Molding and casting resin Steven Universe gems

So here are my final gems. They’ve been selling really well on Etsy, which is awesome because I’m funneling that money into more projects. I’ve got my process after the jump but you can also check out my RPF thread to see more work in progress pictures and some more explanations. Also check out my store to see my prices.


These gems are from Steven Universe and are meant to be used for cosplays, but the same process could use used for anything similar.

Molding and casting resin Steven Universe gems


I started off using the Tinkerine printer to spit out some super simple gems. I modeled these in Maya, luckily they’re pretty simple so I didn’t have much trouble doing so, I made sure to smooth them enough to round out the edges of the gems. It took a few tries before I got the right sizes.

I used layers of spot putty and automotive filler primer to fill in the print lines. This is pretty simple, much labour intensive, fill, sand, spray, sand, repeat. I worked from around 200 grit sand paper down to 1800? I found it best to double the grit anytime you go from one paper to another, if you go from say 200 to 1000 without anything in between you’ll end up with deep gouges in your finish, even if feels smooth while sanding, you’ll see them. I used these beer bottles and some hot glue so I could spray the gems easier. For these specifically I wanted to keep the faces of the gems very flat and the edges nice and sharp, so I did a lot of sanding against my glass desk with the paper facing up, flat against the glass. This helped me avoid the curves my hand could naturally have put in to it.

I accidentally left these gems on my window sill, they were sprayed with a red primer and so they soaked up a bunch of the sun which warped the 3D printed interior. I had to do some emergency filling and sanding to fix them.

Once the masters were ready, I glued them down to some foam core, built a wall around them with cardboard and covered them in Mold Star 16 (available at Fibertek), after 45 minutes the silicone was cured and I was able to flip them upside down and crack off all the cardboard. This left me with a flexible reverse of my masters. Next up is casting, I used Crystal Clear 202 (also from Fibertek) tinted with transparent dyes. It took some trial and error to figure out the right amount of drops of dye to use, the one in the middle here was me trying to combine red and blue to make purple, it just never worked right. Instead I ended up grabbing the line of So Strong Tints, these are more opaque than the transparent ones if you use too much but they have a violet colour that did the trick.

These gems are meant to be glued on to fabric or skin, so I wanted to be sure that they had a flat back, so each gem gets a good sanding. I’ve been using 60 grit to get rid of the majority of the material as fast as I can, then 200ish grit to smooth it out, but it doesn’t need to be perfect. I also want the gems to stay bright and cartoony, like the show, so I went with a white backing (instead of a mirrored back with silver tape which I found darkened them) so I masked off the edges and fronts and gave them a spray with gloss white.

This is my assembly line of clearcoating, I forget who suggested it but someone said to use Future Floor Finish (available at most grocery stores in the cleaning isle, look for wood cleaners), it’s actually really good, it’s runny so you’ve got to dab off the excess but it leaves a great smooth, hard and shiny finish on the gems.

I built the “drying racks” out of 3 layers of EVA foam hot glued together, I then stabbed holes through them to fit the gem sticks. I made the sticks out of wooden stir sticks from Starbucks, I just broke them in half and glued them together to make them a bit thicker and sturdier. I hot glued them gently to the backs of each gem in order to dip them without touching them. It’s important to let them dry as flat as possible so the clearcoat doesn’t pool.

I also tried some different methods of pouring, since all of these are based off of real stones, I wanted some that were a bit closer to the real thing, and less cartoony. This one is meant to look like a Lapis Lazuli stone, so I crushed up some gold leaf, and streaked some black dye through it once I poured the stone. This one came out too dark with too much gold, but it still looks cool.

Project MagneTag

MagneTag is a project I started about four years ago, when I first joined Milwaukee Makerspace.  My goal was to create an electronic scoring system for physical tag games.  As a paintball enthusiast I really enjoy the action and tactical nature of the sport.  I was looking for a method that wasn’t messy or painful and 100% reliable .

