Weekly Update for 2 May, 2019: A day late and a dollar short, again. I missed the last weekly update and couldn't get this one done on time because I was busy. However, I have good news: I have finally gotten a business plan for my online miniature shop, and set up a few more pages. In order to install the WooCommerce plugin, I had to make the site public, but it is hidden, meaning that no search engine will find it. I have a message on the front page to indicate that it is still under construction, but you can poke around and see what's there: https://kajminiatures.com I can't really offer products for sale until production begins, but I can still take informal orders right here, so I at least know which models to start printing as soon as I get my LFS machine.
I copied my tank model database into Microsoft Excel for the purpose of calculating costs of making these models. The material cost has already been established, but the print time and clean-up time are just guesses for now. Most of these values will be very similar, because of the similar size and shape of heavy tank models. As you can see, given my current estimates, the cost is going to be slightly higher than my previous pricing at Shapeways, but less than half the new Shapeways prices. The only parts of this spreadsheet that are permanent are the model volume and material cost. The current time cost rate of $0.42 per minute is derived from my normal labour rate of $25.00 per hour. Shipping is going to be an entirely separate cost, and just as before, ordering a large number of models at once is most cost-effective for collectors and wargamers alike.
Weekly Update for 18 Apr, 2019: I apologise for missing the last weekly update, but things have been hectic. Plans have changed here as well: the $4000 goal will be repurposed for a Form 3 LFS (low-force stereolithography) machine from FormLabs. The $9000 goal for a benchtop SLS machine will be removed entirely, because I found a better SLS machine for a mere $5000, and Red Rock 3D may be cheaper still, once they release their prices. See, because of recent price gouging at Shapeways, I have decided to stop selling 1/285 scale tank models there, and produce them myself. I hope to reduce the prices to what I was originally selling them for, possibly less, so that I can continue to provide high-quality miniatures at attractive prices (and not lose so much money to Shapeways in the process). FormLabs also offers the capability to print in investment-casting-quality wax, so I may be able to move my entire operation, including making jewellery, into my own facility and just leave my Shapeways shop open as little more than free advertising. However, I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm going to take this one step at a time, and start with 1/285 scale model tanks. The Form 3 LFS printer ships in July, so I can wait to place the order until it's completely funded if I so choose. If you are interested in seeing what the facility currently looks like, check out pictures on Steemit: https://steemit.com/photography/@steampunkkaja/3d-printing-and-cnc-machining-workshop-potential
Right then, after reviewing the footage in my last subscriber-exclusive post, I have changed my plans. Until I find out exactly what the file size limit there is for videos, and thus how long of a video I can post and still have an intelligible picture, videos will NOT be posted here first, and then uploaded to BitChute. Supposedly, large files can be linked via Google Drive or Dropbox, but I don't use either, so my only real option is to keep subscriber-exclusive videos short. Half-hour CAD tutorials are huge files, so if anyone has any suggestions, let me know. So, the point of this is that, if you want to subscribe just to see my video projects, don't bother.
In other news, my sales of steampunk airships has increased recently, so I'm considering making a CAD tutorial for one of those. If you are interested, send my a sketch of your own design, and I'll record myself rendering it for you.
Weekly Update for 4 Apr, 2019: After teasing it for almost a month, I have finally gotten around to recording method 1 for making frying pan tank turrets, using the IS-3M as my example. Videos take a while to convert from .flv to .wmv formats (I tried using the .mp4 converter built into VLC, but none of the settings I tried exported the audio, despite my careful inspection to make sure everything matched). Therefore, I'm not sure if you'll get to see the video today or tomorrow. I will upload each video pertaining to the advanced rendering techniques I use to make the IS-3M turret as I get them formatted right here on SubscribeStar, but they will be visible only to my subscribers. A day or two after all videos are recorded and formatted, I will then upload them to BitChute. I intend to keep this specific project limited to 2 videos, one for each method of rendering the basic shape, but a third may be required to show the details, if I deem it necessary.
Weekly Update for 28 Mar, 2019: Outdoor projects have been taking up much of my time, but I have been able to take short breaks to work on models and updates a few minutes every day. I have finished the IS-3 hull, and I will move on to the turret in the next day or two. My intent will be to upload the tutorial here first, so that my subscribers can see it before I publish it on BitChute.
For some reason, SubscribeStar is not cooperating today, so I can't place the images where I want. I have no idea what you'll actually see, but a picture of the IS-3 hull is below, as well as a preview of the tank model database as it currently appears. I will put this version online so that you can download it as soon as I finish the IS-3 and IS-3M.
If you have any blueprints to contribute to any of my pending projects, or have something that you'd like to see me make, contact me either here or through Shapeways: https://www.shapeways.com/designer/steampunkkaja
Weekly Update for 21 Mar, 2019: Work on new tank models has been postponed in the wake of False Spring, which I am taking full advantage of. Videos of my pond project are up on my BitChute channel, though I had to throw out about half of my GoPro footage, since the camera shifted and got stuck on my feet for ten minutes straight. What I was left with wasn't much better, so I am considering adding a goggle-mount camera to my list of things to get. At least then I will know exactly what the final product will be. I explain in both the video description and a recent Steemit post what the basic problem was. The bottom line is that I cannot complete AND film this project on my own, as I previously thought. I need either an assistant or a better system. Tomorrow's forecast seems to indicate the end of False Spring, however, so I will have an excuse to work on miniature tanks again. I have a returning customer who has requested quite a few different designs, only two of them Soviet. Keep checking up on my Shapeways shop and my blogs if you're interested.
