Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Playing around with more bits.

  A bit more progress on the medium infantry. The helmet is quite plain, but I like the look. I will include a plain head too.  More to follow soon. I am going to have a bit of leg surgery in January so will be hangin on the PC more than usual.  Should be able to get a ton of stuff done.
    Most likely will simply copy and paste the torso and heads, because they are standard uniforms. Hands are done, and man they are a pain. I still got to do a pointing finger hand, since it is a pretty common one.   Need to bend the arms and legs to give some variety and maybe add a flamer or missile launcher.  Making organics is a real challenge, but the troll gave me some lessons.  He turned out OK but his large gut did not fit into his leg socket without extensive shaving. This model has flat contact points. Problem solved!
  This is going to be a good practice for the planned female sci-fi troops I am determined to add to my collection.
  Still waiting for that Amazon to appear in the mail. If it turns out OK I am going to make a lot more poses of archers too.

Ok, back to work.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Made some tanks today

  This sign hangs by the door to my shop.  Not sure if the motto is really too good, but I like the 3 Stooges.

  Anyhow, today I made a box of the new Mk2 sprues and put them in the store for sale. As always, I am never 100% happy with the results.  I do like them though and think they are a definate improvement. They are flashy, and let me explain.......

  They are flashy because I keep trying to cheat the laws of plastic injection. I am over the square inch surface area maximum for my size press. I do this all the time with molds because I can make up for it by pushing plastic with low pressure. This sprue has some very tiny guns so I needed the pressure, and the result is flash. I was a bit annoyed by it, but then I thought about that finely cast stuff I saw and thought it was not so bad.
   Secondly, it does not fit together perfectly. Then I realized most models I have built over the years need a little trimming.  So in spite of me wishing it was better, I think it is too good to not share.  There is a change in how they are sold. These are $4 for a pack of 1. I know this sounds like a massive price increase, but again I can explain. I can not fit 3 in a bag or even 2. So I had to place 1 per bag. Which means I had to round up to $4.   I hope this makes sense.
  Here is a stubby barrel version I built with no sponsons.  Overall I am happy with the improvements in mold design. I still have a long long way to go but it is coming along.
  Going to start something else next week, not sure exactly what. Whatever suits my mood I guess.  Still looking at those sci-fi multi pose figs and itching for another try.  I will post pics as things progress.

  Have a great weekend folks.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Good news/bad news

  Just a lot of tidbits here today. First some good news;

  Here is an early part for the new Mk2 out of the press. Sporting the insane Vulcan canon which fires a hail of incendiary rounds.  I still got some work to do on the mold, it needs some more polishing. The only issue I can see is some flash and minor fitment issues. I am working hard to learn about how parts fit together. I am guessing anybody finding my stuff is on the cutting edge of hobby products and owns a knife. Seriously, I was sort of ticked about it, but in no time I was glueing this together and figured if I can do it anybody can.   I want to run some product as soon as possible. The weather is not cooperating though. The oil in the press gets too thick to run at these temps and it takes a direct shot from a torpedo heater to warm it up before I can make things.
    I even thought about doing this in 28mm. It would require about 4 molds, and I would just put one of each sprue into a pack and allow the tank to be built. That way my little press could make a bigger object.  I would have to charge about $15 per tank though for a 28mm vehicle.

  Now some bad news;

  This is ejector pin failure. Apparently it did not want to go through the mold due to an obstruction.  A skilled observer will note that these are not hardened and precision ground ejector pins. No, they are 1/8 metal rods from Lowes. About $3 for a 36" section I think. They seem to work OK, until this little episode. I ground it out and will weld a new one in.

  And some good news:

  Was doing some thinking about having stuff made in metal that does not lend itself easily to plastic.  I sent this to Shapeways for a 3D printout as a test run. I got tired of trying to make the hair look decent and figured I can put that on with green stuff.  It might be better to make the lighter scout infantry in metal.  Their mission requires a light, mobile outfit. Then I could do some more heavily armored stuff in plastic.
  And some tragic news; 3 deer came out and ate all of my blueberry bushes down to a twig.  The scoundrels have deprived me of muffins and pancakes for yet another year.  

