3-D Printing

This week has been interesting. My school taxes are not nearly as much as I feared, and my 3-d printer arrived. I will confess, I was a little frightened of it. More that I was worried I did not have the technical expertise to put it together properly. Those fears were completely unfounded. I purchased an AnyCubic Mega printer, it arrived with everything I needed including several different Hex keys, wrenches, clippers, and PLA filament to get started with.

An Anycubic 3-d printer in pieces straight from the box.

Once I got over my initial apprehension I started putting it together. The instructions were clear, easy to follow, and broken down into simple steps.

AnyCubic Mega Zero printer assembled with accoutrements and power supply in front. No wires are connected.

Once I got over my apprehension about putting the machine together, came wiring the machine up. I decided to stop for the night and tackle wiring it in the morning. Once I started wiring it, with the exception of discovering that I put one of the side supports on with the screw holes facing inside instead of outside, the entire process was very simple.

AnyCubic Mega Zero Printer with wrenches and hex wrenches in front, PLA on the printing bed and computer connecting cable on the left side of the printer.

Leveling the printer took some time, however it was well worth the effort knowing that I had done the job properly and I was ready to print. I followed the specific directions and made sure that I set the test print properly. I started the print and went off, since it was going to take 2 hours. I heard a tiny popping sound and came back to find this:

A small rectangular model in white with strings coming out of the back.

It turns out that the model popped off of the base and was being pushed around by the filament head. I stopped it before things got too messy. I plan on installing the heated plate I purchased when I bought the printer to see if that corrects the problem. I also plan on trying to print a model my sibling gave me, because according to them the default model never works quite right with this printer. I look forward to experimenting more with this. While I have purchased PLA filament to start with there are 3 other types that this printer is compatible with, I look forward to playing with all of them.

I love experimenting with new products as well as learning new skills. Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Busy Week

Not really crafty until after second *. *This was my first week back to all three jobs, it has actually gone well. I am under some financial strain since the government did not extend the federal unemployment payments and I wanted to continue to work a couple of days a week. The beginning of this month is going to be short and I wound up applying for an Amazon Credit card. I did not really want to, however this will enable me to invest in my skill-set and make myself more marketable.*

I ordered a 3-d printer with heated plate and filament for under $200, on credit through Amazon. I have already created two original drawings in TinkerCad, a free online 3-d creation tool. My sibling recommended the slicer software that they use, and I plan on doing some experimenting once I have my set-up at home. The two drawings I made are below, the first is supposed to be a stone-like set of stairs while the second is supposed to be a dice tower.

I am very excited to begin learning the ins and outs of 3-d printing. I have not had a good technological challenge in a while and I look forward to exercising those muscles again. A colleague and I were asked to put together easy craft ideas so that another colleague can keep them occupied after school.

We were given about two weeks to come up with ideas, samples, and teach the other person. Fortunately we had about two weeks worth of dead simple crafts that I could whip out right away. We are asking the person in the room to have the teens, and now pre-teens, to brainstorm as many ideas as they can come up with, we can figure out a way to have them learn almost anything. I already obtained some feedback from a teen that worked with the children’s department over the summer, and he suggested Clay as a medium he enjoyed. We received the e-mail the same day I was going up to Buffalo for my third cast change (one more to go then the pin comes out in October), so I swung by Michael’s Craft Store to get some supplies and ideas.

From left to right, black clay teardrop pendant, jack-o-lantern made from pony beads, wooden owl face (upside down) colored with brown, white orange, and pink paint pens, leather bracelet half colored with blue leather marker, half colored with green. Tiny star imprinted on leather and colored yellow.

I am also planning on having a demonstration piece of Kumihimo cord, lucet cord, and a knitted fingerless glove. Two of my colleagues have teen/pre-teen children so I hope to ask them if needle felting would be too dangerous.

I find that during zoom meetings that I can take at home is when I get around to spinning on my black skein. If I am home and not on my computer then I tend to mess around with the Kumihimo and Lucet work, though not for very long stretches of time, since they involve pinching the work with my left hand. The pinching problem is also why I do not have the top hem of my skirt finished yet either.

