So from being just an idea on my head Tuesday evening, 36 hours later my 3D EUC store is pretty much ready to open. In that amount of time I have installed/bought the Pro Version of the WordPress store plug in, bought, installed, and configured a SSL certificate on the site, created a Stamps.com account to make shipping easy, and have had four of my five printers spitting out parts. Of course all of this is on the assumption that people want to buy the stuff we are producing, hopefully that assumption is correct. If you want to see the store you can go here.
For payment options, I have two. People can either use Paypal or a credit card directly which is sort of cool. I was able to set up the credit card processing using my Square account which I already had. So this will be an interesting experiment to see how it all works out. Obviously this needs to be a positive cash flow operation. I’ve already got to sell probably 20 stands just to break even on what I spent to get it all set up.
Last night I installed the cargo bars for the Segway I2 that I ordered last week. The bars are extremely light weight yet feel very strong at the same time. Installation of them required removal of three screws, replaced with three longer screws and a washer. It should make transporting the transporter much more doable for a single person. Of course I documented it.
Ever since I started 3D printing stands that Mathias designed for my electric unicycles I have gotten positive comments about them from the community online, including interest in possibly purchasing them. I have been printing out some updated designs, replacing some of the originals I made. At this point I have almost a half dozen spares.
Well last night out of the blue I decided to look at store plug ins for WordPress, which is what I use for eucarmy.com. I quickly landed on something named WP Easy Cart. Even the free version had everything I would need. The software seems to be the right mix of simple to set up for basic needs while being able to add features if you are building a real storefront. I was quickly able to add a few listings and allow customers to pay for the items with Paypal.
One of the trickiest things to deal with is shipping costs. For that reason I am only shipping to the continental US for now. Based on how things go, and demand, if any, I may ship elsewhere if I can find a way to do it with reasonable cost.
Like I said this is entirely experimental. Cindy thinks there are a number of things that I have 3D printed that could be sold and she has been making a ton of sellable items with her Cameo 3. I guess we’ll see how it goes. As I left the house this morning I had three of my five printers cranking out EUC stand parts.
When I was driving back from the gym yesterday I found myself getting annoyed, as I often do with moronic behavior by other drivers. I randomly started singing an obscenity filled song in tune with what was playing on the radio. Once I got back I remembered how my dash cam records audio. Last night I ripped off those segments of the footage to hopefully add to a dash cam compilation in the future. I played the clips for Cindy, it made her laugh out loud, hard.
So yesterday I was at one of our larger remote branches and suddenly heard someone say “Do you have a YouTube channel?” With a surprised look on my face I looked up and saw the question was coming from the security guard. He went on to tell me he is a 3D printer hobbyist like me and has seen a number of my 3d printing videos. He said he heard my voice and recognized it immediately.
We talked a little bit, he has five printers as I do so he is as deep if not deeper into it than I am. It was the first time I have been recognized out in public by a stranger solely from my channel, it was an odd but cool experience at the same time. The channel has now added another 10% to it’s subscriber base in the last couple months and the channel is closing in on 2.5 million views.
So last night when I put the chickens to bed I immediately noticed that Pumpkin was out of place. For some reason she was under the nesting boxes on the floor, in a corner. I picked her up and placed her on the perch but she looked uncomfortable. Cindy just happened to come in the coop while I was doing this. I told her where Pumpkin was and how she looked a bit odd to me.
When we looked at her more it sort of looked like she might need to lay an egg. It is not unusual for the hens to sometimes drop an egg during the night although it doesn’t happen often. Well, with Peaches fall and ultimate death several weeks back I didn’t want to take any chances. I pulled back the netting we cover the nesting boxes with at night and placed Pumpkin in there so she could lay an egg if she needed to and that she would not be at risk of falling if something else was wrong.
This morning when I woke up I looked at the coop camera and saw she was in the box with her head down. I didn’t see any movement so I was concerned. I then used my phone to turn on the light in the coop remotely to see if she moved. I still didn’t see anything however after the coop door opened up automatically at 6:30 I saw she was up and about which brought out a literal sigh of relief. I don’t need any more abrupt chicken deaths in my life.
I made this last night. Katie still has her mail delivered to our house so it can pile up in between her pick ups. The 3D printed mail/key holder should be just the ticket to keep it safe and organized moving forward.
