Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Battletech Vulcan

After about a month of inactivity, HAL got a light workout yesterday. I banged out a 3dsmax model of a Battletech Vulcan and then printed it out while I was at TRON.

I put a lot of fine detail in that didn't print properly and I screwed up one of the elbow joints...

I'm having a hard time telling if the software update has done anything significant. There seems to be a whole lot less support structure. I would have expected it to do more on the body than it did. Although the update was supposed to keep it from generating supports that overlapped the edges of the parts, it put some pylons in some annoying places on the head and on the upper legs.

Friday, December 10, 2010

My New Shadowhawk is here!

Mr. Postman delivered him while I wuz eatin supper...

He's leaner, meaner and way better articulated (except the hips, the hips could be better). Time to retire the old Shadowhawk...

Yeah. that's about the right size...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Miscellaneous updates

I've been so busy with E-Bay auctions lately that I haven't had a chance to post. Space Odyssey Christmas Ornaments are selling really well so we'll probably have to do a few for next Christmas. The last of our auctions end Sunday evening.

Found a reasonably priced Revoltech Dougram for the collection. It was about $20... plus about $25 shipping... yeah... the $45 that I wasn't gonna pay... oh well... its still cheaper than Swarovski crystal animals.

I'm still trying to find time to paint the FLEA. Don't know if that's gonna happen before Christmas or even New Years. Between auctions and Christmas and getting back to work on The Magellan Affair, I probably won't be doing much building until the new year.

Additionally, I haven't had a chance to print anything lately. However, I DID finally get around to getting the software upgrade for HAL the V-FLASH. 3D Systems was very helpful. A tech logged on to my workstation and did the upgrade for me using GOTOMEETING and VNC. Turns out that HAL is a Windows XP machine at his heart. Funny... I was thinking he'd be Linux. I'm still not sure why the automatic updates aren't working, but if this upgrade works as advertised, I don't know that I'll be all that worried about getting any others...

I feel like I have to post a picture. And since I haven't printed anything new, how about a picture of the Armored Valkyrie that I started building? I'm hoping he'll be about the right size to play as a Battletech Crusader.

Disappointing though, the open missle bays shown on the box aren't part of the model. :-(

Sunday, November 28, 2010

V-FLASH Chronicles - Part V

I hung this piece of paper up beside the V-Flash because it had the cleaning instructions on it.

Hey! Look on the back! Its got all this information about parts placement!

I'm such an idiot!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Stuff

I didn't get a chance to call 3D Systems today and work through the software upgrade for HAL cuz I was doing too many other things. Like errands and creating packaging for the Christmas Ornament auctions.

My hats off to Cindy and her mum for doing the painting, packing and mailing for the ornaments way-back-when. Now that I'm doing it for myself, I really have a new appreciation for all that went into it. And they did HUNDREDS!

I managed to put the FLEA together today as well. Here's a couple of pictures. The scale could be better, but to be honest, I'm mixing so many different scales from Macross, Dougram and Crusher Joe already, that I'm just shooting for "close"...

Here's the FLEA with all his pals, waitin to stomp on ya! Yup, the Shadowhawk is too big, the Rifleman is too small, but what are ya gonna do? Anyone know where I can get a Revoltech Dougram (Shadowhawk) for cheap? (I ain't paying $45US for one inna box!) I figure that'd be about the right size...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

V-FLASH Chronicles - Part IV

HAL had a really bad night last night. I was trying to print some pickup parts for the FLEA, and he wasn't able to print anything but support structure... no parts! After a couple attempts, I realized that he was printing random, disconnected wafers of plastic and then dropping them on the carrier. These of course, ended up in the resin cartridge.

I'd been warned on one of the discussion groups that things like this could happen, so I didn't panic. I pulled out the resin cartridge and snapped the top off of it. Kinda like clearing a paper jam!

After about ten minutes of dredging the resin trap, I was ready to go again. I rebuilt the print job from scratch, rebooted the computer and the V-FLASH, and it seems to be printing correctly now. I'm guessing my woes are due to a software/firmware bug rather than a random hardware or network fault given that I got two identically flawed printouts...

