It’s been a big year at the EngineerDog household. First it was my new job designing parts on HP’s new 3D printer 😉 , in a city far far away, and now a new bouncing baby girl to boot!
As you can imagine, balancing work/sleep/baby/hobby/wife/chores/exercise/dog needs has left me wishing there were more than 24 hours in a day. Certainly my blogging activities and sleep schedule have taken a hit.
Baby Vivian wants ALL of Daddy’s Attention
When I have had time to fool around I’ve spent it experimenting rather than writing and as a result I’ve only shared two articles this year! So here’s what else is new:
New 3D Printer:
At the beginning of 2016 I created an instructable about an electric bicycle kit I made called the ‘Bicycle BoosterPack’. I entered it into a few online contests and it ended up bringing home some sweet prizes!
The most notable of which the taxman will be interested to hear about, a fancy Spanish made ‘Witbox 2’ 3D printer!
Fed up with my crappy work area and not feeling right about placing this fine looking machine on my card table, I invested a bit into a nice work area to match. Totally worth it!
After dialing it in I’m able to make some incredible quality prints without breaking a sweat. For those of you thinking about taking the step from a rickety reprap to a 3D printing workhorse… JUST DO IT! (Edit: To be clear, I do NOT recommend the BQ Witbox printer. I’m happy to receive a free printer but if I was to part with cash I would choose something different,To be discussed at a later time)
I should have upgraded my equipment a long time ago but now that I’ve seen the light I’m spoiled beyond repair. Tuning the reprap was a great way to learn the in’s and out’s of printing, but I gradually stopped seeing the printer as the project as I came to need a reliable tool. When you are trying to begin operating for profit any amount of undue print failures or surprise battles for part consistency is absolutely unacceptable.
I’m a little ashamed that I let my frugality prevent me from moving on for so long, but I learned a lot from the experience. More on that at a future time.
New BoosterPack MINI Kit & Accessories:
So what am I using my new 3D printer toy for? To build more toys of course! When my new German friend whose name I couldn’t possibly pronounce requested an order for some modified BoosterPacks, it gave me some ideas for a new version of the kit. Voila, the BBP Mini was born!
10 different configurations is cool but you can only use one at a time. The Mini kit sacrifices configurability in return for simplicity by limiting the mounting choice to just the mid-frame of a bike (the best place to put it anyway).
In doing so it eliminates the need for a few expensive pieces of hardware and quite a few 3d printed parts so I can offer the entire thing for a better price and lower the barrier to entry on this specialty toy.
Other new developments include a spring loaded potentiometer flick throttle, a ‘universal’ motor mount, a new mounting part for the ESC, and some new recommended accessories. The kits are available in the shop now, and I’ll follow up with a new video & instructables soon!
You may have noticed that this website doesn’t have a tag line. You know, the header content that’s usually at the top of a given website under the name. That’s because “whatever science project I’m reading about or hammering on this week” just didn’t sound right.
EngineerDog is a one man show and has been a personal site for sharing my learnings, designs, tips, & resources with other science nerds like me. This it will remain, but my focus has been turning more toward attempts at commercializing my work.
First there’s the push that comes from a new dad using excel to figure out how many pennies the ‘daddy’s dreams’ piggy bank will miss out on because they are needed to feed the ‘baby’s future’ piglet.
But second is the pull that comes with seeing tiny successes accumulate and materialize into cool stuff (see pictured above).
So you can expect to see more articles around here about my latest research and experiments trying to create awesome toys that add value to people lives and make an honest buck in the process.
I know, I know, EngineerDog sold a few kits and now he thinks he’s big shit, selling out. Well I think about it differently.
At a recent 3D printing meetup I explained to a guy that I was there to meet locals, see the latest neat stuff people are working on, and to learn more about how I can use my printer to make a buck on the side. I said, I actually enjoy my current day job but all the same I want to work towards having more independence in choosing my work and diversifying my sources of income. And he said, that’s exactly why all of us are here.
So I figured there would be an audience interested to hear about the fun I’m having learning and practicing in anticipation of a time when I create something truly awesome that will sell as many as I can build. 🙂 For now, I just have a tiny shop.
New Web Store:
If you happened to click on my link for the Mini above, you may have noticed a change in scenery at the EngineerDog Store. It’s on my own website now!
I recently found out that Paypal.com has a built in feature that lets you buy & print shipping postage at home for free. Weather or not you make a sale! I’m sure this is known to many folks but it was huge for me!
My old storefront on EBay (and alternatives like Tindie & Etsy for that matter) was nice for being ready to go, providing instant customer trust, letting you print shipping labels from home, and being part of their searchable database. But in return they all take around 10% off the top (in addition to Paypal’s 3%) and listing fees if your product doesn’t sell!
Considering the niche nature of my kits and the fact that I already have a well-established website, I believe I was getting very little added value in return for that fee.
New 3D models & New MakerFaire Pic (PDX Mini Makerfaire 2016):
None of the above is to say that I will stop giving things away for free though. (In fact doing so is a critical aspect of my theory). This week it’s models for a self-watering planter and a multi-function desk vice.
Some of my new followers will recognize these as I had both out at the recent PDX Makerfaire where I was joined up with the good folks from the PDX 3D printing Lab. (That club is pretty big and meets monthly, and I usually have a positive experience going so I’d recommend it.) (Also, congratulations to Shannon for being the lucky winner of that quadcopter raffle!)
See this here FF7-Barret-style rubber band Gatling gun? ‘NOW I MAKE THE RULES ‘ROUND HERE’
On a final note: Some folks have messaged me to say how much they love my EngineerDog ‘best-of-the-internet’ website list and that they want moar! Well I want to offer them even more great stuff but at the moment my focus is elsewhere/everywhere/nowhere.
I’d love to hear any suggestions YOU might have! My selection criteria is technical resources/calculators/tools or otherwise that the general population of engineers/tech-folk/students would find beneficial, but not obvious (Wikipedia & google are out). Suggestions welcome in the comments below!