3D Printer: Rigidbot

We purchased a Rigidbot during their Kickstarter campaign last year, and it arrived in the middle of last week.  It took 8.5 months longer than projected, but frankly by Kickstarter standards that’s not bad.

Since it was so close to the end of the kids’ school year, I saved it as a project for the weekend.  I spent Father’s Day assembling our new 3D printer with the 13 year old.  I think we both had quite a bit of fun!   We finished basic assembly late last night — so no test print yet.  This evening, we plan on tidying up the cabling, performing calibration, and running our first test print.  Pictures and comments to follow.

Cape Cod: Pairpoint Glass

Chakra ballAfter a couple of failed attempts at taking the kids to watch glassblowing, we stopped off at Pairpoint glassworks on our way off Cape Cod. Pretty cool stuff. While the kids only got to watch from windows located above the glassmaking area, visitors who scheduled a “Design your own witch ball” session were treated to close-up tour of glassblowing from the craftsmen. We did buy a “Chakra Ball”, as a souvenir though, our isn’t quite as pretty as this photo, but it’s still lovely.

Next time we might have to book a witch ball session, or maybe we should check out the Sandwich Glass Museum.

Cape Cod: Kite Flying

At the end of July, the whole family spent 4 days on Cape Cod. I managed to squeeze in a bit of kite flying with one of our daughters. She’s flying her Uncle Christopher’s shark kite, and I’m flying a brand new parafoil 5. You might not be able to tell, but she got it out to the end of the line 🙂

Kite Flying

And yes, I have a scratched lens on my iPhone.

Electronics fun for the Whole Family

I’ve been struggling with how to help our 11-year old develop her attention to detail and critical thinking skills. I spent some time trying to interest her in programming, but it didn’t take. Anyway, I think I’m too close to that topic, and I don’t know that I’m the best person to teach programming to a kid. On the other hand, I have wanted to get back into electronics for a while, and I think it could make for a good geek/geekling activity.

Like any good pack-rat I still have my old Radio Shack electronics kit, which I dutifully handed down to my daughter:

Science Fair Exploring Electronics Lab - 200 Projects

Science Fair Exploring Electronics Lab - 200 Projects

A quick trip to Radio Shack, netted me a newer version to mess with for myself:

Radio Shack Electronics Learning Lab

Radio Shack Electronics Learning Lab

I should point out that the older set is still available, even though Radio Shack no longer carries them. I prefer that set for kids, since it includes lots of fun projects, but only limited explanations of how the projects work. The newer kit comes with manuals by the famous Forest M. Mims III, but the experiments are a bit more limited in scope, but are somewhat better explained. The newer kit is absolutely a great buy for geeks 16 and older, but might have more limited appeal to those younger.

So far she’s built a couple different projects/games from the old kit, including the Quick Draw II game that provided quite a bit of entertainment for the entire household. Hopefully, this is the start of a beautiful friendship…

Kim’s New Wristwatch

I’m a tiny bit of a wristwatch fan, and I have a couple of decent watches. This has made Kim a little unhappy, and not just because it’s one more thing I can collect (though that’s an issue too). It’s that there doesn’t seem to be much selection of “cool” watches for women.

By “cool”, Kim means self-winding watches, and particularly skeleton-ized watches with visible movements. She occasionally hunts for them on Amazon, but doesn’t find watches meeting her aesthetic (and financial) requirements. It took some doing, but I managed to find a (discontinued) watch that fit the bill (pictured above). After a lot of searching on eBay and paying really close to retail price, I snagged one used. Kim’s got her “cool” watch at last. That particular model is from Kenneth Cole, but I suspect it’s a version of a Chinese watch from Seagull.

During the search I came across a terrible site for those (like me) who love to shop for watches. If you have a hankering to kill some time staring at different ways to blow up a bank account, check out Watch Recon.