Sending a SMS text message to the EU from UK

Success depends on your network provider

Since the UK left the EU we found that we could not send SMS messages via Vodafone to our neighbours in France. Despite asking we never did get an answer why this was a problem. Vodafone also removed free roaming when in the EU and added a daily charge even if you only sent a single SMS or made one call.

Our contract with Vodafone was due to expire this month so we shopped around with a number of alternate providers and in the end decided to switch to giffgaff. This is a UK service provider that uses the O2 infrastructure in the UK. Big plus – they offer free roaming in the EU. The change over process was very simple to do and we ported our old Vodafone numbers using a PAC code. We were probably ‘off air’ with our numbers for less than 24 hours. It was a totally web based transfer with clear instructions and regular text and email updates from giffgiff on the transfer progress.

Once up and running on giffgaff I tried sending a SMS to France. I got an error message from giffgaff. While we will be paying a monthly service charge this does not include International Calls which is how my SMS was regarded. The solution is to put a small amount of money on an ‘extras’ account that sits outside the normally monthly billing. My SMS was then delivered to France and cost me 24p. We can live with that for the number of times we need to send a ‘we will be arriving’ message to our neighbours.

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Stop losing Qidi ifast 3D prints down the chamber front gap

A simple solution

I love my Qidi ifast but one issue kept cropping up. At the front edge of the chamber there is a gap that seems to be a black hole for small prints. They sometimes ping off the build plate when it is being removed from the chamber and rattle down the slot to be lost underneath the machine. They don’t simple drop out from underneath the machine but instead end up lodged on the cover plate to the power supplies. Lifting the machine to remove this plate is a nightmare job as the machine is so heavy. I usually end up printing a second model. There is a similar gap at the rear of the chamber but this is much less of a problem.

There is a YouTube video showing how to a print protective cover for the front and the back black hole slots. This looked interesting but was a long print run and involved double sided tape.

My solution is to use some aluminium ‘expander mesh’ with some 3D printed fixing clips. The mesh is Gauge 10 and is cut as a 70mm wide trapezium shape with the two sides measuring 500mm and 485mm. I sprayed it black to blend in. Here is a picture before and after fitting.

Here is the Fusion 360 graphic of the clip and the download link for the STL file.

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