Being a generally disorganized person who works as a professional engineer, I’ve noticed that the tools I use at work have really helped me stay organized and focused. After noticing this, I’ve decided to utilize some similar tools for my personal projects to keep me organized and motivated, and also to apply a professional touch to my hobbies. The most useful tools I’ve used at work are part databases, a version control system, and an issue tracker. Since the specific tools I use at work are targeted towards large companies and therefore have expensive licenses, I’ll be using open source or free alternatives. In addition to the tools I mentioned, I’m also going to install a 3D printing server so my Printrbot is no longer tethered to my main PC and prints can be uploaded and controlled from anywhere. I’ve bought a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B specifically to handle this software and become my official home maker server. The software that I’ll be installing as well as links to installation instructions are as follows:
PartKeepr – A part database. I’m constantly losing, buying multiples, and rediscovering parts so this will help give me a clear snapshot of all of my components, allowing me to better plan out projects and determine part requirements. I used this blog post for installation instructions, but here are a few quirks I noticed when installing:
- I had to copy the partkeepr folder to /var/www/html rather than /var/www since that was the default root directory for my apache server
- I had to be logged in as the super user (sudo su) for the pear part of the installation or it wouldn’t work
Github – I don’t anticipate developing closed source code in the foreseeable future so I’ll just be using Github for version control.
Trello – A simple issue tracker with a convenient web interface. There’s not a lot of advanced functionality but it should be sufficient for what I want to do. Originally I was going to use a more sophisticated issue tracker called Trac because it has integration with version control and a built-in wiki, but decided against it. It would be another service to install and host on my Raspberry Pi and the additional complexity might deter my productivity. In addition, not having a private wiki could serve as encouragement to keep my projects better documented on this blog.
Octoprint – A 3D printing management server. It provides network access and a web GUI for uploading prints and viewing printer status. The installation instructions I used are from their GitHub page.