Author Archives: RogueRabbit

Superstorm School!

It’s been a hectic week. School started on Monday and I have classes Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

I have discovered a perk of NOT attending a private school: flat rate tuition. I am taking 18 units (well, 15 until my independent studies section is approved) for the price of 6.1-12 units.

Say what?

At AAU, the same number of units would run about $14k.

I have also crashed my first class, ever. In all my years of college, I’ve never had such restrictive enrollment. Typically I just enroll like the first day enrollment opens (community college and AAU worked this way). This time around it was tiered enrollment. I could enroll in up to 7 units at orientation, then I had to wait a month to enroll in up to 15. Then a week after that I could enroll in up to 19.

Unfortunately, every single class I wanted was full by the time my enrollment time for the second round came up. I had just checked class enrollment levels half an hour prior to my enrollment time. I logged in at 1 minute to 5 and by the time I entered the class numbers, all of my classes were full.

Eventually I got enrolled in some classes. Some that I really didn’t want but I had the units. One of the classes had an instructor that was half an hour late, swayed back and forth and had voice modulation issues. I had a severe case of motion sickness by the end of class. Here’s a sample of what I sat through.

The next night I saw that there were 5 seats open in the Gerontology class I really wanted. I made the bold choice to try to crash that class even though I had another class at the same time. Well, apparently everyone else had the same idea. There were 65 seats in the class. The instructor had already given 8 add codes out and was capping enrollment at 75 students. A total of 90 people showed up. I was totally making myself sick with trying to decide to sit it out and see what happened (hoping a bunch of people really didn’t want to study death and end of life issues) or run over to the gym to the class I was actually enrolled in.

I stayed. And so did 15 other people. It came down to putting names in a box and randomly selecting 3 people. Thank Jebus I was the first name drawn! I was so worried I skipped the first class of leisure and recreation for nothing.

As far as my independent studies class goes, it is going to basically be artistic reproduction using new and emerging technologies. I will do 4 projects (from creating the artwork in physical or digital representation reproducing those works using various methods incorporating technology) and write a final paper. I’m super excited about this. This means I get school credit for stuff I would normally be doing 4 days a week anyway (with my school schedule, there’s no real way I can go to the Gnomery on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday).

I am also fairly stoked on my textiles class. Textiles? Yeah. After discussing with the department chair my ultimate goals, we came to the conclusion that textiles would be a great place to focus my energies. People are intimidated by fine art. If you aren’t an artist, you aren’t really going to feel comfortable painting a picture or drawing or sculpting. But people are far less intimidated by crafts. I’m learning hand sewing, crocheting, embroidery and the like. These are skills that are far less intimidating to most people.

Not quite underwater basket weaving. Maybe that’s a more advanced class.

Research Assignment – Write Up & Links

Okay, I have to say I wasn’t overly impressed with many of the artists listed on the research page. Also a lot of the links that were still live, were pretty dated. I struck out to find a few that were of interest and may be of interest to you as well.

The first  I came across was 8 Bits, 3 Dimensions. Adam Lister and Isaac Budmen work together to create 8 bit (remember the super early days of gaming?!?!) images of pop culture (Star Trek, Superman, etc.). A really interesting fact about their collaboration is that they had not met in person or even had phone contact through the entire process. Adam Lister creates 8 bit style images and Isaac Budmen creates 3 dimensional sandstone replications of the images using 3D printing (Though Budmen doesn’t actually do the printing himself – with a note about production from their “manufacturer” they are likely using Shapeways to produce the pieces for them).

Original Painting by Adam Lister
3D Print by Isaac Budmen (likely printed by Shapeways)

One of the links on the research page that I love and visit frequently is Make. It has been the source of my procrastination (and I think helped me develop project ADD with so many great ideas). Make Magazine was influential in which 3D printer was going to be our first (and only – we work exclusively with Type A Machines Series 1). The current issue is drone building focused but there are projects from all walks of life including AI, woodworking, hand crafts and more.

Last link is for HoloDecks, who used 3d printing to create an augmented visual representation of sound (be it a fairly small representation due to the size limitations of the print bed of the MakerBot). This is a combination of 3D printing, and light and sound programming. It’s pretty cool.

Everyone needs a day off.

I was all super ready to do a run down of Matter Control today. Well, life happens and it was a beautiful day at the beach with my family.

We go to Blind Beach as a family on Jan. 20th to remember my brother, Jesse, each year. It is a place filled with great family memories, I got married there and it’s the beach from the end of the Goonies.

Does the arch look familiar?!

