AJ Henderson AJ's Blog

October 24, 2020

A Big Jump in to 3D Printing

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , , , — AJ @ 2:25 pm

Finally jumped in to the deep end of the 3D printing pool. Purchased an Anycubic Mono X and a Snap Maker 2.0 A350 back in late August and early September. The Mono X just came in this past week and after doing two test prints, decided to do a torture test with a model of a Federal Corvette from the game Elite Dangerous.

This made for an interesting test because it was a large scale model (over 9.6 inches long) with extremely complex geometry to test what the printer could handle. All I did for setup was extract the model, run it through an automated healing tool in Lychee, then run it through automatic support generation in Anycubic’s software. I had to remove a few supports that would clearly be issues, but mostly it’s an automated attempt of a very complicated and very large part.

So how were the results? After 10.5 hours printing and about an hour and a half to 2 hours of post processing cleaning, pulling all the supports and curing, here is the end result.

This was pretty much the maximum size the printer could handle with over 9000 layers printed in white Anycubic EcoResin. 1.5 second layer cures and 40 second initial base cures. 5mm retraction and 2 to 3mm per second movement speeds. 0.05mm layers.

It was far from a perfect print. There’s a couple holes where things failed to print correctly. One part of the tail fin broke off , a few supports fused to the body or removed very small fragile parts of the model when being removed, but on the whole, it’s an outstanding print for how little effort it required to prepare and how complicated it was. This was meant to be a torture test and I’d say the Mono X passed with flying (though not perfect) colors.

The discoloration is from having to cure it too long because it didn’t fit in the wash and cure machine I have properly. This wasn’t too big of a deal though as I’m intending to paint the model.

So why did I jump in to 3d printing now? Two reasons, first, the cost for large form factor finally reached a low enough point. I’ve been following 3D printers for quite a while, but the cost for the volume I’d want to be able to work in was always prohibitively high compared to what I could justify. With the production release of the SnapMaker 2 A350 bringing light laser cutting/engraving, light CNC and large build volume 3D FDM printing to the table for under $1800 with enclosure, the price was finally right. I’d been interested in SLA for a while as well, but had ruled it out for safety reasons with 2 young children, however I found out about Anycubic’s new Mono X (first cheap SLA with a big enough volume for my interests) and their EcoResin, which is a non-toxic soy based resin, and I realized I had a winner for SLA as well.

Second, STEM. When I was in middle school and high school, my earliest serious engineering experience was working with the CNC machines that they had and trying to push the envelope of what I could fabricate. At the time, I never dreamed of being able to have a unit like that in my house, but now, with the 3D printing revolution bringing cheap and affordable 2 and a half axis machines to market, and seeing my son’s budding interest in building, I realized the time was right to pick up a 3D printer so that I could help him move from duct taping random things together and trying to build what he’s got in his head, to starting him on the path of learning to design and build things with the proper tools to be able to make awesome things at home.

Admittedly, the SLA is more for my own personal interest in model making as it has a bit less usefulness in the realm of things my son is likely to be making in the near future, but the Snap Maker is very much oriented towards being able to laser cut foamcore and cardboard projects while the CNC and FDM printing will allow making connectors and parts for whatever fantastic ideas Declan may come up with or whatever interesting fabricatable STEM projects I can find that are worth fabricating up.

August 30, 2019

Steam Punk Train Yard

Filed under: Personal — AJ @ 10:21 pm

We came down to Bethlehem, PA for Greg’s thesis defense and while we were here I was able to get the drone up and get some awesome shots of the old steel stacks they have here. Happened to be a train in front as the sun was going down and got an incredibly steam punk look. The image has been altered with curves to get the sky look and I removed the edge of a parking lot that stuck in to the image, but it’s otherwise pretty true to life.

May 9, 2019

FAA Daylight Waiver Granted and Welcome Home Premiere

Filed under: Personal — AJ @ 7:59 am

Lots of exciting things going on lately. My FAA daylight waiver just came through last night which means I can now officially fly my drone at night for commercial purposes. The process has gotten way easier now that LAANC is active and providing easy airspace authorizations which previously bogged down the FAA. The process used to be over 6 months but was about two weeks now.

