GI Joe Hi-Tech Communications Pack – Adapting a Found Object

The Find

This year at Lowe’s hardware, the diamond plate cargo gift card box is no longer available. It was replaced with a metal box made to look a bit like their miniature tool chests.

Of course my brain went immediately to “Astronaut’s Oxygen Pack”. And that it certainly can be. But I went in a way that really could be used for various purposes, so I will call it my Hi-Tech Communications Pack.

Luckily I had a reel of ABS plastic filament for my 3D printers that closely matched the cobalt blue of the Lowe’s box. I started immediately to think of how to adapt it. First, I needed to cover the bottom, which is recessed, and contains the UPC code and other information.

Then I had to cover the Lowe’s logo on front. No problem.

Then I knew I would need antennae. So I modeled and printed a mount on top for two antennae.

And of course it needed a harness. I had produced a harness for my Action Pack Heli-Jet, which works nicely for most cases, but the front chest clasp was too complicated.

While designing a new flight pack for Joe (A Wing Pack coming soon!) I adapted the chest clasp to be far simpler to construct, and much less bulky, while still allowing a cover plate for a logo of some kind.

Using a single length of .9mm elastic I created a front piece that allowed me to thread it through in two directions, then into an upper frame piece, down the backpack, and into a lower frame piece, then on to the body where there are standard strap adjusters and two clasps which fit nicely into the front piece by friction and holds very strongly.

I am comfortable saying that this is my new harness design and most of my future backpacks, be they flight packs or simple backpacks, will use this new clasp, and not the bulky old one which had to be screwed together to work. (This cap snaps on nicely, and can even be removed, as the simple clasp frame is not too ugly by itself.)

The Final Product

Here it is, my Hi-Tech Communications Pack posed on my Club Exclusive Super-Articulated 12″ Super Joe that they produced last year.

GI Joe Atomic Man Cargo Box – Adapting a Found Object

The Find

Last year at Lowe’s hardware store I found a metal box sold as a gift card holder. It was in the form of a miniature diamond-plate pickup truck cargo box.

Needless to say I find it hard to shop anywhere without seeing every object that comes into my sight in a 1:6 scale filter, to see what I could make of it. This was a no-brainer.

I bought a few, took them home and began to think how I could best use them.

Since the new GI Joe Club Exclusive Mike Power Atomic Man had just recently arrived at my door, I figured how better to use this than to make it Mike Power’s personal equipment box.

It is a great fit for the GI Joe Adventure Team Vehicle or Trouble Shooter, too.

And around that time the Mattell Halo Warthog was making its rounds on Amazon at sell-out prices and a bunch of us collectors were getting them, and I’m no exception. I bought two green, and painted them (one in AT Yellow and the other in a bright AT Red) and then they came out later with a red version, so I have one of those too.

The cargo box fits nicely into the cargo bay of the Warthog.

The Final Product

Of course I wanted to cover up the LOWES logo, and make it Mike’s, so here is the final product:

What’s Next?

This, I should say, is almost finished. I have one other thing I want to do, and that is to put a tool-box-like handle on the top lid.

More on that later…

 

Star Trek Discovery Phaser

The night I went to Rhode Island to visit the Regular Joes to watch them do their podcast, I was not really expecting Jason Isaacs (Captain Lorca) to pop by and sit with us for a half-hour or so going into great detail about his new show “Star Trek: Discovery”, but it was amazing.

You really need to hear this interview, and you can do so by catching The Regular Joes Podcast, Episode 214 – Rhode Island Comic Con 2017.

During that evening, Tod Pleasant talked about how he was currently printing the new Discovery Phaser, after having downloaded it from Thingiverse.

When I went home, I downloaded it and printed it.

Not satisfied with the solid black model, I immediately began cutting it up into pieces for full-color printing, and without going into detail, here are some pics of my final product:

The original model was in four pieces, which I originally printed in black, with a silver nozzle. The new version prints in five colors, and 31 pieces.

I use magnets to attach the nozzle and the Phaser I hand unit to the main unit. This way the nozzle can spin.

I use translucent blue for the setting indicator ring, which I can also print in translucent red if I want to set it to KILL!

A slot in front for the emitter, and a magnet at the back, allow the Phaser I hand unit to come out and snap back in easily.

As you can see, the middle one is set to Kill.

I also made an appropriate display base, with the new Insignia with pips.

The Phaser I hand unit has a translucent emitter the same color as the setting. Eventually I want to add more functionality here, to allow the targeting sight screen to flip up.

I made five, one for me, and one for each of the Regular Joes.

2017 Christmas Tree Ornament – Stonehenge Me Crows!

Since 2013, when I bought my first 3D printer, I have designed and printed at least one Christmas Tree ornament.

2013’s was a 3D printed version of the 3D printer I bought: An Afinia H479:

2014 we had just purchased our lovely brand new house, so naturally:

2015 saw two different sets of decorations. One was a Santa Werblz, based on the wobbly WERBLZ toys I had created that year.

