There’s a Chicken in the Lab

One item on my bucket list has been to learn how to make a video game. I figured forced isolation due to the pandemic gave me the time I needed to dive into this project. After 100 hours, I was able to produce Chicken in the lab! where you – the chicken – need to pick up the elements (in order of atomic number) that have been scattered across the lab by an evil Biology Professor.

I’ll have a link to the game once I get it all packaged up for distribution for the 1 or 2 of you daring enough to try it out. Meanwhile, check out this video commentary about my experience with the Unreal Engine 4. You can just jump to 5:55 and see gameplay if you’d like.

My first UE4 video game: Chicken in the Lab.

Cribbage board

I’ve had some time to work on my CNC milling and made a Cribbage board for my Dad for Father’s Day. (Yes, I’m late.) We just made it back from a safe, socially distant family vacation in New Hampshire, a place my family has visited for about 4 generations. One of our family traditions is to play Cribbage and we introduced it to my brother-in-law and my nephew. I think they enjoyed it, but you can never really tell because, well, families are not really supposed to share their opinions with one another, right? At least my nephew shared his opinion: it’s boring. Apparently the only thing that isn’t boring to this 15-year-old is a game on his phone where you endlessly “collect power ups to get to the next level”.

Maple cribbage board with oak inlay. Pegs are spray-painted finishing nails cut to size.

Making COVID stay away

Do a web search on 3D printing and COVID, and you’ll find endless examples of the 3D printing industry (both commercial and hobbyist) mobilizing to create personal protective equipment (PPE) in response to the severe shortages that many countries face. If you have any experience with 3D printing, helping out is as simple as downloading the design files (such as this one for face masks or this one for face shields), sending them to the printer, and waiting 3+ hours for the printer to do its job.(*)

Finished print of the US version of Prusa’s face shield.

So when Tim of Adirondack oral and maxillofacial surgery contacted Zak Robinson, my colleague over in the Physics department, and lamented his inability to secure PPE for his staff, Zak and I got to work. Both of us use 3D printing in our teaching and research activities at SUNY Brockport, and when the pandemic shut down the campus for the remainder of the semester, we each brought home our printers so we could carry on with our making.

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#Making ready for COVID-19

It sounds like the CDC is going to recommend that everyone wear face masks to help fight spread of the coronavirus. Now, since the government is incapable of handling the most rudimentary of supply chain issues (probably because a few senior officials refused to recognize the thread), we are supposed to make our own. Fortunately, we can. Rozenn and I made some for the droids too. No one knows how the virus affects droids, so best to be on the safe side.

We are a prepared #MakerFamily
Just because they are droids doesn’t mean they cannot have bespoke PPE

#Make ready for COVID

There’s a lot of buzz on the interweb about 3D-printing personal protective equipment (PPE) in light of the severe shortages across the country and especially close by to me. (I’m sure it has nothing to do with sending much of our supply to china last month.) I wanted to see how easy it was to actually do.

I’ve got my 3D printer, a Prusa MK2, up-and-running in my home office. I followed these instructions for making a mask and this design for the face shield. Both designs are reported to be printable without the use of supports or other fancy settings, so I loaded them on the build plate and off I went. After 5 hours of printing (3 for the mask, 2 for the shield) I ended up with this.

Green screen added for future special effects 🙂

I’m surprised at how well these designs printed with no modifications needed. I’ve got some temperature calibration to tweak because both designs have overhangs that printed poorly but only affected the aesthetics of the final object. Double sided tape worked just fine to keep the document transparency in place. I’m now ready to fight the coronavirus … or clean the litter box.