Giving Voice To Waves

In giving a voice – literally one that plays Wav, OGG, MP3, MP4 and other audio – to Waves, the connection between Adafruit VS1053 audio codec and Arduino Micro processors should be easy. It is not. The pin connections and software drivers required research. Here is our solution. This works well. Feel free to share this.

VS1053-Arduino-Micro-Connections (Adobe PDF, 151K bytes)


Another View Of The Pebble

Guest reviewer, Miles Witthaus on the Pebble.

Thanks for letting me try out the Pebble watch. It was definitely neat to give it a try. I think my biggest criticism comes with regard to the concept of a smart watch to begin with. It seems to me that the importance of a watch has in many ways decreased of late. We are almost always surrounded by the time given by our computers, cars, and most notably phones. Given such proximity of an iPhone, a wrist watch at best saves you the additional 2 seconds it would have taken to just check your phone, something many people have an incessant need to check anyway.

Of course despite the easy ability to check time elsewhere almost everyone in many industries would still consider their watch a necessity. I think that is largely due to a sense of tradition and class. It is in this respect I think the Pebble falls the shortest. In neither form nor function does it come anywhere close to something that could be worn in a professional setting. It looks more like (and with features like the ability to play “Snake” acts like) a childish, portable Gameboy than an expensive or respectable accessory to your everyday wardrobe.

With that said, I do think there is a niche market full of excited early adapters who would enjoy and benefit from a smart watch. I don’t think the Pebble is that device tough. There really weren’t any features that showed off the technological abilities in a way that made me think “wow” or make me want to show it off to my friends. Even the most basic features like the buttons that were placed to close together and didn’t go all the way down with ease made me think that little work had been put into really making the device into an enjoyable experience.

Maybe with better technology the smart watch will take off. For now though, an untraditional gadget for an accessory that’s all about being traditional just isn’t cutting it.

Miles Witthaus

Blender for 3D Modeling and Printing

At Votsh we use the Blender 3D modeling and animation tool to prototype designs and print models of our products on 3D printers. Blender is Open Source Software (OSS). It runs on Windows, Mac and Linux systems. The user interface is powerful. It may even be daunting to learn its many controls. It took me 1 solid week to get productive with Blender. Below are the shortcut and tutorial notes I took while learning Blender.

Click here to read Blender Shortcuts.


Blender Shortcuts

Starting, use Scene icon in right menu, Units, Metric


A – Deselect all

B – Border select

Right-click object select/de-select

C – Circle select, ala paintbrush

Ctrl – Left Click – Lasso select



Working with Meshes

Control A, Scale

X – Delete

R – Make a mesh bigger

Tab – toggles edit/object, to view vertices

Edge select – little icon at top menu, in 3D view

Select menu -> Linked Geometry selects everything around a vertex

Select -> Inverse

Floating White thing, you didn’t know what it does, is a “manipulator”, when you selected some edges use the manipulator. Hold shift key when using the manipulator’s white selection band, to make fine changes


Bend the edge of a cube mesh – Control B

3D Printing

Tab, A, W, Remove Doubles

Non manifold shapes, can’t print them in 3D

Edit mode, vertex select icon (top)

A – deselect all

space-bar, type: non manifold

space-bar, bridge to edge loops

Time 18:45, using bevels and pipes

Exporting an STL from Blender

Select the object and enter Edit mode (Tab). Select all vertices with A, then press W and select “Remove Doubles”. This merges any doubled up vertices that are sitting on top of each other.

Blender will triangulate your mesh when you export. Sometimes this can cause issues with smooth or curved parts of your model, so to check to see what it will look like, select all vertices and press CTRL-T.

Blender will only export the selected objects

Select all vertices in Edit mode and press CTRL-N and click Recalculate normals outside.

Shift D – Duplicate

Command = alt

Option = right click

Tab – Edit mode

In Edit mode

Box Select – B

Drag Select – C

A – Select All

Alt M – merge to center

Extrude – E

Size – S, then press 0

1 3 7 – front side top view

Z – Wire frame view

Making 3D Mickey

Drag object in Omnigraffle, export to svg

Blender: Select Info view, File, Import

Click on Curve object, then Object data

Geometry, change depth to 0.0125

Object>Convert To>Mesh from Curve

To clean up the mesh:

Mesh -> Faces -> Beautify Fill.

To remove redundant edges (and get an ngon), select the face area. Select the menu item Mesh -> Delete -> Limited Dissolve. set the angle very low to avoid loosing details of the shape, this will give you an ngon.

Create a box, can’t print it, walls are not thick, so

use Solidify Modifier (access from little wrench icon in right panel helper)

User preferences are in File menu halfway down

Choose Maya preferences, 2 places


Alt-R Clears Camera Rotations

Ctrl-P Parent the path to the empty/camera

Click on timeline, then i, to add a keyframe

Shift A – Add

Shift W – Specials

In Camera View

0 – Camera view

R – Roll

R X X – Vertical Pan or pitch

R Y Y – Horizontal pan or yaw

G Z Z – Dolly

Select both objects, then Ctrl T for track constraints

Plastic supply

ABS – for strength (red), leaches styrene into body, brittle, warps a lot, won’t print to scale, can do acetone vapor wash

PLA – for eating utensils and the like, (orange), corn, bio-degradable, not as long lasting, stiffer, nice tight tollerances

Nylon – (white) – good for ABS

FilamentSupply – low temperature PLA 220-225

Makerbot – temperature 230

Makerware, covert STL to print

Never use usb cable, use cards

Don’t set to ABS and load PLA, ok the other way

Turn ‘support’ on always

Infill and number of shells,

small 2-3 shells, 15-33% infill

large, 4-6 shells, 0-15% infill

most of strength comes from shells

infill makes the object strong while printing