Saturday, March 31, 2012

Being wrong...............

  Hi again folks.

  When writing this blog I have often put forth my theory that the average American can pretty much figure anything out on his own and do it themself.  This is what allowed us to do all the neat things we have done over the years, like invent a time and matter displacement device all the way back in 1943.  (see Philadelphia experiment)

   Given an exacto knife, a Wikipedia diagram and enough time I am certain I could locate and remove my appendix in only a few tries. And who needs fancy radiation treatments when I have a perfectly good micro-wave right in the kitchen? Remove the door and over ride the saftey switch, and just that easy I am curing my ailments, saving money, AND making a Hot Pocket.

  However, this does not always work. Recently I was trying to make some better alignment, support and ejector pins. The cheap metal from Lowes was bending and getting the ends mushroomed from the force.  So I picked up some drill rod blanks, a really nice, smooth and straight type of metal. Only the web-site said they had to be heat treated by slowly heating them to 1700 degrees and quenching them in oil. How hard can that be? I have a cutting torch and it gets really hot. I do not know how hot, but if 1700 degrees is good, 17,000 degrees must be 10 times better. What could go wrong? turns out that super heated oil is REALLY flammable. And the science of metal working is a bit more complex than all that. I ruined most of the pieces by making them so brittle I can snap them by holding them in my hand and pressing with my thumb.  I guess what I am trying to say is that maybe sometimes it pays to have the right tools for the job.

   But things are getting done around here. I am going to be playing around with some new ideas, like this little model.

  I was looking at the gothic building and realized the only thing on the back was a couple of  shelves to glue floors to. So I was wondering if it would be possible to make a one sided building and simply have little squares to glue in for floor supports. This is the result of my little experiment. It is still 15mm in scale, the front entrance door is 20mm tall. The back loading dock doors are pretty large and I guess you could use a lot of them and make a shipping terminal.

  I am packing 2 of the door sprues and one window sprue per pack.  I will also make an all window pack available in case you want to add a second story to your building. The back side of these is simply a flat plate and this makes things a lot easier for me. There are no alignment pins to worry about and that cuts down on a lot of time needed to set up and run as well as making the mold itself. If you can think of anything else for a flat plate building design let me know. I was thinking maybe an air conditioner or vent might be cool.

  I have to apologize for the delay in getting any new things done, but it has been a bit busy doing some custom things and getting the full range of bases done.  There are a few things not in the store anymore. This means I only have a few left and have not had time to make some more yet. If you want something you know used to be there send me an e-mail and I will let you know how many I have left.   There are some things I want to re-do and make better, like the bill board and some others.  But time is always a limiting factor.

   And finally, it seems a squad of rabbits set up a listening post about 4 feet from where I am setting at my PC at this very moment.  One morning one of them was be-headed and laying outside my door. The next day another suffered the same fate, so I had to take the survivors into custody for their own safety.  I know that they will someday grow up to eat my blue berries,  (which I am currently heavily entrenching for the upcoming hostilities)  but it is against the Geneva convention for non-combatants to be treated this way. So now we are feeding the little guys with an eye dropper and waiting for them to get big enough to elude whatever merciless killer is stalking them.

     Have a great weekend.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Back from the show.. barely

Cold Wars was an interesting time. Lots of things to look at.  Swapped some bases with the Goblin Factory for some of his most excellent hobbits. Overall a good time to meet and talk to lots of fine folks. It pays to listen I guess. The number one comment in e-mails and in person has been- if only this was 28mm..........So that is going to be something to work on once I get some of these projects done. I will get to it, but I picked up a few more custom bits to make for folks and I am sorry if my little store has not had anything new for a while.  The sprue I am working on seems to be impervious to milling bits and snaps them with alarming frequency.  It has been called a few choice adjectives and still defies me. I am down to the .021" bits and almost done. What a tough go.

  So it was a nice show except for this.
 On Friday night the tranny blew out of my Chevy truck with only 59,000 miles.  The garage rolled a critical hit on the financial damage chart, and I failed my warranty saving throw and took full damage.  Egads.

  But on a positve note I met the guys from Bronze Age minis.  Very nice guys with a real can-do attitude. We brainstormed a bit and I was more than a little inspired.    In a flash of ingenuity it seems there may be another way to make molds that does not require painstakingly slow milling. Previous flashes of ingenuity have resulted in bodily injury, but this time I am more optimistic than most.

  Will keep you posted after I make more progress, but if people keep wanting stuff I got to keep making it. 

  Have a great weekend and enjoy it.  It may be the last one before we have to mow the lawn! 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Slow days, packing for the show

  Hi all.  Just getting ready for Cold Wars. It is quite convenient to have a convention a few minutes drive away. It lets me test the waters and still not have to stay overnight.  I am trying to make about 20 packs of each base type and other things, and make a display rack.  It is nice to talk to people.  Last time I was a guest of Rod from Highlander Studios, but this time I paid for my own table.   Sadly, I do not have a lot of new stuff to offer at the show. I have been working quite a bit on finishing out the line of bases and doing custom sprues, but I have not really made a pile of cool new things for my web store. 

   This little piece will remain untitled, but it has to connect to an existing model kit which makes it hard.  There is also some semi-clear plastic invloved with it.  The inside has to hold small lights too.  It was fun to model in the CAD program. Still have to do the wings for it.


  And this is a sprue of odds and ends that has been a real challenge. Lots of little corners to snap bits off with, and there was also another problem.  It was very windy one day and the power went out for a brief second.  Just a very short second. BUT the CNC servos are controlled by pulses of electricity. A string of G-code that is a 20,000 lines long goes by very fast, and even a split second of power fluctuation causes real nightmares.  It is times like that where it pays to have good solid walls to bang your head against. Tried my best to recover it, but I will not know exactly if this thing is going to line up OK till after I finish the second side and hope for the best.

    I found an artist who is going to help with some of the design work so I can focus on making stuff. The little plastic machine seems to be a bit happier of late and rarely tries to explode.  The you-tube video was fun to make, and it was very nice to read the comments both here and on a few forums where I posted it. Just 100,000,000 more views and it will pay some revenue.

  And that is about all the goings on around here.  Have a good time at Cold Wars and say hi if you are there.