3D Printing and Molding – Rapid Prototyping

So for the people who have known me for a very long time you will know what I am talking about without having to go in to too much detail as to what I am working on. For those of you who do not know me well I will briefly describe what I am working on.

Back in the winter of 1982 – 1983 I awoke in the middle of the night one evening from a dream where I was playing a game. I lit up a smoke and and quickly drew out a rough version of the game and went back to sleep. I thought about this game off and on for about 5 years before I actually created a prototype.

Over the years I have tried various ways of making these prototypes that generally involved wood beginning with taking a broom handle and planing it to a long hexagonal rod that I would then cut to my desired lengths. Then I would take these cut off tiles as I call them and then spray paint them with plastic paint. Surprising how much paint it would take as the wood would absorb the paint.

Once armed with my painted tiles I would then apply the information to each tile by hand. In the beginning it was all hand drawn that eventually became decals. These looked pretty good but not very cost effective so I continued to find an easier and cheaper way to create these tiles.

Fast forward a few years and my meeting with a Fellow named Ken who introduced me to the world of hand mold making and a product called Smooth-on. This system, while not perfect, seemed to be a possible solution for my “on demand” printing solution. Of course the making of the molds required a positive to use as the source and for that we went to wood once again.

3D Rapid Prototyping

7.5 inches by 5.5 inches positive mold created by 3D printing.

Fast forward a few years more and I check out 3D printing to make my molds. Viola – very precise positives to work from.

This sample is 7.5 X 5.5 inches and took approximately 11.5 hours to print and cost $280.00. The plastic is kind of sticky to the touch for some reason and while it looks strong and durable the reality is that it is not quite that tough. I guess it makes sense when you take in to consideration that it is printed by laying 1 thin strand of plastic, about the thickness of a human hair, upon the previous strand until you have built up enough layers to finish your finished print.

They all do not work that way but the one I used did and this was not a cheap 3D Printer as it was a commercial grade printer that cost upwards of $50,000.00.

Armed with my new 3D Printed prototype that would allow me to make a dozen blank tiles at a time I mix up a batch of Smooth-On mold making goop and proceed to make my first mold – or so I thought.

The molding material takes 24 hours to cure so I wait a solid day before I make the attempt to de-mold. Having never used this material before I soon discover that removing the mold from the positive is going to be a lot harder than I thought. Not only does this rubber grip everything tightly but there is actually no place for me to grab the mold as the sides of the positive are higher than the mold surface.

Smooth-on Mold

The extracted Smooth-On mold from the 3D printed positive.

I was hoping to use the positive to make at least 6 molds but I am fearful that I am going to have to break my positive to get access my mold. It took me over an hour to coax up an edge of the mold high enough to clear the edge of the positive so I could grip the mold and pull it out of the positive. In the process I actually cracked the floor of the positive and while I will be able to use it to make at least one more mold I am hopeful that by gluing the positive to a stronger surface I will be able to get my 6 molds.

I guess the take away from this would be that while 3D Printing Rapid Prototyping is a fast way to make your molds you have to keep in mind that they are not that strong. If you are going to be using this method to make your molds then you would be well advised to reinforce the prototype by gluing Plexiglas panels to the bottom and sides as the forces required to de-mold may break your 3D printed prototype.

I will continue to use this process to make my components so that I can “Print on Demand” my game creations.

A Drone Outside Your Window What Do You Do?

Drone

Replace the camera with a remote controlled gun!

So I had a rather morbid thought today as I went for my morning walk. As some of you know I enjoy crime dramas and documentaries and in some of these programs they perform a particular forensic test to determine from which direction a bullet was fired by tracing the trajectory with lasers pointers from the point of impact. Pretty sure if you have seen a crime drama you have seen them do this test.

Any way my thought was quite simply this; what could stop someone from mounting a remote controlled weapon such as a small calibre rifle, on a remote controlled drone and parking it outside your window and start shooting at people, places or things? Pretty easy frame up eh? Want some revenge on somebody, set them up for a little or a lot of public damage by making it look like they were shooting off a gun from their 10 floor balcony.