Additionally, Welcome Home, the Amazon Prime Instant Watch tv show I’ve been working on as director of photography for the last two years, is finally going to be premiering at Proctor’s ge theater on May 18th. (Now I just have to get the color grade done by then.)

September 17, 2017

FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot’s Certificate

Filed under: Cool Stuff,Photos,Technology — AJ @ 2:39 pm

So for those who don’t know, I recently was given a broken Phantom 3 Pro for free and fixed it up and decided to get my Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA.  I took the test this morning and passed with a 93.  It was an interesting process since I was the first one taking the test on a new system that PSI had just rolled out.  After helping the proctor figure out how the system works, it ended up only taking about 15 minutes of the two hours allotted to cruise through the 60 questions, even with double checking answers.

The first piece of advice I have for anyone taking it is be sure to note that there is a legend section in the start and then all the “sections” start which are basically just the page numbers for the documents being referenced and start after the legends.  It was easy once I figured out how to use the book itself, but having studied online, the supplemental materials book was actually the most confusing part of the entire test process (including figuring out how the computer testing system worked since the proctor was as new to it as I was.)

I used UAS Ground School with the AMA discount code for training.  It honestly wasn’t really necessary as the test isn’t that hard if you do some basic studying, but I found it was worth it just for the level of detail they went in to and the fact that it helped with understanding things that weren’t directly needed for the test itself, but are still useful tidbits of information to know.  I wouldn’t want to pay the full $200 for the training, but at the discounted rate of $125, it was worth it in my opinion.

Now I just have to wait for the test to show up in ICARA so I can get my certificate processed.  Let me know if you have any aerial photography needs.  For any of my photo/video friends with drones that don’t have their certification yet, I can also act as the remote pilot while you still operate the controls if you have a potential job with your drone, but haven’t had a chance to go through getting your part 107 certification yet.

October 25, 2015

Terra Nova Men’s Retreat 2015 Photos

Filed under: Church,Personal,Photos — AJ @ 12:49 am

So it took a little bit longer than I expected, but the I finished going through the photos from this year’s men’s retreat.  The retreat was September 17-19th at YMCA Camp Gorham.  The retreat was a great time and I came home with around 1200 photos to go through.  Slightly different from previous years, I actually decided to put up two galleries, one with the 5 star, top rated photos and one with the 4 star images that weren’t quite my favorites, but were still better than average.  As with the previous Men’s Retreats, all images are released under a Creative Commons license.  If you want higher quality versions of any of the images, let me know.

2015 Terra Nova Men’s Retreat 5 Star Gallery

2015 Terra Nova Men’s Retreat 4 Star Gallery

Terra Nova Men's Retreat 2015

December 24, 2014

First Home Purchased

Filed under: Personal — AJ @ 6:31 pm

Well, the day is finally here.  We bought our first home today.  We’ll be moving in over the next few days with the majority of the move occurring on Saturday.  Our new address will be 14 Massachusetts Ave, Rensselaer, NY 12144.

It’s been a long road to get here.  We weren’t actually looking for a house all that long.  We started looking shortly before Declan was born and continued a few weeks after when things settled down a bit.  Most properties we saw near work were too in need of repair or too expensive of both and most of the good properties we were seeing were out in Niskayuna, far too far away to have a manageable daily commute.  Finally, we saw a nice little new construction go on the market in Hampton Manner in Rensselaer.  It’s an older development, but our street has lots of remodeled houses and a fair number of lot sub-divisions with new constructions on them.  (Ours is one such sub-divided lot.)

We knew pretty much immediately that it was the right house for us.  It is literally down the street from Red Mill Elementary, which is East Greenbush’s top ranked elementary school.  It had a two car garage, was large enough for our needs, small lot in a quiet neighborhood.  It had decent enough sized bedrooms with large open areas for the main rooms and a gigantic garage that can double as a workshop.  As an added bonus, we have a shed in the back.  So, with our hearts set on buying the property, we began what turned out to be a rather long process.

