Month: February 2015

Crowdsourcing and account deletions

Recently I ran into two separate but converging issues, namely crowdsourcing and account management on websites.

As it happened, I needed an app on the Web that would enable me to maintain a list of people who sign up for an event in June. I looked into quite a few of these and selected three to try out.

First I checked Doodle. It works fine, if you only need to see who will attend, but I needed a little more than it could do. I signed up anyway and used it to pick meeting times for the organizing committee. For that Doodle works well. It lets you create a poll and send out a link to selected people, so they can then pick the meeting times that suit them. Continue reading Crowdsourcing and account deletions

Printing gears, part II

Now that we have covered the somewhat tricky route of tracing gear curves from images (which, by the way, you can use to create meshes out of any image) in part I, let’s have a look at the eMachineShop way. eMachineShop is a free gear designing software from the firm by the same name. They allow you to use their proprietary software for free in personal use, and then you can order the final product from them in a variety of machining finishes. I commend such an approach, especially since the software exports pure STL for our needs.

You can download the software package from and install it. When you start it the first time, you see a tutorial screen, but you can turn it off once you have the hang of the software. As it happens, it is very powerful, but a little quirky.

The main window looks like this: Continue reading Printing gears, part II

Printing gears, part I

Gears are an interesting set of things to print. With gears you can make all kinds of things, and if you run an Arduino or a Raspberry Pi, you can significantly extend the toolbox when you can design custom gears. Of course, on Thingiverse, you have literally thousands of gears to pick and print from, but surely you want to make your own?

Blender itself has a Gears add-on, which you can install merely by downloading it and using the Install Add-on feature in the User Preferences. It adds a new type of meshes to the Add Mesh menu, namely Gears. In it you have Gear and Worm Gear, of which I will leave the Worm Gear for later.

Continue reading Printing gears, part I