The year gone by – 2019

The year gone by – 2019

This post is meant to collect the gems from the yesteryear, and keep them safe here for reminiscing, before we pack things off and resume our practice of living in the present 🙂

The gifts of the year bygone

  • I realized what it means to be social, to communicate, to connect deeply with other beings than ever before, and to be inter-dependent.
  • I got out of my petty insecurities for the first time ever. In a large part, I think it is due to the achievements that Aha3D made, but it also feels like it won’t relapse. A lot of faith has come in.
  • Due to the lack of insecurity, I’m now able to think in terms of giving back and doing for everyone else.
  • I learnt how to trust, and hand over responsibilities. I also learnt how to do everything in my power to help the responsible person(s) succeed, and hence create larger successes.

How things unfolded

2019 has been unconventionally eventful, to be sure!

The first steps

On the outset, they called me over to Mumbai and handed me over the presidential responsibility of IAMF. The organization is a tiny effort as such, but I was shocked at the fact that a body of people who didn’t know me directly thought I might be of use in a leadership role.

I didn’t see me as a leader, and was clueless how to move things. In my office, I thought, I am effective because I’m responsible for the salaries of the staff, but here? Why will someone listen to me if there are no strings to pull? To top it off, the first cautious attempt I gave to organize a meetup fell flat on the face. Then too, I didn’t turn out great in convincing people to act on what I thought was needed. And that was the end of it. Well, for the time being.

Soon, the Megaprinter project came along, and I got blissfully ignorant about everything else in the world.

However, all the skill that I had in those months was slogging. So slog I did, but one fine moment, the stark reality struck. The company is far too big for me to ever think I can do everything myself. I’m headed for sure-shot failure if I didn’t evolve.

I cannot create exponential value by working exponentially hard.

Aakash

Only when I hit the brick wall did the next orbit shift came in. The next question that came up within myself was, “what is it so special in what I’m doing that somebody else cannot do”.

With this question, the magic started happening. The answer was, “Nothing“. There is nothing that I was doing which cannot be done by someone else. Infact, as it turned out later, my staff members were craving for an opportunity to work, and I was not letting them! The next steps naturally started coming in. I immediately started transferring the knowledge, giving responsibilities and started working on the bigger picture, instead of doing the execution.

I know it is cliche. Every seasoned person had tried to teach me this. But This knowledge was my own. Own knowledge is what gives enlightenment. And as I was rolling along, I kept getting the “aha!” moments, I kept realizing what and why those management guys were trying to teach all this while, but the dots connected backward.

Along with this came the next realization, which has become a litmus test for myself ever since.

I must do only what I am uniquely needed for.

Aakash

For everything else, I must find that someone who’s seeking the learning, the benefits, or both, from the task in hand, and who’d gladly accept the responsibility, and I must do the role of empowering, training, and enabling the person. Now, I subject every work to this check. Am I really, uniquely needed to do this work? If the answer is yes, I have all the positivity and conviction to do the work in the highest quality and utmost seriousness, irrespective of what it is. If the answer is no, I find the right person who should do the work, and start enabling the activity.

Another benefit this outlook is giving is, earlier I used to critically judge the person all the time. I would always compare their way of working to mine, and keep criticizing them all the way, which would inadvertently sap them of their creative energy, sow seeds of doubt and hurt their self-esteem.

Now, I don’t even bother how they are handling it. I just know what needs to be done, and by when. And once I hand over the responsibility to the person, I just make sure they are able to do the work. That they don’t fall short of resources; they get time, budget, people, and knowledge to do the work. And of-course, I need to do periodic and critical review of their output. I also let the doer know that I have their back, waiting for their call, but I won’t be following them up (because I have other work to do, and because I actually trust them, because I trust my judgement of their suitability).

If, in case, they call for help, I find that I have all the positive energy and no cynicism, because I know that the work needs to be done and why. And because it passes the original litmus test – I must do what I’m uniquely needed for. Only this time, I ensure that the other person learns along the way. Win win win.

This is also the reason I’m writing this post. I’m uniquely needed to write it down. In-fact, this is probably one of the few important things I can do with my time. Meditation is another thing that I’m uniquely needed for.

