## Producing Lenses with 3D Printers (OHJ Paper)

November 9, 2011

I finally wrote up my results on producing lenses with 3D printers, which I’ve been working on since September, as a paper which I submitted to the Open Hardware Journal. It was published in their first issue (stand alone PDF of my paper) at the beginning of the month.

A number of people were excited by my paper, and I’ve had several email correspondences about it since publication. NBitWonder had a post about it.

It’s exciting to see such interest in my work.

## Manipulation of Implicit Functions (With an Eye on CAD)

November 6, 2011

Most people are familiar with the equation for a circle, $x^2+y^2 = r^2$:

I prefer to think of it as the curve where $f(x,y) = \sqrt{x^2+y^2}-1$ is zero — the locations where the Euclidean distance from $(0,0)$ is one.

## Redacting October Review

November 2, 2011

Over the last few months, I’ve really enjoyed posting about what I’ve been doing in my life. I was looking forward to, several years from now, printing out all my month (or earlier, week) reviews and looking over them — and what people had said in the comments.

Unfortunately, a rather unpleasant person decided to take advantage of my openness and… Well, after what happened, I no longer feel comfortable continuing as I had. I really wish this wasn’t the case.

I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about what I still do feel comfortable posting about, and I’ve concluded that I feel OK positing about most non-personal things. (No, this internal debate wasn’t the only reason you haven’t seen any posts from me — I’ve been super busy! — though it was part of my excuse to myself.)

I still intend to write an October Review, but it won’t be public. Hopefully, at some point, I’ll be able to retroactively publish my monthly reviews.

## 3D Printing Awesome Things (SoOnCon 2011 Talk)

October 3, 2011

I was rather nervous about giving my 1 hour SoOnCon talk, 3D Printing Awesome Things, especially after how my NYC Maker Faire talk went. Apparently I’d learned a lot from my NYC Maker Faire talk, and it went awesome! You can see my slide show.

The talk was mostly about interesting tricks I’d seen or come up with for printing awesome things, with examples of applications. I passed around dozens of examples. I actually only spoke for about forty minutes, leaving the last 20 for other people to share things that they’d seen or done themselves.

Many interesting things came out of the ensuing conversation. The ones that come to mind are:

• cyclone’s Filament Colorizer
• machinable wax as a medium for casting
• Brainstorming for ways to print conductive parts. It’s not my area of expertise so I don’t know if any of these ideas are novel, but they’re interesting regardless. My notes from this are:
• Solder paste (modified): Inject, reflow (heated platform?)
• Acetone + silver
• Conductive Ink

After a talk, a number of people told me that it was good, which was really comforting. I felt like it went well, but hearing people who sat through it agree was great! I was particularly touched by the person who told me that they hadn’t been using their spaces printer because they didn’t like the texture of printed objects, but would now that they’d seen the different post-processing techniques I use.

I feel like the success of this talk was partly due to it being a much easier and less technical topic than the Maker Faire one, me being a little bit less sleep deprived, but also simply that I’ve got better at giving talks having. Having physical examples to pass around was an awesome strategy, as well.

## September Review: Maker Faire, Casting, Lasers & More

October 3, 2011

September Started with my final week and a half at Xelerance. It was kind of bitter-sweet: I’ll miss working there, but I was also ready to move on. Alaina got back form Singularity University. It sounds so awesome! She showed us the telepresence robot she’s making:

Alaina, her robot, and me.

## NYC Maker Faire Talk: Programmatic CAD

September 22, 2011

In addition to running a booth at Maker Faire this weekend, I gave a talk on programmatic CAD and its future.

My only public speaking experience prior to this was doing was doing workshops at hacklab and presentations to my classmates in high school and while this was a non-trivial amount of practice (in grade 10, I ended up teaching two semesters of the physics course I was taking in the form of seminars every class because the teacher didn’t know anything) it was all small scale (at max 15 people), highly interactive and mostly improvised on the spot. In other words, nothing at all like speaking at NYC Maker Faire.

August 30, 2011

Another Review!

## Understanding Pascal’s Triangle

August 29, 2011

How many ways are there to arrange “ABC“? ABC, ACB, BAC, BCA, CBA, CAB. So 6 different ways. But could we have determined it in a way that didn’t involve us listing all the cases? The answer is yes, and welcome to the wonderful world of combinatorics. Read the rest of this entry »

## Week Review 3

August 23, 2011

Despite getting almost none of the goals I set out at the beginning of this week done, I had a fairly productive week: Read the rest of this entry »

## Week Review 2

August 13, 2011

I failed even more miserably at time tracking this week, but I found the setting goals so useful I’m going to do it again.

## YAKC: Differential (One) Forms

August 11, 2011

In my previous post in this series, I introduced the idea of a derivative, and we realized a number of rules regarding them. In this post, we’re going to give some thought as to what derivatives are, look at them from from a rather different perspective, and realize several more rules regarding them. Read the rest of this entry »

## The Real 3D Mandelbrot Set

August 8, 2011

Perhaps more than any other area of serious mathematics, fractals and more specifically the Mandelbrot set, have attracted a great deal of public interest. Continuing this pattern, the Mandelbulb set caused a great deal of excitement. As the Mandelbulb website it says, however, “there’s good reason to believe that it isn’t the real McCoy.” And so the question is left hanging, what is the real 3D Mandelbrot Set? In this essay, I will present the fractal that I believe deserves this position and why this is the case. Read the rest of this entry »

## Week Review 1

August 6, 2011

So, I didn’t get off to the best start with the whole time tracking business this week. I only have 4 days of complete data, not really enough to go through the trouble of visualizing. Some observations: Read the rest of this entry »

## You Already Know Calculus: Derivatives

July 31, 2011

Calculus is made to be a whole big hoopla in high school and first year university. It’s supposedly the hardest math class in high school, notoriously complicated and unintuitive.

I blame this on bad education, not just because I’ve observed so much bad math education at the high school level, but because I can’t see any other way anyone could conclude that calculus is difficult. Because I believe that everyone already knows calculus. They just never connect what they already know to the symbols they’re manipulating in math class.

(I’m writing this series of posts — yes, this is only the first of a number of posts! — in a didactic form, but I think they may be of interest to mature mathematicians. While they are (will be?)  informal and unrigorous, they provide intuitive reasons for why everything in basic calculus is true. The results in it are certainly valuable to me: they’re the result of me spending some time trying to answer ‘why’ everything is true at a compelling level. If nothing else, they may be useful in teaching calculus.)

So what is calculus? It’s the mathematical study of rates of change, nothing more and nothing less. We call the rate of change of a function its derivative. Read the rest of this entry »

## Some Python Design Patterns

July 29, 2011

With a summer job doing DNSSEC stuff in Python (for Xelerance) — and recently, web development — I’ve written a lot of python code in the last few weeks. And I’ve noticed that my code has developed a few short, retrospectively obvious, patterns that have simplified my code. Read the rest of this entry »