6.29.2010

Bizarrely beautiful gun thingies

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I'm again browsing the internet for some more interesting and bizarre kind of guns and found a bit of wondrous stuff. I'll list them, link an image and the source were I found it:

Noon gun (via Dark Roasted Blend)
Gun powder flask with sundial compass watch (via Dark Roasted Blend)
Antique ray gun (via Geekologie)
Hello citty pumpgun (via Airsoft society)
iPod app for better accuracy (via Geekologie)

Two other tries

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Both things that broke that killed the fun for me last days - complicated LEGO guns and complicated alghorithms - shouldn't be anymore. No, I'll simplify everything from now on in both "projects". I completely cut my Java program to work in variable scale and finished it within minutes. Well, I only have to javadoc to document all the functions and classes - I only have a few of them, this should be very, very easy. I also thought about my complicated LEGO mechanics and realized that it's better to stick with multi-barrel guns without magazines. Yesterday I felt so bad for making a LEGO gun that looked very similar to a real, working gun... It is not right to do so. I can remember my saying that I'm not interested in guns resembling reality - and that's what I did without thinking about it. I was so focussed on function and imitation of existing models that I didn't see how much less fun it becomes when building it. It's somehow similar to my Java assignment. I thought about too much rather than keeping the simplicity in mind this assignment was designed for. They are not exactly the same, but these two happenings show how bipolar I am. It seems that I only know extreme complexity with function in mind and reusable minimalism. Ok, it's not that extreme but I tend to see it like that. I was never able to change it, so I think it's a part of my person, nothing I can train or improve.

Well, I'm almost done with this assignment. Only the documentation and I can working on the other assignments. I'm also doing my second semester exams in two weeks for which I also have to learn and write notes and such. One assignment is a replacement for an exam I have to do before the exam weeks begin. Atleast I'm having more time than I had with my previous Java try. I know it wouldn't be finished, so it was the best idea to reduce the amount of work to a minimum.

But want I want to write about now is what I'll do beside my student stuff - let's call it freetime today. Well, I put all my LEGOs into a box and decided to think about what to do next. Since I had to program some bits I'm again interested in continuing the game engine/ASCII game thingy I started last year few months before christmas. I stopped programming it due to physics stuff and such. But well, I got some pretty interesting ideas for extending my code base with multifunctional DataMaps as replacement for custom image structures, more geometric calculation features and such. I also started on a bit-based compression alghorithm which could get turn out completely wrong or interestingly right (not sure if I already mentioned it here). For my term break I think I'll code a bit here and there. Making LEGO models is nice, but only if there's nothing else interesting to do. I rather see it as a hobby I do between work and sleep, something to distract from everyday panic. But yeah, I'm still no in my term break! So I guess thinking about LEGO is a good thing to do between traveling from home to where I study. And, uh, I need a new notebook. I filled the last one, gotta get a new one. I'm somehow stuck with the idea of multibarrel guns. And I never much cared about actually designing with colors other than by function, so I want to try another approach this time. I'll try to make the multibarrel gun concept better in design and function. The problem I'm having with LEGO guns is that if you want a magazin you'll always have to use ammunition without cartridges, otherwise you'll have to deal with a lot of problem like the ones I had. It is possible, yes, but it just plainly sucks. And because cartridge-less ammunition sucks for all things I want to reach (distance, accuracy, power and so) it's a major drawback I would only use for one-handed guns and automatic versions cause these need a) to be smaller and b) require ammunition for more than just a few shots (like, say, 10 or 30 shots). I always thought my LEGO cartridge design is much better than using pure bricks. You'll not depend on extremely complicated firing mechanics and such - just use a trigger attached to a trigger and that's it! Easy, reliable and powerful. So yeah, I'll stick with it at first and make a double-barreled model, again. This time with vertical barrel arrangement. I think about adding a special function for inserting and extracting cartridges. My cartridge rifle didn't have an extractor and you had to pull out each cartridge by hand. Because I'm having reusable cartridges, I think it's better to use a system where the empty cartridge moves out of the chamber to a certain point where you just need to grab and replace it. Yes, that's a good idea. And if it doesn't work, I'll just drop the idea and add something different. It's a hobby, right? So I don't think it's necessary to force myself to things I can't get work. Also, I'm not a gunsmith or mechanic, just some weird nerd who likes to make LEGO guns he saw in video games. Maybe I should try to make some kind of scope or so. Just to test if it's simple to archieve or not. I'm sure there are lenses out there I can put into fixed position using LEGOs. In Stalker I always liked to use the double-barreled hunting shotgun (not the sawn-off) cause it looked much nicer than the other metallic monster. I always wanted a scope for it but they never added one for some reason... hehe. Time to make one.

