My two “side jobs” have both set new records this month as far as dollars generated. The 3D EUC stand store is going to have it’s best month ever, with a week to go I am just shy of $1000 in sales. As I have said before, my net proceeds in the store are much less but still, it’s a big number. My YouTube ad revenue crossed $500 for the first time ever which I did not expect. I have not done a lot of Tesla content lately which seems to get big views but the PEV stuff I have been putting out there seems to be performing better than it used to as well. Now if I can only find away to multiply those numbers by a factor of 8-10 and we can talk about early retirement. 🙂 The EUC and PEV market is growing rapidly, I may have just hit the wave at the right time.
Proceeds from the store are being used to pay for a second Prusa MK3S printer, assembled this time instead of the kit which took me easily 8 hours of time to assemble. Putting it together was fun, once, I didn’t need to do it again. Anyway, I ordered the assembled printer on Sunday night with a posted back order of three weeks until shipment. It sucks to have to wait but I knew about the delay before I ordered.
I love my Prusa printer and the company itself. It seems to be a great group of people, headed up by Joe Prusa who Cindy and I met back at the 2018 Miami Maker Faire. He seemed like a very down to earth and cool guy. I had already said how the assembly manual for the Prusa printer was amazing, the best I had ever seen. Well it seems like when it comes to shipping delays, Prusa once again likes to under promise and over deliver one of the best traits a person or company can have in my book.. I got a ship notice on the printer this morning so instead of waiting three weeks I didn’t even wait three days.
There are a few companies that I really love like Amazon, Tesla, Blizzard Entertainment, and Dunkin Donuts. Prusa is now on the list. I always wondered why people were willing to pay so much for a printer that costs 4-5 times more than a knock off brand with similar build volume. The answer is, it’s worth it.
Yesterday I participated in a meeting regarding a new government center that is going to be built within the next couple years. The meeting had to do with selecting companies involved in the build. This was a “public” meeting which meant that it had to be recorded for public record. They had microphones hanging from the ceiling above the table for that very purpose. It was my first time participating in that sort of environment so it was a good experience and something I think I will be doing more of in the future as this project, the largest one we have ever done, continues to move forward.
Last night I again spent a good chunk of time in the hobby room both assembling completed 3D prints and starting new ones. When I went to bed I had five of the six printers churning away. I also completed a hot end swap on my CR10S pro. Doing so made me decide to finally install the inductive leveling probe I have had sitting in the room for months. Hopefully I do so in the next few days. The capacitive probe the printer comes with is rather inconsistent which causes issues with good first layer performance.
In one of the videos I posted over the weekend I briefly talked about the Prius battery replacement project and how I was happy that the car is still running well a month or two later. Well right on cue I get a picture sent to from Cindy of the red triangle of death popping back on the dashboard of the car, likely indicating another cell in the battery pack is going bad.
I knew this was a possibility and have read others warn that individual cell replacement is a whack-a-mole game, you replace one bad one and another fails. Sure I could repeat the same process as last time, identify which cell is bad, pull the entire pack out of the car, rip into it, replace the bad cell and reverse the process. The problem is this process is long, tedious and something that I don’t want to include in my regular list of chores. I told Cindy that my recommendation was for Katie to buy the kit I investigated before that uses brand new and better than stock cells. It has a two year warranty and would likely be the last battery pack the car ever needs before other things start falling apart. I told her I would be willing to put in the labor to get it installed.
The kids other options are going from driving the 50MPG Prius to the 15 or less MPG Dodge Ram truck which is probably the least baby friendly vehicle you can imagine, or buying another vehicle. A four to six year car payment will very quickly be a budget buster, much more so than replacing the pack. We will see how it all shakes out.
Cliff is a guy I know originally from my PEV videos, he was a frequent commenter on them. From watching my 3D printing videos it got him interested in that hobby too, he has at least a couple printers now. Cliff is also a long time WoW player so we share a lot of interests. Well he had a weird problem with his one printer that I gave him a suggestion on how to fix. The suggestion worked. As thanks for the help Cliff send me 250,000 gold in WoW, a HUGE chunk of virtual currency. He sent me a big chunk of cash before as well. When combined with my already existing funds I am now a virtual millionaire in game. I thanked Cliff for his extreme generosity. Unfortunately at the moment I don’t have anything pressing to buy in game. If anything it would be great if somehow that gold could funnel to my character in the newly released WoW classic where money is MUCH more difficult to come by and accumulate.