Another pleasant by-product of this connecting the right people business is, we reach the “what next” stage faster. That is, when we reach the end of our self-perceived capabilities and unique ideas of value. We may keep the value, share it, or totally let it go, but we need to reach that internal stage to grow.

The soul grows when it hits the “what next?” stage.

Aakash

I almost want to say that it “ONLY” grows when it hits the what next stage. In my case, i definitely grow only when I hit a brick wall. There seem to be people who make fundamental leaps in happy-go-lucky mode. I’m not very sure so I’ll go with that relatively general statement.

Over the last year’s journey, a few more realizations have happened –

Value is what matters. Labels are what does not.

Aakash

Because when you get stuck up with labels, you can’t find your “what next” stage. You end up getting distracted by wrappers, and working alone. And finding the blue litmus condition gets harder.

When we focus on creating value, we can quickly realize if the direction is correct. Quite simply, if what we’re doing has value, people quickly team up and get the work done. Here again, if we’re too hung up on labels (i.e. who does what, and under what name, and who takes the credit and such), teaming up doesn’t happen and the actual work doesn’t get done at all. And the whole exercise becomes an ego roller-coaster crucible.

The bliss of working, self-confidence and energy to do more comes from completed tasks. There are an infinite number of opportunities to work. In reality, work is abundant, and people who work are scarce. Getting stuck at labels or people level simply creates a hard wall on how high we can grow. We could have achieved bigger successes, but now we just sit trapped inside our own mental cages.

The making of the megaprinter

As another gift from 2019, The Megaprinter got made. And a really good one at that. Again, Amit trusted me out of the blue, and we didn’t slip too much on time either. The reason, as I understand, is the way of working noted above.

Turning forty

I used to always dread this mark. I was hoping not having to face this day since I was maybe 25. It seemed like it will be the end of my energetic, or ambitious life, and I’ll sit and look at the wall while I waited to die forever after turning forty.

Turns out, it didn’t go that way.

Well, it is death, in a way, but of the immature self. I’m surprisingly aware of the limited time, and the awareness of what I do stuff with. It is making life very interesting. And the fact that I don’t worry about my own ambitions and feeling a pressure to succeed all the time is actually very enjoyable.

The making of the Ganesha statue

We made a Ganesha statue, as the first 3D print from the Megaprinter. And also made history while we were at it.

I was also able to deliver on some of the IAMF responsibilities this way. It happened in the last two months of the year, but here too, the dots connected backwards. Turned out nobody listens to you because you’ve employed them. If people listen to you, it’s because they connect. Infact, its not even you. Its the spirit and the content of the activity you are trying to pull together. People connect over shared goals. And a clear, no- nonsense, trust-inspiring answer to “what’s in it for me”, coming from the person leading the activity. This person is duty bound to care for the team.

Some closing notes on money and other things

Some more closing messages to the subconscious –

If what you’re doing is needed, the money and other resources to do it come naturally. If what you’re doing is not needed, why are you doing it anyway?

If there is nobody waiting for you to deliver your work like crazy, you might be working on invented problems. You’re inventing problems because you’re afraid of the real problems. Maybe because you doubt your own ability to solve them. Maybe you’re living in a shell. You’re afraid to get wet. Maybe you’re afraid to fail.

Or maybe you have a rigid definition of “work”. And you’re subconsciously rejecting actual work, because it doesn’t look like the opinion that you carry. I’m just suggesting. I wasted a lot of time this way that’s why.

Practice to detect what it is that you dread. Once you find it, run INTO it, and fix it first thing. Eat that frog. Or else it will waste your life. You’ll cause colossal damage, and you’ll have to eat the frog anyway before you can move on.

One final note – stop worrying about your own growth. Instead, worry about the growth of the people who trust you, or want to trust you. And nature has a way to care for you better than you can ever care for yourself.

Welcome, 2020!

– Aakash

Other posts in Aha moments series:

Turning forty: second updates

Turning forty: second updates

Here is this post’s origin. Here are the first updates.