We could actually take this another step further by using these drones as an assassination tool to off politicians and other high level targets. Again armed with a silent drone that has a range of 3 miles or so and viola, the assassin gets the shot off from three miles away or so thus enabling them a much higher escape rate. How do the authorities defend against something like that?

I am going to step out on a limb here and make the prediction that this method of attack is going to be used by terrorists to make attacks here in North America. And wouldn’t that offer up some more irony? The US military complex uses sophisticated drones that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to strike with and the terrorists will use off of the shelf toys that cost tens of hundreds of dollars that will cause way more damage given the value of the targets the two combatants aim at.

Black Bear along the Hoy Creek Trail Coquitlam BC

Yesterday was a bit unusual for me as I had back to back to back conference calls that started early in the morning and went through to mid-afternoon. The early morning start interfered with my daily walk leaving me the choice of going in the afternoon or just waiting until the evening which would make for a rather dull Friday night. After sitting at the computer for hours straight I needed to stretch my legs so I opted for the afternoon.

In behind my apartment complex there is a nice stretch of the Hoy Creek Trail so I often start my walk there, get some fresh air before going out to the sidewalks skirting some heavily trafficked roads. As I walk along the trail I round a slight corner and notice some movement on the little bridge crossing Hoy Creek up ahead. Much to my surprise a large black bear steps off of the bridge on to the trail about 10 yards in front of me and casually starts sniffing his way down the path.

Naturally I just stopped and remained motionless and continued to watch the bear ever so slowly walk in the other direction. Looking at the bear I think about who does one call to report a bear sighting in the city, do I call 911 or some other group? Upon further thought I figured that by the time anybody responded to my call the bear would have already left the path he was on and surprised whoever was at the other end of the trail. Knowing that this part of the trail opens on to a very busy sidewalk at a bus stop on the even busier Johntson Street I figured this could get real bad real quick. I thought it would better if I circled around and warned the people I knew that would be on the sidewalk of the impending arrival of the bear.

Taking a different path I hurried to the other end of the same sidewalk that the bear would soon be on and began warning people of the danger ahead. The first 2, an older woman with a young teenage girl in tow thanked me and continued on their way towards the direction of the bear. A little further ahead there was a group of 6 elderly people enjoying the view of Hoy Creek and all the little salmon fry swimming in the waters below the overpass they were on. I warned them to be on the lookout for the bear and continued up the road towards where the bear would eventually immerge. Next, a young woman tuned out with her iPod was walking towards me so I stopped her and warned her as I knew the bear had to be close by and likely in the bushes to her right.

Upon arrival of where the Hoy Creek trail joins the sidewalk I looked down the path and sure enough here comes the bear. By this time the little old lady and her granddaughter caught me up and I pointed out the bear. The young woman with the iPod turns around and comes to join the three of us as we watch the bear slowly walk towards us. About 15 yards from us the bear turns off of the path and goes in to the bush to cut across the creek. This I know will put the bear heading straight towards the group of old people admiring the salmon fry so I warn them once again and they start walking off.

Black BearSeeing the group of the old people walking away I also see more people walking towards us, I start walking towards them in an effort to try to keep the bear from coming out of the bush right on top of these unsuspecting people. Armed only with my camera, and making a lot of noise, I tried my best to parallel the bear as he went through the bushes in an effort to keep the bear in there.

Suddenly the bear charges out the bushes right between the two divergent groups of people and runs across the busy 4 lane street causing a few emergency stops and scarring a lot of people. Once on the other side of the street the bear walks along the sidewalk to where the Hoy Creek trail continues its way deep in to the neighborhood.

As we watch the bear go back in to the woods surrounding the creek the little old lady and her granddaughter catch me up and she says in her thick eastern European accent, “I have lived in Canada now for a long time and I have never, ever seen a bear.” To this I could only respond with as I resumed my walk, “You can’t say that any more.”

Summer 2014 update – Heat yawn!

