Logo Made with Code


Code Is Everywhere. Or at least I see it everywhere.

I recently gave out some nice stickers to my higher level coding students and while going through some of the particulars of how to make rounded rectangle shapes in Processing’s p5.js framework when I realized we were making the base elements of the logo.

This is a pretty basic version that we played with in openProcessing before we moved it to our own hosting to import a font with rounded edges.

To view version 0.1 of the logo:

To view the code:  See it here on Github

360º Photo with Bubbli at the Long House Reserve

This is photo bubble is from the inside of one of the Long House Reserver’s permanent sculptures.

Photo bubbles like this are nothing new, they have been been around for probably close to 20 years, but the ease of use of the Bubbli iPhone app is pretty nice.  Apple had their version of a photo bubble with Quicktime VR that allowed you to do it and stitch photos together but it was tricky and very time consuming. Microsoft had an iPhone app a few years ago called Photosynth and it was pretty good but didn’t have great support. The Bubbli version has some neat controls and its guided setup is well done and mostly intuitive. The final element that sets Bubbli apart is the addition of captured audio that I didn’t use because of nearby noise but could make many photo bubbles more engaging. It’s worth a try the next time you’re in an interesting fairly static location without to many moving elements.

Long House Reserve - Buckminster Fuller inspired sculpture

Long House Reserve – Buckminster Fuller inspired sculpture

Titled:  Fly’s Eye Dome, 1998
Designed by Buckminster Fuller
Produced by John Kuhtik

The Long House Reserve is located in East Hampton, NY.

Simple Lorenz System in OpenSCAD


Lorenz System OpenSCAD

Chaos theory scientists often like to use this model to show how small changes in initial conditions can result in unanticipated behavior is systems.

This is the Lorenz System that can be tinkered with to see how small changes can have unpredictable results.

This model wasn’t intended to be printed but was more of a challenge to see if it could be modeled in this program.

I would like to thank Dr. David Morgan, atartanian and JeanInNepean for the heavy lifting when it came to this project.


The Voronoi Remixed 3D Printed Owl


Owl VoronoiTHE IDEA:
My 6 year old is really in to owls at the moment. Her Owl Themed Birthday party was loads of fun and that led me, as a good hacker Dad, to play around with some of the popular owl models available on Thingiverse.

Voronoi Owl

Voronoi in the middle.

I borrowed the older Makerbot Replicator Dual for the weekend, mainly to print out an Owl Cookie Cutter I made in Sketchup 8 (that’ll be a different post). But after printing out the cookie cutter I found myself replacing a stepper motor and rebuiling the extruder (that hasn’t worked for a year). To celebrate this rebuild I looked for a good dual extrusion print to try.  Since I couldn’t find a good owl one, yes we’re still on an owl kick, I remixed our favorite owl from Tom Cushwa using a Voronoi pattern.

The files can be found on Thingiverse here.

I started with MeshLab and struggled through the soundless tutorial below. Then I took the result and did some MeshMixer boolean runs to create the two separate .obj files.  I finished it all off with a trip to NetFabb’s online file repair tool. The whole process took a whole lot longer than I thought it would but so far the results have been pretty nice for a first go at it.  (I am tempted to do a video of the whole thing if anyone would be interested?)

Printing Topless… and Bottomless

Sometimes you run across great models/files on Thingiverse or elsewhere on the net that are solid objects that you’re supposed to print without a “roof” or top layer. The same is sometimes true about printing objects without a floor or bottom.

If you’re using Cura, Slicer or other non-Makerbot software you can find these setting available in the advanced settings, but on Makerware/Makerbot software it is a bit tricker. You’ll need to create and modify a custom profile.

I am not sure why they don’t simply create an “Expert” tab that allows for simple check boxes to turn these features on and off. There have been a couple of folks posting tools to give it that functionality but some of them are more complicated than what we’ve done here.

(Wow, I just checked YouTube and don’t see a video that I thought would be there…. )

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 12.30.01 AMTo edit your profile: Go to the “Settings” tab and then click and expand the “Advanced options” . At the bottom you’ll see a “Create Profile” button. Click it and give it a meaningful name.

I often put many of the settings in the name title, S2F20L02 (for shells:2, Fill 20%, Layer Height 0.2mm).

Now you can click on “Edit Profile” if you have TextWrangler on your computer then I suggest using that.

These are the lines that I changed in my file. Note that we have two MakerBot printers with dual extruders so I like to make put a temp in for each extruder.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 12.12.17 AMThese variables are spread through out the miracle.jason settings file so it might be easier to edit with a program like TextWrangler, BrioFlexTrack4which is my preference.

"extruderTemp0": 220,
"extruderTemp1": 220,
"platformTemp": 60,

"roofThickness": 0.0,

"floorThickness": 0.0,

"infillDensity": 0.0,

"doRaft": false,

You can see my entire settings file and one I have used for NinjaFlex (with a special extruder) on my GitHub here.

If you are feeling daring or want to try out other features hidden away here refer to MakerBot’s Custom Slicing documentation here.
Thing shown: “Brio Flex Railtracks” by romanjurt


NinjaFlex – Flexible 3D Printer Filament in a MakerBot Replicator 2X

NinjaFlex printed "Simple Vase"

NinjaFlex printed “Simple Vase”

Take Away:
Definitely a challenge to print with but the rewards might be worth it depending on your end goals.

