3-29-2020 – Where have I been

Hello all, I hope that everyone is safe and healthy. I apologize for not putting one of these out for over a year. There has been a lot going on with me and I really did not feel up to it to doing this. A large thank you to all my customers from all over the world. I feel truly luck to have provided something that enhanced your printing experience and safety. If you have kept up with my blog articles, you will know that sales of the ATXPiHats are practically non-existent. I have not spent any effort to expand the line any further. I did spend some time looking at creating another generic board that would work outside of this specific implementation. With the advent of better 12/24 supplies, there is really no reason. Moreover, there are many inexpensive relay options that work just as well for a significantly cheaper price.

As for the ATXPiHats themselves and the release of Octoprint 1.4, I will be brushing off the plugin and porting it to work with Python 3. I should start this over the next few weeks. I do not have a delivery date for the upgraded plug in. I want to make sure that everyone can continue to use them. I will continue to stand behind and support the product. I am proud of the work that Steve and I did to bring them to market.

I did get my Sparkmaker resin printer working. That was no small task. Compared to what is available now, it is a bit of a disappointment. If I could do it over, I would have waited and purchased an AnyCube or Elgoo. There really has been no advancement of the Sparkmaker and I already have had to replace the FEP, LCD panel, build plate (scratched to hell), and the Z axis motor and lead screw. I did take the “high def” upgrade. The fans sound like they are about to come apart. I need to take it apart again to figure out where the “ripping” noise is coming from. I must be into this thing $500. I feel like I have bought it twice. For the last holiday season, I printed an entire spiral chess set for my oldest son. It was continually printing for at least 30 days. The final product was good, not great. The lack of better controls and real remote access is painful. I also 3D-modeled and resin printed pieces for a vintage hobby train that a friend needed. That worked well.

Over the past year I have been slowly, and I mean slowly, building out my basement shop. New power, dust collection, new tools and benches, and designing and printing tool holders. Things slowed way down after a water pipe burst and we had some water damage. I am currently working on air/dust filtration system for the shop. Do to cost, I designed one around a 20” box fan. There are lots of YouTube videos about how to do this and what to expect. Lisa got me a 10” bandsaw for the holidays. The next projects will include a router table extension for my table saw and a rolling bench for the bandsaw. With the spring coming, I will also be moving outside to start up my garden again.

On the personal side;

So where have I been? For the past year or so, I have been focused on my family, my health and my day job (pretty much in that order). Lisa and I are proud of our sons and everything that they have accomplished. Some major good news, Lisa just passed her 5-year cancer free threshold. What a major relief for her and everyone. I love you darling.

Unfortunately, I have not been so lucky. I have been working through some health issues over the past 18 months, and the doctors are not getting anywhere. They have no idea, not trying hard enough, or are just incompetent. I have no idea. With living in central Ohio, we recently transferred my care to the Cleveland Clinic, about 2 hours away, in hopes to get some answers. Things are being handled much better and we are hopeful to get some guidance over the next month or so. There is such a cultural difference between the way I am being treated. My family and friends have been very supportive during this process and my love and thanks goes out to them.

As always, please feel free to contact me regarding anything. Until the world figures out how to get things calmed down, we are spending a lot of time at home; being with family and staying as healthy as possible. 

I am going to try harder to get a note out to everyone on a more periodic basis. Thanks again for all of the support. As always, please feel free to contact me.

–BA

3 comments

  1. I’m surprised the ATXPiHats are not selling well! I recommend the product to anyone I know with a printer. Maybe it’s the price? Obviously I understand why it costs what it costs.

    I would immediately buy an overall simpler board:

    – Keep ATX 24 and 4 Molex connectors
    – Same Pi hat dimensions
    – Remove fan/RGB/EPO connectors and IO port
    – Add back current sensing to calculate wattage
    – Expose the Raspberry GPIO pins on top (at least the unused ones)

    At least for me, with the Raspberry being such a modular system, I prefer single-responsibility extension boards.

    All the best and good health to you!

  2. Alexander:

    Thanks for the kind words. I think price became the major issue. I never expected that putting this all together would cost so much. It is just not the cost of the boards, it is everything else that goes with it. The thing that got me the most was the feedback I got related to this issue. The board that I have on the bench now is what you are asking for above. I hesitate to spend the effort, I never made a profit on the original ones and I hate to put more time and money on another if they are not going to sell.

    After this note, I might reconsider.

    –BA

    1. Let’s put it like this, if the price is still in the same range (45 – 55ish), sign me up for a preorder right now!

      It’s strange that not more people buy this. Maybe with a dedicated website, more advertising, building instructions for different printers etc. people would get into it more, but I know that’s a lot of effort for a “maybe”.

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