Printing within Moments

Shortly after getting my 3D printer from Amazon, I was printing. I checked out two videos (MixedMuscleArts & Sim Hardware) on YouTube about unboxing and setting up the printer just to see what issues they might have encountered. There were a few, just as with any major electronic thing such as a desktop computer, but nothing too serious. It was pretty amazing how fast the printers were able to be set-up.

I had my printer set-up within roughly an hour. After that, I inserted the included MicroSD card and started printing gcode files. Within maybe an hour, I had my first print. It was funny, I felt accomplished dispite me barely having anything to do with creating the new print.

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Soon there after, I was looking up modifications on Thingiverse and more generally on the web for my new Monoprice Maker Select v2.1. Interestingly, I found the Wanhao i3 to be just as good of a search term for modifications to the printer. So, if you get this printer, I highly recommend looking for both.

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Buying a 3D printer

As anyone that is considering buying a 3D printer will tell you, it’s usually not the easiest thing to do. My case was no different and additionally hampered by being a graduate student (i.e., very low income). Prior to purchasing, I looked at the 3D Hubs 2017 printer guide in the budget section. The lowest price printer that they recommend within that section is the Printrbot Simple Metal (affiliate link) coming in at $600 (USD), but, as you can see from the Amazon link, that is without a heated bed. Heated beds are not necessairy, but are a nice feature especially when printing plastics such as ABS. Adding a heated bed would increase the price up to $750 USD. This was still a bit out of what I was wanting to spend. So, I searched Reddit.

Reddit has a nice 3D Printing community called r/3dprinting. As with most Reddit communities, they provide some basic rules for their community as well as some answers to common questions such as general questions regarding 3D printing as well as a chart of “proven 3d printers”. That’s where I found the Wanhao Duplicator i3/Monoprice Maker Select which is a clone of the Prusia i3. I read some reviews, looked around on Facebook for community groups, and found another community on Thingiverse. That sold me on the Monoprice Maker Select v2 (affiliate link). Within moments I placed my order and was bragging to my friends.

Beyond the price point, what also sold me was the ability to set up the printer very quickly and print a range of materials including PLA, ABS, HIPS, nGEN, XT, etc.

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Update: So, I probably should have waited till Black Friday here in the U.S. as the price plummeted by nearly $80 which I would have loved to of kept. However, following several conversations with Amazon, I found out I was not going to be getting that money back. This being said, so you can avoid making the same mistake I did, I would recommend checking out CamelCamelCamel which you can configure to email you when the price of a product, such as a 3d printer, drops below a certain threshold.

Query Interface

Avkat Informatics

We have now begun working on developing the query interface for the Avkat Informatics project. The interface allows for the query of four parameters. Artifact Type, Time Period, and Unit Type correspond to specific attribute values. A second option for time allows a user to enter a range of values and retrieve all information that potentially falls within that date range. Lastly, the Search Comments of Forms allows users to enter in words to search the comments. The goal is to replicate the query interface of search engines familiar to the end-user.

The design of the Query Interface is highly important. Here, users access data in a fashion that is influenced both by the organizational structure of the database, the query, and the user’s internal notion of what would ‘make sense’. The goal of any data system is to provide structure and organization, while at the same time…

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User Interface: Alpha II

Avkat Informatics

We are continuing work on the Alpha phase of our user interface. As you can see, there have been a variety of changes between the work presented here and our last blog post. This user interface is closer to what we envisioned when creating the mock-up, but includes some substantial comments along with changes. The two main changes have been the adding of an accordion styled panes allowing for organization of various comments/notes and the addition of two exporting title panes (one for querying tabular data on the left and another for a user-defined geospatial query on the right).

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User Interface: Alpha

Avkat Informatics

We have recently finished upgrading our servers from ArcServer 9.3 to ArcServer 10 SP 3. After upgrading we were able to begin building our user interface. Below is an image of the user interface from its alpha phase. Our primary goal during this phase is accessing our data via a REST service using ESRI’s REST API.

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The Mock-up: Part I

Avkat Informatics

We have now created a mock-up of our user interface (UI) of our WMA. To develop this mock-up we reviewed the initial goals for the WMA. Given that data collection for the project has finished, the current critical need is in the area of data querying, data review, and export of data subsets for further manipulation in other applications (e.g., Excel, Photoshop, SPSS, ArcGIS). After revisiting these goals, various CSS, HTML, and JavaScript snippets were combined. These snippets resulted in an initial UI which was then commented upon by members of the informatics team. We have now taken these comments and created two mock-ups which are presented below. The first figure depicts the overall UI while the second figure presents a feature selection information bubble.

It should be noted that this is our first WMA, designed to handle basic query searches and data extraction. We will design WMAs relevant to…

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Tools of the Trade

Avkat Informatics

We will be using a variety of software for this summer which will build upon previous work for the Avkat Archaeological Project. Prior work has been dominated by the creation of an SQL database coded in MySQL. A front-end was created for this database using PHP for query optimization. This database has stored all tabular and image data for the project, however spatial information has been lacking.

ArcSDE is used to store spatial information. Recently the MySQL database was translated to PostgreSQL which employs pgAdminIII. This allows for better communication between the SQL database and the ArcSDE geodatabase.

Currently, we are working on building data queries which result in tables and views which can then be queried by end users. It is important to note here the difference between the two – tables and views. Tables result in a more static image of the data within the SQL…

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