Saturday morning I got up to do my run. I knew it was supposed to be cool but I didn’t expect it to be cold. Well the thermometer in the car read 45 degrees on the way to the track. I was glad I chose a long sleeve t-shirt to run in. It took me at least three laps until my internal body temperature started to regulate against the cold air. The run went as most do, thoughts of quitting early to thoughts of relief as I finish up.
After finishing up chicken chores and weeding we headed out with Elsa to run some errands. One of the things we picked up was a new strainer basket for the pool pump as well as a new hose for the inline chlorinator. It is a hose that connects the chlorinator to the return water feed. I have futzed with this hose several times over the years. It is installed at an odd angle and has a tendency to want to collapse on itself, making it useless. I have replaced it already a few times only to have it collapse shortly thereafter. After some careful manipulation of the support spring and hose I think I finally have it as it should be. Even though it was a very minor repair, I was able to skim some satisfaction from finally getting it installed right.
Cindy and I made plans to go to Seasons 52 to celebrate our five year anniversary. I had tried early in the week to get reservations but the time block between 3:45 and 8:15 was booked solid. We decided we would just go there and hang at the bar to wait for a table.
When we got there at 5:30 the lot was already quite full. We went inside fully prepared to wait, awhile. We did not realize that Seasons 52 had a similar layout to Carrabas. The right side of the house is the formal dining room where the reservations are held. However around the bar on the left there are a booths that are first come first serve. They were all full but there was only one couple waiting for one ahead of us. We wound up sitting down after 10 minutes or less, an unexpected outcome.
Our dinner was very good. Cindy and I both cleaned our plates and the little miniature desert shot glasses we ordered. It was probably one of the more expensive dinners for two but it was a special occasion worthy of the effort. We both left amazed that we somehow managed to complete the dinner in roughly two hours, travel included. Saturday night we watched the Tom Cruise version of The Mummy. It was entertaining enough and had an ending that I definitely did not expect. It was a notch below what I normally get out of Tom’s movies but I’d still go B+ overall.
Sunday was a beautiful morning. Cindy and I went to North Collier Park to ride around, her on the big Segway I2, me on the tiny Mten3. Not far into the ride I heard a loud beep come from my wheel. I looked down and saw the battery indicator was not full, which it normally would be. I quickly realized that I must have forgotten to recharge the wheel after I rode it to Dunkin Donuts a couple weeks ago. The battery level indicator showed about half full so I thought I would be fine for our ride. I babied the wheel for another two or three miles but the beeping soon became incessant so we had to cut the ride short. Even with the abbreviated ride we had fun.
The rest of our Sunday was laid back. I had a number of 3D prints cooking and Cindy was hard core into her crafting. I also got several hours of time in WoW which was fun since the week prior had little time for such activity. We emerged from the weekend happy with how it flowed and looking forward to the next.
So Cindy and I headed out for the fair shortly after I got home. The temp was right around 70 and forecast to drop so I bundled up, knowing just how cold it can feel at the fair this time of year based on prior experiences. I had on jeans, a t-shirt, Under Armour Cold Gear long sleeve shirt and a hooded sweatshirt on top. Cindy wore a couple layers too but I told her that I thought it might not be enough based on her lack of tolerance for cold. It wasn’t.
So I immediately noticed after parking that they really switched up the layout of the fair this year. They have been tweaking it in recent years but this was even more dramatic. They relocated the normal entrance about 100 yards to the south which was odd. It cost me 10 bucks to get in. Cindy gets in for free since she is a veteran which is very cool.
We were both hungry so we decided to grab our traditional, once a year fair dinner of arepas with a side order of maduros that we split. It was good as usual but filling. We then headed into the barn area which is one of the highlights where we got to see the various farm animals. They didn’t seem to have as many animals as in years past but that might be because we were in the latter half of the fair, it seems the judging was already done so some owners may pull their animals out. We didn’t get to go into the large animal side of the barn unfortunately as it was closed off to the public.
We caught a few shows as we walked the grounds, including the Hansen’s Spectacular, a family acrobatic act that was corny but endearing at the same time. As I watched I wondered if this was how the family made a living, it just did not seem possible based on the handful of people in the stands. I just can’t believe county fairs pay these performers much at all. We also caught part of a funny magic act and a Ninja Warrior style show that was entertaining.
