Anybody else try the SOL Escape Bivy? I found one on clearance for $35 shipped and…

Anybody else try the SOL Escape Bivy? I found one on clearance for $35 shipped and thought I'd give it a try. $50 is too rich for my blood given the mixed reviews and stories how it's a tight fit. Only been wanting one for 2 years.

The features I liked in the ads are the unobtrusive green color, heat reflective construction, and waterproof while being breathable.

I ran it through it's paces as best as I can with the temps running around 0 outside.

Initial test. I filled the stuff sack with water. The sack is made of the same material, without the nicer seams. The water poured out the seems, but no seeping on the main material. Sticking your hand in the bag, you do feel the 'space blanket' effect with nearly instantly warmer hands.

First night I climbed in it in bed, and tossed my usual quilt and wool blanket over me and the bag. I felt decidedly warmer than usual even with lots of skin contact to the bag. In the morning there was no clamminess so the breath-ability claim is substantiated in my book. If it didn't breath, I should have been swimming like a fish.

For the 2nd night, I decided to 'camp out' in my basement with my oldest 2 girls. The basement runs mid 60s during the winter. I rigged up a pair of hammocks for my girls out of bed sheets and lots of blankets. 
I slept in a hammock and the bivy wearing sweatpants and a tshirt. I froze! My trip out in 3 degree weather and strong winds in  down bags had me less chilled (although much colder in spots) than 65 degrees with this bivy. 3 am, I folded and grabbed my light down jacket and wool hat. Covering my torso and arms and I slept great the rest of the night.

This again confirms what I've known for a while. Space blankets need space in order to work. This bag is SO tight on me that I doubt I can get my summer weight down bag and myself stuffed inside. Warm thin clothes is the best I can hope for.

I think I may modify the bag by adding a heavy space blanket diamond to the bottom. Slit the bag about 3 feet and tape in a diamond shaped patch maybe 6 inches wide. I am going to try to seal the stuff sack with some Gorilla brand clear repair tape to see how well it sticks and durability before I cut the bag.

This isn't a down bag, for sure. I don't foresee any use for this in cold weather. It is also not a comfortable bag. Given the size and weight, it will be my ultralight summer setup. I will be using this bag a lot I expect simply because it's so svelte. Cowboy camping in my future in this bag for sure!

Anybody else try this bag?

In album 2015-02-22

244 grams for a waterproof bivy/sleeping bag seems like a great way to go ultralight.

Shiny on the inside. Supposed to reflect radiant heat back at you. As long as you don’t touch it.

Overnight in the hammock hung in the basement, 63-65f, and I froze wearing sweatpants and a tshirt. 3am I had to get my down jacket and a wool hat, and then I was good the rest of the night.

Some nice details such as nice finished seems on the inside, and a dart at the end of the 1/4 length zipper. Six foot four 235lbs for 2 nights really pushes out on the bag and the seems only settled a little bit.

I rigged up a pair of bedsheet hammocks for the girls, tied off the treadmill. They enjoyed it OK. Not a fan of the hammock yet. Practicing camping with them so they do better when we go for real.

I finally got my Delta RepRap moving correctly

I've been fighting it for over a year. First it was a bad RAMPS board/pololu drivers. I replaced that with a SmoothieBoard (which is awesome by the way) and then it took me a month to figure out that my bed center, homing and gcode combo is causing the machine to calculate out-of-bounds which gives some VERY odd movement.

But now it moves right, with just a single config setting change in slic3r. Set the print center to 0,0 and not 100,100 like I do on my Cartesian printer.

So, now I get to re-wire the printer, as the printer has grown a foot taller over the last year. The existing wires are now too short.

Then, I get to make it print!

In album 2014-04-28

The extruder motor doesn’t move near as much as the effector does. I hope this will allow me to get better prints than if I had a long bowden tube or a heavy effector.

Looking down from the top. You can see that the effector moves much more than the extruder motor.

I was SO happy I got it to move right, that I just HAD to mount the extruder right away. With the printer running. I was THAT excited about it moving correctly that I didn’t even stop the test-print.

Looking down a pillar. I was hoping to see the carriage move up and down more and that the belt & spectra hybrid drive works well. But, this is what is shown. Instead, this shows that the extruder motor moves very little in relation to the effector.

It moves!
I ‘borrowed’ some of my wife’s hair bands and zip tied up the extruder so it balances on a short bowden tube.  I saw this at MRRF and liked it so much that I decided to buy a SeeMeCNC EZstruder even though I already had an extruder for this printer.

Portable RepRap for demonstrations

I recently attended the Midwest RepRap Fest (MRRF 2014). In talking to a few of the other attendees, I noticed a couple of themes. A lot of us do demonstrations of our printers and those who flew to the event didn’t have their printers along.

2 RepRaps and a ROMER laser scanner
This is what I brought to the event. 2 printers, a ROMER arm laser scanner, 2 computers, 3 tablets, my portable robot making fastener kit, some clothes, and a case of soda. Filled the back of trucklet right up.

This tells me that there is a need that has yet to be fulfilled. The hobby needs a small, portable printer.

Just push hard, it will fit, right?
I think having a 3d printer that can fit into a carry-on bag isn’t too much to ask.

OK, that would be a REALLY small printer, that can take a bit of abuse, being banged around inside a carry on bag.

