Friday, October 25, 2013

Split bar clamp

A bit of a setback tonight. My last barclamp split.

The bar clamps hold bars at right angles to each other. They have a hole at right angles to a hook. The hook goes on one bar while the other bar slides through the hole. Pretty simple and a fairly small piece - one of the printed components of the printer.

I did notice that some of the bar clamps are not of great quality with some fairly rough edges but, since they are doing a fairly simple job, I didn't feel it mattered.

There are six of these in all and I was just inserting a smooth rod into the hole (oo err) when I noticed a crack and that the rod slid in rather too easily. I took it off again, flexed it slightly to get a better look at the crack, and the whole thing split in half. It has split "along the grain". In other words, between two of the layers that these things are made up of. If it hadn't split while I was building it probably would have as soon as any stress was applied.

Anyway, I'm calling it a night again. Here's some more pictures.

One broken bar clamp
Frame so far. The broken bar clamp is supposed to attach the vertical rod on the right hand side to the threaded rod going across the middle of the base.
In that last picture the frame looks a bit skew. I don't think it is bit I'll take a closer look next time.

My next step with the bar clamp is to see if anyone has a spare. Failing that, I'll try and glue it.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Main frame built

A minor milestone but I've built the main frame. This is basically a load of threaded rods bolted to printed plastic apexes. Should have been easier but I got a little confused with the motor and idler assemblies. Once I found some pictures to show how they fit on I decided they don't actually need to go on yet and I'll probably do that next.

In the meantime, I'm going to take it easy tonight as I had a bad night last night and need the sleep. Not good to be attempting to follow instructions on not enough sleep.

Anyway, here it is.
See how the light glints off it in all its shiny glory?

Over and out.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The start of 3D printing (for me)

Start of a new project and time to resurrect my old blog. I thought about starting a new one but, as this one hasn't been used for ages I may as well use it.

My new project is to build an open source 3D printer. The TVRRUG version of the Prusa (minor modifications).

I got the parts last weekend and I have to confess I haven't started building it yet. However, I have cleared a workspace in the garage and laid out the parts ready to start building:
The main reason I haven't started building yet is that I am doing a lot of reading of instructions and blogs on the subject as well as getting the right tools for the job. I could rush into it but I want to do it right and not end up badly breaking something as I have a tendency to do.

I intend to post my progress along with photos and video where appropriate. I have no idea how long it will take, life being what it is at the moment, but I'm in no rush.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

More positive thinking...

I've been thinking about my previous post. It's a big gap to cover and I haven't really gone into any depth about what's happened in the last 6 years. Suffice to say there have been highs and lows as there is in anyone's life.

What this post is saying is that I'm not going to dwell on the lows. Nothing terrible has happened to me that I can recall but it's definitely not been all halcyon days. I'm not going to tell you about them, not to spare you the misery but to spare myself the misery.

There is a saying that those who don't study history are destined to repeat it. I'm pretty sure there's some truth in that. I also think that something akin to the opposite is true. Those who dwell on the miseries of the past are destined to relive them. It doesn't make for a happier life and in the end, isn't happiness (everyone's happiness) the most important thing?

Positive changes

Yes, I haven't posted for years! My blog sort of drifted into neglect and then, when I felt the urge to post, I realised I had lost the login details. Thanks to an email suggesting I migrate my blog to Google and instructions on how to do this, I am now able to resurrect this blog.

A lot has happened in the intervening years. We have been through ups and downs. We have two lovely children. My daughter is autistic but is getting a good and suitable education at a special educational needs school which she loves! My son has started at nursery which he has learned to love.

My health (Diabetes) has been through some tough times to the point where the doctor told me in February that they were thinking about putting me on a trial for a new type of insulin. While I had no objection to doing that, I felt the time was right for me to start to take control of things myself. I started a new job about the same time and I decided that one change deserves another. I drastically changed my eating habits and have been stepping up the level of exercise gradually. I now try and get some exercise every day if I can. As a result of these changes my diabetes is now uder much better control and I have managed to lose about 4 stone in weight!

Partly as a result of having more energy we have become much more active in the house. We have managed to clear the garage of most of the junk, much of which has been sitting there since we moved into the house 4 years ago. I now have a useable garage and have ambitions to do many projects in it in the future. It will also provide storage space for some of the stuff we have in the house that doesn't really need to be there but had nowhere else to go before.

The garden is slowly improving as well. It has had a few years of neglect but Rachel did great work weeding the raised beds and that gave us the impetous to try and sort out the rest. We are growing a load of vegetable with varying degrees of success. I'm really quite excited about that and look forward to trying our home grown potatoes, strawberries, onions, carrots, tomatoes etc.

In short, things are looking up and I hope that they will continue to do so.

Friday, July 07, 2006


By coincidence, I was in London today attending another seminar. this being the first anniversary of the London bombings, there was a minutes silence at midday. The company holding the seminar were thoughtful enough to call a stop while everybody did whatever they thought appropriate during this minute. Many people went outside. What I felt appropriate for me was to find a quiet place to meditate. I offered the merits of my brief meditation to the families of those killed in the bombings.

