Ever wanted to spray vodka in your mouth?

Looking around a restaurant, I saw different type of dispensers, from nozzles to pumps. That got me thinking, why there weren’t sprays? For something like ketchup, it’s obvious the viscosity would be too much. But what about vodka? Haven’t people ever wanted to spray vodka into their mouths?

Of course, Smirnoff would never endorse something like this, but with 3D printing, we can take our creativity into our own hands. So I designed an adapter so I can attach a sprayer on top of a Smirnoff vodka bottle. Behold!

everyspray adapter

It may not look like much, but awesomeness often come in small packages. The male end of the adapter fits a classic windex sprayer, and the female part of the adapter fits over a smirnoff bottle. So it looks like this:

everyspray on Smirnoff bottle

Now, decadent party-goers can have a new way to make a fool of themselves, shooting vodka at each other, and mostly missing the mouth. Or, if you prefer, an easy way to create a makeshift flamethrower (at your own risk)! And if that doesn’t really appeal to you, know that you can spray stems to help preserve flowers, albeit impractically.

As silly as this application may be, before 3D printing was available, it was just impossible to make something like this. You can remix and recombine the world around you in ways that was not anticipated by others. When you get use to the idea of being able to remold the world around you, the world looks very different. Because when you realize that everything in the world around you was made by people no smarter than you, you’ll feel compelled to make it better.

Want to download and print your own? The project is called Everyspray and hosted at Cubehero. If you have patches to attach the sprayer to other types of bottles, just submit files to the community.

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Cubehero launches support for all six creative commons licenses

Cubehero launches support for all six creative_commons licenses


I heard that some of you took issue with only having a single license for your physible projects. Now, you can set it to any of the six creative commons licenses. It’s available when you create or edit the settings for a physible project.

Don’t know which license to choose? I wrote up a Guide to Creative Commons Licenses up for you get up to speed on which license might be the best for you. 

Just chugging away at your feature suggestions. If you got more, just let me know.

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Cubehero launches OpenSCAD previews

openscad previews

It’s finally here. Besides rendering previews of binary and ASCII STL files, Cubehero now renders OpenSCAD files.

Now, you don’t need to compile your SCAD files into STL files in the repository to be able to see previews of the file.

I’ve got much bigger releases for you shortly. Thanks for your continued support!

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Agoras for everybody. Now you can connect over what you’ve shared

When we share our creations, we’re bravely putting a part of ourselves out there. We want to spread the joy of what we made, and have others give us feedback on what they love about it and to really connect over the love of making.

Last week, I released community agoras for discussing and giving feedback about Cubehero itself to start. Today, I’m releasing it to all project physibles. Now, you can connect with your fans and collaborators of your work. Start discussing issues, trade urls, and show each other what you’ve done.

Cubehero has a common agora for all project physibles of the same name. So if you fork a physible, you’re all part of the same community. If you’re the first to make a physible, you get the seed the agora.

Create an agora for your physible

Once it’s been created, everyone will see a link to the community on every physible with the same name. No more button on the side, but a nicely formatted link to the community.

Link to community agora for discussion

In a fresh new agora, create a topic and seed it with what fans of your project might want to talk about. Any user can create a topic and comment on it. Over time, you’ll get to interact with others with the same interest in building the same thing as you.

Create topics for your agora

We all like to express ourselves in the way we really mean, so markdown has been enabled for comments, and in the text topics. If you want bold, you can have it–but not to the detriment of others! We don’t need another MySpace (the old version) on the internets.

Use Markdown for comments!

And lastly, all the topics can be upvoted with approval, so the most interestingly new topic is at the top. Classic upvoting with rising and falling topics. This part is a bit of an experiment. Most forum software don’t use this algorithm for ranking the topics, but I’ve found it useful in finding new and interesting things. Let’s see how this pans out.

The classic upvote of approval

Let me know what you think about the new changes after you’ve tried it out. I’ve really enjoyed the feedback you guys have given so far. Let me know if you have any questions. Til next time, I’m still kicking out new features and benefits to help us all work on 3D printed projects together.

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Four Troughs of Sorrow

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Why was there nothing to do on Cubehero?

For a while now, many of you have asked for certain social features, such as commenting. I could have just slapped commenting on haphazardly to each project overview and just called it a day. However, with little thought about how comments affects community and social interaction, it’s easy to end up with comments like Youtube comments, or worse, Yahoo Answers.

Youtube comments are the worst

Social software is tough. We’ve been at it for a long time, from usenet, to forums, to slashdot, to reddit / hacker news, quora, and quibb. Small decisions in how social interaction works in software have long-standing consequences in how a community develops. And instead of making mistakes others have done before, I figured there was merit to thinking things through and learning from the past.

After thinking it through and looking at what people are already doing in online forums, it was clear we needed a space to foster a community around each physible project. Because after uploading a project, and having others download it, there was really nothing else to do on Cubehero.

There were three main activities we want to support.

  1. Ask questions they had about a project. Where to source parts? How do these things fit together?
  2. Submit links to help inform the community. Look what I did! Did you guys hear about this?
  3. Submit patches to help improve the project. Look at the changes I made. What do you guys think? Accept or reject?

However, current off-the-shelf forum software is rather terrible. But even if that weren’t the case, the ability to submit visual patches is why we’re putting this feature in. It’s important to be able to say, “Look at the improvements I’ve made. What do you guys think?”

