Panic Sells, Calm Saves

Panic Sells, Calm Saves

The safest way through the coronavirus and any other outbreak is staying healthy and well-informed.

World Health Organization

To manage your anxiety about coronavirus, here’s what you should know:

  • Most people with the coronavirus have relatively mild symptoms; the danger is in not knowing you have the virus and you could be passing it on to more susceptible individuals.
  • Symptoms appear between two and 14 days from exposure to the virus and start much like the common cold.
  • Coronavirus is fatal in about two to three percent of cases.
  • The virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is stable for several hours to days in aerosols and on surfaces, according to a new study from National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University scientists in The New England Journal of Medicine. The scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. The results provide key information about the stability of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19 disease, and suggests that people may acquire the virus through the air and after touching contaminated objects. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/new-coronavirus-stable-hours-surfaces
  • To stay healthy, here’s what you should do:
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers as a substitute for washing your hands, but do so sparingly.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.  Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Frequently disinfect surfaces, like your desk, phone, tablet, smartphone, and countertops.
  • If you are sick, stay home.  If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
  • Follow instructions from your kids’ schools on when to keep them home.
  • Have contingency plans for school or office closures, including childcare and working from home.
  • Limit your social exposure.  Be able to prepare meals at home without having to shop for several days.
  • Limit your media exposure and trust sources that are not supported by advertisements or subscriptions. CDC.gov is a good resource.

If you need more information, call your doctor.

The safest way through the coronavirus and any other outbreak is staying healthy and well-informed.

Manage Your Anxiety

Daily Life Skills

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Coronavirus Will Change the World Permanently. Here’s How.

My Experience with the Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer

If you haven’t joined the craze and purchased your very own Official Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer then read on to get the most out of one!

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There are several instructional videos on how to setup your machine.  I recommend you watch the following video and check out the videos listed at the bottom of this page:

 

I have setup three Ender 3 Pro machines and keep two of them going constantly.  I’m sharing what I found to be most important and useful when working with this printer.

Foundation

The term “bed leveling” means adjusting the bed so that it is level with the nozzle.

This is important because the first layer in a build is the main support for the rest of the print. In order to achieve a solid base, the bed must be properly oriented to provide the correct adhesion and delivery of the printing material.

If the nozzle is too far from the bed, the filament won’t adhere to the build plate at all. Too close and the nozzle will push past the layer height, preventing the material from extruding and sticking. Either way, the foundation will be unsatisfactory. The sweet spot is when the nozzle allows some space but applies just a little pressure to the flowing filament in order to help it adhere to the build plate.

The Ender 3 doesn’t have an auto-leveling feature, so you have to level the bed manually.

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There is an upgrade available using the BLTouch Sensor.

After a few days of trying out the BLTouch, I decided it was more annoying than helpful and removed and returned it.  Each print requires that the printer check all 9 sections of the bed before printing.  If you have a bed that is not flat, has some wave in it, then this will be helpful for getting good prints.

Manual leveling is necessary even if you do have the BLTouch installed.  Fortunately, this isn’t too difficult and is aided by some of the printer’s features. The menu provides actions that prepare the device for leveling, and the four large knobs under each corner of the bed make the job easy.

You’ll find that, once leveled, the bed will stay that way for some time. Periodic re-leveling may be necessary but once the procedure is learned it should take less than five minutes to re-level each time.  I found that one or two of my adjustments felt sloppy as though there wasn’t sufficient tension…51v-u7ythsL._SL1000_
I recommend upgrading the bed-leveling springs installed above the adjustment knobs with silicone spacers.  I used these for my printers:  3D Printer Leveling Parts, Heat Bed Silicone Leveling but I think these are more specific to the Ender 3:  3D Printer Heatbed Parts, Solid Bed Mounts, OD 0.63 in ID 0.16 in Stable Hotbed Tool Heat-Resistant

Software

You can use the Ultimaker Cura Software included and recommended by Creality.  Download and install the latest version which will contain the latest default profile settings.  Most 3D prints can use the default settings for the Ender 3 Pro.  Other then bed-leveling, the area that I have found to require some tweaking, depending on the time of year, and whether or not you have an enclosure for your machine, is the temperature.  This Winter I have been printing PLA at 210c.

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Plate and Nozzle

Before starting to level the Ender 3’s bed, there are a few things you should do to get the machine ready:

  1. Make sure the build plate is clean. On the Ender 3, you can remove the build plate and clean it. 
  2. Clean off anything that is sticking to the surface. Use a spatula if needed to break off loose material.
  3. Wash the build plate with warm, soapy water, and dry it with a clean cloth. Make sure no lint or particles remain.
  4. Reattach the build plate to the heated bed using the clips. Check carefully to ensure that the entire build plate is flat with no ripples or high spots.
  5. Ensure that the nozzle is clean and free of material. It shouldn’t have any plastic protruding from the tip. An easy way to do this is to heat up the nozzle to the temperature last used and gently wipe off the tip with a soft cloth. If you do this, wear a glove so that you don’t touch the hot nozzle with your fingers.

