OpenSCAD, Programming

Animating the Solar System with OpenSCAD

OpenSCAD is my language of choice for designing objects that will be 3D-printed, but I just recently learned that it also supports 3D animation.

To familiarize myself with this feature, I decided to animate the movement of the planets in our solar system. Here’s a GIF excerpt of the animation generated by OpenSCAD; it covers about 2.5 Earth years:

solar-system

Neat, right? The axial tilts and orbital periods, speeds, and inclinations of the planets and moons are all accurate, but for visibility purposes, I scaled the size of the planets up 20x relative to the size of the sun and reduced the distance between them by 98%. The relative positions of the planets are also reasonably accurate for March 2016.

The script is available on GitHub; let me know in the comments if you’ve ever used OpenSCAD’s animation feature and what you made with it!

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3D Printing, Games, OpenSCAD, Programming

Today’s Functional Print: Board Game Piece Bases

In today’s “do you think this is some sort of game?” news, I’ve designed and printed some boardgame piece bases.

These were printed specifically for my son’s “Thomas and Friends Tracks and Trestles” game, which was missing two of its bases, but the design is customizable to fit almost any size gamepiece.

The OpenSCAD script and STL file are available on GitHub, and you can customize your own gamepiece base on Thingiverse.

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3D Printing, OpenSCAD, Programming

Today’s Functional Print: Stove Knob

In today’s “customizable knob” news, I’ve designed and printed a customizable knob.

When we moved into our current house, the knob to control the stovetop fan was missing:

IMG_4271

After six months of procrastinating and one hour of OpenSCAD, it now looks like this:

IMG_4274

Now I don’t have to turn on the fan with a pliers!

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The OpenSCAD script and STL file are available on GitHub, and you can create your own customized knob in Thingiverse.

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3D Printing, OpenSCAD, Programming

Today’s Functional Print: Coat Rack Pegs

In today’s “I finally unpacked my 3D printer” news, I printed some pegs for a coat rack to replace the original pegs that we lost during a cross-country move.

IMG_4113

The base of each peg is flared to ensure a tight fit into the hole, but it also has a hole in the bottom to allow it to be attached with screws. (A screw could also be added to expand the base and tighten the fit, even if it’s not necessary to keep the peg attached.)

The OpenSCAD script is available at GitHub, or you can customize it on Thingiverse.

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3D Printing, OpenSCAD

LEGO Gender Equality

At the suggestion of Thingiverse user MrZaius, I’ve added support for female dual-sided bricks to my LEGO-compatible brick OpenSCAD library. The library already had support for male dual-sided bricks, so this is great progress towards eliminating the gender dual-sidedness gap.

A cross-section of a female dual-sided plate.

A cross-section of a female dual-sided plate.

Female dual-sided bricks are twice as tall as their equivalent single-sided brick in order to allow for enough space for the studs of other bricks to fit in on each side. You can try making your own customizable LEGO-compatible brick with the Thingiverse Customizer.

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Christmas, Life

Our 2015 Christmas Letter

You’ll never believe what this family did this year! Read on to learn their one weird tip for beating the cold!

Fast forward to July, because nothing before that matters. We sold our house and three of our belongings and moved 2,000 miles away to Oregon, the land where water is liquid year-round and your snot never freezes and the mailman delivers fresh homemade marshmallows every day! To be honest though, I’m starting to get sick of so many marshmallows! I mean, how many marshmallows can a guy eat?! After the first 20 or 30 each day, it’s a real chore to keep all these marshmallows down!

When we sold our house, we got top dollar for it. (The realtors and the bank took all of the other dollars in the stack.) We took that dollar and used it to put gas in our car for the long trip out to Medford, Oregon. Fun fact: You could drive from Minneapolis to any of the state capitals in less time than it takes to drive to Medford. Especially if you speed!

On our journey to Oregon, we saw all of the sights the North has to offer: Mount Rushmore, a cow, Old Faithful, and that thing where two swans touch their heads together and their necks make the shape of a heart. We almost slept in a teepee, and I’m happy to report that not a single member of our party died of dysentery, but we did see a lot of tombstones mentioning cheese and pepperoni.

“Fortunately,” we did not move to Oregon until after our yearly Minnesota camping trip. Even more “fortunately,” Oregon’s camping season is much longer than Minnesota’s, so we “got” to go camping again after we moved. How “fortunate” are we that we “got” to go camping two times in one year?? Two times. Imagine that. Can you even imagine it? I couldn’t. Until it happened to me.

Oregon is a magical place. Here’s proof: in October, I guessed the combination of a Master Lock on the first try. The first try! In Minnesota, it would take me two tries, but not in Oregon!

Gloria had two surgeries to clear her tear ducts so that her tears would drain normally and not smear all over her cute little face. Now the only thing smeared all over her cute little face is boogers and food and markers and juice.

While Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, Oregon is the land of approximately one lake. But what a lake! It was formed by a volcano and has an island in the middle! Gee willikers! It’s called Crater Lake, and we visited it to give it the Minnesotan Lake Stamp of Approval, but they didn’t know what we were talking about so we had to just stamp it on a rock and run away real quick.

Gabriel is in first grade now, and Gideon has started Pre-K. Most of Gabriel’s credits transferred from Minnesota, so he only has to retake Shapes 101 and Introduction to Glitter Applications.

In Oregon, you cannot pump your own gas, but you can grow your own grass, so that’s been quite an adjustment to make.

I hear it’s snowing in Minnesota. LOL.

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