Selling My 3D Prints – The Downside

I sell my 3D prints in various ways.

I have an ETSY shop called MoonbaseBeta to sell my Space 1999 Dinky Eagle pods, which are pods that never existed on the market, but many collectors want because they did appear on the show. These, I 3D print at home, assemble, and ship. Start to finish, it’s all me.

I have a Shapeways shop called FourthD in which I sell things for various collectors. Models for Space 1999 Dinky Eagles, for example, to replace parts or augment their collection with new parts that never existed on the market, like new pods, moon buggies to scale, etc. Plus some GI Joe scaled ray guns and pistols, etc. Shapeways does all the work. They print, they ship, all I do is upload my models and make them available to people.

On Shapeways, they print the model for their cost and profit. Then I get to add a bit for myself as markup which is how I make money. I usually charge anywhere between a few dimes to a few bucks, depending on how much of a percentage that is of the total price.

Yesterday I noticed one model up there I had left up for people to see and buy inadvertently during a mass editing session. But hey, fair game, the model was there, and someone ordered it. I got 0% markup. No harm no foul. I really didn’t care about that sale. So I edited the file to add a $1.28 markup fee.

Then this morning I saw this Correspondence on my Shapeways shop site, and here was my response.

I ask you: am I being unreasonable???

 

GI Joe Fan Pic with My Gear

As you should know by now if you follow this blog, I create GI Joe toys with my 3D printers, and Cotswold Collectibles sells them through its catalog. People generally find them quite enjoyable. Every now and then someone posts a photo.

This one was featured in Cotswold Collectibles’ E-News letter this week.

Phil Gilbert posts this photo of my Helijet with the wonderful uniform Cotswold put together for it, as well as the RACCS Platform which fits on the rear of the vintage Adventure Team Vehicle. On the RACCS is the RACCS Power Winch and the RACCS Spy Probe – Dual Carrier System. The driver is wearing two Drone Control Cuffs.

New Shapeways Dinky Eagle Restoration Project!

Announcing the first wave of my new Dinky Space 1999 Eagle Restoration/Repair Project!

I restored a Dinky a few months ago. I ordered some side attitude jets on eBay and they were very nice. But I was thinking I could make my own, and make them available on Shapeways. And for that matter, any part I wanted to restore, I could make myself and print it at Shapeways.

As of today, since my package of test prints has returned, and I have pushed all of the parts onto a Dinky Eagle I’m about to restore, I thought it would be a good time to announce to the collecting community that these are now purchasable on My Shapeways Store.

 

ATTITUDE JETS

(Click to be taken directly to the Shapeways item)

I started with the Attitude jets. Mine are modeled in the same way as the originals, except the rocket bells are not half-cylinders, they are fully round.

They come on a tree as a four-pack. You need only buy one item to get all four.

They are availble in white, red, yellow, silver, frosted, and raw aluminum.

 

RETRO JETS

(Click to be taken directly to the Shapeways item)

The original Dinky Retro Jets are paired with a connecting object that has no basis in reality. I decided to make these retro jets individual, which is far more accurate.

They are available in white, red, yellow, silver, frosted, polished nickel steel, and raw aluminum. (I LOVE the polished nickel steel!)

 

ENHANCED LANDING LEGS

(Click to be taken directly to the Shapeways item)

Also, I was thinking about how short and stubby the Dinky Eagle’s legs were, and how they were lacking fundamental detail. I opted to lengthen the legs to a more correct height, and add detail to the foot, and the hinged “heel” at the back.

They are available in white, metallic silver plastic, frosted plastic, stainless steel and polished nickel steel. Stainless Steel is my favorite of these. Frosted Ultra Detail seems a bit brittle and might break easier in play. The Strong & Flexible might take some doing to break.

 

REPLACEMENT LANDING LEGS

(Click to be taken directly to the Shapeways item)

Since this all really started with this Eagle I’m restoring having only 3 legs, I first modeled a leg after the original. These are also available. I have no pics but the connecting points are identical, so I am confident they will work fine.

No pics, since I have not yet printed one for myself.

 

VARIOUS PARTS, VARIOUS MATERIALS

Here are the prototypes I received today. There are other variations of each. See details on the individual items’ pages.

