Online Toy Design Starter Course

Here’s all the info on the course that I’m offering (without having to have a google ID before viewing the form)

course-banner

This course will cover the basics of 3D modeling in Sketchup and go on to cover more advanced techniques used for small sized product design, joints and designing parts to be “snap fit”, prepping files for 3D printing via Shapeways, and setting up your Shapeways Shop page to sell your items. At the end of this course you will have a base action figure model that is ready for you to customize, accessorize and sell in your own shop!

Space is limited to 10 students per class, however, if demand is high enough a second class can be offered for Sunday nights.

How will all this work?

The course is going to be online so physical location doesn’t matter. We’ll be using Google Hangouts as our classroom so that we can do screen shares and chat in real time. We’re also going to be using google Drive to share lesson files so a google ID is going to be required. I don’t think that you have to actually have a gmail account though and you can sign up for a Drive account with your current email address for free.

There will be 4 lessons where we will cover a lot of stuff in a short amount of time. We will also be recording the Hangout sessions and putting the videos into the shared Drive folder so that you can review them later on if you need to. Unless interest demands it, we are planning to hold classes from 8pm to 10pm on Saturday nights. We’ll spend a portion of the class going over the previous week’s assignments and discussing issues that students faced while trying to meet their challenges. The rest of the time will be spent in instruction as I go over the lesson for that week and explain the assignment for the next week.

Students will upload (or sync if they have gDrive desktop installed) their assignments to the shared folder and I will critique their work. At the end of the course, students will have a base mini-figure file that they can customize and sell in their own Shapeways shops and will be able to use the techniques learned in order to create new / original things.

Live vs Video?

I’m going to be offering three types of enrollments. (Prices are for the full course, not per class)

The $50 Live course are the classes that will be conducted in the Google Hangouts and get to upload their assignments for me to critique. Live students will also have access to the recorded sessions if they wish to view them again later.  At the end of the class they will have access to the completed minifigure model.

The $40 Video + course will have access to the course files, the video recordings, and will also be able to upload their models for me to look at and critique.  For those that can’t swing the timing of the live classes and are okay with watching videos but still want feedback on their work then this is the course for you.  At the end of the course, Video+ students will also receive a copy of the completed minifigure model.

The $30 Video option is for folks that can’t commit the class time and would prefer to watch the recorded sessions after the fact. These students will not be able to upload their assignments and I won’t be looking at their work. Though they will still have access to the lesson files. This will be more of an “on your own” sort of experience.  At the end of the course Video Only students won’t have access to the completed minifigure but they will have access to all the part spec sheets so that they can model their own figure based off of these specs.

What are we making?base minifigure - angle

I’ve designed a minifigure that will stand about 2 inches (~54mm) tall and will have 10 points of articulation.  The figure will have a basic shape and design but can be easily modified to suit a wide range of applications.  For example changing body dimensions or joint types or even carving/adding to the figure to make it all your own.  This will basically be a starter file for you to open up and get right into the artistic part of the design and have all the engineering already worked out.

The little guy pictured to the right is a render of the finished minifigure model that we’ll be making in the class as well as the one you’ll have access to at the end of the course.  The figure may be small and simple looking but he’s designed for the newby modeler to figure out how to make the different types of joints as well as learn how to work with Sketchup and designing with Shapeways 3D printing in mind.  At the end of the course you’ll be able to modify him or use the concepts from building him to make your own figures that you can sell in your own shops.

I’ve also designed a more advanced action figure that has 28 points of articulation and will stand about 5-6 inches tall.  This figure is going to be developed by and given to students of the Advance Course that I will offer to graduates of this course.  That course will go more in depth with a lot of the trickier Sketchup techniques as well as account for using different materials in your models.  I’ll make an announcement when it’s ready.

What do I need?

You’ll need to download the latest version of Sketchup 2015 which is free and runs on most computers. Check with the site sketchup.com to make sure your computer can run the program.

You’ll also need a Google account so that you can log into the Hangouts and access the lesson files in the gDrive folders.

While not necessary it wouldn’t hurt to have the gDrive desktop client as it will sync your local files with the cloud folders without you having to bother uploading anything or downloading any of the videos.