And today there was this;

   I do not even know what it is, some sort of mink or otter. He spent some time frolicking in the pond and slid over the water falls repeatedly.  He just went ahead and made himself right at home.  Even though I do not know what it is, I am pretty sure his diet consists primarily of fish. My fish.  They were supposed to be a way of relaxing as I watched them swim about. How can I relax when all I see is endless slaughter! Its a damn goldfish pond, not an all you can eat sushi bar!  Grrrrrrrrrr.

  I will keep you posted on any new happenings.
 I do want to thank everyone for your support and encouragement this year. I wish you a Happy Holiday and a prosperous New Year.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Playing around with torsos

  Just messing about with the design software while I am cutting the tank out and came to an understanding. This sort of figure is OK for plastic multi-part. The female Amazons are not. There has to be a nice clean break where you can seperate the parts, like this beltline.  I might not be able to ever do a decent set of multi-pose Amazon figs without resorting to single part figures., or making dividing lines at bad spots that show.  And they both usually look somewhat lousy. Currently thinking about how to make them and not have them look lousy but drawing a blank.
   This  pic is a generic medium sci-fi figure. T-shirt and flak jacket will most likely have arm and shoulder guards if I get around to it.  I think this might be my next test project to get more practice with those complex organic parting lines. The troll was quite instructional in this regard and I am anxious to try my hand at that again.  I am not going to give up on this till I have piles of sci-fi and fantasy figures to build armies of extreme size. Or until I have a pile of scrap aluminum from failed molds large enough to build a house with.  So far this has been an interesting year of learning this process and give me another decade or so and I should have it down pat.
   And I wanted to let you know that any orders over Thanksgiving will be mailed on Monday, as I will not be available to check e-mails for a few days.

   Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I know I have a lot to be thankful for.

Friday, November 18, 2011

6 hours in.....and a gunfight at the CNC machine

  Feeling a bit chatty so yet another post.  Just wanted to show the amount of time it takes to mill these things out. This pic is taken after about 6 hours of hard cutting. Still got a very long way to go, but it will get there.
   So I am in the shed minding my own business and this guy runs right past my foot.
  This is the most brazen mouse I have ever seen. He keeps strolling back and forth right in front of me. I am pretty cool with nature, but mice tend to build nests in stuff so I decide to get rid of him.  I pull out the CO2 pistol and fire 2 complete reloads at him. That $14 walmart special is so inaccurate it is absurd.  (I was rolling very bad to-hit dice).  No wonder it took me a month to hit that gigantic snake last summer.
  So I break out this broadsword.  I know, you are wondering why I keep a Frazetta broadsword around. Well clearly for situations like this. This darn mouse still refused to leave, and I am hacking at him as he runs around. He eventually left after I managed to nip his tail. That is the toughest mouse I ever saw. He was fearless.  I would take my cat out to battle him but the cat becomes frightened upon leaving the house and has no claws.  Why do I even keep him around?
  So while you might think running a little model shop is all fun and games- it is not. There is some grim work at times.        

     Have a good weekend folks.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Quick pic

  Had some questions about the new tank, so thought I would share the sprue layout.  Only issue I see is if I can push this much plastic at a time. If it will not fill some of the gun options will have to go. 3 guns for the hull , 3 for the turret, and 3 for each sponson seems like plenty. The small hatches fill in if you want a tank without sponsons.  There is a small ledge under the hull top to locate the side wheels to.  Let's see how it goes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The house of pain.

