Adventure Team Set Four – Cyber Counter Attack

It being a vacation day, (I took the day off) I took some time to concept out an idea for my next Adventure Team gear set.

This is just a thought at this point, but I like where it’s going.

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The idea behind this set is counter attacking a major hacker. The set includes several EMP grenades (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) to knock out any cyber-attacker in the area. Each grenade will come with a base it can snap into with a magnet to attach it for a timed EMP bomb. I hope to be clever and use two repelling magnets to make the red thing at the top a push-button you can depress.

Also it has an EMP Cannon, held slung low like one of those large rotary Gattling guns. This is an aimed EMP pulse beam that can knock out electronics from a distance, with a small targeting range.

The VR Imaging Goggles work as an aiming system and general EMP visualizing tool to locate and target a skilled hacker.

The Sat Link is a standard piece of equipment to link to the satellite. It will have collapsable legs that fold up against the radar dish, with a handle for carrying.

Lastly, it will have a heavy-duty hacking console – a green-and-white touch-screen tablet.

So. What do you think?

Prizes!!!

As I posted just shy of two weeks ago, I won three design competitions at 3DAGOGO.

On Tuesday a box arrived containing a premium blue filament identical to Afinia’s blue premium, which I am was getting low on; and a silver, which looks different from the silver I bought from Afinia. I’m curious to see how that works out.

Two prizes in: Waiting on 3 t-shirts and 1 Makerbot DIgitizer 3D Scanner.

This morning I woke up to e-mail saying a package is winging its way to me, and was, in fact, on a truck for delivery. So I figured I’d find out tonight if it was a trio of t-shirts or a 3D Scanner.

Before I left the apartment this morning, however, it was on my back door. A bit box with a Makerbot logo on it. WOOT! The scanner is here! The scanner is here!

I was about to leave for work so I just took it with me. I set it up at work, calibrated it, and scanned a model of my Narcissus space shuttle toy.

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The Makerbot Digitizer allows you to multi-scan an object. This means it scans it, constructs the model for you to view, then you can inspect the model and tilt the object you were scanning at a different angle to catch things not gotten in the first pass. This is great because a lot of objects with feet or whatever won’t capture the bottom properly on a standing scan. This allows you to lay the thing on its side and rescan. The software will merge the two scans to catch the things you missed on the first scan.

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Here is the Narcissus toy, scanned three times at different angles.

Clearly it’s not a scan-and-print process for non-organic things. The early technology here is sure to create a crinkled, bumpy surface. But with the right software and skills, you can go in and smooth out and add detail.

What I hope mostly is that it scans the correct scale. I can see myself using this to scan GI Joe heads to make helmets and headgear to fit a head, rather than printing heads.

The first project will be the Adventure Team Save The Endangered Pygmy Rhino set. It has a large rubber rhinoceros from which I cut its main horn, installing magnets so it can be put back in place. But the point of the set is to replace a rhino’s horn with a prosthetic to reduce the likelihood it will be poached and killed for its horn, a savage and ridiculous practice going on in the world today.

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I can scan the rhino’s nose and get what I hope to be an accurate shape to fit the prosthetic to.

 

Support Apps for 3D Printing

For the moment I can’t print a 3D model from my iPhone or my iPad or other mobile device.

However I have found a couple of ways that an iPhone or iPad (or mobile device) can be of help in the print process.

iCam

After one reel of filament failed me (it was inconsistent in thickness, which happens rarely, but is not unheard of) 2 hours into a 5 hour print, clogging inside the extruder head, I felt I needed some way to monitor the printing process without having to run up and down the stairs every few minutes. Normally prints just work. But I still feel the need to see the progress just in case bad things happen.

For example, during a recent print the scaffolding supporting a part of the model that stuck off into space cracked and fell over. I saw it in time to pause the print, superglue the scaffold back into place and rescue my print.

So I felt I needed a Nanny Cam for my printer. I went looking for something to fit the purpose. I found iCam, which runs server software on your computer which takes the output from your web cam and plays it on your iPhone or iPod.

Before this I had built a fume hood for my printer. Later, I printed an armature for my web cam that could be snapped to one of the upright struts on my fume hood.

It’s designed to fit the Logitech Pro 9000. The tail fits into the square cup, while the rounded cuff fits around the upright strut of my fume hood:

Now I can monitor my prints at any time on my iPhone and my iPad.

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So now I use my Nanny Cam (as my wife coined it) to keep an eye on the print without having to run up and down stairs all the time.

Clock

The one thing the Nanny Cam can’t do is tell me how much time is left in the print. I thought of hooking up a second web cam to just monitor the count-down timer on the Afinia print software, but duh… iPhones have an app called “Clock” which can be used as a countdown timer.

