STL Viewer

I use Gary Hodgson’s stlviewer quite a bit, as it allows for a quick view of an STL file in your browser, and since I’ve always got a browser running, it’s often easier than launching yet anther app just to view a 3D model.

But one of the things that’s always bugged me about it was the fact that the build plate appeared to be 100mm x 100mm, which would be fine in 2010 if using a MakerBot Cupcake, but my RepRap has a 200mm x 200mm build surface…

STL Viewer

This is much better! My models over 100mm long/wide actually fit on the build plate instead of spilling over into space. Obviously if you’re using Gary’s online version you can’t really make changes, but I just run it locally from my hard drive, so I can easily hack at it.

STL Viewer

Just go into the js folder and in there is the thingiview folder, and open thingiview.js in your favorite text editor. Line 711 should look like this.

plane = new THREE.Mesh(new Plane(100, 100, 10, 10), 
  new THREE.MeshBasicMaterial({color:0xafafaf,wireframe:true}));

(Note: It’s all one line, but it’s wrapped here for readability.)

For the part that says new Plane(100, 100, 10, 10) just change it to new Plane(200, 200, 10, 10) and you’ll get a 200mm x 200mm canvas with which you can display your lovely STL file on.

(Obviously if you’re using MegaMax you should go a bit larger, perhaps 300mm x 300mm would be appropriate.)

Desktop 3D Printer

This is the future… a 3D Printer where you work; improving things, repairing things, and creating new possibilities. It’s here today for some people.

Here’s a nice post about Brookhaven Memorial Hospital saving money and solving problems thanks to one of their employees and a MakerBot 3D Printer. Think back to the days when the first Macs came out, and people who owned them would bring them into the office to get work done. I’ve brought my RepRap into work, but more often I just do the needed measuring and modeling and then print things at home and bring them in. (Like a recorder mount, LCD arm, or even something as mundane as a coat hook.)

Once you’ve got a “toolbox that makes things”, it’s not hard to look around and see things that could use improvement, or problems that need solving. (Recently my wife asked me to fix a loose shelf, and I was actually a bit disappointed that all it took were two zip ties to fix it. I was all ready to model and print something!)

My new favorite podcast is Making Embedded Systems, which is hosted by Elecia White, and while it’s described as a “podcast about gadgets”, I’ve found it to be much more informative and entertaining than just talking about gadgets might be.

If I remember correctly, I found the podcast because I read about the FadeCandy on the Adafruit blog, and I was already familiar with Micah’s work (ahem) and saw this post on her blog mentioning the podcast.

After listening to episode 41 with Michah, I noticed that the previous episode featured Lenore from Evil Mad Scientist. From there I moved one more episode back for Jen Costillo talking about Bia Sport, which was also quite enlightening, and then, to top it all off, how could I not listen to Jeri Ellsworth talk about CastAR? I mean. whatever Jeri talks about is going to be fascinating, but honestly, I didn’t have much interest in CastAR before listening, because I thought it was just a gaming system, and gaming systems don’t interest me too much, but the technology and possibilities of what CastAR could be are pretty amazing.

Maybe there aren’t enough women in engineering, but it seems like the ones we do have are pretty awesome!


I love the Evil Mad Scientist STEAM T-shirt but I thought there was something missing, so I changed it to STREAM because… Robots.

Remember to stream big, my friends!

Boom Pole Mount

Recently I’ve been on a few shoots where I’m doing the audio, and if you’re holding a boom pole and trying to keep the mic out of the shot, it can be a bit difficult to adjust the recorder, which you’ve typically got resting on something nearby, or if you’re moving around, holding in your hand. Obviously I needed a “BPM” and this time it’s not “Beats Per Minute” but “Boom Pole Mount”, which will hold the Zoom on the boom pole freeing up one hand to made adjustments or, you know, help steady the boom pole. (Maybe it needs a better name, like “Zoom2Boom” or something.)

As often is the case… 3D Printing to the rescue!

3D model

I measured the second segment of the boom pole and it came in at 30.2mm in diameter, so I fired up OpenSCAD and started to design a piece that would mount to the pole. (I should also note at this point that I’m not the greatest at math.)

2D test

I thought that instead of printing a test piece I would make a paper prototype to test the fit, so I converted my 3D STL file into a 2D DXF file in OpenSCAD. I figured that wasting a bit of paper was better than wasting a bunch of plastic. It’s also much faster.

Silhouette cutting

I used the Silhouette Cameo to cut my DXF file using a page from an old calendar. (Reuse! Recycle!) Of course once it was cut I realized that I used 30.2mm for the radius instead of 15.125mm. Drat! Lesson learned, you can use d for diameter instead of r for radius in OpenSCAD.

Final 3D model

Back to the old drawing board, by which we mean the “constructive solid geometry” software. This is version 2 of the design. Version 1 was lacking the holes for the hex bolt heads to fit into on the flanges, and was a little thin. Version 2 seems to have resolved all the issues that version 1 fell short on.

Boom Pole Mount

A few bolts, nuts, and knobs (just like the arm uses) and we’ve got a pretty solid piece that I trust to hold the recorder to the boom pole with. The one thing we may need to watch out for is over-tightening the knobs, as that could lead to cracking the plastic. I can probably solve this by adding more infill to the print (it’s at 35% now) or by a slight redesign. We’ll field test this one first though, to see how it holds up.

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