Got a sweet deal on an industrial laser!

I got a really good deal on a functional industrial laser marking system on eBay. It is a VideoJet 3120 10 W laser that uses galvanometers to direct the laser beam. This makes it really fast. This leaser is typically used in assembly lines to mark expiration dates and batch numbers on products. It is capable of marking 1,200 characters per second!

The one problem is the working area (maximum size area it can mark) is slightly less than 2″ x 2″. I’ll play with it for a while and eventually trade it in for some other shiny toy.

Never mind all of the weed abatement equipment in the background; ’tis the season.

What to do with my GI Bill?

In 2011, I thought I was finished with college. I had been a full-time student since 2006 and completed an Associate’s in Electronics Technology, a Bachelor’s in IT, and a Master’s in Business with and emphasis in Information Assurance. At thins point I had barely used 1/3 of my G.I. Bill and had paid tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket.

When one exits military service, any remaining benefit of the G.I. Bill has an expiration date. If not used by this time, it evaporates into thin air; my date was approaching.

When I joined the service, I qualified and opted for advanced training in computer and electronics, which carried a requirement an obligation for additional time served as the training involved was nearly two years long. This brought on a choice between two incentives once the training was successfully completed; $15,000 cash bonus or an additional financial contribution toward college endeavors when using the G.I. Bill. Being a glassy-eyed 17-year-old with sights on world conquer, I opted for the money for college.

Now that I am approaching forty, working full time, fathering two teenagers, and working a plethora of side projects, I did the only irrational thing… I signed up for an Associate’s degree program. Why not?

I chose something different, but fun… Firearms Technology. I enrolled in the program offered through Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI), which when using the G.I. Bill is fully covered. I am very excited about the offerings and the new skills I will acquire. It can be expected that I will post content related to my studies to this site. With my previous college activities, all of the general education has been satisfied, so it is degree specific for me only!

I start class later this month and will graduate (based on the class schedule) in April of 2020. I will have about 8 months of G.I. Bill left at that point, so there is no telling what I will do next.

A word of warning…

Maybe you don’t want to accidentally leave something at my house when you stay for the weekend. You’ll get it back… in the mail… with a cool label…

My Shop Is Unpacked!

Being low on the priority list, my shop has been in disarray since moving in. Last weekend I finally unpacked all of the boxes and got it set up. I need to organize my piece-parts and put up some more shelves, but I can finally get to stuff!

Runner-Up for Hackster.io Contest

I earned a runner-up spot for the WIZnet Hackster.io contest. They sent me a free prototyping kit based on the idea for my project and are now giving me some cash. Thank you WIZnet!

 

What is wrong with me?

The last time I put a smart-ass sticker on the back of my car, it resulted in a ticket. Maybe this one will be okay. My vinyl cutter has cost me a lot more than I first calculated.

Time-Lapse 3D Print on Da Vinci miniMaker with 3rd-Party Filament

Thought I would share a time-lapse video I made using my SunPak 4K action camera ($28 knock-off of a GoPro). I printed a cool honeycomb pen holder (STL file found here on Thingiverse).

3rd-Party Filament on Da Vinci miniMaker Printer

So I picked up a barely used Da Vinci miniMaker 3D printer on eBay. It was very cheap ($24) because it was listed as “not working”. The description said it was missing the power supply. When it arrived I found that it looked to be in great condition. I dug through my bin of extra wall-warts and found a suitable power supply (24v DC 3.2A). I also found a suitable barrel connector and soldered it on. Once I plugged it in and powered it on all was well! It came with a nearly complete spool of filament that I burned through rather quickly. Because the Da Vinci printers use RFID to force you to use only their filament (4-times the price of normal PLA), I looked into my options.

I ended up picking up some nfc213 sticker RFID tags on eBay for less than 50ยข each and used the ReelTool android app (found here) to program/reset tags.

All that was left was to make a spool holder to allow the filament to feed up into the printer smoothly.

With a little guidance, my son designed, laser-cut, and assembled a holder.

 

 

WIZnet WIZ750SR contest on Hackster.io submission

I finally completed my project for submission to the WIZnet Hackerster.io contest.

You can read all about the project here…

https://www.hackster.io/gmk/ethernet-connected-cnc-mill-or-other-machines-d0607a

Obligatory shop lighting upgrade

It only makes sense to upgrade the lighting in my shop to “enhance” my 3D printing and laser cutting endeavors.