So the summer is cooking along nicely and I find my that my new place out in Coquitlam BC does not work well with the heat wave we got going on right now. My unit is on the second floor and well shaded throughout the day but it still gets way too warm in here. I have had apartments on higher floors that stayed cooler than this place. When I took this place the ad read Executive Apartment but as I spend more time inhere I find that the only thing executive about this place is the rent!

I know it has been a while since my last post and for that I am sorry even though I am pretty much just apologizing to my self. I would have done it sooner but I had to remove my Feedburner account first due to the new spam laws here in Canada. No I wasn’t spamming anybody seeing as originally the people who had subscribed to my feed did so through a double opt in system but the new laws required that I seek their approval prior to July 1, 2014 and I wasn’t about to do that. Sure there might have been only a few hundred people but I just couldn’t be bothered so I had to delete the list before I posted again.

I also meant to post something about the constant crow attacks but I did a youtube.com video about it instead. Below is that video and I am also going to re-post the little blurb I did on the subject.

This morning I was out for my usual walk but with a slight difference; today I strapped a GoPro camera to my head so that I could document how I am being dive bombed by crows. I watch as other people stream by the same locations throughout the day with no attacking crows dive bombing their heads but as soon as I walk outside the crows start diving at my head. Sure I know it is fledgling season and their young birds are out in the trees but I am not going near them. In fact in the beginning of the video you can see the first crow come out from behind the top of a high rise apartment building to set up his first swooping attack. Towards the end of the video you can see how one of them actually comes in contact with my head as it jiggles the camera view.

I just moved to this neighborhood and these buggers are just outside of my apartment complex. Upon occasion they perch in the trees just off of my balcony and look in my window and scream at me while I am watching TV. Lucky for them it is against the law to kill crows here or I would do away with the little buggers as I can’t even go out to the store without them diving at my head and dropping things on me from on high.

My next post should be a cob house update.

Cob House – Hobbit House: The Project Begins

This past weekend I finally managed to make it up to my brother’s property, located near Lone Butte BC, to have a look at the patch of ground that he is going to allow me use to build the cob/hobbit house. I took 2 of my son’s up with me and we spent the Saturday pulling nails and sorting lumber from the cabin my brother and his friend salvaged. We didn’t finish all of it but we did manage to deal with the most valuable cuts at least.

While I was up there inspecting the potential building sites I snapped a few pictures to document the process of building the little cob/hobbit house. The first picture is facing south (it may be off a few points) and I took the rest turning slightly to the right to approximate the main compass points.

South View

South View

South West View

South West View

West View

West View

North West View

North West View

North View

North View

North East View

North East View

East View

East View

South East View

South East View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see in the pictures we will have some decent trees surrounding our little cob house once it is done but we will certainly need to do some clearing as well.

What you can’t see in the pictures is the location of the road, our site will be about 75 yards off of the main road and it is off to the East. Also it may be hard to notice but the site is at the top of a little hill that levels off quite nicely to the North. The steepest part of the hill is to the South and will work well for drainage.

I brought back a soil sample so I can test it to see the clay content, make sure that it is suitable to build this hobbit house. There was a very thin layer of top soil but under that it looks like there is a lot of sandy material and rocks. Looks pretty good for drainage but I will consult my “How To” books to make sure it is going to be adequate to our needs. If the soil isn’t suitable I would be left with the choices of either selecting a new building spot or scraping off the unsuitable soil until I find a decent sub-strait. If it is too deep it will drive the cost up for foundation stone which would force me to find a new location.

For those of you who are curious I am basing the construction of this project from a book called “How To Build A Cob House – Step by Step” by Alex Sumerall. His site is a good resource on building with Cob.

On a slightly different note; my brother’s property is divided in two by a road and the section of property across the street from his house has this old dilapidated cabin on it that seems to garner a lot of people stopping on the road to take pictures of it. Oddly, the old cabin also seems to receive a lot of visitations by some of the local deer as they can hole up in it from time to time. Below is a picture of that old cabin.

Old Cabin

Old Cabin

Better late than never…

Alright. I know it has been close to a month since my last post but what can I say, I’ve been busy.

