Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The SHNYAPS 64 Complete

Posted: 07/07/2017 in Uncategorized

Hey guys,

So the first of two commissions that I’ve been working on is now complete. It was a process to find the time to work on it but it’s finally done and will soon be ready to ship overseas. I’m very happy with how these have been turning out in the end, especially now that I have the ability to turn out HD case work with the Form 2.

Again these are very basic portable systems as far as modern standards go, but are still packed with very modern components aside from the actual mother board. I hope the reliability I’ve tried to build in stands true for many years after the buyer get’s the system, but as it stands now, the system is solid and I’m happy with the end result!

I’ll have more updates soon when the next commission is complete which shouldn’t be too long as all that’s left is a bit of troubleshooting with a bit of the wiring, but keep an eye out for another completion video when the time comes!

Yeah, so I thought with my insanely busy life it would be a good idea to not only have one portable project in the works, but add another into the mix! That said, I’m now currently working on two portable N64’s at the same time, which has it’s benefits in terms of set-up time and being able to work on things in batches but again is a whole new project. This one is being done for someone state side though and on the east coast, so it’s good to have a local project in the works again.

Essentially this is going to be identical to the one I’m working on now, very basic and single player only system but a nice metallic blue finish which is why I went with the white PLA this time for the main portion of the casing.

Not much new to report on this one though so really this is just and FYI but I’m looking forward to seeing how everything lays out! More to come shortly!

So a little over a week ago, I was fortunate enough to receive probably the greatest testimonial for a project that could ever be received! My latest project “The Mithzan 64” was received by my customer Max, and the video that he did and posted to his channel left me speechless! It’s also received more views in a little over a week than most of my videos get in…well…ever.

So I want to thank Max for being an amazing customer not only during the process of building this (which was somewhat of a nightmare in many respects) but also for showing the love after the fact and pushing both my channel and blog to new heights with his comments and video!

Thank You Max!

2000 You Tube Subs!

Posted: 01/17/2017 in Uncategorized

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Pretty freaking cool to see that rounded number today. I dunno, it’ll be 7 years ago next week since I started my You Tube channel and yes, I’ve compared this to some of my other modding buddies before which these numbers don’t hold a candle to a single video of theirs, but it’s very cool to see the “slow but steady” pace start to flare up a bit. That being said though, with my current project utilizing the new equipment the basement has acquired and the customer this project is going to, I’ve got high hopes I might finally push through these doldrums that seem to have been trying to deter me from achieving the success I’ve been reaching for in my work.

It’s a good hope anyway but these next few weeks will see if all these improvements that have been made will pay off!

But…on a more sober note and one that makes all this post pretty much meaningless…this is my first post since a high school friend, loyal reader and genuinely amazing person on so many different levels….left us….#Matthew Boyce, you were the personality that every being should encompass. Truth and Rebellion against none-truth…you knew very young there was the gritty, there was the hate and there was something you could do about it…and you did. I’m going to miss you man…really I am. It makes no sense to me why the best are taken from us the soonest…perhaps they are needed elsewhere…good thought to make someone feel better, but it still doesn’t numb the cut for me. RIP man…

2017….I wish these years would slow TF down, they seem to be adding up faster than I’d like them too lately. A lot has happened, more than what a lot of celebrities wanted to be a part of it seems, and a lot more is on the way. Christmas was great, (started watching the old Home Improvement episodes again as I got my old man the complete collection) and the New Year was peaceful and absent Maria Carey since boycotting the ball after Dick Clark croaked.

But, that said, it’s been a roller coaster ride over here. New job, new baby on the way, no consistency to the daily grind…yeah there’s been a lot to take in recently, but among all that, I’ve been moving forward as best I can with DB.

So, as eluded to before in the past post, DB has acquired some very cool new improvements. About 3 weeks ago, after sealing a new commission for Mithzan Productions, I finally pulled the trigger on a new SLA 3D printer I’ve been wanting for years. Downing’s Basement is now the proud owner of a Formlabs, Form 2 SLA 3D printer!

Unlike my other 3D Printer which is a fairly standard FDM printer, this machine is a Stereolithography (SLA) printer, which means there are no materials extruded, rather a beam of UV laser light shoots up from the bottom of a liquid resin containment tank and hardens everything in it’s path onto the build plate. This goes on one layer at a time and once one layer finishes, the build plate steps up a notch and the process begins again. And because there are no motors or anything pulling an extruder, there is no friction on the build surface so micro geometry is possible. It’s a truly amazing machine.

The unboxing video above shows off what one can expect when opening up the base package and there really wasn’t a whole lot of set-up involved that required any in-depth discussion on how to do it. A few thoughts on the purchase and we’ll start with the good.

Print Quality – Absolutely amazing! As the pictures below show, the tolerances and clean finish of the parts are stunning and save a great deal of time with post production. There still needs to be a fine sanding done to the parts, but no major filling/sanding work like is present with FDM prints if you want to have a smooth/clean finish. Also the resin sands extremely well, better I’d say than ABS.

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My first print, an NES D-pad that I designed a few years ago. This was also the first print I did on my FDM printer. This is before the alcohol rinse and still on the build plate, but you get an idea of the quality this thing produces.

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SLA vs FDM. The red buttons were done on my standard 3D printer, the black on the Form 2. Though the pic isn’t as clear, you can certainly see there is a big resolution difference between the two. The Z/R/L characters are actually printed into the part with the SLA.

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Same as I did for the Breakout Box on the Hesline, this replaces the front face plate on the JB-58 from poly case with what I need for the extra controllers and the HDMI port. Though I was able to use this, this part was technically my first fail because of the lines right above the HDMI opening. Those were supposed to be flush, no idea why it did that, but they sanded down easy enough.

