Week 38, 2016 – A weapon fit for a dirty wasteland scavver

Hey! A post EARLY?! Surely a sign of the apocalypse.

And Probably Faster, too…

So I’m currently working on this wonderful Fallout 4 Pipe Pistol by lilykil. I’m still in the process of printing it, after which will follow the sanding and priming, and finally the painting and weathering!

I’ll update this post with additional 3D printery as it happens, and then make a new post once I get to the painting stage.

Week 37, 2016 – The End of a Spool…

Sorry for the potato pics, but it is pretty convenient just being able to snap pics from a phone and upload them to the blog when it’s for unimportant stuff.
One spool down!

One spool down!

Well, it’s taken well over a year and a half, but I finally reached the end of a spool of a filament.  Until now it seems I’ve just used some of each of my 40+ spools.  But I’ve settled on Push Plastic light grey for printing props, because it just prints so nicely, and it shows up great on camera…so it wasn’t long before I used up my first spool.

Luckily there's more where that came from!

Luckily there’s more where that came from!












So I’ve been working on some Fallout 4 stuff. Fusion Core, Fusion Cell, etc.  The Fusion Core I found was the wrong size, like obviously so… It needed to be like 33% bigger, so I upsized it, and printed it in several pieces so they could all printed oriented in the best way.  The Fusion Cell is just sort of…wrong.  I’m going to have to model my own, again.  After this I plan to finish my 10mm before I move on to bigger and awesomer things.

Original Fusion Core, rather small!

Original Fusion Core, rather small!

Fusion Cell

Fusion Cell












I’m going to have to sand, glue, and spot-putty the fusion core sections together.

Upsized Fusion Core, original Fusion Core, and 'Purified Water', for scale. (Sorry, no banana!)

Upsized Fusion Core, and original Fusion Core.

HAHAHA! I POSTED ON TIME! TAKE THAT!  (゚∀゚)アハハ八八ノヽノヽノヽノ \ / \/ \

Week 17, 2016 – May Acquisitions

I’m getting the ball rolling on a lot of stuff this month, from the MAKE COOL THINGS livestream and YouTube channel, to some prop making, to maybe even doing a little work on a simple fun little game project I’ve had in mind for a while.


Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 — ($74.95 – Amazon)

I bought one of these back in April, and it is an absolutely fantastic webcam, I wanted to have two more, so now I’m half way to that goal! The price keeps fluctuating though, and that’s pissing me off.  The first one was $69.99, this one was five bucks more, and the rest of the sellers on Amazon were selling it for $80-$90…  I’ll post more about the cameras later!

Xsplit Broadcaster, Premium License, 3 months — ($24.95 – Xsplit.com)

Xsplit is a great and uber-professional piece of streaming software.  OBS Studio is a fine piece of software, especially for free, but Xsplit is amazing. The license applies to both Broadcaster which is the full-featured general purpose streaming app, and Gamecaster, which is the more turnkey solution for streaming PC and console gaming with overlays and webcams, etc. I had wanted to get a 1-year license for $59.95 because it’s a much better deal, but I ran out of money… Oh well.

Like the webcams, I’ll do a more thorough writeup on this later when I talk about livestreaming.

Prop Making

Rust-Oleum 249086 Multi Purpose Primer, Red Oxide, 12oz — ($3.98 – Amazon)

Here’s a great wet/dry-sandable all-surface primer, it was available for $3.98 as an add-on item, and I was going to get the matching gray primer so I could alternate between red oxide and gray when sanding, but just as I was about to check out, the gray went up to $10+non-prime shipping. :(

Dupli-Color FP101 Scratch Filler and Primer, Gray, 11oz — ($8.35 – Amazon)

This is a high-build automotive primer recommended in the notes on some of Bill Doran’s prop videos, and likely the perfect primer for the first pass on a 3D printed prop.