We made our obligatory stop into the petting zoo tent where Cindy got to feed and interact with a bunch of animals. I let her do most of the feeding although I did enjoy giving the camel a few slices of carrot.
I had much less of a fair food gluttony than normal. Other than the arepa and maduro the only other thing I had was some hot cocoa. I bet my fair calorie consumption was half of my historical average.
As I feared, Cindy was freezing her ass off once the sun went down. We headed out around 9pm. Overall the fair seemed like it had less stuff than I was accustomed to but we still had a fun time. If it was a few degrees warmer I would have been happy to explore some more.
Before we left I had started a print of another revision of the drumsticks I designed for Cindy. I added a ball to the top so it looked more like a drumstick and less like a spear. When we got home I checked on the print to find the print head moving back and forth in mid-air with nothing coming out, lovely.
It appeared that I developed a clog in the Bowden tube. Based on past experience with clogs, some of which set me off into a black hole of frustration, I decided to just pull the original tube and replace it with an upgraded Capricorn PTFE Bowden tube I bought awhile back. Again having past experience with the problem was helpful. I now know that if you try to replace anything having to do with the hot end, it needs to be HOT when you do it. Otherwise hardened plastic will make your efforts futile.
It took a little futzing until I completed the swap out but I was eventually successful. I restarted the print job, printing two copies of the model at the same time. This morning we were rewarded with two perfectly legitimate looking drumsticks with FFC embossed into them. Of course the true test will be once Cindy puts them through a few sessions to see how they hold up to real world use.
Last night I did a video with my thoughts on my dash cam mirror now that I have had it for a week or so. I narrated on top of some of the footage which includes an idiot in a Mustang cutting in front of five other vehicles, including myself when exiting the gym parking lot. The footage looked very clean. I expected the video to include audio but didn’t realize I had the mic on the Sendow turned off.
Cindy has had an idea about using drumsticks as part of a fitness class. She asked if I could find a model and 3D print her some. I did indeed find a model for drumsticks but they were designed as three pieces you pressed together. I printed a couple sets but they would not go together completely and the joints would surely be a failure point.
I got the idea of making my own drumstick in Tinkercad, utilizing the huge build height of the CR-10 to print the stick as one solid piece. I set the print off before bed and awoke this morning to a completed drumstick on end, very cool.
That was version 1.0 of the model. I am currently printing version 1.1 that has Cindy’s website initials embossed on the side of it. I already have version 1.2 planned which will include a ball at the top so the drumstick will be less spear-like.
Tonight Cindy and I will be making our annual visit to the county fair. It is always an interesting experience, always.
If it was possible to create a blueprint for how I would like most weekends to be it would be like this past one. The weather was perfect with cool mornings and pleasantly warm afternoons with an abundance of blue sky.
Saturday morning I got out and resumed my running program after a two week hiatus due to illness. Although the act of running three and a half miles was difficult as expected, it was offset by the sense of accomplishment afterward. The cool air temps in the mid-50’s definitely was beneficial.
When I got back Cindy let me know that I managed to catch another one of the palm rats, bringing my total to four. As with the others I drove the little annoying bastard a couple miles away and let him loose into the undergrowth to fend for himself. I know there is at least one more adult in the coop area. If I can catch him I will finally feel ready to rerun the wires for the DVR system.
My new routine of making sure there are no mice in the coop when the door is closed seems to be a solid plan. Before when I had the coop door on an analog timer I was never quite sure when it would close. The end result was most of the time I put the chickens to bed the door was still open and would close later. Well if a mouse entered during that interim it would spend the entire night chewing on whatever it could to get out.
A couple weeks ago, when I installed the new wi-fi router, to replace the mouse damaged one, I also installed a Wemo smart switch on the coop door. I now know exactly when the door closes and I make sure to go out there after that happens. When I tend to the chickens I now include probing all possible mouse hiding spots with the broom handle to make sure none are inside the coop. That, paired with the ultrasonic rodent repellent we put in there seems to have kept the inside of the coop pest free.
