Sunday, December 4, 2011

Another Sumpod progress report

I've been a bit busy the last week so I've not been able to do much regarding the painting - other than adding a bit of filler for the holes in the sides of the MDF. Will buy more primer tomorrow.

I did however manage to start the soldering process. To get acquainted with my new soldering iron (FX-888 from Hakko) It was best to start with something simple - like soldering the "legs"/headers onto the Polulu stepper drivers.

Polulu driver.
After a couple of solder joints I could use the clamp. Please
excuse the lousy solder joints - still figuring this out.
These drivers are pretty small and light so it's a bit hard to get them soldered since you can't really hold them without attaching the headers first. Kind of a chicken and egg problem ;)

Using the Ramps board to hold the Polulu board.
A better way to do it is to use the Ramps board to hold the headers and then clamp that in the circuit board holder.

Kindle reading

After finishing "Inheritance", the last book from "Eragon" author Christopher Paolini I discovered that I have read 30 Kindle books!

The Cold Commands by Richard K. Morgan
Twisted Metal by Toy Ballantyne
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Aftermath and Killbox by Ann Aguirre
The King of Plagues by Jonathan Maberry
Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
In The Plex by Steven Levy
The Parasite and The Technician by Neal Asher
Transformation Space by Marianne de Peierres
The Matthew Swift series by Kate Griffin
Spy Glass, The Study Series and Outside In/Out by Maria V. Snyder
Kings of The North by Elizabeth Moon
The Evolutionary Void by Peter F. Hamilton
Immortality by Kevin Bohacz
Down to the Bone by Justina Robson
Dark Matter by S. W. Ahmed

The first four books I read on my trusty old iPhone 3G. Not the best reading screen, but you make do. Then I got hold of the first gen iPad which were a lot better size and resolution-wise, but I the battery kept dying on me because of the backlight. Switching to the real Kindle, which I bought this summer has been even better. Although the screen is not completely white it has excellent contrast (for text) and the battery lasts forever and ever.

Probably the biggest advantage is that I don't have to fill my apartment with books (I have 4 large boxes in the attic at the moment) and that I can carry all my books with me all the time. The downside is that I can't lend my friends books I liked. I believe you can lend a book one time, but haven't tried it here in Norway.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sumpod progress report

Not much progress to show, but on Wednesday I sanded down all the parts - which took about three hours by myself. Before painting on Saturday I also had to get off all the dust before I gave the parts another coat of primer. The larger surfaces are fine, but the ends sucks up primer like there's no tomorrow. So far I've used three 500ML boxes of primer and I'll probably need at least one more before I'm done.

According to the build descriptions at renaissance-engineer the feeder assembly should have more holes than this or am I missing something?

Back/inside. I probably need to drill some holes for the
gear and motor fastings.
edit: I found the answer to my question on the SUMPOD forum:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sanding and more paint

Today my friend Tom dropped by and helped out with sanding and prepping of the parts that got their first coat yesterday. This is definitely the most boring part of the assembly so thanks a lot Tom!

The first box of primer was almost out so we were lucky the last box was just enough to give all the small parts their first coat and the box it's second. Tomorrow I'll need to go buy another box.
Seems like the MDF has different quality since several pieces
needed 3-4 passes (wet-wet) before I had good coverage. 
Like Fixer I assembled the box before painting to avoid
getting paint, and swelling, where it's not needed.
The MDF still bristles (is that a word?) a bit, but one more
round of sanding and primer and we should be good.
Inside the box as well as the large surfaces outside are
good enough at this point.
Earlier today I came over the Renaissance Engineer blog which, lucky for me, has a complete assembly guide for putting together the SUMPOD. He's not quite done with the wiring instructions yet, but they are coming. I'll probably use the rest of this week to get the painting done anyway so there's no rush.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cleanup and Paint

We've been quite busy with work the last week so I haven't been able to do anything more with the SUMPOD build until today. So this is my weekend project. Get all the MDF parts cleaned up and painted.

Parts all done
The prepping was quite easy as the parts looked fairly good from the start. All I had to do was go over all the edges with 240-grit sanding paper. I also used an X-Acto knife where the spindle had left small deposits of wood/paper. I imagine either the tool-bit was a bit dull, the routing-speed had been too high or the MDF too soft. Anyway, some cleanup should be expected in any project :)

Next I assembled the main box from the top and bottom plate as well as the 4 walls. Since I still don't have access to assembly instructions I had to guess which way the top and bottom plates should face. I'll have a look on the SUMPOD site and double-check their images when I get the time.

First coat of primer applied
The painting was pretty straight-forward and I got confirmation what I've read on other blogs - MDF needs a lot of paint. I ended up using almost a full spray-can (500 ML) of primer on the first coat. I seriously hope I don't have to use that much for the next two coats.

Tomorrow I'll try to get the rest of the parts primed and also apply a second coat to the main body.

Knights Corner

When Intel officially released Knights Corner earlier this week the first thing that hit me was how is this going to affect 3D rendering. That being the most time consuming or machine intensive part of visual effects for TV or movies.

Sure there's been specialized hardware that speeds up this process before, but there's always been drawbacks like only working with one particular render-software. Probably not the one you favor. Then there's the GPU way which use CUDA or OpenCL to harness the massively parallel processor of your graphics card. Several render-softwares, like V-Ray and Mental Ray (iRay), supports GPU rendering to a varying degree, but the main issue here is that your video RAM limits what you can render. Most video cards today have between 1.5 and 6GB of DDR3 RAM which can handle simple scenes, but whenever your scene passes this limit you have to start swapping information to regular RAM and most of your speed gain will be lost. Geometry in itself is not that heavy, but start layering textures you'll soon run out.