This is so important, because I believe the democratization of 3D printing coupled with the awesome distribution of the internet allows us to share and work together on objects and products we never dreamed possible before. I believe being able to not only fork derivatives of a project, but being able to contribute back will be a amplifier for our efforts to create beautiful things.

It’s an aspect of the site with a large surface area. So we roll it out in stages, starting with with discussion and feedback mechanism for Cubehero. The first rollout will just be a single place to talk and give feedback about Cubehero, in the Meta Section.

List of topics in an agora

List of topics in an agora

Instead of using email to send feedback, you can now comment on in the Meta Section. This forces us to eat our own dog food so we feel the same pain you do, you’ll be able to publicly see what other users ask and say, report bugs and give feature requests. Soon, we’ll roll it out to other physible projects.

Follow conversations

Follow conversations

So enjoy, let us know what you think, and what can be improved!

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Why does Cubehero need profiles at all?

We’ve been working hard getting new features to you as soon as we can. The latest–profiles and account settings. How can something as basic as a profile and account editing not be in there already? Well, it wasn’t clear there was a need for it was, as the focus was on uploading and sharing 3D models. In addition,  no one was asking for it, so I put it off as long as I could.

When the internet first appeared, people used it for point to point communication (email), and soon after, group communications (in the form of usenet). As it turns out, the internet was really good at fostering a sense of community for demographics in niche topics that wasn’t bound by geography or proximity.

To have a community, you need to have something for people to share or talk about: a theme or topic. It’s the campfire around which people gather. And for certain types of communities, people will need identities first. It’s not always the case, as 2-chan and 4-chan are notable examples.

But without identity, some types of interactions aren’t possible, such as taking permanent credit for ideas or work shared amongst community members, or being able to follow the published activity of someone in the community. With the goal of collaboration and sharing of 3D models, some interactions would be impossible without the mundane profile.

More importantly, to keep a community, you’ll need to give them tools to protect the group against itself. Clay Shirky’s written about this extensively. Having a profile is just a start to rooting a member’s identity, so that the group can act on it if it needs to, in order to protect itself.

cubehero logo

Click here to see your home and dashboard

Now, the logo takes you back home and dashboard when you’re logged in. There you can see a list of your physibles, and create new physibles.

Profile menu

Access your profile and account settings in the menu

Well, enjoy your new sense of identity, and check out the changes at Cubehero. Let me know how you like the changes!

Follow Cubehero on twitter for pithy updates.

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A Flag Day application of Cicada Design Principle

Happy Flag Day! June 14th is an American holiday that celebrates its flag. Usually, this isn’t a major holiday, but I thought it’d be interesting to make a flag for Flag Day. I remembered there was something called the Cicada Design Principle, that I wanted to try, and I thought I’d apply it to making non-repeating waves to a flag.

The Cicada Design Principle is a way to make seamless non-repeating backgrounds (for all intents and purposes) with just a few parts and some prime numbers.

Research has shown that the population of creatures that eat cicadas — typically birds, spiders, wasps, fish and snakes — often have shorter 2 – 6 year cycles of boom and bust.

So, if our cicadas were to emerge, say, every 12 years, any predator that works in either 2, 3, 4 or 6 year cycles would be able to synchronize their boom years with this regular cicada feast. In fact, they’d probably name a public holiday after it called Cicada Day.

That’s not much fun if you’re a cicada.

On the other hand, if a brood of 17-​​year cicadas was unlucky enough to emerge during a bumper 3-​​year wasp season, it will be 51 years before that event occurs again. In the intervening years, our cicadas can happily emerge in their tens of thousands, completely overwhelm the local predator population, and be mostly left in peace.

Using that as inspiration, you can tile a few tiles together to make a non-repeating background. Basically, you use a few basic repeating patterns as building blocks, and you put them together spaced a prime number of units apart.

american flag

A model of an american flag with the cicada design principle

As it turned out, it was hard to make the stars flow with the waves in the flag, so I made the stars section flat.

But I thought it looked more like curtains than it did a flag, due to the size of the ripples, so instead, I thought it might be more interesting as a cup. so I turned the pattern on its side and did a rotational extrusion.

cicada principle cup

a cup made with the cicada principle

As you can see, the pattern of the waves don’t quite repeat, even though there’s only a couple patterns there. Try changing the different parameters of the OpenSCAD file and lemme know what else you end up with!

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Cubehero adds cover photos and basic stats

Set the cover photo

Cubehero now allows you to set a cover photo for  your physible. No longer do you have to submit to the whims of upload order for the display of your physible in the gallery–but should you not set one, we’ll still pick for you. I believe that unlike source code, 3D models are rooted in the visual, and being able to pick the photo or the model rendering that represents your project is important.

physible stats

Download stats and view stats are something I’ve been meaning to add, and some users were asking for. That way, you can see what other people are looking at and what they’ve been downloading. Right now, the stats are only counted per physible, rather than per file. I believe feedback is an important start to collaboration, and this is feedback from people voting with their feet.

larger thumbnails

Along with these changes have been a bunch of small minor tweaks, both on the frontend and backend. The font has been changed to be cleaner, and the background has been equalized to give a brighter look. The thumbnails are also bigger for your viewing pleasure, as well as being included in the source listings. On the backend, there’s been additional tweaks and changes to the worker elves to make it work better, but that will be ongoing work as the site evolves.

I welcome feedback, and look forward to more changes and improvements. Thanks for your support!

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