Rub ‘n Buff Wax Metallic Finish, Silver Leaf, 0.5oz — ($6.37 – Amazon)
Rub ‘n Buff Wax Metallic Finish, Antique Gold, 0.5oz — ($5.90 – Amazon)
Rub ‘n Buff Wax Metallic Finish, Autumn Gold, 0.5oz — ($6.14 – Amazon)

I’ve heard Adam Savage mention Rub ‘n Buff several times in various prop making videos, and after watching this video (indexed to relevant bit) I knew that I just had to have some, especially considering some of the things I have in mind.  The ‘Silver Leaf’ is amazing, it’s a totally perfect ‘metal’ finish.  The swatches online showed ‘Antique Gold’ to be the lightest gold, so I got it hoping it’d be a good ‘brass’ color, but it ended up being rather dark and reddish.  ‘Autumn Gold’ however, will make for a decent copper, just as I’d planned.  I’ll have to get a tube of the regular ‘Gold Leaf’ and see if that’s a brighter/yellower gold.

Liquitex Professional Heavy Body Acrylic, Burnt Umber, 2oz — ($8.79 – Amazon)

Something else brought to mind by Adam Savage’s video, was the need for a good general purpose weathering and grime paint… So I ordered a tube of heavy body acrylic in Burnt Umber.  There were a few other colors I wanted, but these are rather expensive, so for the time being, it’ll have to do…plus I’ve got a bunch of bottles of matching medium body acrylic already, so if I need to adjust the color any for something, I can.

3M Wetordry Sandpaper, 9-Inch by 11-Inch, 400 Grit, 5-pack — ($6.35 – Amazon)

Because you can never have enough sandpaper… Especially real sandpaper.  Ugh, that crappy Chinese stuff I bought that one time… The plastic just gummed up in it, and it got everything I sanded dirty.  NEVER AGAIN!  From now on, I swear I’m only buying 3M.

Hyde Tools 45395 Heavy Duty Rubber Sanding Block — ($5.09 – Amazon)

I bought one of these last time I stocked up on supplies, and I still haven’t had a chance to use it, but it can’t hurt to have more than one. (In fact, it’s probably a necessity!)

Game Development

RPG Maker MV — ($52 – RPGMakerWeb)

Just minutes after I had lamented my inability to afford RPG Maker MV during a conversation, I received an email from Degica telling me there was a Golden Week sale on and I could get 35% off RPG Maker MV, not only that, but by getting it from the official store, I’d get a standalone copy AND a complementary Steam key…effectively getting me two copies, for almost $28 off the regular $79.99 asking price.

One of the things that makes MV so much better than VX Ace is that it can publish your game for Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, and even HTML5!  That was the one feature that made it a must-have as far as I was concerned.

Pay What You Want: Hardcore Game Dev Bundle — ($15.14 – stacksocial)

This bundle of game development courses included:

• iOS & OS X Game Development: From Start to Store in Swift
• Game Developer Business & Legal Guide: Run an Indie Studio
• 2048: Build Your First Complete Game with C# & Unity
• Master Unity By Building 6 Fully-Featured Games from Scratch
• Learn to Code in Game Maker Language
• The Complete Android Marshmallow Development Course
• The Complete HTML5 Mobile Game Development Course
• Build iPad, iPhone & OS X Games for SpriteKit in Swift
• Game Development Using Corona SDK with ASO & Ads
• JavaScript Programming: Learn by Making a Mobile Game

That second item really caught my eye. It’s not often you see a course on the legal aspects of game development.  I took a quick look at it, and it seemed to cover things like licensing, contracts, NDAs, IP and Trademarks, working with lawyers… And it has real-world examples and interviews with a lot of smart people sharing their experience. (Including Gabe Newell of Valve.)

Virtual Reality, Unity & 3D Game Developer Bundle — ($24.99 – stacksocial)

This bundle included:

• Learn to Code by Making Games – The Complete Unity Developer
• Virtual Reality Designer – Understanding VR & Creating Apps
• Learn 3D Modeling – The Complete Blender Creator Course

So yeah, not getting nearly as much bang for my buck, but I figured I had to have it because it covered developing for Virtual Reality, and it had a course on Blender…and– while I am probably a lost cause –maybe somebody in my family stands half a chance in hell of learning how to use that utterly impenetrable program, with the help of this courseware.

