Sunday, July 12, 2015

And it's no, nay, never, no nay never no more

I've been applying for work-work. Cable repair, speaker assembly, that sort of thing. The only scene shop looking for a carpenter this week is a long commute away, unfortunately. I'm not giving up on the freelance life. But I need a cash infusion to keep on with living expenses...and prop-building expenses.

Basically I'll be waiting around for the next week or two for the major elements of the Raygun to come back from Shapeways. I can mill a few parts in the meantime (once I get a new end mill) and work on the electronics, but this is a pretty good time to veer off and do something else. Like earn a little money.

Went into the shop yesterday; printed out the "donut" insulator ring at the lowest resolution the printer could deliver, and also as an experiment (and because I had time left on my machine reservation), the energy cell assembly that sits in the grip and contains the battery:

Always good to do a sanity check. There are a couple spots where this part could be improved. Also printed out in under an hour so not a real problem to go out and print another.

Really, isn't much of a chore watching a printer. I take my laptop and I work on other files while the print is going (it is the sorry truth of this new computerized, software-driven, micro-fabrication age; more and more computer work that needs to be done. Unlike what some people seem to think, going CNC and 3d print and all doesn't mean the computer does all the work for you. It just means it looks different while you are doing it.)

This is what that part looks like in CAD, by the way:

The main work I was doing while the printer was spooling out Zen Toolworks PLA a millimeter at a time was cleaning up the new Holocron design. I was even able to get a very subtle texture into the diffusion layer (basically, acrylic is either frosted by the laser, or not. There's no equivalent to the range of tones you get when you burn wood.)

And, no, I don't really care for the big Jedi symbol. And I was working off the wrong cutting vectors for the inner pieces anyway -- they were slightly large, and the snap-fit wasn't tight enough. I'm sure I've got that data somewhere, though, since I cut a whole set for the "Jedi Master" (who vanished into hyperspace after I shipped him a full kit to try out.) So I have at least one more trip out to play with the lasers before I can start a Project Run thread on this and start collecting money for materials.

Today was a semi-productive day as well. Finally got around to opening up my Uniden Bearcat scanner to confirm that, yes indeed, the bulkhead jack for the antenna was cracked in two places:

A trip to the Sprint Shack and I have a new connector in there and can use it as a radio again. But the jack I purchased is too short so I'm leaving most of the screws off until I can get the right part from Digikey. Might replace the speaker, too -- it has been sounding weak.

Also picked up some fabric and leather, Ritt dye and a couple pieces of poster board to use as seamless backdrops for model photography. Which is overkill for the size of most of my props these days:

That's my very first 3d print, BTW. Found the file on Thingiverse, printed it off in my new roll of pink SLA, then sanded the heck out of it. Tried three or four times to get a nice color on it. What seemed to sort of work was a primer coat of (bright yellow!) Rustoleum Super-Coat, followed by Tamiya Olive Drab2, then wet-sponging with a mixture of mostly pthalo green and burnt umber, with a couple of coats of gloss to cover.

The artists were inconsistent -- not only do promo pics not resemble the in-game prop, not only do neither resemble the official collectable shipped with the pre-order game, but it is rendered several different ways in game! That said, this is a pretty poor approximation of any of the versions, but it was fun to make.

And after all of that seamless-backdrop stuff, I still find I prefer taking prop pics with all sorts of random garbage in the image:

(That's a nautical clock, actually. And real charts, although I think they are Chesapeake Bay. And a far too modern and clean-looking reproduction firearm as well. I used to throw handfuls of NATO 5.56 crimps into the background, but I gave those away...)

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