 

Future items I hope to include

  • Replacement spine in Strong & Flexible White Polished (other colors and materials may not work.)
  • Enhanced Spine that replaces the existing trough on the Dinky, and adds greebling underneath where it will screw onto the Eagle. Probably only in metals, which will be prohibitively expensive for most, but nice to have anyway.
  • Replacement Engine Tanks, more accurately modeled
  • Replacement Main Engine Bells with Baffles.
  • Landing Legs for Passenger Pod
  • Replacement Nuclear Canister

Space 1999 Konami Scale Landing Pad Display Base

I recently added a new item to my Moonbase Beta ETSY Store: A Konami Scaled Landing Pad Display Base. The display base is rather large in comparison to the Eagle, but it is only a bit undersized, and looks really awesome when done.

I liked it enough to make a kit out of it that was nice enough that I would be willing to sell it as a kit so people could make their own very affordable Konami display. It would take some work on their end, but not anything really difficult. This was a very fast project.

As I had the 3D parts already designed for a smaller base I had made for Konamis (which I sell on Shapeways as a series of separate parts) scaling them up, adapting them to work at this scale, was not that hard.

(NOTE: This kit does not include the Long Building. I figured no one would be able to display it anywhere, and if you want to add that, it shouldn’t be very hard with some foam-core or matte board and a sharp X-Acto knife.)

I separated out the parts so the rim is made up of 9 – 10 (depending on the diameter you use) separate pieces which have a slot for the foam-core base, and the House could fit on my printer in two parts, and the docking tube could extend/retract. I also made lights for the landing pad.

 

The Kit Includes

The kit features all of the 3D printed parts needed:

  • 10 Rim Pieces – (two variants so you can break up the design)
  • House Rear Section
  • House Front Section (with slot for docking tube)
  • Docking Tube (extendable)
  • Window Inserts
  • Landing Lights – You get way more than enough

 

The Kit Does NOT Include

This is what the user has to provide:

  • Black (or painted) foam core board – one circle measuring 28cm or 11″ in diameter
  • Red paper (or white paper) printed with the cross design – one cross with each segment measuring 2 3/4″ or 7.5cm. (I searched the internet and found a few interesting landing pad designs which I printed on red paper which worked beautifully!)
  • Crazy Glue to glue the two house halves together. Also to glue the windows in. You can also glue the rim edges together if you like, though they stay fairly nicely in place by friction, which allows you the bonus of breaking the display down and storing it easily. Crazy Glue can also be used for the lights, but I recommend White Glue for that job.
  • Konami Eagles!!! I presume you have at least one of these if you’re buying this kit.

 

Instructions

1) Cut a 28cm (or 11″) diameter circle from black foam core (or any other color painted black). I used Dollar Tree black foam core.

You will note it doesn’t have to be a perfect for the final result to look great!

2) Red Landing Cross. I took red paper and overprinted a gray pattern on it that I found on the internet. Without getting specific, search here and you will find some.

Print it as large on an 8.5 x 11″ sheet as you can. The Cross width (per section) is 7cm (2 3/4″). The whole cross can fit on one sheet.

3) Glue the two halves of the House together:

4) Slot in the Rim Edges. (Depending on your exact diameter, there may be a gap, but that goes under the house out of sight.) I include enough pieces to fit a base somewhat larger than I suggest. 9 pieces will fit mine, with a gap. I provide 10 pieces just in case.

5) Add Lights – This is the tricky part. Don’t worry, I include way more lights than you need. I start at one inner corner and put down the first light. Then I  add a light on one outer corner so the distance is the same from the corner to the light. Do this all around the landing cross.

  • Add Lights To All Corners, so they are the same distance from each corner, outer and inner:

  • Add a light to each mid-length between each corner light:


(Repeat all around the cross.)

  • Add a light in between each middle light and its corner:


(Repeat all around the cross)

This is a great method because it’s far easier to find a mid-point between two things than try to line up 5 of something with perfect spacing. DIVIDE AND CONQUER!

6) Glue in the windows (or if you like, use black cardboard. Whatever works for you.)

That’s really it. You’re done. And when you’re done it should look something like this:

(Forgive my rough quick placement of the rim pieces… I really banged this project out in an hour once the parts were printed.)

Variants:

  • Cut the cross out of the foam-core for a sunken landing cross

More Toys For Cotswold Collectables

Since December, I have been working nearly constantly at home printing new and re-order stuff for Cotswold Collectables.

