“If it’s green it’s trouble, if it’s fried get double.”

— Roy Biggins, from Wings

Nothing About Current Events


Reasons not to use Cults3D, #4

Stolen designs. Seriously, these are obviously professional product photos of objects that are not 3d-printed, and a quick Google image search finds them for sale all over the world. Some clown just scanned them in and is trying to sell them as their own work, using the original product photos as bait.

And, yes, there are plenty of scanned copyrighted statues on all the sites, but usually they aren’t brazen enough to try to sell them. Thingiverse tries to cover their costs with ads, while Cults3D is a marketplace that happens to have some free items.

Not Going There

Yesterday was not a good day for America. I will not discuss it further at this time, so here are some pictures of cute girls with cats.

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Reconciliation…


  1. The SolarWinds breach allowed Russian hackers to vigorously penetrate the US government.

  2. Most Secure Election Ever.

“There’s a click before the squeak”


After several quite successful prints with the Sunlu PETG, I started getting occasional defects on the vertical edges, accompanied by squeaking or clicking noises. After some basic troubleshooting and a few hits of the “purge” button, I watched the next print lay down a perfect first layer followed by a big glob of filament that stuck up high enough for the nozzle to plow right through it and create a loop.

I switched back to the Hatchbox PLA and kicked off a 5-hour print, and had no defects or unusual noises. I’ll have to inspect the Sunlu filament carefully; with luck it’s just surface cruft that can be removed with a filament filter.

…as soon as I find a filter design that is A) sensibly printable, B) doesn’t cause immense drag on the filament, and C) doesn’t occasionally shed foam onto the “cleaned” filament. Most promising idea I’ve seen so far is to double-fold a small piece of microfiber cloth and attach it around the filament with a standard binder clip.

(and, no, I won’t use it to “oil the filament”; that seemed like a bad idea even before I read up on it)

In other news, my two free spools of Dremel PLA arrived, and instead of the old half-kilo spools I was expecting, they’re the new ¾-kilo size. Both blue.

Amazon Primer


Dear Amazon,

I don’t want to spray this in my kitchen…

Design flaws

Slight revision to my earlier comments about the external spool holder working perfectly. It has one flaw: when a brand-new spool is loaded, the mounting angle puts enough of a twist on the filament that it’s possible for it to slip over the outside edge. It can’t get tangled, because the arm is in the way, but it won’t feed as smoothly.

My quick fix was to just put something inside the Cambro that was big enough to keep the filament on the reel. Tomorrow, I’ll design and print a clip-on filament guide to ensure it stays on track.

Meanwhile, the Sunlu PETG prints pretty well (shiny!), although I’m still tinkering with the settings a bit to eliminate stringing.

I got an angle

I did have to change one PrusaSlicer setting for one of my common test prints, the baby takadai koma. PS supposedly attempts to pick the best angle for supported overhangs, but in this particular case, it does nothing at all, and uses the same angle regardless of the part’s orientation. Could be a bug in the 2.3.0 release candidate that I just upgraded to; if I scale the part to 250%, it changes the behavior on one of the two overhangs.

For now I’m just going to set it to 45° in my profiles, and double-check the print preview when I know I’ll have significant horizontal overhangs. One of the nice features in PS is the ability to define override zones for settings like this, either with bounding objects or layer height ranges. In this case, there’s only one pair of overhangs, so it’s easier to just set it globally.

Fuck off, Microsoft

Woot stopped scrolling in Safari, so I visited the site with Edge to see if there was anything interesting. It promptly popped up a coupon using Edge’s built-in affiliate system, informing me that I could save money for me and make money for Microsoft by clipping a coupon.

Um, no. Not now, not ever. One more privacy setting to keep track of, I guess.

Oh, and the scrollbars were broken there, too, so apparently Woot picked up a bunch of discontinued web designers for cheap.

Universal spool adapter


Thingiverse is in a horribly broken state, and apparently has been for quite a while (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). The Customizer feature has been down for months, and the search engine still hasn’t registered the miter box cam pin I uploaded over a month ago. Despite being downloadable from the direct link, it doesn’t even show up on my profile page.

(a lot of people seem to be migrating to Cults3D, which is at least functional, although the ongoing infestation of garbage seems to be clobbering its performance; I mean, how many dozens of kit-bashed buddha-with-another-head variations does anyone really need to upload in one day? Also, you have to create an account before they’ll let you download anything, and they don’t have an equivalent to Thingy’s customizer at all)

So I haven’t bothered to upload the customizable spool adapter I made to fit Sunlu filament to the Dremel 3D45 external spool holder.

Printed at 0.3mm layer height, all four pieces only use up 17 grams of filament, and take less than 90 minutes to print. OpenSCAD source after the jump.

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Save your receipts!


April in Saga

Not me, zombie idol singers.

🎶 Don’t fuck with me, AT&T… 🎶

🎶 …the truth is, we all have left you. 🎶

I canceled DirecTV on 11/26. Following their instructions, I took the equipment to the nearest UPS Store for return shipping on 11/28. I got a receipt.