  As in pain in the butt.  This house mold showed me the limits of my plastic pushing ability. It simply was not able to fill all the cavities. I tried every trick I could, stretching things to the limit and it still could not do it.  There was a little Scottish voice shouting at me from down in side the machine- "She can't take it Captain! She's going to blow."  I exhausted my extensive vocabulary of profanities to no avail. In the end I wound up filling in the chimney cavity and making the building without a chimney.  It still turned out OK, and it is nice and thick. It will be nice to mangle with pliers and make ruins. I made a box of them and they are in the store now.
   Also, I will be doing a few more custom sprues so my own stuff is going to be sporadic. I really want to do the Amazons, but it seems that it is going to be hard to seperate the torso at the waist without a nice thick belt or something.  And what sort of gamer wants Amazons without the classic beach wear armor? I am going to keep at it, but it does not look like I will make Christmas.
   Here is the latest work on the Mk2 Trencher tank.  Sponsons are removable and there are 3 weapon variants for hull and sponsons.  The ribs supports in the corner might be impossible to mill, but I will give it a go.  Going to have a short siege gun, long barrel gun and maybe even a multi-barrel mini gun.

  This is going to be my next mold, IF things go right- ( and that never happens) it should be available soon.

   It has occured to me that if I had a few clones around here I could get more done. But- what is to keep them from forming an alliance and overthrowing my rule?  Until then what gets done gets done. Better to have too much to do than a swarm of murderous clones treacherously plotting against me.

  Take care folks, will post again when anything of note happens.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Back from the show

  Hi folks.  Well I am back from the weather challenged convention of Fall-in. It was very nice to be there. I got to thank Rod from Highlander Studios for the sharing of space and for listening to my endless talking.   (   The attendance was light due to the unexpected snow fall but I guess it could have been worse. There are no more Trencher tanks ... until the release of the new trencher mark 2.

  This design should be a lot better for you guys to build. It will hide the parting line, run faster because the walls are .080 thick and still be a nice solid feeling tank kit.  There are 2 side pieces to glue in after you attach the top to the bottom. If at all possible there will be a few weapon options and I am trying to keep the sponsons optional. If the mold will fit it look for a dozer blade. I am trying to add more detail but I am unsure how much will come out in the mill. Should be cutting next week, starting on Thursday or so.  There is also going to be an attempt to produce this tank in resin for 28mm gaming. That way no matter what scale you are in you got some nifty stuff to use.
    Right now I am finishing Lucky Joe's house. I think the mold looks great and if I can get out of fixing my nephews truck and putting a roof on my son's house I would like to have it on sale this weekend. However, expect a slight delay.......
   I do read the comments and take ideas, but for some odd reason I can not leave comments in my comments section. I just had to make the house after seeing Joes blog with all the buildings on it.

   Not a lot more pics to share right now, but will post a pic of the house once I get one painted. I have a ton of ideas right now and it will be nice to see them become reality. The Amazons are going pretty well, but that design is taking a while. Once I see how that goes look for some sci-fi plastic women. And the new stalker tank is going to be even more extreme........

  One last the show I sat next to Don from the Goblin Factory. His halfling pike block is an absolute must have. It took an extreme force of willpower to not spend all the money I made from selling at once by buying these little guys. I do not have a web-site for him but if you get a chance to buy them you are in for a treat.

  Have a nice weekend.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Off to Fall-In

  Just wanted to post that I am off to Fall-In. I am going as a guest of Highlander Studios, who has graciously offered to share his merchants spot with me. I am taking my bases and things to sell, as well as the remaining tanks. The trencher and roller are off the store now too, as I might run out this weekend at the show. I really like working on tanks and have plans to make a bunch of better models. Unfortunately the demand for the current batch has been quite low. I have to focus 100% on making organic models and generic multi-use terrain with a broader appeal, as well as extremely nice plastic vehicles.
    I am hoping to run into a wealthy investor who agrees to fund my operation as a tax write-off.  Well, I am guessing that is extremely unlikely although possible.  Actually a wealthy investor would not be wealthy if he invested in unproven manufacturing that settles that.
    Right now things are going pretty good in a lot of ways. The CAD design problems that had been a thorn in my side for so long are gone and it is simply a matter of executing. Fall-in is going to be my first show, but my hope is to make the next one with model figures!

  Well, that is it for now. I will post anything neat that happens at the show and pics of Joe's house when they are done.  Right now I am planning on cutting that starting on Monday.