In other news, I got a notification today that there is a software upgrade for V-FLASH's parts generation. It sounds like its going to generate a lot less support structure and will be a lot easier to clean up. Unfortunately, for some reason, HAL can't access the upgrade server at 3D SYSTEMS. I'll have to call on monday and see what's wrong -- probably something wrong on my router.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fleas and Pods

I'm currently curing the Flea parts. I modelled him from the 3050TRO book and I figured if I made him a little shorter than my Locust and my Urbanmech, he'd be about the right size... Unfortunately, he looks like he's about 60 tons, instead of the 20 that he's supposed to be. I don't really want to change the overall scale or some of the detailing on the legs will disappear, so I'm going to see what happens if I just scale down the body a bit.

In other news, I listed a couple of 2001: A Space Odyssey EVA Pod Christmas Ornaments on E-Bay tonight.

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Auction - Battletech Scorpion

I finished decalling one of the Scorpions so I could take a picture and list the kit on E-Bay. So we'll see how it goes...


Darlene and I spent today painting Christmas ornaments, so I might be putting some of those up on E-Bay as well this week...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Flea! Flea for your lives!

I spent about 7 hours (between Saturday and today) designing a model of a Battletech FLEA. He's going to be slightly shorter than the Locust and the Urbanmech.  I'm going to try and print one tonight...

I added a rear toe to the feet for stability even though its not shown in the original 3050 artwork. It could easily be removed if one wanted to mount this puppy to a base. I'll eventually get around to making the weapons loadouts for the FLE-15 as well, but for now I'll just go with the FLE-17 loadout.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Painted Scorpions - WIP

Here's a work in progress shot of the Scorpions. They're chasing down a set of Lightcycle Christmas ornaments waiting to be primed. I'm starting to run out of steam so I don't know if the Scorpions will get decalled and final weathering tonight...

In case you're wondering, I'm using some vacation time and spending every monday in November playing with HAL (that's what I'm calling the V-FLASH... he needs an eye!)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The V-FLASH Chronicles - Part III

Before I forget, extra-special thanks with cheese goes out to Joshua and Jon who helped get the V-FLASH into my basement. Josh, virtually single handedly, navigated the basement stairs while carrying 140 lbs of V-FLASH. Yay Josh! (That's him and me in the picture, which Jon is taking.)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The V-FLASH Chronicles - Part II

I was getting a little worried because some of the parts that I've been printing have been a tad... wonky and warped. Some have postulated that this is due to temperature and humidity variation, but I'm inclined to believe my particular problem is due to mechanical causes.

It would seem that with careful placement of parts (and the addition of a couple of rubber bands for good measure), pristine parts CAN be had. (I printed two pretty clean Battletech Scorpions this morning.) The V-FLASH seems to make wonky parts when (1) you mix bulky and detailed parts in the same build  and (2) when larger parts are placed towards the outside of the build platform. The build process seems to work best when you group the parts with the largest cross-sections towards the center of the platform and arrange the rest in a roughly symmetrical pattern.

OK, so I could have just asked 3D Systems what was up, but I like to figure these things out for myself - all part of the fun of getting a new toy. Plus, I wanted to share some of the V-FLASH experience with others that may be thinking about getting one, but do not have access to the 3D Systems forums.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Painted Urby

I managed to get a coat of paint and some leftover decals from the spares box on the urbanmech last weekend. Thought I'd post a couple of pictures...

I'm working out some small bugs in the design, but hope to have one of these up for auction in the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The V-FLASH Chronicles

I've been saving my pennies for what seems forever, and three weeks ago, I finally acquired a V-FLASH 3D printer. I remember seeing my first 3D printer at Siggraph circa 1992. At the time, the price of admission was around $45,000US for an entry level machine.

They've gotten cheaper.

I've been playing Battletech for almost 20 years now. Sometimes I roll out my giant hex board in the living room and play with Macross/Dougram/Gundam figures of varying scales. A lot of fun to be sure, but I wish there were more Battletech canon mechs available in a 4"-5" figure. So what am I printing on the V-FLASH? There's going to be tons and tons of 1/100 scale Battletech figures, among other things...

Below: 1/100 Urbanmech and Scorpion with 1/100 ARII Spartan and Revoltech Soltic

Monday, November 1, 2010


Welcome to the Green Pixel Projects / Fourth Axis blog! This blog should be of interest to science fiction fans, sci fi model builders, Battletech fans and amateur rapid prototypers everywhere. I plan on yakking about models I'm building, projects I'm doing and short run kits that I will be auctioning...

so stay tuned... more to come!