Last night I spent a good chunk of time working on Cindy’s computer. She said she wasn’t able to get on the internet. When I hopped on there I saw that her browser had been hijacked. When you would try to start the browser it would try to launch some PDF file on a hacked wordpress site. It took awhile for me to clean it up. The bad thing about malware like this is there is always the possibility it planted a seed somewhere else on the computer that will grow again. There are so many potential landmines now on the internet, even a trained pro like myself sometimes has to really examine pages carefully to make sure they aren’t waiting to blow up in my face.
I received my replacement AnyCubic I3 Mega yesterday. I had it up and printing in no more than 30 minutes. Sure the quality is not close to what the Prusa offers but for a fifth of the price, these printers have done thousands of hours of work for me. They definitely have offered the most bang for the buck. I still plan on adding a second Prusa once 3D store revenue can pay for it. With the way sales have been going, that won’t take very long.
Last night I boxed up my biggest EUC stand order to date. An EUC dealer in Australia was interested in buying six stands for his customers. Sending to the other side of the planet is not cheap, the shipping alone was over $66, sending it the cheapest way I could. I then woke up this morning to two more orders which I hurriedly packed up before leaving for work. The end result of this is I have over $700 in sales in September, my best month ever, and it is barely more than halfway done. It’s getting kind of crazy.
I have not been putting aside 30% of the proceeds for taxes at the end of the year, figuring my over withholding that I do every year from my normal paycheck will cover it. If numbers keep escalating like this that will no longer be the case. The sales figures are a little misleading as there are so many costs that come right back out of that gross sales number. I would guesstimate at least half of it. Filament, shipping costs, stainless steel nuts/bolts, candy, stickers, and of course electricity consumed adds up to a pretty hefty number. Add in the costs of all of the 3D printer I use in the process and we are probably closer to break even. The good news is when tax time does come around all of those supplies and equipment can be deducted back out.
This morning when Cindy was cleaning the coop she saw some disgusting worms in the poop in one area of the mat, meaning at least one of the birds has an active worm infestation which is bad news. My bet is it is Kathy, who has been acting pretty low energy recently. We have been trying to do natural deworming using cayenne pepper and tumeric mixed into their food but we are going to need to do more. I am stopping after work to get some dewormer and special feed that is designed to naturally deworm as maintenance. Wet season is the worst for the hens because they insist on drinking the disgusting standing water. Once I know for sure the standing water is behind us I am definitely getting that entire area elevated and sodded to fix the problem permanently.
Today I am supposed to have a replacement I3 Mega printer arrive to take it’s spot for the Mega I spent hours not fixing. I installed an all metal hot end in my CR10S Pro last night as well which will hopefully result in more consistent prints.
The 3D printed EUC stand business has really been picking up speed. It seems that it’s all mostly from word of mouth as I don’t actively advertise at all. I was just contacted by an EUC dealer from AUSTRALIA that wants me to make some stands for him as well, it’s sort of nuts.
In order to help me in the short term I ordered another cheap AnyCubic I3 Mega to help me crank out some parts. I still have plans to get another Prusa as well but that will come as more money is saved. I am also considering modifying my work benches in the hobby room to allow double decker printer configs. If I lower the shelf under the bench a few inches I would be able to run the I3 Mega’s down there without a problem. I then just need to find some alternative way to store completed stands which shouldn’t be too hard to do.
When I started this endeavor last year on a whim I never expected it to grow like it has. I still enjoy doing it and it seems to be appreciated by the community so it’s a win/win. From a purely financial standpoint I have never exactly figured out how much money I actually make on the sale of a stand because there are a lot of material, equipment, shipping, and electricity costs that take big bites out of the bottom line. Regardless, I make enough for it to be worth my while.