Saturday after completing some chores Cindy, Elsa and I headed out for a long errand run, stopping at something like a half dozen places along the way. One of those places was the office to swap out a failed hard drive. Another was Tractor Supply, a place we only have been to a couple of times. Despite being a lot smaller than Rural King, I liked their selection of several things more. We finished up eating lunch outside a pizza place where Elsa chilled under the table while we enjoyed a good slice of pizza.
I got notice that Patrick’s birthday gift was delivered. I sent him the Segway S1 that I bought at Christmas. It was sort of my plan all along to give it to him. It is a cool little wheel that will be good for Pat and his girlfriend to learn on.
Saturday night Cindy and I watched Dark Tower, our latest rental. I remember when the movie came out a lot of people that read the book were not happy with the film adaptation. Since I never read the book, I did not have that bar to measure it against. To me it was entertaining although a bit strange to see Matthew McConaughey play the villain. I’d give it a solid B rating.
Sunday morning we slept in, for us, to almost quarter till 8. Mid-morning Cindy and I headed out to the Naples Greenway with the big Segway I2 in the back of the truck. I discovered that transporting the Segway is a two person job, at least when it comes to loading. The unit is somewhere around 120 pounds which I normally could throw around pretty easily, the issue is the size and design of the I2 makes it damn near impossible to one man it as there is nothing to really grab on to. I can manage to lower it from the truck myself but I utilized Cindy to help me load it at the Greenway.
Our objective for the ride was to locate the new bridge that connects the Greenway to downtown Naples. It was Cindy’s first time riding the Segway I2 out in public. She was conservative at first but soon got adept at leaning into turns with her entire body. We found the new bridge and it was very impressive, a beautiful and long structure. It spills out at what will be an awesome resident park in the near future called Baker Park. It connects to the newly renovated Central Avenue.
Central now is very bike friendly with large and clearly marked bike lanes. We decided to ride all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. It felt great to be able to ride all the way to the beach using bike safe routes. On the way back we ate lunch at The Bowl. We both had all fruit concoctions that consisted of acacia berry, bananas, granola, honey, hemp seed hearts, blueberries, and a couple other things. It was very good.
The ride was much longer than I expected and the used batteries on the I2 performed much better with Cindy at the controls. The slower speed and her lighter weight only consumed three bars of battery life out of eight. We both really enjoyed the ride and would like to maybe actually spend some time on the beach the next time we do the same route.
Late afternoon Sunday I got out and washed my Tacoma. I finally got around to applying some paint sealant that was highly rated on Amazon. On the bottle it claimed how you could do a complete vehicle in 10 minutes! Well although it was less labor intensive than conventional wax, I still busted my ass for at least 45 minutes applying the sealant to the Tacoma. You only work in small sections, first applying with a circular motion followed by back and forth to finish up. Since it is a clear product, it is annoying to try to determine where you stopped and started since you have no wax haze to guide you. I guess the first time the truck gets wet will determine how good the product is.
The rest of Sunday was spent editing video, creating 3D projects, and playing some WoW. It really was a great couple days and was a reminder that I could seriously retire and never have to worry about being bored.
Don’t have much to share this morning, I guess I spent my verbal currency shooting this video.
This weekend I hope to get back into full normalcy, including restarting my weekend 5K running routine. Outside of that I expect chores and hobbies to fulfill most of the weekend.
Oh I forgot to mention that I got some good news regarding my roof replacement. Originally it was scheduled to happen sometime in June. That timeline has now been accelerated to mid-April which is cool, allowing the work to complete before rainy season begins. Replacing the shingles with a metal roof will change the look and sound of the house (when it rains) dramatically.
One good thing about the hurricane repairs taking so long is I have not had to dip into my newly reopened home equity line of credit. With the extended timeline I am hoping I may be able avoid pulling out additional money at all to complete the repair which would be cool.
So all day Friday I felt absolutely awful after the colonoscopy. Based on the symptoms which included fever, chills, and debilitating body aches, it became clear to me that this wasn’t a cold I was fighting, it was the flu. My energy level was just non-existent, watching TV was too much work, seriously. I went to bed that night feeling miserable, luckily it seems my fever broke sometime during the night.
