Notes from all over for Dec 22

Just some notes on stuff that’s happening as of Dec 22.

Linda’s Windows 10 computer, after a few configuration teething pains, is running quite well. Getting rid of the lock screen took 3 attempts as Microsoft is determined to foist this crap on users, even to the tune of disabling workarounds with each new update. It remains to be seen if my efforts will work for the longer term as MS is so very determined.

We did blow ‘edge’ away. It’s easily the worst browser I’ve ever seen. Basically, it has almost zero configuration options, and the few it does have it ignores. Gone forever and gladly back to Firefox. Likewise the default ‘mail’ app is gone and Thunderbird again rules the emails. Like edge, ‘mail’ is another MS app that can’t even play nice – not even with other MS things like Outlook. What a damaged, untested, unprofessional piece of crap.

I did install Office 2016 this week thanks to a “Home User Program” deal from MS. Because Athabasca U bought into the whole MS lock-in, we get to buy home versions for really cheap (like $13 for Office 2016 pro!). It’s OK. I personally prefer Office 2013 because that was the last version without “THE RIBBON”. Yet another unwanted MS user interface “update”.

As for my AU work, I can’t hear people on the phone very well, and certainly not upset persons who make talk fast and in a higher register. After consultation with other AU academics, I bought “MagicJack” from the main website as it was on sale. It does come from the USA and took a while to arrive, and the free phone number is only USA, but it does indeed do what it claims. I paid the extra $10 to get a CDN number (Edmonton exchange) and then had AU tie it to my academic 1-888 number. By yesterday it was all working tickety-boo. Better yet – any voicemail message gets emailed to me as an audio file so I can keep track. I can use a headset when calling anywhere in North America (free) so it’s awesome. Eventually I plan to see if it would work to replace most of the land line features, but not yet. First to see it in action.

I bought a leak detector for my underwater camera, and it came after almost a month in the postal system. Still, not bad coming from Slovenia. It’s really well built and should provide extra protection against flooding for the big underwater camera system.

Speaking of which, the replacement Kraken ring light/strobe came a few weeks ago, and worked correctly from the box. Nice to know it wasn’t simply user error but rather some issue with the optical strobe sensor.

That’s all for now. Time for a Christmas break.

Merry Christmas to all, and a very Happy New Year!

Photos of recent 3D prints

As promised in my last post, here are some photos of the weight plate collar and the new regulator flow knob. Also a photo of the old knob for comparison.

Dacor Fury small knob

Dacor Fury new larger knob

Weight plate collar (the yellow spot marks an original collar)

This is a set of base brackets I printed to hold my PiDP8 kit at a better viewing angle (design from Thingverse)

Awesome 3D Print

OK, I’m brilliant.

I have a SCUBA regulator that’s missing the flow adjustment knob. Years and years ago (2006?) I bought a primary second stage for my open circuit regulator set from a shop in Calgary. I got it for $100 even though it was brand new because someone unscrewed the flow adjustment knob and then lost it. I’ve been diving it that way ever since because you could not buy that knob for love nor money.

Last night before I went to sleep I thought… “why not 3d print a knob?”.

The knob fits a square shaft 7mm x 7mm x 2mm and is sized to match the regulator. It attaches with a 3mm  stainless hex bolt. Today I designed and printed the knob, and with a bit of drilling to open the bolt hole, it fits and  works perfectly.

Still 3D printing after all these days…

Some notes on what’s been happening in the 3D printer world. Mostly it has to do with software. Here are the highlights:

Tinkercad is still by far the easiest program to create simple designs for test printing and design.

Fusion 360 is slightly superior to Tinkercad but ONLY because it ‘automatically’ bevels holes. I realize that’s just a default parameter setting, but still – it means my final design has a bevel when an interior hole is reduced, which means no support structure required and thus faster/easier printing.

But – Fusion 360 is still a bit of a pain to use, especially compared to Tinkercad. I usually end up deleting my first effort and trying again (and again) to get the desired final result. It’s annoying because the options/interface is so horrid.

Example: I ‘accidentally’ created two bodies when I wanted just one. I don’t know how I did it, and can’t reproduce the case, but once created I could NOT find any way to merge the two bodies back into one. It should be as easy as “select both, press ‘merge'”, but there’s no ‘merge’ function that works this way.

