Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

  Well it is that time of year again. Time to bulk up with carbs for the long winter months.  I find it best to add some extra weight so I am not at a loss for a decent New Years resolution.  One year I resolved never to weigh myself.  Not sure I would recommend that.

  I have some new collaborations in the works. A new resin terrain piece for 15mm scale.  These are made by a friend of mine and I have put them in the shop.  Resin is a bit pricier than plastic, mainly because it is much more time consuming to make. I am guessing most people know this already, but it is a huge difference in cost to make.

  Here is a shot with a scale reference;

 And something I dry brushed a bit;

  This was made using a 3d printed master and a lot of smoothing to get a mold ready product. I know there are some who claim that 3d printing can make mold ready masters, but the results are still rough form the ones I have tried. I used Shapeways, a company in Texas and a local guy to get printings done. They are costly and the results are still a bit fuzzy.  Take a look at this hover tank close up. This is a resin cast of a mold made from a 3d print. When looking at the print in the semi-clear frosted detail material it does not look too bad. But zoom in on a resin model and you see lots of areas that are fuzzy.

  Still learning and tinkering with this.

  I have been asked about the size of the snap fit walls, so here is a pic of that;

   I sent the infantry out to a 3d printing company because I want to make sure the parts fit together before I make them. I know they will be fuzzy but all I need to now is does the head fit on right.

  Well, that is all the news for now. I am going to do another controversial post in the future about how kick starter is changing the dynamic of the cottage industry.  I want to gather my thoughts on that one before I open my mouth and insert my foot.

  One last thing- in the spirit of the holiday I have enabled free shipping on the web store for all orders over $30.  This is for US customers only.  Overseas shipping has gotten really costly and I wish there was some way to ship for less. Unfortunately that solution has eluded me.

 Have a great Holiday everyone!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Snap fit walls available-

  I have been working on some odds and ends.  Elliot, who you may remember as the bloodthirsty Skaven commander who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in a Warhammer battle report, has been wanting some terrain for his heroic click style games.

  So we made some-

  The top picture shows one pack, and the bottom pictures shows his heroes fighting amid all the defects from the scrap box. They are available in the store here-snap fit walls

 I think it makes the game look a bit better than plain paper maps, but I do not really play heroic click games.  I still have some Red Barricades and Campaign in North Africa games to finish up.

  Also, and this is another embarrassing admission, the web store was screwed up.  It is linked to the USPS web site so it gives exact shipping based on weight and location. However, some time in the past, and without informing me, the postal service changed the coding they were using. The result is that first class was no longer showing up as an option. A single pack of bases was costing $5 to ship instead of $2.  I had no idea this was happening. I even got e-mail complaints about the shipping to which I replied, "Choose first class"  and forgot about it. Well I finally was looking over things and realized first class was gone. 

  I had to manually edit the HTML code to get it to work again.  Finding the error and editing a zillion lines of code is not my strong suit. Luckily there are helpful forums so I copied and pasted the repair that some smart person had shared.  Now first class is working again.  I think with the defeat of the dead battery gremlin the remaining gremlins have adapted and opened up a new front on me. This time in cyber space.

  But, at least for now they are again vanquished.

  And with that I am off to work again.

  Have a great week. 


Thursday, November 14, 2013

New stuff and some details

  Hi folks.  Here is a pic of some renders sent to me by one of the designers. his name is Mark Guarnieri and he has been working to develop some infantry. I am planning on tackling these soon. Just want to iron out any problem areas first.  I like the generic feel to them.  Seem to be perfect for unsuspecting guards to be ambushed.

   In the meantime I keep working on 1 part female troopers as time allows. Which means very slowly.

  I want to clarify the contest idea I had.  It is going to be awarded to the 2000th  package I ship.  Right now I am somewhere between 1000-2000.  It is going to be awarded to the first web store order after 2000 is reached. You can not go by the order number, since about 90% of orders come from e-bay. E-bay sales count as packages but will not be able to win the 100 sprues.  Only stuff from the web store counts.

  AFTER the winner is notified then they will decide what they want.

  This is not a contest for the best idea for a product, it is kind of the reverse of that. You win first and then you decide what you want.

  I hope that clears things up a bit.  One of the issues I ran in to right from the start was people offering ideas for things to make. Once they told me, there was almost an obligation to reward them for their idea, even if I had already made CAD files of the exact same thing and had them setting on the hard drive.  Ideas have value, but the development is where the real labor lies. The tough ones were the generic stuff-  "Hey, I told you to make scantily clad Amazon women with spears. Now that you did it, I demand compensation for this."   Bad situation.

  Ok- just had to get that out there before there was some confusion.  I got some entrants for the idea contest and realized I had made a serious mistake in explaining things.    There is no idea contest, it is a reward for customers who have been bothered to follow along and watch this slow process unfold.

  Ok, back to work again.

Friday, November 8, 2013

All Gremlins, Large and Small

  Well, just like an epic game of Mortal Combat, I finally met the boss of the gremlins.  And he is dead for now.

  A cnc machine uses pulses of electricity to drive the motors to precisely position the axis. These pulse at about 10,000 per second. They can be altered for calibration. For months now the Novakon has been randomly repositioning itself and also going in to emergency shutdown, which also loses its position.

  This problem has been a real pain because it resulted in so many ruined molds and countless hours of lost work.  Thinking about it, I kept going at the problem from the wrong end. Always looking for the answer in the pulse drivers or the pulses per second setting, and never getting it fixed.

  One thing I noticed is when I would boot up the computer it would sometimes ask, "Hey, what day is this?".  So I would type in the date and figured it was just double checking. Then it occurred to me that a computer unable to keep time on a calendar might be having issues keeping track of seconds to within 1/10,000'ths of  a second. So I went to Walmart and spent about $5 on this.

  Yes this is the big boss gremlin, the mightiest problem causer of them all.  A battery that tells time. I thought once the PC was running the clock would be fine.  I was wrong again.  This is starting to get ridiculous.  What kind of problem solver gets his ass kicked for months by this little glitch?  Me.  Well no more. The gremlins are vanquished!


Ok, except for this one.  Exploding capacitors are always good for a few laughs and some smoke inhalation.  2 in one day is a new record.  Damn these gremlins are resilient, I will give them that.
  But, overall things are really going well. I made this mold with my new $5 Walmart battery keeping time. Ran it overnight while I slept too.  Perfect cooperation from the machine.

  Going to run some parts next week.  This is the second of my designer's products. This is a marker for a hero style board game. Look for a post once this gets cleaned up and run.

  And next up is this;
  This is the work of another of the designers I have contracted. We are filling in the other spots and going to have a go at it.  Figures are the final challenge and someday it will be overcome.

  I am still planning on running a thank you giveaway contest to my customers. I got to figure out if it is legal and all, but the basic idea is this;  the winner will get 100 sprues of their choice for free.  Meaning any that I make, or any that they want made. Come up with an idea and I will do my best to make the mold and give you 100 of them.  A lot of gaming people are creative and have great ideas but no access to the means to have those ideas realized. The contest will let someone have their idea come to life.  I got to work out the details but will post more info when I work out all the legal bits.  Like "rude forum posters are not eligible" and other fine print.

  And thanks for people who took time to vote for the grant contest. I made the 250 votes. The odds of getting the grant are small, but I figured why not give it a try.  If I get the money I will be hiring a helper for sure and getting a contract person to run the internet part of things. If I do not get the money you will have to continue to tolerate my amateur handling of things.

  OK, time to get busy again.  Have a great weekend.