DFN Happy Hour No. 31: Servos ring, are you listening…

Coming up Friday at 5:30 pm PST members Barb Noren (BarbMakesThings), Tod Kurt (todbot) and Carlyn Maw (carlynorama) holiday on. Barb wraps her tentacles around Fishmas merry making while Carlyn and Tod bring even more color to the tree!


Last Week Redux: December 11th

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This Week Preview


Let’s be real here for a minute about me and coding. I don’t live there like Tod and Carlyn do. I’ve visited and even done like a couple exchange programs for a couple months, but when I go to visit, I have to like find my passport and the proper plug adapters (which, where the hell even are they?), and remind myself which direction traffic goes, which takes forever. And I speak the language a little bit, but I’m not fluent. Like I could order lunch and understand vaguely when someone tries to direct me to a local repair shop, but I would have no clue how to communicate what’s actually wrong with my car. Could I move there and become fluent? I have no doubt. I just don’t visit enough cuz I’m so busy.

So when I say “okay, I’m gonna make an octopus, which moves, and I’m gonna use something different than what I’ve used before,” I know I can do it. And then I enjoy the wonderful engineering challenge of creating the body, figuring out the mechanisms of it, modeling and printing them, because that’s a language I know well. But then I’ve gotta do the part that requires the stuff outside of my comfort zone, it takes forever, and it feels like I’m making just painfully slow progress.

Figuring out how to unlock and get into your car and then turn it on is not a thing that most people would consider an achievement. But there was a lot that went into finding the right keys and relearning the ignition, and now I’m sitting here with the drivers manual, trying to figure out how to use the turn signal and shift into first. Remembering the very basics from that short intro to Python class and trying to figure out the stuff that I didn’t know before is taking a while. So here’s a pile of the things I’m messing with now. I can make the servos move, but not quite do what I want yet

I did get Nixie’s eyes fixed tho, so there’s that. Oh, and I have another Fishmas song.

Tod & Carlyn


We recently got some inexpensive multicolored 0.3mm technical markers (AmzAffil) for use on the AxiDraw and they are pretty good! For this week’s batch of days for our 31-box AxiDraw calendar, I wanted to play with doing “flood fill” / solid color fills. Normally the “hatch fill” extension part of the AxiDraw Inkscape extensions creates slanted lines to imply a filled color. I knew a true full fill would be touchy because the paper can tear when fully inked, but I wanted to try. It turns out to work great!

There’s not much of a trick to it, just adjust the “hatch fill” algorithm to have closely-spaced lines (“2” for a 0.3mm pen worked well) and “connect nearby ends” to go back-n-forth to minimize pen up/down messiness. Also orienting your hatch direction, optimizing for your object (0º in my case) can make the fill succeed better. Plotting does take a while (especially for multi-colors like the 12 ornaments) and does cause some bleed-through. But I think it looks awesome. 


Tiny little 30mm x 30mm “toys” for each day… this week based on the corresponding periodic table of elements!

  • 14: Silicon, ATTiny85 series… but ask me about radiolaria and how they make silicious ooze.
  • 15: Phosphorus, matchstick
    • Mondeluz Aquarelle Colored Pencils (weighted, see below) 3720/03 and 3720/07 and 3720/05
    • Art-n-Fly Fine Line Drawing Pen, 0.3, red and yellow. No specific color number on package
  • 17: Chlorine, a riff on the Clorox Logo
    • Art-n-Fly Fine Line Drawing Pen, 0.3, red, yellow, light blue, dark blues. No specific color number on package


I make things that do stuff. The best, though, is teaching others to do the same. Founder of @crashspacela Alum of @ITP_NYU

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