Breaking Ground on the Mall

03.04.2020

This year I've had so little going on I've barely posted once a month. Now I'm at my third post in as many days. A productive spurt!

I FINALLY got around to starting on the mall from 4Ground. I picked a generic store and followed the directions, without taking shortcuts or things I thought would be easier for my fat fingers at an earlier time than suggested. Overall, it worked well. There's an alignment problem on the front wall, but that came from not knowing how everything was supposed to fit together and should (hopefully) not happen again.

Disregard the order of the pictures, but after finishing the first store faster than I expected (less than a day), I opened up the "starter" bundle. 6 ground floor stores with 2 entrances. There were 29 pages of instructions. That was needlessly daunting, as only the first 8 pages are instructions for the stores, entrances, and roof. The rest is graphics for stores (signs, products for sale) and instructions on how to put it all together (lots and lots of shelves and counters). The way the bundle was cut/burned lends itself to an assembly line style. Instead of 6 ground floor store kits, like the first one I made, the set is optimized so 1 sheet has all 6 front entrance walls, another sheet has all the back walls, etc. Having just made a store, I think the assembly line method will work for me. I just have to remember not to get in a hurry.

Using the 123-blocks with the clamps helped keep my walls/floors at right angles. That's what those blocks are supposed to do! I also used some canopy glue for the plastic windows. I've had problems with the plastic fogging or showing some glue-induced fingerprints in the past so I thought I would try something new since the bottle jumped out at me at Hobby Lobby. It's a very thin glue, which may be all it really is, but I didn't notice any glue splotches on the windows in the store. I'll keep using it going forward.

Now to see how far I get through building the basic bundle before, honestly, I get bored.


4ground 4ground-mall scenery

Resin: 1st Pour

03.03.2020

Continuing with my early birthday loot from Green Stuff World, I picked up 2 silicone molds for Grids & Fans and Control Panels. The only molds I've used before were for plaster (based) rocks for train scenery. This was made for plastic resin. At some point in the past year, or two, I got a little mold-making and resin kit from Hobby Lobby. I never made a mold, but now I could use the resin.

I've never used resin. Anything with 2 chemicals you keep separate until time to use has got to be fun! I've watched enough people pouring resin on YouTube (usually for water effects) to have a good idea of how it works. Pour equal amounts of 2 liquids together. Mix. Pour. Wait. Easy enough.

The instructions for the exact kit from Hobby Lobby varied on how long to stir the 2 parts together. 3 minutes per the packaged instructions. 30 sec to "until it's not cloudy" on YouTube. The resin was supposed to set in 10 min. Armed with this knowledge, I poured and ounce of each part together and mixed it for a couple of minutes until I thought it didn't look cloudy. Then I began to delicately pour into each opening in the mold. Except I didn't have a precise pouring cup, so resin started dripping everywhere. That's ok, I'll just scoot it into the right places with my stirring stick. And then we'll go over to this next mold and tryt o aim my pour a little better. There you go, now that's

and at that point the resin started to solidify in the cup, on my stirring stick.

Well, might as well see how this batch turns out and try again later. Batch 1, to not know what I was doing, wasn't too bad. I never had a chance to get rid of air bubbles, so there were air bubbles. The details in the mold still came through. I mixed up another batch, not mixing as long this time, and shotgun-poured onto the mold to where the resin was basically a sheet on top and each part would have to be cut out later. I got rid of some bubbles, but I didn't de-bubble the resin enough. I repeated this for a total of 3 batches, because that's when I ran out of mixing cups.

Going forward, I need to get slower curing resin. I also need some mixing cups with some type of spout so I can aim my pour and not have to cut all of this stuff apart. And tapping the mold to help release bubbles should also help.

Next time: breaking ground on The Mall.


Green Stuff World scenery

Leaf Punch

03.02.2020

As part of my traditional pre-birthday online loot ordering, I placed an order from Green Stuff World and picked up some leaf punches and silicone molds for resin. After a trip to Hobby Lobby for colored cardstock - can't have white edges on leaves - I broke in the punches.

First, the cons. It may be the thickness of the cardstock, but the punches were having a hard time making the cuts. The part of the punch to press down on is small for me. Since I've had my calipers out I went ahead and measured it - 19mm in diameter. To punch, I had to press on my thumb (which was on the punch). I've read and watched plenty of tips on sharpening the punches, but out of the box I expected a little more fluidity. I tried using the punch with my palm. This worked as far as punching, but the next day you can still see the 19mm redness that wants to be a bruise on my palm. Thanks to necessity being a mother, a nearby empty and inverted frappuccino has turned into my solution. The top of the bottle fits well and presses down on the punch. I think the slightly curved, metal top is an advantage here. The bottom of the bottle has a large enough surface area that my hand doesn't scream back at me whilst punching.

That's the only con, and it's eventually been overcome. It shouldn't be a problem as I have no shortage of frappuccino bottles.

