Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Jimmy's Tevo build

When Jimmy Shaw came to visit I bequeathed him my Tevo Tarantula. I just don't have time to build printers like I used to, and Jimmy was sure he'd be able to. And he has. You can watch his two part live build below, and of course, subscribe to his channel.

It looks like it took a good 5 hours to get it put together, but so far he says he's having great prints from it. Which I'm glad for him. My experience with Tevo so far has been less than recommendable. This isn't too uncommon. One manufacturer producing two machines that have significantly different specs and build methodologies that one is good and the other sucks. With the tornado I think I got the one that isn't as impressive. but maybe it was just me having a bad first experience. Either way, I probably won't be making a review video of the Tornado.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Organizing your Blender projects to keep your sanity

When you get too much going on in your Blender projects, it can be confusing keeping track of the final result of a composite of many modifiers on an object. There are a couple of tricks you can use to keep things organized.

First of all, learn to use the local view (Numpad /) to view a single object or group of objects without the contributing objects mucking up the view. Local view is kind of a viewport buffer, not doing any actual hiding of object or changes to your scene, but giving you a temporary view of what you want to see and work on.

The next trick is to hide (H) objects. This can be done in the outliner or with the menu or hot keys. Hiding objects removes them from the view, but they have to be unhidden before they can edited.

A way to kind of bet objects out of the away but keep them editable is to change their Maximum Draw Type in the Objects menu. Making the object so they'll only be drawn as bounds or wire frame, regardless of how you render anything else, means that they'll be there, but distinct and harmless to your eyes. The Bool Tools plug-in does this by default and I kind of like this one the best.

Of course you should organize things in layers, though as projects get bigger using layers for individual elements tends to be a bad idea. Still, for small projects Moving selected objects (M) to different layers can help keep things tidy.

I hope this video doesn't feel rushed. The videos I plan on producing this week have been somewhat more ambitious than I've had bandwidth for. Maybe it's been the weather. But when MyTechHigh contacted me with a student question, it kinda became the only video I could wrap my head around. Quick, simple, but hopefully helpful. People have been asking for more Blender content, and while, again, I have ambitions that outstrip my ability to produce right now, maybe this will scratch that itch. Will this get me past my mental duldrums and start making the content that I want and need to produce to stay on point? Time will tell.

EDIT: Crap, forgot the closing music. Dang it.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Maker Space Grand Opening Report

How many time am I going to type "Makerspace" before my hands accept that it's not a word?
The St. George Library maker space is now officially open for business. Local news coverage spread the word about the space and a whole host of local people signed up. All day long I was able to answer adult's questions and help kids and adults with the activities I designed for the day.
A wall full of LED Throwies is always a good sign
For day 1 activities in a maker space, without anyone having gone through the safety training, only simple crafts without soldering or training could be used. LED throwies, duct tape ties, and lock picking are excellent activities, with the 3D printers pre-loaded with gCode for Decoder rings, 3D block zoo animals, and other quick prints that people were encouraged to take with them.
There's still a lot to do, with organizing certification classes and other classes, notifying people who have given me their e-mail addresses. Mailchimp is helping with that, though I just learned about the fact that I can (and should) have separate lists for local and global lists, which would allow me to have different landing pages. I'm still learning a lot. Maybe I should write another book for the next person who wants to run a successful maker space. I guess first, I should run a successful maker space, though.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Makerspace intro and behind the scenes video

Let's start with the positive, shall we? That maker space intro video turned out great. exactly what I had in mind. A perfect way to launch the new channel. The only thing I forgot to say was "Make something of yourself" which is kind of my tie in with new years resolutions, and stuff. But otherwise a great video, in my humble opinion.

The new YouTube channel is for the maker space, which means there will be videos there about how to setup and use the machines, how to make designs for 3D printing, and other tutorial related stuff. In other words, if that's your jam, if that's the sort of videos you want to see on this channel, then subscribe there and ring that bell so you get notified of uploads there. I don't often make that request, but this channel will be the good stuff. No fluff. No filler. No click-bait. Just educational material. And the occasional announcement or report about local events.

