I’ll see you in HE(IC)LL!!!!!!!

Some time ago, Apple made the default photo capture format heic. I get it, I do. The quality is better and the file size is smaller, BUT as an infrequent blogger, it is a HUGE pain to convert a batch of photos before I can upload them to my post.

I’ll be happy to flip it back once WordPress supports heic. Until then the following is a reminder on how to set it back to JPG after Apple resets it on me.

Settings > Camera (6th block down the list, along with Music, TV, Photos, etc.)> Formats > Most Compatible

Laser TIME

Finally took some time to play with the SnapMaker(SM) laser module. Got ahold of some 3.5mm birch plywood for a decent price and played around with that. When I say played around, I really mean “thought I could use the same settings as Basswood” NOPE! The birch is much denser and higher quality, so the same settings to cut regular “plywood for laser” weren’t quite strong enough.

Kudos to the folks at LightBurn for having software that’s fairly easy to learn. Their stuff made it fairly easy to tweak settings and get the next test up and running without too much hassle or screen switching. (HIGHLY recommend their software for laser gcode generation)

I also learned a lot about how the SM handles the work origin and laser focal height, which are KEY things when using 3rd party software with a device.

SM does provide a “Definitive Guide” on what settings to use for the SM1 and SM2 laser modules, but it doesn’t cover very much. I’ll be making my own tracking spreadsheet for reference and lessons learned.

Now you’re playing with Docker!

So, I’ve been hearing about this docker thing for a while now. Poked at it a little bit, decided that it really wasn’t for me at the time. Mostly because I didn’t understand what it was all about and just figure it to be yet another software development tool.

I was partially right, and yet very very wrong.

I’m not going to give a run-down of what it is or how to use it. There are better folks than I who have already provided marvelous amounts of information on how to use it, and I’m still learning.

I have taken a shine to Docker Compose, and how can work for service management. For example, website hosting.

It’s allowed me to take my two blogs, run them in two separate environments with their own databases, and yet have them both accessible on the same box.

  • Traefik (80/443 access management)
    • wtfwasithinking.org
    • scrawlings.wtfwasithinking.org
    • falle.us (coming soon, maybe)

As a bonus, I didn’t have to fiddle with certs, traefik handles the routing and all the cert business.

Updates have been pretty easy to manage so far. Update the image, restart the container via compose.

The best thing I love about it though is now everything I need is tucked into a single directory. No more chasing down settings across the server when I want to spin up a new site to play with. Just a matter of pulling down the image and setting up a new compose file and directory. When I’m done with it, just shut it down and nuke the directory. Nice and simple compared to the various places configs would have to be updated.

Next up will be playing with the swarm function, not that I NEED such availability at home, but if I can use it to automate updates, all the better.

Hobby Personal License

Making a note, the Autodesk Fusion 360 license only lasts a year, BUT with a little trouble you can re-apply and get another license.

Which is a good thing, because at almost $500 a year, it”s a little more than I can afford. Especially since I haven”t been making anything to sell with it.

So yeah, gotta remember to just re-up, next year.

Printing Pens

For a little while now I”ve been trying to come up with a replacement body and cap for my Pilot Parallel pens. The stock bodies are very thin and lightweight. I prefer my pens to be a little wider and to have a little more weight to them. Also, I get the historical precedent for the elongated shape, but that doesn”t mean I have to use it.

So, given all of that, I decided to start designing my own. Thankfully the threads around the base of the collar are standard metric threads. The double threading on the cap was a pain and I eventually scrapped it and made my own metric threads.

The whole trial and error experience lead me through several iterations and design ideas. I learned a lot and even learned some tricks with Fusion 360.

I really like how they turned out in the rainbow silk pla. I”ve got some wood pla set to print next.

The little things

While our Snapmaker 2.0 has been wonderful to use, it need to under extrude just a little bit. I decided to bite the bullet and try to perform an Extruder Calibration.

I followed the steps in this post on the Snapmaker forums, and it was pretty easy. About 15 min of marking, extruding and performing the math, and I found myself extruding at the proper rate. 100mm is now 100mm, and not 86 like it had been.

Now, with every 3D-Print change, there’s balancing that needs to happen. I had tweaked profile settings enough that my prints were turning out pretty good. Now they’re over-extruded. This is where the balancing comes into play. Now to figure out what to un-tweak./

First step is to make sure other hardware settings are correct. So I’ll be working on the Liner Advance first. With this turorial video and this Marlin documentation, I hope to make some progress soon.

Inversely, if I’d left things alone it’d be printing just fine for the most part…

Edit:

And on that note, after much testing, oddly enough, I was much better off. looks like having an accurate E-Step causes over extrusion. I’ve since gone back to the default 212.21 that it ships with.

Creative Upgrades

It”s finally here! For Christmas as a gift to ourselves, we decided to upgrade from our XYZ Davinci Jr. 2.0 Mix to a Snapmaker 2.0 A350.

The original printer we have is good, but it”s got a very small build area for some of the things I wanted to design and print. The color mix option is really cool. But it”s biggest faults are the NFC chipped filaments that are required for use, and the software to slice the prints.

The NFC chips are a neat idea, they pre-set the heating information and keep a loose track of how much filament is supposed to be on the spool. However, if you try to load filament that isn”t chipped, then it won”t print. You can just mount a pair of chips to it, after removing them from the spools, but then you have to deal with the persistent warnings that your spools “are most likely empty”.

We”ll still keep it around, but it”s time to upgrade.

Enter the Snapmaker 2.0 A350, a nice large 3-in-1. The build area on this thing is HUGE compared to what we had before. Assembly wasn”t too bad, leisurely got it into a running condition in about an hour.

The initial calibration took a few tries after the firmware upgrade, mostly because I”m used to dealing with a nozzle that”s a little larger. The nozzle on this is VERY fine.

Currently my first print is chirping away on the print bed as the actuators move everything around. Yes, it”s very very chirpy.

Looking forward to all the projects this new system will able to make happen!

Conference Pi

Idea:

Use a Pi hooked up to the living-room TV with a webcam to make family and group video calls easier to manage without having to frequently rearrange computer locations.

Parts:

  • Raspberry Pi 4B 8G
    • Ubuntu arm64 w/Xubuntu Desktop
  • HDMI to miniHDMI cable
  • USB-C power adaptor
  • Webcam
    • USB Webcam
    • Pi Cam
  • Connectivity Options:
    • External keyboard & mouse (less optimal)
    • VNC (doable)
    • Barrier (preferred)

First off is the microphone enabled USB Webcam.

Update:

So close! The webcam was seen, the mics picked up sound from across the room just fine, everything was beautiful on the initial tests. That is until I joined a google meet. Video both directions were good, but the Pi began to choke on the audio processing. No sound in or out.

Adventures in Ansible

Recently had some fun with the homelab and Ansible. While getting nrpe to work with Nagios, I found myself on one box, testing, and updating. After I got the nrpe.cfg set up just right, I started the daunting task of pushing the new file out to the rest of the Linux hosts.

even over nfs, it”s daunting.

Enter Ansible. I already had ssh keys set up and sudo access across the board. Five minutes later I had an Ansible Playbook that pulled the updated file to the nfs mount, then turned around and copied the updated file into place with a service restart after.

Pretty darn slick if I do say so my self.

I didn”t post about it, but I also have a sysprep script for raspbian and ubuntu fresh installs that sets up my account and copies the public key into place along with a host of app installs and service updates.

The process of setting up a new Pi is now cake. The only per-requisites are enabling ssh and installing the avahi-daemon so it can be found by it”s default system name.