Also in 2015 I couldn’t resist doing these profile ornaments of me, Carol and Charlotte:

2016 I shrank down a version of my recently-designed ray gun:

And in 2017, I opted to commemorate a rather cool moment from this year – our trip to Europe, and the wonderful hour we spent in and around Stonehenge. While we were there a crow perched atop the lintel stones at the back:

A closer view:

So I downloaded a previously made model of Stonehenge from Thingiverse. I found it was rather inaccurate in placement of the inner stones, so I fixed that. Then I cut the thing into a sphere to fit these 8cm plastic sphere ornaments I had purchased. You can get these at most big craft stores. Two halves snap together to put anything you’d like inside. I filled the sphere with a spherical cut of Stonehenge, concentrating on the rear stones, and put a crow on the lintel.

And if you can cross-eye 3D freeview:

Spirited Away – No Face Pez Dispenser

Let me start by saying that I love the visual style and look of the Studio Ghibli Miazaki movies. I’m not the biggest fan of them for content reasons. To me they lack something. What they do not lack is visual gorgeousness. Even though most of them use repeated themes and character imagery, they are fascinating.

Spirited Away gave me an idea – to create some small statues of a fairly simple-to-create No Face spirit.

I started with something very simple. The mask is all inlays printed in white, with purple, black and grey inlays.

The body is meant to be that simple, amorphous shape.

Later I added arms and scaled him up a tad:

Then Carol said: “That looks like a PEZ Dispenser.” !!! Ok! That was an inspiration!

So with just a bit of extra work slicing the head and using Booleans to create a smooth curving circular structure, and a PEZ head mechanism I downloaded from Thingiverse and altered to work better (the original tapered the hinge holes making them not fit), I was able to quickly put together a working prototype.

The two on either end, with visible seam line at the “neck” (mouth in fact) are the PEZ dispensers.

The hinge is rounded at the back for a smooth opening without a huge gap in the body from behind.

The truly hard part is finding PEZ dispensers with a black body so I can make it all black.

In a future version, I may add red mouth and teeth inside, meaning I will likely use red PEZ bodies. But that’s for later.

Inspired by this wonderful mechanical bank Studio Ghibli put out:

Huxter Labs Mobile Motion Detector

My most recent new invention for Cotswold Collectibles is something a long time coming. First suggested almost two years ago as a small radar or sensor that fits into the cloth backpack, I began sketching way back then. But no great inspiration came until I found these wind-up motors at Dollar Tree.

Then I got inspired, and began sketching. One feature had to be folding legs of some kind so the unit could sit on the ground, but still fit into the backpack nicely.

A challenge! I’m always up to a challenge!

Here is an early sketch.

You can see that my Mobile Motion Detector really didn’t stray too far from the concept.

Here, you can see it in early stages of development:

Here, you can see I had not yet thought of the idea of making the radar dish snug against the body to fit better into the backpack. Other than that, it is fairly unchanged. The legs, however, are an early prototype too. These had tabs for thumbnails to grab the legs which were recessed flush against the body and hard to pull out otherwise.

Later versions remove the obtrusive tabs and in a stunningly simple update, I simply made them longer so they reach a little above the top deck, which makes pulling them out easier, it makes the legs a bit longer, and it removes any foot that would imply it should be flat on the ground.

Prototype

Unseen here is a telephone handset that originally was planned to snap onto the back, but was later scrapped for impracticality.

And here you can see the early legs also allowed various angles:


(Note the blurred items in back are prototypes I’m not yet ready to reveal, printed in prototype form.)

Final Form

So here is the final backpack Mobile Motion Detector.

In backpack:

Part-way removed, showing the dish snug against the body side:

Fully out, two pieces:

Antenna attached:

Angles:

Q*Bert!

I have long been a fan of the arcade game Q*Bert.

Heck, I even created a kind of clone of it in BASIC for my Commodore 64, called “BOXXY” which even had a level editor.

I also found out Funko made a deformed version which I saw on shelves but was not happy with. Their tendency to square off round heads would just not work with Q*Bert.

But then I saw they also made an Arcade series which were far more accurate, and before I actually found one, I had already made mine. But here’s theirs for comparison:

So in August I took it upon myself to create a 3D printed Q*Bert figure. It would not be difficult. A simple sphere with a piece of macaroni coming from it, with two spindly legs and nubby feet.

And the finished prototype with eyes:

So how do you go about making a 3D model of a pixel figure you only really ever get to see like this:

Easier than I thought. It seems there are many renditions of what Q*Bert may look like, including the one at the top of this article (seen on the side of the cabinet) and then there’s this one:

So I opted to do something resembling this, and my result was quite satisfactory.

Alas, 3D printing is great, but not perfect. Here, you see the weak spot. Since I wanted the face to print best, I printed it nose-up, meaning the rounded back had to sit on rafting, which so far, never prints very smoothly:

Nonetheless, I love the little guy.

I wanted a display base, and of course the thing that sprang to mind is the teleport pad in-game.

I made several since several friends wanted one.

Then last night, since I had just finished some other PEZ dispensers (another article) I decided to take this model, scale it down a bit and make a PEZ Dispenser head of Q*Bert.

 

 

 

 

 

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.