Alpha-glucosidase ribbon diagram drawn with an AxiDraw v3 pen plotter.

Plotters were a thing before we had nice laser and inkjet printers. But now they’re coming back like 80s music (lol), this time at the intersection of code and art. Compared to printers, which are way faster, plotters are nice because they produce results that look hand-drawn. And it’s fun to watch them draw! I’ve now purchased two modern hobbyist plotters, first the Makeblock XY Plotter and more recently the AxiDraw v3. I used each purchase as an opportunity to hack up some code for controlling the plotter and for generating interesting artwork.

In this article I’ll share a few…

Optimal triangulation & more…

Suppose we want to render an image like the one shown above. This is a voxel model by @ephtracy (of MagicaVoxel fame) made up of 226,036 voxels. Each voxel has integral X, Y, Z coordinates and a color from a palette.

Naively, we can triangulate all six faces of every voxel cube. That’s 12 triangles per voxel, or 2,712,432 triangles! It works, but seems like an awful lot for such a simple model.

A few weeks ago, I launched a side project. Here are the numbers.

70% of the Total Revenue was in the first 3 days, thanks to being on the front page of Hacker News.

I’m almost always working on a side project. Usually it just ends up on my GitHub profile or my portfolio, but every now and then I take it a little further. Primitive started out like any other project. I hacked on it for a couple weeks in September and hosted it on GitHub under a MIT license. It’s command-line driven and cross-platform. But, people seemed to really like it, so I figured it was a good candidate for further exploration. …

In August 2015, TransLoc launched a new product to serve the demand-responsive transit market. TransLoc OnDemand lets passengers request a ride with their mobile device and automatically dispatches a transit vehicle within seconds. The driver has an iPad that tells them where to go and who they’ll be picking up or dropping off. Rides are shared when possible.

Currently, six universities are using the product to automate their Safe Ride services. Students can get a ride anywhere on campus within minutes. Manual dispatching is now a thing of the past, and there’s no more awkward communication over walkie talkies to…

I used a HandiBot CNC tool to create a wooden map of North Carolina’s 100 counties. Here’s how I did it…

The final product mounted above the fireplace mantle.

Features and Specifications

  • Dimensions: 80 x 30 in (6'8" x 2'6"), 200 x 76 cm
  • Scale: ~1:390,000
  • Projection: Mercator
  • Four stain colors — there are 25 of each color and no adjacent counties share the same color
  • All counties are labeled with their name in 3/8" vertical text
  • The outer banks are not shown (too thin) but all 100 counties are represented (no counties are exclusive to the banks)
  • The counties are cut out of 1/2" birch plywood and glued to another…

I recently created my own NES emulator. I did it mostly for fun and to learn about how the NES worked. I learned some interesting things, so I wrote this article to share. There is a lot of documentation already out there, so this is just meant to highlight some interesting tidbits. Warning: this will be very technical!

My emulator can record animated GIFs. Here I am playing Donkey Kong.


The NES used the MOS 6502 (at 1.79 MHz) as its CPU. The 6502 is an 8-bit microprocessor that was designed in 1975. (Forty years ago!) This chip was very popular — it was also used in the Atari 2600 & 800…

A letter that I never sent.

A few years ago, shortly after visiting my grandparents, my grandpa sent me a letter urging me to read the bible. I suppose my lack of belief is no secret in the family. In the letter, he also asked that I not “overthink” it.

I was raised in a semi-religious home in the southern US. It wasn’t until college that I gradually determined that I am an atheist. I think this path is pretty common — and I think it’s clear that a lack of exposure to the bible is certainly not the issue.

It’s 2015 now (dang!) and I’ve been reflecting on the past year. Turns out I was pretty productive in the realm of side projects. 4 of my 5 most popular GitHub repositories came out of 2014. I’d like to recap not only those but also some of my other favorites.

Be sure to click on the project name if you want to do a deeper dive on any of these projects.


Craft is a Minecraft clone for Windows, Mac and Linux. It is written in about 5,000 lines of C and uses modern OpenGL (shaders). …

Michael Fogleman

Always coding, mostly Python & Go. Computer graphics, 2D & 3D. Art, woodworking, gardening. Space exploration enthusiast. Always busy with side projects. ♥

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