Ender 6 Hot End Cable Clamp

The Creality Ender 6 is an impressive 3D printer, particularly for the price. It does exhibit some obvious design issues however. One of these is the hot end cable clamp, it is just not sized well. This critical cable harness flexes constantly as the hot end moves back and forth.

The Ender 6 hot end cable clamp as supplied
The Ender 6 hot end cable clamp as supplied

The supplied clamp is one of the few 3D printed parts on the Ender 6. As you can see from the photo the clamp is simply not large enough to properly secure the cable loom. This is odd, as it would have been so simple to design and print a properly designed part.

Can you leave the clamp like this? Some hackers do, I have seen several YouTube videos of well used Ender 6’s with the original cable clamp and loose wiring. It does work, I printed my first prints with the clamp like this. However, if left alone it is likely that the wires would be stressed over time leading to premature failure of the cabling and requiring an annoying repair effort.

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Additive Manufacturing

For much of the past couple decades I have worked at employers who had machine shops. I was regularly in those shops making parts for work, or on occasion after hours for myself. All of the little parts I need for the many projects that appear here on Darker View.

Building an Ender 6 3D printer
Building an Ender 6 3D printer

My current employer does not have a machine shop leaving me no way to make parts for telescopes, electronics projects, or even little repairs around the house. Neither do I have space for a machine shop in the house. Fortunately another, more recent solution is inexpensive and quite capable, additive manufacturing.

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Getting a Vaccination

After navigating the phone menu system and a few minutes on hold the phone rings and a nurse practitioner picks up…

Nurse: “What can I help you with today Mr. Cooper?”
Me: “I need to schedule a vaccination.”
Nurse: ” You can do that by going to our website and clicking on the COVID link at the top of the page.” …and she continues with an obviously well rehearsed answer with information on getting a COVID vaccination.
Me: “Stop! Not COVID… Tetanus!”
A long pause…
Nurse: “Let me find you an appointment time, do you prefer the Kona clinic?”

A tetanus vaccine syringe after the dose has been delivered
A tetanus vaccine syringe after the dose has been delivered

Neptune at Opposition

Today the planet Neptune will pass through opposition, directly opposite the Sun in our sky. The planet will be well placed for observation all night long, rising at sunset, transiting at midnight, and setting at sunrise. If you are looking to observe Neptune, it is currently shining at magnitude 7.8 in eastern Aquarius.

Neptune from Voyager 2
Neptune from Voyager 2, Credit: NASA /JPL

As the outer planets Uranus and Neptune move so slowly across the sky, the timing of oppositions is driven by the Earth’s orbit and occur each year at nearly the same time. Neptune’s orbital period is 164.8 years, taking over a century and a half to circle the celestial globe once. As Neptune was discovered in 1846, it has completed a little over one orbit since discovery.

A Month for Disaster

There is a meme running around that relates all too well at the moment…

Smoke Over Waikoloa
Smoke from an approaching wildfire stains the skies over Waikoloa

Worst month ever!
What do you mean this is only the 1st?

Anonymous social media meme

This month is only four days old and we are quite ready to agree with whomever coined that meme.

Sunday, August first started out peaceful enough. I was looking forward to a relaxing day with a few chores about the house. The only nagging worry was keeping tabs on the large brushfire raging towards Waimea, though it was many miles away. As the winds picked up this worry also intensified, to where I had to the local emergency radio feed streaming on the computer speakers.

When the fragmentary radio chatter from the fire units indicated that the fire had jumped Highway 130 I knew what was coming next… An evacuation of Waikoloa Village.

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A Walk Along the Shore

A series of very low tides had the lab gals looking to do some collection. Where? Right out in front of the office. With a “meeting” scheduled on the company calendar we went for a walk along the shoreline.

Aside from a morning sharing knowledge about sea life we did indeed find several specimens of Asparagopsis taxiformis to collect.

A Gas Modulator

The usual drill… A problem that can be solved by a bit of circuitry. In this case the gals in the lab were having trouble controlling the mix of gas to their cultures. They needed to feed much less CO2 to the mix, where the off-the-shelf flow gauges and needle valves became difficult to use much under one liter-per-minute.

Gas Modulator
A controller to modulate CO2 into a laboratory gas mix

Simple solution… Build a gas modulator, something that could turn on the gas some percent of the time, allowing easy control of small amounts of CO2 to the mix. A timer and a gas solenoid… Easy.

There is nothing particularly interesting about the circuitry. A seven segment display, a few switches, and a power transistor to control an external solenoid. All very basic. It is the controller that is new, at least for me. An Arduino provides the programmable part of this project.

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