Week 10, 2016 – Props, Propaganda, Programming, and Projects.

First of all, let’s take a moment to talk about prop making;  It’s something that I have a real interest in but I can never seem to afford moldmaking and casting supplies…  Well, I’m not going to let that stop me from making some props before I have the ability to duplicate them.

Right now, my biggest obstacle– putting aside money issues and for the moment just looking at what I have –is the surface quality of my 3D prints.  To that end I spent some money on some basic necessities like Bondo body filler, Bondo spot putty, some quality automotive wet/dry sandpaper, and a sanding block.  Bill Doran has a great video on using Bondo, and his video on preparing mold masters also contains some applicable info.

Propaganda! By which I mean videoblogging!  I just got a cheap little steadicam thing for my video camera so I can do handheld shots that are actually stable.  It’s really quite something.

Programming! I’ve got some cool Arduino ideas I want to play with, one of them is inspired by this cool post I found about making an Arduino Wi-Fi scanner that displays the SSIDs of open wifi APs on a little OLED display.

Projects! I’ve got a 3D printing and prop making project in the works based on my current favorite videogame; Tom Clancy’s The Division, which inspired an additional project which I can’t talk about right now… ;D

Gonna be pretty cool though!

Week 41, 2015 – October Acquisitions

Okay, this month I’m putting the cool stuff up front!

3D Printing

Push Plastic (3D Printer Filament)

This month Push Plastic had some clearance items, including their 5-packs of randomly-chosen 0.2kg PLA samples.  I figured it was a good way to check out all their colors, and boy was I right! They had some colors of filament for $21 a spool, and I could get 1kg in 5-color random bundles for $18… Normal price on a spool from Push is $29.

Lavender PLA Filament, 1kg Spool — ($21 – Push Plastic)

This is a nice soft purple, unlike the garishly bright or pointlessly too-dark purples many other brands offer.  It makes me think of purple-colored pencil erasers and bubblegum.

Redwood Brown PLA Filament, 1kg Spool — ($21 – Push Plastic)

A very nice red-brown. It’ll be a good color to have when I one day figure out how to do detailed multi-color printing and actually ‘print’ wood grain into parts using the Diamond Hotend.

PLA Color Packs RANDOM COLORS, 5x 200g Coils — ($18 x2 – Push Plastic)

Well, first of all… They accidentally only sent me one.  But when I noticed, I told them and they apologized and shipped the second one out immediately. So now I know how good their customer service is.  Anyway, I got: Black, Red, Orange, Purple, and Translucent Green in the first pack.  And White, Metallic Gold, Dark Grey, Pink, Teal, and Translucent Blue in the second pack.  I can’t wait to print swatches of all of them!

PrintedSolid (3D Printer Filament)

This seemed like a cool place, and they import colorFabb filament from Holland, as well providing small samples of ProtoPasta filament.  They even threw a tiny– almost novelty-small –bag of Haribo gummy bears.  I didn’t open them, it’s such a cute little bag.  Seriously, it’s like the size of a large sugar packet.  Only complaint I have about them, is that they don’t display prominently the fact that the colorFabb PLA/PHA is 3/4 kilo spools… So they’re really even more expensive per-kg. :(

Shining Silver colorFabb PLA/PHA Filament, 750g Spool — ($38.99 – PrintedSolid)

A fantastic metallic filament.  Unlike the other silver filaments I have, this seems to have a lighter base filament, where the others had like a translucent black or grey, which made them darken when polished.  And PLA/PHA is proving to be very nice; if you’re not familiar with PHA, to quote Wikipedia:

Polyhydroxyalkanoates or PHAs are linear polyesters produced in nature by bacterial fermentation of sugar or lipids. They are produced by the bacteria to store carbon and energy. More than 150 different monomers can be combined within this family to give materials with extremely different properties. These plastics are biodegradeable and are used in the production of bioplastics.

