[Chicago] Repraps

Jonathan Palecek jonathan at creativecommons.org
Fri Dec 16 00:56:52 CET 2011

Hi everyone!

I've been prodded by C'webber and Carl Karsten to volunteer to give a
talk about RepRaps and 3d printing.  While not strictly about Python,
most of the software I use is written in Python, so I could talk about
some of that.  And - of course - it would be obligatory for me to
bring in my RepRap and print something awesome while talking.

Question is, what do you want to hear about most?  There is a great
deal of depth involved in building and modifying a home-made 3d
For one, I could talk about all of the stuff I didn't know, and
venturing out into a reasonably difficult project with little
qualifications to do so an zero documentation - and all of the cool
stuff I discovered in the process.  Another thing, the device is
controlled by an Arduino which receives g-code commands from the
computer via a serial interface.  I'm sure there's some interesting
stuff going on in the firmware that I could dig up, or in how some of
the logic is implemented in hardware; and possible ways either of
these could be improved.  Or I could talk about the parts where python
is actually involved:  I use blender for modeling, SFACT - a huge
intimidating pile of python used for slicing 3d models and generating
commands to drive the printer; and pronterface - a printer interface,
also written in python.

Though, the only hacking I've done to any of these things is change a
maximum value for a tkinter widget in SFACT so that I could cheat on
my printer calibration.

Another, somewhat related bit, is I did write a 3d model slicing
program back in college.  It is a hideous combination of all sorts of
hacks and tape, and probably a great example of what not to do except
that it actually works quite well for what it is.  And I wrote it in
an afternoon.  I've been thinking of revisiting some of the (only)
good ideas in that approach and possibly writing my own g-code
generator.  If I were to discuss that, this would be primarily a talk
on using python and glsl in tandem to use the GPU to do awesome stuff
without really having to deal directly with the mathematics involved.

There is also a lot of interesting community related stuff going on
surrounding this newfangled 3d printing and open hardware thing.

So yeah, discuss.  What sort of stuff would you be interested in
hearing from me on this, if anything at all?

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