Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's day

Father's day is an odd day for me.  On the one hand, celebrating my fatherhood, spending the day with my family is awesome.

On the other hand, I've sorta had three fathers.  The one I thought was my father and whose last name I was given.  The one who was my biological father, who I never knew. And my step father, who I'd rather I never knew.

James David Brown was the man who I thought was my father for most of my life.  My son's middle name is James as well. My mom told me that he died a few months before I was born.  I'd always imagined that maybe he was still alive somewhere and just waiting to come and find me. Then, when I was 40, I was doing genealogical research and found out that Jim Brown died a year and a half before I was born.

Joseph Mario Ciminissi was a man I found out about 3 years ago.  Turns out he was my biological father.  Not only that, he lived in Anaheim, 40 miles from me and was alive until 1995.  My mom eventually told me that he didn't want me.  In short, he lived a drive away most of my life, but never wanted to meet me and I never knew about him until it was too late.

William Lopez was my step father.  He kept two families for a while, then chose my mother after about 5 years.  Even then, he'd often go stay with his other family.  He was physically abusive, until my mom stood up to him when I was about 10, and then he was just mentally abusive. I moved away from home when I was 16, largely to get away from him. He died a few years later.

So, my experience with my own fathers was less than stellar.

But, I also had another father.

I've written about this before, but even before I knew Him as my father, He was with me during my darkest days.  When I'd walk home, alone, in the rain, He was there.  When I spent my afternoons at home, before my mom or step-father came home at 6, he was with me.   When I was 17, and living alone, with my family having recently, moved to Kentucky, I was horribly depressed, and He saved my life.  When I was 18, He brought my Robin into my life, and saved me again. When my son was born, He was the example I used to become what I think is a good father.

It wasn't the man I thought was my father. It wasn't the man who WAS my father, but who didn't want me and I didn't know.  It wasn't my step father, who was an amazing example of what NOT to do.

It was none of those men who were my father.

It was God who was my father in all of those times I needed Him..

It's clear to me that I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for Him, stepping in to keep me alive.

So, thank you, father. Thank you for being the best example possible.  I only hope that I'm living up to your standards, but I know in my heart that you will always love me.  Even when I make mistakes. Even when I'm not the best child you could have.

Thank you.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

SkyNet is almost here.

I've started building a 3D printer, and I've named him SkyNet.  He will be the first of many of his kind.

So, I've been watching 3D printer technology for a while now, and been dying to build one.  A 3D printer is a device that can take a computer model of something and 'print' it out in plastic.

You can spend 50k+ and buy a professional one, but the DIY ones are pretty slick, and I want a project I can keep making better.  Plus I don't have $50k.

Buying a kit can cost anywhere from $1000 to $4000, with most in the $1500 range.  Note that buying a kit seems to cost more than sourcing the parts yourself (duh, they have to make some money), and as far as I can tell, I saved more than $500 gathering up the parts myself.  Yeah, I've still spent a bunch of money, but it's also been purchases over several months, so it's hasn't been as onerous.

Here's what I'm building.  A MendelMax 1.5  The Bill of Materials (BOM), I'm using is at KitBom.

The 1.5 is fairly new, and there aren't really many good instructions yet.  Techpaladin has a set of instructions, but it seems to be mostly for a MendelMax 1.0.   Here's a pic of most of the parts:

Right now, a 3D printer can print something like 20-40% of itself.  In fact, a friend of mine, Morien Thomas, has an Ordbot and printed some parts out for me, which is super cool of him.

In theory, it could print more, but plastic nuts and bolts are just asking for trouble.  I've used something like 100 M5 stainless steel bolts in putting mine together (so far.)

I've also been playing with Arduinos lately, and the 3D printer hardware is based on an Arduino Mega 2560, and since I've been a coder for 30 years, I'm planning to see what I can do to optimize the firmware.

In any case, I used Misumi extrusions and put together most of the frame today...

more to come.