I ordered the Mold from RedEye

It ended up costing me another 20$ for 4 extensions of 3mm, so that the top plate would interlock with the bottom. That didn’t make me happy, but I am super excited to receive the mold!

For another price quote, got one for same parts from interpro htts://

$474.43 nope not even close interpro.


So as I mentioned earlier, I’m getting serious about the WickBrick

Getting my candle mold machined is taking a little longer then I want, or expected. As I mentioned earlier I stopped by at my local CNC shop to get a quote. For two small 100 mm x 100 mm x 10 mm plates I was looking at around  30 hours at around 75-100$ an hour. Wow I apparently should get into the CNC biz. So let’s take the conservative quote. $2250. So I was thinking of selling let’s say 15 WickBricks for $20 a set. That’s gonna take quite a few, less COGS, before I break even. I am obviously looking for a less expensive approach. I would like to break even a lot sooner. So my next route is to get an online quote. These places tend to work off of .STL files. So I needed something (preferably free) that could create .STL files. When I was working on the WickBrick patent I did my drawings using Googles free version of sketchUp, a very nifty 3D program but I didn’t have the budget for the full version with exporters. (After looking there is a free STL exporter for google sketchup for non commercial user, I tried it and it sort of worked. I didn’t have IE 7 installed so maybe it wasn’t a fair test but here is the site ) they also had a link here which is very cool! But once again very expensive. So first I spent some time with Alibre Express but they don’t offer boolean operations with the express version so I dropped it. So then I spent a lot of time trying to learn Blender it’s a good thing I’m a fairly quick software study. But man Blender is complex, it took a lot of time to get used to the right click selection and its quirks but I actually started to like it. But, I started to run into serious difficulties with boolean operations. I was probably going about my model building all wrong. So then I ran into this page and I said ah ha there has to be something I can use on that huge list. So from the list I downloaded Free – CoCreate Modeling Personal Edition

This software is cool, but once again I had a steep learning curve. My brain hurt after learning some google SU -> Alibre -> Blender -> CoCreate. Each one having its own quirks. For some reason I wasn’t wrapping my brain around CoCreate. I couldn’t move objects like I wanted. BUT, I did know that the boolean operations actually worked, and it exported .STL files.

So after watching some tutorials and much trial and error I was able to create my negative space candle mold. So now I have been sending out my feelers for price. I emailed for a CNC quote. I’m thinking I want the candle mold made from Aluminum. They emailed me back quickly and said they would get back to me in one day, very nice customer service.

In the meantime I started submitting my .STL files to online places to see what their instant quotes would come out as. which creates a prototype in HRP (High Resolution PolyJet) White plastic. Their specs for the HRP are

The product will be produced from a high resolution process with a print resolution of 600 DPI (42 microns; 0.0017”) in the X/Y axis and a layer thickness of 847 DPI (30 microns; 0.0012”). Features include:

  • Excellent impact strength.
  • High flexural modulus.
  • Proven to withstand functional testing at 212ºF without breakdown.
  • Elongation to break is up to 25%, making it an excellent material for snap fit applications.
  • Rigid and suitable for functional model

So for my two parts (Ship tommorow lowers it by almost 100$) it comes out to $436. My parts are 150 x 100 x 10 mm with 10 fairly complex cavities.

Next up I went to try out QuickParts rapid quote system. I think I am comparing a similar material. They offer a polyjet and quite a few varieties. High Res Rigid Translucent, Rigid VeroWhite, Elastomer TangoGray, Rigid VeroBlack, Rigid VeroBlue, Elastomer TangoBlack, TangoPlus. It looks like the Hi Res Rigid VeroWhite, VeroBlack, and VeroBlue have the Highest Heat Deflection Temp of 113-120°F. Hmm that makes me wonder if this is a good material for a candle mold. A rough Internet search show a wax melting point of around 148°F. What is interesting is that ZoomRP says their HRP is proven to withstand functional testing at 212ºF without breakdown.

