Archive for the ‘General News’ Category

It’s been nearly 5 months since this project began, but finally my next generation portable Nintendo 64 has been completed and is ready to ship to my customer! That said, this project is a very special one for many reasons, but mainly for who this was built for. Max Mithzan is a Social Media personality and his presence is well felt in the gaming arenas like Minecraft and several others. He’s been a very cool guy to work with and very understanding as events in my personal life have drastically affected the time I’ve had to work on projects like this.

It’s also been the first project I’ve used my new Form Labs Form 2 SLA 3D Printer which has given me capabilities I never imagined I’d have.

Yes, it was a huge learning curve and my first attempt yielded many failures I will not repeat with future builds, but even then this has become the best system I’ve built to date.

I know the video above isn’t as descriptive as my video’s normally are as far as the technical side of the build, but in this case I really just wanted to show off the unit itself. I’m feeling pretty good about this one and am excited to see what Max has to say about it when it get’s to him next week!

But here are a few pics of the process as it went. I didn’t have the time I normally do to make a build log with full details, but I did take some pics of the case work.

The precision SLA provided made me think of case design in a whole new light. But its limitations soon made themselves apparent.

 

But the detail I was able to achieve is far beyond what I could have hoped for.

 

Combined with FDM 3D printing for the large front and back plates as well as the cart cover, I was able to make a very highly detailed and structural enclosure for this system.

 

It still required a lot of filling, sanding and priming to make it look like a single piece, so the time saving was marginal at best, but again, the detail was far above the standard.

Primed with the C-Button Decal

Painted and ready for the next step

But once the SLA decals were in place, it became clear how much of an asset this printer was going to be.

 

Things really got driven home though when the custom 3D printed buttons and D-Pad were put into the mix and functionality met with aesthetics on a new level for me.

and the Mithzan 64 was born!

So I hope you enjoy this video as it’s defiantly been a landmark project for me and it’ll be interesting in the next few weeks to see where this will go after he gets it! I love it so much I hate to see it ship out, but I’ll be just as happy to see it in its new owner’s hands!

 

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Rhea Grace Downing, 3-3-2017, 6Lbs 14oz, 19″ Long

So Friday was a hellofaday as my wife and I welcomed our second child into this world, little baby Rhea! (Ray-Ah) Yes, I’d known she was on the way for quite some time now, but you’re never prepared for the phone call that today is that day. I went into work early on Friday, March 3rd around 6:45 AM to help with a big job and at 8:10 the call came that it was time to go to the hospital and as it turned out, it wasn’t a moment too soon. We arrived at the hospital (which is an hour away from where we live) and were officially admitted at 10:07 AM. At 10:41 AM she was in my wife’s arms on the bed….a window of 31 minutes. I mean god damn…this baby girl wasn’t fuckin’ around.

All things considered, this was as good as anyone could have hoped for and we are again blessed with another beautiful and healthy baby which makes all these hobby creations seem the pale in comparison.

That said…yes, what’s going on with the projects? Well for the last several months now I’ve been working on an N64p commission which is finally finishing up. This took way longer and had more problems than any other I’ve done to date because I tried utilizing my new Form 2 to test it’s limits. I’ll never again do a 3D printed portable the way I did this one, but the learning curve was worth it and once this project is closed up and completed, it’ll still be one of my finer works and for good reason.

But more on that when it comes time and on the subject of time…suddenly now I’m realizing I’m going to have next to none with two kids and a full time job. Simply put, once these couple of projects finish up, I’m not going to have the time to do any full-blown, from-the-ground-up portables anymore…not that I’ve done anything new in quite some time anyway. But I’ll be changing the commissions page a bit to gear toward the N64 almost exclusively as I’ve got pretty much everything already down to turn them around fairly quickly now which for awhile will be the only thing I have time to really work with.

So yes, I’ve got a couple fun projects that will be released soon and hopefully another started before the end of the month. Lotsa work to do between then but at least I can say I’m not bored!

So what happens when your full time employment disappears and for a little over a month you are a stay-at-home Dad like I’ve been? You stay busier than ever and build really cool shit!

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I gotta say that as far as my modding goes, this has been the most productive and fun month since the days of the Cross Plane and it feels good to have the time again to be doing this. That said though, my new full time job will be starting up Wednesday, but it’s much much closer to home than my last one and I’m finally out of Corporate America which had been digging at me for years. So now I won’t come home hating my life nor will I be spending two hours of my day in the car just to get there and back. Time to mod will be less than it has been, but there will be more of it than there was for certain!

Also, once this project pictured above is completed (look for a dedicated post about that in the coming week), I’ll be starting on a new N64p Commission for You Tube & Twitter personality, Mithzan. This will most likely be the highest profile system I’ve ever done and I’ve taken steps to insure it will be the best work of mine to date. What those steps are I cannot say just yet, but shortly you will see a big upgrade to the capabilities of DB. Some exciting stuff coming down the road here very soon!