This is how the day sheet is looking today, 19th Dec 19:

Notes on the above:

  • I realize it’s really bad.
  • I’m sharing this for accountability. Mind is coming up with a million explanations, but that’s the whole point.
  • I’ve been taught that a new habit takes 3 months to form. 12 weeks.
  • I’m at the eighth week. lost past three weeks living I never want to live like.

The good part is, it was worse than this. Also, now, it is accounted for.

Also, another good part – today is a new day. Will post updates at the end of 12 weeks.

Aha 3D megaprinter updates: assembly, motion and extrusion done!

Aha 3D megaprinter updates: assembly, motion and extrusion done!

See-saw sacra down, which is the way to London town?

One foot up and the other foot down. That is the way to London town!

Author Anonymous

Hello Gentlefolk. Welcome once again to the updates of the 1000 cubic foot 3D printer, that we are making here at our office in Jaipur, India. We have taken the next few steps since the last post, here’s sharing the same!

Click here to read the feels

I still remember the lines above from one of the rhymes textbooks; most probably from the prep school. The reason they stand out so loud and clear, is the way dad taught them to me. (he loves pedagogic English and the classics from Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, and the like. That might have been a factor to his effectiveness). The elegance that he drove home – all we need to do to reach our destination is, put the next foot down. Taking the next step (and actually, and just the next step) is all that we need to do! This brings a lot of clarity in moments when the mind gets overwhelmed. The quaint little nursery rhyme is such a huge soul-saver for life, and is actually contributing to making of this huge 3D printer! (Through events like this, I can see my father has literally shaped me. More on this someday.)

A lot has happened over the last couple weeks!

The machine is now alive. The XYZ axes have done their motions, are tuned and calibrated. The biggest suspense items are behind us; the mechanical frame is holding up to all the horsepower, and the extruder has put out its first noodles from pellets 🙂 More details below!

Also we didn’t do too many mistakes in the groundwork; saying so because nothing has hurt in a major way so far. We are four days behind schedule; should have been here on 19th. But we’ve been far worse. The last machine was three MONTHS behind. So obviously I’m happy 🙂

Suspense still remaining: the first print is yet to come. Some electronics may give trouble. Then, the actual print surface still to be seen. This means that, we’re yet to see how the screw extruder does the printing, is it precise enough in depositing the plastic, is the machine vibrating at a smaller level, and the like. Also, is the machine precise enough over the entire build region, how is the backlash. How do the pellets behave, how fast we can deposit the layers before the inter-layer bonding becomes an issue. Stuff like that.

Many questions remain, but thankfully nothing so fundamental that it can throw the project off track. So let’s go on, confidently, to the happier points!

Assembling the frame

I couldn’t help blurting out the frame pic before this post! Its just so huge. Now here is the complete story!

It started with fixing some mechanical issues in parts. Like with every first iteration, some features were left out, which we completed in our workshop…

Drilling the Megaprinter frame
Drilling the Megaprinter frame

And then, it was a HUGE lego-like assembly fun activity for everyone here! We have been working nights, grinning all the way 🙂 My kind of team! Here is a candid compilation straight from the workshop:

  • Planning out where to begin
    Planning out where to begin

And here’s presenting to you, the timelapse of the frame assembly:

Nothing helps “corporate teamwork” as much as fastening 4 meter long slide rails together!

And here’s the final result:

Aha Star Megaprinter Frame complete
Aha Star Megaprinter Frame complete

Extruding the pellets

The pellet extruder is a very new beast for us. So far, we have driven the extruder with servos, via gcodes, and got the first extrusion.

Making plastic noodles
Output grams in 5 minutes

In the first couple of trials, we could get a maximum of 7.8 kg per hour flow rate.

Very encouraged! We’ll gun for 10kg/hour on the machine itself. The extruder is now mounted on the frame too:

Extruder mounted. Don’t mind Dinesh’s face – he is just dramatizing. The actual load is on the crane 😉

Motions are done. So is the wiring. Extrusion trials ongoing. There is too much media in this post already, so I will save the rest for the next post. Thanks for reading!

You are welcome to explore more posts in the megaprinter series:

How suffering works – an analogy, and pointers to the way out

How suffering works – an analogy, and pointers to the way out

Before proceeding, read the student’s disclaimer here.

