What's happening now at Because We Can

we_buy_cars.JPG


we_buy_cars.JPG, originally uploaded by jillianisaphotographer.

The googie sign compelation is still at work- but i have just added a few more photos from San Jose.... a mecca of old googie signs and general wierdness. I am really starting to like San Jose.
Home of our Googie sign God: The Western Appliance Store sign. I need to go back and take these photos and more at night.... when they truly shine.

It's alive! ALIVE! Ahahahaha... (The Shopbot's Working)


Got the Shopbot (Frank's) wiring all finished up on Monday, and in my excitement to make it go I used the wrong software (doh!). But now, with the right software talking to it's brain, it's clunking, moving, and vrooming around just like it's supposed to. Here's some photos of it, if you're interested in how it looks (and again, I love it's royal blue color):

This is a picture of the table itself, much like the last one, but now as you see there's more stuff on there than before. We spend all of Sunday simply making those rails it rides on perfectly straight, level, and parallel to only have to probably do it several more times before it's 'done'.

Here's a shot of one of the X-axis (the long one) drive motors. It's basically a big stepper motor, driving a gear that's on a long pinion that's on the underside of that long blue rail. That spring there keeps it in place while it's rolling along. Dig all the warnings, that's why we made one of our own, and we're gonna print it out as a sticker and put it along the other warnings (for robots are dangerous!).

Here's a shot of the Y and Z axis. That large carriage cross-bit moves back and forth along the length of the table, like a gantry crane, while that vertical bit in the center of the photo moves back and forth perpendicular to the length of the whole table, thus giving us the Y-axis. The vertical bit in the very center moves up and down, giving us the Z-axis. All three can move together at the same time smoothly, making it possible to move in very complex patterns and paths. That ring in the center there is what holds whatever tool you've decided to use- it's quite literally the Shopbot's 'arm'. My router will go in there today, and in the future we'll be getting a nice power dremel tool to go in there for fine relief work.

Here's that 'arm' from the underside. You don't want to be here when it's on.

So now all I gotta do is hook up the X and Y proximity switches (so Frank knows when it's arm has reached it's 'home base') and the Z-axis plate (so Frank knows how deep to cut), and put the router in there and we're almost done. The final step is placing a thick sheet of MDF (a denser particle board) in the bottom, and having Frank surface it to be perfectly flat and level. It makes it's own worksurface. As a matter of fact, once we've done that, Frank will make itself it's own vacuum hold-down, dust collection accessories, and more. It comes with the job files to make the rest of the parts it needs to be fully functional. But we'll need some kind of dust collection system before then, for that first step of leveling the table is gonna make a WHOLE lotta sawdust...


Follow-up to X11-over-SSH post, X11DisplayOffset explained!

OK, so a friend (one of the two people who read this Blog) explained to me more about the whole X11-over-SSH voodoo, and I thought I'd post it here as a follow up. I'm very proud to present that information to the other reader of my Blog, who probably knows it already:
So says my friend SPACEMONKEY:
Hey, I really liked that description of doing the blender  remote stuff (at http://www.becausewecan.org/node/23 ); in the whole 'spirit-of-blogging' thing, I might could shed some light on the X11DisplayOffset thing: Hope you've got some coffee...
In X, you're not limited to having a single remote host fooling around on your desktop (or vice versa). If you wanted to play with two, three, or (even) four other machines, all opening up windows on your laptop, X11 does this by having all those machines open sockets up to the Xserver running on your desktop (which the Xclient finds, typically, by a environment variable called DISPLAY). 'k?
Note this is a different model than, say, telnet or ssh; with those, you connect to the server and the server starts talking to you. With X, you run a program on the server and it connects back (opens up sockets) to your client.
Back in the golden days when no one cared about security (ie, when X11 was developed) that was swell. But, when you introduce ssh, it needs to be able to hijack (tunnel) all the socket data between two machines so it can be encrypted before going over the wire (otherwise it's just a quick packet sniff away from the cover of the NY Times).
Okay, back at the server side, you run a fancy program to look at pictures of puppies. The fancy program tries to open up a window, the local X instance creates a socket (just like normal)... but it can't talk directly to your laptop, as you're running ssh. But, ssh doesn't *know* you're running an X11 program and there's no way for it to (cleanly) know about programs you're running that talk to your laptop, so it can't intercept the socket calls it needs to tunnel the traffic back. And, furthermore, you could ssh into one machine, telnet from that machine to *another* machine, and run a program on that third machine which opens a window back to your laptop (all through the magic of X).
As a clever hack, what ssh does is open up a range of *potential* sockets on the server machine (when you enable X11Forwarding) and waits for any program to connect any of these sockets, effectively pretending these sockets are the Xserver on your laptop. When some program (presumably the puppy program) connects to these ports, ssh intercepts the X11 data sent (to open windows, draw pictures of puppies, etc) over these fake sockets and tunnels them over an encrypted socket to the ssh on your laptop, and asks the local ssh to open up sockets to your local laptop's Xserver and pass on the commands the server program sent (and you see puppies!)..
The range of sockets the ssh server opens on the remote side starts at... wait for it.... 6000 + X11DisplayOffset.
Now, how is this useful? If you wanted to have *more* than one X11 connection from your laptop to a given server or if there a lot of other people running X clients off your server, you could avoid getting windows destined for your client popping up on other people's machines by setting X11DisplayOffset to a different value. Or, if you were a paranoid type, you could change *your* X11DisplayOffset setting on the server you're using to a different value than the default of '10', which makes it less easy for crackers to get into your machine.
man, I need coffee now...