Tune the Machine

To prepare for leveling you have to position the nozzle and bed. The Ender 3 controls make this easy.

  1. Turn on the machine.
  2. Press the control knob and scroll to the PREPARE menu.
  3. Scroll down to AUTO HOME and press the knob. The hot end will move to the left front of the bed and stop.
  4. Once again go to PREPARE.
  5. Scroll to DISABLE STEPPERS and press the control. This will make it easy to move the bed back and forth.
  6. Next, rotate each of the four leveling wheels counter-clockwise to lower the bed. One or two turns each should be sufficient. The purpose of this is to make sure that the bed is lower than the nozzle tip.

 

Level the Bed to the Nozzle

I suggest you make your bed adjustments once while the machine is off and/or cold.  Then, once again, when the bed and nozzle are heated.  The only tool you need to level your bed is a piece of printer paper. Once equipped, you’re ready to go:

  1. Move the nozzle so that it’s positioned over the left corner of the bed. A half inch or so from both sides is a good location.
  2. Slide the paper between the nozzle and the bed. If it doesn’t fit, drop the corner until it does.
  3. Once the paper is able to slide under the nozzle, very slowly raise the corner with the adjuster. Remember: Clockwise moves the bed up. As you do this, gently slide the paper back and forth. The moment you feel even the slightest resistance to your moving the paper, stop turning the knob. That corner is (almost) ready to go.
  4. Do the same for the other three corners of the build plate. Always advance the hot end to a new corner slowly. This will prevent damage to the build plate in case the nozzle starts to drag. If this occurs, simply lower the next corner (before starting the leveling process) to make some room.
  5. After you’ve adjusted each corner once, go back and check the four corners again. You may have to do further adjustments to get all four correct.

1a8d1333645fa07bfaeea11a1d7812ab_preview_featuredUse the gcode file available through Thingiverse to make the bed-leveling process easier.  The bed and nozzle will heat-up and then the nozzle will auto home, then move to the first position to be checked and adjusted if necessary.

Download the gcode from Thingiverse that will do this for you!

Printable Upgrades:

Download these printable upgrades from Thingiverse:

  • Wire / Cable Clips
  • Filament Guide
  • Z-Axis Stepper Motor Spacers
  • LCD Display Back Cover

 

Additional Upgrades:

After many hours of use it will become necessary to replace the bowden tube that directs the filament to the nozzle.  Authentic Capricorn PTFE Bowden Tubing and go all metal with this nice upgrade Upgraded Creality Ender 3 All Metal MK-8 Extruder Feeder Drive

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PRILINE TPU-1KG 1.75 3D Printer Filament, Dimensional Accuracy +/- 0.03 mm, 1kg Spool, 1.75 mm, Black

 

 

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Additional Video Resources:

CHEP – Chuck’s Channel

Chuck explains how to get started with 3D printing using an Ender3. He explains where 3D designs come from. How you convert a design to a printable file.

Teaching Tech

Teaching Tech is a YouTube channel dedicated to providing quality content that will help expand your technology related skills and knowledge.

 

Let’s Make Something Together

I’m here to share my extensive electronics and technical experience working with Arduino, Raspberry Pi, sensors, motors, lighting, and finishing with CNC machining and 3D Printing.

What would you like to make?  Leave your comment and let’s get started!

How To Backup and Restore your Inventory Management System

There are two important sections of The Inventory Management System that need to be backup and/or restore. The system stores images that are uploaded in a directory within the source-code. Backup this directory or the entire application to a folder on your file system.

Example:

sudo cp -R /var/www/html/warehouse-inventory-system /home/pi/Downloads/

Backup and Restore Your Database

Export A Database

To Export a database, open up terminal, making sure that you are not logged into MySQL and type,

mysqldump -u [username] -p [database name] > [database name].sql

Backup your Inventory Management System

mysqldump -u'root' -p'password' oswa_inv > /path/to/oswa_inv.sql

The database that selected in the command will now be exported to a file.

Import

Log into mysql command-line interface:

mysql -u'username' -p'password'

If you are having difficulty logging into mysql please see the section below, How to Reset Your Password

WARNING! You are about to permanently delete ALL of your data.

DROP DATABASE oswa_inv;
CREATE DATABASE oswa_inv;
source oswa_inv < /path/to/oswa_inv.sql

Exit mysql.

How to Reset Your Password

When you first install MySQL, you have to set up your root password. However, should you forget it at any point, you can still recover it.

Step One—Shut Down MySQL

In terminal, stop the MySQL process

 /etc/init.d/mysql stop

Step Two—Access MySQL Safe Mode

In safe mode, you will be able to make changes within the MySQL system with a root password alone, without the need for MySQL root password.

sudo mysqld_safe --skip-grant-tables &

Once safe mode has started up, log into MySQL and when prompted, use your standard root password.

mysql -u root mysql

Step Three—Set Up a New Password

Finally, set up the new MySQL root password by typing the command below. Replace “newpassword” with the password of your choice.

update user set password=PASSWORD("newpassword") where User='root';

Be sure to reload everything:

 FLUSH PRIVILEGES;

and you now have a new root password.