This post is a technocrat’s attempt to elucidate how suffering works, by way of examples. It also attempts to connect some dots between Einstein’s insights, and the mechanics of the nature’s law, using an analogical model that I propose here. The model also suggests a method to continually keep coming out of suffering using real-world experiences. Let’s begin!

I’ve appreciated and wondered about this famous quote for a long time –

“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”.

Albert Einstein

The thing with the mind

Very soon down the path of exploration of the inner reality, we start to notice what a helpless little yelp the mind actually is. It is severely limited in its resourcefulness, and when stuck in a rut, it cannot do anything more than looping in painful little circles forever. Not only that, in doing so, it saps all the energy away from the faculty that could have pulled us out of the situation – awareness.

After this realization, Einstein’s quote above started making a lot of sense. The mind, at its given maturity level, gets engaged in a problem. And the more it tries to solve it, the more it messes it up. Factually, the problem is not the problem. The problem might not even be there. The mind’s standpoint is the problem. If only the mind could move beyond its present level, to the the next orbit of intelligence, the current formidable problem will start looking like a no-brainer!

The mind is a thinking tool. And it uses the memory as the database to base its thinking on. It works great till the situation’s variables are within its limits, but when it gets overwhelmed, it gets direly stuck, clueless about the actual way out, but headstrong nonetheless. In its obsessive blindness, the harder it acts, the more suffering it creates for us.

In-fact, it creates a very real physical pain. A further fact; much of the pain, and even sicknesses that we get, are created by the mind. Is it sounding too theoretical? Its not. You can rather easily see this for yourself. I’d even dare say it is one of the first basic facts we see on the path of Dhamma.

As a result of realizing this fact, half our problems go away, just like that! It happens because we clearly see how we are making ourselves sick. Actually, physically, sick. And how our mind actually loves holding on to pain and anger. Sounds absurd, but we actually do that. And its not very hard to discover. We see this happening because our awareness, our faculty to notice events gets stronger, and we are looking at the right places and in the right way. The mind keeps getting in the way, but once we get the hang of it, we see the facts staring at us right in the face, like the elephant that we never noticed so far!

Coming back to the mind. Another analogy that comes to mind (!) is, it is like a computer. Powerful, capable, and phenomenal, but an idiot of a machine. As long as things go good, its fine. But we always need a human to handle the sense part. If we take away the human, and an error occurs outside of the programmed intelligence of the system, the computer will start putting out garbage results, and most likely start creating damage, without the slightest cognizance of the reality. It won’t ever realize its mistake all by itself.

Analogically, we need awareness to put the intelligence and knowledge of the mind to good use.

Back to where we started:

“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”.

So how exactly do we get to this “next level” of thinking that Einstein suggests?

The law-of-nature cone

Here’s a proposed model. To quantify these “levels” of the mind per Einstein, Let’s visualize them as concentric rings. These rings represent orbits of mind. Smaller orbits are lower levels of thinking. The levels which keep us poor or continuously in suffering. Or when we can’t solve our problems ourselves. Einstein suggests our mind to move to a bigger orbit, where it can solve its problems created by itself when it was in the smaller orbit.

Orbits of mind: smaller = more suffering

So, in the image above, our mind is in the green orbit, and is stuck in a problem. It now needs a way to move outwards towards blue orbits to solve its current problem. However, we cannot do this, and for just reason. We can’t ‘think’ our way to higher thinking, because, as Einstein said, we can’t solve our problems from the same level of thinking. There has to be another way.

So we do what scientists do. We add one more variable on a third dimension to our circle analogy. We plot experiences along this axis. When we visualize looking into this cone thing from the top, we still see the circle from the earlier picture. So far so good!

The law-of-nature cone

The spectrum of experiences lie along the height of this cone. Lower end is about created experiences, and the higher side is about naturally occurring experiences. It is hard to go to higher thinking via thinking from a lower level of mind. Thinking is in the mental space. But experiences are in the physical space! If we learn to move up the experiences axis, we will automatically move outwards on the mental scale.

Created and Natural experiences

Normally we want to live in the “created experiences” space. Watching a movie, eating great food, seeking stuff that makes us feel good, and everything that we want to keep experiencing in general. All our life we keep trying to “create the experiences” that we like.