  If you are at the show stop by and say hi.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Lucky Joe's House

  Just a few CAD pics this week. Here is the house I tried to make to look like the pic sent by Lucky Joe. The sprue layout looks like I can make one of the roof , long and short wall sections. Put 2 in a bag and you can build this little house. Would be nice to have a bigger plastic machine, but I got to make do with what I got. I will add some texture to it to look like stucco and some wood grain to the beams.  Not sure if I should make a door or just leave a hole.  The shutter look sort of plain, but I guess they would be in a semi-primitive setting.  This sprue might be harder to combine into bigger structures, but model makers can do amazing things. Going to cut this out while I am working on the design of the infantry models.
  And I got plenty of time, this is taking way too long to create. So far I have the first body with arms and a head and this second body parts done.  Going to arm them with spear or hand weapons, and add shields if possible.
   And finally, about the tanks. As readers of this blog know it has been a learning year, and some of the tank molds can really do for an improvement. They are by far the hardest thing to run due to the thickness of the parts and the alignment problems that plague them. With the new alignment pins I am using and some thinner designs in mind I think I can make a much better product.  In the future I would like to see a design it yourself kit that would allow for multiple weapon options. However, there seems to be little demand for them.  That is why I am going to re-focus on making the infantry sprues. 
    The trouble with the infantry sprues seems to be the 3-4 week design time needed, followed by another couple of weeks of milling.  I have to learn to be patient. Designing a complex sprue like this is similar to painting an entire army of minis. You seem to think it will never be done, and then one day you look down on the table and there they are.
  And speaking of painted armies,  had a chance to fill the table with lead and played a game of Fantasy Rules!  2nd edition.  Very good rules set and reminded me of why we enjoy the hobby so much.

  Have a nice weekend folks.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Products going away for a bit.

   Just a quick note- some of the tanks are going to be unavailable for a while. I will remove them as stock runs out. The reason for this is that these early learning curve molds are really tricky to run and are going to be replaced with newer designs. (alignment pins were too sloppy and require a ton of work to get crisp parts) I was trying to run some Stalker tanks today and they were determined to be a pain. It just seems to make more sense to re-do the mold and make a better tank destroyer and make life easier. The mobile artillery mold works a lot better with less sticking.  So, right now the tank destroyers are going to be offline. Once the Trenchers and Rollers run out I will be removing them too. After seeing how smooth the artillery works it is tough to go back to the earlier primitive molds. I guess I am getting spoiled, or just having a lower tolerance for stress.
   It is also exciting to plan on how to make things better and have a newer and better tank available. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bases again.

  Not much to really shout about the past few weeks. Still battling this annoying PC and working on a couple of molds that turned out pretty tricky.  This is a 60mm round base that was suggested by someone, so I made it.
  And this is a chariot base made after being suggested by someone else. Both are in the store. Lucky Joe, if you got a pic of the building type you are looking for please forward it to me. Not really sure what you want but I am open to anything. I really want to make a ship too.....
   I am trying to make this too, based on a suggestion from someone.

  The first 2 came off pretty smoothly, but the last one has been the cause of some harsh language.  It seems the tiny lip around the edge has some amazing adhesive properties that cause the bases to not release.  Still pondering this one, but it might require a radical approach. This base has holes for magnets in it, which is a good idea.
   Here is a pic of the custom sprue I am working on. The first half is done and the second half is on the mill. It is a slow one due to all the details. I designed it as best as I could on the customer's descriptions. It will not be for sale by me, as all rights go to the customer wanting it made.
  After this I have another go at that organic mold. I am a bit unsure what to do with it- 4 very similar models per sprue, or 4 very different models per sprue.
 Most likely I will make similar models and throw in a flag or something. As you can tell I have been watching the old Hercules series on Netflix. This comprises my research into authentic Greek female warrior attire.  It is surprising how often Hercules is beset by foes dressed similar to the ones pictured. 
  This bit is patched up and ready and I am working on the arms and hands. I posted a pic on Dakka and those folks were quite nice. I am finding a lot of people are friendly in our little hobby. Much more so than people on political talk message boards.
   And that's about it for this week. Have a nice weekend and keep those ideas coming.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Mother board victory!