Water Cooled Maker Gear Prusa Mendal RepRap with a tablet using GCodePrintr
This is my ‘small’ printer. That’s a 7 inch tablet running it in this photo.
RepRap in a case
I have this HUGE case that JUST fits my printer.

So, on the way home, I put some thought to the problem.

We need a printer that is:

  • Able to be held in one hand for demonstrations
  • Able to fit in carry on luggage for travel
  • Able to run while ‘unplugged’ if just for a short period of time
  • Visually interesting and has all the parts exposed so it’s easy to explain how it works

 

I picked up a SmoothieBoard at the show, so I want to run it off of this new-to-me board. It seems to be one of the larger boards, so other boards could be dropped in if desired. It has a built in microSD slot, so it can print without a controller. It also has lots of extra horsepower so it can do some crazy cool stuff.

Looking around, at MRRF, I saw the Tantalus. A nice, small, box printer, but not small enough. I also saw the Wally.

Then it hit me, what if I was to put a Wally inside a Tantalus. Shrunk down. The magic is that the Wally can extend outside of it’s containing ‘box’ while in use, but ‘park’ within the confines for safe traveling.

BOOM! I can print a larger print in a smaller space.

Wally at MRRF 2014
Meet Wally. So named because it’s a ‘wall’ printer, everything is built off of the back wall.

I think Wally is a slick printer. It’s built with plastic parts, common bolts, and not much else.

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Wally's Z Stage
This the Z stage. It travels in an arc as it goes up and down. Crazy simple mechanically, and it makes my brain hurt doing the math on it even though I know it’s a simple offset.

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A few minor tweaks and I think a Wally can be crammed into a small box. The Z can come out of the front view port while printing and the XY arms can extend out the sides while printing.

The Z arms need to be longer, poke through the back, and bolt on with the mounts towards the inside so we can get the max width print bed on the inside of the printer.

Everything needs to scale down a bit. From my reading, there needs to be a 7-10 ratio between the pulley on the motor to the big pulleys. There is also some ratio for the arm length to the big pulley size, but I don’t understand that yet.

All the motors should hang off the back I think, just so there is more viewing room inside the box.

I am thinking a 150mm square box would give me enough room to route wires cleanly off of a smoothieboard.

A small battery can sit under the print bed. I am thinking the power supply should be a generic laptop power supply. This keeps the printer smaller and lighter, not having to mount a power supply in it. This would also allow us to unplug the printer for short periods of time to walk around with it.

Mulling the idea around a little bit before I create a fork of Wally and start wrenching on the parts hard.

I think a lot of people will complain that it will be TOO small to be useful. It’s not intended on being an only printer, it’s a functional demonstration piece. Long (large) prints aren’t useful for demonstrations, it seems like they are only half-done when you want to pack up and leave. You want to be able to spit out a part in less than half an hour and have people hold it.

I went to the Midwest RepRap Fest (#MRRF) in Goshen Indiana this year

I was asked to go by a friend last year, but couldn't afford a hotel at the time. 

Work found out (I have a big mouth) and offered to be a sponsor! A big bonus to this, I got to bring one of our very expensive ROMER arms with a  laser scanner. 

The show was a blast! I am still recuperating.

Considering I own nearly half of the 3d printers I'd seen running in person, the show was EPIC. So many machines! So many people.  The people there listed like my version of a hollywood blockbuster movie!   Prusa, Tonokip, Logxen, Seward, Os1r1s, and more!

I brought my 2 printers. Each has something a bit unique. One has a water cooled hot end, which is rare. The other uses both belts and fishing line on the save drive line, which I have not seen done before.

I didn't even get a chance to take many photos. Disappointing, but an excuse to go again next year.

There was  a local who had lost his hands to bacterial meningitis a few years ago. A last minute project was to have the people who brought printers there print out a pair of robot hands for him. I had the scanner, so I scanned in his arms. By the time the show was over, there was half of one arm printed. It was just SO crazy busy that we just couldn't get it done at the show. The project is getting finished after the show.

In album MRRF2014

This is my portable robot building fastener set. It has many of the the important bits besides structural components. The most important tool is the brain-juice!

Yeah, that’s right, I had lunch with the guy with the reddit Up Vote Orange Challenger.  Crazy cool!

The first Makergear M2 I’ve seen in person. I like it.

Packing up for the show. My Mendal 3D printer fits into a plastic case I’d rescued from a dumpster. It fits perfectly, like they where designed for each other.

All loaded up and ready to go. Two 3D printers, a laser scanner, a couple of computers & tablets, My robot building kit, some stools & a case of Mt Dew.

Here I am scanning a print to see how accurately the printer was able to hit the design. It did pretty darn good. There is a little bit of ‘shrink’ as the ABS plastic cools, and we can see that.

This came off of one of the printers at the show. I compared the file to the print and it came out quite nicely. Undersized, but the profile matched really nicely.

This printer is just wild! It’s made from really common bolts, fishing line, guitar tuners and massive amounts of creativity.

The Simpson printer really looks like a spider, spinning a web. I just love this thing.

This is another pretty cool printer.

I can’t imagine writing the gcode for this, to push out the coordinates as the bed raises.

This is a twisty machine. The linear rods are also the drive. The math makes my brain hurt!

I like this plastic bowden capture.

I got my printer working off of a cheap tablet. This is going to be SO nice!

I got ALL the nylons…