My apartment in Downtown Austin has officially become a manufacturing facility!!
I got my new MakerBot Replicator 3D printer and setup it up this week. Here it is sitting on my kitchen counter:
After setting it up and handling a few minor technical issues, I tried firing it up and printing something that was on the included SD card. First thing I printed was this stretchy bracelet. Here it is layer-by-layer being printed out in PLA plastic:
Finished product. Took a little less than 15 minutes to fully print:
Take it off the built plate and it’s ready to wear! That’s what I liked about the MakerBot Replicator2….it doesn’t have any messy cleanup process (a lot of 3D printers use powder or plastic-resin to make stuff which has to be cleaned off). It’s super sturdy and can be stretched:
Like I previously wrote, I wanted to print something that couldn’t be made through most manufacturing processes, so I printed a 3D shot glass! It’s got this internal structure that’s useless, but makes the shot glass look cool and “3D printed”.
Here it is halfway printed:
Ready to drink!
I was shocked by how sturdy the shot glass came out. The settings were on super high quality, so it took 1 1/2 hours to print, but the build was extraordinarily strong. I doubt you could even smash that thing with a hammer (I tried and failed). Very impressive strength.
Next thing I printed was this cool looking candle cover. Here it is fresh out of the printer:
Stick a tea-candle in the middle and it gives off this cool effect……and I manufactured this thing in my APARTMENT!!
The next step was to see how long some real “manufacturing” would take. So before running out of the house for a few hours, I quickly added some random items to a file and hit ‘print’.
I put 5 3D shot glasses, and 1 stretchy bracelet, hit ‘print’ and ran out of the house. Here was the very beginning phases of the print:
After a few hours (I left the settings on super-high…..so the print took longer than it should have):
8 hours after hitting ‘print’ these were waiting for me at home:
Overall I’m super impressed with this thing. I mean, the technology still sucks right now compared to what it’ll be in the future (being able to print circuits and whatnot), but this is an awesome learning experience.
I quickly learned to use the MakerWare software for loading objects to print…it’s super-simple.
Now I’m going to start learning some 3D modeling using Blender. That will be a tad bit harder, but more rewarding since I’ll be able to make my OWN things and print/share them.
Your Top 5 Influences (10 minutes)
This is one of my favorite concepts:
“You are the composite average of the top 5 people you hang around.”
This doesn’t mean your favorite people to hang around, it means the people you LITERALLY SPEND THE MOST NUMBER OF MINUTES WITH PER DAY.
So if you live at home with your parents, just by the nature of that arrangement, your parents will be some of your top influencers. Or if you have a husband/wife….they will be one of your top influencers.
So take a look around, and write out who your top 5 influences are (aka who you are physically around the most): 1.) __________________ 2.) __________________ 3.) __________________ 4.) __________________ 5.) __________________
Are those people the kind of people you wanna become?
Are they as successful as you wanna be??
Do they have the kind of attitudes about life that you want???
Are they going to places you want to go????
If you’re hanging around a bunch of losers with crappy attitudes…..it’s likely you’ll pick up those traits too.
If you’re hanging around a bunch of positive people with great attitudes and ideas……it’s likely you’ll pick up those traits too.
So check your list to see who is negatively influencing you, and try to cut down the time you spend with those people so they don’t take you down also.
Simply GOING to events that interest you will help get some momentum going. I started to skip a lot of tech events and conferences….and this bad, because those usually motivate the hell out of me (meeting other people doing cool things always makes you work harder).
I still use a physical calendar to track all my stuff like this:
I went to my bookmark bar of “Austin Events” and started adding things recently.
All good spots to start: Meetup.com, Yelp.com, Craigslist Community.
Wanna go to tech meet ups? Then search “tech meet ups Austin” (or wherever you are).
Nearby universities generally hold a lot of cool events.
I have a whole bookmarks tab of websites/museums/charities etc that hold cool events.
Re-connect with friends by giving to them
Next thing I did was throw a small party (not a typical party though). I only invited 1 or 2 other people.
It was called the “Early Morning Blog Post Writing Party From Nev’s Pool Party!”
The rules were:
We start at 8am
We go to the shallow end of the pool at my apt
You bring your laptop
You write a blog post from inside the pool
I wanted it to be like “having your own writing island.”