So I use that.

I set the countdown timer to a few minutes before the print should end (by Afinia software estimate, which is usually fairly accurate.) That way I can be in the room when the print ends so I can be there to set up another print immediately.

It prevents wasted time.

Today’s Project – My GI Joe Backpack Jetpack

I spent some time on my GI Joe Adventure Team Backpack Jetpack (too long a name, and in fact is probably not even a jet pack, since it’s using Dyson-like fan technology. But on the other hand to get the air to move fast enough, there has to be at least one small jet engine inside.)

Here’s where I left it with my last post:

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So I began printing. I cut some pieces out of the back piece to save print time. I printed the thumbwheel, two engine shafts, and two engines.

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The yellow thumbwheel turns the two engine housings.

Here, you see the front attached, and the thumbwheel was replaced with a black one (after a minor revision):

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It’s Super-glued in place at this point.

And here’s a test figure wearing the backpack with a harness slung over him. I’m pretty happy with the harness. It fit on first try. I modeled it on a wing and a prayer, and I was a bit surprised to see it work so well.

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The harness will need two lower pieces to keep the backpack in place on the figure’s torso.

After I saw the engines on the backpack, I decided they were too thick, and not large enough. (The engine wasn’t fully printed. To save material and time I shortened them vertically. I still thought they were too stubby.)

So I remodeled them to be thinner and bigger. Here is my test pilot with just one of the newly remodeled engine housings:

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I also changed a few things in the basic design that aren’t immediately obvious.

For example, to keep the harnesses in place, I initially designed the clips on the lower harness arms that grab the upper harness to clip from the inside, so pressure would keep the arm in place. But it was awkward. So I changed it so the arms clip in from the front. They should still hold solid.

The hinge point for the lower harnesses was a bit of a problem. I wanted them to be strong, but I had to fit a T-shape tube into an upper and lower hinge, which can’t be done in a single piece hinge. And I experimented (in my mind and on paper) with several ways to do this. Then I realized at this angle, I could model the lower hinge piece on the front part of the backpack and the upper hinge piece on the back part of the backpack, so when I assemble the pieces, I can fit the harness arms in. (I have yet to print a revised body, but when I do, I’ll post results.)

ALso, originally the engines were supposed to be screwed to the shafts (or glued – I wanted this to be very close to a production type toy, so I modeled it to be screwed together for easy disassembly if needed.)

I changed the shaft ends so they aren’t just cubes. Now they are forked snap tines. They fit into the engine with a snap and the engines will be tight, but they can be removed.

I also recall that the GI Joe Action Pack backpacks also generally broke down from their fully functional state to something easily worn on the back.

So I changed the engines to be more than just a circular housing. I put a hub in the center with spoke bracers. The reason is that I can remove the engines and snap them to the shafts by the hub and the backpack can be carried easily. The forked snap tines will serve dual purpose.

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I will be adding modeled detail to the outer rims of the engine housings and on the body.

Also, there is a rather clever (I think) control handle system coming. It will be attached to the flat bottom part of the harness, and hinge down for use and up for storage/carrying.

Update – Oct 7

As of this morning, printing a few extra parts to make the second engine, I’m ready to reveal the first prototype of the Adventure Team Jetpack Backpack.

Here it is, folded on the floor, ready for use. Like the Action Packs of the original Adventure Team era, the concept was to fold up to be carried. The two engines have hubs that snap into the same arm tines that the engines themselves fit into, for a compact, carryable shape.

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Note that I hope to also model and print a storage rack for a standard Adventure Team ATV, much the same way the winch attaches to the back.

Here, you see the harnesses open and ready:

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The upper harness holds the control arms, which are on a hinge.

Here, our test pilot wears the backpack to show that, like the Escape Car, it is large and possibly heavy, but completely wearable. Note: the two lower harness arms will eventually be in black.

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Obviously he couldn’t attach the engines while wearing it, so his assistant, (just off-camera) here detaches the engine’s hub and hands him an engine just before attaching it:

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Then the assistant attaches both engines:

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Here we see it from the back. (The thumbwheel allows you to tilt the engines in a realistic way.)

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Our test pilot swings down the control arms. The joysticks can be adjusted inward and outward slightly, though the curved arm makes a lot of adjustment impossible. I may have to straighten those for better adjustability.

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I do have a few planned revisions, like adding a bit of nice detail to the body, including an AT logo that will be printed in black and red and inset into grooves custom-shaped to fit them.

I also have two sets of lower arms. The body of a vintage Joe is a bit thicker through and the lower arms will need to be a bit longer for a vintage Joe compared to a modern Joe. But depending on what clothing Joe will wear while flying it, it may be better to use the slightly longer arms anyway.

