This month Apple announced that starting with macOS 12 mail.app will block tracking pixels in emails by default. This is a great feature. It was possible to do this using 3rd party plugins as I posted before. Unfortunately, these apps have all been “sherlocked”. If you develop anything in the privacy space right now you can bet that Apple will make your idea part of the system soon.
I picked up 3D printing as a hobby during COVID last year and quickly became hooked. It has become a tool like a screwdriver. I use and abuse it. Every problem seems to have a printable solution. I also fell into a side job at the end of last year and with the economy picking up this year orders outstripped capacity. The Prusa Mini was well reviewed and received a + update at the end of last year. I ordered a kit and waited.
The Mini+ is an exceptional value. The kit, instructions, and part quality are what you would expect from Prusa, that is, second to none. I was doubtful that they could improve on the quality of the MK3S but this is a higher quality machine. Some will complain about the build volume but it’s more than sufficient for most hobby and professional parts particularly when you consider breaking parts into assemblies. This is a good investment for beginners and seasoned printers.
- Great price point
- Prusa quality
- Integration with PrusaSlicer
- Very stable
- UI is intuitive
- Cantilevered design is difficult to move around
- Build volume is smaller than many entry level printers
- Filament can be hard to remove from the bowden tube/filament sensor assembly
- Routing of the LCD cable can lead to pinches and failures.
The Mini has a low price point but it is not a cheap printer. The build is sturdy and software features are on par with printers that are 3-4 times as expensive. Novices don’t have to worry about the tinker factor. This machine will work right out of the box. Those with experience can easily build a machine from the kit (Haribo included), test, calibrate, and print a top notch Benchy in 12 hours or less. All of this is also backed by Prusa’s exceptional customer service and solid history of updates.
One of the reasons that Prusa MK3S printers are easy to use is the PINDA system and mesh bed leveling. Coupled with a live Z-axis adjustment it is easy to dial in the first layer of a print. Beautiful first layers mean far less problems and far happier owners. The original Mini was not as reliable as the MK3S. It required more user intervention on the first layer and was susceptible to level drift due to thermal fluctuations. Mini+ has what Prusa markets as the SuperPINDA probe that alleviates these problems. I can’t speak for long term reliability, but I’ve printed non-stop for over a week and the first layer repeats perfectly for any given spool.
There are some small design changes on the Mini+ that are also coming to the MK3S+ via an upgrade. With the exception of new bearing clips these changes are probably imperceptible but they all add up to fix pain points associated with the original Mini. Time will tell if they were the right choices. The fit and finish of the machine is excellent. My feeling is that this machine will see less wear and tear on the bearings and belts than my MK3S.
Prusa has teased WiFi capability for the Mini and has shown us glimpses of PrusaConnect, their vision of a remote management system for one printer or an entire farm of printers. WiFi is not available and PrusaConnect is currently just a remote monitoring system. If you want to operate your Mini+ remotely you can rely on third party solutions. I use Octoprint and the setup is no different than for any other FFM/FDM printer. PrusaConnect has seen more development on the SLA front and given that Prusa has just released a nice update to their SLA machine I think they may have been putting their resources toward that system first. We will see.
The real question is, should I buy it? There are cheaper machines available. Many even have larger build volumes. Often you get what you pay for though. A lot of these machines require manual leveling. This is difficult, time consuming and error prone. The build quality is often lacking particularly with respect to electronics and wiring. Some are so poor that they are actually quite dangerous. There is no need to worry about this with Prusa. If you are a novice and want to get into 3D printing then this a solid entry level machine. At $349 USD for a kit and $399 for a semi-assembled printer the price is affordable. The only drawback I can see is that a direct drive printer is easier to handle if there are filament breaks or jams. I don’t expect to see this in the Prusa machine though. If you are more seasoned then this may still be a welcome addition to your farm. With some tuning I am printing faster and with better quality than on my MK3S. The Mini+ is a workhorse that can run round the clock and hold very nice tolerances. Given the price I’m sure this is not the last one I’ll buy.
If you are going to take on a project that involves training neural networks and you haven’t used calculus in a few years, or a decade, then this paper on arXiv.org may be of interest.
Extreme Tech reports on a recent proof of concept from MIT that allows a lens to focus without moving the optical elements.
The science of optics has revealed the scale and detail of the universe for centuries. With the right piece of glass, you can look at a distant galaxy or the wiggling flagella on a single bacteria. But lenses need to focus — they need to move. Engineers at MIT have developed a new type of “metalens” that can shift focus without any moving parts. This could change the way we build devices such as cameras and telescopes.
The metalens changes structure when heat is applied and it interacts with light differently in these different “phases”. Richard Feynman once said that there is always room at the bottom. We are only scratching the surface of what is possible with solid state devices and quantum phenomena. It will be interesting to watch this technology develop.
It helps sometimes to be a little deaf. - Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Great advice for relationships, business, or just life in general.
Uppgradera.co says it is a collection of upgraded IKEA experiences. There is a small collection of items here that improve on or add to existing IKEA designs. If you have IKEA furniture and a 3D printer you should check it out.
Nice profile of James West over at HackADay. Mr. West is the inventor of the the electret microphone amoung other things. Electret microphones are ubiquitous in our world. He spent four decades at Bell Labs and is still publishing new work.
MailTrackerBlocker is a plugin (mailbundle) for the default Mail app built-in to macOS. Email marketers and other interests often embed these trackers in HTML emails so they can track how often, when and where you open your emails. This plugin labels who is tracking you and strips out spy pixels out of the HTML before display, rendering the typical advice of disabling “load remote content in messages” unnecessary.
Get it on Github.
Taking yesterday’s post a bit further, CogniFly is a cool project by Arduino 11 Guy. It is an open-source automous flying system with a Rasperry Pi Zero W as the flight controller. Check the link for more details. The project design files are all on Github.
Another interesting post in HackADay referencing masterdezign’s Beatle-1 QuadCopter. It is an open source design and uses either 3d printed or off the shelf components. It looks like a nice weekend project.