This page is about my interests, projects, and profession (technical artist in the video games industry).  Most of my hardware\software projects are coded in PythonProcessing, & Arduino.  I also enjoy 3d printing, you can find my designs for download over on Thingiverse.

Find Processing\Android\Python programs\apps I’ve developed via the above title bar.

I also maintain several wikis on Maya\Python\Pygame\Processing that I update far more often than this blog.  See them on their page.

All information on this site is copyright under the Apache Licence v2.0, unless otherwise noted.  Which means you can pretty much use the information here for whatever you like, but I always appreciate credit where applicable.

Have a look around.  Thanks for stopping by.

— Eric Pavey

C-Bot: Taming the Volcano’s print settings

The C-Bot has been a lot of fun to play with.  And slightly dangerous:  “Quick” five hour prints  can easily cost close to $20.  And while it’s been good at printing large vases and shelves, I’ve not been happy with it’s small-scale detail.  The biggest problem is the 1.0mm E3D-V6 Volcano nozzle leaving blobs all over the place.  But after a good… 12 hours of making test prints, I’ve finally got it to a place where I’m starting to get happy with the results.  Below I’ll walk though the details.

All of the vases and shelving I’ve made (here, here, & here) have been printed at 45mm/sec, in PLA, at 250 degrees.  Which is way to hot for PLA, but I learned that when slicing in Simplify3D’s ‘vase mode’, at that speed, if lower temps are used, the print will delaminate into a slinky when done.

For whatever reason, 45mm/sec was a very important speed in my head, so I spent days trying to calibrate the nozzle at that speed.  But it’s been hard.  So finally today I brought it back to 30mm/sec, and finally, with a ton of fiddling, got some good results.  The slicer terms I discuss below are based on Simplify3D‘s settings.

Compare prints A & B (500 micron layers you see there), each 40mm across:

tame volcano  Same model, same orientation, different print settings.

For the life of me, I couldn’t get rid of all the zits on print A:  Even though I had retraction enabled, whenever the hotend would come to the end of a segment, I could physically see a bit of filament extrude out.  No amount of additional retraction, ‘wiping’, ‘coasting’, or ‘extra restart distance’ would solve the problem.  Finally, in the ‘Advanced’ tab, I checked on ‘Perform retraction during wipe movement’, and print B was born.  At this point I easily had a small bucket full of test prints, so I was pretty happy, and may have lol’d a bit.

From there, I gave the Make 2012 Torture Test a try again:  I’d done it before, and… I didn’t take a pic, it looked like my printer had thrown up all over the place.  So while the below image looks pretty sketchy compared to some finely-tuned .4mm nozzle machine printing at 100-200 micron, for this beast, I’m pretty happy:

torture (Note, I intentionally didn’t show the back : The rainbow arch did fail.  But it almost made it… )

Based on all of that, here’s the highlights of the Simplify3D settings:


  • Gizmo Dorks Gray PLA, printed on glass covered in wood-glue slurry.

Extruder Tab:

  • Nozzle Diameter: 1.0
  • Extrusion Multiplier: 0.9
  • Extrusion Width: Manual : 1.0
  • Retraction : On
  • Retraction Distance: 10mm
  • Retraction Speed: 60mm/sec
  • Wipe Nozzle: On (This pairs with the wipe setting in the Advanced tab, below.  Weird they split the settings into multiple tabs…)
  • Wipe Distance: 3mm

Layer Tab:

  • Primary Layer Height: 0.5mm
  • Top Solid Layers: 3
  • Bottom Solid Layers: 2
  • Outliner/Perimeter Shells: 1
  • First Layer Height: 75%
  • First Layer Width: 110%
  • First Layer Speed: 75&


  • Extruder: 210c
  • Heated Bed: Off


  • Fan turns on, on layer 3.


  • Default Printing Speed: 30mm/sec (printing at faster speeds requires hotter print temps to get the filament melted in time)
  • X/Y Axis Movement Speed: 60mm/sec
  • Filament Diameter: 1.75mm (as measured, pretty spot on)


  • Only Retract When Crossing Open Spaces:  Off (this speeds things up, but lowers outer shell quality when only printing with one shell).
  • Force Retraction Between Layers: Off
  • Perform Retraction During Wipe Movement : On (this is where the magic happened)

So now that I have it working at that speed, next up will be to see if I can get similar positive results, but faster!

New 3D Print: Hex-shelf concept

I wanted to print something a bit, “beefier” on my C-Bot, so I came up with this hexagonal shelf design in Maya:

Sliced in Simplify 3D, took just over five hours to print. Little under 12″ across, 5″ deep, printed in Makergeeks “Soulful Blue” pla.  Used the same 1mm E3D Volcano nozzle with 0.75mm layer heights. Intentionally didn’t print the roof to show off the cool infill. Weighs 630g, 1 shell, 15% ‘fast hexagonal’ infill,  which came out pretty organic looking since the slicer sort of ‘skips’ every other infill layer (as you can see if you inspect the close-up pic) and only prints half of what it should.

Making (real) aluminum boats in Maya : The Results

Back in Feb I blogged about how I collaborated with my father (in Alaska) to help him design a new aluminum boat.  Using Autodesk Maya, and a napkin sketch he made, we worked together (remotely) to susout the dimensions.  By giving him files he provided to the local plasma cutter, by Feb (nice and cold up there) he’d got the bulk of it welded together.

A week ago I was able to spent a week up there, an amazing experience as always (pics here).  And one of the highlights was being able to finally (drive &) ride in the boat.  Was a great experience, and super interesting for myself to recognize the physical representation of the Maya model floating in the water.  It’s a thing of beauty:


I only wonder how long until he builds another…? :)

Trip to Alaska

Spent just over a week back home in Alaska, in and round Anchorage & Talkeetna.  Weather was amazingly beautiful, and there were nearly zero bugs (mosquitoes).  Below are some pics from my Instagram page:

New 3d prints: More big vases on the c-bot

As I continue to calibrate the c-bot, I continue to crank out vases.  The big one below is just about 21″ high, took around 4.5 hours.  The smaller one took around 3 hours.  Each have one shell, printed in “vase mode” in Simplify 3d.  They both have bases and also make good drums :)

The smaller one definitely suffered from some gaps in the layers.  Not sure what this has to do with yet:  Questionable filament, filament not being cooled fast enough, not sure.  But they currently look good next to my fire place 😉