So me and Billy (Forever Jobless) hit up the pool at my apartment at 8am with laptops for a “Blog Post Writing Party”! It may have been the nerdiest party in the WORLD at that moment!
I’m literally writing this post from the pool right now!!
It was actually damn fun, and Billy even said:
“I got more writing done today than I have in 4 months!”
If there’s any Austinite’s out there interested in joining me for this every once in a while, lemme know.
Changing your living space
I think changing your living space often signifies changing your life in some way.
I bought a super-kick-ass “Float” desk from HumanScale a few weeks ago, and it just arrived.
It’s awesome in several ways: 1.) It can quickly adjust to any height with a small lever. 2.) The work area is clean, all-white, and HUUUGGEE. 3.) The engineering behind it is awesome (it uses a counter-balance system that uses the weight of the stuff on your desk to move it up and down)….yet it’s all hidden inside the desk and you’d never know it. Basically it’s like a desk Apple would make!
It’s super-neat to go from standing to sitting in less than 2 seconds with this desk. Sometimes I prefer moving around and standing, but sometimes sitting down is necessary and more comfortable.
Screw all those “Standing” desks…..this one can do both!
The large size of the desk isn’t really conveyed in that picture. I’ve had it for a while now….and I can honestly say it’s been an awesome investment and really helped with productivity!
Also in the “changing your living space” department…….I needed some art for the loonngggest time but couldn’t find any. So I sat down and ordered two of the BIGGEST pieces of art from Ikea I could possibly find. I stuck one of them over a boring white wall above my bed:
It doesn’t look that big in the picture, but that picture is HUGE. It’s like 6.5 feet across.
I’m also making sure I make the bed every morning. I learned this trick from Gary Halbert:
Make your bed as SOON as you wake up in the morning, and you will already start the day off with a small win!
“Messy bed, Messy head.”
Those are a few things I’m doing to “get my mojo back”. Most of these things are more to mentally-psych myself into being productive once again.
Perhaps if you’re going through a period of time where you need this, you could take some inspiration from any of these tips.
P.S. From my last Superpowers post, these people won NevBox’s: Dave, Dave H, Allen T, Jacqueline P, Robin W.
Thanks Sithana for helping me decide. I’m sending YOU one too for that!
P.P.S.Comment on this post with actions that helped your snap out of a sluggish phase in your life….I’ll physically ship 5 commenters NevBox’s (worth $97 each…and you can’t even buy them if you wanted to). Not only that, but your comment might give some poor soul trying to “figure things out” an idea that could change their life!
P.P.P.S. Please share/send this to anyone who could use a little “jump-start” in their life.
So get this, a few weeks ago I took a 3D printing class!!
I haven’t learned any new skill in a while, so I thought this would be a fun nerd-activity.
I’ve been fascinated by 3D printing since around 2007, but only now are 3D printers become semi-reliable enough for home use.
Anywhoozle…..I Googled “3D Printing Class Austin” and found a place called TechShop that holds them:
This TechShop was connected to a Lowe’s hardware store, and you can pay a monthly membership to use all the high end machine and manufacturing tools there like this:
The class I enrolled in would teach you how to use a MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer. You can see the Replicator1 (left), and Replicator2 (right):
Our instructor mainly showed how to use the cool-looking Replicator2:
The first step was to learn the software, so we all downloaded pre-existing .stl files from the internet and loaded them into the 3D printing software. Here’s the little toy octopus gettin ready to print:
Once the file is sent to the printer, it starts printing out small layers of PLA plastic less than 1 millimeter thick. Once it’s done with that first layer, it moves up and prints another layer. It does this hundreds of times until a full object is printed out!
Here’s the printer in action using orange plastic:
After about 15 minutes of printing a REAL OBJECT WE DOWNLOADED FROM THE INTERNET CAME INTO EXISTENCE!!!
Now I’d been wanting a 3D printer for a long time, and after taking the class I was dead-set on getting one….so I made a quick internet order for a MakerBot Replicator2.
I ordered a couple of spools of plastic filament and the MakerCare Insurance (because there’s like a 99% chance something WILL go wrong with the machine in less than a year).
I’ve also started downloading the printing software and experimenting/downloading objects from the internet.