So why is Knights Corner any better? At the bottom of it Knights Corner is an x86 part, only with 50 cores and from what I can glean from the press release you don't have to re-write any of your code to utilize it. Just enable a compile flag and re-compile your code and your good to go. This way we can get support in most of the major render-software easily - which is the first step. Sure there's going to be optimization issues - for example the ring-bus architecture which might not be optimal for this kind of processing.

I for one will be looking forward to next year when we might, or might not, get access to some actual hardware to test.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

SUMPOD unboxing

DIY 3D printing is all the rage these days and a while ago I ordered one of my own. Yesterday I finally received the SUMPOD so today it was time for unboxing! At first I thought the box was very small, but when I opened it up I was surprised by how much there was inside.

Not more than 36cm on the longest edge.

Box filled to the brim - a small sample of PLA wire on top (red).

First step was to lay out all the parts and try to get some feel of what I have gotten myself into - after all I'm supposed to assemble this myself. That includes painting and finishing all the MDF parts as well as soldering the controller electronics and finding suitable software. All without a manual ;)

All the parts. Great packing skills!
 Before I can start painting I need to do some basic cleanup though.

The overall finish is good, but some cleanup is needed.
Looking very much forward to starting the actual build :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

DIY Roasted Müesli

Time for a non-techy post ;) This time home made müesli.

3-4 DL Oat flakes
1 DL Almonds
1 DL Hazelnuts
1 DL Walnuts
1 DL Sunflower seeds
1 DL Pumpkin seeds
1 DL Dried coconut mass
1 DL Flaxseed
1-2 DL Soy flakes

1 Tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Cinnamon
A pinch of vanilla powder

1 Tbsp Lemon-/lime juice
5 Tbsp Canola oil
5 DL Water

Use a sharp knife and chop all the nuts and mix them with the rest of the dry ingredients (except the soy flakes) in a big bowl. Mix the water, oil and lemon-/lime juice in a separate container and stir it in a little bit at the time until it's all evenly distributed.

Prepare two deep pans with baking paper and spread the mixture evenly. Put both pans into the oven at 160-170°C for 15 minutes and then switch around the pans and roast for another 15 minutes. Add the soy flakes, stir around a bit and let it roast for another 5-10 minutes with the hot air fan engaged (if you have one). Be careful that you don't burn the mixture or dry it out to much!

Let cool in pan before storing in a air-tight container. You might also add raisins at this step if you like.

Enjoy with Türkish yoghurt and acacia honey - or if you you would like to stay away from dairy products; soya milk works very well as well.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Zealand trip

Back in January I did a three week road-trip in New Zealand together with my good friend Kenneth.

NZ was amazing and although it reminds me of, and looks a lot like, Norway on the west coast - it also is very different. Me and my travel buddy Kenneth rented a car in Auckland and drove from there to Rotorua, Waitomo, Rotorua (oh yes... daytrip), Napier, Wellington - ferry to Picton, Christchurch, Mt. Cook, Queenstown, Milford Sound (day trip) before the last days in Queenstown. My favorites where probably Milford Sound at six in the morning (couldn't get closer to Avatars Pandora) and Waitomo caves with the glow-worms.

Adrenalin Forest just north of Wellington was a ton of fun!

Quad Biking in Queenstown.

More images from the trip can be found at my deviant art page.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Weekend in Vienna

Me and my girlfriend, Kristine, went to Vienna this weekend. Our Christmas present to each other this year.

After arriving Friday night and checking in at the Steinberger hotel in the center of the city we took a walk to get the lay of the land (which is completely flat by the way).

Just up the road we found this amazing building - which amongst other things houses the Spanish Riding School where you'll find the famous Lipizzaner stallions.

Ice skating seems to be pretty big in Vienna and they have several, big, courses around town. This one on a beautiful location with music and lights as well.

First thing Saturday morning we visited Schmetterling Haus which is THE place to go if you like butterflies in Vienna - which my GF does :)

First thing we noticed when we got inside was that the "climate" was indeed tropical - and next all the butterflies flittering around us. It is forbidden to touch them, but we couldn't stop them from occasionally landing on us though ;)

Since it was extremely humid my camera fogged up, since I had been using it outside in the cold. Therefore I had to wait a while before I could get any decent pictures. By then all of the beautiful, blue butterflies, and most of the others, had retired to the glass ceiling to soak up the sun. Big tip if you are going there; try to be there when they open at 10 in the morning.

We also visited Schönbrunn palace just outside of Vienna. Outside it's really not that much to brag about - other than being huuuge, but inside it's quite impressive! Unfortunately you are not allowed to take pictures inside so we'll have to settle for a picker of a pidgeon house from the garden instead. I like the design!

We didn't have time to walk around the estate this time. The guided tour, with bus, takes a couple of hours so doing it on foot would take a while... Something to do during the summer - when it's lush and green :) There were a lot of joggers out there though.

In the evening we went to a Mozart & Strauss concert. It was not just a traditional concert, but had a couple of opera singers and ballet dancers as well. Kind of a Kinder Egg thing that way. Neither of us are particularly into either of these, but being in Vienna you kind of have to experience something like this! All in all a great experience! The artists were top class, as well as we could tell at least ;)

On Sunday we had planned, amongst other things, to go see the Lipizzaner show and go ice skating, but unfortunately both me and Kristine fell ill so we spent the most of the day in bed. We felt a bit better in the evening so at least we managed to get outside for a small walk and dinner (classic Wiener Schnitzel of course) at a local restaurant.

Travelled back to Oslo again on Monday. All in all it's been a great weekend - in spite of a laid-back Sunday. Vienna is a wonderful city, with great architecture, that we both liked very much. Wouldn't mind going back some day! :)