We will touch a bit on the program Netfab and the Sketchfab and Shapeways services near the end. Netfab is a free program that checks your models for errors before 3D printing, and Sketchfab is an online service that will let you show off your 3D models online. Shapeways is the online service that can 3D print your models so you’ll need to setup an account and shop with them.

So, ready to sign up? here’s the link to the form (or if you’re logged in to your google account you should see the form below)

Categories: 3D Printing, Toys | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

New Jersey Collector’s Con

Table set up with lots of cool Shapeways swag :D

Table set up with lots of cool Shapeways swag :D

I just got back from the New Jersey Collector’s Con in Cherry Hill NJ and I’m pretty beat, but it was a great experience. Fran O’Boyle, the coordinator for the Con was nice enough to invite me to be a guest at the con where I got to set up a table and show off the stuff I’ve designed and talk to folks about the wonders of 3D printing. I spoke with Eleanor, the Community Outreach person for Shapeways and she sent me a bunch of print samples along with a big poster, a shirt, and a $25 gift certificate to give away at the show!

Showing off a lot of my 3D printed designs from the shop

Showing off a lot of my 3D printed designs from the shop

I took this responsibility very seriously but really had no idea what to expect at the show. When I got there, I was directed to the table I could setup at and set out the Shapeways swag along with all the stuff that I’ve designed and had printed out by Shapeways during my time as an amateur toy designer. I have to say that I think I was the only person sitting at a table during the show that WASN’T selling what was sitting on the table. There was a lot of traffic going by my table as it was right on the corner before entering the main hall where the majority of the dealers were setup. Some folks walked by without more than a glance to see if I had any vintage toys to sell. But lots of other folks stopped and looked at the collection of little robot toys that I had amassed.

My Uber Magnum gets to meet the original G1 Ultra Magnus :3

My Uber Magnum gets to meet the original G1 Ultra Magnus :3

Everyone I spoke with was very nice and several were very interested in learning more about this magical place we call “Shapeways”. I gave away tons of my business cards and regretted that I didn’t have any Shapeways stuff for them to take with them like the stickers and cards. A well, maybe next time. Everyone I spoke with I told about the class that I’m going to offer in January where I teach folks how to 3D model in Sketchup. In particular I will teach them how to model for 3D printing their own action figures. As far as I know there aren’t any videos or tutorials showing the best way to approach ball joints or how to deal with print tolerances or anything, so I think that could be a valuable class. If you’re interested I have a signup form here: You’ll need a google login to view the form. I’m requiring a google login since we’ll be using google Drive to store and share course files.

Removable helmets!

Removable helmets!

The course will be $50 and span 4 weeks with classes being about 2 hours on Saturday nights EST over Google Hangouts. We’ll go from “I don’t know anything at all about 3D” to “having a base action figure model to customize that you can sell in your own Shapeways shop”. That’s a lot to cover in a short time so things will go pretty quick. My plan in addition to using Hangouts and screen sharing is to also setup a shared google drive folder where students can access the files I’m working on to see how I’ve done things as well as upload their own files so that I can critique their work. I’m limiting the classes to a max of 10 so that students can get a more personalized experience. If things go well and I get a lot of signups then I’ll add a second class on Sundays or start a new class after the first has ended. If things go REALLY well then I’ll also offer an advanced course for those that have already taken my starter course to talk about things like designing for multiple materials, doing add-on parts, integrating moving parts in your model, and even designing a more complicated and articulated action figure than the one the starter class will be doing. Fingers are crossed because that’s going to be the really interesting stuff. I have yet to decide if I’m going to record the sessions and make the videos available. I probably should for those that would like to audit the classes or are unable to participate in the live classes.

Minimus Ambus hanging out with the OG UM ^__^

Minimus Ambus hanging out with the OG UM ^__^

So to wrap up I had a good time, spoke with tons of cool people, and introduced a lot of folks to the wonders of personal toy design and custom manufacturing with shapeways ^__^

Talk to you guys soon!

