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Somewhat Daily Blog

Back From The Abyss

The somewhat daily blog has turned into a somewhat monthly (or even quarterly) blog. These things will happen on occasion when I am so utterly swamped like I had been.

At last I'm finished with the long hours at work, the prototyping machine for the most part has been working well over the last two months, and the first major convention that I attend (Origins) is over with.

I've been getting a lot of prototyping jobs in lately, past clients have loaded me up with parts and several new clients have approached me with potentially a lot of other work. If this keeps up, I'm going to have to figure out a better system for scheduling or something. I'm pretty much at capacity for the amount of work I can push through with the time that I have.

Origins went extremely well, with sales double what they were last year. I also ran a number of With Hostile Intent events which also went very well. The fighter rules are pretty streamlined now and I think are close to their final form. Hopefully I can put the rulebook together by Gencon and have it published by the end of the year.

I will be doing some more work on the site now that I have a little bit more time. Keep an eye out for a painting section, and updates to the photo gallery which I hadn't had time to get working before getting swamped with more important things.


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Prototyping Machine Is Back

The past month and a half has been extremely rough to say the least. I will have to do a more fully featured entry soon but the important bit of news is the prototyping machine has finally arrived and is hopefully, finally, fixed.


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Warstar Pics Uploaded

I've uploaded a picture of the new Warstar in the Hyperdyne Astronautics section. More pictures of it can be found in the Yahoo group.

The fighters are the last major hurdle in terms of locking down rules and this week I playtested them for the first time. The playtest went very well!

There are still a few concepts I still need to take into account but the overall mechanisms worked quickly and smoothly, and added a surprising amount of tactical depth to the game as a whole. This first test involved six squadrons of fighters (three on each side) - a stress test is next, seeing how the game handles something like ten squadrons per side (which will be a lot).

Lastly, problems with the prototyping machine reared another ugly head this morning. It always breaks during a weekend when I can't contact tech support. I've got to wait until Monday and see what they say. >:(


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Pushing Through

With the prototyping machine working, I'm busy pushing through a lot of backlogged jobs. Most of the pieces are back from the investment caster and tonight will be spent cleaning up a number of parts for two different clients.

Wednesday night will be spent play testing the latest additions to the WHI rules, bringing the game a step closer to publishing.

The Oscars were last night and the company I work for (Digital Domain) got their first Oscar for the visual effects work done on Benjamin Button. I'm surprised there wasn't more celebrating today.


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Finally Fixed

Since my last posting, there have been further troubleshooting with the prototyping machine. Ultimately temperatures were spiking in one of the jets and causing the heaters to fail while it was printing a layer. This meant on small parts it worked ok, but on large parts the jets would stop firing halfway through a layer as the material in the lines would cool and harden. So, another replacement part arrived yesterday - a control cable for the carriage that holds the jet.

After replacing the cable, it looks like the prototyping machine is finally fixed - and it could be that this bad cable was the source of many problems with the machine over the past year. Of course rooting out the problem has had me replace just about every other major component in the machine, so maybe with all these new parts, running jobs will go a lot smoother.

A lesson to learn when working on electronic hardware. Before closing the case all up, turn on the machine and make sure everything you've installed was installed properly. I'd have gotten an extra hour of sleep had I done that simple test...


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Up And Running (For Now)

The prototyping machine is up and running again, at least for now. Since the part that's running won't be done until about 3am, and I have no retailer orders to fill, I'm thinking I'll take tonight off and go to bed early enough to get 8 hours of sleep for a change.

In other news, The Orphanage - a highly respected visual effects company started by a few ex-ILM guys about ten years ago - is shutting down. You may not know their name but I can almost guarantee you've seen their work. It is always a sad day in the fx industry when a good company goes down. A lot of good artists will now be looking for work in an ever shrinking pool...nay puddle, of feature film effects companies.


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Nothing Exciting

Last night was spent packing up a second order for a B&M store who has just started carrying my adpaters. They're apparently selling very well for him. I also cleaned up and boxed a pair of bronze masters I prototyped for a client, as well as worked up some feedback for another model of his that would be problematic to investment cast in the current configuration.

Tonight will be spent assembling some angle adapters for Ad Astra Games, who will be running demos this coming weekend and a convention somewhere. If the part arrived, I'll also be replacing the build line (again) in the prototyping machine tonight. Hopefully it goes quicker this time or it'll be another night of little sleep...


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Another Late Night

Another late night, up till 3am. this time packing up an order delayed because I had run out of magnetic adapter straight connectors and needed to get new castings in.

Saturday I had a new problem with the prototyping machine, and last night an hour was eaten up needing to take pictures of the problem to send to tech support.


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