PLA/PHA is more UV stable, has higher impact strength (one of the big advantages ABS has over PLA) and is somewhat less susceptible to moisture.

Pale Gold colorFabb PLA/PHA Filament, 750g Spool — ($38.99 – PrintedSolid)

Rather like the above, this is lighter-colored than other gold filaments.  Very nice.

ProtoPasta Conductive PLA Filament, 125g Coil — ($17.00 – PrintedSolid)

Haven’t had a chance to try this yet, but it’s really the ‘original’ conductive filament, it’s like the standard everyone uses for comparison.


Ever since I saw a video demonstrating it, I’ve been wanting to get some Polyetherimide (More commonly referred to as PEI) to slap on a second borosilicate glass print bed.

Borosilicate Glass Sheet – 0.25″ Thick, 9″ wide, 6″ long — ($19.02 – McMaster-Carr)

The first borosilicate bed I got, I paid like $35 for on eBay.  Normally I check McMaster for my raw materials first, but for something like glass, I just assumed that either they wouldn’t have it, they wouldn’t have it in the exact size I needed it, or it’d be prohibitively expensive to get it cut to size.  But someone on /r/3DPrinting set me straight, and sure enough when I looked there it was.  Hell, they even have decent prices on borosilicate glass discs, perfect for delta printer heatbeds.

It came wrapped in a 6-inch diameter ball of self-adhesive bubblewrap (I didn’t even know that was a thing, but the flat side was tacky and allowed it to wrap securely to itself without tape.) as well as a bit of foam…nonetheless, there was a tiny chip out of the edge… Figures.

Polyetherimide Sheet – 0.03″ Thick, 12″ x 12″– ($16.20 – Amazon)

A sheet of PEI, it had a nasty saw-cut edge with these jagged burrs that almost took a bite out of my hand… But eh.  It’s got protective film on both sides.

TapeCase 468MP Adhesive Transfer Tape (3M), 12″ x 12″ sheet, 6-pack — ($17.80 – Amazon)

Can’t say much about this except I didn’t like the price when all I really needed was half of ONE sheet…  Well, technically I could use one whole sheet, if I use the remainder of the PEI to do another bed…but I digress.


Yes, this month I actually ordered something other than 3D printing stuff! Can you believe it?  But in the interest of getting this published only a month late— as I sit here writing this, on a cold November morning, two days and change before Fallout 4 drops on my life like so many nuclear bombs –I’m going to finish this part later!

(And that was the last time anyone ever heard from him.)

Week 40, 2015 – Ideate, Iterate, Create!

Sorry, again with the ‘pictures on the way’, I have to clear off the workbench so I can take pictures of a bunch of stuff…so no pictures in this post yet.

Yes, I know the first weekly of the month is usually the acquisitions update…but most of my purchases won’t arrive until next week, so…
┐( シ)┌

I’ve been busy with a couple projects this weekend, related to some of the stuff I bought– the few bits that are here already, namely some audio rigging for my podcasting/video setup –and I figure this is a good time to cover this bit of process.

As someone who has spent the majority of his adult life ‘almost making things’– always failing for one reason or another –it is not lost on me just how absolutely mind-blowing it is that I now have a literal god damned magic box that just substantiates my ideas from thin air.  (Or more accurately, from the 1s and 0s of the designs on my computer, and spools of plastic filament.)

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yeah. So, I got this cheap little microphone boom, and I got a new mic cable.  First things first, I needed a way to attach the cable cleanly to the boom and manage it.  Calls for some little cable clips, methinks.


btw, I thought ‘ideate’ was a ridiculous portmanteau I came up with, but apparently it’s an actual for-reals word that only sounds ridiculous and made-up. Go figure.

