Talk Series on Additions

This week's talk starts a new series on Additions. The Bill of Materials website is now live. Finally, lightening strikes.

The Story of the Bible

Ryan is back in front of the camera. In this week's talk he reviews the Story of the Bible as told by the Bible. This is a very important overview that came together for us at the same time as we were learning about additions.

On a day-to-day basis we normally just deal with additions, but it is really important to have an overview of the story itself. This talk sets the context for the next several talks.

Bill Of Materials Website

We returned from travel 2 weeks ago after 6 long days on the road. When I got back to my desk I was mush-brain, like I'd flown home from Europe. So, I needed something simple to work on. I turned to the website, which needed mostly simple work, arranging web pages, formatting artwork and writing up notes.

I'd previously prepared 10 series of parts for use on that website. With a little over a week of work I was able to finish the other 11 series. So the site was finally deployed live this week. This is by far the largest website I've ever built.

Here are some final stats. Over 3.6 GB of data spread across more than 4400 files. There are 982 recommended part numbers, with 1764 specific copies of those parts that need to be 3D printed. There are 109 optional part numbers, with 172 specific pieces that might be printed from that set.

The optional parts handle various 3D printer variations, custom support material, assembly jigs, and simplified bases.

There are also 127 assembly artworks that are complicated 3D models that don't generate 3D printable parts but show how parts go together when assembled. This artwork took the most time to prepare and generally takes the most time to render.

My lingering performance problem was solved by simplifying the alignment pins used throughout the set. Instead of small spheres for these pins I now use small pyramids. This removes the 100s of facets on sphere surfaces and replaces them with typically 4 facets. By reworking this geometry I also fixed lid lamination problems. Lids are much stronger and use far less glue.

I'm using a parameterized design, which lets me render all the parts in 3 different scales. 2 inch, 3 inch and 4 inch, or 50mm, 75mm and 100mm for the letter height. All the rest of the models, besides the letters, are matched in scale. This still takes a long time to render, even on 40 CPUs, but it can be done in under a day.

Even at the smallest, 2 inch, scale, the entire series represents 100s of hours of 3D printer time, so don't lightly undertake making a copy.

If you do decide to print parts from this new website, your 3D printer must be reliable, safe, and perfectly calibrated.

This alphabet work began in August of 2009, so it represents a 10 year journey of discovery. There is still 1 more section waiting for the future that links the alphabet to inspired page layout. That waits until I completely understand inspired page layout.

This new website is linked off of, but the direct URL is...

Lightening Strikes

Ryan and I had planned this week's video for last week. As happens, lightening struck, and we missed the day. Let me tell you the story.

There was a big storm that crossed through where we live in the hills west of Colorado Springs. Massive bolts of lightening were striking all over our hill top, shaking the house like I've never felt before.

A day later, we went to prepare dinner, and the water pressure in the kitchen faucet was way low. Normally around 18 lbs at the house, it was under 4 lbs. I was told by a plumber to install a pressure gauge when we replumbed a year ago. Sage advice.

Because we live at nearly the top of the hill, we'd see problems before nearly anyone else. I'm a volunteer on the water board, and texted the president of the board. The text back was, I'm out of town, go check the control panel and figure out what is wrong.

Not like I'd ever looked at the system's main control panel, all I knew was where it was located. Anyway, short answer, it was fried, along with one of the pump controllers located at a remote well house.

Did I tell you it had snowed that day? 2 inches or so? Anyway, Ryan and I traipsed off through the snow to set the remaining wells to manual run.

That process starts with a huge key ring of unlabeled keys, a hunt for the location of the padlock and a guess at which button to push. It was hilarious, though I did loose my wallet somewhere in that process, which was not funny at all.

We got the remaining pumps running. The board president was out of town, but, calling in the cavalry... our expert plumber had caught up with us, knowing where the locks were located and knowing the right button to push. We had the expectation that was enough, the system should recover by morning, even without the main computer, so we called it a night.

The next morning we had no water pressure at all, the overnight manual runs were not enough to recover. Our system had 'dry-pipe' which is a state level water system emergency. With nobody else around to oversee the mess, it fell to me.

Instead of peacefully recording a Friday talk and writing a normal Friday blog post, we rode heard over the various people who came to replace the damaged equipment, the people who came to find out why they had no water, the people who came to educate me on the severity of the mess I was in and the salesman who successfully sold me several tanker trucks of water.

We were also there when our licensed operator dealt with the State of Colorado and when he restarted the system late on Friday. Note a layman can safely turn off a big water system, but it takes a license (and clever wrist action) to safely turn it back on.

It was an interesting educational day on how water systems work, but it was not what we had planned and why we missed last Friday.

Hopefully, More Later,