I guess “hate” is too strong a word, but it provides the emotional punch necessary in a title designed to get people to read the post.
In my Old Age I have been spending less time playing video games, and more time wanting to take my creative energies out into the Real World. This is by no means a repudiation of video games; I still love them, and I would never be one of those “I’ve finally detoxed myself of gaming and I feel great!” kind of bullshitters that I see on occasion on Les Medias. As I have written previously, I suspect waiting for Star Citizen has kind of wrecked my ability to consider much in the meantime. Besides, physical crafting is not something I’ve done with much vigor in my previous life, so it’s a new phase that I am considering from several angles.
The first attempt was to create a dinking game, because of course it was.
I had seen this demonstrated in a video online and thought it was brilliant, but I don’t know if I thought it was $60USD worth of brilliant, especially when the contraption was basically just wood screwed together, and I had a bunch of extra wood and screws from various home improvement projects hanging around in the garage. My initial prototype looked OK, but I had trouble with some of the design decisions I made. I sourced some new materials in the meanwhile but have yet to go out to the store to pick them up for another attempt.
My second project was to get into making resin dice. Last Holiday season I fell prey to yet another Instagram ad and bought some small silicone molds from some company in Taiwan. After wrestling with them by email over the course of several months, they arrived. I broke out the resin that my wife and daughter had bought but which neither had ever used, and set to. My first attempt wasn’t stellar.
My third attempt wasn’t much better, except that there were fewer bubbles in the final results. The third attempt was OK — certainly better in some ways than the previous two — but it still surfaced some of the consistent problems inherent in dice making. One of them is bubbles, which were I to tackle this seriously, would require a “pressure pot” into which I would place the resin to “squeeze” the bubbles out. Certainly worthwhile, but only if all other issues were handled, which they are not. My chief nemesis: fill-hole craters. I know it’s ill-advised to “blame one’s tools”, but I think these dime-store molds are ending up more trouble than they are worth. To move up a grade I would be required to buy silicone, get some “reference dice”, and make my own molds. That’s a major commitment and not sure one I would be eager to pursue considering I have absolutely no good reason to churn out buckets of dice. I don’t TTRPG in person, and I don’t want to start a business with these things.
My next attempt was to borrow a 3D resin printer from a friend who had one he wasn’t using. I have an old model filament printer which I have used with limited success in the past, until I tried fixing an issue and ended up crippling it. I was never enthusiastic about filament printing on account of the whole calibration dance, or that it would require a whole suite of add-on hardware to have the machine do all of that for me. Again, it would be a major lay-out of cash to get to the point where I could really feel comfortable that I could use the machine effectively, which is why “free” hit the sweet spot when my friend offered me this resin printer.
My first attempt was…expected. I attempted the familiar-to-3D-printers “XYZ cube”, but the print didn’t even make it out of the resin vat.
Add to that the fact that I had the machine in my basement, which I believe was a massive mistake; the fumes weren’t terrible (this printer has 2 charcoal filters inside the hinged hood), but I am paranoid and have decided to err on that side. I am currently running a second, more complicated print, but have moved the printer to the garage.
Of course, if this print fails, I’m going to probably lean into the “rule of three” — give an experience three chances to work out — before I clean up and return the printer.
I know that learning a new hobby takes time, and that trial and error are necessary steps in learning. I am kind of sad that something like 3D printing isn’t more of a plug-and-play effort these days. The woodworking I can deal with — for now. I am kicking myself that I didn’t take more of my father’s tools after he passed, because he spent a lifetime collecting them; he had a been a prodigious woodworker in his time, and now I can see the need for more specialized tools. I would have to spend a lot of money to recreate a fraction of that stable, which means I had better be sure that working with wood is what I want to do before I go down that road.