In order to accomplish this goal, I employed the mystical power of magnets. It’s a scientific fact that magnets are awesome.  I knew that the invisible forces created by magnets could be used to create electrical signals, the technology has been around since Maxwell wrote down his famous equations of electromagnetism.  So I set  out to build a wearable system that could electronically detect magnets, be they in some projectile, or embedded in an a foam gladiator weapon, or whatever.

To an experienced engineer, this might not seem like a huge challenge, but when I embarked on this project I could barely operate an Arduino. I didn’t really understand what I was getting myself into.  Now, I have an above average understanding of the principles of electromagnetism because I have a two degrees in physics, but in trying to make my idea a reality, I now understand that theory does not get you very far on its own.   Making things is freakin’ hard, and you have fail many times before you begin to really understand how much you don’t know.  When it comes to making, there is no substitute for experience.  And I learned this the hard way, over and over again.  Persistence removes resistance.  In the end I succeeded and created something even better than I had imagined.

Milwaukee Makerspace is an awesome place. I’ve had so much help from some brilliant members, and the tools we have access to are invaluable.  I even met my business partner Jason at MMS.  Without this place, MagneTag would have just been a cool idea I had one time.  It never would have become a real thing.

This week marks a significant milestone in the history of our project: we are launching MagneTag on Kickstarter!  We are going to put our game out there into the world and see if people really like it.  Check out the launch video below, as well as a behind the scenes video, most of which takes place at Milwaukee Makerspace!

Also come check us out at Milwaukee Maker Faire! Its gonna be a blast!






Chocolate Cooling System Almost Ready For Testing

Chocolate printer progress continues.  This week was devoted to the print cooling system.  The chocolate will come out the extruder nozzle in a semi-molten state.  It needs to solidify by the time the next layer of chocolate gets deposited on it, and I’d prefer it doesn’t drip or sag, so it needs to be chilled right after extrusion.  The current plan is to blow chilled air over the chocolate just after it leaves the extruder.   The chilled air will come from a foam insulated box containing a block of dry ice.  There will be a blower pushing air into the box and a hose delivering the chilled air/CO2 to the print.

A couple weeks ago I got a blower from American Science and Surplus and this week I got it running by using a model airplane ESC and servo tester to drive its brushless DC motor.  It appears to be capable of blowing much more air than I’ll need.  There are many unknowns yet to test.  How much chilled air/CO2 will it take to solidify the chocolate after it leaves the extruder?  How long will a block of dry ice last when used this way?  Will ice build-up inside the chiller box adversely affect its performance?

I designed and printed three parts for this system- a mount to attach the blower to a foam box up to 1.5″ thick, a hose coupler to allow delivery of the chilled air/CO2 to the print, and a hole saw to cut holes to fit the other two parts.   The printed parts fit as if they were designed for the job!

3D printed hole saw

Chocolate Cooling System Almost Ready For Testing

Hose connected to hose coupler

Chocolate Cooling System Almost Ready For Testing

Hose coupler parts

Chocolate Cooling System Almost Ready For Testing

Blower mount for air chiller box


MRMCD 2015: Ende von CfP und Vorverkauf rückt nahe [DE]

Liebe Sportsfreunde,

Auf den MRMCDs gibt es traditionell nicht nur die besten Veranstaltungstassen, die meisten coolen Gadgets, die beste rund-um-die-Uhr Frühstücksverpflegung inklusive leistungssteigernder Substanzen sondern auch ein reichhaltiges Vortragsprogramm inklusive Workshops, Lightning Talks und dieses Jahr zusätzlich Wettkämpfe.

Um das alles planen und anbieten zu können sind wir auf Deine Mithilfe angewiesen: Wenn du einen Vortrag halten oder einen Workshop / Wettkampf anbieten willst aber ihn noch nicht eingereicht hast begib dich bitte ins Planungssystem frab. Gehe sofort dorthin, gehe nicht über Los und streiche nicht 400k€ ein, dafür bekommst du aber Zugang zu unserer exklusiven Speaker-Lounge. Dort kannst du entspannen, deinen Vortrag vorbereiten und diverse Leckereien genießen.

Der CfP endet am 09. August, am 11. August geben wir den Speakern Bescheid und wenig später veröffentlichen wir das Programm.