On Saturday I was far from normal but at least I could function, even doing some normal chore stuff without having to take a 2 hour nap in between. It felt good to at least have regained some level of functionality. I got some 3D printing in, some WoW, and we watched a Hitman’s Bodyguard Saturday night with Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson. It was funny as long as you aren’t a prude. I am pretty sure the word MF’r was used triple digits in total. It was B+ for me.
Sunday morning my improvement continued from an energy perspective however I still had awful coughing fits and my red, sore nose continued to require regular blowing. Unfortunately as I was improving Cindy was sliding downhill. She obviously has whatever I have, only a day or two behind symptom-wise.
I actually felt good enough to go out on an EUC ride late morning. The weather yesterday was just about perfect with temps in the mid-70’s with low humidity. It felt so good to just be out cruising around after feeling so shitty for the last 3-4 days.
I have been having the check engine light on the Prius come on a couple times in the last week or so. My code reader indicated it was an error code that has to do with the coolant control valve. A quick internet search revealed this is a common failure in the 2nd Gen Prius. A video search revealed it was something that looks to be somewhat of a hassle but doable by someone with my mediocre mechanic skillset. I ordered a genuine Toyota part which I hope to install next weekend.
During the afternoon I got around to hanging up some stuff for Cindy in the office for her crafting. I 3D printed a bunch of roll holders to hold her Cameo vinyl rolls. I also printed these cool hexagon shaped storage cubes that we mounted on the other wall. You can add as many as you like to create a cool geometric looking storage grid. Finally we added a light over the top of her Cameo. Of course it is no ordinary light, it’s a Philips Hue bulb that you can voice control with the Echo.
I’m hoping my return to good health continues to accelerate. It seems once a year I come down with a knock me on my ass sort of illness, hopefully I will be in the clear for the rest of 2018.
So when I got home Friday evening Cindy told me she had a big surprise for me as I walked up the driveway. She pointed over to the bed of the Tacoma. I looked inside and saw a huge full size Segway laying back there. This is the Segway our friend said she didn’t want so I knew we might get it but I had no idea Cindy made the transfer during the day.
It didn’t take long for me to get the two wheeled 100 pound+ monster inside. Even though we knew the batteries were dead I plugged it in anyway just to see if it would take a charge. The Segway does look hardly used, just as advertised. It’s history of being an unwanted gift from a pro-QB to his offensive lineman which in turn was given to our friends husband who is a trainer that works with pro athletes is an interesting one. Once the trainer got it the wheel basically has sat in a garage for 5 years or more, untouched.
I dug right into doing research on the wheel to try to determine how old it was. In the process of doing so I identified that we were missing an important part, the Infokey. This device that looks like a digital watch is what interfaces with the Segway to do important things, like turn it on. Our friend is going to look and see if she can find the key, if she is unsuccessful it will cost me around $200 to get a new one. Yes, it’s expensive.
Expensive is a running theme with these Segways, brand new they cost roughly $6000. When I started digging into battery replacement costs it was a bit staggering. For a brand new set I could scrape the $2000 mark. Even refurbished batteries will set you back $1400-$1500. This was starting to look ugly. I have no idea if there is anything else wrong with the unit, to spend that kind of money just to find out seems sort of nuts.
So although I was a little put off by the numbers I kept digging, stumbling across a message board forum for Segway owners. I determined this unit was a SegwayI2 that looked to be manufactured in 2011. On this same message board I stumbled across a guy that was selling a used set of functional batteries for less than 25% of what a new set cost. I figured this was a good compromise which would allow me to test the Segway without spending a fortune. That message board is a great source of info that I will be leaning heavily on in the future. So for now the behemoth personal transport device will just be hanging out by the front door until the parts arrive and hopefully the Infokey is found.
Saturday morning I got out for my run. It was one of those runs where every lap felt like a struggle. Part of the problem is I am running at a bodyweight of 187-188 pounds right now. Even dropping 5 pounds would make a significant difference. Carrying more poundage seems to help my strength numbers at the gym but definitely makes running much less efficient. Maybe my pre-colonscopy liquid diet and intestine purge can kick start me to dropping a few.
After I returned from running I tended to house chores including some quarterly duties like running the generators and sucking out the AC drain line with the shop-vac. We took Sadie and Elsa along to Home Depot later to pick up a few items, mostly for the chicken yard. I got some large and pretty white egg rock to fill the areas in front of the coop. The stones are really cool but super expensive at $10 for each small bag. I also dumped some mulch in the back of the coop in the chicken “playground” area so they had something to dig around in.