I am almost all moved in to the new digs out in Coquitlam, BC. I still have to move the remaining contents of my storage locker to the new place but there isn’t much left. Mostly my large collection of games and the required shelving to hold them and that is about it.

I have sprung an interesting spring for myself and it is about to begin. I bribed one of my kids with the building of a hobbit house up on my brother’s property in the Caribou. Nothing too fancy just a round little 2 bedroom house built of cob.

For those of you who do not know what cob is they are little balls of mud, sand and straw that you pile up over a period of time to resemble a small cottage. The nice things about using cob are that you get to sculpt your house rather than build it and it is far less expensive than traditional housing. They also regulate temperature very efficiently, making them economical to live in.

A lot of people who build these things do it because they want to reduce their footprint upon the environment. Power to them for all the difference they actually make but that isn’t my motivation. Hell, I am going to use power tools to do all of my heavy work. I am not that noble, I don’t have the time to be.

My son and I have gone over some rough plans and will be finalizing a blueprint real soon. We know the basic size of land that will be required and I am going up that way to scout out the building spot as well as secure the various equipment and supplies required to build the foundation.

I haven’t decided if I am going to make a new site to chronicle the building of our hobbit house or just make a section for it on this site but I will be documenting the undertaking somewhere.

The hobbit house will be named either Broderick Hall or Logan Manor, we haven’t decided yet. Also, the patio with the sculpted outdoor oven will also be a memorial to my sister, Shannon Romhanyi.

Scary project? You bet but it will also be a fun one for the next couple of years.

Sand Wars – Who Knew?

I just finished watching a documentary called Sand Wars and talk about an eye opener.

I like most of us outside of the aggregate industry take sand for granted. The stuff is used in just about everything, from the homes we live in to the bank cards we now use instead of money. It is so common that we never really think about it unless our toes are digging in it.

The sad fact about sand is that it is not a renewable resource and we are running out. Sure you might think there is tons of the stuff lying around in all the desserts of the world and while that is true it just isn’t the right kind of sand for building. Dessert sand has been blown around so much that the grains are rounded whereas sea sand is much coarser with harsh angles and this coarseness makes it perfect for building material.

So why is this a problem as the oceans are vast with lots of sea sand at the bottom you might think but the truth is that there really isn’t that much sea sand out there. While it is true that huge quantities of sea sand is being dredged up from the seas the problem is that when you suck up all of the sand out at sea, the actions of tide and wind is pulling the sand from the beaches to fill in those dredged hallows. This erosion is problematic on land as well as it is at sea. For example there are approximately 15 islands that have disappeared from Indonesia because of sea sand harvesting.

The demands on sand are so vast that sand is now the 3rd largest commodity traded around the globe, right behind oil and water. At present there are not a lot of regulations regarding the harvesting of sand and as such it is like a gold rush with companies springing up to harvest the limited commodity, which is free to harvest once you have the equipment to do so. Apparently there are no limits to the willing buyers around the world for the stuff as it becomes harder and harder to get.

The majority of the people of this day and age of this so called enlightenment have no idea that this issue exists and sadly by the time John Q Public discovers this potential crisis exists there will be little that can be done about it.

Sand Wars is a very informative documentary about the biggest problem you were unaware of.

Coquitlam Bound

It might not have been my first choice but I am moving back to Coquitlam, North Coquitlam to be precise. The location itself is pretty good, close to all kinds of shops as there is quite a few strip malls within walking distance as well as a very large shopping centre. I am within walking distance of a large park and small lake, Douglas college and an aquatic centre. But most importantly I am within walking distance of where my children live making it easier for us all to see each other.

The unit I took is a large one bedroom apartment with a big balcony and I am looking forward to being able to barbecue once again. The kitchen has slightly less cupboard space than I would like due to some funky openings between the kitchen and the living room but I will make it work.

There is a decent amount of storage in the unit that should afford me the opportunity to finally get rid of the extra expense of the storage locker. There will be a few things I need to get rid of such as my window screens and the old tires for my car but that is OK as I am tired of logging this stuff around.