  I have repaired the mother board and am back in action.  Nothing else can possibly go wrong, and yes that is you I am tempting fate.  Currently cutting a chariot base as well as some custom sprues.  I think things are going to go in that direction for a while. Sales of my little bits are a tad sluggish and it seems a few people have ideas for some custom plastic sprues.  In fact the little tanks are going to be stopped for a while as I continue to work towards making more organic models while making stuff for other people too.

  These are a couple of CAD files pics of some Amazons I am going to have a go at. I still want to do the sci-fi female militia, but they have to redesigned them from scratch because their arms, legs and weapons were too puny. This model has a more clunky design which should make a better figure.  It seems that most minis have poor proportions and oversize heads, hands, limbs and weapons.  Of course I guess you can go too far, but I have to find out where is a good balance.
   I am waiting for my new fleet game I ordered from the evil empire. I ordered this because they promised to not support it. It is my opinion that in the past support has ruined a lot of the games I used to like. Expansions should enhance a game, not butcher it and destroy the enjoyment.  Just my own $.02. Anyhow, if I like said fleet game I might make a similar scale generic ship or 2.  So much to do....

  Have a nice weekend folks, things are starting to get interesting.   :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Learning from a troll

   Today I wanted to follow up on the troll mold.  It was a learning step for me, being only my second attempt at an organic model. (The first never saw the press due to mechanical failures). Here is a pic of a prototype put out of the press and glued together.  It is again another near miss. There are a couple of things I would like to change.  I do not like the open hand and weapon laying in it. It does allow for a builder to use rocks, skulls or whatever in place of the weapon. I do not like the way it looks however.  I should have made multiple hands each grasping a weapon, as well as an open hand. Secondly, the face should be a bit bigger so the details are more noticeable. And finally, the torso needs a bit of filing before it fits into the legs.

   I put a bit of paint on the troll and it looks OK, maybe something like the quality of the Battlemasters ogre model.
  Overall I am pretty happy to see some progress towards the multi part figures I ultimately intend to make. My next mold is a custom mold being made for someone else, so it will be a while before I can get back to having another go at my own things.  I really want to have my first infantry products for sale by the end of the year. My to do list keeps growing, which is good. In addition to making "proxies" for other games I want to finish out some infantry to go along with may tanks so that can grow into a small game someday.
  Looks like I am going to be at Fall-in. Hope to sell some bases and hand out my new business cards. Get a chance to greet people and talk with other hobbyists. It has been a while since I regularly attended conventions and I am looking forward to it. I would like to have some new stuff available by then.

   There is only one thing that keeps standing in my way. The mechanical failures I so often complain about. I know this sounds like a broken record, but it is getting really annoying.

  It started off as a series of seemingly minor unrelated events. A finger chopped off here, a small fire there, a water leak, a PC power supply failure, a motor bearing siezing up, gibs on the CNC becoming rusted, etc.  But lately I have begun to suspect something more sinister. I am posting this blog report from my daughter's lap top. My main PC, with all of my files for making products has shut down and refuses to work. FOR NO REASON.  It is barely 2 years old. 
   A friend stopped by to help diagnose it and we think the mother board is fried. I am awating a new one so I can get back to work. However, the frequency of these events has led me to conclude that it is not a coincidence, the machines are out to get me.  Now that I have accurately assessed the situation I can take  measures to assert my authority over these troublesome gremlins.  And gremlins are the only logical conclusion. My shop is infested with them.   For now.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Still plugging away.........

  Hello again. Above is the new logo for Proxie Models. My son did some work in photo shop for me. I have been quite busy doing the little things I tend to neglect. I am getting some foldover cards printed up to attach to the product bags. I am also finally getting some business cards printed so I can put them in the packages I send out. I was trying to figure out what to list as my "title" and settled on tinker.  Based on these definitions;
1. To make unskilled or experimental efforts at repair; fiddle.
2. To manipulate unskillfully or experimentally.
3. One who enjoys experimenting with and repairing machine parts.
4. A clumsy repairer or worker; a meddler.