It’s funny, when I quit race timing a few years ago I was walking away from the money I made doing it which wasn’t fantastic but helped pay some bills. Now, between the growth of my YouTube channel (almost 7k subscribers) and the sales from the 3D store, I have surpassed what I used to make race timing, by a considerable margin.
Some weekends you just get shit done, this was one of those weekends. A good majority of the day Saturday was consumed trying to make the water logged and ratty looking yard look half decent. Cindy got on the tractor and mowed the non-mucky areas for me. I was on the weed whacker forever. Not only did I do the normal tasks but also used the whacker as a hand held brush hog more or less, walking through the back of the chicken yard and knocking down the 1-2 foot grass in a large open area. It sucked. The end result was the yard looking decent outside of the black mud trails from the tractor in the low lying spots.
After jumping in the pool to cool down and remove a layer of grime I turned my attention to the AC air handler. I had a second UV light kit to install. I was putting it where the original light was, in the supply side of the duct, right above the air handler. As I mentioned previously, this is where my old AC contractor put the bulb which is not ideal if you only have one light. The best spot is inside the air handler, shining directly on the coils and drip pan where shit is most likely to form. However adding a second light up top gets the other side of the air handler giving the entire unit a UV bath.
Installing the kit was pretty straight forward since I just helped Daniel relocate the other light the week prior. All I had to do was connect the ballast to the transformer and stick the light into the existing hole. I did drill a second hole in the duct and inserted a view plug, making it easy to tell if the light is still working or not. All in all I spent maybe a half hour putting the other light in.
On Saturday I also received the 16X demo wheel for testing. When I pulled the EUC out of the box I immediately noticed the tire was flat, weird. Even weirder was when I looked for the valve to add air there was none, just a hole in the rim where it is supposed to be.
Evidently while the unit was in NYC for two months KingSong sent a different tire to be put on. When one of the guys up there tried to swap it he wound up puncturing the inner tube. Instead of putting a new tube in he was told to just ship the wheel to me and that I would take care of it. This was very interesting since none of this was communicated to me by anyone. I immediately sent an email to the owner of Ewheels asking what the deal was and if he planned to ship an inner tube to me. Sure I have the ability to change a tube on the 16X but I just thought it was bizarre that I would be tasked with the job without asking first.
I still have not heard anything back from Ewheels so I just laid out my own money for a new tube which should be here mid-week. I then get to pull the wheel apart, change the tube, and THEN hopefully get around to the business of testing it out. I’m still scratching my head over the situation and lack of communication.
Saturday night we watched Vice, the movie depicting the rise to power of the puppet master and scum of the Earth, Dick Cheyney. It was fascinating that Christian Bale played this role, the combo of his real life weight gain and incredible make up work transformed him into a very believable version of the most diabolical VP in history. I learned a lot of back story on Cheyney that I did not know before and despite me despising the man, the movie was B+. The way the story was told and who was telling it was very unique, which you will understand if you see the film.
Sunday morning I wound up doing a solo ride as Cindy was in the queue to do her first census road work. I opted to take the Pint out to Ave Maria to ride, a perfect place for low speed and scenic cruising. I had a great time putting over 7 miles on the board. I love the One Wheel Pint, a lot.
Cindy did get census assignments in our local area. She thought it would be efficient and easy to use our PEVs to do the work. She first did a few on the Minipro which was convenient to hop on and off of but too slow with only an 11mph top speed. She came back and instead got on the Dualtron which can go 30mph plus.
The extra speed was nice but the big scooter was not as easy to jump on and off of. However the bigger problem was the heat with temps in the low 90s. Cindy was burning up. She eventually came back and got her car which I think will be the way to go from now on. Not only will it give her cool AC to retreat to, it also will allow her to charge her Census laptop on the go which appears to not have fantastic battery life.
So a good chunk of my weekend and a couple hours Thursday and Friday night had been spent working on assembling the Prusa MK3S 3D printer kit. This is a TRUE printer kit where you get a box full of a couple hundred parts and you put EVERYTHING together yourself. I once did another printer kit but it was not nearly as involved or as granular as this kit is.
