The summer is now over, fall is here, and I have been off the grid for the last several months. I wanted to update everyone on everything I have been up to. Albeit slowly, work is moving along on a lot of fronts.
After much waiting, Dassault Systemes, the creator of Solidworks, has granted me an entrepreneur license. I truly appreciate the sponsorship (I am not sure if that what it is, but I am happy regardless). Computer Aided Technology, is the fulfillment partner. The license is good for 1 year and I hope that I can convince them to extend it. I have been using Solidworks for over a year or so, and I like it so much better than Fusion 360. I just find Solidworks more intuitive. After using Solidworks, everything else just does not measure up. I don’t really like that Fusion stores your projects in the cloud thing. After the license change with OnShape, I am a bit wary of storing any of my designs with a manufacturer.
I have another hat project underway; called “ATXPiHat Lite”. It is a stripped down, super inexpensive board that exposes the GPIO pins. It is based on the hardware design from the first work I did almost a year and half ago. This is not specifically targeted to the 3d printer market but will be supported by the Octoprint plugin. It gives the user total control of the Pi and allows for a lot of flexibility in projects. Development is on its second iteration and I should have the prototypes back by the end of September. I am currently using the first iteration (pictured here) on my own printer and it is working well. I think it will be shipped two ways, in a kit form and fully assembled and tested. I am targeting around $20 for the kit. A bit more for the completed one.
The advent of 24v power supplies for 3D printers, essentially kills the ATX supply in this market. I am kicking around several ideas on how to power the Pi and whatnot from the new supply. This might be just as easy as a buck converter and you are off to the races. The problem is that the supply in on all the time. Not the best solution and sort of defeats the purpose. I am not sure. If you have any ideas let me know.
I have been working on the Octoprint plugin for the ATXPiHat V1 and Zero. Additionally, I am in discussions with Anthony Stephan, the creator of Printoid to integrate the two products together. I am working to expose some real API’s that can be called to allow control and provide feedback of what the power and sensors are doing. I am also working on powering down the printer after a job is complete and the heated devices are cooled down sufficiently. I just hate running the printer for any longer than it needs to be. Again, noisy printer makes for a grumpy spouse.
A big shout out to Justin Kaufman, his article about secure ways to access Octoprint over the internet, came on the heels of report from SANS report about a significant amount of Octoprint servers that are available online and wide open. Scary stuff. Please read his article and secure your server. Burning your house down is not a good idea. Justin also wrote a great article about Octoprint where he features his ATXPiHat. Justin is a good friend and been using the product since the beginning.
On other fronts, I am moving out of the home office that I share with my wife Lisa, to the basement where I will have a lot more space. I had my printer on my desk and a small work area and could not take it anymore. I used the floor, the only shelves and the entire top of my desk and I still could not get organized. The enclosed picture is after I already moved the printer. Take away another 2×2 ft area, that is what I was working with. I also think that the noise has been a real issue and Lisa has started complaining. I also have an SLA printer from Sparkmaker that has been in the box for about 6 months and I have not had any place to put it. I purchased it via their Kickstarter campaign. I have their high definition upgrade on order.
I purchased some sturdy muscle shelves, and a cheap plastic cabinet and already moved some items. I already have a desk down there, large TV and whatnot. My wood working/home maintenance tools are down there as well. It is going to be several weeks until I get everything running. I want to add some compressed air (I have a 60-gallon unit in the garage), tool stands for my scroll saw and for the drill press that I do not own yet. I was also thinking about a belt sander and band saw. I am looking to build a MPCNC, Mostly printed CNC, from V1Engineering.
Many thanks to my customers, friends, and family for all the support and encouragement.