WFH Desk Bike – Flexispot v9

I have been working primarily from home since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, and with our company moving to remote-first work permanently since last year, I’ve been looking for ways to improve my quality of life in my work-from-home environment. Check out the #wfh tag for posts about my other work-from-home equipment.

One of the issues with working from home is less opportunities for physical activity: I used to easily complete my 10k steps a day when I needed to work at the office. However, with my office only 15 steps away, this is much harder to complete nowadays.

After looking at various exercise options, I decided to go for the Flexispot v9 Desk Bike. I admit it’s a pretty expensive option for an exercise bike as it , but with a Black Friday discount and using my fitness reimbursement benefit from work, the price I ended up spending was pretty reasonable.

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The Mountain Ropes Adventure on Grouse Mountain

Yesterday on my day off work, taking advantage of the sunny weather I made a day-of booking for the Mountain Ropes Adventure up on Grouse Mountain. My annual pass included one tour for free, so I wanted to take advantage of it before they close down the summer season.

I was impressed with the entire ropes course. I was expecting that, thinking it was catering to kids and tourists, the course would be super easy, but it turned out to be enough of a challenge (at least for someone like me who’s not athletic or super fit), especially the advanced course.

Traversing some netting on the Intermediate course, high above the ground.

Each course had a variety of elements, and each had at least one or two ziplines. The beginner course definitely had two because the second one on the way back would take your picture. The elements definitely challenged the physical side, and less on the mental side (some courses I’ve done in the past required some thinking how to get through the element, sort of like a puzzle, but the elements here were relatively straightforward).

Up the first ladder on the Advanced course

I took about 2 hours to complete the all three courses, and it ended up being a good workout for me by the end of it. I don’t remember exactly but I think the time breakdown was maybe 15 minutes on the green/beginner course, 30 minutes on the blue/intermediate course, and 45 minutes on the black/advanced course. The intermediate and advanced courses have midway exits in case guests need to leave early or find the course they’re on too difficult.

The courses use the Kanopeo Speedrunner safety equipment, which keeps you connected to the lifeline at all times. In other courses I’ve done at other camps, you carry two carabiners and manually switch between the line sections and in that case you can also “accidentally” remove yourself from the lines. However, with the Kanopeo Speedrunner, once you enter the course, you are locked in at all times, so the risk of “forgetting” to latch onto the line is zero.

I would recommend the course; I think for most people there would be enough challenge to have fun. The cost, however, is a bit steep considering in addition to the $39 fee for the Mountain Ropes Adventure, a mountain admission ticket for the lift up currently costs $61 ($51 for BC residents). I’d recommend bringing gloves if you are planning on going through the entire course.

COVID-19: Thoughts from working from home for 6 weeks

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the way many around the world live their lives over the recent months. For us in the Vancouver/British Columbia area, it has been about a month and half since we have had significant measures in place to reduce the spread of the virus.

In this post I will go over the changes that have affected me, and things that I have found worked well.

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First 3D Print – Projector screen replacement part

3D printing has gaining popularity in the recent years, and since a few years ago, Richmond Public Library has had ‘MakerBot Replicator 2’ stations available for patrons to use to create their own objects. This week, I had the opportunity to use the 3D printers for the first time to print a replacement part for a projector screen.

Backstory

Some time in March, one of these plastic caps popped off the projector screen we use for youth ministry at St. Francis Xavier Parish, and disappeared. It turns out that this small part (about 1cm in diameter), is a critical component for the proper functioning of the projector screen. Without this tiny cap, the locking mechanism for the vertical support does not provide enough force to keep the screen up.

A side lesson learned here is when shopping for projector screens, it is much better to have physical notches and metal components on the vertical support instead of relying on friction and dinky plastic caps.

Modeling the replacement

I was lucky in that I still had one of the caps and that both caps were of the same shape so I brought the remaining one home with me as a reference. I was also lucky that the shape of the cap was that of simple shapes: a cylindrical base, hexagonal prism on top, and a cylindrical hole in the center. I chose Tinkercad to draw the model because it is free and easy to use.

3D model of the projector screen replacement part in Tinkercad

With the help of a ruler and the remaining cap, the entire modelling process took less than 30 minutes (most of that was probably going through the Tinkercad tutorial). I then exported the result as an .stl file, which I brought to the library for printing.

Printing at Richmond Public Library

I joined a 3D Printing Orientation at the Brighouse branch earlier in the week. All patrons who are wanting to use the 3D printers are required to go through an hour-long orientation to learn about some basic software, print settings and the library’s 3D printing procedures and policies.

At the library, using one of the iMac stations, I loaded the .stl file into the MakerBot program for the staff to check over the settings and print time.

Previewing the print on the Makerbot app

The staff then loaded the printer-specific file onto an SD card, and brought it to the printer, loaded the red coloured filament I requested, and started the printing process.

After about 15 minutes, the machine finished the print. It cost a total of $2.20: $2.00 for the timeslot (fixed blocks of 1.5 hours) and $0.20 for the filament material.

The red copy on the right is a 3D printed replacement part for a projector screen. I chose red because it stands out better.

Installation

I originally was worried the hole might have been a little bit too small since it looked a bit smaller than the original, but it fit just right.

The hole fit the metal pin snugly.

Putting it all together, everything fit perfectly. And the screen is now once again in working order.

Fitting the cap and pin back into the lock, everything fit perfectly.

Conclusion

For $2.20, this was a cost-effective way to make a replacement for a simple part. I have no idea what the proper keywords are to find a replacement part online (what would you call this thing?). Even if ordering a replacement part was possible, it would probably come out more expensive and take longer to arrive.

The only test now is to see how durable the material is, as it does have to sustain some force for the locking capability. I did specify a 100% infill (should be solid inside), so hopefully it holds up.