Essential Free Software for a Windows Install

Yesterday I went and bought a laptop for my dad to learn how to use computers and the internet.  A base install of windows is not functional nor safe enough to let loose on the internet without some additional software.  Being an avid fan of things that are free, I went and downloaded the latest versions of free software that I thought would be essential for this new PC.

I hope this post is useful for other people, but its really a lazy way of me bookmarking everything in-case I have to do it again.

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Shapeways reprints have arrived, looks great!

Just a few happy snaps of the reprinted models Shapeways has sent.  The detail on the white strong and flexible material is crisp this time around and gives me confidence again to start ordering in this material 🙂

The heart shape rings came out in perfect crisp detail!
The heart shape rings came out in perfect crisp detail!

Photos after the break…

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Ponoko Bamboo ‘WTF is it?’ ‘thing’ – Early Photos…

Still no write up, just a gallery of photos I took of an attempted fit together… Fits nice and snug!  Also testing how a clear polyurethane will look on the bamboo.  Since I’m not giving a description what-so-ever see if you can guess what it is.  Preemptive explanation if you think it looks crap/sucks, its because I was severely constrained by the cut size limitations…

Click more to see the gallery!

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No longer a ponoko virgin – My first order experience and photos

I recall reading a forum thread on Ponoko about the lack of information on what to expect from an order… so I figured I’ll post about my first order experience with Ponoko.  Read on for some photos.

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Visualizing CityRail with Cytoscape

Visualizing or visualising?  Doesn’t really matter.

The idea here is to render the Sydney Rail Network (aka CityRail) using Cytoscape, an open source application typically used by researchers to visualizing bioinformation.  My original idea was actually to visualize something plain like Facebook friend networks but decided on the CityRail niche because it partly relates to my work.

Behold the CityRail Galactic Empire...(Larger image after the break)
Behold the CityRail Galactic Empire...(Larger image after the break)

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Rub ‘n Buff on Shapeways Black Detail Material

Shapeways has a tutorial on painting models printed using their ‘White Strong & Flexible’ (WS&F) material but not very much hints to go on for their other materials.  I had ‘some’ luck with using Rub ‘n Buff on the WS&F material on the heart ring so I thought I’ll give it a go on the black detail material from Shapeways.

One quick photo to summarise the result :

Iris blades painted with Rub 'n Buff without the buffing...

The finish is pretty good for a 20 second rub on.  I only used tissues to apply the rub n buff because i couldn’t get my hands on any decent cloth and I didn’t want my fingertips all silver again.  With some experimentation I noticed that it is much easier to apply the paint along the ‘grain’.  Keep it mind that using this paint could get a bit messy so remember to work ontop of some tissue/newspaper!  (I used tissue ontop of this very laptop I’m typing on now).

Give it a try!

Shapeway Prints – Iris Mk2 and Heart Rings – oops

This is really a continuation of a forum thread where I may have complained too much about the quality of the recent shapeways prints I received.

Here are some photos with some explanations/captions :-

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A better way to export SVG files from Alibre Xpress (for Ponoko!)

I wrote in here of an extremely convoluted way of exporting Alibre Design files into SVG for laser cutting with Ponoko.  There were a couple of problems…and of course after some googling there was a better way!

(Note this is a generic DXF to SVG conversion and is applicable to many other CAD programs such as AutoCAD, Unigraphics, Catia, SolidWorks etc and is not limited to Alibre Xpress)

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