Christian

Categories: 3D Printing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Transmissions Interview

I had a great time talking with the guys on the Transmissions Podcast about my process, my designs, upcoming toys.. all kinds of stuff! Give it a listen, I think you’ll enjoy it :D

Transmissions Episode 29: Interview with Christian Brock of Wu Long Toys

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3D Print Show NYC 2014

This year I got to go to NYC for the 3D Print Show thanks to getting a pass from Sculpteo! Had a great time and got to meet with so many interesting people. I also got the fantastic opportunity to talk with reps for all the different printer manufacturers as well as reps from all the service bureaus. Thankfully I had my prototype MiniBots on hand and was able to show them off to everyone. Whenever I would talk with them I would show off my little guys and say “Here, this is what I want to make, can your printer do it?” Most of the time the answer was a quick “Sure, no problem” but based on what they had on display I was HIGHLY skeptical. The best/most honest evaluation came not from a printer rep (not surprising), but from a Sketchup rep, Mark. ^__^ BTW, they were very happy to hear that my MiniBots were all modeled in Sketchup.

What Mark told me was that they used several different Makerbot Replicator 2s in their office and most of them had to be dialed in just right. He also said that they named all of their printers and the ones that printed reliably and without trouble were named for Autobots and those that gave them problems were named for Decepticons :D

He hadn’t worked with the Rep3s yet but told me I was better off sticking with the service bureaus for now.

I also learned through talking with Natalia from Shapeways that the chances of us EVER getting a home Laser Sintered printer were practically ziltch. Even with the expiring patents and what not, the tech is currently huge. The printers are the size of a large refrigerator. Even if they were able to condense it down to the size of something you could put on your desk, the process of extracting and cleaning parts from the excess powder/support material takes up a lot of room and is SUPER messy. She said that is something you DON’T want in your house as powder gets everywhere. Apparently the Shapeways factory looks like everything is dusted in chalk. :/

So there goes that dream and I no longer see a point in waiting for this type of tech to show up in a home model. So I think that if I go with a home printer I’m going to try out the Replicator Mini from Makerbot. It’s not something that I think I can use for production and becoming my own distributor of toys, but I think I should be able to use it for knocking out quick prototypes of things and odd parts before sending them off to Shapeways or Sculpteo.

Speaking of Sculpteo, I think I’m going to try them out. I setup a shop AGES ago but never maintained it or ordered anything from them. They offer more colors, higher detail prints, and faster production times than Shapeways, but end up being about 20% more expensive. Still, it would be nice to get a print of theirs in hand just to see how it stacks up.  Who knows, it might just be worth the extra $ for those that want the higher detail without having to go into Frosted Ultra Detail and losing out on the strength/flexibility that the Polyamide (White Strong Flexible) offers.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

I took some shots from the show and I’ve uploaded them into galleries on Facebook as well as Google+ so have a look. There was much awesome to be had there ^__^

FaceBook Gallery
Google Gallery

Till next time guys, be excellent to each other!

~WuLongTi

Categories: 3D Printing, Toys | Tags: , | Leave a comment

It’s been a while…

Hey guys just a quick note. I know it’s been a long time since I updated this blog and even longer before the post before that :(

All of my creativity has been getting pumped into my Toy Design venture called Wu Long Toys. I’ve got a nice little Facebook page that I’ve been putting works in progress, completed figures, all that stuff. I’ve kinda been ignoring this blog since most of the links pointing at it are papercraft related and I worried that you guys would get annoyed if I started hitting you with all this non-papercraft stuff.

But you know what? I figure if you’re here, you like toys, you like transformers, and you like creative pursuits so I might as well keep you updated with whatever it is I’m working on. ^__^

I can’t make any promises and it’s certainly more work to create a blog post than it is to send a tweet or upload a quick pic on facebook; but I’m going to endeavor to at the least keep this updated when I have new toys available in my shop or I have some bit of news that I think is pretty awesome ^__^

Thanks for sticking with me, I’ve got SOOO much stuff planned for this year. It’s going to be awesome!