But, for a fact, even if we don’t create experiences, we will still get them. However, they will most probably be the ones we don’t like. Examples of these abound the moment we sit in meditation. Or when we try to do any wholesome act beyond our level of spiritual development. Like sitting down to study, or complete a must-do task. Restlessness, pain, itches, food cravings, TV, and the like.

We can visualize it as the mind wanting to fall back to the created experiences, in the sketch above. It is effectively trapped inside its craving of created experiences. Naturally, if it lives in a space of experiences that it has created for itself, it cannot solve problems beyond a certain level because it is living in a simulated reality.

Now, the deal is, the level of mind is directly related to how far up we are in the “natural experiences” zone. The more we neutrally experience nature as it actually happens, the larger the mental orbit becomes. And we enter into a positive spiral of spiritual growth.

How can we move up the law-of-nature cone?

By exercising and strengthening our right faculties. Awareness and concentration, to be specific. And not wanting to change the experiences. Instead, trying to understand them for what they really are. This results in the mind moving up in the zone of natural experiences, and as a by-product, outwards to higher levels of thinking. And it gets smarter, as Einstein tells us. So we naturally start seeing the process of our suffering, and simply start choosing not to suffer anymore.

This is exactly what we practice when we sit down and meditate. The Buddha taught us systematic practices of mindfulness (sati) and concentration (samatha), the exercises to strengthen awareness and alertness leading to wisdom. (See Chapter 13, page 82 here in this book)

Gradually, the awareness starts noticing when the mind is blindly reacting to natural experiences, and the resultant suffering that is caused. Next up, the mind starts getting these glimpses, which appear as “Aha moments“. The facts now enter the conscious mind’s space, and it performs its orbit-shift maneuver, as Einstein always wanted!

Hope that was useful! Thanks for reading 🙂 You might also like the other posts from this series:

Few steps closer!

Few steps closer!

Hello gentlefolk! Happy to share that things with the 3D megaprinter are progressing for good 🙂 (this post is in continuation to this post. Feel free to catch up while we wait.)

First for some interesting updates. Friends and colleagues in the industry have decided to call it the Baahubali 😀 (translation in sense – the powerful one; the larger-than-life one. Literally, “one with powerful arms”)

Thanks for your love and encouragement. A shout out from everyone here at Aha (and the mystery owner of the Baahubali)! On with the updates now:

The first Z arm gets assembled

The Z-pillar, ready to receive parts
The Z-motion block comes home!

This motion block above has taken up three days more than planned. The gunmetal bushes were machined in a partner workshop. And they took a wrong reference for its internal diameter, and it ended up about 0.5mm smaller. So, sixteen parts had to be re-machined before this day could come. Not as bad as having to do the entire parts, so okay.

Mounting the casted parts and the machined plates

Miscellaneous parts getting assembled. You can see a HIWIN ball screw, almost sixteen feet long 🙂 We waited four months only for this guy to reach us.

The z pillar sitting happy and assembled

There is a goof-up story with the gear-box and coupling too, somehow the CAD drawing of the gearbox was different than the actual part. And, feels bad to confess, but we didn’t catch this fact in the part acceptance stage. So, when the gearboxes actually arrived, they didn’t fit the rest of anything. We had to get the couplings reordered, and redo some parts. Things are back on track now.

We are still maturing as a process-oriented company. It’s longer and way more important than I initially realized. The perpetual tussle where our enthusiastic part wants to keep taking new challenges, and prudent part wants to freeze things so stuff can mature. Can we get the best of both worlds!? We need mature processes AND continuous product innovation.

The electronics has started breathing

The panels are almost done getting wired up, and undergoing testing now!

The machine has three panels – the main kiosk, the drivers panel and the heaters panel.

The main kiosk
The heater panel
The drivers panel

We’ve been using Panasonic servos before, but none so large!

Here’s a small clip rotating the four Z motors:

First rotation of the four Z motors in tandem

Until next time!

More posts under this series:

Turning forty: first updates

Turning forty: first updates

Here’s this post’s background.

