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3D Printing Anticipation

I decided that I wanted to get into 3D printing a few weeks ago, and began researching.  There’s quite a range in prices, starting from a couple hundred dollars, and up into the thousands.  I’m a little on the frugal side of things – not cheap necessarily, but interested in value.

Initially I was looking at the Prusa I3 clones, and then into enclosed models like the Creator Pro and Qidi.  I ended up deciding that I wanted a cube style printer – a core XY.  To me, they just seem like they would be the most stable platform.  There are few plans out there, but it seemed like a pretty complex task to source all of the materials necessary to build a printer, so I started looking at kits.  

As luck would have it, I happened across the East 3D Gecko.  This kit is very new – and there have been a couple hiccups dealing with the build instructions, and some minor Q/A issues.  However, the designer/seller of the kit (and his team) have been very proactive in getting issues addressed, and they are updating the kit as things get resolved.  I also found out there’s at least one other person in the city here that has one!  The East 3D Gecko Facebook group provides support – both by members, and the actual designer of the printer, Chay Chen.  Chay has also designed a number of successful Tevo printers as well.

The printer uses a 32-bit Lerdge control board, and has a 310 x 300 x 300mm build volume, and has a fixed build platform – which in my mind, would reduce levelling issues.  There isn’t a lot of info out about the Lerdge board, but hopefully it works out well!  Apparently there’s no parts fan with the kit, but this may have just been the initial test kits that this was missing – but results have been pretty impressive without it.  I did order a couple  inexpensive blower fans, but turns out they might be too big. I’ll know soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

While I wait for my printer kit to arrive, I’ve been busy reclaiming my office space  – it became over-run in the past few years, turning it into an unorganized storage room – so my biggest challenge has been getting rid of stuff.  

Looking forward to the challenge in putting this kit together! 

Waffles :)

I received a new waffle iron for my birthday a few days ago – a vertical style Cuisinart. Tried it out for the first time this morning, and it worked great! It makes thicker waffles than our old waffle iron (which was also a Cuisinart), I guess they would be a belgian style.

I used the Classic Waffles recipe from, and tweaked the amount of milk – adding a couple extra tablespoons so that the batter would pour nicely into the top of the waffle iron.

Waffles ๐Ÿ™‚
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 6
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 cups warm milk +
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Plug in, and preheat waffle iron.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until smooth.
  3. Fill scoop provided with waffle iron, and pour into top funnel. If the batter doesn't pour very easily, and an extra tablespoon or two of milk, and mix really well.


HomeSeer + Apple TV

For the past couple years, I have  been running Homeseer as a home automation platform to control a number of Z-Wave switches. It works well, and probably my only complaint is with the remote app – which occasionally seems unable to reach my HomeSeer server, it’s inability to customize the user interface without spending a bunch more money on a designer application, and it’s inability to connect to some  home automation devices with spending more money on plugins.

Recently I purchased a 4th generation Apple TV.  I liked the Siri/HomeKit functionality, it’s Apple Music functionality, and also the way it displays availability of movies on iTunes and Netflix.  I was also interested in getting HomeSeer working with the Apple TV, so that we could use Siri to turn lights off and on. HomeSeer has voice control functionality built in, but requires a microphone connected to the server – which would be limiting as to where voice commands could actually be used, and not sure I like the idea of microphones around the house that are always on.  Using the Siri functionality built into my iPhone and into the Apple TV seemed like a much better approach.

Here’s the hardware that I’m working with:

  • a Raspberry Pi 2 – connected to home network via ethernet
  • HS3
  • Homeseer SmartStick
  • Apple TV 4th gen, 32G 
  • iMac – late 2013 model
  • Home app – installed on my iPhone
  • Eve Elegato app – installed on my iPhone

To get HomeSeer communicating with the Home or Eve Elegato apps, it’s necessary to use a bridge application that translates the requests between them.  There is a GitHub project called HomeBridge.  HomeBridge requires Node.js to be installed. There is also a plugin that HomeBridge requires,  homebridge-homeseer-plugin.

I followed the Install Homebridge on OSX documentation on GitHub to install Node and Homebridge.