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But as far as detail goes, this thing can’t be beat. That’s a .03″ x .05″ spacer line on the top edge there so that when the two case halves come together, there is a small gap that makes it look just like an injection molded part. Truly amazing precision.

Ease of use and multiple materials – The other big selling point for me is that there are several different kinds of resins that can be bought that support several different features. For example, there is a flexible resin that would act very much like a contact pad for a gaming controller’s buttons, which would allow me to print my own contact pads making the need for tact switches obsolete. There are also Cast-able and Tough resins that one could even make small Injection molds out of. And the interface and the software are very easy to learn and navigate. It’s a very versatile machine on so many levels.

However, with the good come the bad but I use that word lightly because this machine was not designed with a hobbyist in mind, it was designed for the working professional who needed to turn around true-to-form prototypes. So, ergo, most of the bad I’d give against this machine has to do with the expense.

COST – This is by far the biggest investment I’ve put into the shop and it’s only because of the number of jobs I’ve got lined up for portable commissions that I was able to pull this off. And it’s not just for the printer itself, but the resin per liter is 10X more expensive than a Kilo of filament and that’s just for the basic stuff. Granted right now I’ve used up almost 1/2 a liter of resin in over 3 weeks, printing almost everyday, so you do get some mileage out of a liter. But the fact that the resin tanks are considered consumable and will last for about 2 liters of resin needs to be accounted for. On top of this, if you wanted to change resin colors or material type, you’d need a new tank and probably a new print head so you wouldn’t have to clean off the material from the one your using.

Speed and Build Size – The speed is the other peeve. With a laser no wider than a human hair, printing at 100% infill, you can imagine that you’re only going to get one print set for the night and have to take care of finished part in the morning. Finishing is also a bit of a chore because it requires a 10min alcohol bath to clean any uncured resin from the part, and then a recommended hour long UV tanning session under a salon nail light to fully harden the part. The build volume is also a bit smaller than optimal which in this most recent project made me take on a more modular approach to the casing.

But again…this was not built for hobbyist, this was built for professionals and the price of precision is a high one. It was a risk to take this on but I feel the benefits it’s going to bring to the shop will pay itself back in good time. I’m very excited to see what else comes of this and how it improves my projects in the future!

So it may have taken a great deal longer to complete than anticipated, but my latest N64 Portable Commission has been completed and is getting ready to make it’s trip to “The Land Down Under”. The Hesline 64 is by far the most complete unit I’ve done to date as far as N64p’s are concerned and I’m very pleased with the final outcome…I actually don’t want to part with it, but alas, it must go to the one who paid for it.

Of course, though I’ve done many of these at this point, there’s always at least one problem that I run into with every build and this one was no different. But of course, because this was an European PAL region system, I had to import the N64 itself to for the build and of course, it was going to be the one thing I fried during the process. That caused many hours of frustration and an extra expense due to having to import another board from the UK. Thankfully a modding buddy of mine under the lid of ElectroModder from the UK was kind enough to source a couple boards and tear them down so the shipping was minimal to get them over here.

As I said before though, this is the most complete unit I’ve done to date as it utilizes almost all the features that one can cram into a portable and applied a lot of new building techniques which include using all custom PCBs for the buttons as well as a custom controller board and audio amp. The inclusion of a Breakout Board that is connected via HDMI cable also allows for the user to both Play and Charge the system at the same time as well as incorporate full Multi-Player functionality which I’d never done before.

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Technical Junk

Specs:
• Original PAL N64 Mother Board, Trimmed w/Expansion Pak
• 5″ 4:3 TFT Composite Display
• 2 – 25mm, 32Ohm Speakers
• 2 – 3.7V 5000mAh Li/Po Batteries in Series for 7.4V Output, 4 to 5hr Battery Life
• Hardwired Original Memory Card/Controller Pak
• Custom N64 Controller Board by RDC
• Custom Switchable Audio Amp for Speakers/Phones by RDC
• Custom 3.3V Regulator PCB by RDC
• Custom Tact Switch PCBs by RDC
• 5 Part 3D Printed Enclosure
• 1 – 5mm Barrel Pin Connector for Wall Power
• 1 – 2.5mm Barrel Pin Connector for Battery Charger
• HDMI Jack for Play/Charge and Multi-Player features using included Breakout Box.
• External Breakout Box includes a 12V, 2Ah DC Adapter for wall power and a 7.4v Smart Charger for the Li/Po batteries used in the handheld. It also houses the three other player ports so full multi-player gaming is possible. Lastly, there is an A/V output on the back of the box for standard RCA video out to a TV for full sized TV game play.

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The A/V, Play&Charge and Multi-Player Breakout Box

 

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I went with an HDMI connection because the number of pins they have by default in a small footprint. Also, the data speeds these cables are designed to handle are much faster than anything this will put out and the shielding provided in the cable makes interference very minimal for the travel length of the cord. I also used three lines each for the wall and battery power because a single line wouldn’t cut it for the amount of draw it’s pulling.

 

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An example of the amazing work that RDC does, essentially this a full N64 control board on a 1″ x 1.5″ footprint. This makes the whole process of placement and wiring so much easier, even if the trade off is stripping an original controller and swapping the components to this board. Wiring is so much easier now and the space saving is huge.

But yes, the build process is shown in the video’s slide show as well as explained in full detail afterwards. It’s a pretty long video but there was a lot to cover on this and I like to be as detailed as possible. This will probably also be the last commission I do for awhile as I have a few other projects I’ve been working on for awhile now that I really want to get off my desk. Time is also super limited these days which has been pretty much the norm, but if things free up a bit, than I might start taking more.

Hope you enjoy, this has been a fun and challenging project but I think it came out beautifully!

Also, please check out the Build Log over on the Bit Build Forums!

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