Thursday, September 4, 2014


I'm in the cash flow hole right now. Contracts are started, but the first checks are weeks away. I hate being so low in cash. Makes me want to curl up at home with the lights low and hoard food instead of eating it.

The Jubal Early build seems plausible. I'd be surprised if more than a half-dozen people went for one, though. And the tool-up is a couple hundred bucks and 40-60 hours. Even right here at the start of it, it would help my 3d design if I had the Pachmayr grips to measure. But those are $36 a pop. 

The M40 grenades are a better story that way; I have enough metal to finish the current orders.

I'd still like to come up with better ways to do them. I did some research on the fourth axis of the Tomach CNC milling machine. And, actually, there's an even more clever trick; I've seen a guy chuck the stock in the head, and clamp the tools to the workbench, turning it into a sort of poor man's indexing CNC lathe.

But the set-up time for any of this is simply too large, in my opinion. The two things that would save the most time on these would be to have enough tool holders to properly use the quick-change tool post, and to have metal in lengths to where I could re-chuck and assembly-line it. 

Might actually make sense to cut billets to length and center drill them, then work between centers; at which point I could use a template or a saved set of tool offsets in the DRO.

In any case, there's good argument for moving on to props that cost more (even if just in terms of raw material); because even if the markup stays the same, 20% of $250 goes a lot closer towards paying for the next month of TechShop membership than 20% of $45.

Hrm. I just realized there's a couple of alternates to TechShop where I might be able to use a wire-feed welder. With some sacrificial blocks of aluminium or even wood, I might be able to grind out and re-weld the Suomi. Because as attractive as machining from scratch is, that's a heck of a project.

(One downside to welding is that crosses the Federal firearms line again. Unless I very carefully destroy some of the receiver in the weld process to make sure it can not seat the full-auto bolt.)

Just to be silly, I investigated what Tomb Raider 2013 plays like if you completely ignore the entire "salvage" mechanism, and make no effort to maximize skill progression either. That did make the battles a bit tougher -- the boss battles are quite annoying when you don't have anything but the base Dodge/scramble, for instance. But I got through to the radio tower in one hour, and through to the helicopter in about two and a half hours. Skipping through the cutscenes also saves, I dunno, maybe twenty minutes there as well.

Oh, yeah. And got through the major battles with the base, unmodified pistol (no salvage, remember?) Which also proved annoying, as it is significantly less damage and even head shots don't take down many mid-game mooks. I got killed a time or two, but mostly made it through the big set-pieces on the first try. Which is still better than I'd doing on those dratted QTE's.

In the last of this thematic topic, I'm still working up the circuit for my Duck Light, and pretty much determined it is going to be largely (if not entirely) SMD even for the prototype. But I'm thinking it may be worth doing a quick through-hole version right now so I can offer it to the design team on the next production. Except, of course, for the whole not-enough-cash-to-purchase-pcb's-this-week problem.

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