Large Scrolling Display

I've been slowly upgrading my Christmas lights over the last few years (and apparently not really blogging it). What started as one 300 pixel string has crept up to four pixel strings last year and I was going to add a fifth this year. The 'From Shadows' event approached with a strong venue that has power throughout and suddenly I was able to take along my light strip and put it to use displaying messages in the gaol. I purchased two more strings (because it's easier to make fonts with 7 lines) and I bought an Teensy Opto adaptor to make connecting them all up easier.

I tried previously to hang up the strips at various intervals across the distance but there was always a lot of droop in the middle and it was tricky to get all the strips lined up horizontally. This time I attached the whole length to four back boards and cable tied them every 15 pixels. This ended up with a very sturdy system where all the strips stay in alignment despite being moved around.

The softwa…

ARC Prison Facility Door Locks

The 'From Shadows' event was held at the Gaol in Oakham and as you would expect from an urban air soft site held in an old prison there are still actual cells available for playing in. Looking for a futuristic way to indicate if a cell is open/closed and being unable to actually lock people in cells I was asked to make these 'door locks' for the event.

Each door lock is a simple arrangement of batteries and LED's, keeping them cheap allowed me to make ten locks within the budget. The state change from locked to unlocked is done with a micro switch that becomes activated once a key card is inserted into the slot at the top of the unit. Once I started pushing cards into the slot though I realised I would be able to do something much more clever for minimal effort. By taking a number of notches out of the bottom of the card and having a similar notch arrangement inside the slot I could set it up so that each card would only open the appropriate door lock.

The notches…

Ley Line Crystal

Not everything can or should be laser cut, but the laser can usually help you make the right tools for the things that can't. This ley line crystal is a perfect example. From Shadows asked if I could make a large crystal prop that represented the crossing point of several ley lines. I had a serious think about my options and almost completely forgot that I actually own a vacuum former which is nearly perfect for this job. I could simply vacuum form two half shells of a large gem, paint them and stick them together to form a suitable prop.

The vacuum former is a great tool for turning plastic sheets into fancy shapes but you need something to form over, if I could go down the shop and buy the right thing to form over I wouldn't need to be doing any of this at all, this is where the laser cutter comes into it's own. I found a suitable looking 3D model of a gem online, from there I used Pepakura to unwrap the model into 2D flats with tabs in the appropriate places. I exporte…

Mini Teleport Units

From Shadows LRP had it's fourth event on the 25th-27th of Oct. The previous teleport return unit was quite successful so those asked for some more units to be made, only this time they should be a bit smaller so they are more manageable and store-able. Because I didn't have the original unit to hand I opted to make them half the size, in hindsight this feels a little bit small but they are super cute versions of the full blown unit. 
When you push the button the software comes out of sleep mode and counts down from 10 to zero. At zero the whole thing flashes to indicate that the team has 'teleported' in or out of the situation. The unit uses a USB battery bank for rechargeable power but one charge was sufficient to last the whole weekend. As the unit is smaller is was swung around a bit more and there were a few minor issues with cables coming lose internally so I had to strain relief the battery in the middle of Saturday and, players being players, someone jammed a …

Foam Saw Blades

I had a little run on parts for Eldritch, I've done these foam saw blades before but this time I was just squeezing as many parts into the sheet as possible. Where I was unable to cut full disks I cut some half disk instead to really optimise the foam usage. Simon turns them into great, futuristic/post apocalyptic LRP weapons.

Flecktarn Stencils

You wait for ages and then three come along at once. I feel like I did a lot of stencils in the last month, these flecktarn stencils were cut for Simon from Eldritch to decorate some of his shields. Two different patterns are repeated at several different sizes over the four sheets two allow them to be used on more items in the future. There were even plans to use the biggest size to decorate an old disused ambulance (Cambulance)

Chalk Outlines

Ruth, who drew the awesome goblin on the top of my treasure chest, wanted some chalk outline silhouettes for Christmas decorations over on her 'For Real Serial' website. This 3mm perspex outline was surprisingly sturdy and as always people take much better photos than I do. They look great and would be fun on any tree.