The Journey:
It might have taken a day or two worth of fiddling around to get the extruder together on our MakerBot Replicator 2X using MakerBot’s extruder upgrade kit ($8: consists of a spring, bearing and a screw). The instructions for the upgrade on the Makerbot site is for a Replicator 2 (NOT the 2X) and the thickness of the extruder block and how they line up are all different so that was a dead end at first.

I ended up using the Thingiverse extruder files created by 3FPD (our make pic: and I finally got the stuff to load without bending and buckling (too much).

Lastly it took a day or two of fiddling with the MakerBot profiles to find the right mix of heat/retraction/speed and so on to get a successful print. (for us it didn’t work with the recommended settings and temps)  Above you’ll see some of the prints leading up to the pretty well done Simple Vase print.

The MakerWare (now MakerBot) profile that I used to create the finished “simple vase” and the iPhone 5 bumper posted by Adafruit

Melomuse – Will G.’s Senior Project (Sneak Peek)

At the Ross School, Senior Projects are a big deal. Will is one of the students that we’ve been helping to mentor and he has been working on creating an interactive musical sequencer / MIDI gallery installation for his Senior Project.

Will has been tinkering with a couple of different ways to accomplish his idea. The first one used a SparkFun 4X4 buttons and PCB which had great buttons and beautiful colors… but the number of pins it took was a real challenge.

His most recent version is based on Adafruit’s Trellis platform. After testing a single Trellis board, he fell in love with the system and jumped on the “Hella Untz” which after assembled only takes 4 pins on a Leonardo. Here’s the assembled version and he’s really excited:

A big Step

His final project archive will be posted here:

Autonomous Barbie Rover (Pre-Building)

We’re one week in to our M-term course here at Ross School’s Innovation Lab.
This year’s course title: “PROGRAMMER’S WORKSHOP: Autonomous Systems and Artificial Intelligence“.

Barbie Power Wheels hack

The students have been doing some beginner to intermediate Arduino Programming and explored some of the basic electronic systems and hardware available, but in preparation for ordering parts and building something much bigger we unboxed the Barbie branded Power Wheels Kawasaki KFX with Monster Traction! …. and boy is it pink.
Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 11.34.33 PM

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 10.43.55 PMScreen Shot 2014-03-02 at 10.43.14 PM 

The hope is to make this into a completely autonomous GPS enabled rover that can navigate from one end of campus to the another without human interaction. Mechanically it will be an interesting hack and programming it to avoid obstacles by steering around hazards will be the biggest challenge for the students.


One Cubic Foot Connector – with MakerBot Customizer

Purpose and Inspiration:

One Square Foot - CubeIn the Innovation Lab this week we had a request from an M-Term trip to create connectors for a group students going to French Polynesia to study marine and coastal ecologies and their biodiversity.

The trip wanted us to create 3D printed corner connectors for the “One Cubic Foot” cubes they were building out of broken or damaged arrow shafts. This project was inspired by National Geographic’s coverage of David Liittschwager’s work (video)

Customize it!
Since there was a good chance that not everyone has broken arrows laying around I took this as the perfect excuse for me to finally learn the basics of MakerBot’s Customizer tool that allows Thingiverse users to create custom 3D files for printing. Users are able to change the radius of the holes and wall thickness in the model and then save the resulting custom-sized corner piece to be printed.

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 11.20.51 AMThe tool uses the OpenSCAD modeling language which creates the model from a series of commands. Some of the documentation is great but it definitely has a steep learning curve. Perhaps I’ll create a video tutorial if time permits (before I forget it all).

It is still in beta since there are a couple of tweaks to be added but it’s up and functional:

One Cubic Foot Connector

One Cubic Foot Connector

Deer track

Deer track

Completed "Cubic Foot"

Completed “Cubic Foot”

MakerBot Customizer Corner tool

MakerBot Customizer Corner tool


For those interested in David Liittschawager’s book you can find it here: A World in One Cubic Foot: Portraits of Biodiversity

Neurosky Mindwave & Arduino Connected

Bluetooth Mindwave connection

Bluetooth Mindwave connection

Following a guide on one of Neurosky’s developer pages, we connected their bluetooth enabled Mindwave Mobile headset (an EEG) to an Arduino that had a bluetooth module connected to it.  Also on the breadboard is a LED bar graph that is setup to display the level of “concentration” for the wearer of the synced headset.

Once the bluetooth connection was made and an appropriate Arduino sketch (code) was uploaded,  the computer was able to also display the headset’s values via the Arduino USB serial monitor. (displayed on the screen here)

It should be fairly to easily modify this code and create “mind control devices” that are connected to the Arduino (ie: a motor). We should also be able to capture data from the EEG for future experiments and areas of study.

Neurosky's Mindwave Mobile bluetooth EEG headset and an Arduino with a bluesmirf module.

Neurosky’s Mindwave Mobile bluetooth EEG headset and an Arduino with a bluesmirf module.








This site has some inspirational ideas and experiments:

Quick Video: