Columbus day Cabin Construction

It's been a while since my last post.  I am almost half way through the semester and needed to reward myself for doing psets.  So I get to write a blog post every time I finish.  This is the photo journal of our Columbus day weekend trip.  

Friday evening Libby was not feeling well and I was tired so we decided to hold off on traveling up north till Saturday morning.  i went to pick up Libby and she rallied to head up north.  We put on some Nerdist Podcasts and headed north.  As we pulled into camp, it started to rain.  We unloaded the tools and brought everything up to the cabin.  The tarp blew off and we had some minor flooding in the corner of the cabin.  We first put the tarp back up and started to organize tools.  Joe, and Roserin  put in the two windows while I put in the door.  Libby and I now had a place to set up our tent and be protected from the elements for the night.  It was still damp in the cabin and cold. I got a load of wood so we could have a fire for the night.  Libby finally got to tell the story of getting sick from last fall to all of the campers around the camp fire.  We headed to bed not to late and tried to keep warm.  

Sunday morning we got up and headed down to the Milan Luncheonette   The best cup of coffee in Milan  Libby and I swung down to Berlin to pick up some screws and headed back up to camp.  I cut up some logs and loaded stacked some wood with the other campers to get us some wood for the winter.  As the sun started to set, I finally got into the mood to work on the cabin.  I headed up and got some help from the girls.  Libby and Mary hauled plywood on the roof since they are awesome.  As we were putting it up, I secured the panel with a rope so it would not fall on Libby and Mary.  I used a tree as a brake to keep the rope from flying out of my grip.  As I put tension on it, I ripped the tree out of the ground.  I flashed fear as I was worried it would drop the panel on the ladies.  We eventually got it up and Joe went up on the ladder to screw things in.  He was the star in this system.  He worked hard as we lost the sun to put up the First and last panel of the roof for the weekend.  We then finished up and pulled the tarp back over the roof.  I set our tent back up inside and got everything ready for bed.  We made dinner and enjoyed the campers until about 8:30 when Libby said she might want to go home tonight.  For those that don't know her, you need to physically drag her away from the woods and a campfire when great people are around.  So I knew "might want to go home" was code for we are leaving early, but I need you to make the decision for me.  So we packed everything up and I asked Joe and Jim to tie down the tarp in the morning.  We drove home and just in time as we got to the bottom of the hill, freezing rain started coming down.  I knew we had made the right decision to head home and we got home at around 1 AM.  

We had a great if brief trip.  We need to head up in the next few weeks to finish getting the roof buttoned up for the winter.  If anyone wants to come up for a high density trip, we could use a hand.  
Moylan's enjoy gluten free cake cooked in a home made oven.  

Fire is awesome.

Pulling up panels to the roof.  

H kid checks out the door.  She approves.  

Joe gets conned into helping put up some roof panels   

Suspenders.  I can't tell you how much I like these suspenders.  

Libby sporting her Team Masek Shirt.  

Joe and I watch as Libby and Mary do all the hard work.  

We have a door!

Joe screws down some roof.  iI looks so cool as it starts to take the shape of the rafters..  

Building Construction Inspection Department.  The proper bribes were paid.

A note on suspenders.  Masek men have tragically been plagued with what the Medical Profession call "Lackitus Buttickus"  Also known as no butt.  For years I have battled gravity and my pants.  I decided I am not going to take it anymore.  I bought Craftsman Padded Suspenders and It has not only improved my work, but also made me easier to work with.  Prior to this, I had four things that would aggravate me while working on projects.
1.  Too hot out and I am pouring perspiration (it was 50 degrees out so this was temporarily fixed for me.   
2.  I made a mistake via poor planning or lack of materials.
3.  Someone has misplaced or broken one of my tools.
4.  My pants are falling down which limits my leg mobility and frustrates me.  It also makes me uneasy when I am on a ladder because my leg mobility is limited.  Suspenders = pants at a reasonable Height   

Now, I am down two two with one additional seasonal aggravation   

More Fire   


"You can't unring that bell" The internet is written in Ink.

My sister posted an article on my FB wall about how stratasys ended a lease and repossessed a machine when the owners wanted to 3d print a gun.  It actually has made me think a bit about it.  This is all editorial and just my opinions from experience. This in no way reflects employer.

A 15 year old high school girl takes a risque photo of herself on her cell phone and sends it to her boyfriend.  He then shows his friends and forwards it on to a friends phone.  It ends up on the internet all over the place.  Who’s fault is this?  Everyone involved.  

Tony Hawk and Matt Hoffman were innovators of the sports they were in during the eighties because they came up with new ideas.  They tried things they had never done.  Once others saw that it was possible, they were copied by future athletes.  Now a days, 8 year old kids are able to pull tricks that were considered revolutionary when first pulled.  It is not that the physics or equipment have changed that much, but that you begin a challenge knowing you CAN succeed.  If you start a challenge knowing you can succeed, you are more likely to.  The same is true for most anything if you know someone else has already completed the journey you want to take, it improves your odds.  

This is a super tough issue.  Currently for about 5k of investment and some skills, you can make a gun using a milling machine and lathe.  The difference is the skill required as well as the understanding of how a gun works to make it work.  

I have seen 3d printed guns that have had no problem firing off thousands of rounds.  The barrel was an off the shelf item to get a true bore.  Everything else was 3D printed.  The difference is the equipment used was called direct metal laser sintering.  It costs a million dollars and also requires skill to operate.  

Now we have a disruptive technology of sub $1,000 3d printers.  This is cheaper than a tv, laptop, or weekend in vegas.  This alone is not an issue.  In order to get anything out of them, you need to have 3d data to put into them.  With websites like thingaverse, and grabcad, more and more unearned content is available.  People without the ability to do any genesis of design can claim "I made this,"  when in fact, they have done nothing but hit print.  It is plagiarism which the physical products industry has not seen until now.  We have seen this issue with music, video, and software and the war on this is for the most part loosing.  If innovation can't be profitable to the innovators due to theft, they will find something else to do, and new ideas will not be cultivated.  To make a 3d part, you have a simple equation.  3Ddata+3D Printer=Object  

Most people in the maker community have a day job and understand the value of what they do.  They then understand why piracy is unfair as well as why companies need to protect IP.  A few, the loudest, most evangelical talk about how all hardware and software should be open.  They call EULA criminal and demand free access to information.  They then want to take this information and develop a for profit project and make a living off of stealing while preaching that they are robin hood.  These are the people that are a problem.  They want free use off others investments for nothing.  

At work, I deal with people undervaluing what we provide.  They expect something I do to only cost 100 dollars to reverse engineer something model it in Solidworks, and recreate it physically.  when I give them $1000+ dollar price tags, I have literally been called a criminal.  If you don’t understand what is involved for me to do my job, how can you say I am charging too much?  

The 3d printers exist now which is not going to change.  One thing that fuels innovation is the idea that something can be done better.  As non traditional engineers start to have powerful resources for little investment, we start to run into issues that professionals have run into for years.   “What if?”  That is the question that engineers and scientists are always pondering.  I have to think about what happens if someone gets hurt, if something fails, how will it fail?  I can go to jail if I do something negligent.

I don’t disagree with stratasys in this situation.  Some folks are giving them backlash for the way they took the machine back.  Those same people sided with the rental car company that banned Lindsay Lohan from driving her car for fear of her injuring someone.  What's the difference?

A technical side note:  The Uprint is not the machine to do this, the materials are not as strong and output resolution is poor with bad surface quality.  It is not even water tite, putting the explosive force of a bullet is greater than the surface tension of water by a few thousand PSI.  The Fortis Line is a much better choice

I am a firm believer in the right of a citizen to arm themselves.  Currently the nation is so fragmented on gun laws, it is tough to have a clear way to determine who is fit to own a weapon.  More folks are killed by family in a heterosexual marriage, than by home made guns. Lets ban Straight marriage!  (this is sarcasm just so you are all aware)  The Maker community has been debating this issue for a while now.  

None of these guns are new, they are just reverse engineered versions of already manufactured guns.  

Is Smith and Wesson at fault if someone copies the design and it fails and or hurts someone?  

Is the modeler who designed the gun from drawings, or reverse engineering data at fault?  

Is the content sharing site at fault for distributing the information?

Is the home brew 3d Printer designer at fault for an inherent flaw in the design that causes the gun to fail?

Is the guy who built his own printer at fault for making a machine that has non linear travel and inconsistent laminations?

Is the material manufacturer who undercuts Stratasys and makes lesser quality material at fault for shipping inconsistent material?
Finally they guy who we should blame, the guy who pulls the trigger.  

As cost goes down, adoption goes up.  
As ease of use gets better, adoption goes up.  
As reliability increases, adoption increases.  
As output quality increases, adoption increases.

This debate will continue by people much smarter than me.  The key things to keep in mind about it is in the end it is up to personal responsibility.  If you think every single gun manufacturer as well as the government hasn't tested alternative material weapons as well as rapid prototyped models, you're crazy.  They just don’t give away the data as well as ignore all personal responsibility.  If every person in the nation purchases a 3d printer and learns the skills necessary to engineer a weapon, I am just fine with that.  We will see innovation, as well as skills gained.  People will earn the safety and judgement needed to operate a weapon.  If one guy sends distributes his design and everyone just builds the same thing, what have we really improved?  No one has learned anything, and no innovation has happened.  

In closing, this is something that can’t be regulated.  If people that want to make guns, good for them.  Lets just make them earn it.  Instead of spending money and attention on this kid, spend it on making more engineers and you will have a better net sum gain for humanity.  If you watch the video it is just a cry for attention.  Instead of giving him all this attention (which will help him find resources to complete his project)  Ignore him and he will get no money.  if you plan to rant and publicize about owning things, you may not want to lease your equipment.  


A picture is worth a thousand words (SEO fail)

It has been a while since my last update.  Libby and I have been doing work every now and again.  We have hit a few mile stones.  I finished both of my summer courses with a b and b+.  My knee is starting to get some strength back and I am getting confidence back.  I have been getting to the gym and was able to get the 95 pound Atlas stone up.  I am still struggling with eating well, but Libby has made it her mission for us to eat healthy.  Enough of me, on to the construction.

Libby and I laid out a bunch of the larger rafters.  After a few false starts, we added a MakeIt Labs approved self pretension device (bungee cord).  We got some 4 tooth blades and this system worked pretty good.  The saw has a limited duty cycle so it we couldn't hammer through it.  A little tension and a lot of breaks made it work.  It was plenty hot and humid so the breaks worked out of me.  I am not very pleasant in 90 degree, 89% humidity.  

More boards, you can see in the back ground some rafters made up of two planks.  This was done so we could reduce our impact on the environment.  Or I didn't want to spend money on more wood.  

Libby kicked some but and made two more stairs for the entry.  The stairs may have been a bit ridiculous, but we had all the material so it was essentially free.  We continued the stairs with the same design as the previous two.  Libby took the dimensions and angles and cut up all of the suport beams.

She laid out the boards on the ground and traced out what the pattern should be.  

Everything gets cut up and loaded into the trailer.  

Walls!  Well, some of them, we started putting up the sheathing.  From this experiment, star drive (torx) is better than square drive (Robertson).  We spent the day screwing everything together and making sure all the walls are solid.  Libby was amazed by how much sturdier the structure became when we added the sheathings.  I expected it, but still it is such a gratifying feeling when you push on a structure and can feel the stout lumber push back without yield.

The only wall without a window.  Fireplace goes here.  You can see the header structure of either 4x6, or laminated 2x6's with a plywood filler in between.   

The walls went up on the previous day.  Sunday, Libby and I put up some roof parts.  We started by building each peak section.  I pre-cut the Plywood in Nashua at MakeIt Labs and Libby assembled them up at the camp.  

I put them all up.  Not because Libby didn't want to help, but she is to short.  The two smaller ones were able to be lifted and hoisted into place.  

Screwed down from the top these parts were solid.  

It was hot that day so Libby and I took less pictures than we should have but we did manage to get a photo of me flipping up the large peak wall section.  Libby assembled it (she is pretty much the best)  We tried to put it up in the lifted position.  Failure.  We went with the lever screwed onto the board again to get it into place.  

Maine wall peak section up!  it is waiting for the main beam.

Way to hot.

Still to hot.  Since we did not have the availability of a crane, we made some dead-men that were cut to the exact length of how high the beam needed to be.  This process was far tougher than I figured it would have been.  We finally got it up but the composite of a 4x6 and 4x4 ten foot long 14 feet in the air was "challenging."   
I have some spare wood for Joe's cabin I borrowed to build scaffolding.  I screwed a 2x4 into the 2x10 to make a strong platform.  This made work up in the air far safer.   

Representing Crossfit Tuff with the shirt, not my dough like physique.  Always Hydrate either way.

Libby being cute.

That's a lot of rafters.  To bad heights make me uncomfortable.

Piles and Piles of tools.  Batteries are the limiting factor up at camp.

Every hour or so, I stop working and have to clean up the entire work site and organize tools.  Before each stage of construction I like to lay out my tools and find all of the materials needed to complete the next task.

Once I put in the windows, I lose my workbench.

5 and 6 inch deck screws are great.  However, they don't have threading throughout the entire fastener so they can unscrew from the second chunk of material, but still be stuck in the first.  It just sucks.  

I found some sucker, Joe volunteered to help put up rafters.  I am moving down the scaffolding   

Some photos just show a transition.  I spent more time prepping and cleaning up than actually working.  Libby was a star putting up with me and my limited mental capacity in the heat.  

SHe was smart and found a place to rest that was cool.

Sucker.  Volunteer.  Without Joe, I would still be up screwing in rafters.

Just removing the dead men when we got the center beam secured.  One of these days I may even figure out what they are called.  

Joe without a shirt dominating the Rafters.  

The energon is almost charged.

It almost looks like the model.  With any luck, this will be stupid sturdy.  

Monday we put up the secondary beams as we fought time and an oncoming rain storm.  

Libby looking so hot she fogs the camera.  

the two side beams up and installed thanks to Joe.  We beat the rain.

Libby hauls up little laminated rafters.  

H kid with her little caterpillar friend.  She is pretty much awesome.

Joe kicking but as we put up the two smaller main beams.  

Onto the other side.  The carriage bolts I put in to hold the beams together had to be adjusted. They were in the way of the junction at the end of the cabin.

Screwing down the rafters on the smaller section.

Libby helps clean up.  A clean work area is a safe work area.

It is starting to take shape.  You can start to see why I made the center beam laminated and jog up so I have an open span.

Look at you rafters.  You look strong.

Libby's upgraded stairs.  It is far easier to use them now.  With any luck, it will make snow covered entry easier in the winter.  

From the future sleeping position.  

From one side of the cabin,

What the center section looks like.

I am proud of this connection.  Everything fit for the most part.  

Down on the stairs.

Either a wood stove, or a propane heater will go here.  

What it looks like from a two year old's perspective.
Bob Masek helping put on some plywood.

Heidi hauls up windows.

Carol and Heidi with some team work.

The wood has curved.

This might actually work.

Now for side two.  Heidi and bob have a go at it.

Window one in.  Looks good to me.  

My dad and I talking about discussing things.  This may sound more like arguing.  

My dad proud of my work.  That is something that really helped make this project worthwhile. Both of my grandfathers built things out of scrap pallets like I tried to for most of this cabin.  Without him, I would not have my job, Libby, or any of my skills in making things.  Thanks Dad, and I love you!  

JB and Betty in the first photo from my 365 Robot photo project.  101101101 days a year.