Tag Archives: papermodel


One of my hobbies is papercraft model and miniature design and construction. Every year in August my forum hosts a showcase competition where designers and builders of every level submit original design entries for the public to ogle and download. If you are interested in participating, or just seeing some marvelously fun work created by talented nice people, then pop in at the Cardboard Warriors forum during the month of August.
You can view the entries of previous years by going here; Papercuts 2016 and here; Main Downloads



When I was kid I lived on an island.

I didn’t know how cool this was at the time, nor how how it would shape my life in regards to resource management, self-sufficiency, creative problem solving and a true love and healthy respect for the natural world. There were no trees, we were #3 ring on the crank-powered party-line phone, food and supply barge would come every six months, sometimes a plane would drop off a film and everybody would gather at our house to watch it as we had the biggest living room. Later on, when vcr’sย  were invented, a tape would arrive every day from Anchorage with four hours of whatever; news, entertainment, incomprehensible commercials-from a week ago. It was a little glimpse into the future, four hours at a time, of what was happening in the rest of the world. Eventually were voted off of the island and rejoined civilization, but I’ve always carried the islands lessons with me.

One of those lessons was, “Do it Yourself”. In those little glimpses of the World I would see things like a “GI Joe Action Playset!”, and ordering one was really out of the question, so I made my own out of cardboard and string with ramps, platforms, bay doors for tank access, working elevators, etc. It was great fun and I had done it myself. Years later when I rejoined the world I saw a movie called Star Wars, you may have heard of it, and I, like everyone else, was enraptured by the final Death Star trench run sequence. When I got home I wanted to recreate that same excitement and drew up a boardgame that worked a lot like Chutes & Ladders but with X-Wings trying to get down a trench with a Darth Vader Tie Fighter steadily closing in from behind. I brought it to school and my classmates played it until the tape fell off and the paper wore through. Sometimes nobody won, but that was okay. Some kids wanted to borrow it to play at home, but it was my only copy, and why couldn’t they just make their own? Probably because they grew up in a city, so I painstakingly built another copy to loan out, which never returned.

I’d made lots of toys and other little boardgames like that over the years, but it was never easy to share my ideas and toys with others, until this thing called The Internet came along. No longer was I #3 ring, now I could tap into a global community of many other like-minded peoples. I still think it’s pretty cool. ๐Ÿ™‚ The best part, for me, is the evolution of Print-n-Play games and toys available online. Now when I have a fun idea for a toy or a boardgame I can put it online and people all over the world are able to print it out at home and play with my creations, and I can do the same the same with theirs. Even better, if I lose a part, or don’t have enough of a certain type, I can just hit print again and make all I need. The internet has given me an almost infinite toybox. ๐Ÿ˜€

And now, because I’m me, a plug for a friend who is also a Print-n-Play advocate; https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/872350932/temporum-oblitus-time-forgotten

This fine fellow, Aaron Hopkins, has been working diligently on crafting an entire galaxy-spanning saga of conflict and destruction involving aliens, robots, dictatorships, and freedom fighters and is making it available in it’s entirety as a PnP download so that everyone can make their own version of his world. Yes, there is a lot to build and craft and assemble, but that’s part of the fun. And once that’s done it’s play, play, play. ๐Ÿ˜€

Best of luck Aaron and Happy New Years to the rest of you. ๐Ÿ™‚

Silhouette Portrait automated cutter-first trials

Today I worked with my new Silhouette Portrait automatic cutter.
It’s not terribly different from the Silhouette SD that I’ve been working with for the past five years so it was pretty easy to just hook up and go. I made sure to update my Silhouette cutting siftware first, available for free from their website, and then the Portrait came with a driver disc-the driver may also be available for free online.

I am using a page from Fat Dragon Games ‘Ruined Outpost’ set; the 2-inch wall sections. You need both the printed page and the matching cutting file to make this work. There’s a nifty fellow there that goes by the name ‘pblade’ and he makes most of the cutting files for FDG on a volunteer basis.

I made a mistake in this test and forgot to discard the cutting lines on the part of the printout that had the doors and ended up chopping out a window sized piece from the doors section. Oops. Easy to fix with my x-acto and hopefully I’ll remember next time. :/

* If you are new to automated cutters one of the most important things, and usually the biggest stumbling block starting out, is to make sure that the printout that you are cutting is shown actual size. Some print settings on some computers will stretch or compress images and then the cutting plot will be off or just plain not work at all.

In the video the plotter is cutting at maximum speed and a depth setting of six on the new ratchet blade. Nice and clean, very fast, I’m suitably impressed. It looks like, and I’ve heard on the net, that the new blades will fit into the old machines. I’ll try that later this week and see how it goes.

Normally I make my own “carrier sheets” to hold my printouts, but some people have told me how much they love the tacky plastic carrier sheet that comes with the machine so I thought I’d try it out. If you look at the end of the video you’ll see I had some issues with the excess paper sticking too well and not coming off of the carrier sheet. I cleaned mine with warm water after this test and it’s less tacky now so I’m willing to give it another try.

The Portrait uses the newer style of registration mark with a little 5x5mm block in the lower left corner of the page. When I first put the page in it had the older style (no block) printed on it and the machine recognized it and was ready to go, but I had forgot to turn on the camera and had to restart. The Portrait wouldn’t recognize the marks after that first time until I took a Sharpie and drew in the corner block reg-mark. Worked fine then. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m very pleased to have a reliable cutter at my disposal again and I’ll try a few more experiments with it later this week.