Two weeks are over since the innings started. So, first off, this is how the day sheet is looking:

The days colour sheet, at the end of two weeks

It isn’t textbook perfection, but I’m reasonably happy about it. Infact, it is the best streak I’ve ever had in my life so far, as far as meditating for two hours daily is concerned!

The green ticks are a motivation for sure. I have broken mould to earn it more than a few times over the last couple weeks.

About not yelling at people and stuff, there is definitely a relative peace inside, so I hope it might be reflecting. I’ve been yelling too, but well. Actually I’m not qualified to answer this question myself. Maybe better things will manifest over time if things are going right. Let’s just hold on.

The next milestone is at the six weeks mark. Will keep posted.

Notes on experiencing the reality

Notes on experiencing the reality

Read this for the background.

“Don’t think. See.”

– Bhante Gunaratna.

It is impossible to think our way through disentangling the mind. Seeing. Seeing is necessary, and sufficient. Indeed, it’s absurd we’re not seeing already. How ironic we get hung up in the sterile mental processes, and not see and understand from the facts that exist right here.

We are working to realize something, not superimpose any intellectual crap. It doesn’t matter how holy the source of the crap is. I wasn’t able to get this fact for several years during the inner explorations. So, while meditating, when faced with an intense pain, I would put all energy in diverting the attention anywhere else; in trying to tune it out of experience! Or to slather ‘impermanence’ sweet-shit over the top, jaws clenched. Save yourself the time. When the intense sensation comes, get straight INTO it! Your body won’t explode. You will live to tell the tale. It can’t harm you. How exactly to do that? The best instructions I ever found are given by Bhante G, in the chapter on “Dealing with Problems”, section on “Physical Pain”. Page 60 in this book here.

We are working to retrain ourselves out of the unwholesome habit patterns of the subconscious mind, which is our real bondage, and not to have some wonderful next-level experience. The experiences are the tools, and not results by themselves. Any experience is as good as any other experience, for what its worth. The present moment’s experience is the truth. So we notice it very carefully, and follow through, let it be. With an intent to realize how it works, its texture, its cycles, and its interconnection with other events in the reality landscape. The subconscious automatically changes for the good once we actually notice the facts.

Other posts in this series:

Title picture Courtesy: Mattia Faloretti and Dhammacakka remixed in the GIMP

My ‘start here’

My ‘start here’

Hi! Great to have you here! Here’s the context on the ‘inner space’ posts that you’ll find here on this blog.

A student’s disclaimer

I’m a (very curious) student of this deep, vast and exciting realm of the inner reality.

The intention of writing stuff down is to keep a public-personal blog, and to document the journey, exploration, notes and resources. I also hope to connect with people of the same wavelength.

Assuming there is progress, a side-thought is, these notes will be useful later as memoirs. Normally it happens that when we reach an advanced level of anything, some points become too trivial and obvious, and hence get lost. But they are important nonetheless. So the best idea is to document as I go, when the points are still novel, and not having to sit down and trying to recall a twenty years old experience.

It’s on the Internet. It must be true.

Author Unknown

This is exactly how seriously I suggest you to take my writings on meditation. Zilch is how I qualify as a speaker on this topic. What I share is 100% true from my perception, but qualified in the given time, at my given level of present experience, from the vantage of my point-of-view, unconsciously modulated by my specific surroundings and stimuli till date. You know what I mean.

It is more of a peer-to-peer talk. I’m hoping this stuff will be useful. I’m just posting what has been terrifically useful to me, and what useful stuff (imo) comes to the mind from time to time.

Background

The content will make direct sense if you’ve been exploring meditation yourself, more particularly in any of the traditions originating from the Buddha’s teachings. I’ve been primarily working with Goenka Ji’s method, keeping the exploratory approach in place. More on the first blog below.

Also, before you ask, I’m not planning this on pious ends. Neither do babajis and holy gurus attract me as a concept. It is meant to be 100% fact-based. An exploration based on truth; unbiased and scientific. The babaji perception, if it exists, is just unfortunate, and meant to be kept away from this space.

Chronology / index

Something’s taking shape!

Something’s taking shape!

Hello friends! Your buddies at Aha3D are strong-footedly pulling together something worthwhile!