For the most part things went smoothly, so at the end of November, it looked like we should be good for an early December close date, so we let the apartment complex know we’d be moving out for the new year.  Then we hit the snag on the next to last step of the process.  The mortgage insurance company wanted proof of employment from Danielle.  This should have been a minor issue, but when they sent over the paperwork to Albany Med to get confirmation, it got lost somewhere and they didn’t hear back for over a week.  Nobody bothered letting us know or following up until I started asking about status since we hadn’t heard anything in a while.  They then submitted it again with some facilitation from Danielle and got a response fairly quickly, however Albany Med HR still thought Danielle was on FMLA leave (which she had come back from a week and a half earlier at that point, as had been scheduled on her original FMLA paperwork).  Some quick back and forth was supposed to have worked it out, however HR still had the wrong data the next time they tried a few days later.  Finally the paper work managed to make it through and we got a valid confirmation, but all in all, it took almost 3 weeks just to get that one confirmation done on the next to last step.

Finally, with the last hurdles cleared, we were able to move forward and get a closing date set for Christmas Eve at 9am.  We got there with only a few days left that we could move on to get the closing done and while things mostly went smooth, again there was a big issue (which luckily turned out to be an easy fix).  Our lawyer’s office had given us the wrong name for the cashier’s check to be made out to, so we had to quickly run across the street (thankfully there was an open Trustco across the street) and have them re-cut the check to the correct name.  We also almost forgot to get the keys to the house, but Danielle checked our packet and realized they weren’t there.

It looks like we should make it in time, but it’s certainly a lot more under the wire than we had wanted it to be.  We’ll be moving boxes out of the way over the next few days and then getting a truck to move on Saturday at 9am if anyone wants to help with moving the big stuff.  We’ll also still have some little things that need packing inside that we were living off of.  I’ll try to get some photos posted after the move.

September 10, 2014

I’m pleased to announce…

Filed under: Personal — AJ @ 10:33 pm

Declan James Henderson, born 9/10/2014.  Mommy and baby are great.  Check out his website for pics and more details.

September 8, 2014

Baby On The Way

Filed under: Cool Stuff,Personal — AJ @ 4:12 pm

So after the latest checkup, they decided that it is now the right time to start the process of inducing labor.  Little baby boy Henderson (initials DJ, though he won’t go by them) will be on his way either late tonight or tomorrow morning.  We’re heading over to the hospital shortly and they are doing prep drugs tonight and then inducing in the morning if things haven’t started going yet.  (He’s over a week late already.)  No super major health concerns, but enough of a minor one that induction was deemed necessary.  Stay tuned for updates and the unveiling of baby Henderson’s own website.  (It’s technically already up now if you really want to try guessing.)

December 16, 2013

Hawaii 2013

Filed under: Cool Stuff,Personal,Photos — AJ @ 9:34 pm

Just finished up our last day in port in Hawaii.  It’s been 5 great days in Hawaii and now we have another 4 days at sea, a day in Ensenada and then back to LA and flying home to Albany on Sunday.  I haven’t had time to go through many of the 2000 or so photos and videos I took while we were here, but here is a gallery of a few of the highlights as they came out of the camera.  I’ll post more edited versions later when I have time and an internet connection that isn’t over my phone.

Pearl Harbor - Arizona Memorial

Picture 1 of 16

October 28, 2013

Matt & Stef’s Wedding

Filed under: Cool Stuff,Personal,Photos — AJ @ 5:59 pm

My cousin Matt and his wife Stef just got married this past weekend.  It was a great time at the Old Daley Inn at Crooked Lake.  Family was in from all over and the wedding had a great movie theme.  Even though I wasn’t the official photographer, I brought a small portion of kit along with me and took some casual shots of the wedding and the family while I was there.  You can see some of the highlights of the shots I got in my gallery here.  Just send me an e-mail if any family want’s prints or touch ups or higher resolution copies of any of them.

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