What happens when an air filter for 3D printers gets designed by engineers with a passion for function, a refusal to compromise, and a desire to do without bad smells or fumes? You get the Nevermore, a design for a recirculating active-carbon filtration system to deal with VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from 3D printing.
The Nevermore Micro (and larger Nevermore Max) were originally intended to complement the Voron 3D printer design, but are made such that they can be used with just about anything else. These filters use 3D-printable parts, and are designed to be easily filled (and refilled) using bulk-activated carbon instead of some kind of proprietary pre-packed filter like most commercial offerings. The Voron project is all about a printer without compromises, and the Nevermore comes from that same design ethos.
A Nevermore filter sits inside the build chamber, and works by recirculating air inside while passing it through the activated carbon. The idea is that by concentrating on dealing with the problem at the source inside a relatively small build chamber, one doesn’t need a lot of airflow. A small recirculating air filter can do the job efficiently, though for best results, the build chamber should be as sealed as possible.
One interesting caution is that it seems not all activated carbon is the same, and it is absolutely crucial to use only acid-free, steam-activated (not acid-washed) carbon in a recirculating filter like the Nevermore. There are horrifying photos of oxidized metal surfaces resulting from using acid-residue carbon, some of which took only minutes to occur. Thankfully, there are pointers to trusted sources for the known-good stuff.
It’s known that 3D printing results in chemical and particle emissions. These differ significantly depending on both material and type of printer, but it’s enough of an issue to warrant attention. One deals with particulates with something like a HEPA filter, but VOCs require a carbon filter. This is where the Nevermore comes in. Active carbon filters will wear out simply from exposure to the air, so if one is serious about cleaning VOCs when printing, it is definitely worth looking into bulk carbon with a design like the Nevermore.
In a sign of the times, the Federal Communications Commission has officially signed off on remote testing sessions for amateur radio licensing in the United States. Testing in the US is through the Volunteer Examiner Coordinator program, which allows teams of at least three Volunteer Examiners to set up in-person testing sessions where they proctor amateur radio licensing exams. The VEs take their jobs very seriously and take pride in offering exam sessions on a regular schedule, so when social distancing rules made their usual public testing venues difficult to access, many of them quickly pivoted to remote testing using teleconferencing applications. Here’s hoping that more VEs begin offering remote testing sessions.
Another aspect of life changed by COVID-19 and social distancing rules has been the simple pleasure of a trip to the museum. And for the museums themselves, the lack of visitors can be catastrophic, both in terms of fulfilling their educational and research missions and through the lack of income that results. To keep the flame alive in a fun way, Katrina Bowen from The Centre for Computing History in Cambridge has recreated her museum in loving detail in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. For being limited to what’s available in the game, Katrina did a remarkable job on the virtual museum; we especially like the Megaprocessor wallpaper. She even managed to work in that staple last stop of every museum, the gift shop.
To the surprise of few, “spatial computing” startup Magic Leap has announced that it is laying off half its workforce as it charts a new course. The company, which attracted billions in funding based on its virtual retinal display technology, apparently couldn’t sell enough of their Magic Leap One headsets to pay the bills. The company is swiveling to industrial users, which honestly seems like a better application for their retinal display technology than the consumer or gaming markets.
And finally, as if 2020 hasn’t been weird enough already, the Department of Defense has officially released videos of what it calls “unidentified aerial phenomena.” These videos, taken from the head-up displays of US Navy fighter jets, had previously been obtained by private parties and released to the public. Recorded between 2004 and 2015, the videos appear to show objects that are capable of extremely high-speed flight and tight maneuvers close to the surface of the ocean. We find the timing of the release suspicious, almost as if the videos are intended to serve as a distraction from the disturbing news of the day. We want to believe we’re not alone, but these videos don’t do much to help.