~WuLongTi

Twitter: @WuLongToys @WuLongTi (the personal one)
facebook: http://fb.com/WuLongToys
Google+: http://plus.google.com/WulongtiToys
deviantArt: http://wulongti.deviantart.com

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Custom CRADEL – Jet Vehicon [little roller]

I know it’s been quite a while since I worked with paper.. in fact, it’s been nearly a year to the day that I released a paper toy. This seems like it would be such an easy thing and I’m surprised it took me this long to get to it. It ended up being a bit harder than I thought but not as bad as creating a new one from scratch. So I guess you’d call this a “remold” as opposed to a “repaint” if it were a plastic toy.

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out and I’m trying a new way of presenting the instructions.  Let me know what you think in the comments (or the google doc comments, that’s cool too).

Showing off the front and the back.. and the difference in my two printers...

Showing off the front and the back.. and the difference in my two printers…

When I first saw these guys in Transformers Prime I was pretty impressed, they looked like something out of Batman’s bag of tricks.  Then when the Elite ones in silver/chrome came on the scene.. well, I was blown away.  They didn’t fight any harder and didn’t seem to be any tougher though.. just a different color and still went down in a shot or two but they sure did look good. :D

I’ve made a few changes to the Vehicon Stat card as well if you’re using these guys in game.  They are a lot faster than anything on the board and also have the ability to attack while transformed but at a cost of doing less damage and having lighter armor.  I hope it balances out, I need to play test them.. They also get the same bonuses that the ground based Vehicons get by being close to each other.  So all Vehicons have synergy whether they be land, air, or elete. ^__^

Hopefully this will make things tough on the good guys XD

2 Jets so far and 3 cars.  I'll need to fix that when I get more printer ink.

2 Jets so far and 3 cars. I’ll need to fix that when I get more printer ink.

My latest shapeways project is moving along, it’s a line of non-transforming action figures based off of Transformer characters.  Much like the Action Masters but smaller and more articulated.. and with light piping.  Response to them is good.  Not ready for public release yet but if your interested check out my Facebook page.  All of my current models have reached a point where they need to be test printed again so I’m saving up my money till I can afford another wave of testing.  I’ve put out a call for testers but I’m not getting any bites :/  I think folks are wary after the last round failed and they were left holding some light pipe eyes and no figure.   I can’t say I blame them.

Here's all the vehicons I have so far

Here’s all the vehicons I have so far

So now I’m taking a little break from the plastic world to work in the paper one again.  I’ve gotten a lot of requests for different characters from Transformers and I’ve even mostly finished up a design for Soundwave on paper.  But what I really want to work on is some of the Jeagers from Pacific Rim.  What would be more perfect in the standalone game of Little Roller, fighting against Kaiju bent on destroying your city than a chibi Gypsy Danger? :D

I really need to get a move-on too while the movie is still hot and maybe I can get the official FB page or twitter account to retweet me or pass along the link to my work ^__^

I hope you guys enjoy the fruits of my labors and I’d love to see some pics ^__^

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Chibi Jet-Vehicon Instructions
Custom "Cradle" for Phantom Capsule based off of Matt Pierce's original design. Heavily modified and redesigned by WuLongTi. For more information on Phantom Capsule go to littleroller.blogspot.com

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Chibi Jet-Vehicon Template
Custom "Cradle" for Phantom Capsule based off of Matt Pierce's original design. Heavily modified and redesigned by WuLongTi. For more information on Phantom Capsule go to littleroller.blogspot.com
<br />Model also includes 2 guns

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Chibi Jet-Vehicon ELITE Template
Custom "Cradle" for Phantom Capsule based off of Matt Pierce's original design. Heavily modified and redesigned by WuLongTi. For more information on Phantom Capsule go to littleroller.blogspot.com
<br />Model also includes 2 guns

Categories: Art Work, Decepticons, Games, Mecha, Paper Craft, Roller Prime, Transformers | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Contest Time!

I have been working on developing a table top strategy game involving giant robots and papercraft. The working title for this game is called Roller Prime, but the final version will likely be changed.

So as I’m working on this, I came to the realization that I need your help! Yes, you! You with the love of paper and/or robots and/or games!

