Isqua Istari

The Wise Wizards

Stratasys Catalyst CMB file parser

Posted in Other by Ziggy Wednesday January 13, 2016 at 12:11

A company I used to work for owned a Stratasys 3d printer. The program that sends print files to the printer is called CatalystEX, and while it imports industry standard STL files, it exports and saves in the (almost certainly proprietary) CMB file format. These files encode the tool path that the printer uses to build the parts, so modifying it makes it possible to modify the print.
Why might one wish to modify the print? Perhaps because Catalyst is very “user friendly” and not a “powerful editing tool” like “some other programs” namely Blender. So, I started writing a bit of Python code capable of importing a CMB into Blender for editing, and then exporting the modified CMB for printing.

I didn’t get very far, but was making decent progress. I left the company, and no longer have access to the printer, and therefore further work would be highly difficult to carry out.

This effort was made feasible (and very likely possible at all) due to the extensive previous work of Andreas Reichinger which went into picking apart the CMB file format, which (at the time of this writing) can be found here:

As I mentioned, I didn’t get very far, but I did manage to discover that the†”27 bytes ?” field was actually 35 bytes long. Not sure what it contains, or if it’s per-printer or what. I also never got around to writing out modified part programs, so I don’t know if there’s a sum-check built in or anything.

Below is the full text of the reverse-engineering reference, just in case the link goes off-line: (more…)

“There Is A Redeemer” alternate chorus

Posted in New Lyrics by Ziggy Wednesday January 13, 2016 at 11:40

The song “There is a Redeemer” was running through my head while driving to work, and I made up another chorus for it… Something like-a-this:
Thank you, O my Father,
for giving us your life
For blessings of food and cloth
for nation, children, church, and wife.

For reference, the “normal” chorus I’m familiar with goes like this:
Thank you, O my Father,
for giving us Your Son
and leaving Your Spirit ítil
the work on earth is done.

Both are good. I feel like we could do with less lyrical repetition in our songs, so this is a step forward in my book.

More piano improv

Posted in Music by Ziggy Wednesday January 13, 2016 at 11:22

Made while we were down in California visiting in the summer of 2015.

The sounds in the background are my children playing with Duplo, wooden blocks, and toys with their grandma, my mother.

SpoOratory Ep2

Posted in SpoOratory by Ziggy Monday January 11, 2016 at 17:48

It’s the spooner podcast! Ben and Travis play mechs and tonks, then Luke hijacks the conversation with games about insanity at about the 15:00 mark, switching at 21:20 to talk about canon and official lore. 24:42 verges into meta-commentary, followed by a brief discussion of the Occulus Rift pre-order at 25:55. Plus 26:30 is a glowing endorsement†of an outline for a Science Fiction story that I (Paul) am trying to put together.

Virtual (beep)s

SpoOratory Ep1

Posted in Podcasts,SpoOratory by Ziggy Sunday December 13, 2015 at 15:58

It’s the spooner podcast! Episode 1, architecture and living spaces.


Bee Hive

Posted in Articles by Ziggy Sunday May 3, 2015 at 17:51

A couple years ago, my wife and I defeated a wasp nest. A year after buying our house, we discovered another wasp nest up under the attic vents. They can’t get into the attic itself, and they are pretty far from the doors, so I let them live. Anna was stung a few weeks ago, but it seems like an isolated incident. The wasps are on probation.

Today we had lunch outside. (more…)

PS Cast: Tryop

Posted in PSCast:S3 by Ziggy Monday March 2, 2015 at 11:13

The company that I talk about in this episode has turned into Tryop.
Er, here’s the Proto-Tryop Podcast, filled with egotistical speculation.


PS Cast: Cyborgs

Posted in PSCast:S3 by Ziggy Sunday February 22, 2015 at 00:02

A brief snapshot which is over almost as soon as it has begun.
Oh, it’s about Cyborgs.


PS Cast: Oculus and VR

Posted in PSCast:S3 by Ziggy Friday February 20, 2015 at 22:06

You’re in for it now! I’ve heard of some new technology and I’ve got all sorts of little ideas!
Listen to them all repeated over and over again in today’s blathering about the Oculus and VR!

Transcript: (more…)

PS Cast: Driving and Printing

Posted in PSCast:S3 by Ziggy Sunday February 1, 2015 at 00:05

Today we get a bit meta. And come full circle again. And talk about gold bowls. And traffic. And spiritual darkness.
Cognate bemusedly with the poorly titled Driving and Printing.


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