Intersectional Interests

About a month ago, I decided to take the plunge and buy a 3D printer.

My partner, along with other friends have been very curious about why I am getting interested in Rapid Prototyping and making in general (when my major is not very related), and I have actually been similarly curious why I continually want to build knowledge of any and all tech into my schema. After all, while we have been told that generalism is a good trait to have, often the intersection of interests doesn’t go too far into other fields, and it certainly doesn’t involve mastery.

In a postmodern society, we notice that our surnames are based upon trades and locations, but we don’t necessarily stick to one vocation that the family arbitrarily chose many a year ago (like being a Smith/Blacksmith). As such, I believe that it makes more sense to become a library, as not to pigeonhole myself. That’s why this site encapsulates so many different skills or rudimentary interests that I have gravitated to.

These things integrate in an interesting way, and all tech builds off of standing on the shoulders of giants. I want to be the kind of person who someone will trust to make something, even if I don’t even know how to. I will learn. So I bought a Printrbot Simple Metal, which is an introductory printer that uses 1.75mm PLA filament. I have been testing out what the limitations of supportless 3D printing can do, and therefore I have been trying some rather new ideas out.

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I tried to make a car key for my 1999 VW New Beetle GLS 2.0 Liter. I researched into the keys after my partner lost the key (which we later found again). VW keys are laser cut or routed. Models before the year 2000 do not have an immobilizer that requires RFID confirmation, so I should be fine without the tag. With a caliper and a few reference photos, I was able to model out the key and get it partly into the lock and get a few tumblers to catch without setting off my alarm. Some tolerance-ing will hopefully fix my key issue, and I want to try out different methods of making the key, such as using a laser cutter on 1/8″ (3mm) sheeted plexiglass.

I also bought an Arduino Uno, an Adafruit 5V Trinket, and some addressable RGB LEDs called Neopixels. I hope that these will help me learn how to animate lighting on my projects. Perhaps this will help me improve on my prop-making along with other things. My current sights are set on perfecting the LED bases that I have been prototyping out for my acrylic Greek paddles.

10380433_572657156189767_1604759399569303787_oIntersecting interests has always been a discussion that Adam Savage of Mythbusters has talked about in his podcasts in Tested. In his words, the concept of making requires building off of previous skills. So, generalism in making starts with specific interests. To stop learning and say that you have learned everything is simply untrue, and also a grand disservice to one’s self.