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MakerLabs and Fabrication @ MadeInWorkshop in Gauteng

When one tinkers with Arduino kits or 3D Printer kits it can be a tough process when you don’t have all the tools to make your alterations. I got to a point where my 3D Printer was just not getting past the calibration steps since going at it alone is hard.

I found a solution by attending a #MakerLabs event which is weekly with like-minded individuals all interested in building all kinds of weird things. As a bonus the location is at a workshop where one has access to laser or plasma cutting or CNC equipment. The guys there helped me figure out what was wrong with my printer and got it printing in two session where we fabricated new parts allowing mounting my new extruder.

The whole experience at #MakerLabs and hosted by #MadeInWorkshop was super exciting and one learns so much.

Now that I am past the initial issues of 3D printing is am making all kinds of things.

I had issues with fumes from my printer so I made a hood. Now I am safe and it looks amazing.


Lets see what to make next 🙂

Supercomputer @ Home

With my research requiring lots of processing and my PC not having enough memory or just takes to long I looked into how expensive it will be to build a Supercomputer @ home.
With the top 10 Supercomputers having from 7.235 to 125.436 Peta (1015) FLOPS (FLoating-point Operations Per Second). The Sunway TaihuLight @ National Supercomputer Center, Jiangsu, China costs US$273 million.


This would be something I would get when my boat comes in. For now I would have to look at personal computing clusters. This guide to build a supercomputer at home is a little over simplified but shows its better to get a rack and then mount all the hard drives and boards since server blades are expensive.


This is mostly not relevant but the tower rack is use full to add with normal cases since it takes less space and can have space to add fans for cooling.


This design does look a little un-neat so one can rather keep the rack enclosed in case wide blade mounts.


These mounts is about $96 so taking into consideration the cost of the CPU, GPU the cost will be around $1110 or 15,231.42 ZAR

  • $97 – Server Case
  • $150 – AMD FX-8350 FX-Series 8-Core Black Edition Processor
  • $130 – ASUS M5A99FX PRO R2.0 AM3+ AMD 990FX AMD Motherboard
  • $86 – 16GB DDR3
  • $120 – 850W Power Supply
  • $50 – 1TB SATA Hard Drive
  • $200 – Radeon RX 470 4G GDDR5 PCI-Express Video Card

$833 -> 11,430.43 ZAR

That seems like a very expensive hobby to to play around with cluster parallel computing considering one would need at least 3-4 to have a decent cluster which will cost 45K ZAR.

To the rescue comes Raspberry Pi with the Tiny Titan Project.


“Tiny Titan is a $1,000 classroom supercomputer designed to teach aspiring scientists the basics of parallel computing. Unlike modern desktops and laptops that hide parallelism from the user, Tiny Titan makes parallel concepts explicit.”

The tiny titan in this project is full of Raspberry Pi B+ models but the performance of B+ to the new Raspberry Pi 3 Model B t goes from single-core 700MHz ARM v6 to the new Pi 3’s 1.2GHz quad-core ARM v8.


Where I can get a Pi3 for R 642.00 at RS -> and the cover for only R86.18 (white/black)

The entire system will only cost R 6551.00 (ZAR) and that is way more affordable for a experiment. With Christmas approaching I hope Santa has my list.
With fibre almost in my area fast reliable internet will mean I can host all my servers myself. 2017 is going to be a rocking year!

No Man’s Sky

With all the buzz around this title: No man’s Sky (NMS), I could not be helped but try it out. But for a indie title like this at $60 is a little steep. But for exploration games sometimes it might be worth it.
With the fire they are getting for a crappy port stating that most of the issues is caused by under spech PCs is a clear indication they don’t know how the PC community works. We don’t have a minimum spec since you can have an old er generation GPU that can outperform a new generation GPU.

It kinda feels like NMS spent more time getting the game to work on smaller GPUs for nvidia than the later GPUs of Radeon (pre OpenGl4.5). My laptop has a GeForce 840M and it works but is sooooo slow it makes me get sick playing it. On my PC i have a Radeon HD 6870 and it kept crashing. So with the fix on below link that
FIX for video Card without OPENGL 4.5

With that fix that injects the version into the game allowed me to play the game on my PC and on medium it runs relatively well.


