Sunday, October 26, 2008

How to Build Your Own Space Ship

This is prolly the shortest hobby i ever had.

It went something like this:

*Me reading this website*

*Sage glancing over at my screen*

Sage says, "Oh, geez."

*End hobby*


Monday, September 29, 2008

More on Chainmaille

In an effort to further my chainmaille-ing ability, and to save on costs, i purchased 10lbs of stainless steel in the 18swg on a spool. This brought me to my new project: Creating the tools i need to coil the steel.

I had the idea in my head from the beginning, and it only took small tweaks to make it work. First, i grabbed two pieces of scrap wood and cut them to approximately the same size. these i nailed/glued to another piece of scrap my approximate coil length. i drilled holes in the wood (yes, after it was connected, not while they were on the table, silly me) and then slid the coil rod thru the holes, marked where it hit on the other piece of wood, and tapped an indent, not all the way thru, for the coil rod to rest.

I'll get to the pics in a minute.

My first attempt was using the handle of a shovel across two chairs with the spool set on the handle. This proved not the best idea. The shovel moved, the spool moved, the wire didnt stay right, and i made a stainless steel rose, a pic of which i will post at a later date.

The second attempt was after another tool. i found a closet hanger dowel that fit the spool perfectly, grabbed a few more scraps, some screws/glue later, i made me a hanger for the spool. here is the whole setup and the coils i completed:

Yes, the green chair in the background is one of the chairs i was balancing the spool across with a shovel. Not recommended.

The coil rod is still a little long, and i'll be cutting that off when i get a hack saw. that will make it easier to mount the drill on. it just about hangs off the table now.

The next step is a coil cutter. I need an arbor and saw for my drill, plus a mount to hold the drill stable while i drop the coils thru a block of wood and have them neatly cut. Its pretty cool.

Here's a couple pics of my coils, the first two i've done.

The lighter is for size reference. yes, its short, but right after that the coil got away from me and i had to figure out how to better hold it. it wound back on itself.

This second one is significantly longer. There are some expanded places where the spool got away from me again, but i managed to get it under control, and it won't make that big of a difference when i cut them. they'll just have to be bent back a little more.

All in all, i'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out and am looking forward to getting my cutter set up. I made this one to handle 3/16" and 1/4" inner diameter coils.


Thursday, August 28, 2008


Yesterday I played with the leather.

I went to Tandy leather here in town and picked up a slab of 12oz leather and some scraps. all told, about 45$. I took it home and started sizing.

For my first project i wanted a pauldron and arm bracers. One of the scraps i picked up was just perfect for the pauldron with just a little trimming. I boiled it in 200F water, pressed it between a couple cereal bowels while it was still stretchy, and molded it over my shoulder.

The leather didnt darken that much, but it did get rubbery and stretchy like the article said, so i figured i was about right on. I plan on melting the wax over it anyway to add additional hardening. I won't be using slashing weapons in my combat, so wax is fine, and it should darken it. I'm going to try it on a smaller scrap first, see what color the wax turns it. I want a nice dark brown/burgundy color. if that doesnt work i'll have to pick up some dye.

Anyway, the pauldron came out nice, fits my shoulder, and will work well with some padding under. I'm going to have to add a lame or two to extend it down my arm. Prolly attach it with rivets or heavy thread, not sure on finishing stuff yet.

Next i het up some more water and did the left bracer. I wrapped a small dish towel around my arm and had my wife strap down the bracer with an ace bandage. it left a slight texturing that i wasn't all too worried about. The bracer started really hot (remember 200F) but cooled quickly and i could feel it shrink slightly and get tighter on my arm as it went. I waited about 20 minutes until it was sufficiently cool and held its shape, then did the other in the same way, playing some SW:Republic Commando to kill the time.

My wife doesnt care for the smell of leather (sacrilege!) so i put them on the back porch to dry. in a couple days they'll be sufficiently dry and ready for punching for the laces and buckles. I'm not sure what tooling i want to do, be it a design around the edge or across the top or a mixture of the two, but i'll be thinking about it and working on some designs before i wax it. It was so easy i'm surprised i wasn't doing this stuff before.

I need more leather.

My dad told me he'd give me his deer hides if i will learn how to dehair and tan myself. i've googled a little on tanning leather, and found some interesting articles. its pretty gross stuff (leather is often tanned/prepared with brain/urine/poop) but i'm willing to give it a try.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Chainmaille & Leather.. Kinky?

Kinky.. pshh. no way. I'm not into that sort of thing.

But what I am into is creating armor. Yes, new burst of creativity. Wanna hear how it went down? Very interesting:

I was surfing the vids on YouTube and watching things of interest like making green screens, fireball effects with adobe Aftereffects, rotoscoping lightsabers, ... you know, basic geek stuff.. and i stumbled upon making lockpicks out of hacksaw blades. So i started searching for "how to" stuff, and next i hit chainmaille. looked relatively easy, so i stareted, as i often do, researching on google.