What has particularly impressed me is the determination of the people of London not to turn this into the British 9/11. In other words, not to see themselves as victims. Many people taking it in their stride and simply getting on with their lives. Of course, the victims and their families and friends are a completely different matter, understandably, and that is why I offer them merit. I also offer merit to the Islamic community in this country who have offered almost universal condemnation at these actions and yet still suffer increased prejudice because of it.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sculpture and Achalanatha

Last week I had occasion to venture into "The smoke" (London) for a technical seminar. The seminar was excellent and, for those interested in such things, was on Ajax. However, at least as interesting as the seminar itself is what stood inthe middle of Clerkenwell Green. This wonderful sculpture. It takes a little whiel to figure out what it's about. It quickly becomes obvious that it is harnessing varous forms of green energy, wind, solar and even rain. What wasn't immediately obvious to me was what it was doing with all this energy. That is, until I noticed the seats arranged round the central column of the structure. You sit in one of these seats and it plays music at you and shows you images on a series of small screens. It was quite a pleasant exxperience, once I got over the disconcerting feeling of being stared at by passers-by as I sat in the middle of this large sculpture.

Yesterday evening I went to the Priory for the festival of Achalanatha. This ferocious looking figure has his own altar in the Priory as well as in most o the OBC temples. He represent a number of things but mainly, for me, he represents a certain aspect of compassion. He traditionally sits to the left of the main altar while Avalokitesvara sits to the right. They both represent compassion. Avalokitesvara is seen to be pourng the waters of compassion on a troubled sea and he/she represents a reasonably straightforward view of compassion (He who hears the cries of the world). Achalanatha, on the other hand, is pictured chained to a rock amidst the fires of hell, wielding a sword and with a ferocious look on his face. He represents the determination to do what really needs to be done. Mainly this is the determination to continue training and that is certainly relevant for me but I feel it is in every aspect of life, not just sitting in meditation.

In some Tibetan traditions, someone who is training is often assigned a deity, maybe that represents some aspect of their training that they need to concentrate on. As far as I know, there is no equivalent in Zen. If there was, Achanatha would be my particular deity (or boddhisatva). He has come up time and time again through my years of training in many different situations. If you read my post below about fatherhood, you will see that this is yet another aspect of Achalanatha. To wake up and do what is right. On the face of it this sounds quite straightforward, but still, small voice that is ever present is easily drowned out by the thousand voices that tell you to do what seems to make your life comfortable or entertains a bored mind. However, asI say, it's always there and when I sit in meditation I can usually hear it. And the more I meditate the more I hear it in everyday life. I just need the determination of Achalanatha to sit still and hear the voice.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Well, it seems that I may be going to be a father. My wife is pregnant. We are keeping our fingers crossed but of course there is a moderately high risk of a miscarriage in these early months.

Anyway, we are delighted. We do want to have a baby and we had just started to try for one, not expecting it to happen so quickly, so we are both somewhat surprised.

This last weekend I went away on a 3 day retreat. The questions surrounding fatherhood obviously came up in a big way. The biggest issue for me is my own mortality. I am 42 years old, which is prrobably not that old to be a father by modern standards, but nevertheless makes me think about for how much of the childs life I am going to be around. Having just attended a memorial ceremony of someone who died of cancer at a relatively young age, I am very much aware that we have no real idea how long we are going to be around. For me as much as anyone this is an issue because I am diabetic. My life expectancy is therefore less than a completely healthy person.

This isn't really about fear of death. I have that as much as anyone. However, although I am afraid of death, in a lot of ways it hasn't mattered. We are all going to die at some point. You can't avoid the inevitable. What this is about is being responsible for the wellfare of another being in a very direct way. I want to be around to support my child as he or she grows up. What this is is (to use a cliche) a wake up call. None of us can prevent our own death. We can't even be sure of delaying it a little. What I, personally, can do though is to make sure I don't make things worse. That I look after myself to the best of my ability. In other words, I need to not cause any more suffering than need be to my child and also to myself.

We were in a shop the other day when the shop keeper was explaining to someone else in the shop (and bringing us in on the conversation) that parents have a duty to bring up their children and they should not expect something in return for performing that duty when the child grows up. I'm not sure I would use the word duty but I do agree with the sentiment behind what he was saying, and not just about bringing up children. Whatever we do in this existence that benefits other beings we should do simply because it is the right thing to do and not expect anything in return. Of course we're only human and I can see myself in 16 years time shouting at my teenager about how ungrateful they are and how could they do this terrible thing they have done. I hope that doesn't happen.

Having said all this, this is very much an exercise in letting go. All I can ever do is the best I can and there is no point in worrying about those things which are not within my control. The future is always uncertain. I don't know what kind of child we will have I just know that we will try our best to bring him or her up in the best way we know how. We shouldn't expect any more from ourselves.