Thursday, September 29, 2011

I posted these to the BitBucket site tonight for those of you doing the SMD kit version.

Prepped and Switch Installed
Battery Holders Installed


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

These are up for grabs.  My daughter is no longer interested in being Quorra for Halloween and there is no reasoning with a 3 year old... ;)  She wants to be a rocket ship now even though I have all these molds for Tron stuff.

Update: The listing expired. You can still see the pictures and video on eBay but if you are interested make me an offer using the "Contact Me" link on the top right in the site map.

Update: These were sold.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Sorry I haven't updated you guys in a while.  No big technological breakthroughs to report.  Molds have been holding up nicely.  You guys have been keeping me especially busy the past month or so probably because you realized we are closing in on Halloween.  Sorry to say I am booked on complete custom mods through Halloween (took the last pre-Halloween order today).  Parts and kits are still available with a 1 month backlog, fabric has a 2 week backlog.

I have been getting the assembly line syndrome here churning out all this goodness for you so I dropped a couple projects (Virtual Rain Sensor and Knetic Group) to work on a new project - a flight simulator.  I know, it is completely unrelated but it gives me new problems to solve and to my RPF fans it will be a replica of the Aliens Dropship UD-4L.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Gibson Identity Disc

Just got back from our lake vacation but wanted to show you another custom job that I did for a customer before I left.  The options to get the green cast parts are now available on the Identity Disc commerce page.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mobile Support

I am happy to announce that we have added the mobile templates for my blog this afternoon.  You can find out more about which phones are supported and learn more about the features supported by visiting their blog post.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

New Fabric Print

Based on some feedback from cosplayers I have tweaked the print slightly.  Orders placed after 6/1 will receive this new print.  If you ordered a sample previously send me an email and I will ship you a new sample free of charge!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

One of my customers is trying to decipher my wiring diagram.  I haven't figured out how to color-code the wires yet but the program (called Fritzing) is free to download and use... and it's open-source!

You can download my Sketch.fz (XML) file that can then be loaded into that program. You can click on a wire and it will make it bold which should help you a great deal following the diagram.  Feel free to push it back to the bitbucket site if you make improvements!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wiring completed except for the controller... will do that tonight.  Also need to add some black construction paper to keep the light from bleeding front to back or vice-versa.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Picture with the battery mounted.  Please be sure to remove the sticker from the bottom of the battery before you mount it otherwise the glue will be sticking to the paper and it will peel off.  Observe the space under the battery which allows the light from the LED to reach the inner-C ring.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Completed first layer (back) inner-C LED mounting and connected the row wire.  I like this approach better because it spaces things out more (KAKAKAKA vs. AKKAAKKA).

Friday, May 27, 2011

I installed the replacement DPST switch in the factory slider switch location.  You have to be mindful not to glue in the channel where the plastic switch slides (ruined my first switch this way).  The LEDs in this location are slightly wider then where they should be so I angle them slightly so you can't see a difference from the outside.  I tack it in place with hot-melt glue for speed and then fill in and around with E-6000 again not getting any inside the switch mechanism.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Some of you have been asking for a better picture of the recharging port connection.  Basically I mirror the hole for the factory slider switch on the opposite side just big enough for the port to easily fit through.  I then attach the supplied extension/connector cable to it to hold it in place.  I then apply E-6000 from the inside and let it dry overnight.  Note that the battery is not mounted yet in this picture.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Some awesome pictures of a custom disc we did at Singatronic (Singapore).


Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger Downtime

No, I am not moving my blog to WordPress... I have been very pleased with this free service that Google provides.  Also having spent my share of all-nighters (one of which was on Christmas Eve) trying to pull a changeset from a server and restoring the data... it is not fun and my heart goes out to those guys.

To my knowledge the content was never unavailable - authors just couldn't post new content.  Posts from yesterday had to be manually moved from one copy of the database to another when they made the decision to revert.