Finally, Sketchup. What a horrid beast of a program so far. Not only is it quite counter-intuitive to build anything like a cylinder, but I cannot find a way to export the result as a printer file. Not looking good for Sketchup at this point.

As for printing, I did discover one odd behaviour about slic3r. If you add multiple designs, say add a gear to a cylinder, or just add two of the same thing and arrange them, the resulting gcode file contains the complete model. HOWEVER, if you save the stl (model) file, only the last thing added gets saved. YOU CANNOT SAVE A COMPOSITE MODEL in Slic3r. That’s a pain, but I can live with it now that I know.


Other news: I built another gear model for the Canon camera. This one is a zoom gear for the 17-85mm zoom lens. The gear is the same one used for the 60mm focus gear I built last week, but the cylinder ID was larger to accommodate the larger diameter of the zoom lens. There were a few other adjustments as well, but the final zoom gear fits and functions perfectly.

I tested the focus gear in the housing underwater last weekend, and will try the zoom gear and lens in the housing this week. If it fits and works, I’ll test it underwater this Sunday.

Note: The zoom lens is not designed for this port, but the port is longer than needed for the 60mm lens, and so I thought I’d like to try it on the camera in the housing. Before I could do that, I really needed the zoom gear to be able to actually test the zoom function in the housing. It’s a ‘chicken and egg’ situation really. Also, until I had any working gear, there was no point worrying about the zoom lens. That dictated the 60mm focus gear being designed and printed first. Once that worked, the way was clear to go for the whole zoom test.

Drysuits are fun (except when they’re not)

I have three drysuits because the ocean is wet and it’s cold. When I first started diving in 2000, we learned in wetsuits – 7mm neoprene suits that overlapped on the torso to give 14mm. I felt like that tire mascot and could hardly move. The first dive was nice, the second horrible (because you were wet, cold and evaporation on the surface interval chilled you even more).

On my advanced course we did a drysuit dive; I bought one the next week.

Fast forward to today, where I now own 3 very high quality (a.k.a. expensive) drysuits. All are from DUI, a very good manufacturer. Two are their TLS350 suits (nylon tri-laminate shell suit) and the newest one is a Flex Extreme (polypropylene tri-laminate shell suit). I also have expensive dive underwear.

When the suits don’t leak, they are wonderful. I still have trouble with cold hands as I have never really found glove liners that are really warm, but overall it’s great.

But – when the suits leak, they aren’t fun at all. Leaks range from seeping due to very small holes (usually in the feet) to full floods due to suit failure (i.e. zipper needs replacing) to wrinkled neck seal. Full floods can start anywhere during the dive, but you really notice it at the end when you  stand up to remove the gear – and all  the water accumulated in the suit rushes in a chilly torrent to soak your legs and feet.

Finding the leaks (if it’s not the zipper or the neck seal) is even less fun than being wet. There are numerous methods to finding leaks, and all of them work about equally well, which is to say poorly. My experience is that any leak “good enough” to show itself in a normal leak test is a BIG leak. Most  leaks are of the weeping/seeping kind, and are almost impossible to accurately locate.

My current (as of today’s post) situation is all 3 suits are “questionable”. The oldest  suit (2003) needs a new shoulder exhaust valve, as that leaked quite well on the last dive. I was also very wet on my rear end; it may be a leak or it may be a wrinkled neck seal. Of course the leak testing was negative for finding any leak, so I’ll just have to replace the valve and dive it to see. (yay, maybe dry, maybe wet).

The second suit (2009) was my teaching suit, and it had two rather large holes in the feet. The holes were large enough that I found the leaks easily, and have now patched both with aquaseal. All that remains is a test dive. The feet were getting so soaked from the first step in the water that I’m not really keen on the test dive. Maybe next course.

The last suit was just bought this year, and is essentially perfect… except twice now I’ve managed to wrinkle the fancy silicone neck seal and end up with a FULL suit flood. Last Sunday was the worst, as water poured in from the moment I entered the ocean. Of course I did a dive anyway, but it was short and very wet and very, very cold. As I thought I was very careful donning the neck seal, I’m really puzzled at this time as to what’s going on.