It is currently printed in hi-vis yellow, which is a color I got with my printer that I’m not overly fond of, so I use it for test prints. This one actually doesn’t look all that bad in hi-vis yellow. But I’m planning on printing the second version in a more typical AT yellow.

Well, there you have it. My first prototype GI Joe toy.

Space:1999 Stun Gun v2.0

After printing the first version of the Space:1999 Stun Gun I noticed a few issues.

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First, the front bar was too short. The silver part should dip down to about even with the bottom of the hand grip. The black pommel should protrude below.

There were other issues including the switch length, the panels for KILL and STUN which I decided to do using inlaid text on red and green plates which has the letter spaces cut out to allow white printed letters to be put in place.

Here is the switch assembly in parts:

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The letters do this odd thing whenever my Afinia tries to print small solids. If they get too small, the Afinia seems to print the outer edges without trying to fill the interior until the letters get big enough and then they print rather better.

But these letters are TINY! And here they are glued into their slots.

The switch, seen here upside down, has a cup modeled in it to hold a rare earth magnet that’s about .95cm in diameter.

Here, the magnet is in place, resting on the two colored panels, sealed in by the switch’s rails.

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Then I put two more rare earth magnets in the main gun body, one underneath the “KILL” and one underneath the “STUN” panels.

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I then glued the switch housing in place on the top of the gun, sealing the magnets in place. Then I glued a magnet into the switch’s slot and shoved the switch into the rails of the switch housing.

When fully assembled, the switch does a very strong “snap” from one setting to the other because the magnet in the switch is very strongly attracted to the closest magnet to it, whether that be the one under KILL or the one under STUN.

Here are some photos of the gun in my hand:

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Here is a short, poorly-lit video I did to show off the gun and its functioning switch.

Here is a gun body hot off the printer:

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Note that it prints a fair amount of scaffolding material up the sides. This is there to build support for roof sections of the small holes I use to inlay the various pips on the gun. In a future version, I will try to model those with 45 degree slanted roofs to avoid scaffolding altogether.

Here is some of the plastic I cleaned up:

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And here are all of the parts required to build one stun gun. If you count individual text letters, which I do, there are a total of 47 individual pieces, not including the 3 magnets I use to make the switch feel awesome to flip. (Some pieces are connected together in this picture by the rafting they are printed on. I did this to keep track of them. As the small black pips are very similar, I need the layout to remind me which is which.)

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What Now?

This gun is still a work in progress. I am very happy with the results, but because I wasn’t 100% happy with the silver filament, I’m planning on trying one in gray, but I don’t have any gray at the moment. I will try some later.

But besides that, I intend to make a Commander’s Special, which is my own variant which will be printed in white, with most of the rest being the colors you see here, with perhaps the exception of the switch housing and maybe the switch. Since white and yellow won’t necessarily read, I may change yellow to orange for the orange pips.

Also, one of the first things I get asked is “what’s that black thing in the bottom front.” I dont’ really know, but I always imagine it to be a removable battery or energy magazine. It’s never really referred to in the TV series. But if you bought the “Moonbase Alpha Technical Notebook” back in the 1970s (which I never did and always regretted not buying) it is revealed that this is in fact the Bergman Cell, a battery to power the gun.

I intend to further augment this model to allow the energy cell to be removed. It will be held in place by smaller rare earth magnets if I can arrange it.

I also intend to figure out a way to make the trigger work. That is, it will depress, probably using two more rare earth magnets, this time to repel each other, for a spring-like feel.

More on this if I ever get to it.

More on that when I do it.

Oh, and here is a scan of the pages referring to the Stun Gun (Model 2) from the “Moonbase Alpha Technical Notebook”:

2005 2004

 

 

Bert The Fish

One of my co-workers created a fish for her demo reel, a 3D animated goldfish, which, if I’m to believe her file name, is called “Bert”.

She asked me if I could print Bert for her and I said “I’m pretty sure I could.”

Bert had some issues. The first version suffered from thin fin. The pectoral fins were a bit too thin to print well. I fixed that by thickening them a bit and angling them better.

Bert was modeled to animate, meaning his eyes were spherical and inset into the body in a way that would make printing impossible, so I first sealed off Bert’s eye sockets on his body mesh and then used that shape to cut the spherical eyes out into shapes that would fit into those sockets and I could glue them in place nicely.

Similarly I had to change the mouth a bit and the teeth:

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The irises were printed separately in blue, and the pupils printed in black. This picture is about 2.5 times the size of the real thing (depending on your monitor of course.)

