I’ve been eyeing out motorised sliders for some time but I’ve always been put off by the price or complexity. Having built my own 3D printer and getting to know the ins and outs of stepper motors, drivers and the Arduino platform, I started to wonder if I could just build my own…

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In theory, once you’ve levelled the bed, you should be good to go, however, in practice the bed needs to be re-levelled after almost every print. Bed levelling requires adjusting 4 tiny, hard to reach thumb screws located under the base plate with the aim of adjusting the distance between the extruder tip and bed to be around the thickness of a piece of paper. It’s a complete drag but failure to start a print without a level bed results in either the first layer failing to stick or the extruder getting blocked. Enter auto-levelling…

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I found a way to file down a shim within the Jupiter-9 which closes that 0.3mm difference to the focal plane but the Tair-ll has a very different design. I finally worked around this, modifying the EOS-M42 adapter by milling down 0.3mm using a drill press. This was not the easiest task and a drill press is not the most appropriate tool for this job but it worked…

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This has been a good month for finding prime, vintage primes and the latest addition is the finest condition lens so far. This 1964 Mir-1 is perfectly mint and comes straight from Ukraine where it was made. It wears the badge “Grand Prix Brussels 1958” for which it won the title at the 1958 World Fair. I did have a few reservations about permanently modifying this near perfect lens but my purpose has always been to make this a usable set of vintage lenses and this modification does not alter the function in any way…

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The Hictop Prusa i3 is probably the most satisfying thing I’ve ever assembled. It’s a kit that requires some patience and persistence but it’s not out of reach for most who have the determination. My completed printer produced fair results right off the bat and with a few modifications using freely available designs, it’s now producing consistent, impressive results. It’s not as polished as an expensive commercial offering and lacks an enclosure but the quality is not far off. At £200, it’s a no brainer entrance into the world of 3D printing…

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I absolutely love the pristine Jupiter-9 M39 mount I recently acquired and it has become the standard walk around lens on my 5D3. It takes amazing nostalgic photos and once you learn to tame it by stopping down a bit, it strikes a beautiful balance between soft and sharp. The one thing that has bothered me compared to the Helios 44-2 M39 is that the Jupiter has been unable to attain infinity focus. I decided, reluctantly, to crack open the Jupiter in the hopes of modifying the registration distance and was pleased to find just how easy the Jupiter-9 is to service…

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I picked up the Sunfounder Quadruped Robot Kit a couple of days ago out of frustration more than anything else. I’ve been hitting a few walls lately with the drive system on my Viking battle robot. The differential track steering has proven to be a real drag (pun intended). I needed a distraction so went for something I could tinker with that 1) didn’t use wheels or tracks and 2) had pictured directions of a working design (it’s exhausting building stuff from scratch). The Sunfounder Quadruped is an open source, Arduino based crawling insect that you assemble and programme yourself. It’s a pretty cool, attention grabbing technology demonstration and I’m always looking for something like this to inspire students at school.

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I’ve been casually looking for a good example of this lens for over a year. I really wanted something longer than the Helios for portrait stills and physically smaller than the Pentagon Six lenses I’ve adapted for cinema work. Jupiter-9 lenses are plentiful on eBay although generally in well used condition. I’m really pleased to have scored a near mint example straight from the motherland. This is a silver edition from 1965 that was originally made for the Soviet Zenit SLR. This is a stunning lens to look through and to look at. This is a lens I will treasure and pass down. I’ve never thought about any of my expensive Canon gear that way…

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There aren’t many examples of great technology that remain in production, unaltered for decades especially in the consumer electronics market. The Sony MDR-W08 was an example of such greatness until being discontinued by Sony a few years ago. I’ve owned a pair of these $8 headphones (or a variation of them) since I was about 12 years old – probably 50 sets over the course of my lifetime. I decided to replace the bad cable on one of them with the cable/remote off some old Apple ear buds. The result is the best set of portable headphones I’ve ever owned…

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I’m certainly impressed with the new sensor and quality coming out of the iPhone 6S. Having spent some time shooting extensively with an iPhone 5S at the beginning of the summer, the differences are immediately apparent. Besides the beautifully sharp, pinch-and-zoomable 4K resolution, the image quality itself has a more natural almost film like look. This is most noticeable in the flares which seem quite a bit more prominent. I love the look…

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