Over on the pro side, these things really do look like leaves. Most of the tips I saw online were using coffee filters with (ink) washes to get the crinkly leaf look, but I like the solid cardstock look. At least for now.

I have no idea what I'll actually use these for, but I know me and it's better to have leaves punched and ready to use versus trying my patience with punching them when I want to use them. Plus, punching leaves while various whatnot is playing on YouTube is my kind of multi-tasking.

Later we'll see how my first attempt at mixing and pouring resin goes.


Green Stuff World scenery

...And A Month Goes By

02.21.2020

After the printing frenzy from last month, I would have thought I would have been productive and have something to show on here. But nope, nada. That's not to say I've been doing nothing, it's just for the things I've been doing I've nothing to show. Hence, it was time for a traditional "not dead" post.

My big hobby projects have large "I need to do stuff on the computer" components. For the 4Ground Mall, I've got to scrounge, resize, and print graphics. More importantly, I've got and idea for switchable store-front signs that involves not just the 3D printer, but making the model for the 3D printer. Even with my years and years of playing around with Poser and some intro training to 3D Max when I started working at Westar, I still don't know how to make a 3D/Printable model. Thanks to a recent sale, I found a starting from scratch tutorial series that I thought I would give a try - and so far I'm enjoying it. There are plenty of free tutorials out there, but I like the way Vladimir teaches. Halfway through the course and I'm not lost yet.

I'm taking the Old Man approach to these lessons, which is something I found worked well for me when I was trying to learn Unity programming. Although it would be fairly easy to binge and run through all the lessons, that only teaches me to parrot what I see and not understand why I'm doing things - and more importantly why NOT to do some things. With the Unity tutorials, I would watch a video - not follow along and write code, not skip the parts I thought I already knew - and then after watching I would replay the video and follow along writing code (or whatever I needed to do), trying to use the video more as a reference to see how well things soaked in. It worked well - in later videos the instructor might make a mistake and I would pick up on it before he corrected it better than half the time. And here's the important part of my approach - I only watch/attempt 1 lesson/day. At some point I read about trying to learn too much at once, and how the brain and subconscious needs time to sort and absorb what you take in. It sounded like New Age hullabaloo, but I've found since then that I retain better using this approach. It takes a little longer, but I'm in no real hurry.

Slow tutorial learning - that's been the crux of the past month. Add in cold weather is still keeping me from doing anything with the printer in the garage, and the big things I had lined up to do just have nothing to show. While I've still got a batch of minis primed, I've not thought about painting anything. Not sure if that's good or bad. Maybe I'll pull out the paint this weekend and see how my skills have dulled?


random

Gaslands Printing

01.20.2020

2020 is the year Jer and I play Gaslands. Attempt to play Gaslands. Play with Hot Wheels and say we're getting ready to play Gaslands.

This past week, I fired up the "new" 3D printer and printed bites and pieces for Hot Wheels cars. I haven't done anything with the printer beyond the standard set-it-up print after I first got it. I've been watching more and more people use resin printers, which gets me wondering how the old fashioned printer will fare on small, Hot Wheels sized, details.

After copious Gaslands searches on Thingiverse and Yeggi, I had plenty of bits. Armor, guns, some rally/checkpoints. For the better part of a week the printer printed. And then I messed things up. When scraping prints off the bed, the bed scoots. My natural grabbing point for a scooting bed is the front leveling knob(s). Eventually, I unleveled the bed enough that prints started messing up. Possible associated, the garage got colder and my print settings weren't warm enough so that the plastic was cooling too fast - so I got some printed strings of plastic.

Overall, I think all of the printing worked out. The details seems good enough to work. We'll see how I feel after some priming and painting. I'm also going to try an easier route of painting/weathering Hot Wheels which doesn't involve drilling out the rivets to take the cars apart after reading an article on just weathering the cars. Weathering attempt #1 I hereby proclaim a success!

For when the painting mood hits me, the final Foundry minis are primed. They're primed grey, which is not my normal priming color. It will be interesting to see how that works out.

Whatever I do next will be somewhat weather dependent. Alabama is about to have winter for the next week or so as it gets down to freezing. Basically, nothing involving the garage will get done. While printing is the most obvious hold off, gluing map tiles (which is always on my to-do list) will also be held off. Mall buildings have yet to be started, so they're an option. As is playing around with the graphics of whatever I'll put in those stores.

Thanks to a Miniature Market sale, I ordered some more DC/Batman minis with which there will be a (negative) update to the spreadsheet to start out the year. As I have a love for racing games, I also placed an order for Rallyman GT, but not the Kickstarter version, last week.

My last odd purchase of late has been for a lot of Classic GI Joe TPBs which I used to have, but think I gave them away at some point in the past decade or so when it looked like IDW was going to reprint them all in hardback books. The Joe comics were my childhood, and I've been meaning to re-read (and even read some for the first time) for while. I've grown disenfranchised with modern comic stories as I can't find anything I like where I fall in the target audience. Now I'll see if I can relate to when I used to be the target audience.


3D Printer gaslands

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