The behind the scenes video, on the other hand... sometimes, you know, you're doing well just to get something together and out the door. Such is the case with that behind the scenes video. Camera, shakey. Script, non-existant. Thumbnail image? A screen cap from the video because I didn't have the presence of mind to get a better one.

I started recording the behind the scenes video without even a rough outline in my mind of what I wanted to say. I just knew I needed to drive traffic to the new channel or no one would ever see that video. But I thought of a lot of things I wanted to say after the fact. I guess that's what these posts are for. I've already mentioned subscribing to the new channel and ringing the bell to be notified when it updates. Cannot stress that enough.

The maker space grand opening is on January 6th. If you're anywhere in the area, or just passing through after that, consider stopping by, but check the website or call for hours before doing so. Right now it's a part-time gig, so we can't be open all the time.

By the way, tried that Pulfrich effect on the intro video and it totally works. Kinda blows my mind.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 Year End Review Video

Framing the year end review as a mock board meeting may have not been one of my best idea. I tried my best to make as entertaining as possible, but being as 3D Printing Professor LLC is a company with one official employee, and being as board meetings are just dull, I don't know how well I could pull it off. Still, I get off a good dad joke at the end. I promise that will be my last dad joke. For this year.

I feel like year end reviews often end up being Q4 reviews in most organizations that I've been a part of. It's difficult to even remember a years worth of information, let alone report on it's effects. To compile this report I went over the analytics, but I also went over the pictures I took of this past year. Not only have I seen my fleet of 3D printers grow from... well, basically one, to more than I have time to assemble. Hopefully, becoming the Makerspace director will give me opportunity to find others who want the experience of building a 3D printer, and I can let them do the heavy lifting.

Oh, yeah, if you didn't catch it, I'm going to be a Makerspace director. If you're ever in my neck of the woods you should stop by. We're having our grand opening on the 6th of January. Maybe I'll see you there.

If you were quick, you may have noticed in the video that I put some data up there that most people avoid, like revenue and the like. I honestly want to be more open about that. I feel like there's no benefit to hiding that stuff, except to maintain the illusion that I'm a successful rock star. And in a way, there's good reason to maintain that illusion. Because if people knew the actual numbers, they might not be happy, and they might not stick around. So... that may have not been my best idea, too.

I'd love to hear your suggestions for the coming year. What would you like to see me accomplish? Where should I strive to be, and how can I keep improving this thing that I'm doing.

A lot was cut from this video, so here's the outline I followed for the video, including everything I didn't mention:

3D Printing Professor LLC Board and Stakeholders meeting

Knocked down a bunch of the toys while waiting for the camera.

2017 was a year of staggering growth for 3DPPLLC
  • 90 videos 
  • Over 1 million views 
  • Hardly missed a Wednesday 
    • Improved video quality while only slightly increasing editing time 
  • 3 public events 
  • 1 book 
  • Many new 3D printers thanks to affiliates 
  • Reorganization of Cymon’s Designs (sole proprietor) to 3DPP LLC 
  • Over two dozen published models 
    • MyMiniFactory 
    • Pinshape 
    • Thingiverse 
    • Including Wood Wars 3D 
  • First successful kickstarter 
  • 4x increase in Patreon backers 
  • New ways to support directly
  • Affiliate Partnerships with Amazon and Gearbest 
My other great accomplishment this ye
Lessons learned
  • Certain videos do better than others 
    • Hardware reviews (esp with clickbait titles) gets a lot of negativity but results in a lot of views and affiliate sales 
    • Spinner video ludicrously popular, with little result, and follow up videos were not as successful.
    • Project videos are moderately well viewed 
    • Topical discussions are moderately well viewed 
    • Live Streaming this past year was not successful or well watched 
      • Maybe YouTube algorithm to blame 
      • Recent changes may suggest revisiting this 
      • Difficult to schedule effective time 
      • Shakey internet interfered 
    • Interviews are pooly watched 
    • May suffer from same algorithm changes as livestreams 
    • Tutorials are not well viewed 
  • New work shed set isn’t well lit enough, caused frame drops 
  • Giveaways have very small impact on the stats for the work that goes into them 
  • Not a huge market for well upgraded 3D printers
Met some great people
Revenue streams from last year
  • Patreon 
  • YouTube revenue 
  • Affiliates with Gearbest and Amazon 
  • Kickstarter 
  • Direct sales 
Goals for 2018
  • Big announcement, St. George Library Makerspace Director 
  • New support option - Direct through PayPal 
  • Create core values statement 
  • More everything 
  • Video every Wednesday. 2 videos a week when we can 
  • 3 books Q2, Q3, and Q4 
  • 2 kickstarters Q1 and Q3 
  • Digital only delivery 
  • 24 new 3D models 
    • 2 large projects 
  • 3 public events 
    • Makespace events don’t count 
    • Scan cosplay 
  • More hardware reviews 
  • Tutorial video leading to books 
  • Shoutout/promotion videos
Thank you all for a wonderful 2017, and here's to an even better 2018.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Doctor Who Chess Set Video

