Monthly Archives: March 2021

K40 Updates

Well the unthinkable happened.  My K40 fouled up.  I’m not sure what happened but my working theory is that my accidentally dropping the laser tube door really hard caused a retainer to fall out, which in turn released spring tension on mirror #1.

Retainer and Spring on Mirror Assembly

Laser beams were firing all over the place.   The dreaded realization came to me that I had to do a mirror alignment on the K40.

Okay, I removed the #1 mirror and reinstalled the spring and retainer and remounted it.

To my surprise I got it back real close to where it was just by using a sharpie to locate orientation.

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Network Security – Part Deux

Your network probably is comprised of the modem/wifi router provided by your Internet Service Provider.  Most people I know are configured this way.

This is the ABSOLUTE, WORST POSSIBLE security scenario there is.   It is typically extremely old, and unmaintained in terms of software / firmware.  And you probably lease the equipment from them for $10 a month or something.  That $50 hunk of hardware has already netted them hundreds of dollars from you……..if not thousands.

So the smart play is to go buy your own router and modem.  Walmart and Target sell them and it’s more than likely that is where you will go.  Or Amazon.   First of all you cannot just hook a modem to your home.  You have to call the cable company and ask them to “provision” it.   They have to apply the settings to it to allow it to work on their network.  There is NO WAY for you to do this.  They have to do it.   if there are firmware updates for your modem you have to call the cable company and tell them to apply them or “re-provision” your modem.   You can have a secure router (HA!) and have a crappy modem which will allow you to be compromised.

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Revisiting Routers and Security and Alternative Firmware

I get on a network security / router security kick every now and again.   For the last week or so I have been reconfiguring my main router.  I have a Netgear R7800 that was running a firmware called OpenWRT.   I prefer to run Open Source firmware on my routers for a couple of reasons.

  1. Users can view the code.  When you buy a router at Walmart or Target or from Amazon or wherever it comes with the manufacturers proprietary firmware.  You have no idea what is in the code.   Also their goals are to make money, and make the router as simple as possible so you don’t call their paid support centers.  Complex configurations that are safer cause connection problems.
  2. There is a community of people who submit security and performance changes to the Open Source firmwares.   When exploits are discovered they are patched.   When is the last time you got a firmware update on your home router?

Router exploits and bugs are SCARY and all too frequent.  Here is a good resource where recent bugs against routers and modems are listed from news articles.  Scroll down that list.  I bet you won’t get far before you see a recent exploit discovered against your home router.

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Prusa Mini+ Upgrades – So Far

The actual goal of 3D printing is to make your 3D printer unrecognizable from its stock form is less than one week.

Seriously, who hasn’t owned a 3D printer and “upgraded” it instantly?

It’s not like a Prusa Mini+ or i3 Mk3S+ isn’t good enough right out of the box.

I’ve had my Mini a week now and I have built the perfect beast.   Nothing I have done has actually made the printer print better though.  At least I realize that, huh?

 

First of all I love me some Wyze Cameras and smart outlets.  I can VPN into my network and watch my cameras.  In the event something horrible went wrong with a print I can go into my Home Automation and just chop power to the outlet.  Not real elegant but better than letting a print run for 12 hours with nothing actually stuck to the bed.  And, yeah, I know about Octoprint.  Again, not elegant but it gets the job done.

Wyze Cameras

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Prusa Mini+ Kit Review

Prusa Mini+ Kit

First of all I have to say I have been 3D printing since 2015 and bought my first Prusa in maybe 2016 or 2017.  So I’ve been around the block a time or two.  No, I’m not a super expert like some folks but I do have some experience that lends me to share a thought or two.

My Prusa experience kind of shakes out like this:

  • Bought i3 Mk2
  • Upgraded i3 Mk2 to Mk2S
  • Bought i3 Mk3S+
  • Upgraded i3 Mk2S to i3 Mk2.5S
  • Bought and built Mini + kit.

Okay, I have no huge print farm, just three printers and 5 builds and upgrades.  But let me tell you this……..The Prusa Mini + is IMPRESSIVE.

You expect a lot from an $800 3D printer like the i3 Mk3S+……. that’s a no-brainer………but you don’t expect as much from a $349 3D printer.

But there’s the rub…….The Prusa Mini+ is a CRAZY GOOD 3D PRINTER.  I can’t believe it.  Not a lot impresses me but this printer is incredible.

Okay, what are the downsides?  Number 1 it isn’t called a “Mini” without a reason.  The build plate is much smaller than the other offerings.  That being said there have been very few times I have stretched the limit of the size of my 3D printer bed.  Most of the things I print will fit on the Mini build plate.

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What Are Your Settings? Laser Stuff

Here is a common occurrence on laser forums and groups.  Post a picture of something cool and within about 4.1643 seconds someone will ask, “What Are Your Settings?”

Unquestionably a valid thought from someone who saw what you did and seeks to emulate it.   And most of us want to help answer that question.  We really do.

But there are a LOT of variables involved in a burn.  My settings could produce great results but could start a fire at your house.  Here’s an example worth noting that happened to me just today.  I have a K40 laser and have settings saved for Baltic Birch Plywood.  I bought a new lens and cleaned all the mirrors and ran a job.  That which was supposed to etch my plywood burned slap through it.   New lens was a heck of an improvement, I guess.

Here are some variables:

  1. The type of wood or material you are burning on.  I may have 3 layer Baltic Birch and you may have 7 layer.  My plywood may have glue made by virgins with harps and your glue may have been produced by the Communist Chinese.
  2. The direction of the grain.  Lasers etch and burn better in some directions than others.
  3. Air Assist.  If I have an air assist and you don’t then my settings may not be relevant to your setup.
  4. Focus.  I may be focused using a microscope and you may have no idea of what the actual state of your focus is.
  5. Temperature.  If using a CO2 laser, cooler water temps can produce more efficient burns.
  6. Lens cleanliness.  If my lens is clean and yours is dirty my settings are useless to you.
  7. Diode intensity.  I may have a brand new diode laser and you may have been burning at 100% power for 6 months.  Diode lasers wear out.  CO2 in a laser tube depletes.  Also you might have a 4.5 watt output and I might have a 5.5 watt output laser.

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