Nuka Cola PC Won 2nd Place at Quakecon 2016

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Quakecon 2016 was the best one yet. The Nuka Cola PC won 2nd place in the Bethesda/id category case modding contest! This year was a lot of fun, met a lot of awesome people, and of course played some awesome games.

Since Quakecon, the case has been featured on Adafruit, Hackaday, front page of Reddit.

I have shared the files on Thingiverse and made a Hackaday.io project log so you can build your own.

Nuka Cola PC Case

For the past month I have been working on a case mod for Quakecon 2016, and here it is: the Nuka Cola Vending Machine PC. Featuring a Raspberry Pi screen displaying a Nuka Cola advertising video on a resin cast CRT-like screen, resin cast mini Nuka Cola Quantum bottles, weathered and rust patina paint job, and a fully featured air-cooled mini-ITX gaming system inside. 

Full build log pictures and information here: https://imgur.com/a/R0Ow5

I want to thank Pearce Dunlap, Thomas Newcomb, and Haley Moore (ladybrainstudios.com) for all the help with this case mod. 

I would appreciate it if you contact me at: mitch.cerroni@gmail.com for any media or questions. I want to retain the rights to the images of the case for reblogging and at least give me credit and a permalink to this blog entry. 

Mitch 3D Channel

I started a Youtube channel called Mitch 3D, just for 3D printer reviews, tutorials, and Q&A. I was inspired by other Youtubers like 3D Printing Nerd  and Maker’s Muse. My first videos are on my new SeeMeCNC Eris. This little printer is pretty awesome, it’s a portable delta printer that has auto-calibration and can start printing right out of the box! It’s open-source and uses pretty standard components and slicers. I hope to do more videos soon since I’m headed out to Bay Area Makerfaire . There will be so much to see there (and plenty of 3D printing). Stay tuned and subscribe!

3D Printing at Home

HomePrinter

I finally finished with the Mendel90 that I built with the class at the Dallas Makerspace and bought an extra set of parts from Nophead to build my own personal printer. It took me a while to get started since I had other projects I was working on but after a couple months of working on it, I got it printing.

I bought the more expensive components based on recommendations from my friends Krissy and Frank who have build Mendel90’s. I went with Azteeg x3, SureStepr SD8825 drivers, and Helios heated build plate. Panucatt does make some very solid electronics and you can tell they’re more well engineered than standard some Chinese RAMPS 1.4 clones. The rest of the printed parts I printed in “violet” ABS using a PolyPrinter 229, and the hardware was mostly a mixture of ebay and amazon sources. Phidgets has a reliable source of 48oz/in NEMA 17 motors. I used the DiBond sheets, fastener kit, and extruder breakout PCB from Nophead which helped make sourcing much easier. Unfortunately, Nophead no longer sells the Mendel90 kits, so you will have to find alternatives for sourcing a kit.

It wasn’t without headaches though. The electronics wiring was quite a mess, but I took my time to meter everything and label each wire which made troubleshooting much easier. I made an OpenSCAD script for a Melzi mounting hole adapter that I modified for the Azteeg x3. The X3 makes it so easy with pre-soldered screw terminals on the edge of the board and giant power terminals. MendelWiring

The PSU, I took the cover off, bundled all the 12V + and gnd wires together and soldered to 16 guage wire (kind of thin for 15+amps, but it works fine) and I soldered the recommended power resistors to the green purple and orange sense and power wires, and mounted inside the PSU casing. This made wiring much neater because I only had two 12V wires from the PSU.

The borosillicate glass build plate binder clipped onto the Helios build platform works pretty well. I used a dial indicator to level the bed, instead of stand-offs I just used M3 screws and nuts tightened down to secure the bed in place. So far it has stayed level within a few thousandths of an inch, ABS and PLA have stuck very well, and very little warping. I had an issue with the thermal runaway protection error for the heatbed coming up during a print, after lots of frustration I figured out it wasn’t the thermistor and changed the configuration_adv.h settings for thermal runaway time and variation to more lax settings. If the bed is on fire or the thermistor died, I’m sure it’ll still save itself with the fault.

