Tuesday Views: 5 April 2022

Weather – 3D Printer – Verticals Youth Empowerment Center – Hay Fever

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We had everything this week: snow, hard sunshine, blustery wind, rain, and sleets and hails of various compositions. We had a lot of straight nasty rain, temps well below freezing, with typically atypical Pennsylvania weather. I think I lost half of my petunias this year, They froze just before the blossoms opened under an inch or two of snow that fell and cleared within the course of a few hours. I focused on work in the shop. I will need to check radar on 800WXBRIEF or another to gauge some flights between squalls this week.

3D Printer

I got an Ender 3 V2 printer, a cheap hobby model. It took me a couple of hours to assemble. I checked the manual, and I watched an unboxing video for reference, all the way through, before completion of assembly and initial power up.

Make It Stronger!

I tried to run PTEG 1.75 mm filament through it at settings much hotter than the defaults for polylactic acid (PLA). I also imported a model I made in a crude rendering program. I scaled it up by a factor of 1200%, and printed part of it. Prints can take many hours.

Four Tests

The four main tests used to calibrate the printer were conducted without the aid of an auto-leveler, so I had to move the nozzle to the corners of the print space to get the appropriate air gap needed, measured in hundredths of a millimeter. The printer sits on a counter in the basement where vibrations from children jumping around upstairs will not affect the print quality. I leveled the printer hotplate with a phone app, and then used thumb screws on springs to level the to set the nozzle offset with enough room to extrude a good bead. I tried a few prints,

Figure 1.a, PTEG printed on an Ender 3 V2 using fused deposition modeling.

Figure 1a and Figure 1b show the prints: ccw from top right:

  • a puddle without setting the default printer or setting up software (top right)
  • a hairball after the first ‘cold’ print with no adjustments, with in situ adjustments to temperature and belt tension
  • a half-cat, aye, a tweak of then both temperature, fan, AND extrusion speed
  • a box filter for a water-pump after adjustments to extrusion width, temperature, fan speed, belts, and rechecking all bolts and fasteners for any loose parts. Garbage, voila!
a 3D printed box filter
Figure 1b, Two-inch wide sample box filter

Figure 2 is the decibel reading. Not loud. I can hear people from upstairs talking, talking about how awesome my drone company is in assertive, positive voices. This quiet output be an asset when I need to do overnight prints – I am currently performing a 5-hour print.

Figure 2. Decibel reading taken beside Ender 3 V2 from one foot away.

The printer still sounds and operates the same after a couple dozen hours of operation, so the fois gras routine did not hurt it. Bad goose! The UI is easy to understand. After a few minutes with the proper FDM filament, I have this progress in Figure 3.

Figure 3: printing sections of a recorder, never had one lesson

The slicer is easy to use, though I have yet to check the marketplace extensions or the Siemens industrial portal (nice). I plan to complete with this first printer. I will make an accurate model of a building downtown.

Verticals Youth Empowerment Center

How It’s Going: Drone Cinematography Sessions Are Filling Up!

The three days I participate as a volunteer instructor are as follows: April 28th, May 5th and May 12th, 2022. Those are Thursdays, all day events. I take a lot of inspiration from the stars above, so let’s get there.

… at the core of the Artemis Accords is the
requirement that all activities will be conducted for peaceful purposes,
per the tenets of the Outer Space Treaty.


Verticals Community Learning Center

Verticals is a local community development center that gives kids a choice of after-school programs that enrich young lives and provide a sense of pride in community. A link to the group is provided. Some school districts provide transportation.

I signed on as a drone coach and provided some media resources. I teach students:

  • How to fly recreational drones with basic and advanced maneuvers.
  • How to orient oneself to internal and external factors that allow for safe and reliable air travel.
  • Get the soon-to-be mandatory – and EASILY OBTAINED – TRUST flyer certificate from the FAA, online for free.
  • Plan, film, edit, and share a video you make with drone footage to share.
  • Provide information about industrial drone applications and vocational skills

This module was planned to integrate seamlessly within a larger ecosystem of courses in technology applications, physical well-being, and business development. These are hands-on tangible experiences that have lifelong value.

Local Resource in Action

Now that we have students, we have an idea about the way this will work, and I will stick by Verticals as it develops a flying environment determined by its needs. Community groups will have some authority to determine the nature of its flight operations in local airspace come this fall 2022. As long as a responsible pilot is connected to the group, the area can develop flight operations that best suits the needs of the group. A FRIA is basically a drone academy.

Topics in the Verticals Youth Empowerment program include artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, drones, digital fabrication, coding, media production, design studio, blockchain, and crypto. Courses in the topics are presented alongside fitness and wellness resources. The center director is retired NFL pro-football player William James, who stepped off the gridiron and into a new life arena.

Verticals Youth Empowerment Center is designed to stimulate young minds, give parents an inclusive environment in which to socialize, and to offer youth a sense of pride in themselves and their community. There are other facilities in the works.

I assist a class in the workflow of a drone cinematography project they create and produce. I provide material to be used at other Verticals locations. I find a perspective on life that elevates us.

Tello programming in Python: Topic delayed due to work on 3D printer installation

The Tello is a small indoor drone manufactured by DJI. I enjoyed the crisp handling, clear picture quality, and safety features. I want to program the drones remotely and create a coordinated image with the drones, in our case, a straight line at 6 feet high, and then have them reconfigure to another shape.

Tello Programming Algorithm

The algorithms we will use: Altitude, Range, Subject-oriented Orbit

Up and down, land

Up, forward, turn 180 degrees, return, down, land

Up, forward, stop, combo full CCW (left stick) + slight Right (right stick)

– drone moves

Machine Learning in Tiny ML

Three modules and a text file.

Hay fever

I completely lost my voice yesterday, so I took to bed for a couple days of rest.

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