Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Custom Meeples


You may have noticed on the previous Carcassone photos that I made a series of custom meeples for our friends and ourselves. To get to 9mm thick I cut 3 smaller shapes and layered them, it made it easy to put names on both sides of the meeple. 9mm is a little thinner than actual meeples (10mm) but they stand up nicely at any angle.



Monday, 30 December 2013

Christmas Baubles


More little presents for family. (svg here)

Screen Protector


The display on my laser cutter has been getting progressively harder to read, this initially looked like someone had left the screen protector on and it was starting to peel off with time. I decided to pull it apart and remove the protector but it was a bit worse than that. The poor extraction on the machine basically leaves dust all over everything, the exposed electronics are no exception. The dust was creeping in between the display and the panel. So I removed the offending screen protector, cleaned up the panel and when I put it all back together I wrapped the whole thing in cling film and then cut the front film off. I'm hoping this will prevent any more dust ingress between the display and the panel.






Sunday, 29 December 2013

Carcassonne River Expansion


In a follow up to my recent release of the base Carcassonne tile set, I decided to draw the river so I could give it as a present to some good friends. I forgot how labour intensive drawing tiles from scratch was, even though I could re purpose most of the buildings and features from the other sets it still took about 2 hours a tile to draw. At least this expansion was only 12 tiles. 




  

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Lizard Wreath


While I was tessellating lizards for snowflakes I had a sudden bright idea. You could arrange dozens of lizards to form a wreath shape and you'd have one of the geekiest wreaths I've ever seen. Green lizards form the backdrop with red lizards scattered over the top as berries.

I also made a second variant with concentric circles, if I were to do it again I would probably arrange the colours to spiral out from the middle.




It's my laser and I'll clean it if I want to.


I've been meaning to clean my laser for a while now but I was pretty busy before Christmas, my honeycomb has also become pretty manky so based on some recommendations I found on a laser forum (can't remember where) I bought some Krud Kutter, concentrated cleaner. I Diluted some 50:50 with water and sprayed it over the honeycomb. Turns out spraying it was not very effective but I was amazed at how easily the stains came off the edge metal. I turned the spray bottle onto the rest of the machine and was surprised at how fast the whole thing cleaned up.

I even got round to cleaning out the bed. The bed has been building up crap and stains since day 1. Previous attempts left it pretty black and took a lot of effort so I basically turned a blind eye to it (hence the title). I sprayed it with Krud Kutter and left it for a few minutes and I noticed that the tar was shifting. I kept on at it, using wood offcuts as scrapers and although it took an hour of hard graft the final result is absolutely amazing.
I bought my bottle of Krud Kutter from the decorating store



Friday, 27 December 2013

Lizard Snow Flakes


So with Christmas out of the way I can now show more of the things I've been working on over the last few weeks. Admittedly most of my time was spent fulfilling orders for various items, the Christmas surge was a little overwhelming.
Turns out you can arrange lizards into snowflake formations, leaving one out the middle makes for a pretty pattern too. These got made but never went anywhere, I'll make more next year and hang them up in our windows.



Thursday, 26 December 2013

Christmas Snowflakes


I drew a new snowflake for this year to give to relatives for Christmas, it was safer to draw new ones because I couldn't remember who got what last year (svg here)


Monday, 16 December 2013

Model Engineers Exhibition


This weekend just gone I was exhibiting at the Model Engineers Exhibition, at Sandown Race Course. A whole bunch of makers were invited to the show to exhibit our crazy new fangled tools and projects. It was a pretty good exercise in bridging the divide between makers and model engineers. We're both the same anyway just working on different things. I genuinely had a great time, the whole thing had a feel of a maker faire but with far less children and many more of the adults already knew the technology existed.

I went down on Friday with a stall full of laser cut items and a few kits for sale. I pretty much sold everything I'd taken on the first day(yay for covering my hotel expenses etc). On Saturday Dominic brought our new laser cutter down and we were able to demonstrate the machine in action. We just ran Christmas cards all day because cardboard doesn't produce a lot of fumes and they're pretty cheap to give away.

For the first time ever I had nice things to say about 3D printing, Justin from Active 3D, designed and printed us a fancy knob to replace our slightly naff Z axis handle. The whole thing was about 2 hours from request to arrival and is truly what 3D printing is about, Rapid Prototyping. The finished item is extremely functional, nicely shaped and if we wanted to take that for professional manufacture we know that the item works. We in turn paid it forwards by laser cutting some parts for Michael.

Quite a few people took my business card to find out more information about the lasers we have for sale. That information can be found over on our other website http://www.justaddsharks.co.uk/.
It's not quite the introduction I wanted to give for our new lasers but I have time to work on that over Christmas



Thursday, 12 December 2013

Heredox Tile Game


So late last week I was introduced to a game called Heredox, it's a simple tile game that is available as an app on you phone, tablet and probably wrist watch nowadays. The introduction came with a request to make a physical copy of the game to. I looked at it for a bit, thought I could do something nice with it and then took the job. I'm really pleased with the results even if it did take a few iterations to get it right.

The tiles are created by etching off the surface to leave the symbols behind in a very similar way to the fields on my Carcassonne tiles. The problem is that some of the symbols need to be white and some of them need to be black and this is on the same time. 

Etching then painting each tile individually is a fiddly job that I'd rather not do, so I devised a template that showed me where I should be painting the tiles. I needed a trick that would allow me to realign all the tiles at once. Only cutting the border allows me to pick up all the tiles, pull them out, paint them them and then because I left the offcuts in the machine I could put it back in the hole and continue cutting again. 

White paint picks up smoke staining easily and barely looks any different so after the first iteration I was only painting the black tiles. I etched away the background but it left the symbols looking a little bit fuzzy so I went back and outlined all the symbols too to give it a neat crisp edge. As a nice little finishing touch I cut the instructions and the game name into 2 additional tiles.


 
 

Monday, 9 December 2013

Laser cutter for sale


So this was one of the big pieces of news I hinted at last week. We ordered a laser cutter from China for evaluation purposes. The intention was to bring them in, commission them and sell them on to makers and hobbyists. This machine has a larger than A4 cutting area (260mm x 320mm), air assist, Z axis, newlydraw controller and a few other mod cons, such as honeycomb bed and twin laser dots for focal alignment. It was intended as our entry level machine but by the time we've cleaned it up checked it over and added a small markup the margins were just too tight. This machine did have a home in mind but that person can no longer afford it so that leaves us with a brand new laser cutter that we're looking to sell and recover our costs from. 

If you're looking for a machine at Chinese import prices but without the faff and hassle of having to import it yourself then this is the machine for you. It's now available on ebay so why not snag yourself a pre Christmas bargain, start a blog and pick up the laser cutting bug like I have. It's up for sale on ebay here


Why yes there are 2 crates, the other laser cutter has been set up, evaluated and is a rather nice machine. Expect to see more about that shortly.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

The tsuba returns


From time to time I do oddities for other people. I lasered up this foam tsuba to go into a LARP weapon and last week I finally managed to track down the results and the completed sword. So I nabbed their photos for you guys. They've gone down well and I've been asked for a repeat order which is always a good thing. The rest of the sword and latexing and stuff was done by Eldritch who make weapons and other props for LARP

Monday, 2 December 2013

Carcassonne Tile Game Released


I finally got round to fixing the files from my Carcassonne set and I'm now ready to sell them as accessories to go along with your original copy of the tile game. They're compatible with the actual tiles too so you'll still be able to play all of the expansions and if there is enough interest I could add the river expansion to my collection (let me know if you want that).

Tiles are now available for purchase from my shop