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, or MEL (Maya Embedded Language), in addition to 3d printing stuff on my Makerbot Replicator:  You can find my latest prints for download over on Thingiverse.

Speaking of Processing\Android\Python, you can link to my various programs\apps via the above title bar.

I also maintain several Mel\Python\Pygame\Processing wikis 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

Two new 3d prints: Hex vases

Hexagons are a great form to build with when it comes to 3d-printing: for FDM machines, like my Makerbot Replicator (1) that print layer by layer, overhangs past a certain angle don’t print well, or print at all.  While my machine can print overhangs less than 45 degrees, that is the rule of thumb when it comes to making 3d printable items that won’t require support:  Make sure all overhangs are 45 deg or greater.  And if you tip a hexagon on its point, then the angles it creates for overhangs are exactly 45 degrees and avoids any bridging:  Complex structure, no support needed.

With that in mind, I made a Python script in Maya that will turn polygonal quads into hexagons with the click of a button.  The below two “Hex Vases” are the first tests with it.  You can find more info + downloads on their Thingiverse pages here, and here.

New 3D Print & Sandcast : FHL Necklace

Following up on my previous post of the “FFF Necklace“, I spent the day designing the “FHL” necklace design for my wife, based around the “Faith, Hope, & Love” verse found in 1 Corinthians 13:13. Designed in Autodesk Fusion 360.

Tried two different approaches: The larger one (01A) has the letters recessed into the volume, while the smaller one (02A) has the letters extruded from the volume.

Continuing my experiments with aluminum sand casting at a small scale, neither came out exactly how I wanted: The one with recessed text grabbed the sand too much, so the pattern didn’t remove properly, and for the one with extruded text, even though there were clean shapes, the molten aluminum didn’t fill the voids fully, leaving softened forms. But regardless, the end results are nice and rustic ;)

Download the files for print over on Thingiverse.

New 3D Print & sandcast : FFF Necklace

I wanted to design a necklace for my wife, and put on it the three things I find most important in life: Faith, Family, & Friends.
It was also a good test to see how small I could print legible text, and when cast in aluminum, how much detail would come through.
The images are of the aluminum cast, based on the 3d print. Designed in Autodesk Fusion 360.

Download the printable file over on Thingiverse.

Four more buckles cast

Had a great afternoon:  Invited a bunch of friends over, we BBQ’d and I showed them how aluminum sand-casting works:  I designed (in Autodesk Fusion 360) and 3d printed (on my Makerbot Replicator 1) a new “sunflower” buckle for my wife, plus printed a few more forms so I could cast additional SHG buckles for a raffle at work (see my previous post on the matter).

Was my first try printing multiple patterns in the same flask, and using multiple (2) flasks at the same time.  But it all worked out great.  I don’t think I’ll make my millions casting buckles, but it sure is rewarding.


Other experiments included how fast you can cook a hotdog in the furnace, and what happens to a hotdog when you dip it in molten aluminum.  Both very bad for the hotdog…

Fun with Google Cardboard

A while back I’d read about Google Cardboard:  A way to turn your Android smartphone into an “Oculus Rift Lite” VR system by shoving it in a cardboard box.  I’d recently got a new Samsung Galaxy S5 and thought I’d give it a shot.  While you can order the cardboard kit online, or even cut it yourself, I found this 3d printable design on Thingiverse that fit my phone.  Several hours later I had my ‘3d printed cardboard’ (via my Makerbot Replicator 1).  But I still needed the magnets, lenses, and optional NFC tag.  Unofficial Cardboard had everything I needed (including the cardboard itself if I hadn’t printed it), and a few days later that showed up.  Other than the lenses not quite fitting (which my Dremel grinder took care of by expanding the holes in the print), and having to jury-rig a head-strap out of some nylon scrap, it worked really well:

I used some sticky-foam around the nose & forehead, and inside the case for the phone to rest on.  Added extra black tape on the sides to keep the light out.

I’ve had the chance to play with the first and second gen Oculus Rift’s as well, here’s my thoughts:

  • Considering it’s a smartphone strapped to your head, it worked better than I expected.
  • Doesn’t have the immersive feeling the Rift does:  More like you’re looking through two small holes (well, you are) rather than being enveloped in the environment.  But the resolution (at least that of my phone) seemed comparable to the Rift, or at least the first gen rift.
  • Latency isn’t as good as the rift, but as a tech demo, seems good enough.  Some apps are smoother than others.
  • Couldn’t get the NFC tag to work.
  • Works with glasses.  The Oculus doesn’t, requires you to swap lenses (but this helps with its immersive environment).
  • The official “Google Cardboard App” has a number of demos.  The ones that impressed me are:
    • Earth : I found myself unconsciously laughing while using this:  Flying from space down to your house is something I’ve never experienced before.  Way cool.
    • YouTube:  A 360 deg sphere of youtube vides to watch, with voice search.  Reminds me of something from MTV in the 90’s.
    • Windy Day:  Stylized 3d short about forest animals and a hat.

The main problem I encountered was many apps require a bluetooth gamepad to navigate them.  After much searching, I’ve had a really hard time finding one that is known to work without requiring root access to the phone.  All the posts I find say “you need a bluetooth gamepad”, but give no examples.  I went to Gamestop and purchased a Moga Pocket, but it looks like that controller only works with apps designed for it.  I downloaded three different driver apps that support the Moga, and while they all recognized it, I couldn’t get it to interact with any of the Cardboard apps.  Frustrating.  Returned.

And, like on the Oculus, I do get a bit motion-sick after using it for a while.  That’s probably the biggest hurdle that needs solved for any of this tech.

Overall, it has great ‘wow factor’ the first time you use it.  I think it’ll be fun to show friends.  Currently I see no killer app for it, or any reasons I’d want to use it for anything day-to-day.  But I look forward to finding out what that may be ;)

Total cost (not counting the phone), about $16:  Print, maybe $2-3 in materials.  Unofficial Cardboard Kit: $12.75

Worth it? Absolutely.