Status update: Stuff that’s not games!

Progress has been decently good lately! I feel like I had a few weeks there where I just got caught up in other stuff or it was just plain too hot to really work on projects. This last weekend though I made what I feel is a fairly significant milestone in 818C History.

Continue reading “Status update: Stuff that’s not games!”

Scheduling Conflicts

Well it hasn’t been super productive the last few weeks. Last weekend I ended up catching the same cold my wife caught. Saturday and Sunday I was sick as a dog; luckily I had some role models on how best to recover:

 

So naturally, I spent the weekend shopping for parts! On their way is the clutch and flywheel plus a handful of other project stuff that I’ve been meaning to order. Including a brand new linear actuator…for a new project!

Meet project Coffee Table! Not too much to look at yet. I started work on it last weekend, though I’ve been working the design off and on for a while. Unfortunately, I then got shipped off to a trade show and couldn’t continue work. That said, I’m looking forward to continuing I haven’t done any woodworking in a while and it’s a fun change of pace from motor assembly…that and it’s a coffee table that’ll have a built in, actuator driven 50″ touchscreen…because it’s funny.

Other than that, the car’s coming along slowly…and not so surely. The engine has been driving me quite mad. There’s so many small components, hoses, and bolts that seem to be missing. It feels like I find a piece that needs assembly, then find out I don’t have all the bolts, so I order the bolts, then find out that I didn’t realize some other part attaches to this part and it has to go on first…but I don’t have the correct bolts for it either. It’s been very frustrating. That said, the heads are on, the timing belt’s on, the exhaust is on, the harness is getting close…Need some bolts for the intake and then I need to figure out where all the vacuum lines go…still progress is progress!

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Another Busy Day!

And a wonderfully productive one at that! We’re getting set up to go on a bit of a road trip this weekend out to visit Aurora’s best friend in Joeseph. Should be a nice weekend, though on the warm side for my taste. That said this week has been about preparing! There’s been a handful of things I’ve been putting off for a while to my detriment. Firstly the Mazda has had an intermittent check engine light related to low coolant. Most likely a stuck open thermostat. Not really a huge issue or anything, just an annoyance that’s made the more annoying because it’s intermittent. So after watching a video showing just how buried the thermostat and housing are, I sent it to my local shop, J+S Automotive (nice place! I like them quite a bit) and just had them do it. They also found that the left rear tire was worn badly to the inside, and probably needs alignment. The rears are pretty old, so I picked it up during lunch and dropped it off at Discount Tire for two new rears…hooray more money! This weekend road trip’s getting expensive! (yes… this event is expensive in routine maintenance?). So now it’s scheduled for alignment on Thursday.

That’s all well and good but I have a pair of front struts in the garage that have been nagging me. A while back we discovered the front struts were leaking and worn, so I ordered some middle of the road KYB’s to replace them…well then I didn’t do it…for a while… (cough… as in months… cough cough). Thing is when you put struts in it’s usually a good idea to get an alignment just to be safe, and I have an alignment in two days. Luckily with the help of my lovely wife, we managed to knock it out in about 2.5 hours after I got off work! I was really surprised we got it finished so quickly, especially because these struts are arranged in a weird sort of press fit that I’ve never seen. The top hat’s still 3 bolts like normal, but the bottom, instead of two thru bolts, has basically a C-Clamp much like a triple tree on a motorcycle or a battery post clamp for a car. Seems fine until you realize it’s a big heavy cast and machined piece that has been press fit in place by the weight of a car…Then you realize it’s going to take a good sized hammer to rearrange this problem and it does. Still went quicker than I thought, so good news.

Next up! Registration! I’ve been a bad person and let my Mazda’s registration lapse…and also my truck and motorcycle registrations… It’s funny I remember getting at least one of those notices and thinking ‘oh I’ll do this tomorrow.’ but it still hasn’t been tomorrow yet. It’s always been today when I wake up. This time though, it’s 1:30 AM…so I’m doing this today! So I went a scrounging for titles to fill out all the paperwork, and as I did I found this!