I watched Twitter for @Blogger matches yesterday - in case you missed those it was pretty hilarious.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Inner-C SMD Ribbon Installed

This is the prototype of the SMD version but I am extremely confident in the electronics package because of previous work I have done.  The kit only comes out to $19.99!  It is simpler for DIY (minimal soldering) and much brighter but not animated.  The blade is operated independently from the inner C rings using the factory pushbutton.  The factory power switch location is used to turn on the whole thing.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Using a cutting wheel and respirator I cut the top of the inner C ring at a 30° angle towards the inside of the disc so that they pick up more light from the LEDs.  This leaves it slightly more diffused/frosted for a very soft but bright light.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Virtual Rain Sensor

A little side project this weekend... the wife left the sprinkler on all day for our garden by mistake so she asked me to automate it.  We already have the X10 CK11A Computer Control Active Home System, an X10 PUM01 Pro Universal Module, and a Rain Bird JTV075-ASV 3/4-Inch Jar Top Anti-Siphon Valve.  The only thing missing was a rain sensor like the Rain Bird RSD Rain Sensor which we have used in the past.  Then it hit me!  There are shortcomings of these hard-wired rain sensors...
  • Mounted to the house they won't be accurate from all directions
  • No output of dryness level (only a water or don't water switch)
  • No input of sprinkler water received (unless you mount it where it gets hit)
  • They will allow the sprinkler to run even during rainfall 
  • No input of weather forecast data (percentage) or per-storm rainfall totals
  • Decent brand with freeze sensor and adjustable soil permeability is over $30.
So I set out to create a Virtual Rain Sensor.  A program that gathers information from a database regarding the weather observations for the past 3-7 days (configurable interval and weather location).  It then runs the CIMIS algorithm to calculate losses through transpiration and evaporation based on sunlight, wind, temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, and elevation.  We then apply the gains through rainfall from mother nature.  It also pulls the forecast for the next day and the average per-storm rainfall total for the current day and calculates a predicted rainfall total for the next day. 

Taking all this into consideration (and whether the current observation or forecast low is at or below freezing) we calculate the duration of our watering based on our inches per hour calibration (using a coffee can in your garden you run the sprinklers for an hour and then measure how many inches of water you collected).

The application runs as a service on any Windows operating system (XP or 2003 Server minimum).  Every 3 to 7 days it will download a small packet of weather data from our servers and make a decision.  The details of this decision will be recorded and viewable on a dedicated website.

Holler if you are interested in trying this out.  I will send you an application customized to your location.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Refer to my earlier post, regarding Zentia

Refer to my other post, using Loctite

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Started a new forum for you guys to exchange pictures and ideas.  The comments are getting out-of-hand!  ;)

Let me know what you think about how it is currently organized - it makes sense to me but I am also juggling a few orders here so who knows!?

Also let me know if you are interested in moderating one or more of the forums and what your qualifications are (if any).

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Shout out to...

I received my Zentai suit today and my wife already put it on the dress form!  They made it crew neck and no socks.  It zips up in the back which will be hidden by the disc mount and armor.

I also have been having great success with Loctite black polyurethane instead of the black hot-melt glue sticks in holding the battery cover and inner-C rings in place.  It takes a while to cure completely but it is strong enough to work with after 3 days.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lately I have been playing catch-up with the blade casting since the mold was out of commission for a few weeks.  The new vertical mold technique works awesome... we have made 5 perfect blades in as many days.

The inner-C ring started deteriorating on Sunday so I poured a new mold last night.  Shouldn't skip a beat!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Vertical blade mold is the only way to go!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thought someone might find this helpful or interesting.  

This table is based on gross receipts reported for Tron: Legacy by country since it was released and then trended for today's date.  Then I took the population to get a per-capita expenditure and you can see that in countries like Singapore and Australia the movie had an appeal to a much higher percentage of the population.  If I had ticket prices I could tell you how many people actually saw the movie!

In fact, most of the fabric that I have sold and half of the modded discs I have made have been shipped to Singapore or Australia.  The remaining sales have been here in the USA or to France.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Due to popular demand we are now offering a blade-less costume version of the disc mod for about $100 cheaper than the original.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Some videos from my V3 mod kit in development.  This will be a significantly cheaper kit and an easier DIY project than V1.  V2 (two microcontrollers) has not been offered as a kit but there are completed mods that have been sold with V2 by request.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Blade mold is no good anymore.  That means I am working on my third one and have only cast about 20 blades total.  As a result I have adjusted the pricing for the blade part accordingly.  As a suggestion, if you can find a Kevin Flynn disc at Target for $14 and tear it apart you can use the blade from that disc because it is clear.  Nevermind the fact that one could turn around and sell that Kevin Flynn disc (unopened) for $40 or $50 on eBay!
Some of those blades had to be discarded because of bubbles.  The new mold will be a vertical pour so that the bubbles can work their way up to the top.  This is a little trickier because now we need some boards and clamps to hold the mold tightly together while it is curing.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ordered a Black Lycra Spandex Unicolor Zentai suit as the base of my Sam Flynn costume.  They do completely custom work for that $31.69 price tag (tailored to fit).  Besides my custom dimensions they are doing no hood, crew-neck, and no socks.  We plan to replace sections with the hexagon print fabric that are exposed.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I have had a weird week... been to several doctors trying to figure out why I feel dizzy/light-headed.  The consensus now is Labyrinthitis which can be caused by a viral infection.  They can't see it (inner ear) and they can't treat it (doesn't respond to antibiotics) but other people at my work have been having similar symptoms and my son has had flu like symptoms on and off for a week as well!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Very important - I forgot to include the 100 ohm resistor in the schematic and I don't want you to burn your voltage regulator out!

