Category Archives: Uncategorized

Laser Cutting and Updates

Recently I’ve joined a local makerspace, and started on broadening my experience on a wider variety of tools. Starting with using a laser cutter. So far I’ve gotten my sign-off to use it, and started a couple small projects. One was straightforward, and just got me familiar with the basics. I made myself an edge-lit acrylic sign, using parts from a kit, and just engraving it and assembling.

Pretty straightforward, gives me some themed lighting, and was good for getting a bit more familiar with some of the process of creating my own engraving.

The other laser project has not been going so well. So far I’ve made two attempts to create a two-layer battleboard for carrying around my laptop at the makerspace. I designed the thing in Autodesk Fusion 360, exported the files, got everything set up, and it seemed to be going well. On the first attempt it turned out that I had some settings a bit too fast and lower power, and the wood was rather thick. I went through several passes with the laser, and it still didn’t cut through. I reserved the machine again later to reattempt (had to use a new section of wood because I couldn’t align it to use the same origin as before).

And then the safety latch on the door started malfunctioning and caused the machine to refuse to fire the laser… but did not indicate that in any way. The machine moved in it’s preprogrammed sequence as if it were fine, but after a bit I noticed I didn’t see any more evidence of cutting. No smoke, no flashes of light from the material burning away… and the power usage needle never spiked from the laser firing. So far I’ve just got a neatly scorched piece of wood, and will probably need to purchase and chop another piece to try again. Uggggh.

I’d have tinkered with the machine, but I’m not one of the responsible parties for that equipment at the makerspace.

On the bright side, one of my other side projects is going pretty well.

I’ve started working on my interpretation of Captain Hook’s hat (from Dustin Hoffman in the movie Hook). My wall of hats for themed gaming has been missing a pirate hat, and to me that is the iconic pirate hat, so I’m making my own (using a simpler hat as a base). I’ll have to break that down more later.

COM|POST: Warhammer 40K: Mechanicus

Recently I played the game Warhammer 40K: Mechanicus, and I really enjoyed it. It’s a turn-based strategy game in the Warhammer 40K universe. The player customizes and commands a squad of Adeptus Mechanicus Tech Priests (heavily modified cyborgs who worship technology) and assorted others to stop a Necron (undead alien techno-zombies) world from awakening from dormancy. It really hits that technomancy vibe for me.

I started playing while they had a free weekend, and decided it was good enough to actually spend money on.

The player chooses a squad of Tech Priests and an assortment of their servants (kinda like hirelings in other games), and sends them on missions. The hirelings you customize entirely by choosing which ones to use. The tech priests you customize by changing out their upgrade trees and choosing which augments (technological upgrades, usually in the form of extra mechanical limbs or attachments) you give them. I chose to specialize each tech priest as I unlocked them, making each one better at a single area of capability rather than making them interchangeable jacks of all trades. One guy’s job was to be super fast and generate as much of the game’s combat resource, Cognition Points, in order to feed the abilities of the other tech priests that required them. Another guy was designed to be a tanky front-liner with an axe. Yet another was specialized as a long range character dealing as much damage as possible.

It was rather addicting, but at least it was satisfying. Plenty of lore dumps, turn-based squad combat, extremely customizable units, and a very thematically appropriate soundtrack. If I ever get into the tabletop game and play as Adeptus Mechanicus, I think I’ll want to play the soundtrack in the background!

World of Warcraft – Classic

I, like a number of gamers, decided to give WoW classic a shot.  If you’re interested in meeting up with me, I’m a dwarf named Odrek on the Atiesh server.  Those who know my gaming history know that Odrek is my dwarf fighter who has been around in 1st and 5th editions of Dungeons and Dragons, and I thought it appropriate to add another world to his slowly growing multiverse.

The graphics may be old, and some of the gameplay clunky, but I’m finding it rather charming at the moment, with a decent amount of verisimilitude with regards to the distances one would travel in such a world.

I don’t know why, but I’ve always enjoyed the process of levelling up a character, perhaps moreso than playing an endgame character at times.  While I’m making the climb, I have goals to strive towards.  New skills and armor tiers to unlock!

Since I was spending so much time walking in-game, I was considering hooking my VR treadmill up to it, so I’d get some exercise alongside my character.  I could really go for a VR interface in this game!  I love the feel and art style.  I mentioned this to the devs in the forums, and they said it would be questionable whether such an activity would get my account banned, and I’d much rather not have that happen, so I haven’t got that hooked up.
Anyway, back to the level grind!

General Updates:

I’ve sent my 3D printer in for replacement, finally!  Looking forward to getting back to work on the keytar and some other stuff that’s been queueing up.

I’ve ordered business cards, so I won’t have to keep writing down the contact info on bits of paper anymore!  I’ll try to keep some handy, as I keep running across people who perk up when I mention that I do 3D printing, especially in conjunction with tabletop gaming.

Preliminary Learning Goals

I want to up my game with my technomancy, so it’s time to educate myself more. This list is not fully prioritized or paced yet, but here’s what I currently have my eye on:

Raspberry Pi: I’d like to build a few projects using a Raspberry Pi, but I haven’t gotten around to doing one yet. There are all sorts of cool cases that can be 3D printed for them…. now I just need to find a use case for it.