It definitely does NOT feel like January. In the least. It was like 70 degrees and sunny with barely a breeze. You can’t even get that weather in July around here (we had overcast and cool weather for our June wedding).








I’ll be home in the morning (it’s about 12:30 a.m. and I’m at the Gnomery) so I will do the video walk through of MatterControl set up on Desky. I’ve got Screencast-O-Matic installed on Desky and makes recording video/audio a snap. It’s also a bit better than just posting some pictures of screen shots.

I have to say that I’ve done the set up, played around with it and Matter Control should be a breeze for novices. Considering we have only had one printer at home (well, there was a bit of time we had 2 printers at home) and it was being used for making $$$$, I never really got a chance to play around with some of the other controller software out there. I can tell you from watching Justin spend countless hours figuring it all out, none of them are as straight forward as Matter Control.

Matter Control introduced me to the Airwolf line of printers. While we exclusively use Type A Machines Series 1 printers, I’m slightly obsessed with the Airwolf printer. Really only because it has such a badass name. I’ve had the Airwolf theme song stuck in my head since I saw the printer.

I can’t attest to how Airwolf printers work (though if the makers want us to test head to head on a commercial level versus the Type A Machines, we’ll gladly test it for you!), and I know they currently come with a much larger diameter hot end (.5 is their standard with a .35 hot end available sometime in the spring), so it’s comparing apples to oranges.

Never An Easy Choice

Today Mark’s Daily Apple shared an article about 95 year old Emiel Pauwels’ choice of euthanasia after having a grand party to celebrate his life. This man was a senior athlete (competing in the Veteran’s Games and winning in multiple categories at age 94) and had been diagnosed with cancer.

I don’t know why I was surprised by the number of people posting comments about him “giving up” or that he could have “beat cancer”. At 95, cancer treatment can be more devastating than the cancer itself. We don’t know anything other than his choice after being diagnosed with cancer and I’m saddened by people’s judgement when it comes to death with dignity and issues surrounding death in our culture.

Our society on the whole values quantity of life over quality of life. There are no questions about it. We as a whole are so uncomfortable with death and dying that we look at it as “giving up” or “taking the easy way out” or even “cowardly”. We keep people hooked to machines to prolong lives for often times selfish reasons. We don’t want to deal with the grief and feelings that accompany loss.

Many people form these judgments having never experienced watching a loved one suffer. They have not witnessed the sadness and suffering that terminally and chronically ill people endure on a daily basis.


This is a picture (probably my favorite ever) of my younger brother, Jesse.

He made the choice at 29 to enter hospice care. He suffered tremendously for 15 years from gastroparesis and the side effects of his treatment over the years. He did not make the decision lightly. It was not rash.

His choice was NOT “cowardly”. His choice was NOT “giving up”. He did NOT “take the easy way out”.

And our family did NOT try to talk him out of his choice for our own selfish reasons. It was terrifying for all of us to consider life without him, but we honored and respected his choice. We also had to fight to have others respect his choice.

The first hospice organization that was treating him had a new medical director start the week after he had been admitted to hospice care. This man pulled the rug from under our feet by saying that Jesse was too young to make this decision and he was not going to help him commit suicide because our family doctor told him there were other options. He discharged my brother immediately from their care. When confronted about “other options”, this man told me he couldn’t discuss it with either my mother or myself. (Never mind the fact he would not tell Jesse either what these “other options” were.) We confronted our family doctor, who told us he did not do any such thing.

I made a flurry of phone calls that day to try to find someone, anyone who could help us. Being in a rural community, the first organization was “the only game in town”. I called countless organizations that day, but no one was able to help us. I called the last group in the Sacramento region that I could find. While they couldn’t help us (we were out of their treatment area), the nurse asked if she could pass our information on to a new group, Bristol Hospice, to see if they could help us.

Again, we were outside of their treatment area, but Bristol Hospice took over Jesse’s care and helped make the last 6 months of Jesse’s life the best he had experienced in years. He was comfortable. He was able to enjoy the time he had left. He got to see the San Francisco Giants win a World Series. He saw one last Winter Classic. One last Christmas with the family.

Most importantly, he passed away peacefully at home surrounded by the people he loved.

There is something to be said about quality over quantity of life. Having watched my brother (and best friend) suffer for so many years, not just physically but emotionally as well due to his illness, I respected his choice. Tomorrow it will be 3 years that he has been gone. I miss him every day, but take comfort knowing he is no longer suffering.

