Laser-Cut: Star Wars Imperial Assault Insert

Making Everything Fit

Star Wars imperial Assault AssemblyDesigning an insert requires 3 design challenges to be overcome; fit, form, and functionality.


Ideally the game should fit within the box after an insert has been made for it as Zip-Lock bags duct taped to the sides of the box lid may not have best appeal to it.  When starting my design process I layout all the components in stacks next to my trusty ruler and calipers and start measuring everything. Typically I start to sketch out some concept layouts just to get an idea of the possible ways I can orient components, do I want playing cards to lay on their side to save height or set them vertically? Next its time to move to doing some rough sketches in my modeling program so I can see what interferences may pop up and to better account for all the different dimensions of game components as well as the space that is used by the inserts themselves. Here’s an Isometric view of a basic test layout I’ll run through to see how the different component boxes will layout and to see where I can steal a few millimeters here and there to make better fits elsewhere. StarWars IA WireFrame This process can be a lengthy and frustrating one if you have lofty goals. I had those. My main goal for this insert was to fit the core game of Star Wars Imperial Assault and all the currently released and announced miniature and base game expansions for 2015. As of May 13t, 2015 there was a possible 55 small miniatures (miniatures with bases with a 1 inch Continue reading Laser-Cut: Star Wars Imperial Assault Insert

Sewing a Dice Bag

Prepare Your Eyes for Soft  and Cute Awesomeness!

I made a dice bag for my DiceMasters game. Now I can make dice bags because why not? I thought it was time to play with fabric for a while. Is there a medium I wont try? Molten Lead, I have to draw the line somewhere and that seems like a good one.

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They’re reversible too so I can play around with that too. Best of all for DiceMasters the bag stands on its own even when empty.

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If you have the hardware needed to make a dice bag and want to make a dice bag but have limited sewing skills the check Tiffany Teaches. Her step-by-step guide was all I needed for making these. Thank you Tiffany! You rock. The fabric is Chibi kawaii Super Hero.

Laser-Cut: Hive Box Improvement

A New Home For My Six Sided Friends

I like hex tiles. They’re like squares but with so much more gaming potential. One would think that with such a elegant simple strategy game there would be an equally elegant and simple storage solution that came with said game. Not so much. While I do think the little portable plastic zip bag that the game box could be a neat thing to bring on trips or whatnot I’m just bothered by the fact that the box which contains such well fitting components contains 60% air. Its like a Yahtzee game box. A game that contains 5 Continue reading Laser-Cut: Hive Box Improvement

Laser-cut: Cards Against Humanity Box

So it begins

One of the first boxes I thought I’d try was to make a Cards Against Humanity box that would fit all the cards of the core game and all the current and a few future expansions. I recently got access to a laser-cutter and combines with SolidWorks I started to experiment with a design that would meet my requirements of storage needs and have dimensions that wouldmesh well with existing board games so I could reduce clutter while still fitting in cleanly with my current collection.

Laser Cutting: The Learning Curve

Laser cutting can be tricky at first. You really need to play with the machine for a while trying to future out what small variations in settings can do. A bit too slow and you’ll end up making edges that are closer to a charcoal pencil then a clean Continue reading Laser-cut: Cards Against Humanity Box

Victorian Project Introduction

Guest Contributor: Alyson

Victorian Woman image from

About Me

Before I can properly introduce the project, I do need to say a few words about myself. I am a mother, college student, and part time worker at the bookstore of my school. In my spare time, I like to geek out and work on other projects that interest me. When I become impassioned about a project I can work on it until my mind turns to mush!

I am absolutely in love with the Victorian Era. I have been dying to own my own authentic gowns, but I’ve never had the money to buy them. They are very expensive and rightly so. I discovered a love for sewing and conquered my fear of the sewing machine, so I’m putting together this project so I can finally own a Victorian Era gown.

Influences and Goals

Other than the fact that I love the Victorian Era, the other major influence for choosing a Victorian gown is the fact that it can be broken down into these six smaller projects. As a beginning seamstress, it’s very important not to rush anything and bite off more than you can chew. This allows for skills to be built slowly over the course of the entire project. That comes out to be one fine achievement!

In my personal opinion, this is also a great way to build the skills you need to create other dresses, regardless of if they’re from past eras or the modern era. Before selecting this project, I was very set on sewing a wedding dress by hand, but had no idea where to start and I realized a wedding dress may not be the best project to start out on. The Victorian Gown, in theory, would help me build the skills I need to be able to tackle the wedding gown later.

