For those interested in 3D printing, I wrote a book!

Over the past several months I have been working on something. I’ve touched on it a bit here and there in posts about writing a book. Now I can actually talk about it!

The book is called Instant Slic3r. It is meant to be a beginner to intermediate level introduction to the software Slic3r, which is one piece of software you can use in your 3D printing suite of tools. As part of it being an introduction, and in Packt Publishing’s Instant series of books, it weighs in at around sixty odd pages.

Writing it took some effort, and is one of those things that I mentioned in yesterday’s post where I had to really focus. My workload for the book was 2 pages a day, and juggling that with work, family, commuting, and sleeping I had very little time for anything else.

Over the last few years, I have dug deep into the 3D printing community. Learning about various printers, getting in on a Kickstarter for one of my own, researching how they work and how they can be improved. It’s a big area to explore, and Slic3r is a small, though integral, part of it.

Instant Slic3r front coverThe book comes out soon, hence my ability to talk about it now. I don’t have an exact date, but I am told that it will be out and available in 3-4 weeks from now. When I get more information, like links to the book page itself, I will post them.

I hope if you are interested in 3D printing, you’ll pick up a copy. If you want any more information about the book, let me know in the comments.

Oh! Before I forget, I get to show you the cover too!


[UPDATE] The book is now available for purchase from multiple vendors. The main Packt site also links to the other places it is available:


DIY perils, why whatever do you mean?

This weekend was certainly a full one.

IMG_20130921_145657With the help of my parents, my father in the yard and my mother watching the girls and helping around the house, and Erin, I was able to get more work on the deck done.

Forty nine, 49, 4 * 10 + 9, bags of cement were mixed, poured, and leveled, into 26 holes in the ground. If you recall from the last deck update, those holes are 42 inches deep. So 3 feet 6 inches, 8 inches in diameter holes are now filled with cement.

There is still a huge amount of work to be done on the deck. It’s been nice to have something go right for once.

IMG_20130921_145804Over this next week we will be putting in the plates to secure the posts, and possibly putting in the posts. Depending on the cost, we will be getting a delivery or more of wood soon for the rest of the deck. The building permit runs out in October, so we are also looking into what it takes to extend that. If we can’t then we will be quite busy in the next few weeks!

Pick of the Day

So this last Saturday, before the rain here on Sunday, we performed a annual ritual around my house. That ritual? Going apple picking.

We’ve gone several years running now, and it’s always been a great time with the family. We don’t go in for the corn mazes, or the other bits and bobs that many of the larger orchards offer. I want to spend time with my kids and my wife, and going to a place like that just makes me want to leave.

A taste of fruitThis is the second time we’ve gone to this orchard. Last year, with the drought, they actually only had apples at the payment hut, but they allowed us to walk through the orchard. After an hour walk, we found a few apples in the trees, and they graciously let us just have them. We also bought some apples from them last year, this year though, had a much bigger crop.

We had arrived just before a larger crowd, and by larger I mean only three other cars. So things were calm and quiet. It was a wonderful sunny day in the high seventies. We went from tree to tree, looking for the apples that were larger and more ripe than the others. The place we go to doesn’t use pesticides on their trees, so we also had to look out for wasps and other stinging insects. There were some, but as is normal, we left them alone, they left us alone.

Erin watched and took pictures while with my youngest on my shoulders, we were able to reach some really nice apples. Handing them from her hand, down to me, then my oldest, and into the bag, it was a great way to bond and develop a memory that we will all share.

After fifteen minutes of picking apples in their honey crisp section, we had gathered over 20 pounds of apples. Nearly 1o kilograms! That is a lot of apples. So far, aside from eating them, Erin has made apple turnovers – of which I have demanded more.

We took some more time to look through the orchard, and took the scenic route back to the entrance and the payment hut. We had a nice conversation about their cider and how the triple beam scale worked for weighing the apples as we checked out. It’s a pleasant place, and well worth the time Erin and I spent with the girls.

Overall, this is about spending time with family. Getting out, doing something beyond the norm, being with the people you are with, and taking things more slowly, at a pace you can really grasp. I’ve spent too much time in front of monitors of some kind, and so have my kids. While this didn’t take long at all to do, maybe 3 hours at most on the Saturday, it is something I will remember for years. Well worth ditching a computer for.

More, of the Perils of DIY

So, as we last left off, I was having some professionals come over and finish the holes for the deck’s footings. Watching them work, and seeing them use the same auger (the third if you had been keeping count) that Erin and I did, made me feel that I made the right choice.

They struggled, cursed, and were worn out after three hours of digging holes. The Schadenfreude was strong with this one. Yet, they weren’t done! After all the time, and an extra day of renting a the auger, they were still unable to finish that first day. I couldn’t afford the rental for a fourth day of the auger, so they agreed to come back the next day and complete the job with hand tools.

So they hauled out the auger once more, making sure the holes were at the 42″ depth we needed. Then, dirt loosened for the next day, they departed. A part of me wondered if they would actually return. Several of the rocks that we had all pulled out of the holes were the size of a… there just isn’t a good everyday object to compare them to. Oh, wait, Frisbee! Yes, the size of a very solid and hard Frisbee.

Return they did though! It took them another three hours with hand tools: trenching bar, two post hole diggers, and even a four tine garden tiller. At the end of it, the holes were done!

I was then able to get concrete tube forms from the local Home Depot, and put them in the holes. All except one. I thought I had 25 holes, but somehow I have 26. So I need to figure out where that last one came from, and if it should be there. Also, there are still some rocks preventing me from putting some tubes all the way in the holes. So the breaker bar needs to come out again.

Once some other family matters settle, I will have some pre-mixed concrete delivered. I really don’t feel like carting home and mixing 1.5 cubic yards (over 500 lbs.) of cement by hand. I’ve asked for quotes, and the cost is worth the saving of effort to me. It also guarantees that the concrete will be properly mixed when it’s put into the ground.

Next up, setting the posts. Maybe I can have the deck in before Christmas at this rate.