The choice to die with dignity should be just that, a choice. A choice that is respected like any other. We spend so much time talking about not judging others, yet when the topic of dying with dignity comes up, everyone is quick to judge. We talk so much about respecting others, but when a person chooses to end life extending measures that respect seems to fly out the window.

Life is something to be lived to the fullest and celebrated (not everyone gets the chance to have a grand party like Emiel). Each person has to make their own way in this world, let’s keep the judgement to ourselves. 

Piper Pillows?! (LaserGnomes are on Society6)

I’ve finally gotten around to putting my photography and art up on Society6. While I could technically take care of getting prints made, it’s a lot easier to outsource it. I don’t have to worry about making/obtaining the print, shipping, etc and Society6 can offer products that I can’t such as iPhone cases, tote bags, throw pillows and the like.

I mean seriously can you resist a Piper Pillow?
I want to order one for Piper!

I haven’t been to the Gnomery in 3 days! It’s a bit weird, but I am working “out of the home” on some illustrations for an upcoming project.

I used the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 yesterday to work on one of my pieces and it was AWESOME. It was like a mini Cintiq! We have the 256G model with 8GB of RAM. Um seriously, I was so jealous. It’s a tablet that is better than both my lappy (6GB of RAM) or my desky (only a piddly 2GB of RAM)! The ElderGnome managed to get his hands on one and they have been out of stock FOREVER!

We got it to use with the Sense 3D scanner (the Surface Pro 2 has USB onboard) but it’s also AMAZING for PhotoShop and Illustrator. There’s a bit of adjusting (I’m used to full keyboard and the Wacom Intuos 4) but I really loved the performance. The only problem I ran into was serious arm pain today. The screen isn’t as large as my Intuos surface (or any of my sketchbooks), so I was using a lot more fine motor control, which causes my arm and hand pain to flare up.

On the 3D printing front, Justin was insanely excited by the beta release of MatterControl, a new printer controller. I haven’t had a chance to see it in action but Justin was super excited when he called me from the shop about it. In reviewing the features, I can see why he’s excited.

  • It’s “plug & print”, which he probably isn’t super thrilled about but new users will be. 
  • SMS and Email notification – That’s a pretty big deal. Knowing a print is complete (or not), helps us plan our day a bit more accordingly. Say we go home for the night, it will be great to know if the print is actually done instead of going in and hanging out until it finishes (also great if you need to go out to lunch or run errands). 
  • Drag and Drop queuing – Drag and drop always makes things flow a bit better. 
  • Design Library – This is pretty sweet. It allows you to organize and store your print files. 
  • Advanced Plating – This is pretty exciting. Automatically detect multiple parts within a single design file and then individually manipulate, scale, rotate, and mirror those parts.
Like I said, I haven’t seen it in action yet, but it sounds pretty awesome. I think the feature that was most exciting (to Justin, Elijah and possibly Levi) was that you can name your printer(s). That might not seem like much, but when you have 5 printers running, names help instead of COM PORT numbers.
In fact, we’re having a naming contest. Suggestions can be made on the LaserGnomes Facebook page. 

The Gnomery (Gnome Sweet Gnome)

I haven’t forgotten about my reviews of 3D modeling software. I really haven’t.

But it’s been quite exciting around here nonetheless.

The Gnomery is moving. We picked up keys and started moving furniture in today!

I spent much of yesterday working with ComposiMold, which I had come across at MakerFaire earlier this year. It’s a reusable molding compound for making a variety of molds (including 2 part, push molds and more). It comes in a variety of formulations, including FC, or food contact.

I ordered my ComposiMold through Amazon and it arrived in 2 days as Prime Shipping usually does (I say usually because I had one item show up like 5 months later after a replacement had already been sent out).

Unfortunately, the top of the container was contaminated with mold!

I was totally bummed and reached out to ComposiMold on Facebook. Granted it was like midnight when I posted the pictures, I didn’t really expect anything to happen right away.

Well, when I got up the next morning, I had two responses to my post and a separate email from ComposiMold. They apologized profusely and have issued a replacement AND refunding my original purchase price in order to make things right.

Later in the day, I even received a voicemail from Sean at ComposiMold apologizing for the situation.

Even though my initial experience was less than stellar, they have worked really hard to make it right. It is really rare to find good customer service (let alone any customer service) these days, it was awesome to have a company be so responsive to a problem.

I can’t post any pictures of the project since it’s Christmas and all (don’t want to give away the goods!). I’ll post pictures once I’ve given the gifts.