I figured I’d better keep it simple; no point getting flummoxed at this stage of the process by trying to outsmart myself design-wise… So just a simple double-clip. A square clip to attach to the boom’s square tube frame, and a circular clip for the cable.  Out came one of my trusty digital calipers, and soon I had the measurements; the frame tubing was nominally .410″ square, and the XLR mic cable was a little under .250″ in diameter.  So those are the numbers I worked with.

Three minutes later, I had the simple design ready to print.  Dropped it into Simplify3D, warmed up the printer, and 5 minutes later, I had the part.  Fit like a charm! It was slightly loose though, and that brings us to…


One of the wonders of 3D printing is pretty easily summed up in the name of the process/industry it has given rise to; Rapid Prototyping.  Not only does it allow you to near-instantaneously go from idea to reality, but to quickly and inexpensively go through countless design iterations, working out flaws, testing refinements, and so on.  I mean, it costs me $0.11 worth of plastic to print eight of these clips, so printing one, trying it, tweaking some things, and printing another hardly costs me anything, except time…and at 5 minutes a pop, that’s not a huge concern when I can be working on plenty of other things (Or relaxing!) while the printer does its work.  So, anyway… The clip was a little loose on the frame, so I made the dimensions a little smaller.  That still didn’t seem to do it, so I tried again, but now it was too small, and still loose…there was something missing. So I took the first one, and squeeze the legs together– bending them a little –and when I stuck it on, it stayed put. Aha!

So this time, I set the dimension back to what it was, but I designed a 5° inward bend on the legs. (I had also, in an earlier iteration, merged the outlines of the circle and square completely, to make the cable lie flatter on the boom…the original design only had them overlap 50%.)


Knowing this design was as perfect as it was going to get, I printed eight of them.  About 30 minutes and 1.8 meters of filament later, I had them, and they were great!  They still don’t stay put on the frame perfectly– not like on the cable, but the cable has a really ‘grabby’ rubber surface –but they’re no longer loose enough to slide around under their own weight.  Maybe I should try dual-extrusion printing them with a NinjaFlex inner wall to grip the metal tubing.  (I still haven’t received my Teflon tubing yet, so I haven’t reassembled the left extruder…)

Week 37, 2015 – Everything’s (not) Ruined Forever!

So… That went well.

I ended up with a hard plug of PLA in the teflon tube of my printer’s hotend, and trying to clear it I mangled the teflon tube.  Of course, to get even that far, I had to completely disassemble the hotend.  And since I was doing that, I figured it was a good time to replace the thermocouple on the left extruder. And since I was doing that, I figured I’d do some upgrades I’d been planning on. And since I was doing that, I figured… Yeah, the slope just kept getting slipperier and slipperier.

Things didn’t go terribly as you can can see in the few pictures I took…  Nonetheless, things were not working correctly.

Dual-extruder assembly removed from printer.

Dual-extruder assembly removed from printer.


Old thermocouple unplugged from MightyBoard.

Old thermocouple unplugged from MightyBoard.

So, I got it back together, with some modifications…  I like the replacement top plate… The 3D-printed strain relief for the cable bundle and the pneumatic press-fittings for the PTFE bowden tubing are fantastic additions.  However, the spring I used in the new 3D-printed extruder was not up to the task and was simply not capable of extruding anything…

Partially re-assembled extruder.

Partially re-assembled extruder.

I ended up disassembling and reassembling the whole thing two or three more times before I got it back up and running.  Still, I’m not happy with the hotend barrels I got off Amazon, they have PTFE linings with a 2mm ID and 4mm OD, and are threaded full-length.  The original barrels only had threads at the end, the rest was smooth, and used PTFE tubing with a 2mm ID but a 3mm OD, and the temperatures and behavior of the new parts were very different.  Also, the original nozzles butted up against the barrel, but the PTFE tube extended down into the nozzle…  The new barrels’ linings don’t stick out…but I do have additional nozzles designed to interface like that…so I put those on there.  Nonetheless, I’m going to try and get some 3mm OD tubing.

