Friday, November 8, 2019

3D Printed Stands for Google Home Minis (Andy & ED209 Mech from RoboCop)

We have a few Google Home units spread throughout the house.  A few with screens, and in the kids bedrooms the smaller "Mini" speakers.  The kiddos love to play music on them, and set their alarms for school. As a family, we also use them for an intercom system to get everyone's attention in the house, no matter what room they are in.

The units themselves are pretty simple.  Basically a speaker + mic, with a touch sensitive surface to control playback and volume if not using your voice. Although they look just fine sitting on a nightstand or dresser, my kids wanted an upgrade.  Time to start up the 3D Printer!

Found 2 files on Thingaverse that would work perfectly. For my oldest daughter, Andy the Android giving a cute wave.  She actually picked this one out, and the end result looks great. The other file was a bit more complicated both the print and assemble (not to mention paint). My son loves Legos and robots, so when we saw the ED209 Mech from the 1980s RoboCop movie, it was the perfect fit for his bedroom.  I very much underestimated just how large this model was... but 48 hours later, all the parts had been printed out.

As can be seen below, there is a mix of colors here... since I was going to paint this model, decided I would use up a few random spools of filament that were taking up space and almost on their way out.

I did have to split a few of the larger parts in half when printing, otherwise there would have been far too many supports to deal with.  After printing those parts, just glued the halves together, and then started the priming process. 

Small woodworking clamps come in really handy at this stage.  For the glue, I go with E6000 Craft Adhesive for these types of projects.  It takes a bet to set, but once it does, locks in very tight, and is semi-flexible which is really nice since kids might be playing with this stand. Get glue that is too rigid, and you will find your parts coming apart with even the slightest bend.  E6000 is the way to go.  Here is an Amazon Link for a 3.7oz bottle.

With everything assembled, it is time to start priming. This is a very important step for two reasons.
1) Primier will help cover up any small imperfections that may result from difficult areas to print
2) Painting directly on top of PLA or PETG will result in poor adhesion and the paint will eventually start to flake off.  Get some good primer and go to town. 

You can use any sand-able primer found at your local hardware store for a print of this size, and probably be OK.  I personally like to use primer from "Army Painter" as is goes on very thin, and covers really well.  A thinner coat will ensure that you don't cover up any detail on the model while still prepping the surface for the paint. 

The Army Painter spray on primers are primarily made for tabletop miniatures (which is what I originally purchased it for), but is did really well with this larger model as well.  I highly recommend it for these types of applications. Here is an Amazon link if you want to give it a try.

With the priming complete, I brought out the Airbrush and began to lay down some nice base coats.  With the base applied, I switched over to my brushes and started some of the detail work and accent coloring.  After the colors were all applied, went back over the entire model again with a matte clear coat to protect the paint.  Really pleased with how it turned out, and my son was super excited when he saw it looking over he bed from the dresser.

After these 2 stands were completed, my youngest 2 daughters were not going to be left out of the fun!  They wanted the "Andy" as well, but went with a transparent purple for the body color. Looks great in their room,, but its going to be a challenge for them to keep from touching this little guy!

These were a lot of fun to print out and paint.  My kids really enjoy them, and hope fully they will have them for a long time (if they can keep their hands off).

Here is a quick video I put together that shows much of what I explained above. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

TableTop Arcade - Video Walk through

Project Index

Video Walk Through

Video that will walk through the primary parts of the system, and show the operation of the Arcade Cabinet.  Coming Soon...

Review - HP Spectre USB-C 20100mAh Laptop Battery Power Pack

I have been looking at a battery pack for my laptop to use while traveling on work trips, and with this unit advertising 20,100mAh and 60w charging rate via USB-C (Power Delivery Spec), I decided to give it a try. This is not the first "Laptop" capable Power Pack I have tried, and up until now the ones I have tested have been a disappointment.   Here is a link to this product if you would like to give it a try.

HP Spectre USB-C 20100mAh Laptop Battery Power Pack - $139 (as of 12/20178)

I have 2 laptops that I tested this with, 1) HP Spectre x360 15t w/ Dedicated GPU, 2) Lenovo T570 ThinkPad 15.6in.  The look and feel of the power pack is top notch, as would be expected from a “Spectre” accessory which in my opinion are the best looking laptops on the market right now.

The unit comes with a nice carry pouch, and a USB C to USB C cable with one end at a 90 degree angle.  This cable supports at least 60w, but is limited to USB 2.0 speeds.

This Power Pack has 3 ports:
  • USB C - 60w Output / 45w Input (Power Delivery Spec for more wattage hungry devices)
  • USB C - 10w Output
  • USB A - 10w Output

The top is a faceted matte plastic and the bottom has a rubberized foot so it won’t slide around. There are also marking on the rubber showing the functions of the various ports.

My Lenovo ThinkPad uses a 65w AC Adapter, and took a charge from this unit without issues. My HP Spectre comes with a larger AC Adapter (90w) as it has a dedicated GPU and Quadcore Processor. I was pleased to see this power pack charge my Spectre without issue and even kept increasing the battery percentage while under heavy system loads like video editing, gaming, and synthetic benchmarking. Impressive.

This Power Pack can be charged to full capacity in just over 2 hours.

I fully drained the battery in my HP Spectre 15t, and this plugged this unit in.  It was able to get my battery from 0 to 70%, which took about 1.5 hours. Interestingly, it actually outputs a higher wattage if the connected laptop is powered down, 62w vs 56w based on my earlier testing.

The other 2 ports performed as expected, and are great for charging phones and tablets.

The only negatives I can find is that it is a bit pricey, but as I have found very few Power Packs that can actually deliver on the 60w promise, not going to hold the price against it. The other thing that is more of an annoyance than an issue, is that when you are fully discharging the battery, after about an hour the unit begins to get a bit hot (around 60c) and you can hear a slight coil whine. It’s not very loud and probably can’t be heard over the laptop fans, but is noticeable in a quiet environment with the laptop turned off.  This doesn’t seem to hinder the devices operation at all, but is something to be aware of.

In my testing, here are the maximum Discharge Rates for each port.
USB C (Power Delivery) – 62w  (19.5v X 3.18A)
USB C – 10w  (4.89v X 2.03A)
USB A – 9.7W  (4.80v X 2.03A)

Charging Rate, USB C (PD) – 47w  (20.3v X 2.35A)

  • 20,100mAh capacity (TSA Approved)
  • Build Quality looks excellent 
  • Can charge larger laptops via USB C (PD)
  • Can charge 3 devices at the same time (Laptop, tablet, phone) 

  • Coil whine after extended use
  • Housing heats up to around 60C after about an hour of use 
  • No Pass-through charging 

Overall it’s the only Power Pack I have found that can actually charge larger laptops with a Dedicated GPU like the HP Spectre 15t. The price is on the higher side for a Power Pack of this capacity, but it performs well, and looks really nice so I am ok with the pricing for now. The unit comes with a 1yr warranty, and I will update this review if the coil whine or heat become an issue.

HP Spectre USB-C 20100mAh Laptop Battery Power Pack  (Amazon Link)

Hit me up with any questions you might have in the comments.  Thanks for stopping by!

Project Ecthelion: Project Index

This is simply a "bookend" for the project to help with faster navigation between the project posts.

Project Index