I did finish plying the 716 batt, and I discovered why it is best to make sure you have 4 ties in your skeins of yarn. I tried to get away with just 2, one snapped, which left me with a yarn barf to sort out.

Brightly colored yarn tangled up, whites, blues, pinks, greens, and more. This close you can see where there are thinner spots and puffier spots.

Fortunately there was not a ton of yarn in the skein, though I am still not sure how much, so I was able to wind it into a ball in about an hour or so.

Ball of yarn, pink, green, blue, purple, whites showing through.

I cannot wait to be finished with these sample pieces so that I can work up a couple of test swatches with this yarn.

Until next time, remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival

IMG_1748I cannot for the life of me believe that MS&WF was a week ago already.  I feel as though I am just beginning to process all that I saw and did while there.  In addition, the tools and fibers I brought home are simply overwhelming!  I had so much fun thanks to my Aunt Debby, Uncle Fred, and Aunt Mikey.  They ferried me around and Aunt Debby and Uncle Fred let me stay with them, it was such a blast to see some of my younger cousins (okay Aunt Debby is my Father’s Cousin so her Grandchildren are probably my second cousins twice removed or something.) and teach them how to spin silk hankies.  They caught on so quickly, I was amazed at how much the boys seemed to enjoy the spinning!

Everyone was telling me that there is no way I could see everything in a single day.  All the while I was thinking, it’s a fairground how much can there be to see, some sheep, some vendors, it’ll be a blast and I can do everything I want to do, no problem.  Well I was not right, they were.  I managed to see quite a bit the first day, and even more the second, yet I did not get to see the speakers, nor many of the special events that occurred.

Since there really is too much for me to talk about in one post I will break this up into two posts, the first will be about the tools and wheels I was able to interact with, the second post will focus on the fibers and sheep I was able to interact with.  Each of these posts are going to have some length to them.

The Classic Carder Company, classiccarder.co.uk came from England to sell their wares at MS&WF.  They were absolutely delightful to speak with and kept their sense of humor despite the difficulties they and the american credit card companies were having with communication.  From this company I purchased a doffing pin and a doffing brush, both are intended to assist in getting batts of of a drum carder cleanly and with as little trouble as possible.  The quality of these tools is astounding, and I cannot wait to begin using them in earnest.

IMG_1757From Finnsheep.net I did buy some wool, which I will discuss in the next post, but I also obtained a flick brush.  This is a brush specifically designed to take locks and gently open them up so that they are easier to spin from without losing their alignment.  I was very happy to find this tool and see how well it would work on some of the locks I had obtained.  The results were amazing, and the tool was well worth the price.

From Snyder Spindles I obtained the three spindles I had been eyeing.  A ‘Dizzy Sheep’ spindle made from a fidget spinner with 3-d printed sheep on top, is a very lightweight and cute addition to my spindle collection.  A 3-d printed turkish spindle allows me to have a turkish spindle with quite large arms yet not very much weight at all.  I am very excited to take my time and learn to love this spindle.  The final spindle, actually the first that I picked up, is the Scottish Spindle the Dealgan.  This is a tapered piece of wood with a cross cut into the wide base.  This spindle can be spun and the base wound on so that the yarn being spun forms a center pull ball.  This is a very neat spindle rediscovered in Nova Scotia, an article can be found in Spin-Off Magazine Winter 2018 issue.  As with many things that I covet, I am finding the reality to be a bit different from my imagination.  I am sure that I will learn to love this spindle, we just might have to come to terms with eachother.

The final major tool that I obtained during this Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is a Mini-Hackle with a cover created by Indigo Hound.  This amazing hackle was a fraction of the cost that I had seen similar items on sale for, actually I managed to obtain some very good sales at this event.  Previously I had seen individuals recommending the use of combs intended to get honey from honeycombs as wool combs so I had purchased a pair of these intending to use them as wool combs.  Now I hope to use them in conjunction with my new hackle to create some amazing combed fiber.

