Entry Level Magic

Unobtanium is an old SF trope meaning any substance you made up because it is realistically unobtainable by known science. It is actually credited to engineers, who meant by the term the substance they wish they had. Worth noting that early SF writers were often engineers or worked closely with them.

To get unobtainium you need some hand-wave science (another SF term basically meaning science we made up) or outright magic. Around here, we have been attempting both, with some surprising if limited success.

We’ve talked abut the Unobtanium Bazaar (only one i) here before, and then we talked a bit about how Covid killed that initiative. (It killed the Vendor Walk we tried to hype up last post.) Well, the clouds may have parted a bit.

Kingman (technically Mojave County) is throwing itself a Renaissance Faire next November, and we will be there.

Mask up and head northwest if you’re inclined, and you can walk around at six-foot intervals.

We’re even listed as a vendor!

It’s OK. We will learn a lot.

I feel I am about 80% there on how to present merchandise on a Wix website engine. (You can check my progress in the most predictable link). A merchandise page is not the same as a gallery.

I purchased, mostly on impulse, a second 3D printer, this one a Cubic printer. Which uses LCD-based SLA 3D Printer, meaning it reduces resin with UV light as opposed to additive filament of my Ender (which is basically and advanced glue gun). They are both buzzing behind me right now.

The printer fresh out of its box and still full of hope.

(Again we note that not formatting your photo to be copied easily on the interweb defeats the point of modern marketing. The photo above is mine, of course.)

I’m trying to make some antlers to add to a stuffed rabbit. Reasons. I have limited confidence that either machine is up to that on this pass. But I will get there.

Rey is making abominations for Unobtanium.

Otis the Owlbear.

Also, they have a new cauldron and is, right now, making potions.

Entry level magic for all of us, but that seems to be the way forward now. Many of the norms, by which you could make incremental but dependable progress, have collapsed. We are all improvising now.

Well executed improvisation, combined with some luck, is indistinguishable from magic.

I have also, basically on a dare, worked up a card-game version of Go Action Fun Time for what is becoming Alcazar Games.  It is, predictably, a bit more complicated than we initially envisioned, but the first couple of things I slapped together for playtest worked well by playtest standards, so we press forward.

The end goal is to kick-start this thing.

The regular GAFT RPG is waiting on solving my audio problems with Discord. Meaning I have to buy  a real microphone.

On top of all that, I am still trying to push the novels forward.

So that’s why I don’t blog very often.

If you’re worried, I still have a job, and I am reliably making my self-imposed word-count – just not reliably with this blog.

There are no guarantees in magic, but I have a good feeling about what lies ahead.

Now we know.

The Ins and Outs of Recent Events

Things come and things go. Here are some recent ins and outs.

IN:

Rey, from Flagstaff, moving back to Phoenix, and back in with me. A combination of academic and financial misfortunes has driven her from NAU. (Without a scholarship, NAU is 3x the expense of ASU). (You can infer the fate of that scholarship.).

The plan is to attend community college for a while, and take care of the generic core requirements until a clear path emerges.

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Rey in the new, taller kitchen

OUT:

The false ceiling in my kitchen. While this hid atrocities, it also provided a causeway for vermin and subconsciously annoyed me. So I have taken step 1 in a 50 step process of remodeling the kitchen.

My grandfather, the original owner of this house, had extended the air vent.

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Yes, that is a can of some sort “adapting” the tube to the vent grate. Sometimes innovation is overrated.

That’s all sitting in the yard now.

 

 

IN:

Some Christmas presents: an office chair and a 3D Printer!

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That’s a Creality Ender 3 FDM (additive) 3D Printer.

It is considered one of the best of the low-end 3D printers, and is a gift from my son, Ben,  who has an earlier model.

I have been thinking on this subject for some time.

We have already spent numerous hours turning plastic filament into garbage, and sometimes silly little sculptures.

This has turned out to be a pain to dial in, which – to be fair – comes with the price point. But I’ve had some fun playing with it so far.

And I actually spent as much time assembling the office chair as I did the printer -so there’s that.

 

OUT:

Excessive caution.

Before I start on this, do not confuse this with some new year’s resolution. In 2005 I made a New Year’s resolution to never make another new year’s resolution, and I ahve kept that. The timing of this announcement is coincidence. The realization dates back a few months ago.

I spent the last few years of my marriage playing not to lose, which is different than winning, and ended up losing the marriage.  (The professional decisions were a net gain, but that’s as much dumb luck as good judgement. I lucked into a good employer.)

I have less to lose as a point of fact. I do not own the house I’m renovating. My nest is supposedly empty. I am consistently solvent and building a little surplus. I can go for it on 4th and 2.

Hence the self-publishing and other projects that aren’t ready to announce yet.

You were warned.

Because it is hard…

We have decided to learn Blender not because it is easy, but because it is hard. Also, it is free, and established past the point where it will not suddenly vanish.

It is not, however, well documented. We’ll dump sone links in that regard in a moment.

The hard part of 3D printing does not seem to be the printing. That can be an annoying technical challenge, but I am a technician by trade, so undeterred by that. The hard part – the value-added part – is turning an idea into a useful digital file. There are many applications that can do this, but we have chosen Blender because it is free hard.

Anyhoo – here’s where that process is starting:

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Blender_3D:_Noob_to_Pro

That site warns:

Blender is not the kind of software you can launch into and grope about until you find your way. It’s not like exploring an unfamiliar city. It’s more like flying a spaceship. If you hop into the pilot’s seat without knowing the fundamentals, you’ll be lucky to ever get off the ground, and it’d take a miracle for you to reach your destination safely.

Okay then.

Also:

https://cgcookie.com/blender/

http://www.creativebloq.com/3d-tips/blender-tutorials-1232739

I’ll update on this subject once I’ve plowed through this.

 

3D printing research link dump

I’m looking into getting a 3D printer for reasons, and this is the link dump for that research. Not constructed for public consumption, but you are welcome to come in (in the same way that my storage room is not fit for company, but if you want to poke around while I have it open…)

Today we’re looking at software requirements.

http://www.3ders.org/3d-printing-basics.html

A very basic FAQ site.

http://www.3ders.org/3d-software/3d-software-list.html

and their list of software.

Makerbot’s flowchart:

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:232578

 

Wikipedia – because I’m not being graded for this assignment:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_printing

 

Now for some shopping around:

http://3d-printers.toptenreviews.com/

So 2-3 grand for the top name brand models.

Wirde on how SLA beats FFF except when you want to actually buy the thing:

http://www.wired.com/2012/07/3-d-printers-that-dont-suck/

Same model FFF (filament layering) on left. SLA on right.

So let me explain real quick. There are two basic consumer-level 3D printing technology approaches. One is the FFF approach which adds layers of melted filament – essentially a highly precise glue gun. This is fast and cheap but with real limits on the resolution. This is waht most of the consumer level printers use.

The other approach is laser or even photemetric reduction of resin, where lasers, or even specific light melts a volume of resin. This is more expensive, both for the printers and the resin but the results are far superior.

 

An example of a good laser/resin printer:

http://www.muve3d.net/press/product/muve-1-3d-printer-2/

(this is a kit – remember, off-the-shelf does not exist yet.)

A review of a highly rated FFF printer for similar money:

http://3d-printers.toptenreviews.com/mbot-grid-review.html

 

So if I’m willing to learn Blender, I can do what I want for $2k,  or  $2.5 k comfortably.

Now you know.