I also received these from one of the DIY kit builders which really help to illustrate the blade wiring.  NOTE: the column order on the back C LED's is backwards - wouldn't hurt the back since they are all lit at once but if you want to leverage the same column leads for the front of the disc they would be in the wrong order this way.  Also note that his blade is upside-down compared to how the factory ships these.  Easy enough to flip it and swap row 1 and row 2 when they connect to the Arduino but the INVPOL declaration in the source code would have to be removed (always prefer to change code than to change wiring lol).

Being on such a roll today (and a slight high hearing back from everyone who is building the kits currently) I spent some time updating the bitbucket site with more details on the scanning method, blade wiring, and back inner-C wiring.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tried to log on today to the RPF and this is what I get.  Not sure how I managed this - the only offense I had was a post to the wrong forum which should have reflected "removed by the author"!  

This is exactly why I post all the details on my blog (and now bitbucket) because they apparently went though and systematically deleted every post with my name on it!

Ultimately it is a disservice to the users of the forum and makes me second guess sending you all there for ideas since they are obviously somehow filtered and/or censored - therefore it has been removed from my Excellent Resources box on the right.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Component layout (Fritzing doesn't like curves)
Fritzing only has a 9V battery so that is for illustration only!
Charging cable and inner rings are not yet depicted!

Schematic from Fritzing program (auto-routing)

Friday, April 1, 2011

A little side project using the EL wire from my identity disc mod experiments.

A23 batteries and holders

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Limited time $2.86 (plus $5.00 shipping) Identity Disc mounts!

Monday, March 28, 2011

This was posted by someone who purchased my electronic kit.  They did an awesome job - I actually like what they did with the charging port better.  They used a higher gauge wire so they had more room and more flexibility with the wire so I am changing that out in future kits per their recommendation.  Their front C ring lights up in 8 segments instead of 16 because they didn't reverse the polarity on one of each of the column wires (either by choice or by accident).

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A lady that bought one of my kits recommended using the wire from a CAT5 bundle because it is an even higher gauge and has a thin insulation which would make it ideally flexible and small. I am going to start including that wire in the kits purchased on or after 3/26.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This is the most recent version I have been experimenting with.  It has two (2) microcontrollers (one for the front and one for the back and blade).  It makes it more expensive and not a whole lot brighter.  It also made it jam-packed and less of a DIY feat.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

Posted inner-C layout template. The red lines should align with the LED mount points.  The circle should be 4.25 inches which is the internal diameter of the hole in the disc.

While we are talking about the hole in the disc this is a site I came across which is selling compatible disc mounts for costuming.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Posted first of our disc preparation instructions...

Made a new mold for the blade... the old one broke and I think it is because I cut it along the rim so that air bubbles could escape. The mold only holds up as long as the edge touching the epoxy is super smooth (and lubricated with dry silicone).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What you have when finished cleaning up the back.

Place the battery door back in and glue it in place from inside using the black hot melt glue.

Next step is to route out the back C ring.  

A couple of gotchas - always work the Dremel bit towards you (pulling the material) on the right side of the bit (outside edge of the track).  Turn the disc around to work the inside track.  Keep it moving... if it sits for too long it will get hot and it is easier to make a mistake.  Use a anti-slip pad (dollar store) on the work surface to help protect the disc and to help you hold everything still.

Next step - Remove front C track - Approximately 45 minutes

First, pop out the existing plastic piece from inside starting at an end and working your way down using the various slots in the track to get access.

Don't try to pull the piece out if you intend to keep it - there is a weak spot where the two LEDs used to fit.

Front half track removed.  Keep the cutting disc parallel to the disc surface and be mindful of where the other side of the cutting disc is... the material for the face of the disc is not super thick.