Saturday, April 2, 2016


My full-time job just made an interesting offer. Long-term hourly at a 30 hour week. I wasn't expecting that; I thought it was full time or nothing (with perhaps some flex time, as I've been enjoying these past couple weeks with two shows opening at once).

If the pay and bennies are decent I might just take them up on it. Because while I'm doing better at not falling asleep on the couch the moment the work day ends, I could still use a few more hours of me time to pursue, well, all the stuff this blog has been about.

This for one. I've officially started a new run of Aliens M40 grenades at the Replica Props Forum. I have six complete ones, two bodies that need the spring-loaded button installed, and enough metal stock on hand for another four or so. I've got (unconfirmed) orders for ten already, so those should go pretty quickly -- and at $40 a pop, that makes up for some of the work hours I've been missing.

And it makes use of my existing TechShop membership. Regardless of what my work schedule turns out to be, running out to the City in the evening for a four-hour lathe session is (and has been) quite do-able.

I'm also moving on the Wraith Stone. Settled on the Title Movie version from Tomb Raider: Legend but I think I need to CAD it up to experiment with scale. I don't mind it being smaller than depicted; I want it to be wearable!

The internal electronics may not be appropriate for this design, but this is technology I want to explore. It's stuff I need to work on for my Holocron as well (and the DuckLight, for that matter). Something new to the mix is that Seeed Studio is offering PCB assembly at very, very, very reasonable rates (and with practically no minimum order). You have to base your BOM on their stock, but that isn't a huge problem. Besides, I can always solder a few parts myself after the board is shipped.

Big thing here is that this puts the SMD family of AVR chips a lot closer to my reach. ATmegas for more control channels, for instance. Or the USB-native family of AVRs for class-compliant USB devices. And smaller footprints -- but that goes without saying.

The biggest downside to my circuitry plans for the Wraith Stone is that, once again, I've taking a project away from the traditional methods. I would love to hand-sculpt this thing. But unless I add a 3d scanning step to the mix, how does this give me the ability to shape the inner surfaces to accommodate the circuitry? All of my electronic prop experience tells me this is best done in CAD, and that sort of implies that the stone itself gets 3d printed...

Far from lastly, the show I did these crazy improvisations for last year has come around again. At least this time I own two dimmer packs of my own (just arrived yesterday, not yet tested). But I don't own lighting instruments. I could afford to purchase some of my own fresnels, but where would I store them? I have enough trouble finding closet space for my rack of body mics (which is why I love it when they are out on rental, as they are right now).

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