Here is a portion (heavily edited) of the Feb 1 E-Newsletter they sent out:

cots-e-newsletter-feb-1-2017

While there were more items shown, and I did a cut in the center there, this shows how much of the space was devoted to my products. Not bad.

Most exciting, at the top, the new RACCS ATV Winch, which was revealed in images not long before. Those, as of this writing (Feb 9, 2017) are completed, waiting to be shipped to Cotswold for their pre-order fulfillment. Meanwhile just below is a very nice camo outfit featuring my new military colored Tranquilizing Bazooka for hunting the Invaders. These are currently printing and being assembled.

Below that, re-orders for RACCS MCU (Mobile Charging Unit), RACCS Spy Probe Dual Carrier System, a new Yellow/Black/Red Drone and Control Cuff, the Folding Tri-Copter blade, and the RACCS platform with hinges.

Big month here at Huxter Industries.

Huxter-Industries

Flash Gordon ship

Flash_Gordon_Ship_2017-01-17 06.51.36

Some years back, I captured several dozen really good close-up images of the actual aluminum (appears to be) studio model of Flash Gordon’s famous and iconic Art Deco/Atomic Age designed space ship. Whether or not it was the original studio model is up for debate, but I found it beautiful.

Here are some of those images

Flash_Gordon_Ship_03 Flash_Gordon_Ship_02 Flash_Gordon_Ship_01 Flash_Gordon_Ship_10 Flash_Gordon_Ship_09 Flash_Gordon_Ship_06 Flash_Gordon_Ship_04

I had always intended on modeling and 3D printing a replica for myself, and just recently I finally got around to it. Here are the results.

Flash_Gordon_Ship_2017-01-17 06.51.44 Flash_Gordon_Ship_2017-01-17 06.51.41 Flash_Gordon_Ship_2017-01-17 06.51.17 Flash_Gordon_Ship_2017-01-17 06.53.31 Flash_Gordon_Ship_2017-01-17 06.53.23 Flash_Gordon_Ship_2017-01-17 06.52.02 Flash_Gordon_Ship_2017-01-17 06.51.55

One thing I found is that my rivets printed with a bit too much support, so they get messy, a bit. I think I can adjust some printer settings and fix that.

This is also about 10 inches long, and printed at .2mm per layer. My printers can do a .15mm layer, so I will reprint this using that resolution later.

This version has doors that can open but only because they fit into the doorway by friction. This was a test print only to see what it would look like so I didn’t go to the trouble of adding a hinge to the door, yet.

I have since created a new version with a hinged door which I sent to a friend. (The hinges were not perfect, since the tolerances of my printer at this size were untested, the hinge covering areas were somewhat exposed. You could see the paper-clip hinge pin inside. But it did work.

So I moved the hinge pin a bit and have yet to reprint. My next print will be max resolution, with hopefully perfected hinges, and I will post those here when done.

RACCS Spy Probe Dual Carrier System

My latest project with Cotswold Collectibles: RACCS Spy Probe Dual Carrier System.

raccs-spy-probe-catalog-01

This one reprises the Surveillance Probe I designed for Cotswold as my first project with them: Deluxe Midnite Mission set.

This time Greg asked for a military colored drone for the new military-themed Cybernetic Explorers and other new outfits he was planning. Add to that an arctic rendition, both dockable to a new RACCS Component: The Dual Carrier System.

These spy probes fit two to a unit, and they snap beautifully in place with snap tabs.

The control cuff I designed is slightly different than the one pictured.

raccs-spy-probe-cuff-01

The actual cuff has a separate joystick pad, and screen. The screen is one of my designs as well.

THE SET

The set consists of the Dual Carriage Unit, which snaps to the RACCS platform, one Military drone, one Arctic drone, and one control cuff. (Pictured incorrectly here. See above.)raccs-spy-probe-set-wrong-cuff-01

Here the two drones are in place on the unit, snapped in.
raccs-spy-probe-set-wrong-cuff

CATALOG/WEB SITE PICS

Here, Joe prepares to deploy the military drone.raccs-spy-probe-stowage-proper

He sets it up on the RACCS for launchraccs-spy-probe-deploying-01

And with a touch, the drone’s anti-gravity repulsors rev up.
raccs-spy-probe-deploying-02