The first thing I want to print are these 3D shot glasses which would be impossible to create with a lathe or laser cutter:
I also just for fun wanna print a gun….now keep in mind it’s just a mold of a gun made out of shitty plastic with no moving parts….but the CRAZY thing is the file I’m printing from actually includes all the parts to make a gun (assuming you had a high-precision metal-printing 3D printer you could possibly make one):
I also downloaded a bunch of other random cool stuff from Thingiverse for free.
I dunno exactly where 3D printing will go…..but the ability to create and print out highly complex objects from your home is going open up a WHOLE new plane of creativity like Apps did to smartphones.
It’s so cool to imagine that from my apartment I can manufacture things. I mean….crappy things for now, but the technology will soon get better-and-better to the point where we’ll all be able to print out highly complex objects, machines, and circuitry. SOOOO FREAKIN COOL!
Since I left college I’d always been trying to learn something new at all times….and lately I haven’t, so getting this excited about something new is very refreshing :)
I usually like giving myself only a maximum of three goals, but there’s no particular time-frame for them (which personally helps me).
So this month I’ve divided the goals up into week-long chunks. I’m testing how this will work:
WEEK 1: Apartment modifications
I’ve always been only semi-satisfied with my previous workspace at my current apartment. It was small, my legs would always hit the desk…and for some reason I was just LAZY at this desk.
I was thinking this amount of money for a desk is INSANE since you can buy a nice desk for waaaayyyy cheaper….but this desk had unique engineering, simplistic elegance, and can easily go from a sitting-desk to a standing-desk in 2 seconds without moving stuff off the desk.
WEEK 2: NevBlog store up and running
I’ve got so many different products and things I sell, but all in different places. Need a place to consolidate that a bit. Also need some semi-advanced functionality for some of these things, but I don’t want to build that myself. So I’ve started using Shopify to build a NevBlog store.
For a few days I was just CONSTANTLY comparing Shopify, BicCommerce and Volusion to see which platform would suite me best.
BigCommerce actually had the functionality I wanted right out of the box, but was more bulky, hard to modify, and less intuitive to use (but it did have a lot of very good features I liked).
Shopify was lightweight, SUPER easy to use. It didn’t have the same digital delivery capability as BigCommerce, but I’ve found some work-arounds.
WEEK 3: Products ported over.
I’ll have to go individually through each offering I have and make sure it works with this new store.
WEEK 4: Start life-changer NevBox.
To be announced :)
I literally used to (and still do) day-dream about being a famous ethical hacker.
I sort of was one a long time ago.
In high school, I was able to gain access to the Novell security systems used by the school computers. I was also in a special Cisco class where they taught us to create, modify, and break-in to computer networks.
So I was able to hack into routers, gain teacher access to school computers, and do this totally anonymously.
But I never used these nerdy superpowers to hurt anyone or be malicious. In fact, I used to HELP school administrators clean up the servers from kids putting weird videos and such on the servers….or help with issues they would have.
When I day-dream, I think of telling people at a dinner party, “Me? I’m a hacker. But an ETHICAL hacker! I go to big organizations like NASA, GE, Facebook, Google and try to hack into their systems. Then when I find a vulnerability, I tell them, and they pay me to help fix it!”
I imagine myself making millions of dollars by ethically hacking into these systems. “Oh yeah, I found a loophole that would give me access to any Gmail account on Google, and showed Google how to fix it….they paid me $900,000 for a one-day consultation”
I dunno….it just sounds so damn COOL to me.
But alas that’s not my skill anymore. I can’t program anymore, and realized in college I was WAY behind the curve in the world of computer programmers (in fact I got kicked out of the computer science program at UT in my first year there because I was SO sucky compared to others)!
So my ambitions of being a super-hero hacker fell through because:
1.) I suck at it….
2.) I’m not willing to put forth the effort to become one….
3.) I don’t really enjoy programing all that much, I just like the “idea” of it.
But….something happened later in life around college where I discovered another super-power:
Writing stuff, doing experiments, and reporting about them in a weird enough way to keep people interested.
It sort of came naturally and by accident.
Like….it was super easy to know what would be more interesting to others….which was the exact opposite of programming which was hard an un-intuitive to me.
This was a Facebook post I saw from Michael Fishman which demonstrated this perfectly:
Wow! Well said Michael! :::gives standing ovation:::
When I made the KopywritingKourse, it just performed well, people learned, and subsequently lots of people made lots of money from what they learned in that course.
