New Digs

After nearly half a year working in a dingy machine shop where the din of a milling machine, lathe and extruder made hearing yourself think impossible, Markforged moved into its new facility today. The contrast could not be more dramatic. The quiet, the space, the ambiance. Many of us worked over the weekend to ensure a smooth transition and by the end of the day we were essentially up and running.

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Camera Stand

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The most used item in my photo studio is the camera stand. Far more convenient and versatile than a tripod it is the device which keeps my camera rock steady and positioned exactly where I want it. When I saw this stand on Craig’s List I decided to upgrade. My current stand, also acquired on CL will be donated to Markforged. Our new facility has ample space for a dedicated photo studio and it will be put to good use there.

Rare Grouping

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Miraculously I was able to gather the kids for a portrait this afternoon. While it is true that I take many photographs of our family members, they are mostly candid shots and we actually have few formal portraits. Dressing up for a photograph is rarely tolerated. In this case, two of three were already wearing flannel shirts so the third was persuaded to change into one. For Christmas this year I would like the following present from my children and spouse: a one hour fully cooperative photo session with suits and ties and dresses an no grousing.

Turkey Time

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Joining the family for Thanksgiving diner this year are my mother and close family friend, Susan Reynolds, whose two daughters were unable to return home for the holiday this year. Jeanine and I completed the Concord 5K Turkey Trot this morning.  A portion of the proceeds and an on site food collection are for the benefit of Open Table. We ate earlier than usual so that we could all volunteer at Open Table to serve a veritable feast to a community of guests that rarely enjoys such an abundance of food.

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Robert Sorby Set

Sorby Turning Set

Having just sold my lathe on Craig’s List, it is time to sell my collection of turning tools. After taking the time to carefully photograph them, I have decided that I am only ready to part with one of them, the bowl hollowing tool on the far left. I have almost convinced myself that I am going to buy a new lathe (albeit a smaller one) to justify the retention of the remaining set.

Cozy Mother

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My mom arrived by bus this afternoon and was collected by her grandsons from the station. We are thrilled she will be sharing the holiday with us and feel fortunate that she remains so healthy and full of life. She is seen here modeling a new full length down jacket that Jeanine acquired for her.

Boys are Back

The boys have returned to the nest for the Thanksgiving holiday. Nico arrived late last night and Kyle early this morning on the red-eye. Both looked pretty exhausted and happy to be home. Nico was in dire need of a haircut which I was happy to administer. He is pictured here before and after.

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All three kids had homework to do and it was fun to see them gathered around the dining room table again.

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Plier Parking

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At the risk of boring followers of this blog with yet another build project for my shop, here is a nice little holder for my pliers. For a change of pace, I resisted the temptation to 3D print this part and constructed it out of Baltic Birch plywood. I also ordered myself a new set of Wiha pliers to replace my aging Craftsman set, some of which I have owned for 30 years. Be forewarned that my soon to arrive bright red and yellow handled plier set will be featured in an upcoming blog entry.

Kevlar Feather Board

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The feather board I designed a few weeks ago has received 667 views and been downloaded 44 times on Thingiverse. It was posted there by our marketing guys. As a result of its popularity they asked me to print and assemble another one for use at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) where we will be exhibiting in January. I decided to create a larger version and used Kevlar instead of carbon fiber for reinforcement.

Vacuum Tap

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When I design the dust collection system for my shop I ensured that every major piece of dust producing equipment had a dedicated drop. The one thing I forgot to provision for was a simple vacuum hose. Why not use my 3hp cyclonic vacuum with 55 gallon bin capacity instead of my 6 gallon shop vac with expensive bags for general clean up. In order to make this happen I had to tap into an existing 8″ drop that services my table saw. Normally this would involve a lot of shopping around and cobbling together the right combination of pipes and flanges. With access to a 3D printer, however, the entire project was a breeze. It took 20 minutes to CAD a flange that would mate perfectly with the 4″ blast gate I use to control air flow. I also designed a step down adapter to interface the blast gate with my 2 1/2″ vacuum hose.  It took less than ten minutes to cut a hole in the existing pipe and install the components.  The new vacuum line works perfectly with no air leaks and could suck the underwear off a nun.

Flange

Step Down

Returning Leaders

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Maya returned from Washington D.C. this evening and I was at the airport to pick her up. She had a tremendous experience at the Anti Defamation League National Youth Leadership Mission conference which she has been attending for the last three days. She shared her impressions and take aways during the ride home. Key among them was how exciting it was to interact with equally passionate kids from around the country all committed to building a society free of hate. Hearing from and speaking directly with survivors of the Holocaust was the highlight of the trip for Maya. Her generation will be the last to receive first hand accounts of what happened to the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis. She also enjoyed speeches from Archie Panjabi (actress who played Kalinda on The Good Wife) and Taye Diggs (the actor who played Dr. Sam Bennett on Private Practice).

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Behind the Red Door

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Having finally obtained our building permit, MarkForged is preparing to move to our new facility at Ten Fawcett near the Alewife train station. I am not going to miss the crowded, noisy, and distinctively low budget location we currently occupy. Using my car as a phone booth was fine on rain-free summer days but extending the necessary practice into the winter months would have been a drag. Sitting next to our frequently operating CNC milling machine has grown positively tiresome. Not having enough room for a proper workspace or meeting is probably my biggest complaint. If all goes to plan we will move to our new location on November 28th. As happy as I will be to make the transition, it is clear to me that the shortcomings and idiosyncrasies of our current location will one day be the subject of epic tales about our humble beginnings. I decided to take a few minutes and photograph the entire location for posterity.

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Bomb Scare

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The weather was magnificent this noon hour so I decided to walk to Felipe’s for a burrito. As I was returning through Harvard Yard, I paused for this photo of a self service leaf raking station, something I have never encountered before and wondered if it would work in our backyard. Minutes later, police and SWAT officers began appearing everywhere and two helicopters could be seen hovering over the campus. Everyone in the yard and students in four adjacent buildings were asked to exit immediately as the area was cordoned off. I later learned that a bomb threat had been reported and the magnitude of the emergency response was not surprising in light of the recent attacks in Paris. Fortunately the threat was deemed to be unfounded after a 5-hour search of the buildings.

Temperatures dropped significantly by early evening when I drove to Lynn to watch as the Concord Carlisle Girl’s Soccer team won the D2 state title.

Maya had a busy day in Washington D.C. at her National Youth Leadership Mission conference. In the morning she heard from the ADL’s National Director, Jonathan Greenblatt, who discussed the importance of speaking up when you see injustice. The lunchtime speaker was Marion Ingram, a Holocaust survivor and civil rights activist, who talked about her experiences in Germany and the US. Workshops focused on the relevance of the speakers’ stories to the lives of the student delegates, to the delegates’ encounters with prejudice, and to their roles as leaders in actively promoting respect for all people. In the afternoon the New England contingent toured the Washington Mall before attending ADL’s National Concert Against Hate at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts later in the evening.

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ADL Representative

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Maya is one of 60 students in the country selected as a representative to the Anti Defamation League National Youth Leadership Mission .  Founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all,” the ADL is now a civil rights/human relations agency whose mission is to fight anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defend democratic ideals and protect civil rights for all. Maya is pictured here with fellow students representing the New England Chapter upon arrival in Washington D.C. where they will attend a conference and visit the  United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.