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# Tuesday, 28 September 2010
Well, I haven't been here for a while. Work has been chewing up way to much of my time. Ok, the status of my various projects is as follows:

Ikea aquaponics
- The gold fish are very happy, which is luck more than anything else. I cant remember the last time I tested the water. The watercress went well, until the introduction of a strawberry plant with aphids contaminated the whole lot. The kale is aphid resistant, grew ok, but seems to be dieing off in the warmer weather. The snow peas went well at first and then died, total crop: 1 pea pod. Beatroot sprouted but failed to thrive, as did the basil.  I think I'm going to remove the grow light and see how I go without it.

Makerbot Heated build platform (HBP) - initial runs proved that the thermistor calibration was way out, so it was re calibrated. Things to note during this process, Kapton tape doesn't like water, and snaplock bags shrivel up and melt in boiling water. But, the end result is much improved. While it was in pieces i took the opportunity to lap the chunk of aluminium I'm using  as a build platform. I didn't go to a full mirror polish, but it is flat now.  I used a slab of granite from an old bench top as the flat base, and found that moving the build platform in a figure eight pattern gave more consistent results that forwards backwards movement. So, its all re assembled and installed and leveled. It heats to a true 120 centigrade, and the heat coming off it causes my one wonky z rod to bind against the z platform and jam everything.  All the z rods will be coming out on the next rainy weekend.

Atomic Zombie High roller
(New! 'cos I need another project...) - I've decided to build a recumbent bike to commute to work on. Most of a racer was scavenged from a front lawn on a hard waste collection day, and its now been stripped and chopped into bits. I just need to find someone who stocks the right steel for the main beam now.

MythTV server
- Our original prototype is still going strong, and a new AMD64 system has been purchased to replace it. Its just waiting on the aerial to be replaced so we get all the channels.

There has also been some adventures in the culinary arts too. I scored a bag full of windfall tamarillio(s? Whats the plural of tamarillio?) and made my first chutney, loosely based on this recipe. If you've never met a tamarillio before, they smell a little like papaya, and taste like a cross between a meaty tomato and a passion fruit. But they make dam good chutney!  We have also made our first Cheese! A lovely creamy ricotta, and a mozzarella. We also scored a bag of lemons from Jus, which has now been converted into lemon curd, and preserved lemons.

Wow, looking back over that I feel less slack for not posting! I really need to take more photos though.

I'll leave you with a video of a completed version of the recumbent I'm building. I hope mine turns out this good.
Tuesday, 28 September 2010 12:57:43 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
aquaponics | food | MakerBot | Mods
# Wednesday, 19 May 2010
Well, the heated build platform is finally installed, wired up, and controlled by the extruder controller. I still need to calibrate the new firmware to the thermistors. I have a 1mm in the extruder and a 3mm in the HBP. In the end I've gone for a relay to drive the heater element, its a FRA2 from jaycar. The first data sheet I found for it was in German, but the diagram covers the pin outs.  I haven't included a diode for suppression of back current, as there is one in the mosfet driving the relay (so I've been informed by someone on the makerbot google group).  The other bits all assembled as expected. The heater element is mounted to the aluminum plate with 24mm wide kapton tape, and then backed by the ceramic wrap that was supplied with my makerbot kit. I used the makergear braided insulation on the print head.  I've raised the aluminum plate off the wooden build platform by putting a long M3 bolt through from underneath and spacing it out with spare M3 nuts.

I've run it up to an indicated 108C, which was enough to burn my self :), but I'll wait until I have a bit more confidence in the reading before I proceed.  I have a couple of LM35 temp sensors and an unused arduino board, which I'll used to confirm the thermistor readings.  I might get some sleep first though.

When I get printing again, I think the relay will need a nice mounting clip. :)

Photos will follow.

Note: the temp was still climbing at this point.
Wednesday, 19 May 2010 13:00:12 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [1] -
MakerBot | Mods
# Friday, 08 January 2010
I purchased a heated aluminum build platform kit from Jet at It was promptly shipped out to Oz and in my excited hands. I can't use it until the 'bot is assembled of course, but now when I get the 'bot assembled, I won't have to wait for parts! Any way, I thought a photo of the box contents was in order. Thanks Jet!

Friday, 08 January 2010 10:41:31 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] -
MakerBot | Printing | Mods
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