Wednesday, December 10, 2014
I wrote a short piece for Cool Tools describing some tools and gear that I haul around when I'm working on projects. It was fun thinking about the stuff I use on a daily basis, and fun writing about it! Thanks to Mark Frauenfelder for the opportunity.
Monday, December 8, 2014
Sunday, November 16, 2014
It’s version 1 of a clever and ambitious project by Makeblock, a Shenzhen-based OSHW startup that primarily manufactures a set of awesome beams. The beams are extruded aluminum, a variant of t-slot, with some great added features like threaded slots, threaded end-holes, and mounting holes along their length with the same spacing as Lego Technic beams.
What Makeblock did was add RepRap hardware (a RAMPS shield and LCD display) to a Makeblock chassis, calling it the Makeblock Constructor. It sounds like a great approach to get into the field of 3D printing!
The first thing you should know is that the Constructor is a kit; you’ll get two big boxes of aluminum beams, stepper motors, wires, and so on--400 parts total. The kit doesn’t have anything super challenging in terms of tool or skill use. Being able to drive screws and follow directions will get you through the kit. However, there is a lot of it. You could build it in a day if you worked hard at it.
So, I got my sample kit and opened it up to see what was inside:
In a future post I’ll describe actually building the kit.
Saturday, October 11, 2014
I had help along the way. My wife Elise has always been super supportive of my writing, particularly of “non-earning” stuff like fiction. My friend Drew read a chapter a week, sometimes more, and this really encouraged me to keep going. My mom Barbara read the first draft, as did Adam, Jude, Xander, Cam, and Ned. My mom and Ned also supplied really valuable proofing.
I want to especially thank Cam Treeby, who drew up some cool concept art for The Locksmith’s Apprentice before I had even finished three-quarters of the book. It was very inspiring to see characters who had scenes yet to be written. Cam is a paratrooper-turned-illustrator with a very deft pen and ink style. You can see his work all around the Hack Factory, where he is an active volunteer. I strongly urge you to hire Cam to do art for you!
After thinking about it and looking for an agent, I decided to self-publish the book on Amazon, mostly because I didn’t have any contacts in the fiction publishing world. All of my books were technical up to this point: robots, Legos, microcontrollers. I just wanted to get it out there and move on to the next project. If it doesn’t sell, so be it!
That said (ahem) I’d really love it if you would buy my book on Amazon. I don’t have it anywhere else right now, but if you can read a Kindle book, you can get The Locksmith’s Apprentice.
Thanks to everyone who made this possible!