Revisiting my dot-matrix EV3 Lego printer

This photo shows v3.0 of the Viper Printer.

This year I decided to revisit the dot-matrix Lego printer that I first built and programmed in 2017. The original design was the result of a lot of iterating, but it still had some significant problems. I wanted to try again, with a focus on eliminating errors and printing very consistent images.

You can download .LXF and .IO models of v3.0 of my LEGO printer, plus Python code for the printer, from the Viper Bots’ GitHub repo.

Keep reading to learn more.


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Morels and more

A few of the morel mushrooms I bought at the farmers market.

This morning I saw morel mushrooms at the Ferguson Farmers Market. I had to buy them.

It goes back to an experience I had last year.

It was March. For the kids’ spring break, we asked Aunt Marcy and Uncle Ken if we could stay a few days at the clubhouse near Clearwater Lake, and they said yes.

The weather was cool and the lake was high, but that was fine by us. We just wanted a safe escape from the pandemic with no worries of running into other people.

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A tree for Jadzia

We pose for a photo with Jossie, Rochelle, and Kai at Jadzia’s tree in January-Wabash Park.

We were surprised and pleased to learn that the Ferguson Swim Team had arranged to dedicate a tree in Jadzia’s memory at January-Wabash Park. Earlier this summer, they also made a team T-shirt to honor her.

This morning, the Parks and Recreation Department held a short dedication ceremony for three families’ trees at the Ferguson Community Center. Afterward we went with Jadzia’s friends Jossie and Kai to see the tree at January-Wabash. It’s positioned on the hill overlooking the water slide at the pool, not far from where Yoli and I liked to sit with Jadzia when we watched home swim meets. Keep reading to see a short video.

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Sunflower fields

Jadzia loved the “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” soundtrack. As we were preparing for her funeral, I learned that “Sunflower” was one of her favorite songs.

Like some of her siblings, she might have complained before going out to Columbia Bottoms to visit the sunflower fields. But once we got there, I’m sure she would have appreciated it.

I wish we had her in these photos.

Corona chronicles: Violet lemonade

Ludi tells the story:

One of my favorite creations I’ve made so far this year was Violet Lemonade. I first saw it when one of my friends posted about it on social media. It looked really cool and we had all the materials to make it.

To start, I picked enough violets to fill a mason jar. Later I made a violet syrup. Once I mixed the syrup into a pitcher of lemon water, the color changed and it was a pretty purple.

It tasted very good, just like normal lemonade with a hint of… I don’t quite know how to describe it. I almost want to say it had a hint of watery ground pepper.

It was very good, very pretty, and very time-consuming but overall it was very fun to make.

Corona chronicles: LEGO egg spinner for Easter

Our EV3 version of the LEGO Easter egg decorating machine.

Like so many others, the Renaud Empire has been staying put at Renaud Manor.

With Easter approaching, I came across a link to directions to build a LEGO egg decorating machine

As soon as I saw it, I knew our half of the Viper Bots (Ludi, Josie and Joseph) would be interested in giving it a try.

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A new era at the Post-Dispatch

The old Post-Dispatch building at 900 North Tucker Boulevard.

This has been a tough year at the Post-Dispatch.

In February, the Post announced it would outsource newspaper design to Lee’s design center in Indiana in May.

Somehow I didn’t lose my job — and I felt guilty about that. But most of the night crew did. Friends and colleagues I have loved and learned from since I first came to the P-D as an intern in 2001.

We lost the smartest, wittiest, best people I know.

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