Monday, March 12, 2018

Journal, Legends of Sword Coast

I just added the journals to the shop about a month or two ago so I think this is the first one I've made for a client.  I wound up having to make the cover twice since it wound up warping too much the first time.  If that continues being an issue I might try switching to a milled veg for the cover so it stays nice and flexible.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Guitar Strap, Spider

The late guitarist for WHO, John Entwistle, had a pair of guitar straps that were fairly unique.  One had a skeleton arm stretching along its length and the other a white spider web on a black background. 

The client was hoping I could mimic either of those guitar straps.  It was hard finding photo references for either of them but I could see enough of the skeletal strap to determine that I probably couldn't practically replicate it.  I'd have to sculpt the bones, probably out of EVA, and that isn't a material I have enough experience with yet.  So we went with the spider strap. 

I didn't notice until late in the drafting that the original spider strap has a little spider sitting in the middle of its web.  It's hard to see as anything but a red dot in any of the photos so I made my own from scratch.  The bodies are 3D printed and then I sculted a little bit of latigo to give them some depth and color.  The lines were a bit trickier.  I'd go over them once and they'd look white then the paint would cure and they'd be grey.  It took 2-3 coats to get them to stay white.  It's a pretty neat effect though and one I hope I get to practice again sometime!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Yet another new printer

A little over a year ago my first printer, a M3D Micro, burned out.  That wasn't a huge surprise since M3D, at least in my experience, was running more a sham than a successful kickstarter program.  That first printer required a ton of maintenance and even then getting a successful, much less good, print was more luck than anything.  It failed even as a trial/introduction printer.

So I replaced it with another small printer to test it's applicability, MonoPrice's redundantly named Mini Select.  It was another cheap printer aimed at household use but it had the noteable advantage of being reliable.  You could give it the same print more than once and reasonably expect it to come out the same way.  I developed a lot of nifty things, notably the prop coins, on that little printer.  Then it too died a couple of weeks ago.  I was troubleshooting a sensor issue and in power cycling the printer there was a short that released the "magic smoke."  That would've been covered by the warranty but it'd expired a couple weeks earlier.

In any case, the MonoPrice definitely succeeded in helping me test how I could use a 3D printer for the shop.  I was able to print tools, tap-offs, and products as needed.  That gave me the information I needed to decide to invest in a full-size production printer.  After a bunch of research I picked a Lulzbot TAZ6.  I've been printing with it for about week now and I'm really happy with it.  The detail is a lot finer and more consistent than either of the previous printers.  And the build volume is about 11" cube.  It's huge! 

I'm looking forward to developing some really neat products with this thing.  In particular I think this'll let me bring back the old DM Toolboxes.  Those were a popular line I had to retire because they took too much labor with finicky results.  Thanks to this thing's huge build volume though I could print the entire structure of the box as one piece of plastic.  Wrap that in leather and it should be good to go!

Dice Cup, Yahtzee

This cup is meant to be a gift during a wedding next month so the wording is a little in joke between the client and the newlyweds.  I liked how the gold and brown work together but the odd thing about this order was it being the second or third heading to the UK this year.  I'd typically send 3-4 orders to the UK in a year and half-way through March I'm up to 6 UK-bound orders.  I'm quite happy to send products pretty much anywhere but it does make me curious...

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Map, Westeros

One of my earliest maps was a carving of Westeros, the continent where most of the events in Game of Thrones occur.  This map was like recreating that earlier map with everything I've figured out and improved on since then.  It's a bit larger, has the built-in frame, and I was able to pack a lot more detail into the carving than I was a few years ago.