Next I installed the homebridge-homeseer plugin

npm install homebridge-homeseer-plugin

Then, it was necessary to edit a config.json file – located in my home directory in a hidden folder called .homebridge

The username in the bridge section can be anything – I just left the content of another sample config.  The username and password used in the accessories sections needs to be a valid user from within HomeSeer, with the appropriate permissions to the specific accessories.  The on_url & off_url have a querystring parameter called value, that needs to match the specific switches – the details are available in homeseer device management, in an advanced tab, along with a device or reference ID, that is used for the ref parameter.  The 8 digit pin is displayed in the terminal window after you start homebridge, as well as the port number that it is using. The pin number is also used later when setting up the Home and/or Eve apps on the iPhone.

Here is the content of my config (modify as  necessary):

"bridge": {
"name": "Homebridge",
"username": "CC:22:3D:E3:CE:30",
"port": 52733,
"pin": "###-##-###"
"description": "This is an example configuration file with all supported devices. You can use this as a template for creating your own configuration file containing devices you actually own.",

"accessories": [{
"accessory": "Http",
"username": "xxxx",
"password": "xxxx",
"name": "Espresso Machine",
"on_url": "http://###.###.###.###/JSON?request=controldevicebyvalue&ref=9&value=255",
"off_url": "http://###.###.###.###/JSON?request=controldevicebyvalue&ref=9&value=0",
"can_dim": "False",
"http_method": "GET"
}, {
"accessory": "Http",
"username": "xxxx",
"password": "xxxx",
"name": "Garage Lights",
"on_url": "http://###.###.###.###/JSON?request=controldevicebyvalue&ref=33&value=99",
"off_url": "http://###.###.###.###/JSON?request=controldevicebyvalue&ref=33&value=0",
"can_dim": "True",
"http_method": "GET"
}, {
"accessory": "Http",
"username": "xxxx",
"password": "xxxx",
"name": "Living Room lights",
"on_url": "http://###.###.###.###/JSON?request=controldevicebyvalue&ref=7&value=99",
"off_url": "http://###.###.###.###/JSON?request=controldevicebyvalue&ref=7&value=0",
"can_dim": "True",
"http_method": "GET"
}, {
"accessory": "Http",
"username": "xxxx",
"password": "xxxx",
"name": "Bedroom Lamp One",
"on_url": "http://###.###.###.###/JSON?request=controldevicebyvalue&ref=12&value=99",
"off_url": "http://###.###.###.###/JSON?request=controldevicebyvalue&ref=12&value=0",
"can_dim": "True",
"http_method": "GET"
}, {
"accessory": "Http",
"username": "xxxx",
"password": "xxxx",
"name": "Bedroom Lamp Two",
"on_url": "http://###.###.###.###/JSON?request=controldevicebyvalue&ref=32&value=99",
"off_url": "http://###.###.###.###/JSON?request=controldevicebyvalue&ref=32&value=0",
"can_dim": "True",
"http_method": "GET"

Next I launched Home – it wasn’t immediately picking things up, so I then tried Eve, which I found easier to set up initially.

In Home, it was initially displaying that no remote services were available.  This means that HomeKit functionality wasn’t actually working from the Apple TV 4.  Here’s what I did to resolve that:

1. Sign out of iCloud on ATV

2. On another device that can manage your iCloud account (I used my iPhone 6), navigate to the devices section, select ATV and select forget this device.

3. Log back into iCloud on ATV and enter a new two factor authentication code as prompted.

4. Wait.  Go mix yourself a cocktail, or go walk the dogs… and then launch the Home app again on your iPhone. (I only had to wait 3 or 4 minutes before HomeKit appeared in the iCloud section of the ATV, but on the Apple support forums, other users had different experiences).

So, now Siri works on my iPhone, and also on our Apple TV 4!  Yay!  

Issues that I’m still trying to sort out:

  • Dimming lights via Siri 
  • Getting the status to update in the Home app – sometimes I have to issue a command twice to get the status. (update: this appears to have sorted itself out)
  • More consistent – Garage lights seem to only turn off or on once when using Siri, or using the Home app.  (fixed: make sure that the values are set properly for the on & off urls in the config.json file – check the advanced tab in HomeSeer)

I’ve tried a few apps on my phone, Apple’s Home app, Elgato Eve, and Home for Homekit.  All 3 worked – but I found the Home for Homekit app hard on these old eyes….  Eve was nice, and had some nice icons to customize your accessories.  Apple’s Home app is probably the easiest to view – and I liked that I could customize the room backgrounds with my own photos.

Elgato Eve

Home for HomeKit

Apple Home









Here are some additional links I found useful.