One of the issues I had was the Y-belt tensioner. I had several prints where it skipped a few steps half way through the print. I realized how loose the Y-belt was compared to the X-belt. I got it printing long enough to print this which fixed the issue: YBeltTensioner

So far, although I’ve had several setbacks, it’s now printing very well. I didn’t have to change many settings from the default Cura profile for the Mendel. I also have Octoprint setup on my Raspberry Pi 2 to run the machine after some USB issues with my laptop resulting in failed prints; now I’ll be able to monitor my printer remotely with a webcam. My latest print was another upgraded part for itself, very impressive for ABS without an enclosure, and massive bridging and overhangs without support.

FanDuct print

Finally, I still have a delta printer itch. Before this Mendel90 I actually built a RichRap 3DR rostock delta printer but got frustrated with calibration and sold it to a friend. Well SeeMeCNC announced the Eris production models, and I had to have one. So hopefully in a couple weeks I’ll have a thorough review of the Eris delta printer and put it through it’s paces.

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In two weeks, I’ll be flying out to the Bay Area MakerFaire, I’m going to meet some really cool people and see some awesome stuff. I’m pretty excited!

Playable Arcade Machine Costume

For Halloween this year, I thought I would try to remake the costume I made 5 years ago.

This time, I wanted to make it look and play much more like a real arcade machine. I had a 8″ Windows tablet that I could load full emulators on, and I already had the arcade joystick and buttons. From the R/C plane guys I know, I learned how sturdy the foam core board can be. The foam core board is really easy to laser cut, and now that I have access to a laser cutter, I drew up the designs from my torso measurements in Inkscape. For the controls, I used a IPAC usb controller board and wired up the controls and mounted them to a lasercut piece of fiberboard. I had to reinforce the foam core board some more to make it sturdy enough to wear. I also designed all the graphics in Inkscape and printed them on a large format photo printer. To finish it off, I was able to 3D print a coin acceptor door. The overall impression was great, it was a hit at the Halloween party. I hope to take this to comic con in the future, so look out for the Mitch Arcade.

Here’s the Imgur album on the build process.

Why I went back to playing a Gameboy

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Mobile games suck. If you open the app store, the top free games category is littered with cartoon copies of existing commercial games, the premise of these games is to gamble with virtual currency in hopes you’ll spend real money on a game you’ll forget in a week. I got caught up playing a simple running game called Wind Runner every day for an entire year before giving it up. Luckily, I only got sucked into spending $3 in in-game currency, most of my progress was the daily give aways and literally hundreds of hours tapping on a screen. I do give Candy Crush some credit for at least having a challenging puzzle game. I had a brief Clash of Clans trial, which became a competition with friends that have even more free time than you to wait for pay-to-play or hurry up and wait games. There’s boredom and then there is insanity. How did the mobile game industry devolve into this?

I recently acquired a Gameboy Micro from a friend. I was reluctant at first because the eBay listings for the device are over $100 for this 10 year old device. It was a somewhat rare Nintendo product that was released late in the Gameboy era, I guess it had a very niche market. I got this idea that I would be nostalgic and play all the gameboy advance and NES/SNES games I remember growing up or never got a chance to play. The best part about the micro is that it would be small enough for me to fit in my coin pocket and I could pull it out when I’m bored and play. It really is a EDC (every day carry) game console.

I have some down time at work so now I can play great classics like: Legend of Zelda, A link to the past, Super Mario World 3, and Drilldozer (a rumble pack game platformer). The games for the  Gameboy are just so much better in terms of game design. They have better artistic design, sprites, chip tune music (amazing), and there’s actually a story to the game. The level design, puzzles, and gameplay is just so much better than freemium mobile games now-a-days.

I consider myself a casual gamer. I know I could buy a new 3DS which does have good games and remakes, maybe around Christmas time if it goes on sale. I’d say Nintendo has the right idea staying out of the smart phone gaming arena. Keep on making fulfilling games while the freemium games.. don’t.