pineapple-apple-pen on a turn table, photograping, extracting images from the video and then reediting them to look like me skinless for a less-than-one-second frame of the video, then posing a skeleton and making it collapse, then figuring out how to edit the whole lot together. I learned some making this video. Was it worth it? Honestly the final result is... a bit crap, but I had fun making it and I hope people have fun watching it.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

PomPom ring live stream... almost watchable

M0nday's livestream went well. I showed off how to I modeled the PomPom ring, answered some questions, opened some mail, and generally had a good time. Thanks to everyone who showed up and made this live stream a success. Technically I've overcome a lot of problems since I started live streaming, including getting the chat window up there, but there was still a problem with this one. Namely my microphone sucks. 

My plan was to take the live stream and edit just the Blender parts into a seperate video, but with this audio quality that just ain't happening.

That is only one of the major problems I have to overcome before I do this again, and I may be asking for help for that in the near future.  

1:37 Actual Start Intro
3:47 PomPom Ring Modeling Example
17:50 Chat QA
27:28 Fan Mail, additional QA
41:10 Additional QA
53:45 3D Puzzle book plug
57:00 Sign off

Who is GTRH3RO?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

3D Printing 101 - Anatomy of an FFF 3D Print

So now that we've talked about the 3D printer, let's talk about the anatomy of an FFF 3D print.
Here is a 3D print stopped before it completed. Looking inside this print the parts of an FFF 3D print can be illustrated.

FFF 3D prints are made in layers. The lowest layer is the first, the next layer goes on top of that, and so on, to the top. 

Each layer starts with an outline, or shell, which traces the shape of the layer once or more times. The more shells there are the thicker the wall of the print. Fewer shells save material and time but makes a less rigid and lighter weight print.

Once the shells are drawn there is an infill pattern drawn next. Notice that this 3D print is mostly hollow, which is typical. This also saves material and time. Of course the bottom few layers are completely filled in and a number of top layers are as well, but the layers in between are a sparse infill. Some prints will work successfully without any infill, but if there are any flat areas then infill provides the bridging required to create a smooth top, though it may take a number of top layers to be successful.

As FFF 3D prints are made in layers, with each layer building on the one below it, if there is a portion of a layer without anything underneath it the print may require supports.

The wizard model shown here, when it prints, gets to a number of areas where, when the layer gets up to them, has nothing under them. FFF 3D printers can't print suspended in midair, so a scaffolding structure was built up to that part.

If the supports are made of the same material as the object, because the FFF 3D printer only has the ability to print in one material at a time, they're called breakaway supports as they are designed to break away after printing completes. The goal of breakaway supports is to make them thin and fragile, but not too thin and fragile because they need to stay until they're needed. usually breakaway supports leave some artifact behind, a scar that will need to be cleaned off before the print can be truly presentable.

Some 3D printers make their supports out of a different material than the build material. Usually this different material is designed to be dissolved away after the print finishes and it can be made much more solid. Dissolvable supports often times leave no artifacts that they were ever there, making supported surfaces as clean as top surfaces. But printers that can use dissolvable supports, and use them well, are more expensive than single material printers.

Some 3D prints don't require any supports. A clever 3D designer can make a part friendly to the FFF process by insuring that each layer has something under it to support. That may mean orienting the piece, breaking the print into parts, or limiting the pose of the character to only those that can be FFF 3D printed.

Layers, outlines, infill, and supports. That's really all there is to 3D prints. However, even these simple parts allow for a great deal of customization in the slicer, which will be the topic of the next chapter.

3D Printing 101 - The FFF Process

Your first 3D printer is likely to be an FFF or FDM, 3D printer. both work on the same principal, melting a material and depositing it in 3D space. In this chapter, we'll be going into depth about how FFF 3D printers do their thing.
The FFF 3D printing process actually starts with a piece of software called a slicer. A slicer is a software program that takes a 3D model and turns it into the instructions that the 3D printer follows to make an object. The slicer software could be running on a computer embedded into the 3D printer, but to save money, most 3D printers use your computer to run the slicing software.

Slicers generally can't create the 3D models. You either have to download the 3D model from a web site or design it in another piece of software for designing models, sometimes called CAD software.

