3d Printed Tugboat Toy for Bath Time

My Son is just starting to learn how to play in the bathtub, so I thought it would be kind of neat to design some toys for him.  This is my first attempt at designing a tugboat.  As long as it floats, I’m sure he will love it :-)

SSH Cheatsheet for AWS

To use a specific key use the -i flag:
$ ssh -i /path/to/key.pem user@host

To copy a file to a remote server:
$scp foobar.txt your_user@remotehost.edu:/some/remote/directory

Add pem key into Identity file:
$ ssh-add path/to/key.pem

I’ll add more as I find them

Changing Default Monitor in Linux Mint 15

Simple way to change default monitors (move the taskbar)

xrandr | grep -w connected
xrandr --output --primary



3d Printed Heart Gears

Heart Gears


Finally got around to printing the screwless heart gears from Thingiverse for the Jenn.  She seems to like them, and I am really impressed with the quality my Prusa i3 is putting out now that I have finally tuned it up.  The printer is finally at the point where it I can just click print and forget about it.

Printing parts for a prusa i3 using Ubuntu, Git, Slic3r, and OpenSCAD


Now that I have had my printer up and running for a while, I have reached a point that I want to start printing out a set of replacement parts.  I thought the process would be simple, but it actually turned out a bit more complicated than just downloading the .stl files and printing them out.  Here are the steps that I needed to take to print parts for a Prusa i3:

  1. Clone Prusa’s github repo to my local machine
  2. Fill out printer config file located at /Prusa3/box_frame/configuration.scad
  3. run make in the box_frame directory (requires that OpenSCAD is installed)
  4.  .stl files are now located in the Prusa3/box_frame/output/ folder

And thats it.  Just slice it like any other stl and send to your printer.

New white filament for my reprap prusa i3 3d printer

Bought some new filament from Amazon, and I’m very impressed.  It has a good milky white color and prints very well.  I have looked for opaque white PLA for a while, and this stuff is great.  Printed out some new letter blocks for the babies room tonight and the wife will paint them tomorrow.


Designing parts for 3d printing

One of the coolest things I have realized about having a 3d printer is that I can make just about any tool or small part that I need around the house. My ever patient wife bought me a Seahawks flag for our anniversary, and I was extremely excited to get it up and flying on the front porch.  I thought this would be no big deal since we already had 2 pole mounts.  Turns out they were 3/4″ mounts, and I needed a full 1″ mount.  I jumped on Amazon and found some solutions that were all around $10, then it dawned on me:  This is something I could print.  After about 20 minutes of designing and another 40 to print, I had a brand new flag mount.

This is the most important print I have done just for the simple fact that it is the first time I have printed something that I would have normally gone out and bought.  All the rest of my prints had been novelty prints, or things that I couldn’t buy.  This was a useful product that I manufactured at home very quickly with a high level of quality in a very short amount of time.  Now this design is on the internet, and is freely customizable by anyone.  As the technology matures more and more everyday products will be easily replaced with printable equivalents and using crowdsourced design. This is the power of 3d printing.


2 months with my Reprap: Lessons Learned

Now that I have had my Prusa i3 for a couple months, I thought I would share a list of beginner tips for anyone in the process of building or buying their own 3d printer.

  • I wasted A LOT of plastic initially.  There is a pretty steep learning curve, and I probably ruined 10 prints for every success I had initially.
  • Do not underestimate how important it is to have a level print bed.  Check it occasionally too, as any sticking issues with Z motors will throw your level off.
  • Don’t forget to do some routine maintenance.  I ran into some issues yesterday with my rails binding.  It turns out that the initial lubrication that came in the linear bearings had gummed up and was causing issues to where my motors were losing steps.
  • Start small.  I had a couple good prints under my belt and went for broke.  Having three 10 hour prints fail around the 8 hour mark due to lose wiring will bring you right back to earth, which brings me to my next point:
  • Check all your wiring.  I’m still working on a better solution for my wires, but it seems that they like to get pulled around by the printer.  Double and triple check your connections or one will wiggle loose at the worst possible time.
  • Learn to use a 3d modeling program like TinkerCAD.  I had no experience 3d modeling before I built this printer.  Everyone was recommending programs like OpenSCAD or blender, or even Sketchup.  None of these were any good to me.  After spending about an hour learning TinkerCAD, I can now design anything I want to build in a matter of minutes.  I’ll start posting some of my creations soon.
  • Use the community at #reprap.  Great advice from people that are usually more than happy to help newcomers troubleshoot or answer just about any question you have.


First 3d printed objects

After quite a few hours of assembly, and many more of calibration and tweaking, I have finally printed my first recognizable objects :-)


Nothing too fancy, but I can say with complete certainty that I am the first kid on my block with a functioning 3d printer.  Feels pretty good to have made it myself too.