We picked up some furniture from Moving Sale (our local second hand shop), including a super sweet whiteboard set up! Unfortunately, it was about 5 pm when Rod got into town with the kiln hoods so traffic was horrendous getting out of the city. I think it took more than an hour to get there (The ride home took less than 20 minutes without traffic).

Justin opening the door with our key for the first time!
Our spot. The room is about 8k sqft and we have an area about 18′ x 34′ with room for expansion.

I can’t tell you how exciting this is. A year ago, we were getting our 3D printer. We had a dream to put it to work for us. We didn’t know how we were going to do it, but that was the plan. We’ve had our ups and downs with the printer itself. In fact, take a look at my first post, Type A Machines Series 1, it was quite the learning experience.

A photo from my first blog post about 3D printing. Our failed print graveyard. It got larger, much larger over the last year. 

Today we are setting up our future. We had an idea and we’ve stuck it out. We have gone from the above results to print on demand fulfillment, including 3D scanning and metal casting. Some didn’t have faith in our dream but we did and now it is paying off. My husband’s perseverance through this project has been nothing short of amaze (and yes, I meant to type amaze).

Sometimes it has been nerve wracking. My poor husband stays up all night working. I have felt tremendous guilt for being busy with an outside job and school, but we’ve pressed on. Big things are happening and I’m filled with gratitude to be a part of it.

So much to do!

And so little time!

We went to check out the new facility in San Leandro today, which is BEYOND exciting!

I’m trying to figure out school for next semester, which is sort of frustrating. SFSU still hasn’t requested transcripts, so I’m not entirely certain what is transferrable from AAU. I know what transferred from Los Rios Community College, so that helps a bit, but some of the core classes I have no idea if I actually need to take them or not. 

I’m going to go down to campus tomorrow to pay tuition and see if I can get together with an adviser or at least someone in admissions/records to help me out. I have a rough plan, but I’d rather have it taken care of so it’s one less thing to worry about.

With checking out our new space today, it’s really coming at us fast. It’s exciting and scary at the same time.

I have orientation for school on Saturday, but I would like to have an idea of what my schedule will be like so I can figure out where/when I can be of use when we start kicking into gear. I’m a planner a lot of the time. I like to have an idea what is going on.

I usually have classes registered for the second they are available, but my lack of readily available immunization records prevented that. I’m 34. It’s not easy finding records from shots I got when I was like 7. My pediatrician went out of business ages ago.

Instead, I had to pay $100 to have a blood test performed to prove I had my MMR vaccine like 27 years ago. That meant I risked having the results come back showing that I have no immunity. Which would have meant get the immunization (again, pricey on top of the test I just paid for) or find a doctor that would write me an exemption.

Thank Jeebus it came back that I have immunity. One less worry (I was concerned about finding a doc that would give me an exemption!). I have the Hep series from when I was a firefighter and I did get a TDAP in 2009.

I’m still working on the 3d modeling software trials.

It’s FRUSTRATING! Good god, I don’t know how Justin made into 3d modeling! All I can think of every time I start up the program is “holy crap, I could grab a block of clay and have this done in 10 minutes and then scan it!”

That was what I did for the Rufio costume and it worked out well. But I’m super determined to learn how to model. Especially when I see the possibilities for what I want to do design-wise.

I’ve got finals tomorrow and Tuesday. I’ve got Orientation on Saturday. Le Midge’s birthday is next Tuesday. Christmas is next Wednesday.

We’ve got people asking about our New Years plans. We have barely even thought about Christmas, aside from sweet, delicious tri tip at my mom’s.

3D Sculpting Software – Curvy 3D – Day 2

I’m still playing around with Curvy3D. I am going to work with Justin to try to come up with good evaluation tools from his standpoint (i.e., how the models will work for printing, etc.) to try to evaluate if the program works for our overarching needs, not just my desire to make organic shapes (really, what good is the model going to be if it doesn’t print?!).

The other project I was working on was the Rufio costume for a friend. A friend approached me yesterday afternoon with the need for a Rufio costume for a party that started at 4 pm today! 
Not sure who Rufio is? A character from 1991’s Hook. A bit random, right? Especially for a Christmas party. 
Here’s the result:

I altered the jacket and made the necklace, including the beads. 
Not bad for such a quick turnaround. 
So with that taking up a bit of time (but amazingly not as much as I expected), I played around with Curvy3D. 
Keep in mind, my area of design is 2D. I’m great with Illustrator, Photoshop, etc. I have the hang of TinkerCAD as far as 3D goes, but I am, by no means experienced in 3D modeling. I have played a bit with Inventor (Autodesk) and AutoCAD (Autodesk). 
I really want a program that I can pick up my stylus and “draw”. I played a bit with Sculptris but didn’t really “get it” super quick (I will return to it after playing with Curvy3D). 
Here’s my first attempt at really playing around with it doing more than just “what does this icon do?”
As you can see, I watch a lot of Ancient Aliens
Is this what our alien overlords will look like?