  Speaking of which, yes both the large and small CNC machines broke again! One even had an electrical fire and billowed out smoke.  Luckily I am already on blood pressure pills and the people who sold them to me both live too far away to prevent me from loading the machines on the back of the truck and backing it through their window.  Got them fixed again and going to work.
Speaking of which;
  Here are some new 15mm scale guns available in the store. I have not made any trolls yet. Sadly, he turned out to be really fat. I do not even know if nitrogen can fill that belly up.  I got to finish that out and give it a try soon.
  In other news, I got a lot of good ideas from people for making stuff. I have a 6mm scale building on the works and a 6mm tank unit.  I have been negotiating with a couple of guys to perhaps do a bit of design work in exchange for a royalty.  Looking forward to seeing what they make.
   And finally, this flood was the last I saw of my fish. After battling all summer to keep them alive,  the ungrateful little traitors jumped at the first chance to go AWOL. Not only that, the little gnome in the picture went with them. This photo was taken at the high water mark in the morning. The water receded quite a bit before I went to bed. When I got up he was gone. But you can see from the pic he was not even in the water. Either the water re-flooded and then went back down while I was sleeping, or that little guy is just as treacherous as the fish. He was most likely the ring leader. 

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hexagon bases done

   I did up a mold of Hexagon bases. This is stretching the limit of my machine. I should stay under 14 square inches of surface area, and 8 bases of 30mm plus the sprue clearly surpasses that. The result is a bit of flash, but not very much.  I put these on E-bay and in the web store as usual. In case anyone has not noticed, the new stuff on E-bay is 10% higher in price than the web store. This is to encourage people to shop via the store and also to help pay for the E-bay commission.  I never claimed to be a businessman, but even a novice like me can figure out that paying E-bay 12% on the cost of the item and shipping is not smart when the same item is setting on the web-store.     And now I got to get back to work.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Next step and new predator

   Here is a pic of the mold with the next step done.   It has been cut with a 1/4 end mill for  a little closer tolerances.
  After that I trimmed it a bit more with a 1/8 ball mill and it looks like this.

  There are 2 arms in the lower left, some legs in the lower right, and up top is the head and torso spaces.

  Here is another pic, a bit hard to see due to shavings, but I have done a bit of smoothing with the same 1/8 ball mill.

  I will keep posting till the mold fails or until I see what pops out.

  And in an unrelated story, my battle hardened fish are being tested yet again. A snapping turtle is now living in the pond. Notice the foliage he has used in a clumsy attempt at camoflage. This rank amateur poses little threat to my veterans. I just let him go about his business.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Building done-troll started

  The new building is in the store. I made up a few packs today. Mold ran pretty well, there was a bit of flash around the sprue but it snaps off easily.  I decided to put up some pics of the troll in progress and see how he is going to turn out. This is my second attempt at an organic model. The first ended with the sci fi women militia mold ruined and my CNC machine broke down for weeks. Let's hope this one turns out better.
  Here is a block of aluminum that has been roughed for a few hours by a 1/2 inch end mill. Just getting the most basic shapes in for now. I will hit it again on Friday with a smaller end mill and start to get some closer tolerances in. This roughing is the part I hate the most. It is extremely messy and takes a long time. It is also the loudest.
   I will keep posting live action shots until the troll stands ready for the tabletop or the mold lies in a pile of scrap. Most likely the latter, but I will just pick up another block and try again. 
   And finally- there is a meteor shower this weekend. If you get a chance go outside and make a wish.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Some progress- prototype painted

Hello again, here is a brief update on what I have been doing lately.
  Here is a pic of the gothic building painted up with a quick drybrush. It measures 2.25" square across the top so it is smaller than the other ruins. It can be combined with a second kit to make it larger. I glued in some card stock for floors. I was thinking of doing a floor mold but without any floors it makes it easier to build a bigger version and add some sheet styrene or cardboard. I got a fair bit of polishing to do on this one, but it should be available in a day or so.  The butresses want to stick in the mold so I have to take small polishing stones and smooth it out. That is a pain but it seems to be a requirement if you want the parts to come out.