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That is the original form from when I got my dog Spectre. February 2009…hard to believe it’s been so long! Puts him at about 8 years, in spite of the form the Vet was pretty sure he was at minimum 2 years old. That’s a 10 year old dog who truly has the spirit of a dog that’s only 1.5 million years old. Truth be told he’s been getting a bit more spry (for a glacier) now that he’s on this new Thyroid medication. He’s lost some weight too. I think he was clocking in at 35 lbs and he’s back down to 25 lbs or so. Of course you look at that scraggly dog in black and white above…and that 17.5 note…that was his weight on admission. Poor guy looked (and acted) like he hadn’t eaten in weeks.

He’s been a good dog/inanimate object that you feed.

Busy and not busy!

In seemingly alternating bursts. I’ve actually been up to quite a bit in the last week or so since writing here. In relatively chronological order, I’ve been playing a good bit of Infinity! Undeniably my favorite miniature wargame. It kind of catches me coming and going because I love the ‘orders’ system. Then you add to that my love of the futuristic (but good future) sculpts and background…it’s pretty much a solid hit for me. I just don’t feel the appeal for the ‘grim darkness’ of the future…because if we’re looking from even the 1950s to today, things have generally gotten a lot better in my opinion. It’s definitely not perfect, but in my tiny corner of the universe the people I know and work with really seem to be trying to make it better. Hmmmm… Actually retyped this several times after waxing too philosophically! Opinions are not in fact like assholes, because everyone has LOTS of opinions, and I’m determined not to make this some opinionfest… Evidence! That’s what we need! So here’s evidence of my most recent Infinity games in the StrikeZone Wotan campaign. I decided to put them all in one place so far. Might come back add new ones or just make new posts. We’ll see.

Proper Care and Feeding of Pupniks

MVZ: Most Valuable…Zhanshi?!

Bar Fight on Sygtir-1

The Triumphant Return of Zombie Salty Bob

The Combined Army Could Not Care Less

Those have actually been properly fun to put together. I’ve been using Prisma for the filter and then PicSay Pro to add captions. It’s just kind of entertaining; I know what ‘happened’ in a game, in terms of X shot Y, Y punched Z in the face…but when you sit down after the fact and try to write out what actually happened, you find yourself starting to name the characters and making up a more cohesive story of what happened.

Bonus! I also learned more about photo editing in GIMP. It’s how I made some of the images like the featured image for this post. As I’ve learned taking close ups of miniatures on a camera phone, depth of field is a complete jerk, so what I’ve now learned to do is take multiple photos holding as still as possible (yes I should have a tripod…but that’s pretty inconvenient in the middle of a game), then go back later import them into Gimp and try to overlay the focus of each photo. Kind of a fun process and pretty new to me.

 

Oh…lastly…more work in the garage today… It feels like a bit of the end of an era. I decided it’s finally time to dismantle the CNC machine. Amazing how quickly something like that comes apart…and sad in its own way. The poor CNC machine was just a victim of too many problems. On the one hand it could only cut plywood and some hardwoods…very very slowly… It also had a ridiculous toolchain ie: design the part in whatever CAD, import to Heeks CNC, basically extract the outlines which sometimes mostly sort of worked, then make sure you have the right bits, speeds, feeds, etc set up, run the G-Code creator… put the file in the shared folder… shut down windows and boot into Linux to run Linux CNC… realize you made a mistake… boot back into Windows… screw with the gCode… etc… Also as an added bit of wonderful functionality, the lack of breakers in the garage meant that I had to power up specifically and I could not operate any other devices on that circuit… I also had to watch it to make sure it didn’t light itself on fire… you know again… It was also insanely loud. So that left me with an overall process that took a long frustrating time to get the part to start cutting THEN left me sitting there staring at it, because I couldn’t do much of anything else while it ran…

All that whinging on though…the CNC did its job. I did learn a HUGE amount about CNC, gCode, toolchains, tooling generally…and I had a lot of fun building it. It’s also left me with the confidence to design or build one again…this time knowing SO much more. So yeah…Project Success! Not a brilliant success, but still a good one!

It is amazing how months of work went into it and it took…oh maybe an hour and half to have it pretty much disassembled and any of the valuable components stripped off… Admittedly a CNC machine made of MDF and some bolts does not have many valuable components remaining…

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Spiderwebs are nonconductive right? I’ll definitely keep all the stepper drivers for the next project…that serial controller though…what a pain to deal with! Either use linux or Windows XP…Linux is fine it’s just all my other CAD/CNC stuff is Windows only…

Bah! I’ve been typing too much! Time for bed!