If I had the time I’d sit kneeling in front of my 3D printer at all times watching it print. It’s like a grown up version of Sesame Street’s trip to the crayon factory. Unfortunately I don’t have that kind of time. I did however find a work around with a spare laptop and Skype (and with New Years parties kicking off shortly, you just might find this handy).
Continue reading “Monitoring your 3D Printer with Skype”
I really shouldn’t have a problem filming things with my iPhone without getting fingers in the way of the lens, but it happens. I’ve also noticed that it’s easy to accidentally rub the microphone and mess up the audio during recording. Because I have a couple holiday concerts coming up that I’ve been asked to record I thought it would be worth figuring out a better way to tackle this problem.
One of the great things about 3D printing is that you can always modify existing proven designs to fit your current needs. So rather than starting from scratch on this project I started with my iPhone Tripod attachment and added the new features I was looking for. First I modeled a handle long enough to hold comfortable, but short enough to carry in your pocket. Then I removed the tripod nut hole and added a slot for the handle to slide into. I also added a slot in the handle and a tab on the camera mount so the two parts slide together for easy transport in your pocket or bag.
Like the previous design you’ll need to throw a couple of suction cups in the holes of the phone mount. These can be found at hardware stores pretty cheaply (I got some at Home Depot for around $2 a dozen). So pop in the suction cups, stick the handle into the mount and you’re ready to shoot some video.
The handle works great, I’ve filmed a few things with it and it’s comfortable enough to hold for long periods of time. The picture seems much more stable and less shaky when I use this plus you don’t run the risk of rubbing against the speaker. It’s already earned a permanent spot in my camera bag.
Editor’s Note: An updated (and in my opinion much improved) design is available here Walt the Webcam Mount
Last month I picked up this really nice webcam (Logitech 1080p Webcam Pro C910) from Amazon to use to record Makerbot prints. The picture quality is great, but the mounting hardware it came with is not. While the standard “clip over your laptop screen” mount is great for Skyping your friends it’s fairly useless for what I was hoping to accomplish. I removed as much of the original mount as possible and started conceptualizing a more creative way to mount the camera.
My first attempt involved mounting the webcam in my Makerbot and it started with a lot of masking tape (it also ended there because it was more or less impossible to get it aligned properly and tape it in place at the same time). The second iteration involved even more masking tape and an old desk lamp. This worked fairly well (it had several pivot points) but wasn’t suited for everything I wanted to do with it (it couldn’t point straight down).
After racking my brain I took a trip to IKEA to look for something that I could modify to fit my needs (I’ve found IKEA is a solid choice for mechanical parts at low prices just begging to be repurposed). After a little searching (and a few sweedish meatballs) I picked up a “TERTIAL Work Lamp” for $8.99 and got to work mounting my webcam to the lamp arm.
I started off by removing all of the electrical components from the lamp arm and removing the fixture from the end of the lamp. Then (like with most of my projects) I pulled up Google Sketchup and started working on a design that would fit my webcam. I designed a small bracket for the lamp with flanges that restricted movement on the X/Y axis of the camera. The bracket also has a hole to thread a a M4x25 hex bolt (leftover from my Makerbot build) through both the bracket and the webcam. After attaching the webcam I bolted the bracket down to the lamp arm and I was ready to go!
The jig works great attached to a chair or table near my Makerbot for recording prints. Because of it’s range of motion I’m also planning on using it to record a stop motion introduction for my DIY videos. It can be pointed straight down and locks into place using the set screws in the joints of the arm. Once it’s screwed in tight it stays locked down really well. One of the big advantages to using a lamp with a clamp as opposed to a heavy base is that you’re able to clamp it to an unobtrusive part of your work area without disrupting anything.
Over the weekend I stumbled upon this awesome Instructable by jtsubota “iPhone 4 Tripod Mount“. The parts list was short and I decided to try to pick up all the required parts after work Monday night. Unfortunately for me, my local hardware store was missing a handful of the (already short) parts list. I almost gave up and was prepared to head home empty handed when I realized I could easily modify the project using my Makerbot and make this work with what I was able to find.
I started by picking up just the bare necessities:
- 1/4 inch hex nuts
- 30mm suction cups
When I got home I opened up my modeling software of choice Google Sketchup and got to work replicating the basic design I found on Instructables. Rather than secure all the parts in place using screws like jtsubota did I modeled everything to press fit in place. The nut fits in very snuggly and the suction cups snap into place with a firm push. Once everything is attached it feels really solid. So much so that I can shake my phone by the tripod mount without fear of it disconnecting.
If my calculations are correct, I believe the cost of this project breaks down like this:
- 1x 1/4″ nut $0.40
- 2x 30mm suction cups $0.59 each
- ~$0.50 woth of Makerbot plastic.
Right around $2 for a really solid tripod mount ready to be printed on demand. Not bad at all!
Yesterday I found myself needing to film a short demo of a project I’m working on and couldn’t figure out how to balance my iPhone on my desk to get the shot. I’m a big fan of the Glif iPhone 4 tripod mount but I unfortunately do not own one (nor do I know where my tripod is for that matter).
Thankfully my trusty Panavise Jr. came to the rescue. I was able to screw it in tight enough to hold the phone vertical or horizontal without marring the phone’s bumper case at all. The Panavise has a nice ball joint to swivel on so you can really get any positioning you could possibly need. Not a bad spur of the moment tripod.
You can pickup the Panavise Jr. for $25 on Amazon and makes a great tripod, oh yeah and it holds PCBs too.