Decisions, decisions, decisions…

­­For this first project, I have decided to make a basic walking dress. A walking dress, as the name implies, was designed for walking around town mostly to run errands. Because I also have a daughter, I have decided that I will center my decisions around that. My dress must be hardy and resistant to children above all. If you do not have children, the only factor I do advise to take into account is the weather and practicality. If this is going to be a Halloween Costume or something to wear once a year, you’ll want to tailor your choices to that. For example, if it’s really hot even in the fall you’ll want to choose lighter fabrics, perhaps an off-the-shoulder bodice and skip Continue reading Victorian Project Introduction

Dragon Queen Bodice Construction Intermission- Back strap exploration


Like most of this project, I had yet to decide how the shoulder cap and back would actually connect. Having reached a satisfied point with the front, I knew that the strap in the back would be essential for not only continuing the quality of the costume, but also providing necessary support to the structure in the front, and before finishing or even adding to the front, I knew I would have to resolve the back. I started by simply creating a 2 row chain of scalemail, hoping that this would be a q2 column scalemailuick solution for attaching the back pieces together. When I did this however, the angle that I needed to support the front caused the new strap to twist and stick out instead of staying flat, in addition to simply not looking great. So, the next solution was to go thicker and strengthen the connectors underneath to prevent it from twisting. To accomplish this, Stefan created a mock strap with extra scalemail with a 4 in 1 wea4 in 1 backstrap with extra scalemailve method, (found in Danny Ace’s PDF entitled, “A Brief Tutorial to Crafting Armor from the Ring Lord’s Scales”), which naturally expanded the strap to 3 rows. This strap wasn’t absolutely atrocious, and certainly was a more logical solution than the thinner strap. However, this method used significantly more resources than I was prepared to use, needing at least 4-5 extra scalemail per side, plus additional scalemail to blend the strap into the back to make it Continue reading Dragon Queen Bodice Construction Intermission- Back strap exploration

Dragon Queen Bodice Construction Part 1


This post discusses the construction of the front bodice scalemail plate, and work on contractions. Please note, that the current scalemail plate is being held together with giant rings as it has been more convenient for testing, modeling, and fitting.


Contraction work


I knew from the start of my project that I did not want a clunky, unfit bodice as I feared it would look sloppy and unfinished, in addition, I also wanted the bodice to be more like “skin” and less like armor. A tighter fit, I reasoned, would not only look more attractive, but by staying closer to my body, and even resting on my hips, it would possibly help with weight distribution to the top. During my initial research as to when to implement tailoring, I came across several forums (listed below in resources) which discussed the process of tailoring through contraction, but there was no definitive conclusion on the best time to implement contractions. Some comments pointed out that if you know where the contractions would be, it is easier to put contractions in as you went, while others recognized that it wasn’t much harder to include contractions after the piece had already been created. There seems to be a difference, however, in large scalemail and small scalemail, and there seems to be more repercussions for post construction contractions with the small scale.

So with no conclusive decision on when to implement the contractions I decided to research where the contractions should be implemented. I did not have much luck here either in specifics, but Continue reading Dragon Queen Bodice Construction Part 1

Costumes: Blasts from the Past

During the college years I did manage to find some time to throw together some costumes. The following are a few of the costumes that were finished enough to see the dark of night during a Halloween gathering.

The Red Shirt That Survived

This costume came into being because I had just bought Sara a new sewing machine and figured I should tackle a project to see what I could do with the new toy. I purchased a Star Trek the Original Series pattern from Katarra8 on Etsy since it was said to be the easier to follow pattern according to a few posts I found on a great Star Trek costumes forum

Fabric was purchased from Micheal’s, a cutting wheel was added to the project (Those things are amazing) and I had played with the sewing machine enough that I felt confident in sewing both straight and curving lines.

I am not naturally gifted in the ways of fabric. Its confusing. All the straight lines make perfect sense until you hit a curve, like those that connect the shoulder sections to the chest and suddenly you’ve sewn a section in a manner that had one section of fabric come up 3 inches short and you sitting there just playing WTF on repeat in your head. Knowing how to fit curves and add tension to the fabric at the right time is something that will definitely plague me for the next few projects. I’m a super newbie to this craft so I try not to get to discouraged but after you’ve ripped a seam for the 3rd time it makes it hard not to throw it into the fire pit and roast a couple of marshmallows off of it.

In the end I was mostly triumphant as we can see in my super proud surviving Redshirt pose

Stefan as a Red Shirt (Start Trek) Survivor.
Stefan as a Red Shirt (Start Trek) Survivor.

Since I was playing off of the idea that I was a Redshirt that was sent of in one of the more active away missions I wanted to play around with a little bit of fight effects makeup. I went to my local costume shop and picked up some of the better quality makeups they had.

Makeup shopping list:
-Ben Nye: EW-4 Master Bruise Wheel-Ben Nye: Final Seal Spray
-Initial face prep powder

I got my start by watching a few videos on Youtube to get an idea of the right products to buy and proper blending techniques, like THIS video.

Stefan as a Red Shirt makeup closeup
Stefan as a Red Shirt makeup closeup

I know I did well at this because during lunch at my companies Halloween gathering I found out that there was a rumor that most of the people outside of my team thought I had gotten into a car accident the evening before.