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Arduino FastLED Library

RGB Strip

The FastLED library is an impressive piece of work:

https://github.com/FastLED/FastLED/wiki/Basic-usage

After you download and install the library give it a try:

Using an Arduino Uno to calibrate an RGB LED strip.

The purpose of running this example is to determine what settings are needed to use the FastLED library.  For this example I’m using an Arduino Uno. The Uno has a ground pin next to pin 13, so for convenience, I’m using pin 13 as a low-current Vcc for the RGB LED lights strip:

pinMode(13, OUTPUT);
digitalWrite(13, HIGH);

// The data pin is the pin we are using to connect to the Arduino.
// Data pin that led data will be written out over
#define DATA_PIN 12

// How many individual LED modules are on the strip?
#define NUM_LEDS 10

// When using an SPI based chipset, the there should be four wires
// Clock pin only needed for SPI based chipsets when not using hardware SPI
//#define CLOCK_PIN 8

Important configuration setting is to specify the model of LED strips being used.  May require some try-and-error.

      // Uncomment one of the following lines for your leds arrangement.

     // FastLED.addLeds<WS2811, DATA_PIN, RGB>(leds, NUM_LEDS);
      FastLED.addLeds<WS2812, DATA_PIN, RGB>(leds, NUM_LEDS);
      // FastLED.addLeds<WS2812B, DATA_PIN, GRB>(leds, NUM_LEDS);
      // FastLED.setBrightness(CRGB(255,255,255));
      // FastLED.addLeds<GW6205, DATA_PIN, RGB>(leds, NUM_LEDS);

A nice variety of color effects is included with the library.  After trying out the RGBCalibration source code example, make the changes need to Demo Reel and give it a go:  https://github.com/FastLED/FastLED/blob/master/examples/DemoReel100/DemoReel100.ino

Copy the settings for the LED strip to the DemoReel example

Upload and if all goes well, you should see a basic visual effects show.

Lightshow

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Please share with friends and follow to receive a notification when I publish a new article.

 

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Existential Crisis

Solar-Rechargeable Decorations

Phoenix Fire Lily:  Solar rechargeable battery connected to a flickering LED inside an artificial lily flower residing in a hand-crafted wooden vase.

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I don’t know about you, but I rarely have money to spend on projects and whenever possible reusing and re-purposing junk is ideal.  Many of my projects contain parts I’ve purchased at local dollar stores and items found through eBay.

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Discount hackables!!

 

Parts:

  • Artificial Lily Flower
  • Flickering LED
  • Thermostat Wire
  • 100-330ohm Resistor
  • Mini switch
  • Solar-panel ~ 5vDC
  • Rechargeable Li-ion Coin-cell Battery
  • Rechargeable Li-ion Coin-cell Battery charger = TP4056 Mini USB 1A Lithium Battery Charger Module
  • USB to mini USB ~ 5ft. cord
  • Optional ~ hand-crafted vase station

Steps:

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  • Cut the end of the stem and remove the wire.

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  • Gut the Artificial Lily Flower by removing its pistil.

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  • Using a 8-10″ length of Thermostat Wire that extends just beyond the end of the lily’s stem, solder a 100-330ohm resistor to flickering LED and/or later near the mini switch inside the recycled case.

Do I really need a resistor?

  • Clear LED without resistor = 30mA @ 3vDC
  • Flickering Yellow LED ~ 6mA @ 3vDC
  • salvaged 10 LED string of lights = 6mA @ 3vDC

 

  • Carefully thread the wired LED through the lily and down her stem.

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  • Add a piece of heat-shrink tubing, solder jumper wires, and attach connector header.

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  • Solder a set of short jumper wires to the Rechargeable Li-ion Coin-cell Battery charger output.
  • Solder the Rechargeable Li-ion Coin-cell Battery charger output short jumper wires, resistor, to the mini switch and recycled case ( two “AA” batteries ).

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  • Solder the coin-cell battery holder to the Rechargeable Li-ion Coin-cell Battery charger
  • Insert the Rechargeable Li-ion Coin-cell Battery into the Rechargeable Li-ion Coin-cell Battery charger.

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A look inside the inexpensive battery case.

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  • Gut everything from the case!

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  • Drill a few holes.  One for the solar panel wires, and the other for USB connector.

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  • Solder a simple switching diode, such as 1N4148, to the positive side.
  • Using short jumper wires, solder the Rechargeable Li-ion Coin-cell Battery charger input to the solar panel ~ 5vDC.

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  • Insert the switch and wrap wires so they lay flat inside the case.

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  • Test the output.
  • Optionally, attach USB to mini USB cord to the charger
  • Store inside a hand-crafted vase station.

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You can purchase a completed Phoenix Fire Lily directly from me as a functioning example.

lily base partslily base v2

 

 

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