What I need are robot characters for the game. The characters must be original, non-copyright characters that are not tied to any IP infringing existing media. They can be close or homage existing characters as well as parody them but let’s try not to get sued.

Submissions
Your contest entry must include:

  • a drawing or image of your character from multiple angles (front and back)
  • a short 3-4 sentence bio
  • a list and description of any special attacks/weapons or powers
  • drawings or images of any weapons or items your character uses

Robots should be sentient, that is to say self-piloting. There will be a call for piloted mecha in the future. Robots may transform if you chose but are not required to do so.

Prizes
All contestants will receive download access to the Beta version of the game once it’s released.

Third Place- (3) third place winners will be chosen to have their entry added to the game and converted into a chibi paper model miniature.

Second Place- (2) second place winners will be chosen to have their entry added to the game and converted into a chibi paper model miniature. They will also receive in the mail an assembled copy of their model printed on card stock and put together by me.

First Place- (1) first place winner will be chosen to have their entry added to the game and converted into a chibi paper model miniature. They will also receive in the mail a fully printed and assembled copy of the full game to include all characters, play mats, rules, cards and dice; all contained within a custom wooden box.

Legal Stuff
Contest Entries must be turned in no later than midnight February 28th and should be sent to contests@wulongti.com with the subject of “Roller Prime Contest”.
All entries become the property of WuLongToys to be used solely for the game or promotional materials relating to the game. Contest open world wide, however, I will only pay for up to $10 shipping outside of the continental United States so the remainder of the shipping fee must be covered by the contest winner.

Good luck to everybody and get those entries going :D

Categories: Games, Mecha, Paper Craft, Roller Prime | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Just a quick note on the Spice Labels

For those interested, I’ve uploaded a blank version of my Spice Labels. You can find it in the Downloads section under “general” or the link below. Thanks and Enjoy :)

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Blank Spice Labels
This PDF has all of my labels but with the text and spice images removed so that you can add your own. I've preserved the editing capabilities so if you have Photoshop CS5 or better you will be able to open it in that program and turn text back on as well as edit the text.

The file size is about 37 MB so you'll get a page saying that it's too big for Google to scan. Don't worry, it's clean.

Categories: Art Work, Paper Craft | Tags: , | Leave a comment

New lego parts for your minifigures

At the request of Tresob on Seibertron.com I’ve put together these parts to aid in displaying your minifigures.

The idea being that the figure could be solidly pegged into a platform but still be positioned as if walking. Ideally he wanted the part in transparent but I’m sure that builders could come up with all other sorts of uses for this part. The part has two openings so that one way you will have a 30º slope but if you plug it in the other way you get a 60º slope.

I have yet to test this part but my measurements are exact to within 0.01mm Enjoy :)

Link to Shapeways Shop

stepper

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Sorry about the hiatus

It’s been entirely too long since I’ve posted here so I’m sorry about that. I’ve had a paper sketch for a cradle version of Transformers Prime: Sound Wave about half done for like.. EVER. but other things have been taking my attention. Tons has happened so where to start, and what have you missed?

Okay, a lot of my updates have been going up on my deviant art page so check me out over there: http://wulongti.deviantart.com/ to include a lot of transformers related artwork:

Let’s see… what else… Oh, and I’ve been working on leveling up my 3D skills in google Sketchup.  In fact I now have a shapeways shop setup: http://www.shapeways.com/shops/wulongti where I’m selling designs I’ve been working on for add-on parts to upgrade your Transformer Kreons from little lego knock-off dudes into full on action masters :D

.. and the last order of business is communication.  I’m working on being a lot more active on Twitter and Facebook now so I’ve been putting a lot of WIPs and requests for feedback there. I’d love it if you could come join in the conversation :)

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wulongti

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WuLongToys

Okay, that’s it for now.  Though now that I’m improving my 3D skills I’ll be much more keen on working on some of the paper projects that I’ve started there.  For starters, I’ve got a fully articulated action figure template I’m working on as well as an Optimus Prime (War Within style) costume helmet.  So many projects so little time in the day!  Seriously, follow me on Twitter or like me on Facebook to be kept more up to date on what all I’m doing (^__^)

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