Aperture Scientist

After having just thoroughly enjoyed the  game Portal and being a back in the day fan of Halflife I wanted to pay tribute to the hard working scientists from Aperture Science. This was a pretty simple task, buy a lab coat, obtain a company logo, get a custom security badge made, some random props and accessories and look smart. Check and check.
I was super pleased with the badge I got custom made from Etsy:

Aperture Labs Badge
Aperture Labs Badge

The final assembly

Aperture Scientist
Aperture Scientist


Skeleton Face

Likely my all time most rushed costume ever was a simple makeup application so I would look like a skeleton in a low lit room. Got the cheapest junk Halloween $1 makeup from my local grocery store. Found some Dia De Muertos face paint images but figured I wouldn’t have time to get those right so i just found a couple of skull images on my laptop, got some cotton swaps and sat in front of the mirror until I figured it out. It did take two attempts to figure it out at about one hour minimum per attempt.

Here’s Trial one where I was still figuring out the layout before dealing with blending and details.


Makeup Test
Makeup Test

Final Result

SkeletonMan. (crummy cellphone image)
Skeleton Man.


Finch Mask

There was this manga called I Luv Halloween created by Benjamin Roman. I really like the main character’s, Finch, look so I figured I’d see if I could try my hand at clay modeling and mold making. This was one of my more ambitious projects that I only gave myself a few weeks to throw together. That amount of time was far from what I needed. The mask came together well enough. The clay I selected was one that would harden nicely in the oven. The idea that I would have the time or money to make a mold from this while juggling college was no well thought out. The mold never happened and I was left with a very heavy mask that I had to make a wire mesh helmet to hold the weight. Its was heavy and overall very uncomfortable. On top of that I was never able to locate the orange wig to complete the look. On the plus side somehow Benjamin Roman found my post of this mask on DeviantArt and gave me props for my work, small world.

Finch Mask
Finch Mask

Sadly since the mask was made so thin it had a little accident and cracked so I made lemonade out of the situation by painting it and mounting it to an old frame and now its a nice piece of wall art.

Finch Mask

Dragon Queen Scalemail Shoulders


 Since our full scalemail order arrived in the mail, I have temporarily suspended work on the horns, and began construction the bodice for my costume. Although excitement is the primary reason for temporarily leaving work on the horns, equally to blame is the fact that the scalemail is much cleaner (in terms of workspace upkeep) and easier to work on at a moment’s notice, in addition to the fact that I might have to create a replacement for the horn I botched during sculpting, and I’m possibly delaying the inevitable. Although seemingly more straight forward, the scalemail has been equally challenging in its own medium, and there are an equal amount of assembly questions to address in the near future.

For now, however, I have been simply creating basic shapes that presented themselves during my initial diamond (100 scalemail) trial. Pleased by the diamond shape on the shoulders, I decided to incorporate dual diamond shoulder sleeves/ caps, into my design. This section would not only be the easiest to complete first, as there was no technical skill involved in creating the shapes, but it was also a necessary step for transitioning into the chest/ breast area, which Continue reading Dragon Queen Scalemail Shoulders

Dragon Slayer: Scalemail

When someone asks you what you did over the weekend probably one of the most nerdy responses you could muster would be “I made chainmail!”.

To have a connection in our costume theme both Sara and I are incorporating scalemail. I chose the larger sized tempered high carbon steel scales from The Ring Lord. I wanted a more worn look “Authentic battle Damage!”, which I felt would be a good contrasting look when compare to the cleaner look Sara’s scalemail dress will have, which would more reflect a guy who’s been out in the world gaining his experience points and getting beat up from time to time. The pattern is the basic one also shown on the websites tutorial videos. The process is surprisingly easy but rather time intensive. I found that using a towel as a work surface keeps the area clean but most importantly it as a bit a friction so that all the scales you just assembled aren’t constantly shifting and slipping around while your working. I use two mini cheap pliers simultaneously to handle all the ring bending and scale handling. I find the smaller pliers allow me to still use my free fingers to grab stuff while not having to constant set them down.

Scalemail Workspace
Scalemail Workspace

After a couple of after work assembly sessions I got most of a full sheet done.

From the back side of the sheet of scales the ring pattern that holds the scales together:

Ring assembly
Ring assembly

And the result of all those hours hunched over a pair of pliers:

Scalemail assembly
Scalemail assembly

At this point I just need to repeat this process to get one more strip of scales.  The next big step is to work through the best method of attaching the two together and the system that the final assembly will attach to so that this can be worn.  Attaching the scalemail to your body is usually fairly straight forward; you make a enough scalemail until you have a shirt shape then you just throw it on and bind up whatever side you left open since this stuff allows no stretch. For my plan I’m only applying scalemail to the lower torso, between the sternum and hipbones as you can see in my concept sketch.

Dragon Slayer Concept A
Dragon Slayer Concept A

I need to design some kind of suspenders system or have it mount to the interior of the future leather chest plate