IMG_1760Speaking of purchases before and after the festival, my Christmas 2017 present finally arrived.  I had ordered an Electric Eel Wheel Mini from the kickstarter, and mine arrived the day before I was to leave for Maryland so it went with me.  I had so much fun learning to spin with this mini delight.  If you are looking for a completely silent electric spinning wheel, then don’t get this one.  There are amazing premium wheels that cost twenty times as much as this little delight that will give you a soundless experience.  For $60 I obtained a mini spinning wheel, accessories (orifice hook, spin control card, plying band, extra brake band, etc) and two extra bobbins for a total of three bobbins.  From other companies electric spinning wheels tend to start around $800 so I feel that I came out ahead.  This is not going to be my new default spinning wheel, however it might become a new tool for teaching drafting to new spinners in an easy way.  I did put the push pin in the front of the wheel to hold my working yarn.

The last experience I want to discuss, in addition to how amazing the entire festival was, is the opportunities there were for trying out different wheels and other tools.  The Yarn Barn of Kansas had a vast number of wheels available to test spin.  Everyone at that tent was very helpful and I managed to test spin two of the wheels I had been looking at for purchase, the Ashford Country Spinner 2 and a wheel with an orifice about 8 inches shorter than my current wheel. I discovered that the Ashford wheel is amazing, but the very heavy bobbins make it a little too clunky for what I was hoping to accomplish.  The Mini wheel was a lot of fun to spin with, very responsive and easy to use. but I am just tall enough that the yarn rubbed against the top of the orifice every time I fed it onto the bobbin.  Though this rubbing does not have any effect in the short term, I am concerned that it might be just a little too much wear and tear for a longer spin.

I was also able to test out two electric spinning wheels the Woolee Ann from the WooLee Winder company, and the Hansen Crafts spinning wheel.  These two delights are how I discovered that my Electric Eel Wheel mini is certainly the most basic form of an electric spinning wheel.  If you are looking for an electric spinning wheel and have the scratch look at these wheels or any of the ‘big brother’ versions of my Electric Eel wheel.  They are all delightful to spin.

In conclusion, I did not talk too much about prices, but I will let you know that all of the tools I purchased were well under the price points I had discovered online.  This in addition to the savings I accrued from a lack of shipping costs resulted in quite a bit of savings on the price of these tools.  Since I am a bargain hunter at heart I was very happy to discover this fact.  It will be my greatest delight in the rest of this year and the beginning of next to start to explore my acquired treasures and delight in the joy that they are all going to bring me.  I also plan on dreaming about next year’s Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, wondering what delights that will bring me!

Happy Crafting!

3D Printed Drop Spindle

drop-spindle

I managed to download this pattern from Thingiverse and it was created by kg6gfq.   One of the libraries that I work at obtained a 3d printer about a year ago but I have not heard of it being utilized too much.    Being the very curious person I am I decided to poke that particular rattlesnake and print something out.  I checked out Thingiverse and found Drop spindles, bobbins, even the plans for an Espinner out of printed materials.  I was over the moon, so I downloaded the ones I liked, came into work a couple of hours early, and started to mess around figuring things out.  The first thing I found out was that none of the files were in a format I could use.  Some checking around led me to believe that I needed them in Makerbot Formula.  None of the libraries computers had that format so I would have to bring my laptop next time (my home computer is a Mac but my Laptop runs Windows 10) install Makerbot and see what I could do.

The next week I brought my laptop in (I only work at that library once a week) downloaded the software and began to convert the files, it was actually pretty simple once the program was installed.  I was very happy thinking that I would now be able to print out, at least, my 3d spindle.  I went home pleased with how next week was going to go.

The third week into my venture I went to work an hour early to see about getting my printout started.  I plugged my usb drive in and went through the materials I wanted printed.  Everything worked perfectly, time estimates, printing sizes, etc.  Except that nothing would print out.  There was no filament waiting to be used to print.  Darn.  I looked around a bit and finally had to admit, I was going to have to ask someone.

After a couple of e-mails and a further couple of weeks I now have my 3d printed turkish spindle.  While it would have been a lot less aggravation to just order the thing from Turtlemade or another company that prints them, I am pleased that I now know how to convert a file to be usable on a Makerbot printer.  My next steps are to see about creating an original pattern to print out, finding out what they are going to charge in the future for printing jobs, and testing out my spindle.  I knew I should have brought fiber to work with me, lol.

Happy Crafting!