Two weeks later:

Well, you might be asking.. what about the leather?

That is a little different story, but along the same line. My friends Lone and Tony (I refuse to call him Goku) were sitting around late one afternoon and thought it would be fun to get some armor and make padded weapons and beat the hell out of each other. We thought tires would make great armor, ala Demolition Man. But the more i thought about it, used tires sounded dirty and difficult to cut.

So i started thinking of alternatives. Plate armor.. hell yeah. I need to be a blacksmith. Well, that was a little out of my reach, but i did talk my dad into teaching me about welding, so we'll see how that goes first.

Hmm.. no plate. what else would be hard enough to take a solid hit but be cheap enough to afford? And then Google, being the Internet God that it is, delivered the answer.

Hard Leather Armor.

My friends and readers, this is the holy grail of armor for the poor. Pieces can be purchased for a few dollars, shaped around bottles or similar -free- objects by wetting, then when they're dry, dip them in wax. Once they are cool, attach buckles/velcro, them to clothing, and you have inexpensive solid armor that will take a hit and keep your bones from breaking.

Now for the weapons. Muahaha!

For testing purposes, we started with some 1/2" pvc wrapped in foam insullation sheet bought at home depot for about 4$, then duct tape and electrical tape to keep the foam on. This is fine for just playing, but the pvc will shatter with a solid hit.

Now we're looking into Ash or hard Maple as the core, still wrapped in foam and duct tape. That will handle the swords.

Mace. Everyone wants to swing a mace at your friend's head.. hell yeah. Softballs are the size of mace heads. a broom handle and a hole drilled in the softball, then attach and cover in foam padding.

Lone wants a warhammer.. that one might be more difficult. He said sledge hammer, i said piss off. I'm all for mock combat.. i'm not for going to the hospital.

More updates will come when i buy the leather tomorrow and start on some bracers and chest plates.


Friday, June 20, 2008

3d Models, dining chairs, and Paper Houses

yes, yes. It has been too long. I know. I'm bad. I should post more often. I have been so busy lately, and that is not a good excuse, but it is true. Work schedule changes almost daily. And even when it is supposed to settle down, I get the email from the boss that says, 'Hey, I need to change your schedule next week. Instead of working...'.

I have been doing a lot of 3d modeling. I found that i love it. At first when I downloaded Blender i didnt know what to do with it. I had been playing with that skaven last year or the year before, and i had been playing with the tutorials and stuff, but nothing serious. Then I found DAZ3D. It took a little bit to get used to it, but it has been really fun. I've made a short 1 second vid fight scene (cuz that's what boys do) and made some pretty cool poses and stuff. It isn't much more than a virtual dress-up (barbie for geeks?) if you just do the simple stuff, but it spurred me to learn more. It gave me something to use Blender for. I started with a pair of pants for the male character, Michael, but never finished them. I have half of one pant leg done. But it told me how i should go about starting, and that was what i really needed.

The pants were enh. Something just to dress the model. And I found some free downloads that took care of that problem for me, so it was no longer an issue. But I still wanted to do my own. I used to have a game called Spellforce, and the box art has this sweet pic of a chick in armor. Well, she has a pauldron on her left shoulder, bracers with blades on the elbows, and a hip plate on her right side. Not full armor, but still very cool. So I thought I'd give that a go. Here's how it turned out:

Here's the link to the Spellforce redux pic. there hasn't been any finishwork, but it looks pretty good for a day's work.

Not bad if i do say so myself.

I've done some goggles that are still a work in progress:

And i've been learning about applying materials and textures. That will be the next thing I'm working on.

I looked up going to school for 3d modeling, but they want me to be a great artist with a full understanding of lighting and to produce 10-20 drawings. It may take a while to do that. I have to practice a lot, and that comes back to the time thing. There are so many things I'd like to be doing that I rarely have the time to do them all and my priorities are scattered.

The other thing I've been looking in to and talking with my wife about is alternate housing. Not like house boats or anything, but alternate building techniques. At first I was just reading some post about woodworking (something else I'm researching, making dining chairs) and came across something about a Cob house. I was curious and looked it up. Turns out that Cob is a clay/straw mix that is then sculpted to form walls. Sounded pretty interesting. So I started researching more on that and discovered papercrete. That's right, making bricks out of paper. Not as crazy an idea as one might think. I once learned how to make some dice out of toilet paper, hot water, and sugar. They made for some pretty serviceable dice when we were short on materials and large on time and imagination.

So turns out people build these bricks out of a wheelbarrow load of paper (usually used news papers or junk mail picked up at the post office), a bag of cement, and water. So similar to my dice making. they then form them in bricks, build walls, roof it, and then cover it in stucco to seal in the water.

I talked with my wife, expecting her to think me crazy for even suggesting we build a house out of paper, but she thought the idea was really cool and was interested in further research. Paint me flabbergasted. (yes, i used it.)

So now I'm doing 3d modeling, building chairs, and planning a paper house.

Geez, I'm a nut.


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