But WOW, way to go QuickParts. My two parts come out to $180! Might be worth the risk of melting the molds for that price 🙂

Let me say I am really impressed with the QuickParts site. When doing an SLA quote you are able to specify your lead time. Same two parts created with SLA with the economy lead (two weeks out) comes to $281.

So my head is going round and round with the different types of materials that are available. Just for grins I will probably get a PolyJet form made just to experiment.

Ok, in my continuing quest for a cheaper deal I decided to check out Their site is possibly the best so far. With a cool activeX control that lets you look at your uploaded .STL files. That is just cool for coolness sake. So how does the price compare?

RedeyeOnDemand comes out at $180, if I do it in VeroBlue PolyJet I can get a free overnight build which is cool! Wow I’m amazed that their pricing engines are that close to each other.

My next victim They also use a STL activeX control, which crashed my browser 😦 I don’t know if it was their fault though could just be IE. BTW using IE appears to be recommended when doing business with any of these online quick prototypers. Ok, well it has crashed on me twice now. Ok, well goodbye third time you crash my computer (a different system just to be sure) and we are through.

Hmm so as far as I can tell it appears that QuickParts and RedeyeOnDemand are about the same. Redeye is a little bit slicker, and offers a free overnight build so I am going to give them a try.

OpenVPN Client hangs on DHCP renewal, recieves APIPA address instead. Resolved

Find this post interesting? Do you like interesting things? Maybe you would like my invention, a connectible candle called a WickBrick!

Get one here


So I love openVPN, but it was just being a thorn in my side the other day. It would happen no matter what version of openVPN I was using (Openvpn gui 2.0.9, and 2.1_rc13) I spent all day trying to get it fixed. It was very strange because up until recently it had been rock solid. I think some windows update may have changed something, or possibly XP service pack 3? Anyways the symptoms:

The VPN would connect, then Route: Waiting for TUN/TAP interface to come up….

TEST ROUTES: 0/0 succeeeded len=3 ret=0 a=0 u/d=down

It would cycle like this for a long time and then

Initialization Sequence Completed With Errors [see ]

After a minute or two the virtual TAP adapter would grab a APIPA address instead. You know those stupid 169.x.x.x addresses.

From the error message and the behavior I surmised that it was having a problem grabbing an address via DHCP through the tunnel. Through much searching on the Internet I finally found a post that resolved my issue. Good ol Alessandro Cirelli, who ever he might be, bless his soul wrote this post

OpenVPN Experience

His words “The problem is known (the openvpn website explain that) after installing XP ServicePack 2, there are some problem with windows firewall and TAPI network adapter in configuration with a dhcp openvpn server.”

His configuration

1. Install OpenVpn 2.1 Rc7 (tha last at this time)
2. Disable Or configure firewall for TAP Interface
3. Download devcon.exe from Microsoft website
4. Rename the TAP connection in MyTap
5. Identify the interface ID on TAP interface using : devcon hwids =net @root\NET\*
In my case tap0901
6. Create two .bat file in the OpenVPN config directory:
devcon enable tap0901
devcon disable tap0901
OpenVPN Gui launch this two file when start and close the connection ( note the name of the configfile )
7. ConfigFileName
dev tap
dev-node MyTap
proto tcp
remote server 1194
resolv-retry infinite
ca ca.crt
cert client1.crt
key client1.key
tls-auth ta.key 1
cipher BF-CBC
verb 3
mute 10
route-method exe
route-delay 30
ping 5
ip-win32 netsh
8. Start OpenVpn (using ConfigFileName file of course )

Another information, if you have the same subnet network class at home and at office you have to setting the metric of a TAP interface at a lower value than Etherter connection metric.

I have found this solution to work for me.

I did have to add the ‘append the DNS suffixes’ and add my domain, since the netsh method appears to not push the domain suffix. (Oh if you have TCP/IP properties open while initiating netsh it will fail!)