Good thing I still have it, because they just tried to bill me $155 for “Non-Return Recordable Equipment”. That’s $135 for the equipment and $20 in city and state taxes. (less the $8 credit on my account that they never refunded to me…)

I’m sure that next week they’ll send me a glossy color mailer offering me a special deal to become their customer again. Yeah, not gonna happen.

[Update: spent twenty minutes on hold, carefully spoke the 20-digit return confirmation number from November to the rep, and after 10 minutes of loading time, received a guarantee that the charge will be removed from my bill.]

Don’t eat the yellow ducky

I could print this Thing, but I have no snow to use it on.

Come to think of it, though, I did buy a rubber-duck ice cube mold some time back; I should try it out, now that I’ve got all the Omaha Steaks boxes out of the freezer. Oh, and the Death Star ice cubes, as well.

Asked and answered!

Macrumors: What do you want to see from Apple in 2021?

J: QA.

Not Batteries, Included

Somewhere in my holiday ordering, I bought myself a pair of third-party NP-FW50 batteries for my Sony A6500 camera, with included charger. They have pretty good reviews, and RAVPower has been around for a while.

Since I already packed them up to return them the same day they arrived, you might guess I’m not happy. One battery charged, the other did not. At all. I’ve bought their stuff before and gotten what I paid for, but this time, no.

I have a different brand of batteries coming for the WX800 next week, and I’ll be interested to see if that company has QA.

Why camera batteries, when I’m not really even leaving the house for the foreseeable future? Gift cards; I just started picking things off my wish lists.

Plastic flowers not included


Okay, I made one more print with the translucent PETG before switching back to PLA:

Despite its size, this only used up 10 grams of filament, because it was done in vase mode, something I hadn’t tried before. It’s not quite water-tight, with one very slow leak at the base. This looks like a good way to use up the tail end of a filament spool when you don’t need any more bag clips. 😁

Note: I did not print (literal) plastic titties.

Update: PETG Delivery…

The new filament arrived, and now I have to print another spindle adapter for the external spool holder. If you go to Sunlu’s web site, their product photos insist that their spools have a 56mm spindle size. If you order the stuff on Amazon ($18/spool), however, what you get is a spool with a 73mm hole.

There are a variety of Sunlu-to-something adapters on Thingy, which either have the wrong internal diameter or use ridiculous amounts of filament and take hours to print. I tried a clever low-profile one done in OpenSCAD, only to discover that its creator hasn’t grasped the concept of constructive solid geometry and instead used a great deal of painful calculation that only rendered correctly in the specific version of OpenSCAD he was running. Belatedly, I remembered that I had a perfectly-good spoked wheel design that I used for the baby takadai take-up reel, and it prints quite quickly with minimal filament use.

Playing With Your Spool


The external spool holder works well, although it’s a tight fit on the 3D45’s built-in spool-holder cylinder. The creator originally designed it for a 3D40, which has a slightly different diameter, and apparently used someone’s measurements for the 3D45 without personally trying it. I opened it up a bit with some sandpaper wrapped around a dowel, and it went into place without force.

Does it work? Yes; I anticipate no issues with reliable handling of third-party (and most Dremel) filament. The only obvious difference is that the open side reduces the chamber temperature by ~5°C. My makeshift dust cover, a 12-quart square Cambro propped up on its side over the spool and opening, cut that to ~1°. Instead of building a dust cover, I might just end up making a better stand for the Cambro and put a small tray of dessicant inside to keep the filament dry.

Fun Dremel firmware fact: if you print the same filename twice in a row with different contents, the printer will remember the total time of the first one, and report bogus completion percentages for the second one on the display and the API.

Having used up most of the purple PLA, I switched to the roll of translucent PETG that came with the printer. This had to go inside, because despite being one of the new 0.75 KG spools, it has a slightly smaller hole. Since this is my first time working with PETG, and I’m using PrusaSlicer’s generic profile modified with Dremel’s temperature settings, I started small, printing a known design that didn’t require supports.

It worked perfectly, and gyroid infill looks pretty cool showing through the translucent surface. Not an effect I’d always want, but it can add some visual interest to an otherwise boring object. The second print (one of the ubiquitous “thumb book holder” designs) at first looked like it had adhesion issues, until I re-checked the model and found that the long, thin ends of the arms were curved up so they didn’t touch the bed.

I’ve got a few kilos of colored PETG coming tomorrow, so I think I’ll save the rest of this one for things that would benefit from the frosted appearance, and switch back to PLA for today; I promised to make a batch of babydai koma for someone.

File under ‘baffling’…

In one of my recent Amazon orders, I included a 3-pack of Aqua-Net unscented super extra hold hairspray, since it’s been working out so well for print adhesion. Amazon reports that it shipped yesterday FedEX Ground from the vendor “challways”, and will arrive sometime after January 8th. A 4-pack arrived today via OnTrac in a walmart.com box with a jet.com return address on the shipping label. It’s the right stuff, though, so I’m kind of wondering if more will show up. The 3-pack was already going to be enough to last me a very long time, so I hope not.

Below, Mamako solves an adhesion problem…

In other news…

Valentine’s Day store displays are going up already.

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”