A slicer creates it's instructions by taking a 3D model and slicing it into thin cross sections, layer-by-layer, and deciding what motion the 3D printer will need to follow to create that slice of a layer. The output of a slicer is called GCode and when the 3D printer follows those instructions it will make a real version of the 3D model given to the slicer. GCode includes instructions to control every aspect of what the 3D printer does including moving, feeding plastic, turning on or off the heaters, turning on or off the fans, waiting for the heaters to reach a certain heat, etc. It's a complicated dance that the slicer coordinates.

Once the slicer has created the GCode, those instructions need to be transferred to the 3D printer. That can be accomplished across a USB connection, via an SD card or USB stick, or in some of the fancier printers, even across wifi.

Once the instructions are in the 3D printer, the 3D printer activates to follow them and the movement system springs to life. FFF 3D printers have a system of motors designed to move in three directions; left-and-right (along the X-Axis), forward-and-backward (along the Y-Axis) and up-and-down (along the Z-Axis). Different 3D printers accomplish this movement in different ways. Some move the build platform along the Y, while moving the nozzle along the X and Z, other move the X and Y together at the top of the printer while the build plate moves up and down. Delta printers keep the build plate stationary while the nozzle does all the movement. However it is accomplished, the whole point is to move the hot end around in relation to the build plate.

The hot end is where the plastic filament comes out. It's little more than a nozzle with a little hole in it, attached to a heater element to get it nice and hot, and a temperature sensor to make sure it's not too hot. The whole point of the system is to melt and focus the plastic that is fed into it. So the next thing to talk about is the plastic.

FFF 3D printers use plastic, generally, that has been prepared by making it into a thin noodle called filament. Filament is generally would around a spool to feed easily into the 3D printer. Filament usually comes in one of two standard sizes, 1.75 mm and 3mm (which actually measures 2.85mm). Most FFF 3D printers are set up, with rare exception, to use one or the other, but not both. It's important to know what your 3D printer uses so you don't accidentally buy filament you can't use.

Filament is drawn into the 3D printer and down into the hot end by the feed system. The feed system is another motor driven component that uses a toothed gear to grab and pull the filament, with a system to push the filament against that feeder gear. Some have additional gears to trade torque for speed if necessary.

Some feed systems are close to the nozzle and are carried around with the hot end. Others are very far away from the hot end. It's good to know where the feed system is in relation to the hot end. If the feed system is far from the hot end the movement system only needs to move the hot end around, reducing the weight it needs to carry around. But this system relies on the stiffness of the filament to carry the motion through to the hot end. If you're using a softer filament like flexible filaments, and if there's any gap in the system the flexible filament can go squishing out the wrong direction, potentially even winding itself around the feed system.
So far we've covered how the slicer creates the instructions the 3D printer follows, the movement system that moves the hot end around, and the filament that is driven by the feed system. Finally, it's time to talk about where it all goes.

The build plate is a flat surface where the plastic is deposited layer-by-layer. The build plate may be the most important part of an FFF 3D printer when it comes to the success of a print because it needs to hold to the print while the print is happening, and release it after the print is done. If it releases too soon the print will fail, if it doesn't release after the print is done it can be very frustrating and ruin a print.

Some build plates are heated, some are not. Some people use hairspray and glass, others use more exotic materials like polyetherimide (PEI) or materials manufactured for the purpose like BuildTak. Some 3D printers use disposable build plates designed to be consumed in the process.

If a print fails, it could be the fault of any of these parts. It helps to know the whole system to diagnose print problems.

  • The slicer could have been run with bad settings
  • The GCode could be corrupted or misread in transmission
  • The movement system could be too sticky or too loose
  • The filament could be inconsistent in it's diameter
  • The feed system could be gummed up or slipping
  • The hot end could be broken
  • The temperature sensor could be reporting bad temperatures
  • The build plate might not be doing it's job
Assuming the whole system does it's job right, you'll end up with a good 3D print, and the next section will discuss the parts of a 3D print.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

2017 Year of the Rooster 3D Printed in Algix Dura Video

Code for 3D Scholars: J:LUVLXJ PJ LUVMJ

Technically this is a day late. While January 28th is Chinese New Year, just like the New Year I'm most acquainted with, the day itself is pretty much secondary to the day before and the countdown at midnight. So apologies to all my Chinese viewers to not getting this out in time.

Download the Garden Rooster scan here:

Find out more about Algix Dura on their web site: