Wednesday, August 12, 2015

2400 Words. Haven't Done That In A While...

A sudden burst of writing fury has hit me. 

I've knocked out almost 10,000 words as of late, 2400 of them today.

It's nice to get the voices out of my head.  ;)


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Where Has JBR Been All Summer?

Well, I've been out of touch for a few months.  Real life getting in the way.

Here's a song that handsomely sums up the intervening time I've been away.


Friday, May 15, 2015

New Material From Shapeways At The Rebel Minis Digital Direct Store

Quick And Dirty Review:  Frosted Extreme Detail is good stuff.  Not great, but good.  Order with confidence, even the little fiddly bits, for unique tabletop parts.

For those of you who don't know, I went into a joint venture with Rebel Minis to offer custom, one-off, and as-yet unreleased parts through Shapeways.  It's called Rebel Minis Digital Direct.

Here's the link

The parts cost more than mass-produced stuff, to be sure, but if you need to have a certain part before anyone else, it's the right thing for you.

The initial offerings weren't that great.  The material selections were not high resolution, so anything you ordered was grainy and steppy.

Shapeways has now introduced a new material, called Frosted Extreme Detail, that reminds me of what we were doing, professionally, before the advent of widespread Perfactory prints.

They are akin to high-resolution Objet 3d prints.  A tiny bit grainy and steppy in spots, but overall, not bad.  You can see what I mean in the photos below....

 This is the RUMV Turret with Jackhammer Cannon, one of the mainstay weapons in the Earth Defense Forces armored corps.  Link Here.

Voodoo, my ancient black cat, even gave it a sniff.  Apparently, it passes the sniff test.

 As you might be able to see, the print is made hollow.  It was like digitally scooping out the innards of a pumpkin, trying to lose mass in order to bring the price down.

 Here is the RUMV Jackhammer turret next to the 15mm scale Rifle Squad weapons sprue.  A pair of Titan Marines are shown for reference, as well as an older 15mm scale M1 turret.

 The sprue consists of six standard rifles, three squad automatic weapons, and three rifles with under-barrel grenade launchers.

Sorry for the sideways pics.  Contact Google/Blogspot if you have chiropractor bills. ;)

Overall, I like the new Frosted Extreme Detail material.  It's consumer grade, not professional, but the quality is a strong.  The cost is more, but these are more of a premium offering.  If you want unique tabletop pieces, order with confidence.


Edit to add:  While Shapeways is making progress on offering mass-market detailed 3d printing, if you are looking for mold-worthy prints, I would still recommend my friends at or
Yes, they will cost more, but it's worth it for professional-quality prints from the same guys that do Hollyword SFX prototypes and medical devices, yet will still rent time on their machines to small fries like myself.
Make sure you pay extra for post-production clean-up, too.  ;)

Edit to add (again): Roman, our first customer from the Shapeways store, graciously gave us permission to reblog two custom hovertanks that he made using parts from Rebel Minis Digital Direct.

Look at those beauties.


Friday, April 3, 2015

.300 Blackout Pistol: Unboxing And Dryfit

There are few things more fun that you can pick up at the post office than real gun parts.

I missed the mailman yesterday, and a signature was required.  So, I took my little "missed you" note to the main branch, and received a box in return.  It was from Ares Armor, a rambunctious little gun parts store down in occupied California-stan.  Good guys.  They're uppity, and I like that, so they get my bucks.

So, I get home, and here's the unboxing...

 Tactical box entry.

 Subjects are found cowering in the bottom of the box.

Upon extraction and separation for investigation, parts are laid out.  I like the fact that the barrel ships with a mesh protector as well as taped foam padding.  Nice touch.

 9" Barrel, pistol gas length system, nitride finish.  Very nice.

 Chambered in .300 AAC Blackout, with 1 full twist of the rifling over the length of 8 inches.  This should stabilize subsonic and supersonic ammunition.  

The charm of the .300 Blackout is that it can fire either with little adjustment.  From left to right, you have three .300 Blackout loading in various projectile weights, a 5.56 NATO round, and a 7.62x39 cartridge.

They're rinky-dinky cartridges.  Nothing spectacular, ballistics-wise, nor worthy of the media hyperbole associated with them.  Like I said a few weeks ago, your grand-pappy's 30-06 makes a 5.56 NATO cartridge look miniscule in comparison.  Don't be scared.  30-06 comparison photo is from this blog, which gives a good run-down on the capabilities of the two chamberings.

On with the parts...

 Charging handle with laser-engraved Ares Armor logo.

 Assemblage of parts.  The lower receiver was a stripped lower I purchased a few years ago, and has never seen a rifle stock mounted on it.  Very important distinction when building a pistol.

 Dryfitting of the gas block on to the barrel.  Barrel screws to the upper receiver.  Muzzle brake/flash hider screws to the muzzle.  So far, so good.

The Troy V-Tac 9" freefloat forearm is what I have in the parts bin.  I usually don't like grabbing metal, since I live in the desert, where it's either freezing or boiling.  It looks good, though.

The dryfit-assembled upper goes on the lower nicely.  The other parts (dust cover, forward assist, gas tube) will be incorporated during the full build.

Well, there she is.  A very nice tool.  Now to do a formal assembly, and test fire her.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

New Viper Suit And Some Rebel Sneak Peeks...

The Titan Viper Mk.II is now for sale from Rebel Minis.

I did the Titan Viper Mk.I sculpt for Rebel Mike last year, and the modularity of the design continues to reap dividends.

The newest fruit from that mechanical vine is the Titan Viper Mk.II

Click here, or on the link here...

Gloriously painted by Jason Moore of Micropanzer.

Now, for some sneak peeks from Rebel Mike's Facebook feed.

 Here are the 15mm Valorians, giant-sized alien invaders whose 28mm big brothers are here.

 Here's a lonely traveler next to his police box.  It is unknown if it is bigger on the inside.  Fish fingers and custard are extra.

 Here's a RUM-V vehicle with a new turret, capable of holding dual 1/8" weapon systems.  Here, it has dual triple missile launchers.

 And here it has dual gatling weapons.  An awesome fire support vehicle, whatever the load-out.

Stay tuned for more details.



Saturday, March 28, 2015

Rapid Prototyped Modular Rifle: You Can't Stop The Signal 4

George Washington is long attributed (perhaps wrongly) with the quote that firearms are the teeth of liberty.  Whether the quote is actually GW's, or not, I have long believed that the use of firearms by free people for self-defense and self-determination is a human right. 

Let's look at some rapid-prototyped "teeth."

Some beautiful work has happened since the last time I put up a "You Can't Stop The Signal" blog update

Rapid prototyping technology has advanced, and become more affordable to the masses.  From small businesses, to classrooms, to open-source prosthetics for kids, the democratization of 3d printing is wondrous to behold.

FossCAD is a neat little website, a decentralized meeting place for makers and fabricators whose focus is on weapons.

Why weapons?  Why not?  They're just tools, and you and I are part of a tool-using species.  Don't be scared.

If you're interested, they have downloads of files that bloodthirsty tyrants, busybodies, Bolsheviks, and bureaucrats would rather you not have.

That alone is reason to download them.  ;)

JT (click on the link for his twitter feed) debuted his Colt 901-compatible lower receiver recently on a page called

The Colt 901 is an advanced (and expensive) piece of hardware that is capable of firing the 7.62 NATO cartridge, and, with a special adapter, any AR-15 upper receiver, as you can see above.  An ingeniously modular design.

JT found a way to emulate the best traits of the 901 lower receiver,  refine it for 3D printing, and has successfully substituted his printed lower for the original that came from the factory. 

It has held up to the test-firing of a hundred rounds or so with minimal wear and tear.  Here's the lower receiver being printed on a common $500 extruder printer.

The lower fits well on an already-manufactured aluminum and steel upper receiver, collapsible stock, and other internal fire control parts.

 Loaded up and ready to go.  Magnificent.

The 7.62 NATO cartridge, the same round used in the M-14, G-3, and L1A1/SLR/FAL, is a significant step up in power from the 5.56 NATO round.

Both rounds, of course, are inferior in power and range to the 30-06s and 8mm Mausers our great-grandfathers used in World War 1 and World War 2 (and every deer hunting season ever since), so don't soil yourself just yet.

This new application of 3d printing is a notable accomplishment.  The world is becoming more and more malleable.  Welcome to the future.

Congrats to JT, the folks at, and the crew at FossCAD.  For more, follow the links.

This reminds me...I need to get my CNC machine running...hmm...