Here is a pic of the new sci fi womans militia. There are some fundamental changes. The weapon is not in the hands. It must be attached but this will allow me to include a flamethrower and sniper rifle. I added a belt which I plan to seperate the torso at. This can make the model more multi-pose. The arms are a generic semi-bent. I am going to take them off at the shoulder. The head will most likely have to stay with the torso due to the hair hanging down. I hope to create a sprue that will allow a variety of builds.
 But I need a LOT more practice getting parts to fit together nice. So, I am going to make this guy-or somewhat like him first.

   I am cutting it out now. I removed the boots and helmet and made him a bit more plain, but it will give me a chance to see how a 5 part model fits together. This troll will have the usual torso, legs, right and left arms, and head assembly that is my ultmate goal. I left his 2 fingered hands open and gave him a choice of 2 primitive weapons.   After looking at the sci fi women I was working on I realized that I still have a lot of work to do before I am able to make the versatile multi part molds I want to make, so this guy is a baby step in that direction.
   So that is about it for now. I hope to have the building out by the weekend, the troll if it turns out, then on to those canon fodder militia. After that, I got to see what looks interesting.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Parts need to fit better

  Just wanted to post a pic of something I was working on. A walking recon tank. This is one of the first out of the press and the only real issue is that the front leg posts do not fit into the slots properly. Still need to do a bit of polish work on the mold and not really sure how to get the front legs to go on straight instead of wobbly looking. If I figure it out I will put them in the store.
   Thanks for the feedback on the building, I am cutting on it now. I am going to leave it unscathed and put some small ledges on the back to attach plasticard to.
    The recon tank has a complex parting line that travels along the fender, a bit tougher than the flat stuff I was making. After the fitting problems I decided to postpone the female figs for another few weeks. I am currently designing a multi-part armored troll. This will be one fig per sprue with a few options. It will give more practice on the parting line and help me to get better at making parts fit together. I hope to start cutting it as soon as the new building is done.
    I do have another nagging idea on the back of my head. My kids got me addicted to watching a Nickelodeon cartoon called Avatar the Last Airbender. There were some pretty cool tanks used by the bad guys in the show.  I kind of want to make some like them.
   I did have ANOTHER breakdown this week which had me quite dismayed. CNC power switch did nothing when I turned it on. Seems the PC power supply had gotten fried. Took me a while to sort it out, luckily I had an old one lying about.  Still-the gremlins in the shop have got to go.
   That's the news for this week. I will post more when something interesting pops out of the machine.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Some new tanks available, and new building idea

  In spite of the oppressive heat I managed to build a few packs of stalker tanks and put them in the store. Same price as the other platoon. I have a home made mold cooling set up. It is a 30 gallon drum that I circulate water through. It seems to work fine for the limited production that I am running, but these tanks tank a long time to cool in this heat. That causes the heat to be transfered into my water drum, and it seems that once that water gets cooking it stays hot since the shop is over 90 degrees. Come on fall!

  I got a desire to build this building in 15mm. Trouble is the plastic machine is pretty small. So far the best I can do is get one front with door, one side and the little steps onto a sprue. I was going to damage it all up, but if I leave it intact it can be mass assembled into huge cathedrals or damaged with a pair of pliers.  Got to think on this one, because it would not have the floors or roof unless I made another mold for them.
And finally.........I finally got rid of those baby birds from the shop. They were hopping all over the place, knocking things off shelves and leaving piles of droppings. They actually perched atop a regiment of dark elf executioners, which is no easy feat considering all the pointy swords sticking up.  I opened the door one day and they made their way over and walked out. They never came back, so I guess they are OK. But........

  This is my new dinner guest. Now this guy has been feasting on my fish in the pond. He is amazingly skilled at catching them. I am going to leave him alone, I just hope the fish can reproduce faster than he can eat.
   Just frustrating, you try to build a little place to enjoy nature and all this wildlife shows up and ruins things.
   Have a great weekend.   :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Things keep breaking- I keep fixing.

