Charred Log

My photogrammetry skills are getting better thanks to some new equipment and a podcast that inspired me to invest in some new equipment. My first model armed with new knowledge and prototype equipment is a partially burned log from my fire pit.

For the last month, I have been working on a design for an automated photogrammetry turn table. The table is made from 3D printed components and uses an Arduino to rotate the table in small increments and then fire my Canon DSLR. The turn table is functional at this point, but I’m adding some additional features like a knob to control amount of rotation and a pause button.

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Blender Tip: Combine Links

In the Shader Editor of Blender, holding down the Shift key while right-clicking and dragging on a link between nodes combines all of the links that cross the selection area into a single, curved link.

This can help to reduce clutter in your shader network and make it easier to see the relationships between nodes. By combining links in this way, you can simplify your shader network and make it easier to understand.

To use this feature, simply hold down the Shift key while right-clicking and dragging over the links you want to combine. The links will become curved and grouped together, reducing clutter in your shader network.

So give this quick tip a try the next time you’re working in the Shader Editor of Blender and see how it can help to simplify and improve your shader networks!

Baking Textures in Blender

I just spent the last hour in Blender trying to bake a diffuse texture from a model created with photogrammetry to a lo-poly model created in Blender. I checked and double checked every setting. I went back to tutorials that I watched years ago. I looked for new issues that might be caused by the latest version. I finally found the problem.
The software I use for photogrammetry is Zephyr. It outputs the textured models in several formats. The two formats that can be imported into Blender or OBJ and FBX. I chose FBX. I chose poorly.
No matter what I did, I could not bake the texture from the FBX model to a low poly model.
When I went back to Zephyr and exported as OBJ, all my problems went away.

We’re gonna blow a 60 amp fuse

A classic song lyric goes,

And I went down to the demonstration
To get my fair share of abuse
We’re gonna vent our frustration
If we don’t, we going blow a 50-amp fuse

You Can’t Always Get What Your Want by the Rolling Stones

I wasn’t frustrated, but I beat them by 10 amps. This week I blew a couple of 60 amp fuses. As a reminder that I need to order more spares, I have two blown fuses on my desk. I decided that they could be used to test what kind of results I can get modeling with photogrammetry. I get questionable results when I have labels that are on a cylindrical surfaces. Since your eye knows what to look for when looking at text, texture errors in the labels really stands out.

The following story is about how I converted the photogrammetry model into a good mesh with good topology. If you’re interested in how I messed up and blew a couple 60 amp fuses, then jump to the end.

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What can you do with a 3D Printer

I often can asked what I can do with a 3D printer. The ideas are endless for someone with imagination, but here is a short list to get you thinking:

  1. Home decor: 3D printing allows individuals to create unique and personalized home decor items, such as vases, lamp shades, and figurines.
  2. Repair and maintenance: With a 3D printer, individuals can print spare parts or replacement items for appliances or other household items.
  3. Education and hobbies: 3D printing can be used for educational purposes, such as creating models for school projects, or for hobbies such as building model airplanes or cars.
  4. Clothing and accessories: 3D printing can be used to create custom clothing and accessories, such as shoes and jewelry.
  5. Medical devices: 3D printing can be used to create custom medical devices, such as prosthetics or orthodontic braces.
  6. Personalized gifts: 3D printing allows individuals to create unique and personalized gifts for loved ones, such as custom jewelry or figurines.

New Prusa Surprise

My old Prusa got fried. The plug from the power supply melted. I replaced the plug, but I could never get it working again. Every time the header for the bed turned on, the control card re-booted. I figure that there was a surge that damaged the Rambo board.

A new board would be cheaper, but 1) it might not be the problem or the only problem and 2) if it worked, I would still have an older version of the Prusa.

So I sold some stuff and bought a new Prusa and here’s the surprise.

I paid over $100 to have it shipped, but then I got a message from DHL that the package would be held hostage unless I paid $50. That maybe a little dramatic…I owed import duties. I was a little surprised that this wasn’t communicated clearly when I purchased the printer. It might have been in the fine print somewhere, but I never saw it and was concerned it was fraud. To make sure, I went to DHL and paid over the phone.

Start/Stop Combo Button

I posted a start/stop button on CGTrader today. I was looking for something to model in low poly and I was inspired during a walk through our machine shop. The start/stop button on the bandsaw is a little detail that can be added to machine models.

Reference Photo

My idea was to model it buttons with details (hi-poly) and then again with no-details (lo-poly). Then bake the diffuse and normal maps from the hi-poly model to the lo-poly model. It didn’t work as suspected.

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Garden Trellis

Today I finished a wooden trellis. It’s a design similar to one I found in one of my wife’s catalogs. I might actually make this one. I need something for my tomatoes to grow on.

It did not take long for me to create the model in Blender, but it took some effort to convert it to a single mesh and game ready textures.

The Garden Trellis is available for download at