Simplify3D: I need to learn how to make full used of this slicer software. I’ve been doing pretty well with it, but I recently found out that I’ve been doing something suboptimally, which costs more in print material, wear and tear, and most especially in time. Learning the software more thoroughly should help me save time and be able to print more.

Autodesk Fusion 360: I need to up my 3D modelling game for mechanical parts. I’ve got designs in my head, but I’m still unfamiliar enough with this software that it’s not always easy to render them quickly.

Potential Training:

OBS Studio: I’d like to share some of my gaming, particularly my VR gaming. Letting people see what I see in the hobby. Who knows, I might start posting some videos on a few topics I find interesting.

Potential Training:

Blender: For designing 3D models for prints and for possible game design.

Potential Training:

Unity Engine: For programming games in VR later.

Potential Training:

VR Game Design: I’ve got a couple game concepts I’d like to try to make.

Potential Training:

SCA Fencing Recertification: I used to be certified to fight in SCA fencing combat, but I didn’t attend for a while for various reasons. I want to start going to practice again, and re-up my certification.

Relevance: Gotta be ready when you run out of spell slots.

Japanese Language: I want to visit Japan at some point. I don’t wanna be fully dependent on my tech to navigate and survive. … and yes, it would be nice to be able to understand anime that hasn’t been dubbed in English without reading subtitles.

Relevance: Tech is great, but you gotta be able to survive if it doesn’t work properly.

Technomancy Skill Upgrade: PC Building Simulator

I am fond of the concept of games that you can play to teach you useful skills.  I feel that some of my academic skills when I was younger were enhanced by playing educational games.  I’d like to see more (and better implemented) games that teach skills for kids AND adults.

Here is one such game.

PC Building Simulator

It can be found on steam here

This simulator has you playing as a person (you never see them) who has recently been handed their uncle’s failing PC repair shop.  You have to take the failing business and make it work, which is mostly a matter of cleaning, repairing, and upgrading computers to the specifications of your customers.

This simulator teaches you about how to repair and upgrade computers, with the computers and their components being digital recreations of real-world parts.  It goes through the panels you have to remove, wires that have to be connected, part compatibility, etc.

It also makes you learn some about the business side of things.  Making sure you balance how urgent orders are versus how much shipping is.  Completing orders in the right order so that you get paid enough to be able to get upgrades and pay for the parts to upgrade the next computers (since you only get paid upon delivery).

It’s not a thrilling game, but it can be relaxing and educational.  So far I’ve never built a PC from scratch, and I’m glad I’m going through this simulator first.  I’ve already learned simple things from it that can be the difference between whether my next computer is a powerful machine or destroying itself from poor heat management.

The only gripe I have is that it doesn’t show or say anything about anti-static precautions, but I guess it got overlooked since that would be difficult to show on the screen.  Don’t forget to ground yourself to the case before working on computer components!

Otherwise, give this simulator a try!  Between the simulator (and due diligence with research) you might be able to save the money you would have paid someone to build your next computer.

Technomancer Inspirations

Here are some of the shows, stories, and franchises that have inspired me in science fiction and technomancy, often with the application of Clarke’s third law:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.


Star Trek:  I’ve not watched every episode of every season, but I have watched a lot of them.  I first started on Star Trek, the Next Generation, and I wanted to live on the Enterprise D.  Many entities over the years have technology that the user claims as magic, and/or it is revered as magic.  I’ve always been inspired by the Federation’s use of technology for the betterment of themselves and those around them.  Inspired by their engineers, using technology to solve seemingly impossible problems.

Stargate:  Many of the advanced races have technology that is often mistaken for magic (intentionally and unintentionally).  Goa’uld tell all their servants that their technology is magic, and enhance this impression by using devices that they wield to heal or destroy with hand gestures.  The Asgard are revered as gods, and they only go with it until the people they are dealing with it are advanced enough to handle the concepts of beings with advanced technology.

Babylon 5:  This is where I got my frontpage quote.  Aside from the myriad groups encountered, there is a group known as the Technomages who intentionally focus their technological development on trying to create the illusion of magic.  They are respected (or feared) depending on who they interact with and how.

Neuromancer:  This kinda feeds my cyberpunk aesthetic side.  Technology integrated as an essential part of daily life, so commonplace that it isn’t always even noticed.  A virtual world that is vast and connected with many places in the real world.  This one is relatively recent for me, but a lot of movies and shows I’ve loved over the years were clearly inspired by it (The Matrix and Code Lyoko come to mind).

Farscape:  Another one of my favorite space operas, following an astronaut named John Crichton as he tries to find his way home among the vast diversity of space and interstellar societies.  All sorts of technological wackiness, especially when there are beings so advanced that they created living ships with personalities of their own, made to be bonded with another species to act as Pilots.

Dragonriders of Pern:  Explorers of another planet genetically engineered local wildlife into flying, firebreathing, teleporting, telepathic dragons in order to combat an aerial threat to their society known as Thread.  Technology and society breaks down into a feudal structure over time, allowing them to combat the Thread with generations of dragonriders bonded to their dragons.


There are many others I’ve come across in my reading and viewing, but these are the main ones that first come to mind.