Background

Click here to read the feels

Traditionally, engineers don’t get to speak much on what they do (except for on their resumes!); we exist someone like the “tandoori roti” flatbread maker guy working away in the basement of a restaurant, who does a fundamentally important work but somehow nobody knows them 😅

To address this, back then I started writing whatever we were doing into a blog. You can find those pages here. We were young and faltering, but were happy doing it. And happy to share our journey complete with all their good and gray shades. We had nothing to lose, and it was a joyous thing to do!

All through, we kept meeting angels as humans (a post dedicated to them sometime soon) who trusted our young team and kept giving us next challenges. However somewhere along the way, I got tangled up in stuff, and went reticent, and the sharing stopped.

Looking back, I realize it didn’t have to be that way, and there is no reason I can’t start sharing again!

Maybe I stopped sharing because when doing such an effort, we face a lot of challenges and failures. As the brand builds, people start respecting the same, and a new entrepreneur subconsciously starts trying to always “look good”. In reality though, most of the time we are committing failures, blunders and bloopers.

Also, as a matter of fact, you are perpetually cash-starved. And the fact that the “looking good” is directly related to sales doesn’t help matters.

Inadvertently, it leads one against the spirit of creation.

Aha exists to create, share and inspire Aha! Moments on the earth 🙂

In the same spirit, right now we are getting to do this terrifically interesting thing that we have started calling the “MegaPrinter”. Through this post, and others coming up, come walk with us on this journey – the making of the Megaprinter, complete with the joys of small successes, the failures, and the grand blow-ups, and onwards to glory forever 😀

The MegaPrinter

exploded view

This pic above shows the fundamental components of a 3D printer with 10 x 10 x 10 cubic feet build volume, which is in the making right here at Aha! Vaibhav first called it the Megaprinter in his ppt, and we have ended up unofficially calling it the same 🙂

We are working whole-heartedly to make it with such maturity and quality that it becomes a matter of pride for its owner, and for all who identify with the effort. (A special note of thanks to Mr. Amit, who placed the order of this machine with us, and gave our team this fantastic opportunity. We intend to introduce him and his company to you in due time). There is also a lot to do together with you, our 3D industry peers 🙂 More in next posts, very soon!

Making of the Megaprinter

Officially, it is going to be called the Aha star. (The Aha star series is the customizable build volume 3D printers we make, from 1 cubic meter upwards).

The build volume! The build volume!

A full, sheer, huge 1000 cubic feet of build volume 🙂

This is the table frame of the upcoming guy. (locate it in the exploded view rendering above!)

The build table, primer coating done!

And these are the casted blocks of the Z motion parts. (the 3D printed pattern is printed on our in-house 1M, and the final, cast iron part). You can appreciate the size of print and casted part with Ayushman’s reference, in the pics below:

3D printed pattern, made on the Aha Star 1M in PLA

The sand casted block from the pattern. Each one of these weighs approx 120kgs 🙂

Ayushman with the 3D printed pattern (L), and casted blocks (R, R, R).

And here is the pic of Aha star 1M machine, which printed the pattern above, and many more for the Megaprinter!

Michelle, Co-founder of Gizmo 3D Printers, sitting inside the Aha Star 1M!
Michelle Du Toit, co-founder of Gizmo 3D Printers, sitting inside the Aha Star 1M.
Courtesy: Michelle’s fb post

These are the Z pillars of the upcoming machine:

A Z-pillar lying on the right, another one being pulled out of packaging by aha folk

And the bushes, casted out of gunmetal and machined to exaction:

the bushes

The channels which will make the skeleton are also getting their paint; we want to ensure that the surfaces which will be inaccessible after assembly get nice, even, durable coating of the paint.

and the skeletal channels getting their colour

The toolhead

Needless to say, this machine will not be running off filament spools.

For the pellet extruder, we are starting with the nozzle diameter of 2mm. Let’s see where we end up!

Pellets is the only way to go when we are trying to print something this large. For a sampling, when we (will!) print a 10 ft tall lord Ganesha statue at 10% infill, it will weigh approx 600 kg! Even with pellets, the raw material cost becomes more than the price of a reasonably-good 3D printer!

The build platform

Heated. And why not.

