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SC13 Aggregate.Org/UK 20th Year Refrigerator Magnet

by profhankd, published

SC13 Aggregate.Org/UK 20th Year Refrigerator Magnet by profhankd Nov 23, 2013
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Summary

In our Aggregate.Org / University of Kentucky research exhibit at the IEEE/ACM Supercomputing 2013 conference, we had a number of 3D-printed things in the exhibit or used as giveaways. This is the giveaway that we made to commemorate our 20th SC conference research exhibit (http://aggregate.org/WHITE/sc13year20.pdf) -- and remind people that our SC94 exhibit was primarily about showing people how we built the world's first Linux PC cluster supercomputer in Feb. 1994. It's just a refrigerator magnet, but it's cute.

On the back, this uses both the University of Kentucky logo and the SC13 logo, so it is subject to logo use restrictions.

Instructions

Basically, we wanted a little statue commemorating the first Linux PC cluster supercomputer, so the idea was to symbolize the cluster network by putting classic "mind transfer" caps on a pair of Tux, the Linux penguin. The nicest 3D Tux we found for that purpose was Thing 118892, which we tweaked a bit and added the caps to. If separated into front and back halves, this Tux is printable without supports... and our refrigerator magnet only needs the front half.

Our prints were made using 0.25mm extrusion of PLA at over 100mm/s with 2 walls and 5%-10% fill on a MakerGear M2. There were no difficult-to-print areas, although with such low fill percentages one has to beware unfortunate alignments of the fill matrix that could result in minor holes in the flat portion of the base between the letters (at least when slicing with cura).

The magnets are cut from a roll of 1"-wide self-stick magnetic tape and inserted into the cavities in the backs of the penguins after printing. To help them stay in place, we pressed them into hot glue laid into the cavities... but even that doesn't work perfectly. Oh well; many refrigerator magnets loose their magnets too easily. ;-)

For prints using dark colors, the text on the base and penguin chests was simply painted with a white latex paint... which sticks well enough thanks to the surface roughness of the PLA, although one could perhaps do even better by lightly sanding those surfaces first. We also printed some of these in white PLA, in which case a permanent marker worked fine to dye the top surfaces of the letters.

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Actually, installing Linux was easy enough... just slow installing from the seemingly endless sequence of floppies. ;-) We had to build our own support for doing things across a cluster, including all software for the custom network hardware we built and used along with Ethernet. The biggest problem early on was that the first drivers for the Intel "EtherDistress" network cards would go nuts resetting when a minor error occurred. We actually ended-up completely ignoring the Ethernet until Don Becker (the guy who created Linux Ethernet drivers for the Beowulf project) implemented a work-around....

Anyway, thanks to the work of folks like Linus Torvalds, Don Becker, and many others (including students of mine like Tim Mattox and Randy Fisher), most supercomputers are now Linux clusters. Easy? No. Easier, cheaper, and better than alternatives? Yes.

.....That took how many re-installs to solve dependencies to make work to solve for 10 - 8?
I love linux, but after 2 decades its still missing the grand mark of the concept of "personal computers" to make life easier. Linux have never been in sight of that target. I have faith that in the next 6 decades (60 years) it might be achieved.)

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