Category Archives: Hobbies

The Gecko goes on…

My printer has been idle for a number of months and this past weekend I finally spent a little time fixing up some wiring and actually printed a coffee grinder funnel prototype I started working on. The initial print was great – but after making some changes and starting another print job, I almost immediately ran into issues with blockages in the hotend.

I upgraded the machine with a genuine E3D Titan extruder and V6 hotend, but I’m still not impressed with their performance. Need something better – but what?

Update 🙂 I think I have a plan…

Mosquito hotend by Slice Engineering

Came across a company called Slice Engineering in the U.S.A., that has developed a hotend they are calling the Mosquito. The design is very intriguing, and it looks like it might be 1/2 of the answer I’m searching for.








Bondtech BMG-M Extruder

The other half of the answer is the extruder, and a Swedish company called BondTech has an extruder designed for the Mosquito – the BMG-M. I like the dual gear mechanism they’re using, and from what I’ve read, is a good step up from the Titan.

LibreElec & VPN on Raspberry PI

Tried out a vpn service for my Raspberry Pi media devices, called PureVPN. Their app works great on OpenElec, however OpenElec doesn’t run on the current Raspberry PI 3B+ hardware, and there is no indication that it ever will.

PureVPN
LibreElec does support the current hardware, however the PureVPN app doesn’t support LibreElec. I contacted PureVPN support, and they were unable to provide any timeline as to when their VPN app would support LibreElec, and I’m not willing to use older Raspberry PI hardware to accommodate PureVPN’s requirements. I was able to get a refund with minimal hassle. If it wasn’t for their inability to support the hardware/software I wanted to use their service on, I would probably still be using their service, as it was a very good value.


I found another vpn service, called Ivacy, and it does install & function. I found that some of it’s configuration settings, such as split tunneling were not intuitive, and their notifications as to when it’s connected and when it’s not connected were not very obvious. I experienced regular connection drops – seemed like every hour, the connection would drop. Getting a refund a week after signing up was straightforward and appreciated.


Now I’m using NordVPN, and I’ve found the connections to be much more reliable – and there seem to be a greater number of servers in some regions to connect to. While it’s not the least expensive option out there, I think the reliability is well worth the extra expense.

Building a new PI with DAC

Purchased a Justboom DAC Hat a while back, along with a PI 3B+.  Was going to install OpenElec, but found out the latest distro isn’t compatible with the Pi.  I ended up going with LibreElec, which has been working great with it.

I did solder the IR receiver onto the Justboom DAC but found it wasn’t responding to a couple remotes – I have a Flirc dongle that worked fine though, so I have Lirc disabled for now.  I might spend more time trying to get it working later, so I can use the Flirc dongle elsewhere.

#dtparam=audio=on
dtparam=audio=off
dtoverlay=justboom-dac
Have been very pleased with the sound quality of the JustBoom DAC – makes my vintage AR-210’s sound amazing!  I also have an old pair of Wharfedale Diamonds that also sound awesome – just lacking some bottom end – but for a tiny speaker, they are still awesome!

Aquarium rebuild

After a tragic loss of all but 2 fish in my aquarium, I took it as an opportunity to try something a little different.

The 2 survivors are my stealthy Bristlenose Pleco’s.

The new occupants:

  • 9 Rummy-nose tetras
  • 6 Discus
  • 3 Botia dario loaches

Added a very large piece of driftwood to the tank, and also added a new LED light – MicMol 36″-48″ Planted tank lamp, with scheduling.  The lamp is very nice – but is a pain to program.  Just have to be patient 🙂

I have been finding snails to be a challenge to control, which was one of the reasons for adding the loaches.  Unfortunately, they don’t seem all that interested!
I’ve been reducing the amount and frequency of feeding the fish, although the discus I bought are young and growing!  One seems to be a runt.

Gecko Upgrades

I received the East 3D Gecko upgrade kit, last fall, and recently I had finally gotten around to tearing down the printer and installing it.  In the process, I also installed some RGB lighting, ceramic heat bed, and the Lerdge power-off module kit as well.

The upgrade kit changes the gantry suspension so that it hangs from 4 points, instead of the original 2 points. It also changes the XY gantry, providing a new rail to make things much easier to square up.

I ended up removing the power-off module after it resulted in a blown fuse in the ac input switch – thankfully the blown fuse protected the main board and power supply.

The ceramic bed is a much flatter printing surface – and is supposed to provide much better print adhesion.  In practice, I find it works really well, provide that you have the surface perfectly clean and levelled from the start.  If either of these things aren’t perfect, you end up with a spaghetti print!

One of the other upgrades I did previously was replacing the stock hotend and extruder with original E3D components.