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- Events on December 12, 2013
From: 7:30 pm
to 11:00 pm
Description: We'll be open for the evening. Feel free to pop in and see what we're about.
- Events on December 14, 2013
From: 10:00 am
to 2:00 pm
Description: We'll be open every Saturday in the run-up to Christmas running drop-in workshops where you can put together your very own flashing LED snowman badge or light-up 3D Christmas tree.
Entrance is completely free. Kits are priced between £2 and £5.
- Events on December 19, 2013
From: 7:30 pm
to 11:00 pm
Description: We'll be open for the evening. Feel free to pop in and see what we're about.
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Rodhus Studios (back entrance)
Category Archives: News
We’ve been avid users of Oshonsoft’s PIC simulator for a long time, here at Nerd Towers – not only one of the best simulators we’ve seen for Microchip’s PIC range, but a great compiler, working with a really easy-to-learn BASIC style language. But as t… Continue reading
After a weekend of painting (and repairing the allotment shed roof) I’m in two minds about Quickshade.The initial use of it on some Tyranids and Cadian Troopers was very encouraging – it brought out the details beautifully with very little effort, and … Continue reading
The other day I took delivery of some Army Painter Quickshade Inks from Ian at www.ibuywargames.co.uk. He’s already selling them at 10% less than RRP. With the 10% off voucher from a previous purchase the total cost was just over £11, including delivery!
It’s not the cost that matters though, it’s how they perform that we’re interested in, so I set about trying the inks on a couple of (unfinished) models. I’ve been painting some soldiers to use in the up-and-coming publicity shots for a game we’re working on called Starship Raiders. Originally I was going to use the Games Workshop Cadian Shock Troopers (who look more like “regular” soldiers, than their over-armoured Space Marines) but was advised against using too many GW miniatures in any promotional material. Apparently GW are a bit over-zealous in guarding their “intellectual property” so I’m now using non-branded minis, from a variety of sources.
To really try out these inks, I thought I’d have a go at painting a miniature as quickly as possible. After all, the product is called Quickshade. And the water-based inks means no hanging around for 48 hours waiting for varnish to dry, nor messing about with anti-shine matt varnish.
I took a plastic robot model (from e4m miniatures robot range) and base-coated it quickly with white primer (it was actually too late in the day to be spraying, so I painted the primer and based coat colour on with a brush, but then end result was still a totally white figure). Then I coated the whole thing in Quickshade Dark Tone.
The water-based inks leave a lot of pigment colour on the surface, not just in the creases. In the Army Painter painting guide, they even demonstrate that the ink is heavy heavily pigmented by painting an ork face green by simply applying green ink over a white base coat
Personally, I think the effect is rather impressive, left at that: if ever I had to paint an army of Orksies, I’d just ink them green, and pick out the details like eyes and teeth, and call it finished!
Because of the heavy colouring, our all-white robot quickly became a dull grey:
Last night was another BuildBrighton Open Night, which meant loads to do, loads of visitors, plenty of tea and pizza – and relatively little done! That said, we did manage to get our first (and hopefully, only) double-sided PCB ready for testing.here’s… Continue reading
After a successful evening etching circuit boards at BuildBrighton last night, Steve insisted on issuing a retraction to a statement made earlier this year: creating etching masks for PCBs with a laser cutter can be a quicker and easier than using pres… Continue reading
After spending hours and hours working on our digital board game, we’ve come to the conclusion that we’re going to need some help getting a robust, working two-layer board.So far we’ve tried to concentrate on:a) a board that can be built cheaply using … Continue reading
The TCT Show had all kinds of amazing 3d printers, with everything from the aeronautics to the hobby market represented. While a lot of the show concerned enormous, super-expensive, metallic powder sintering monster machines, there were also a few smaller-scale printers and some rather interesting print-bureau services on offer too.
One of the more ingenious 3d printers was from mCor and instead of using expensive metal powder, or difficult to handle plastics, it used readily available – and cheap – printer material: paper!
The printer was like an xy vinyl plotter with a rising bed: a sheet of pre-printed paper was loaded onto the bed and the drag knife cut out the outine of the pre-printed shape. The head then applied a series of micro-dots of glue over the layer and pulled a second sheet on top. After this, the bed rose up (pressing the two sheets of paper together) and then dropped down again before the cutting head cut through the second sheet of paper.
By exposing the printed edges of each layer, a full-colour, 0.1mm accurate, 3d model came straight off the machine. As this kind of technology becomes popular, expect plenty more “3d-wedding” photos in future:
One of the nice things about the models off this 3d printer was that they had substance. A lot of times, 3d printed models feel a bit light-weight and flimsy, because the printer is trying to use the minimum amount of (relatively expensive) printing material. With this printer, each model has the same density as wood or mdf. For the models at the show, some were coated with superglue (to seal the edges) which made them very hard-wearing and robust.
The mCor paper 3d printer is an excellent layer-based full-colour 3d printer!
Throughout the afternoon, the inhouse band played along on their 3d printed guitars. We agreed that their “phat tunez” weren’t much to write home about, but the actual instruments looked amazing
a complex internal structure was revealed through the stars and stripes of the guitar body
noted for their powerful sustain, thanks to a dense solid wood body, this Gibson Les Paul-a-like might not sound as good, but it looked pretty cool
There were lots of laser-sintering printers on show, many demonstrating the wide range of colours that could be used for printing. Many 3d printers demonstrated how complex and intricate their designs could be. The lasered pieces looked really nice – but when you looked beyond the complex structure, the final finish was still not quite glassy-smooth (though very impressive, all the same!)