There are some glitches with some flickering but if I get to play the game at the frame rate it was designed for i am cool with that.My i7 and 8gb ram with the HD 6870 has no problem of being less than the minimum specifications since my GPU is the later range of the HD 6000 series.
Now I get to fly around until they fix the issue in game and remove the OpenGL requirment. But one would think that is not going to happen. They have a hardon for Nvidia those biased Hello games.

Explore and find the pattern of repetition

Although it is fun at the moment i hope I don’t get bogged down when I see the repetition of the algorithm using same layouts and textures. But until that happens ill have lots of fun.

VR on the cheap

Ok, so VR is the new topic everyone is talking about. Looking at the two main VR contenders, Oculus Rift & HTV Vive, the entry level PC and device is extremely expensive. The next best thing is to use your existing mobile phone and use it as your mobile device. I started with a Google Cardboard and it is great…as a temporary solution. It starts getting dirty and falls apart with continued use. Too the rescue comes plastic VR molds. The Samsung Gear VR is great but mostly geared towards Samsung devices and is $99. That seems a little steep for a plastic mold that only holds your phone. So what do you do if you don’t have a Samsung? You go VR Box V2.


Mine is on its way and after doing some research on the device it looks to be a cheap alternative that is comparable with many IOs and Android phones. I ordered mine on AliExpress and only costed me $28 and looks to fit my LG G4 perfectly. Some smaller phones might have issues with seeing the edges but the lenses are adjustable.


The kit comes with a Bluetooth controller which will come in handy since the headset does not have the magnet button the google cardboard has.

Now id your thinking lame why get a cheap version when you can just get an expensive Rift. 1. You can use your current phone. 2. Google IO just showcased Daydream.


Daydream will bring the VR world to the masses without you have to spend R20,000.00 on a new PC and R12,000.00 on just the Rift without controllers. With this platform I will stay happy until the Rift second generation comes out with higher definition screens and better tracking speeds. That might take another 2 years but at that cost of buying in I don’t mind waiting and playing with cheap alternatives such as Daydream.

All I need to do is get a better VR controller once Daydream is released.

Lets hope for some Android PC integration so I can play Star Citizen, streamed to phone VR setup.

VR is here

With the Oculus Rift having gone on pre-order and HTC vive not far after it the question are we ready? Some people are experimenting in creating real world situation.

Others see how long we can live in that world like an artist Mark Farid will spend 28 days in a VR world.

I might get it or just wait for the technology to be cheaper so I don’t run into that white elephant situation with my VR920 I didnt use for more than 1 year.’

Lets watch this tech closely.


HTC Vive

Deadpool was Crazy

When I first heard of Deadpool last year the hype only grew to such a hype train it has been impossible to miss. My thoughts…The movie was great and I enjoyed the action scenes supported by snippy humor. The Mercenary with the mouth.
So thinking of this movie a year from now will we remember it? Short answer, No.

What we will remember is what this movie represented. New IP, small budget R-rated movies and 4th wall breaking story telling. Deadpool’s next movie might be good but this model of the actors telling us what we should know or find funny about it is kinda annoying when over used. The director should find better ways to convey the Lore.

Final thoughts would be Deadpool was not groundbreaking or visually stunning. In fact it was subtle with the CGI if you discount Colossus and the final scene of the ship falling over. I am still not sure why they linked Deadpool to the X-Men since if you remove the X-Men nothing will change in the story except some fight scenes but overall it was pointless. Ok movie to see if you have a chance but not so amazing to go out as fast as possible to go see it.

Sound can set the mood

With my increased use of over the ear gaming headphones to speakers I only now started thinking how important it is to have good quality gaming headphones, not the most expensive, but good build and sound quality. To think I now wear a headset almost 24/7 to have my own little world full of emotion and mood setting, whether I am listening to an audio book or just streaming or playing from Google Play music.

My quality factors for headphones are:

  • build,
  • sound,
  • comfort,
  • microphone,
  • cost.

