3D Snowflakes and Color Factory

[Want to hear the whole story without reading? Check out the podcast! ]

Hey Dad!

So, what did I do today? I did some cool 3D printing stuff, so first let's start with last night. Last night Angie showed me a cool Christmas present that she is going to give Mom and obviously, this will not be posted and podcast and all that fun stuff until after Christmas.

So what is it? It’s a framed cut silhouette of our daughter!  This was done at Disneyland at the little silhouette cutting place and Angie has been holding on this for little bit hoping to make it a surprise for me, but we decided that it would be even better to give it to my mom instead. Awesome! However, an idea immediately struck me. The silhouette is just a simple black and white vector drawing right? So take that vector, put it into Fusion 360, and extrude it out. Now I have like a little raised image of Emilie. Then I took the idea from one of the YouTube channels I listen to called Make Anything where he made a bunch of 3D printed snowflakes for his friends and family for Christmas.
I used a similar method that he did and made my own snowflake background onto which I put Emilie’s silhouette. Then I put a little border around it along with her name.  At the end you have a nice little personalized ornament unlike any other! I printed it out four of them and only managed to break one trying to get it off of the build plate.  They were printed on a MakerBot Replicator 2 that we have at work. The fun thing is that it's a really old shotty printer, that I managed to get the damn thing repaired myself.  

So here's a little story about the 3D printer… 
I've been wanting to play with a 3D printer for a long time, but never had one available to me and I wasn't going to go and buy one if I didn’t know if I would use it. Once I got to Disney, I knew they had gone through this big effort to put 3D printers all over the place to give people exposure to them.  Shortly after I started, I remembered seeing one on the third floor as part of the Disney Labs team.  However when finally built up the courage to go use it, it was gone along with most of the floor.  All the people who used to work there moved out and took the printer with them. It turns out though that there was another printer hanging out on my floor unloved and unused.  The previous owners had been very… aggressive with it.  It was a MakerBot Replicator 2, but the SD Card slot had been ripped off, including some of the grounding plane connections.  I attempted to repair it myself but to no avail.  After calling MakerBot Support though, they were incredibly awesome and sent out a new Interface board and even a new Main Board!  After replacing those parts, the printer has been working perfectly.  I started with files off of thingiverse like little toys and cases for my electronics projects like the Raspberry Pi and CircuitPlayground devices but eventually moved to things that I modeled myself.
Apart from the snowflake, I recently printed a case for an “arcade” game that I am making for my daughter.  Based around an Adafruit CircuitPlayground, it’s a simple DDR style game called Color Factory.  There are 3 large buttons (cardboard, tinfoil, and paperclips) mounted on the wall that are colored RED, GREEN, and BLUE.  Across the wall is also an LED strip.  Colors will start appearing on the right side of the strip and moving left towards the “player”.  She just needs to press the corresponding color button for the color closest to the player. Pretty Simple, but she’s only 2 and can’t grasp complex game rules yet.  Over time I plan on adding more complex functionality like color mixing and the like.  For now though this should be enough for her.
See you soon!


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