And it is away!
raccs-spy-probe-deploying-03

BLUEPRINT

Again, I created a blueprint/instruction sheet for this set:

raccs-spy-probe-blueprint

CONSTRUCTION

Here you can see a number of the parts that made up the drones, before cleanup. Just as they appear coming off the 3D printers.

raccs-spy-probe-parts-01

After some cleanup and construction, the military drones are under way:

raccs-spy-probe-under-construction-01

spy-probe-construction-parts-01 spy-probe-arctic-construction-01

Huxter Industries – Cotswold Collectibles and RACCS

RACCS – Ready Attachable Configurable Component System

Greg Brown and I usually communicate by text message. One day he texted me and said he had had this idea for something along the lines of the vintage GI Joe Trouble Shooter. Only this would be a flat platform that covered the cargo bay of the vintage Adventure Team Vehicle, or Trouble Shooter. Something like my Helijet rack but more versatile, more flexible.

trouble-shooter

He said he envisioned something like the Trouble Shooter radio/radar pack which was this massive wonderful toy that slotted into the slots of the ATV. Only this would be modular, and allow various equipment modules to be snapped to the rack.

Immediately images came to mind. I sketched up something that spanned the cargo bay’s top area, and snapped in using the holes in the ATV.

raccs-concept-01

But it had to be able to have multiple various modules connected to it. So I skteched up a grid design figuring I’d connect modules using square pegs. Modules could be slotted onto the platform, as many as would fit, completely configurable by the user.

Greg looked at the sketch I sent and declared I was reading his mind. (He has said this on more than one occasion as he pitched design ideas my way.)

I test-printed a version of the platform (which we still had not named) and it slotted nicely to the ATV.

raccs-first-print

Then Greg asked if it could tilt up like a car trunk. Immediately I started sketching an idea for a hinge that would fit between the ATV and the platform seamlessly. It just might work!

raccs-hinges-issues-01

Here’s where the rapid prototyping made possible by 3D printing comes in very handy – when I slotted the hinges to the ATV and then the platform to the hinges, any forward movement of the platform would cause it or the hinges to slip forward.

I was flumoxed. How was I going to prevent this kind of slippage.

Well, thought I. What if I rotated the slots on one part of the hinges sideways? That way the platform would not be able to be pushed forward on the hinges. And the hinges themselves fitted pretty tightly to the ATV.

The result was that you had to snap the hinges onto the platform by rotating them a bit, but once locked on, and the hinges attached to an ATV, that platform wasn’t slipping anywhere!

And so the platform was nearly perfected.

raccs-hinge-02

But I had a problem: my printer has a build volume of about 13.5cm x 13.5cm x 13.5cm. A 5 inch cube. The ATV’s cargo hold is wider than that. The platform would have to be printed in two pieces.

Immediately my symmetry-loving brain saw a way to make this platform work with two identical halves which snapped together. I was incredibly excited!

So I created a tab and slot for the platform which allowed for two identical parts to fit together perfectly, and still slot onto the ATV like normal.

Huge win!

Greg coined the term RACCS which is an acronym for “Ready Attachable Configurable Component System”.

This whole design process was going down around the release of the GI Joe Collector Club’s new freebie figure, a modern retake on Mike Power, Atomic Man. A new head sculpt on a vintage body with one arm and both legs made of clear plastic.

It also coincided with the re-emphasis of Cotswold’s own Cybernetic Explorers, figures made on repro vintage bodies, with various combinations of arms and legs molded in clear, which was getting some attention, and had its own outfit sets already developed.

This was a very popular figure, and club members couldn’t wait to get their hands on the new Mike Power.

The vintage Mike Power came with a two piece copter blade set that Mike held in his Kung Fu Grip, and a small wheel on his forearm let kids rotate that hand easily, so Mike Power could simply spin his hand and be a helicopter.

atomic-man-blades-small

Greg noted that many collectors had these, and many would love to have them stored in a module made by me for this new platform design. So I created a two piece module pair that connected to the RACCS and the Atomic Man’s blade could fit snugly in place, carried by an ATV.

raccs-blade-holder-real

raccs-blade-holder-real-01

I also created a blueprint/instruction sheet for the RACCS platform, with reference to the blade holding module.

raccs-blueprint-01

And so RACCS was introduced in the sixth catalog in 2016:

cots-catalog-raccs

raccs-cots-2016-06-inside-800

 

ATOMIC MAN / CYBERNETIC EXPLORER MOBILE CHARGING UNIT

By the time RACCS was announced in the catalog, Greg and I had already brainstormed a bunch of modular units that would fit on the platform, so you could configure your own adventure.