Halfway there...

Shopbot Halfway there
Fisheye photo of the shopbot mounted on the table... halfway there!
Wooo... to busy to post much (as my two readers have noticed), but as you can see we re-did the shop, built a table, and put the shopbot on the table, but not mounted the Z-axis, the motors, or wired it up yet. And the table is too tall, so we gotta chop it down a bit... We've decided to name it Frank. We're very proud. We'll be even more proud when it actually, you know, does stuff. Boy is it bigger than I thought! I thought a 4' x 8' cutting area meant that the machine wouldn't be that much bigger than that, but oh boy, I didn't know that it adds 6" to the cutting area in each direction so that non-plunge-able cutting bits can start outside the material and cut in, and, well, due to other things the 4' x 8' table has turned into a monster 5'6" x 10' table... woo...

Upstairs Bookshelf 'round two... FIGHT!

So a second, more 'organic' approach to the upstairs bookshelf. I'm diggin' the idea of making it via these CNC-cut 'ribs'. While I think this one is interesting, there's a third version that I like a lot more (that I'll post as soon as I have time to generate a model of it).
Second Bookshelf Try...
Last week at the full-time gig, so hopefully I'll soon have time to get the website looking better, get the Shopbot put together, yadda yadda yadda... All for now, too busy to post more!

Idea for the upstairs bookshelf...

Working on a design for a bookshelf we want to make for our place. The plan is for it to be a big ol' U shape, for then the low middle part can act like a bench and the two 'towers' will frame what we hope to be in the future a screen (or the wall) for a video projector to aim at. This is being optimistic that someday we'll be able to afford said video projector, but hey, it's a cool shape to work with anyways and it would be good to have a better bookshelf up there.
Wavy Bookshelf
I don't like this one, but it's a start, and now back to 'real work'. I like the idea of the flipping shapes cut on the CNC table to make up the body, but it's too rigid and too 'woody'. I think I need to make it more organic...

The Best Thing Ever.

From it's wonderful royal purple/blue color to the cartoons in it's instruction manual to what it represents, I do believe that this here thing is the best thing I've ever been lucky enough to own.
The Shopbot made a sudden unexpected appearance today. And after a panic-stricken last-minute cleaning of the shop, and the truck driver being nice enough to help me break open the crate (nice crate too!) and unload the parts, I now have all the parts sitting on the floor to make my very own Robot, and man, I couldn't be more excited.
Cudos to the Shopbot folks. Everything's clearly labeled, the three-ring binder it came with is very well done, it was even shipped well. Should have called/e-mailed me first, so I knew it was on the way, so I could have been ready for it... well.. actually, I probably wouldn't have been able to sleep... so maybe it's for the best that it arrived suddenly.
When Jillian gets home, we'll take some pictures, and when we start to put the thing together we'll post that too. But for now, back to work, and I've got to cleaning to do to make room for it. Sorry for my posts being spaced so far apart, busy wrapping things up at the current gig and all that. Much more to come in October!

Twist Couch Idea

Here's a quick study of an idea I had for a couch. Not too happy with the renderings, I couldn't get Yafray to work out of Blender without crashing on this model, and I'm still redoing my linux machine over to Ubuntu so my Radiance (and hence Brad) isn't working too well yet either... teach me to go fiddlin' when I've got ideas to get out...

The big idea behind it is that it's the same twisted form that makes up the bottom and the back, it's just that one has been flipped over and the two have been 'nested' together.

It's sort of a 3D yin-yang made into a low mod-ish couch. You can see more & bigger images of it here in this photo album.
The form itself at first was inspired by a couch in a Glen Barr painting, but then once I came upon the flipping-and-nesting idea for the back, it quickly diverged away into what it is now...

Googie Signs in East Bay- First night

This weekend Because We Can did a little night photography. We drove down East 14th St from Hayward to Oakland taking photos of the Googie signs and the just palin cool signs  (and there's a photo of a store that sells all Rims too- sooooooooo East 14th Street!)
take a look at the choice photos from that night on my Flickr site.

I am working on pulling the images from flicker into this blog.... we'll see how that works next post.......

All photos copyright Jillian Northrup

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