Infact, twenty-five independently heated tiles, each capable of reaching 120 degrees C. Each one shall be independently levelled. Some geeky gymnastics underway in this topic. More soon.

The bed itself can consume as much as 25 Kilowatts of power.

Accuracy and related stats

Minimum layer height: 0.3mm.

Maximum layer height: 80% of the nozzle diameter. 1.6mm that is, to begin with. Will keep you posted. Ideally we want to achieve the maximum flow rate (coming next) at this layer height.

Positional accuracy: +/- 100 microns over the entire build volume.

Again, these are the figures we’ve designed and are manufacturing for. Precision assembly underway. Important information: Real world is a bitch. We will get there, will keep sharing the updates all throughout journey. But expect to see things not going the way they should 😀

Ah. And there’s servos everywhere. I think that is expected anyway.

The flowrate

Well. 10kg per hour. So wants the heart. Also, so say the calculations. Anyway, the moment of truth is not far! Basically, the suspense is, will we get there right away, or murphy’s law will kick in action at the right time.

Creating National milestones together!

This space will be populated with links to soon upcoming posts, about ways to co-create.

Do watch this space!

And please let your love, comments and feedback come. Looking forward! And will keep you posted!

Why the name Aha?!

Why the name Aha?!

I get this asked often enough: “What’s the story behind the name Aha 3D?”. Some people think it is an abbreviation of something, and several understand it in varying shades of the right idea. So after seven years and numerous times of winging and fielding it extempore, here’s writing stuff down for the records, clarity, and future reference 🙂

Pinning down the meaning of Aha

Here’s an attempt to capture my understanding of Aha, and why I named the company after it.

Starting with the customary dictionary meaning;

aha
US /ɑˈhɑ, əˈhɑ/
used to express pleasure at suddenly understanding or learning the truth about something.

– the Cambridge English Dictionary

Indeed, Aha is not even a word in the traditional meaning of the term. It is more of an unword. An exclamation. A noise. An attempt to convey something beyond words. Aha is an expression of what you experience, when you get something for the first time, from precognition to cognition. When a new concept ‘snaps in place’ in your experience, and you suddenly make sense of it!

Wiktionary notes it as “an exclamation of understanding, realization, invention, or recognition.”
Expressed concisely, but in different terms.

Aha moments signify flashes of progress in our consciousness, a process of continuous discovery which, imo, is the purpose of human life. It is the soft-focussed event with mindfulness as backbone, which happens before words happen. And before the new knowledge becomes a commodity for the mind.

Aha signifies the transition from what we don’t know to what we now know, or from what we don’t know what we don’t know to what we now know what we don’t know.

Trying to explain the last para pictorially, say if we express all the knowledge in this universe, and slice out what we know (green), what we know that we don’t know (red), and the remaining of it, we can make it into this pie chart:

The circle of all the knowledge in this world

In this, ‘Aha!’ happens when our green or red zone expands.

Interesting things about Aha

Aha means the same in all the languages and cultures of the world. You can’t go wrong with Aha, unlike with some other words. I won’t put examples here, but you know what I mean 😉 …when things go entirely south from what the creator wanted to express!

Before I started the company, and before I figured out that it will be about 3D printers in such a big way, I knew that the company will be a platform to do ‘Aha!’ stuff. So, the name ‘Aha’ was frozen well in time 🙂

A few lines about Aha 3D

Aha3D exists for the sheer joy of creating, sharing and inspiring the ‘Aha!’ moments.

At Aha3D, our agenda is to figure out stuff so ‘no idea should ever die in the mind’.

At Aha3D, we are not ‘electronics’, or ‘mechanical’, or ‘computer science’, or whatever else engineers. We are just ‘Engineers’. Nature doesn’t put those boundaries. We neither. The task at hand defines what needs to be learnt to do it. We don’t fixate on tools. We do what it takes to get the job done.

At Aha3D, we work for the love of dreaming, creation, learning and putting together knowledge and engineering effort to bring an idea to life.

(Some lexicon courtesy: Mindfulness in plain english, The Landmark Forum, and other sources too mixed up to name)

Title picture courtesy: https://www.theyeshivaworld.com