The next one up was to be a Mobile Charging Unit so Mike Power or the Cybernetic Explorers could charge their bionics while on a mission.

I started sketching.

raccs-mcu-concept-01

First thing I came up with was a box with ridges which would resemble heat sink blades to cool the atomic charging unit. Greg wanted a removable box the Explorer could take with him in case he needed an emergency charge, a box with a handle and its own charging coupler.

No problem. You can see the genesis of the idea in that sketch.

raccs-mcu-original-concept-01

Which then got updated until I drew this:

raccs-mcu-color-concept

I ended up with a charging box which looked a bit like some of the parts of the original Trouble Shooter, which was no bad thing.

trouble-shooter

Even the nub I created for the cuff to store on resembled the Trouble Shooter module.

Then I modeled up and printed up a prototype.

mcu-01

mcu-02 mcu-04 mcu-03 mcu-05

I found some red paracord to act as the main cable to the larger arm cuff. This would be a fast complete charger, charging up Mike’s bionics to full.

The smaller blue box (with the Cybernetic Explorer Atomic Logo on it) has a tilting handle, and a clip on the main box to hold it in place. Pull up and on the back is a cavity to store a smaller arm cuff, connected by a smaller, black cable.

Both of the cables store inside their boxes.

Originally the clips for the MCU would friction-fit into the RACCS slots like the Blade Holder units do. But while the blade holders are smaller and the pegs clustered closer together for a good friction fit, the MCU could not rely on friction. So I created a unique new spring-loaded clip system that worked easily with the original design. I simply created a slot in the bottom of the unit, slid the clip-spring part in, and a single screw connected it all together. The flexibility of the plastic itself allows for enough spring action for the module to clip nicely to RACCS and then remove again by pinching two tabs on the side.

I also came up with a blueprint for these.

mcu-blueprint

The catalog came out recently, and these items were made available for pre-order, with delivery in November.

cots-catalog-2016-08

cots-catalog-2016-08-inside

FOLDING TRI-COPTER

But what’s this?

Another item?

Greg asked me long before the Charging Unit to come up with a replacement blade for Mike Power and the Cybernetic Explorers to replace the blade that came with Mike, since a lot of owners of vintage Mikes may not have the blades. They tend to get lost.

But he wanted the helicopter blades to be able to fold back like an aircraft-carrier helicopter.

asturias11

It turns out this was a hard challenge.

I could make the blades hinge, but 3D printing them consistently would be something I didn’t think I could guarantee.

hand-copter-concept-01

As you can see by the sketch, the hinge plates have to be symmetrical and fit together while snugly fitting into both the hub and each blade. If this was too snug, it would not move. Too loose, and it would not stay in place. It was tough. But I think I did it.

As a further benefit, I didn’t just fit a handle onto it that resembled Mike Power’s blade. Rather, I made that handle lock into the hub. Why?

As a sneaky extra feature, I made the hub compatible with vintage Turbo Copters!!

Here is a pic of an original Mike Power blade, along with my Tri Copter Blade, next to an original vintage Turbo Copter blade.

blades-cornucopia

(Don’t worry. The Turbo Copter blade is turned upside down to show the hub opening. The turbo heads are facing the right direction on mine. (I hope.))

blade-replacement-turbo-copter

IMAGES FROM THE CATALOG AND WEB SITE

Fully extended:atomic-man-blades-01

Cybernetic Explorer operating the blades, getting ready to take off:atomic-man-blades-06

Stowing in backpack:
atomic-man-blades-05

Folding blades:
atomic-man-blades-04

Stowing
:atomic-man-blades-03

And going:
atomic-man-blades-02

 

Seen here, attached to vintage Turbo Copter. It is designed to fit the black, yellow, green (Action Man) Turbo Copters. The more recent Hasbro reproduction (a lovely thing) will not fit, as the coupling is different, and rotates the wrong way.

atomic-man-blades-07

 

SO WHAT’S NEXT?

RACCS Spy Probe Dual Carriage System