I am locked in for a year at this new place and I am paying slightly more than I would like to but all in all I am looking forward to getting out of down-town Haney.

Spring 2014

It was about this time last year when I decided to exorcize a curiosity by taking up residency in a small apartment above a store front. I am not sure where this curiosity came from but I have always wondered what it would be like to live over a business in a “down-town” type location. Curious no more.

Within the first few weeks of my moving in someone was murdered across the street from me, close enough to bring the police to my door canvassing the neighbourhood. It only took a few days for the RCMP to get their man, or men in this case, which is good but all the down-town living fun didn’t end there.

Before too long I started to notice the pattern of late night activity from the pizzeria across the street. Nothing too crazy unless you consider people tossing a football across a 4 lane highway at 5 in the morning to be crazy.

Any way it turned out that the late night partying in my little concrete canyon was a constant that forced my bedroom window to be closed while I slept. For most of the year this loss of fresh air at night hasn’t been too much of a concern accept during the summer.

For some strange reason the owners of this building have two exposed walls that are tarred black and not whitewashed and typically these two walls grab all of the morning and evening sun and thus, super-heating my apartment.

With no balcony to escape the heat or in which to barbecue foods I was somewhat forced to endure a rather long, sweaty and uncomfortable summer. I seriously considered moving in the fall but seeing as I already went through the worst of the year’s record breaking heat waves I figured that there was no rush. Besides my rental agreement gave me free electricity so I figured I concluded that I would ride out the winter and just move in the spring.

Yesterday I gave my written notice to vacate this my personal hell in Haney.

Ultimate List of 45 Man Tips

Your father probably told you a few things, but just in case he wasn’t around enough, here are some words of wisdom you might have missed out on:

  1. Buy high quality tools, so you only have to buy them once.
  2. Keep a change of clothes at the office.
  3. Never hit anyone unless they are an immediate threat.
  4. Every hat should serve a purpose.
  5. Never take her to the movies on the first date.
  6. Learn to wet shave.
  7. Nothing looks more badass than a well-tailored suit.
  8. Shave with the grain on the first go-around.
  9. Always look a person in the eye when you talk to them.
  10. Buy a plunger before you need a plunger.
  11. Exercise makes you happy. Run, lift, and play sports.
  12. Brush your teeth before you put on your tie.
  13. A small amount of your paycheck should go directly to your savings account every month.
  14. Call Mom and Dad every week.
  15. Never wear a clip-on tie.
  16. Give a firm handshake.
  17. Compliment her shoes.
  18. Never leave a pint unfinished.
  19. If you aren’t confident, fake it. It will come around.
  20. You can tell the size of a man by the size of things that bother him.
  21. Be conscious of your body language.
  22. The only reason to ever point a gun at someone is if you intend to shoot them. Period.
  23. Always stand to shake someone’s hand.
  24. Never lend anything you can’t afford to lose.
  25. Ask more than you answer. Everybody likes to talk about themselves.
  26. Never have sex with anyone that doesn’t want it as much as you.
  27. Go for women out of your league. You may end up surprised.
  28. Manliness is not only being able to take care of yourself, but others as well.
  29. Go with the decision that will make for a good story.
  30. When you walk, look straight ahead, not at your feet.
  31. Nice guys don’t finish last, boring guys do.
  32. Find your passion and figure out how to get paid for it.
  33. Don’t let the little head do the thinking for the big head.
  34. No matter their job or status, everyone deserves your respect.
  35. The most important thing you can learn is personal responsibility. Bad things happen; it’s your job to overcome them.
  36. The first one to get angry loses.
  37. A man does what needs to be done without complaining.
  38. Never stop learning.
  39. Always go out into public dressed like you’re about to meet the love of your life.
  40. Don’t change yourself just to make someone happy.
  41. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
  42. Luck favors the prepared.
  43. Women find confidence sexy as hell.
  44. Do whatever you want to do, but be the best at it.
  45. No one is on their deathbed wishing they spent more time at work.