Wenn du noch kein Ticket hast hast du noch bis zum 16. August Zeit, dir eins zu klicken. Es wird zwar eine Abendkasse geben, aber an der Abendkasse gibt es voraussichtlich keine unserer wie immer großartigen Tassen oder Gadgets. Wir möchten euch bitten, den Vorverkauf so schnell wie euch möglich ist zu nutzen, da wir zur sinnvollen Planung auf ihn angewiesen sind. Die untenstehende Grafik aus dem letzten Jahr zeigt, warum: Die meisten unserer Ausgaben müssen wir im Zeitraum vor der Veranstaltung tätigen. Das macht uns die Arbeit im Vorfeld ziemlich schwierig, und ein aktiv genutzter Vorverkauf hilft uns sehr.


MRMCD 2015: Submission and presale deadline arrives soon [EN]

Dear sports fan,

traditionally, the MRMCD provide you with wonderful conference cups for your daily coffee as well as cool gadgets and an all-day breakfast, but also with a comprehensive set of workshops, talks and (this year) competitions.

In order to plan all these things, we need your help. If you’d like to give a talk or organize a workshop, please tell us via the frab system now!

The submissions deadline is the 9th of August. We will inform all speakers whether their talk is being accepted by 11th of August and we will publish the program soon after.

If you do not have a ticket yet, you can buy one until 16th of August. There will be a ticket sale on site, but there are probably no awesome cups or gadgets at the door, as well as no t-shirts or hoodies.

We kindly ask you to make use of our ticket presale, as we need that data (and money) to plan properly for the event. The graph below shows why: We need to spend most of the money before the event. This makes our work harder – and it can be solved by you buying your ticket in advance.


Vintage Electronics 2

Following the build of our 1978 Metal Detector, next up in our Vintage Electronics series will be a Digital Bicycle Speedometer.  In the March 1977 issue of Popular Electronics, they published an article for a digital speedometer complete with red LED displays. This will be a build from the original magazine which we have in TOG.

You can get an LCD digital bike speedometer nowadays for as little as 5 euro. These multi function devices can do much more than speed. Back in 1977 however, this thing must have been space age…..  red LED displays and all!

We think it will look suitably retro on a modern carbon fibre road bike Vintage Electronics 2 We will be building the speedometer over the next few weeks. Come in and join in the build, or keep in touch with the build online.


Intel-Instructables IoT Contest: Enviro-Ag Kit

Maui Makers has been selected to participate in the Instructables​/Intel Internet Of Things (IoT) Edison competition. We are being sent the Environmental and Agricultural Kit and will have until Oct 5 to complete documentation (an instructable) on the project(s) we build.
We need some members to step up and help on this. I will be off island for most of September, but we have August to get things going.

If you are interested, PM/email me and/or show up at next week’s public meeting (Aug 6) at the makerspace

This page gives the basic details with correct dates: http://www.instructables.com/contest/intel/
This is the instructables post that gives details on the kit etc: http://www.instructables.com/community/Intel-IoT-Invitational

Intel-Instructables Internet Of Things Environmental-Agricultural Kit

Environmental & Agriculture
This kit is designed with agriculture in mind. The 7 sensors in this kit can help you determine light, UV and dust in the environment and based on that information one could rinse a plant off with the water pump and/or water the plant and not waste any water because a flow sensor is included. There is an LED bar for visual output and a dry reed relay to turn things on and off.

Included in this Kit:
6V Mini Water Pump
G14 Water Flow Sensor
Grove Digital Light Sensor
Grove Dry-Reed Relay
Grove Dust Sensor
Grove Gas Sensor(MQ5)
Grove LED Bar
Grove Moisture Sensor
Grove UV Sensor
Grove Water Sensor



Ludum Dare 33: August 21st 6pm

Come to crashspace and see the theme announced for Ludum Dare 33!

Ludum Dare is a weekend competition to make a video game (however simple) based on a theme in 48 hours. You can work in a team or by yourself.

At 6pm local time, the theme will be selected, and international brainstorming on #ludumdare will begin. Here at crashspace locals will decide whether to go it alone or make a team, and come up with the best ideas for games based on the final theme.