Weekly Update for 14 Mar, 2019: I have been exceptionally active on Steemit lately, mostly with 2D art, so head on over there to see what I've done. Spring is also on its way, finally, so outdoor projects, or rather videos of them will start to show up on my BitChute channel. I'm also making plans to visit Moscow at the end of the summer, but that's hardly relevant aside from the fact that it may eat up quite a bit of time - unless you want to pay to make weird poses in front of tanks at the Great Patriotic War Museum (I doubt I'll be able to schedule a visit to Kubinka). Back to the topic of 2D art, I'm currently working on ancient creatures from my fictional world, so if you'd like to see detailled pencil drawings or digital art of any of the bizarre critters I've come up with, subscribe and let me know.
Weekly Update for 7 Mar, 2019: I have updated my goals, and if you can't see all of them they are as follows: $200 is my monthly operating cost (bills and such). If I can meet this goal, then I can justify continuing to make my online activities a priority. I am aware that my content is far from top-notch yet, but I'm still figuring this out, and, since I have to do it in my spare time, I can't do it as much justice as I'd like. The next goal is $700, which should cover the raw material costs of my spring projects, such as dredging the second of my two ponds and repairing the stone wall around it. These projects will still be completed and filmed, regardless of whether or not they are funded. The third goal is $2000, which covers the cost of Autodesk Inventor 2019, which I have to pay an annual subscription for. I don't need the program to make 3D models, since I already have a perpetual license for Inventor 2011, but I have many more texture and lighting options in Inventor 2019, so I can make much more appealing digital artwork with it. The fourth goal is $4000, which is meant to fund the purchase of a small Tormach CNC machining centre. I have manual machine tools, but CNC programming is where my skills truly shine. The fifth and final goal, as of now, is $9000, which is meant to fund a desktop selective laser sintering machine, which I intend to use to print customer-exclusive models. Right now, the only way I can supply a custom model is to use Shapeways, keep the model private, order it myself, and then ship it to my customer. Having my own machine will be much more cost-effective for my customers in the long run, especially for those living in Russia.
Weekly Update for 28 Feb, 2019: In spite of the fact that I still don't feel like being particularly talkative, I'm going to force myself to record the rendering of my 300th Shapeways model. This will show up on BitChute in the next day or two, and I will post my first subscriber-exclusive update to let you know when it is done.
Regular Update for 21 Feb, 2019 (I don't know how frequently I'm going to make these yet - I'm thinking weekly is a good idea). After a five-month hiatus from Steemit due to issues with the blockchain keeping me from posting, I was finally able to start sharing stuff again. Take a look: https://steemit.com/tanks/@steampunkkaja/i-have-returned-now-give-me-an-excuse Seriously, go look, because if you want to know what I'm capable of, you need to see this. I always enjoy making my models as detailled as possible, and requests to make them in larger scales is the best way for me to exercise my skills. Of course, I am still limited by both the properties of material, as well as the inherent imperfections in selective laser sintering. I would love to be able to make these models as much larger assemblies, with functioning suspensions, fully articulated tracks, and the like, but processing the models for printing makes that approach quite impractical.
The first four subscription tiers are here! All are subject to change, but for now, they are most reflective of my current capabilities, as the production cost of one of my [currently] average models will be covered from a single year-long tier 2 subscription. Tiers 5 through 9 will be added at a later date, and probably not all at once. I fully intend to offer more rewards for the lower tiers in the future, and if nothing interests you, I am willing to take suggestions for rewards. I would like to emphasise that you do not have to subscribe in order to get stuff from me - even custom orders. I take custom orders all the time, and I charge for final products only.
Where to begin, where to begin? My name is Kaja (pronounced Ka-Ya), and I'm best known (that's a laugh) in miniscule circles of the internet for designing and making wargaming miniatures. You can find most of my work here: https://www.shapeways.com/designer/steampunkkaja I've been taking requests for custom designs for several years already, but I'm looking to expand my operation and make more than just tiny things. You can see all the types of custom work I do here: https://kjworldsong.wordpress.com/custom-work/ I know, it's not much at the moment, but I'm just getting started! My ultimate goal is to create an entire network of independent craftspeople that can, together, tackle virtually any custom project, no matter how vast or bizarre. The Cooperative Artisans' Guild is the beginning, and if you know anyone else who would like to expand their business, send them here: https://coopartguild.wordpress.com/about/ If you're at all confused (because I'm about as clear as a whirlpool in a mud-puddle), then I would suggest subscribing to my BitChute channel: https://www.bitchute.com/channel/hyLVDAKeGZC9/ And keep your eyes open for videos of my upcoming projects. In addition to making a big deal out of my 300th Shapeways item, I have an old pond to dredge and a machine shop to get back in running order.
The lowest subscription tier has no special perks, just access to subscriber-exclusive updates.
Subscribers at this level will be able to request delivery of $30 worth of unpainted miniatures per year (which can go quite far in my shop, depending on your interests). For some of my models, this can be more considerably more cost effective than buying one directly from my Shapeways shop.
Subscribers at this level will be able to request delivery of one fully-painted miniature per year, with certain exceptions, or $60 worth of unpainted miniatures. Subscribers at this level can also request 8.5" x 11" blueprints of any model I already have, either mailed physical copies, or .pdf files delivered via e-mail.
Subscribers at this level will be able to request one piece of jewellery per year, engraved, fitted, or otherwise finished in ways that Shapeways is not set up for. Given the high cost of certain materials, there are notable exceptions for this option. If you wish to stick with miniatures, then this tier amounts to $120 worth of unpainted miniatures or two fully-painted miniatures per year.