Am I pushing things just a wee bit too far with this thumbnail? Am I relying too much on my ability to make the educational defense should I get into trouble? Was I far too hasty in photoshopping those crowns? Maybe, probably, and yes. But I love it so.

Download and print your own Doctor Who Chess set:

It's interesting to me what videos I feel good putting the book bumper on the tail end of, and which ones I don't. This one? No conflict. Translating my Grandpa's wood cut nativity set to 3D printing? I'll admit, I waffled a bit before putting it on there, but it seemed to flow. But the Scripture Tree? I just couldn't bring myself to put it on there. And I don't know if it was so much out of solemnity as it just didn't flow with the rest of the video. Maybe that is exactly the solemnity of the project that is influencing me.

Again, this is another project with a lot of little pieces that I've been putting together over a long time. According to the time stamp on the render, I first released TARDIS Run with all the pawns in September 2013. When Capaldi came into the story I updated the set with some premium pawns, to see if there was a market for these things. With this chess set, I guess I'm unofficially de-premium-izing those pawns because you can get them here, plus Jodie Whittaker, Missy, the Empty Child, and the Brain of Morbius. Admittedly Whittaker has a crown, but who's going to want to remove that?

With this sort of project you're always trying to double dip your time so you're not reinventing the wheel with each piece, like setting up frameworks to build on. It just makes sense to keep things consistent. With the Doctors I was generally able to reuse similar techniques from Doctor to Doctor, but with the monsters I was all over the place. One would need solid object manipulation, others would need some sculpting. Of course the putting them all together with Boolean operations afterwards was a nightmare! Of all the pieces, Doctor and monsters, I think Matt Smith's hair cause the biggest problem with the Boolean operator. No matter what I did those locks just did not want to cooperate.

Whenever you pull open an old project like this there's always that moment of "yeech, how dumb was I back then." In this case I had separate source files for each of the Monsters. I also didn't know much about parenting objects back then. So I combined all the source files into one source file and put the individual objects under their respective parent objects to keep the object organizer clean. This was actually a technique I've never used before, but I think I'm going to make it a habit. I wonder what I'll offend myself by not knowing in a few years when Whittaker steps down and I have to update things again.

This leads me to realize that, holy carp, I've been using Blender for a really long time. I don't think there's anything I've stuck with consistantly for longer. And yet I still feel like I'm clumsily banging on a keyboard when I use it. I feel like there's this degree of elegance when using this tool that I am not achieving. Like I'm just barely getting it to do what I want it to. And yet it always does what I want it to in the end. And that's saying something. I've used other tools that I get to a certain point I discover it can't do what I want to do. That is never a problem with blender. It sometimes can'd do things the way I want to do them, the way other programs can, but it always has an answer. That's something.

I gotta dam this stream of consciousness before it floods us all. All I really wanted to say when I started was this; download this chess set on MyMiniFactory, print your own, have a very merry Christmas, and I'll hopefully see you on the other side with a 2017 year-end review before jumping with both feet into the new year and new adventures which will include a band new makerspace.

Oh yeah. Gonna just drop that on you and leave.