When the fish printed, it had support material to support suspended parts, so it came off the print bed looking like this:

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I removed it from the bed:

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and then removed all of the support material:

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I ran a kitchen torch lightly over the surface to change the color of any plastic that touched the support material. That material tends to show some “white” areas. Areas that are lightened by the plastic stress. A quick bit of heat usually changes that back to the native ABS color.

I used clear binary epoxy to glue the eyes and teeth in and here’s the final result:

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Tonight’s Work – A Cone and a Fish

One thing I’ve wanted to make with my 3D printer is props for GI Joe. 1:6 scale props. Something we Joe collectors have often wanted is a set of traffic cones. They are infinitely useful in creating realistic street sets for photo shoots.

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Today I downloaded one from Thingiverse, but it wasn’t well modeled. I remodeled it entirely, scaling it to a standard 28″ traffic cone, so at 1:6 scale it prints at just under 5 inches.

I printed mine in black, orange and white and glued the pieces together. Here it is standing next to two 12″ Doctor Who figures, in front of a 16″ TARDIS (which I made from foam-core.)

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Also this weekend, besides printing and assembling a first prototype of a Space 1999 Stun Gun, I spent some time posing and remodeling (for print) a model for a co-worker. She created an animated fish and wanted it printed, so I volunteered to print it for her.

I won’t show a picture of the fish until I get her permission to post pics, but I think I can safely show the eyes and teeth. (It is a cartoon fish after all.)

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Space 1999 Stun Gun Progress

My printer is back from the shop. It was three weeks to the day since I sent it. And it’s working.

I tested it by printing a small 1:6 scale Space 1999 Stun Gun for GI Joe. Just a quick print. No cleanup or optimization so it wasn’t perfect. I also found that at 1:6 size, it’s a bit small for a GI Joe hand. Will have to try 1:5.

But I began printing the real parts for my first prototype test print.

Here you see the setting switch housing and switch. The model of the gun I have shows the two colors under the switch as dark brown and red for STUN and KILL. I don’t have a dark brown, and I don’t want to use black. Besides red and green works.

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For this test print the red and green are just thin sheets. I will hopefully eventually carve the words KILL and STUN in them and print those in white.

The slider works nicely. But it’s a bit loose. I’ll have to print a few of those before I get it right, I’m sure. Also, I intend to put a magnet in the slider, and one under each of the colors so the switch will be drawn to the correct position for both STUN and KILL.

Here you also see the four gun barrels, two nubs that are at the top of the gun, and the handle pips in green and red.

Here is the 3D model, with most of the work finished. I just have to etch out holes for the magnets now.

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Update – Sept 21, 2013

Here are all of the parts printed. I kept the black parts on the rafting to keep track of them. Some of them are similar but not identical, so keeping them in this layout helps me place them.

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A while back I bought some rare earth magnets. Very strong but tiny. I decided to put magnets into the slider and under the slider so the sliding switch itself would be attracted to the two switch positions.

I cut holes in the model to accommodate the magnets and attached them to the gun. The attraction is weak from a distance though, so it doesn’t work as nicely as intended for this first prototype.

Here is the first finished model prototype:

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This is a photo of a prop. There are many versions of them, so I’m not sure how accurate it is, but you can see I’ve got it pretty close.

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Problems:

I forgot to cut holes for the two upper pips, so these are just glued in place. Also, the front barrel appears to be too short. I will have to check some other models and make adjustments. It’s shorter than my resin model. But it was modeled using a photo of a prop from the internet, so I don’t really know which is more accurate.

The magnets are powerful when close together but weak when far apart. The sliders work, but the attraction can hardly be felt. I’m probably going to go with bigger magnets that I have.

Otherwise for a first attempt, it’s not at all bad.

 

Tread Bot – Printed on a Form-1

A few weeks ago I had to send my Afinia H479 back to its home for a repair. Nothing major. The heating element for the print bed failed, and was intermittently usable until one day it just stopped working altogether. While I was able to print small things on an unheated bed, large things were impossible. They lifted off the bed ruining the print.

Tomorrow I get it back.

Before I sent it away I did a test to see how small I could create a reasonable little robot, with the final intent of using it as a game piece.

Here’s the result.

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With some changes, I made it better, and I printed it in multiple colors:

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You can see that it printed remarkably well for an additive extrusion printer.

However, Thingiverse user Brian Evans made one using a Form-1, which prints by laser-hardening light-sensitive liquid resin. The resolution is far superior to most home-priced extrusion printers, but they’re also not easily available yet.

Here’s his result:

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I was pretty impressed. This is the first, early version of Treadbot, not the improved one, but you can see by the angles of the body and the curves of every piece that it’s next to impossible to notice any layer striations at all.

My ultimate goal now is to have my Afinia for quick, iterative prototyping and printing larger things, but to have a Form-1 to make model kits I can actually sell.