The good news is that Prusa includes what may be the most detailed and well written assembly manual of anything I have ever seen. It is simply amazing. Equally amazing is the part organization and labeling, each step of the process has it’s own parts bag. On the bag is a picture illustrating each part with accurate size depictions so you make sure you are using the correct size bolt or nut. When I glanced at the instructions at first the task seemed daunting, if not almost impossible based on my past history with very complex, tedious, tasks. But I had no choice, it had to get done.
On Friday night Cindy jumped in and helped me get the X and Y axis built. The stuff after that was really only a one person job so I trudged through the remainder solo. Despite the complexity, I tried to just focus on whatever the task was at hand. Thanks to the great instructions with pictures I kept making steady progress. I finally fired up the printer a little after 9 PM last night. After going through the set up routine I embarked on my first print which actually failed about halfway in but I think that could have been avoided with different settings.
I awoke at 4:30 AM this morning. As soon as I did I thought about how I could get more shit done like relocating the printer which was sitting on a foldable table in front of my desk, starting another print, and editing the video of the process. I actually got it all done, including a sweet two color bottle opener print before heading to work.
So my Bell’s Palsy symptoms are definitely improving. I am able to smile somewhat and I think my right eye actually is starting to partially blink. I am on my last day of steroids so I hope the improvement continues. I feel very fortunate that I am seeing a reversal now instead of months down the road.
Yesterday we had a good full day of sun. When I got home the batteries on the Yeti were almost charged. I really wish I had the wifi enabled version that allows me to see what’s going on real time. Instead I have to use Cindy as my remote monitoring system, asking her to look at the box during the day. This weekend I have to do some cleaning up of the wires and I should also be able to get a good sense of what sort of numbers the panels are pulling in during peak sun time.
While I was out in the chicken run last night doing my chores and checking on the solar I had to once again chase Daelin around as he was sexually assaulting various hens. Yes I know it is expected of roosters but I just can’t allow it to happen when I am there. The hens cry out in pain as he pins them down and then grabs their neck, often coming out with a mouth full of feathers. So repeatedly I was scaring him away. He also got a few blasts of the hose. I think he is starting to understand that I don’t want that going on when I am around. All I have to do is take a few steps towards him in a menacing fashion and he heads the other way.
Last night I finally got my AnyCubic Chiron working again. It has been down for almost two months due to another set of wires failing due to fatigue, something that should not happen nearly this quick. The replacement of the wire had it’s normal hiccups. At one point I was struggling to figure out how to get the new wire into the old cable chain. I started popping the chain apart link by link when Cindy realized there was a small tab on each section that could be popped open to allow easy access. It felt good when the printer finally fired back up and started printing once again. I had to wipe the dust off the build plate.
So I have been printing my largest and most detailed model ever all week. It’s a massive castle with incredible amounts of detail that has already consumed one complete 1KG roll of filament and is chewing through another. Last night I had to do the filament swap which I was nervous about. I tried printing this model the first time last weekend. When I tried to swap filament that time I messed up the print head position which made it impossible for me to resume. Luckily this time I got it changed without incident. Cindy is very much looking forward to getting the opportunity to paint this massive model which will be a huge project in itself. Depending on how much detail she does, this thing could be a genuine piece of art by the time it is complete.
Cindy and I have been watching Leaving Neverland, the HBO documentary about Michael Jackson and his pedophile tendencies. If you ever had any doubt that Jackson was a habitual child molester, those doubts will vanish after watching this two part series. It’s just another example of how these famous people are propped up and insulated by money, buying silence and cooperation to keep the curtain of deception intact. Our president is another unfortunate example of the same practices, thankfully I don’t think he has any pedophilia hiding in his massive, gold plated closet of secrets.
So I believe I made mention of Luke Perry’s death a couple weeks ago. The former 90210 actor died after complications of a massive stroke. He was only 52 years old, less than a year ahead of me. Anyone that has read this blog for a long time knows my hang ups about aging and death, I just don’t want to deal or think about either. When my mom died at the relatively early age of 67 we had to work through the process of handling her estate which was tough since mom never gave me power of attorney, something she talked about doing for a few years but never happened.