But should one just think you have to get the most expensive one to get the best for you experience? No, I am now sure that spending less than R1000 on a headsets can still get you the same experience than a R4k headset.

Plantronics Audio 655 DSP

My previous headphones, Plantronics Audio 655 DSP, costed about R350 which finally broke (plastic extension bracket just bent) and has OK sound and comfort had some problems with quality and mic. So with me shopping for a new set I looked for gaming headsets since I am not fussy with built in microphone that is OK.

Astrum Stereo Headset Black & Red – HS230

Using Takealot I ordered a budget gaming headset (Astrum Stereo Headset Black & Red – HS230) for around R150 and then found, OMG for that cost you get crap. Even R50 cheapo PnP headsets has better sound; I know since my work headphones is cheap plastic cup set that is margins better than the Astrum Stereo Headset headphones I got from Takealot.

What bugged me mostly is that Takealot does not publish negative comments at all, as is their prerogative, but one does not know how bad it is until you get it. I even asked them on Twitter ‘why don’t they publish negative comments’ and they just kept avoiding the question and skirted around answering by asking about other things. Getting back to the headphones, it sits loosely on your head but the over ear design cups are small and squishes your ears. Then the sound hits you so flat even the Microsoft Receptionist headphones had better speakers.


Microsoft Receptionist headphones

Then I found that left and right channel didn’t come through correctly since the audio jack didn’t fit well making the connection unstable. Shaking the headset a little you hear the parts jiggle as nothing fits well.

It is a budget gaming headset but this headphone hit the all the marks of what can be wrong with headphones. Sure there will be some people OK if they cannot afford better but I now can recommend what price rage to save for to still get good quality and sound for still a budget. Since Takealot luckily is taking it back I started looking at the better gaming headsets in their catalog and found that the only good ones are R2k+. Their list of under R1K is just 2 options. Sennheiser HD 202 (R500) & Logitech G230 (R750). From past experience Sennheiser does have good sound but the HD 202 looks so boring and the microphone so short it automatically is off the list. The Logitech G230 (not the Logitech USB Headset H540 which is over ears and will hurt after 3 hours of use [R599]), is better but it folds in half. If your ‘in that moment’ in a game and you just quickly take them off to take a call and try and put back on fast the headset is flopping all over the place you almost die by not paying attention fiddling with the headphones, you would also agree; folding headphones are bull-dung. Also if I had to wait for Takealot to pick it up and credit me I would have to wait 2 weeks. Yes, that is how long my previous return took (mostly just the stupid courier).

SOMic G909

So I looked else where for headsets and found Deon and several other stores only have OK headphones for listening but not for gaming with built in microphone. So I stumbled into Matrix Werehouse and saw they had this unknown brand called SOMic. Since it is a new brand your paying for the device and not the name so I was surprised to see DOTA preferred headphones for less than R1K. I got the SOMic G909 (costed R690) and I went from OK I probably know what headphones should be like to WOW this is how it should be without having to get the R500K Sennheiser Orpheus HE90.

The most expensive headphones in the world, the remodelled Orpheus HE90 by Sennheiser
The most expensive headphones in the world, the remodelled Orpheus HE90 by Sennheiser

The SOMic G909 sound is crisp and deep with a bass boost and a quality feel. Even the volume knob when turning gives you this analog feel to it when you increased the volume on those analogue TV sound systems. I have been wearing it now while at home working for many hours and it still sits without discomfort and the microphone is good considering how stumpy it is and how far from my mouth it is. The virtual 7.1 surround is a great addition and puts that little touch on your gaming experience which one can only have with a loud sound system or R2K plus headset. While using them in bed if you turn your head you can accidentally change the volume but the placement is ok when sitting at a desk. The metal extension bars and padded design makes up for the sound bleeding the headset has.

Now after all my ranting I am glad I got it off my chest of how good these headphones are and other headphones from SOMic that is cost effective and just amazing in use. Originally I thought for gaming the known brands are the only choices, glad I was wrong.

ps: Happy Gaming 🙂