I haven’t tested whether I really need to enable and disable the device, or whether I really need a 30 second delay (10 appears to work just fine). But these settings do appear to fix my openVPN connection.

During the search I found a few other solutions that may help,


netsh int ip reset logfile.txt
netsh winsock reset catalog

A cool tool that I ran across as well is

netsh diag gui

It’s possible that this hotfix would address the issue as well

It’s possible that this is related as well

Getting serious about the WickBrick

So I have finally started up my work again on my most amazing of inventions the ‘WickBrick’ (Patent Pending, I can say that cause I filed a provisional patent doncha know) anyways….

I took my prototype and some sketches over to a local CNC shop and am waiting back on an estimate for a small aluminum test candle mold. I am curious to see how much this sort of thing costs, never having had anything machined before. It was fascinating to tour the place and see all of the different machines. Because of the drill bits that will be used some of the edges will have a slight curve which should give the WickBrick’s more of an ‘organic’ look. I am super excited to get the mold and start cranking out some more candles. I have also had a few more ideas that I am excited to try. Then I have to of course start marketing and selling the suckers… I think some family and friends will be getting WickBricks for Christmas to beta test this year!

Mofongo, garlic flavoured mashed plantains*

So we tried out a new restaurant in town ‘Marimba’ (1405 Hewitt Ave Everett, WA 98201)

It was excellent. I forgot that my iphone can take fairly decent pictures these days so I would have snapped a few pictures but luckily this blog captured the place well

I tried out the mofongo, and everyone at the table was jealous 🙂 If I had taken a picture, this is what it would have looked like 🙂

all of the rest of the dishes they tried were really good as well. The juice selection was excellent. I tried lime, my wife cantelope, and my parents tried combos of mango and banana and such.  All very good. To top it off we shared some flan, which may have been the best I have had. So there you have it, go check out the Marimba in Everett and tell ’em Michael sent you (not that they know who I am or anything).

*Plantains by the way are a type of banana that you typically cook and is treated somewhat like a potato

My Kronos Video Took 3rd Place

So I put my killer directing and videographing skills to the test and produced Kronsters, Inc I guess I could consider this a step in the right direction for eventually producing a film (one of my life goals). I had fun making it with my brother who I am sure is eagerly looking forward to his split of the booty, $500 bucks 🙂 I will also be passing some of the take on to Justin Bergevin a most excellent composer for allowing me to use some of his music in the film! Thanks Justin! As for my cut, I will be applying it to my next venture…. WickBricks. Stay tuned….

Corporate Firefox

So we were looking at a way of sending different users out different ‘interweb’ ‘pipes’ mainly so that our users YouTube traffic would stop interfering with our business traffic. So a guy in the group had what I think is an ingenious idea to use firefox with a hardcoded proxy server to point to a separate proxy server on a separate line. So if you need intranet access use IE (some intranet stuff only works on IE anyways) and if you want to do some timewasting, bandwidth sucking web surfing, use the FireFox. One quick way to deploy it is to xcopy deploy a preconfigured portable firefox I disabled the splash screen by using the FirefoxPortable.ini as explained here. I locked down firefox by going through these goofy instructions….

To paraphrase,

Create a txt file that starts with a \\

Like this //
lockPref(“network.proxy.type”, 0);
lockPref(“browser.startup.homepage”, “”);

Use a bit shifter with an offset of 13. You can get one here and save the file as mozilla.cfg into the same folder as firefox.exe (for portable firefox this is C:\FirefoxPortable\App\Firefox)

Now edit the all.js (FirefoxPortable\App\Firefox\greprefs

and on the very last line add (this tells it to load the config file)

pref(“general.config.filename”, “mozilla.cfg”);

There you go, you now have firefox portable with the proxy server address locked down. And in our case pointing to a proxy server meant just for ‘general surfing’.

For added points you can use OpenDns on the proxy to help lock it down.