Mom’s death gave me the push to do some estate planning, sort of. I bought Quicken Will Maker maybe a year after she died. I then waited another year or more until I actually installed the software and generated a will, power of attorney, living will, and health care advocate documents. Then another year has passed but yesterday, partially thanks to Luke Perry, I actually signed and got these documents notarized so they are official. I scanned and sent copies off to all parties mentioned, hopefully never having to be used.
I don’t just have Luke to thank for taking this final step. My ongoing health issues that started last summer have made me think more about the need for this to get done. If I join the ranks of the “drop dead out of nowhere” club, I certainly want to make sure that my affairs are in order. I still don’t feel normal and that concerns me. It concerns me enough that I am arranging to revisit the med clinic after my second chest CT next week to look more into the calcification on a coronary artery that was mentioned during the first scan. For some reason this was viewed as a minor finding, which I don’t get. The way I feel when doing higher exertion activities, where my energy level seems to plummet feels like a symptom of a possible partial blockage somewhere. I am going to push for whatever testing there is to try to figure it out.
This weekend I have plenty to keep me busy. It will be the calm before the storm of next weekend which is Katie’s baby shower. The amount of planning and prep Cindy has put into this is nothing short of staggering.
So I decided to skip running Friday night. My lower right side/back had been sore all week, I figured trying to pile 13 laps on top would only worsen/lengthen the pain. We did wind up getting our exercise in a different way, we rearranged the office. This idea came about simply from a few cool lights, specifically the lights on my new PC.
The RGB lights on the front and inside the case change color based on GPU/CPU activity levels. In the normal spot where I have kept my PC’s for the last 10+ years, that activity is basically hidden since the unit is in a “cubby” in the desk down at floor level. I got the idea in my head that I would like to be able to see the guts of my new PC at work. That idea lead to a couple hours of chain reaction reorganizing after dinner Friday night.
So the base of my plan was to take my shelf/stand that I made in woodshop class 30+ years ago and stick on the right side of my desk. It would serve as my new CPU stand plus the shelving underneath would be useful to store items that were just piled up elsewhere. For the stand to fit we had to move my big but shitty desk over six or seven inches. The process damaged the already damaged desk a little bit more but it survived.
As I said, this seemingly minor change lead to a lot more changing. We moved things around on Cindy’s side as well, allowing her more practical use of the space around her. The process also had some casualties, like my old color laser printer that was not really used. That got curbed and was picked up by somebody within an hour. A lot of things were tossed as well. It was tedious work that kicked up a lot of dust. Cindy and I are both very pleased with the results. I had not significantly changed my desk configuration for many years. It felt good to switch things up. What was funny was Cindy had already spent a good portion of the day switching up other areas in the house. I came home to different layouts in both the master and guest bedroom.
On Saturday I kept myself pretty busy with a number of small projects. I found myself being quite annoyed that I found myself sweating while tending to them in the morning. It’s been stupid hot lately considering the time of year. When I woke up on Saturday the thermometer already read 72 degrees, which is what you would expect in June, not February. The highs both days reached into the upper 80’s with high humidity.
I did shoot a video showing off some of the convenience features of the Ultron Ultra Saturday afternoon. Despite it’s lower cost, it has some quality of life things that the much pricier Dualtron scooter does not.
Saturday night we watched Hostiles, a western with Christian Bale. Cindy and I rarely watch Westerns so it was a change of pace. It was a very well done film but damn it was depressing. Don’t expect to come away from it with pep in your step. It was B+ stuff for me.
On Sunday I got out on a pretty long solo ride at the Greenway. I took what I consider my two most fun PEVs, the Mten 3 and the One Wheel. Outside of the once again stupid hot temperatures, I had a great ride.
Sunday afternoon with some trepidation I decided to tackle replacing the back two tires on my Backfire Ranger. My hesitancy was due to the massive struggle I had replacing the front two tires last weekend. However the prospect of silencing the maddening flat spot tire noise was too tempting, so I dug into it. Although I still struggled, the duration and intensity of the struggle was definitely less thanks to using some different tactics suggested to me by others. In total I may have spent 30-45 minutes on the swap. After completing the work I headed outside to test the results. It did not take me long to realize the noise was gone. It no longer sounded like I had a flat tire, instead I just heard rubber on the road, like a normal tire. I was happy my struggle eventually resulted in success.