Later Saturday afternoon Cindy and I went back out, this time to Costco for me to pick out frames for my new glasses to help me see distance better. The selection of frames wasn’t quite as large as I thought it might be but I still didn’t have much trouble picking out a set that Cindy and I both though looked decent. I am looking forward to seeing how things will come into focus that have been blurry for so long.
We also stopped at Michael’s for Cindy to pick up more stuff for her exploding Cameo 3 habit. She bought a bunch of supplies for herself and I chipped in and bought her an awesome craft light that is fully articulated with a built in magnifying glass. It was marked down 75% so it was a sweet deal. Since there are no returns on clearance merchandise and the box looked like it was opened already we took the time to pull it out and make sure it worked before making the purchase.
Saturday night Cindy was digging into her new stuff while I dug into some WoW while having a couple things cooking on the 3d printers. We fell asleep watching some of the US curling team’s gold medal match. It’s such a bizarre but interesting sport for me to watch.
Sunday morning I just got done paying my bills when all of a sudden my mouse became unresponsive. The keyboard was fine but the mouse was locked, weird. I had no idea why it would lock but I restarted the system to clear whatever the problem was. Imagine my delight when I rebooted and still had no mouse. Ok so I went an extra step, shutting down the PC, unplugging the power cord for 15 seconds to clear the USB bus and then bringing it back up. No mouse on the screen.
It was weird, I would see the mouse light up for a few seconds and then go dark. This kicked off an intensive plugging and unplugging diagnostic series that was maddening. I used my mouse on another system, it worked fine. I plugged a different mouse into my system, it still didn’t work. I pulled EVERYTHING off the USB ports and still could not get it working. I was getting VERY frustrated, this just didn’t make sense. I finally got the mouse working again by doing not one but two system restores. The first time I only went back a day with the same results. When I dropped back to a week ago the mouse functionality returned. I am still perplexed by what happened exactly but feel fortunate I got it going.
We went out to ride wheels with Kate and Daniel. The four of us had not ridden together in quite awhile. We met up out at Ave Maria. I brought my Mten3 and utilized it’s maneuverability to spend a lot of my riding time going backwards. We were having fun tooling around when all of a sudden I heard the unmistakable sound of a wheel hitting the pavement. I look down the parking lot and see Katie on her rear end and her Mten3 doing cartwheels with a piece hanging off of it.
By the time I got up to Katie she was already standing up. I did a quick survey and didn’t see any blood on her front. I asked what happened. She said she was going fast and the wheel started to wobble. Speed wobbles do happen sometime but normally you can just ride them out. Well this wobble was bad causing Katie to come off the wheel and land on her rear end at high speed. Despite a lack of blood, a lot of the damage was concealed by her shorts, she had bad brush burns on her rear end as well as some on her hands/wrist.
Her injuries were painful for sure but we all felt lucky that she didn’t get hurt worse. Both Katie and Daniel ride with absolutely no safety gear, despite our repeated warnings about doing so. I am hopeful that this incident, which could have easily been much, much more serious, will give Katie reason to start wearing at least a helmet and wrist guards at a minimum.
Katie was more upset about the damage to her wheel than her body. I was able to snap back on the part that had flown off. Other than some fresh scratches on the case, the wheel worked fine afterwards, despite the pretty epic tumble. The crash cut our riding short obviously. We went to the local Publix so Katie could wash up a little and then they came to the house so Cindy could help make sure all of the parking lot debris that was ground into Katie’s skin got cleaned out.
The rest of our Sunday was pretty chill with more Cindy crafting, more 3D printing and more WoWing occupying most of the time. Last night I finally finished up my quest to get all character classes in WoW to the new current maximum level. For those of you on the outside of WoW madness this will mean very little to you. However those of you that have played WoW will realize how much effort goes into bringing 11 characters that far.
This is colonoscopy week. It started off poorly with me getting a lousy night of sleep with what felt like constant drainage running down my throat. As much as I am not looking forward to the colonoscopy, the last thing I want is to have to postpone it due to illness. Once I am finished off putting medical procedures, I am very much a “just get it over with” type of person, in case you haven’t noticed.