It was easy. It flowed. it was FUN. It was natural.
My superpower had been exposed!
P.S. I ‘m physically sending out five NevBox’s for this post…..just leave a comment on the post letting me know if you have a “super power”….even if it’s kinda dumb, and I might be shipping you a NevBox in the mail! Would love to hear your superpower. I read every comment. (btw, you can’t buy NevBox’s anymore, and if you could, they would cost $97 each…so leave a comment below to enter to win)!
P.P.S. There’s a maid in my hotel room right now making the bed and cleaning stuff while I sit here and type….am I supposed to tip her??
A brother is a cool thing to have. Especially when you get to pick on him when he’s little, then compliment him when he’s older ;-)
Mine is turning 26 today, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY ASHDIN!
Here’s a few things I’ve learned from my little brother:
I started playing the guitar in 8th grade, he started playing in 5th grade….
I took private lessons, and got my instructor to teach me songs instead of music theory (which as an 8th grader is totally lame).
Well whaddya know….APPPAARRAANNNTLY learning the foundations of music early on help you learn to play much better.
Within the next few years my musical ability was playing 10 songs on the guitar….whereas my brother could now freely play ANY style of music quickly because he had the foundations down.
This inspired me to start taking lessons and learn actual music theory and basics when I was 26. After 10+ years of “knowing how” to play the guitar…..I finally learned chords and scales.
Till this day he remains an order of magnitude better than me at guitar, and picks up other instruments with remarkable speed.
Me & Ashdin practicing on some big-ass rented amplifiers to play at a friends wedding:
I’m always impressed by his questioning of morals.
He went vegetarian for a while in college, on the basis that if we could farm food, why eat animals.
This isn’t necessarily the view of our meat-eating family, but he stuck to his guns and rolled with it until his mind changed.
During this time my mom would cook different food for him (usually healthier food), and slowly this impact started spreading to the rest of us.
I remember him talking to a family friend about his decision, and she was giving back counter-arguments about eating animals. He asked her this one question:
“How would you feel if we ate Trudy?” (their family dog).
She got super upset at the question and repulsed by the idea. While I don’t think that ever changed her mind, hearing her reaction made me laugh….and I’ll never forget how much that single question rocked her mentality.
He could possibly be God.
At 25 years old on this trip to India he looked SHOCKINGLY LIKE Zarathustra!! (he’s like the Zoroastrian version of Jesus).
I remember us having a hilarious conversation about our religion with some older family, and Ashdin said (paraphrased from memory):
“So 5,000 years ago this guy goes into the desert, says he saw God, and now we worship him. But if I went into the desert, and came back saying I saw God, people would think I’m crazy.”
BAHAHAHA!! It’s true.
If you look at that picture above, Ashdin could’ve easily dressed in some robes, occasionally said some wise shit, and been the guy we worship 5,000 years later.
Anyhow, HAPPY BIRTHDAY ASHDIN!!
Wish my brother a happy birthday in the comments, and I’ll select 5 people to send a NevBox!
I used to do a lot of dumb crap that ended up becoming useful later on in life.
I did these things just for fun.
Maybe I was a nerd.
Maybe I had too much free time.
But they almost always translated into useful skills SOMEWHERE down the line.
In high school I started to learn Photoshop for fun. I illegally downloaded it and tinkered around. Since I was a high school student around the year 2000, there wasn’t much use for it, so I used it for dumb things.
I used to do crap like take pictures of my first car (a 1992 Mercury Sable) shown here:
….and I would Photoshop different rims and graphics onto the car like this:OOhhhhhh yeeeaaa Pimp My Ride!!!
….OK, clearly this was stupid, but by accident I started teaching myself Photoshop.
Now I use Photoshop on a daily basis for….
–Friends ask for images to be modified.
–I can mockup spec-sheets for outsourcing really well (like this and this).
–I can make website elements really quick.
–I can make stuff for my blog and business instantly.
–I can show a developer exactly what I want on a webpage.
Through “stupid things” I also learned to:
–Make & use blogs and eCommerce systems.
–Started to write.
–Do handstands and backflips.
….and way more.
So if there’s a dumb hobby you have, stupid thing you wanna learn…. GO DO IT and don’t worry if it’s “useful”!
There’s always some useful application for it in the future!
P.S. I still remember this picture being the favorite thing I ever Photoshopped in high school!