Last night I finished off a small side project that I’ve been wanting to do for awhile. Though not a complex project or visually remarkable, this new tool will help out a lot in the future as I dive into new systems and try new things with the old. So yes, I basically just made myself a 3D Printed TV to mount on the wall in front of my work bench.

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The screen itself is a 5.6″ 4:3 Ratio 480p screen which plays nicely with older consoles and since older is what I’m usually working on, it seemed the logical choice. (plus I that’s all I had to work with anyway). A good benefit though is this can take VGA and HDMI input as well as composite so there’s a wide range of possible uses for this. The bummer though is this screen board did not have audio output, so anything HDMI will be a pain to test audio with. However, there is an L&R input for composite or VGA (or anything audio for that matter) to goes to one of RDC’s original SmaIIamp boards, which in turn power the speakers. I had to add a 5V step down reg though as the reg on the screen had 1.3V, 3.3V and 12V…pretty useless as far powering an amp that requires 5V to run. Oh well, had a few spares kicking around to I used one of them up.

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20160604_091150So again, all in all, not a very complicated project but hopefully a useful one. This took probably 3 hours to design, 8 hours to print and 4 hours to wire & assemble and has probably $120 worth of parts and materials. So all in all, not that bad…could have bought one for cheaper I’m sure, but where’s the fun in that?

Next, an update on my current N64 Commission. It’s moving along, though a bit slower due to the above project as the test box was/is needed for the systems completion. The front half is just about complete though, but I decided that the tact switch board for the screen and audio controls needed to be made into a real PCB as well and those are currently at the fab shop getting produced.

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Now the back halves need the same loving attention. Currently they are sitting on my desk covered in filler that needs to be sanded, refilled, sanded, primed, sanded primed, painted and clear coated…with a few more sanding in there somewhere. But yeah, that’s where things stand right now and I hope to start work on this again very shortly. Thanks for checking in!

 

Alright, so I’m pleased to annoucne the SG-N64 is now For Sale on Ebay. This went live at 3AM this morning and already has a bid which is a very encouraging sign!

I also made my 3D Printed files for the system available online at My Mini Factory. So if anyone is interested in downloading and giving this system a rip, feel free to give it a shot!

But with the coming sale of the SG-N64, I was able to finally order my new CNC driver which is what I’ve needed to get my big machine working again. Rather than pretend I know what I’m doing in the future, I’ve opted for the tried and tested, all-in-one package that even though is more money, will actually work the way the machine was intended.

The GeckoDrive G540 shown below is an example of what I’ve ordered. This takes the guess work out of single drivers and three step USB conversions to just a single interface for all 3 and run by the parallel port like my old system. I can’t wait for this to come in so I can finally….finally get my shop back up and running again! I do have a couple projects I’m still working on and requests have started to come over on the new RFQ page, so things are moving forward!

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Gear VR

So with the holidays coming to close and the new year in full action, I realized its been yet again a couple months in the way of a meaningful post. Truth be told, the time just hasn’t been there to make progress on my shop, therefore no new projects have been completed either. So in the interest of keeping the blog from stalling, I figured I’d post my first thoughts about a new Christmas present I gave to myself and received yesterday.

As some of you may know, VR is about to take the main stream by storm, with the heavy hitter Oculus and their flagship product, “The Rift” leading the way with its upcoming commercial release. But another product they had been working on with Samsung is the Gear VR headset, which essentially takes the power of the new Samsung Galaxy series of phones and turns it into the main display and processing center for a completely mobile VR experience. This had been released in beta forms for the Galaxy Note 4, but has been re-released for the more updated 6 phone series and I recently just picked up the Galaxy 6 Edge, pretty much for the sole reason of using it with this headset.

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The initial boot up was quite simple. As soon an you plugged your phone into the unit, it told you to take it out and install the required software. This happened automatically after that and took about 20 minutes because my Internet connection sucks. But once all the software was installed, and the tutorial was complete, the menu showed itself in the middle of a huge room and the sense of presence this gave me was much more than expected from a headset for $99. It was almost immediate as to how quickly the interface was learned and ease of use the touch pad and back button were to give you a basic input function.

Though this unit can’t give the full VR experience that the Rift will do when it comes out, for 360 Degree photos and videos, this has been a remarkable experience. Just in a day I’ve been too Rome, Paris and Florance. I’ve flown with the Blue Angles and surfed through a blue tunnel wave in the Pacific, road on a speeder on Tatoonie and I’m just scratching the surface. Once my Internet connection is improved (installing Fiber tomorrow), I’ll give the Oculus video a try and see how it feels to have a whole movie theater to myself.

All in all I’ve been very impressed with this headset and it’s getting me even more excited for what the big boys are going to bring to the table when they start shipping. One thing is for sure, though we will still never be able to be in two places at once, these headsets and VR are going to make getting somewhere else a great deal faster.

To my friends, Beta, Aux and Tchay, you guys have done a remarkable job with this in the past few years and I though the original basement is gone, that meet-up allowed me to meet some great people who in turn have put out some amazing products. I look forward to the time I can get out to the west coast again and see what else you guys have brewing!