There were quite a few companies offering print bureau services. This means that instead of paying tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds for a printer, you could simply email them your 3d objects and have the printed item posted back – a service similar to Shapeways or Ponoko; it’s nice to know that there are so many alternatives, and interesting to see the many different finishes available, based on the machine doing the printing.
One printing company that looked particularly interesting was Luma3d print, who were offering laser 3d printing from 10p per square centimetre (cm3). This looked like a really interesting way of getting relatively cheap, relatively good standard, master shapes for mould-making, without breaking the bank.
Their models still had the slightly grainy appearance of most laser-sinter printed objects, but they can print from ABS which, apparently, can be sanded and polished to a really high gloss finish.
Interestingly, there were a few companies demonstrating the quality of their 3d printers by printing war gaming miniatures. There were two or three of particular note:
Solidscape were the first company we spotted with miniatures in their display cases
This little monster was smaller than the GW standard 28mm miniatures, yet had some incredible detail on it:
The Envisontec printer apparently used a wax-based compound and is commonly used in dental practices for prototyping sets of gnashers!
Their miniatures were incredibly detailed with no discernible “banding” or layering as often seen, even on the best laser-sintered objects
Envisontec were another company demonstrating 3d-printed miniatures. Even at the smallest size (the miniature on the right is smaller than the 28mm tabletop standard) the details were pretty amazing.
If anything, the details from this printer were even better than the previous one. This insanely small galleon has rigging on it, less than 10 microns thick. This whole model is smaller than the size of a fingernail!
Towards the end of the show, we got to speak with Gary Miller from IPFL who had some dinosaur heads with the tiniest little teeth imaginable to come off a 3d printer!
Gary went on to explain that his company produced many of the master models for Games Workshop miniatures, and had re-trained many of the GW sculptors into using ZBrush and similar virtual modelling tools, to produce their latest model lines. Maybe this explains why only recently we were asking why Citadel/GW miniatures were of much better quality than many of their rivals!
The print quality of the dinosaur teeth was unbelievable. Their printing can produce models with layers just 6 microns thick.
Interestingly, IPFL offer bureau printing services and Gary explained that an average-sized GW miniature would cost about £25 for printing. Only up until very recently did GW have all their miniatures printed by an outside agency – until they saved up enough, I guess, and bought one of these very printers themselves!
It seems that designing your own characters in CAD and using a 3d printing bureau has actually become a viable method of producing your own miniatures – even a relatively small production run could quickly cover the cost of printing and casting materials. Perhaps this is why we’re seeing an explosion in miniature-based games on Kickstarter of late!
Of course, the busiest stand at the whole show was the RepRap stand (or, as some wags described it, Hobby Corner)
The RepRap and RepRap pro were on hand to give demonstrations and were busy printing keyrings and trinkets for people to take away. Disappointingly, there was no-one selling the more exotic abs/pla filament. There were some interesting colours and peculiar effects on display, so it was a shame they couldn’t be bought there and then. Though Steve did manage to blag some samples of metallic gold and electric blue filament, so hopefully he’ll be able to print some demo objects on his RepRap at home and bring them along to BuildBrighton tonight……
Army Painter Quickshade is a great way of getting details on miniatures to stand out and get them to a half-decent standard very quickly. As well as adding shade to the creases and crevices, it also “tones down” the whole model quite a bit. So as a res… Continue reading
After an unusually productive evening at BuildBrighton last night, we’re pleased to share plans for our Army Painter paint pots stand:
Here are the SVG files – load these into Inkscrape and save as whichever format best suits your laser cutter (or the laser cutter at your local hackspace!). We used the BuildBrighton “white laser” which runs off RetinaEngrave – a virtual printer, so could just print these straight from inkscape, but also successfully saved as .dxf and can them on the “red laser” – an HPC 3020 hobby cutter.
Obviously we designed this stand for our Army Painter paints but will work for any dropper style bottle, up to 25mm across and 80mm high (a few others have already shown a renewed interest in miniature painting and have also got a set – or partial set – of similar paints).
To make this stand, you’ll need three sheets of A4 mdf (or acrylic).
If using mdf, the cost of materials works out at about £1.50 (we buy our medite/laser mdf in bulk, in sheets and an A4 sheet works out at less than 50p). This is a massive saving on some of the laser-cut stands on eBay which sell for £20-£30!
Tops – you need two of these per paint pot stand:
Sides – you need one of these
Assembly should be straightforward – the top sit on each “step” of the sides, there’s a bracing strut across the front of the bottom step, two struts at the top and bottom of the back and the last strut goes under the pots on the bottom step (our first version didn’t have this, and when you lifted the whole stand, the first row of paints still sat on the table!)
We used PVA glue to hold everything together. You can use Superglue for “instant grab” while assembling, but we liked that PVA gives a bit of wiggle-room to slide everything properly into place.
Yesterday morning, almost as soon as the postie had delivered the Army Painter Quickshade, I slapped some onto an alien miniature. Despite being a really basic paintjob (flesh painted a bone colour, carapaces painted purple and that was it) the Quicksh… Continue reading