We got a Prusa i3 MK3 3D printer

While I was visiting my family in Texas during Thanksgiving break, I suggested the idea of purchasing a 3D printer to 3D print parts for prototype backpacks rather than always purchasing the parts  (strap adjustors for example). That way we can save money. I looked up five different 3D printers and compared one another their features. In the end, I selected the Original Prusa i3 MK3 kit for its size, sensors, and power panic feature. I made the purchase on May 17th, 2018, and the kit arrived on July 25th, 2018.

On July 29th, I began assembling the 3D printer. I finished assembling it on July 18th. Now the average amount of time to assemble the kit, according to the company, was 8 hours. For me to assemble the kit, it took me between 8 to 9 hours. Plus the 2 hours to calibrate the print (had to redo a couple of times with a few adjustments to one of the sensors). The hardest part was assembling the extruder (E-axis). You can see the assembly and calibration below:



Now was it worth the time to assemble this printer? My answer is… a bit fat YES!!! When I got it printing, it functions smoothly… like butter. Very easy to operate, very relaxing to listen to, and very pleasant to watch. You can see the first couple prints below:

With it operating, we can now not worry about purchasing strap adjustors, and other printable parts every time we make a prototype. This is just the beginning of whats to come. We are looking forward to it.

Backpack Status – 3D Printed Strap Adjuster

Not too long ago, I came up with the idea of using 3D printed strap adjusters for prototype bags rather than constantly buying a new pack. A student workshop called the Alley, which I coach at, owns two Lulzbot Taz 6 printers. I used one of them to print off two strap adjusters that I found on Thingiverse.com. I used black PLA filament, and it took the printer about 30 minutes to print them both. Below are photos that I took of the printing and installment of the 3D printed strap adjusters.

Until Pick’n Run purchase its own 3D printer, the Alley’s 3D printer will be used in the meantime to print additional strap adjusters for future prototype bags.


Trash at the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot Race

Running a 5 miler race (the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot) in the morning and having turkey for lunch on Thanksgiving in Texas is such an enjoyable day. I flew from Houghton, Michigan to Austin, Texas to spend my Thanksgiving with my family. During my stay in Texas, I ran a race with one of our prototype backpacks — the first prototype, which I had not tested in awhile. Continue Reading →

Picked up Trash during the Rocky Mountain Half-Marathon

On August 12th, I got to run the Rocky Mountain Half-Marathon in Estes Park, Colorado while visiting my grandma and aunt. What makes this half marathon different from the other half marathon races I ran is that it is cup free; instead of using plastic cups of water or power drink to give to runners, each runner get to fill their own Hydropouch (that is provided with the registration) to fill up on water or a power drink, like in this image.

They want to promote on being green and not worry about trash being left in the park. I figured why not run with one of my prototype bags incase there is trash along the way. And sure enough, I found 4 pieces of trash and another Hydropouch between miles 5 and 9. I felt proud of picking them up and completing the race at 2:19:23 (which isn’t my personal record, but still felt proud). You can see the trash below, along with scenic photos I took during the race.

Kalamazoo Klassic 5k, used second prototype bag

On June 18, 2017, I ran the 39th annual Kalamazoo Klassic 5k (the Hill, the Will, the Thrill) with one of the Pick’n Run backpack – the second prototype. It is my second time running the 5k race, but is my first time to run it with the second prototype bag. Other times I would run with it during training.

During the race, I managed to pick up at least 11 pieces of trash off the street. Now also, I used the bag to put away 4 additional pieces of trash I made after eating two granola bars, and drinking a cup of gatorade and a bottle of fruit punch since there were no trash cans nearby. I knew that I could throw them away afterwards. Below are the photos of the trash I managed to pick up with the backpack in it:




Yosemite Half Marathon, used the backpack – prototype 1

A month ago, my daughter (Naya), my sister (Betsy), and I ran the Yosemite Half Marathon.  It was the 1st half-marathon for my daughter (she did wonderfully), and the 4th half-marathon for my sister, and my 7th half-marathon.  My sister and I had run the Yosemite Half Marathon last year (when it was in October), and we wanted to run it again.

This time, I ran a race for the first time with one of the Pick’n Run backpack prototypes….the first prototype.  I have used the prototype on shorter, practice runs, but never in a race and not at the half marathon distance (13.1 miles).

I was able to pick up trash during the race, put it in the backpack, and then easily empty the trash at various trash locations, which tended to be at various mile markers.  See pictures below of the race, and the backpack usage.


Making backpacks out of plastic bottles

No, we are not making backpacks out of plastic bottles….yet.  However, we have found a company that is: Thread (and Timberland).

This article talks about how Timberland and Threads are working together to use recycled plastic bottles collected in Haiti to make their backpacks and shoes.


The Process of the 1st Pick’n Run Backpack

It has been 7 months since the first cut on the fabric has begun. Progress is coming along. The first two due dates has past: April 15 2015 and June 30 2015. Measurements had to be precise, sewing took patients (both hand and machine), and ideas came flowing in from my dad, friends, and my understanding. I am adding new accessories to the bag bit-by-bit. Very soon, I will start all over for the second prototype with new materials to use and different  ideas to solve flaws of the current bag.

Here are the April 15 requirements with color code of completion:
(Green for meeting requirement, Yellow for half meeting requirement, and Red for not meeting requirement)

Tight, doesn’t move when running
Easy to pick-up trash
Easy to empty trash
With replaceable linear 

Here are a few pictures of the first test run (sorry for not having pictures of the making):


With one of the requirements not met, I worked on the linear with an elastic mechanism that allows runners/walkers/trail runners to pull the linear out to put trash in and let the elastic straps pull the linear back in. It was all thanks to a friend of mine and John’s (my father) who suggested the idea. I founded a problem that I made while making the mechanism: the linear will not keep its form and the straps are not pulling back the linear to its original placement. There are other flaws that I need to fix that has to do with the bag’s structure. So far, I do have a few  ideas to fix that.

Now, here are the June 30 requirements:

Comfortable to run with; light
Easy to put on and take off

Below are the photos of the accessories:

As you can see of my work, I ran into problems in making the elastic mechanism work. One of them is making the elastic straps strong enough to pull the linear back and the other is making sure that putting and taking off the bag would be easy with the cushion.
As I said before, I found some ways to fix those flaws. Since the next due date is August 31, it is a perfect time to start all over and make the next prototype better. I will keep you all updated on the bag progress along the way. Thank you for staying in tune and keep on cleaning the world through running.

Backpack Designing: Drawing and Planning Phase

To let people know, we have the first basic design completed for the PnR backpack. As you can see in the photos (below), you can see what my thoughts are for this first prototype. My dad and I bought the first batch of materials and right now I am practicing my sewing with my mom to get comfortable in sewing the materials together for the prototype.

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This first prototype will provide a base for the backpack designing process. I plan to post updates as we work through the first prototype so that you can see how the design changes from additional thoughts.

Thank you for your patience.

– Martin