So this was created using some basic tools including “Create Cylinder”, “Pull Tubes”, “Add”, “Sub” and “Smooth”. 
I didn’t really have a plan and wasn’t entirely certain what I was doing, I sort of started “pushing” and “pulling” the clay and playing around with it. 
I’ve exported it as an .obj file so Justin can evaluate it’s usefulness in 3D printing. He’s currently working on a 3D printed trailer for a trailer park (the things people want), so I’ll probably have a better idea as to the immediate usability of the model tomorrow. 
On an aside, I’m not exactly sure when my entire Pinterest feed began getting flooded with fashion and mens grooming products (pretty sure the grooming products being as hipstery as they are are courtesy of Shoppe Mob). I’ve got to start following some better boards. 
Any suggestions?

3D Sculpting Software – Curvy 3D

I’m trying to find a 3D modeling software that is relatively easy for a beginner to navigate. 

Everyone knows how much I love TinkerCAD but for a lot of what I want to do, it can’t create organic shapes. You can only do so much creating .svgs in Illustrator and importing into TinkerCAD. I can’t chamfer or bevel, I can’t create fillets. 
I can use Autodesk’s Inventor or AutoCAD but I really want to work organically. My other thought was to sculpt everything by hand and use the Sense 3D scanner to create models, but really, I should learn how to model digitally. 
I don’t have the education that Justin has (and that is why he has an INTENSE understanding of models) and don’t necessarily need to. But I need to be able to create organic designs digitally. I need to be able to do more than extrude an .svg file and print that (really, I could just be using a laser cutter, which is much faster and I could work in a variety of materials for that). 
To truly take advantage of what we are building, I need to model. 
I’m trying a bunch of programs out, either freeware or on trial basis, in the next few weeks to see how I feel about them and try to judge their ease of use. I want to find a program that a novice could play around with and not be frustrated. 
Enter Curvy3D. I’m going to play with it for at least a week. I started playing around with it today, but got a request to help make a Rufio costume by tomorrow. So I took the opportunity to carve some dragon’s teeth for a necklace, make a mold and create custom beads for it. We also do some low tech manufacturing here was well. It’s not always lasers and PLA 🙂
Clay “dragon tooth” (left) and inverse mold (right)
The beads are in the oven and will be assembled in the morning. 
Just in case you don’t remember Rufio, here’s a photo
I didn’t really get far enough into Curvy3D start getting into the nitty gritty, but it allows me to start doing what I had planned for in my designs. There is a 30 day free trial (that’s how I’m checking it out) and the normal cost is $99.00. It is currently discounted 25% for a sale price of $74.25. That’s not bad considering the intense investment most other software entails. 
I plan do to some screen captures and possibly some videos while I’m playing around with it, which I will share here. Some others I am checking out will be Wings3D, Sculptris and Modo. 123D Sculpt (autodesk product) is, unfortunately, iPad only. So that’s not going to be in the running.

Made In Space!?

We went to a really great 3D printing meet up on Sunday (it’s been a busy week with Mind-2-Matter and getting ready for finals next week, so I wasn’t timely in blogging about it).

It was hosted by Type A Machines and 3DHubs, who just recently unlocked San Francisco.

3DHubs is another print on demand service that required a certain number of printers to sign up in an area prior to “unlocking” a city. We had been watching for months for San Francisco to be unlocked but have been steadily using MakeXYZ to grow our business.

We spent a bit of time networking and one of the featured speakers was Made in Space!

What’s Made in Space you ask?

Basically they are a group that is working on the first 3D printer in space!

How rad is that idea?

I can’t say we’re working on anything as ground (or space) breaking as 3D printing in space, but Mind-2-Matter getting to be a REALLY exciting project.

I’m working on the photography tomorrow morning before we head out to Half Moon Bay.

I went through the entire casting process on Saturday from spruing to pouring the investment mold to pouring the pewter! Justin took some video so I will get that posted up tomorrow as well as the photos of Gnorman in various states of being.

Here are a few of Gnorman from my cell phone (the real pictures will happen tomorrow!).

Brain Rot 

I really wanted to keep a golden Gnorman, but he had to go through the polishing stages!