I may spend a lot of my time working on robots, but I like people. I’ve noticed
this in my professional life: I’m happier and more productive working on a small
team, rather than solo.
My day job has me working alone a lot of the time, so at the beginning of March,
I decided to take matters into my own hands and “find the others.” I knew about
Noisebridge in San Francisco, but they didn’t quite seem like my people
— when I joined their IRC channel they suggested I jump in front of a
train, in fact.
So I was delighted to discover a hackerspace right down the street from me:
Ace Monster Toys in Oakland.
I love my heated build platform. It’s the best upgrade my MakerBot has seen.
No other change has improved my print quality and confidence to this degree.
But if you look at the pictures on that page, you’ll notice my least favorite
feature: the bolts, or as I call them, the MakerBot Industries Amazing Nozzle
Destroyers. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix.
In my previous professional life, I processed a lot of credit card numbers.
When reading credit card numbers from an unknown source, it helps to have a fast
way of checking basic validity — to filter out bogus input. Such a method
exists: the Luhn algorithm. I developed a very fast implementation of the
algorithm a few years ago, and I keep seeing it pop up other places.
Polylactic Acid is a compostable
plastic that can be made from renewable resources — usually plants. Compared
to ABS plastic, it’s much harder, warps much less, and can be crystal clear.
When I first got my hands on some PLA filament in 2009, it had the potential to
be my new favorite plastic…but getting it working took time.