  Ok, it has been quite a while since anything worth mentioning has happened. I spent about 3 weeks programming G-code to cut out my female militia, and they molds were looking quite good. Then the CNC machine spindle motor burned up, gouging the mold and ruining it. It is a 24 volt DC, 3 phase, brushless, variable pulse input motor.  Not something you can find easily. I wasted a lot of time trying to decide how to fix it. I finally managed to do a lot of patch work and got the motor working again. At least for now. But I had to deal with the fact that the mold was shot. I also thought the guns were a bit thin. So I am going to re-do the whole thing. In the meantime another machine broke too. Egads! I got that one fixed as well and made some progress on some tanks. These are the new stalkers. One has the optional urban barrel for close quarter action. I got another one the way too and hope to make them available ASAP.
   It has been a bit trying, I make all these plans to have molds finished and stuff available and sometimes it just ain't  possible. Right now everything looks like a green light and I am pressing full ahead full. If anything else breaks I guess there will be more delays. I guess when you operate a plastic minis production facility with a budget that would be tight for a lemonade stand these things will happen.

   I did managed to rid myself of the reptilian menace that was eating all of my frogs.

Here is my son holding the monster. He was elusive but eventually he was ousted from my water garden.

  I will post more news when it seems to be interesting.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Photos of the almost guys

Got an e-mail this morning from someone who likes seeing the details of mold making, so I thought I would post some pics of things that did not quite make the cut the past few weeks and the reasons why.

  First off we have my long range project the stalker tank. In this pic we can see that the left front fender was not cut out. This was simply a careless oversight on my part.  In this case the parting line at the front fender was off slightly resulting in part of the model not being cut out. What happened is that the bottom of the fender was floating into the top side mold. It pays to run a simulation on your cutting and really watch the tool path.

  Here is a Federal main battle tank. Looks OK, but the treads have some sort of angle that makes them really want to hang up. This means I can not make this yet. I have to polish and file the treads until they stop sticking. This tank is supposed to be a foe of the earlier trencher tank but right now it is MIA.

Here is a pic with a trencher turret. I think it makes a nice opponent. Maybe it will work someday. On a positive note the women 28mm troops are looking good. Almost got the backside mold finished and will start on the face side then. 
   With any luck the next post will have pics of these troops painted up and I will start working on the heavy weapons sprue.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Recruits are taking shape

  Wanted to post a few pics for those curious about the process of home mold making.   I am starting to think it would be much better to have someone do this part, but then I would miss out on all the fun. I by fun I mean frustrations. It is still way cheaper to make your own. For less than the cost of a single mold you can have equipment and software to make all the molds you want. It is getting the knowledge that is elusive.
Here is a block on the mill after roughing in the cavities for the sci-fi troopers. I used a .125 ball up to this point, a really big tool for our size objects.

Here is a body further detailed with a .060 ball mill. It is actually recognizable with boots and legs if you look closely. The head attaches closest to you from this angle.

This is a .012 bit, the smallest I could ever see the need to use. I will only use this for areas needed fine detail. These first women I am trying to make are fairly simple, just raw militia in a jump suit and carrying your basic small arms. If they turn out, which I think is a big if, I am going to make a sprue of heavy weapons for them.
  And this is a strange bird who built a nest in my shop rags right beside the CNC mill. It sets there looking at me and seems to be confident in its camoflage, even though it built a nest on bright red rags. I do not even know how it gets in and out, but it must make its way through a roof vent or beside the big doors. I have decided to allow it to stay, even though the 4 eggs are sure to lead to a quartet of annoying screaming chicks and a pile of crap covered shop rags.   And that is what has been happening at the shop. I still have to get that other tank mass produced, but the ejection is being a real pain. I tend to get frustrated and then set things down for a while. Once I get some fresh energy I will tackle it. I have to admit I am a bit focused on getting a few squads of these hapless female cannon fodder on the battlefield.  Squads like this are great, because sometimes they get lucky and take out a Chaos lord or something, giving you bragging rights for years. "Hey, remember that time my squad of housewives armed with rolling pins killed your 10,000 year old demonicly empowered, runic armored, power sword wielding berserking lunatic? Boy was that great."