Sunday night I had my 18th PEV livestream. Cindy helped me set up the green screen to enable the Chromakey effect. The stream went fine although I didn’t have tons to talk about on my agenda. I still managed to fill almost an hour and 45 minutes of time from interacting with the livestream chat audience. The real time viewership has been lower the last couple shows. I don’t think we crossed 20 simultaneous viewers last night which is a bit disappointing. I do more or less enjoy doing the streams but it would certainly be nice to steadily increase viewership instead of having it flat line or slightly decline over time.
I had another all weekend print going. It’s another island/tower design that I am sure Cindy will do an amazing job with finishing it up.
I have not been getting enough quality sleep lately, it wears me down…
Friday after work I again hit the track to put in my 13 laps of unfun. The first two to three laps are especially miserable and the time that the urge to just get back in the car is the strongest. My knees, lower back and hip all feel pretty lousy until I get warmed up. According to the Apple Watch I once again failed to break the 10 minute mile pace although I think the watch may be a little conservative based on the total time it took. Regardless, I completed the run and I will continue to try to do so, regardless of how much it sucks.
When we went to Home Depot on Saturday I loaded up the truck with 10 bags of top soil, four cinder blocks, and twenty pieces of sod. My goal was to raise the ground in the chicken area underneath the freshly covered playground. I have raised the ground level between the coop and the playground but the ground under the shelter is still low and would turn into a pond during wet season. My original plan was to sit the support posts on the cinder blocks to raise the frame and then fill inside with the dirt and sod.
When I went to lift up the frame I forgot just how haphazard my construction of the frame was. At the time I literally just threw a bunch of scrap lumber and fence posts together to make the structure. The end result was the support posts were different lengths meaning putting them on blocks wouldn’t work. What I wound up doing instead was lifting each corner out of the ground and then backfilling the hole to raise the height. It accomplished the same goal although it was pretty strenuous work. With the addition of the roof to the frame, it has become quite heavy.
To fill in the inside of the frame I lifted up the roof on it’s hinge and propped it that way with an old fence post. I then carefully lugged in the bags of top soil and spread them around. I had to be very careful to not bump the roof otherwise it would have become a very dangerous oversized mouse trap that would have crashed on top of me. I then carefully placed the sod on top of the fresh dirt to lock it all together. When I was done I had achieved elevation on par with the rest of the high ground. I’m hoping the end result is the hens will still be able to hang under there during rainy season staying dry on their own little island.
On Sunday I decided to take the 18L on the same route that I ran out of power on the Ultron the prior weekend. I wanted to do a max range test on the wheel, something I never tried before on the KingSong. The 18L only has a 1000wh battery so I knew asking it to go 30 miles was iffy. On the way out I was in a constant, battery depleting headwind. Since the road is straight as an arrow there is absolutely no relief. When I arrived in town the battery level on the wheel was showing around 47%. So despite this I still thought I would be able to make it home because that nasty headwind would become a range extending tailwind on the way back.
I turned out to be a little too optimistic. I had to call Cindy to come pick me up less than a mile from home when the battery was showing 3% and the wheel was constantly warning me to slow down and charge it. Still, getting almost 30 miles out of the 18L was a decent showing and it was a great day to ride. For the trip I wore my latest piece of safety equipment, a highly visible and reflective safety vest. Wearing the vest eliminates somone from saying they didn’t see me, it’s impossible to miss a 6 foot 3 human reflector.
Sunday night I had my first live stream in three weeks. I tried something different this time, utilizing a green screen to project myself in front of videos that were playing in the background. It’s a similar set up that most Twitch streamers use. We tested it during the day and it looked pretty good. Unfortunately we discovered that to use it at night requires strong lighting which we hastily tried to throw together. We also didn’t have the screen as tight as it needs to be to produce optimal results but it was acceptable. We will keep tweaking it as people seemed to like the combo.
Speaking of green, check out this Hulk print that Cindy painted, pretty cool.