UPDATE 2015-09-16: Teflon Tubing Trials and Tribulations.
I couldn’t actually get PTFE tubing via Amazon Prime, so I had to order it from China– meaning it will be here whenever it bloody-well feels like it –and instead I ordered some PFA tubing that was rated for the same temps as PTFE.  Anyway, that’s a god damned lie, because when I went to print PETG, the god damned PFA tube liquified.  Not ‘melted’, not ‘distorted’ or ‘deformed’…it straight-up fucking liquified, leaving a quarter-inch blockage of rock-hard PFA in the end of the barrel.  Managed to get printer back up and running by using one of the new nozzles, and the old barrel, and cutting the original PTFE liner so that it’d fit. (And thus removing the part that’d been all crinkled up.)

Melted PFA tubing.

Melted PFA tubing.

Week 36, 2015 – September Acquisitions

Well, let’s see here…  First of all I got a replacement part for my computer chair, because the bloody thing basically broke in half a week or so prior… I actually found a reinforced one on Amazon with Prime shipping, and had it overnighted for the extra four bucks!  But we’re not here to talk about that.

I got a whole lot of cool stuff, some of it very important. Details after the jump! (Pictures are coming) Read more…

Week 23, 2015 – We Are Now In Control (Part II)

In the previous post I talked about the mod I made to turn the practically useless rotary dials on the X36’s throttle into a pair of On-Off-On momentary switches.  Well, Elite: Dangerous is a very demanding game when it comes to controls…  It’s not quite up there with Steel Battalion… Nonetheless, there’s a lot of ship functions you might want to have at-hand… Landing gear, cargo scoop, exterior lights, chaff, shield cell (consumable power cells to dump power into shields), silent running… All sorts of stuff.

First I needed a controller board… I had an old USB arcade controller board sitting around, so I reused that. (Just takes a bunch of simple on/off inputs and turns it into a game controller.)  The second hurdle was designing the switches… The toggle switches I have are relatively small, and besides being hard to hit in the heat of the moment, they’d also kinda hurt. So I decided to design and 3D print caps for them like I did in the previous article.  I also wanted guards to separate the different switches in the bank.  Well, I found both solutions in the same place; the design of the switches and switch guards in the Space Shuttle cockpit.


Drawings of the parts.


Prototype parts.


Test assembly.

The next problem was figuring out how to attach it to my flight controls… I ended up settling on designing and 3D printing a little housing that hook into the keyed holes in the throttle’s underside for the optional suction cups that let you secure it to a surface, and at the top I simply added tabs that went under the pre-existing case screws.

It ended up being a very elegant little solution, though I’d certainly like to revisit it at some point to make it even better.


The assembled switch panel, showing the mounting points.


The assembled switch panel.

I’d like to to try this again, with laser cut/etched acrylic for the panel… Because then I could add backlit markings and the whole deal.  I’d also, of course, like to try making the switch parts out of actual aluminium.

First though, I need to come up with a better method of attaching the parts to the switches– such as threading the shafts of the switches –as well as a method to shorten the shaft to better accommodate switches the way I want them. (Example: The thumb switches on the throttle have an additional like 4-6mm of height because of how far up into it that shaft of the switch has to be concealed.) And of course, having them threaded, with threaded inserts in the caps, would prevent them from rotating.

Anyway… Those are conversations for another day!  Here’s what it looks like assembled:



Week 22, 2015 – We Are Now In Control (Part I)

Ever since I saw a magazine ad for one over a decade and a half ago (Yes, a magazine, like the printed-on-paper kind!) I desperately wanted a Saitek X36 HOTAS, but they cost like $200 and that was the gameport version! They later released a version that also had USB, but by then I had too much other stuff on my mind and years passed (As they tend to do.) until finally, a few years ago, I snagged one on eBay for $12 shipped (!?) and then a few months later another for like $30, because why wouldn’t I have spares?  This was of course just in time for the Elite: Dangerous hype.


A little worse for wear, but not bad for being over a decade old, and certainly not bad for $11.95 including shipping!

But, because this is me we’re talking about, things cannot possibly be that easy, can they? Read more…

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