6.28.2010

I don't understand simple things

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I spend yesterday and the whole current day programming for my Java signement. The task is rather simple: read in xy coords, calc linear regression line, and display it in a window. Simple, yes, maybe. Some limitations are the use positive coords only and that the coords should be transformed in a way where there's some rounding from 4225 to 5000 and such (fixed value steps for the maximal axis values). The way it is explained in the task is ambiguous and somehow... wrong. It fails to work exact. I really don't know what it means and I doubt the guy who wrote the task knows it, too. They are writing muddy shit which isn't even what is should. I started making a fucking complicated renderer with 1:1 aspect ration for x:y in every window size and value range and whatever not. But then I encountered some fundamental problems I also found when clipping a line to screen rectangle (it's basicly the same problem here) which can only be solved by a) using a nine-case-with-unique-formula-each construction or b) by making complicated formulas and checking several plus/minus ranges. It can't be solved without using intensive amounts of code and brain. It's always the same. There's a simple task which can be solved by EVERYONE who isn't as experienced with programming and I'm making a monumental monster out of it which doesn't work cause it's bound to the giving limitations. I can't understand simple things. I'm always thinking further and further and will stop a multifunctional, for me perfect level of you-never-need-do-to-this-again-if-it's-done. I hate it. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. It doesn't work for me. I always have to think the best possible solution of this problem without keeping the limitations in mind which should make it easier, not harder. It's eating me up and I somehow get insane from time to time by this. It makes me hurt, they should just give me some project I can work on without getting marks for limiting what should not be limited... I have to recode it make it work very, very simple. Without fancy scaling and such. Just dumb and mindless. I'm not the one for starting small. I never was. I always needed to take the biggest possible challenge and learn from it. This way I learned to learn all the stuff they'll teach me in 2 semesters. This way I became what I am - someone who overestimates a simple task, someone who's is just not able to think simple. If I'm having an idea what's the perfect possible solution, I'll almost everytime work forward to this one. It doesn't matter how much new technology it needs or what code need to be written. I'm able to figure out completely new and complicated systems that have to base on mathematics or other kind of scientic theory within minutes. I also able to bring it down to code in fully functional format and reusability. The problem is THAT NOBODY IS INTERESTED IN IT. They all just think simple, stupid and retarded fuck heads. Goddamnit, today I just hate people who think simple. Even more if they give me marks for it. That means WAR.

6.27.2010

Bolt-action prototype

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Ok who-ever-is-reading-this, it's done, it's working. But not in a way I want. First of all, this is how it looks - excuse the bad image quality, I'm not in the mood for photo shooting/editing today:


And it's almost black as I wanted, except most parts of the magazine. At the moment I can only how disappointed I am. The extractor is working very well, the magazine most of the time, it even has stock, a pistol grip with hole for the hand, a snap for the bolt... Everything is fine, except when it comes to shooting with charged ammunition. It is a big problem due to the cartridges, not the gun. The snapping mechanic I used there works fine without a gun or for a muzzleloader. But it has a lot of problems if it has to cope with impacts from the outside. And in a bolt-action rifle, where there's definitely impact by the bolt to chamber it. Pushed with
enough, it's easily possible to release a shot just by chambering the next bullet. That's unreliable, bad in concept and shit in general. The gun itself works well. Shooting, chambering, aiming, extracting and such - all great and working! It's not just that the cartridge triggers something when chambering, I'm also losing LEGO pieces cause the snapper itself isn't fixed. It just flies off when shooting. Or falls in the chamber. And later I'm not able find it anywhere... Damnit. I wish it would be different. It's just the fucking ammunition. I'm exhausted, disappointed and frustrated. I think this was my last try to make 3x3 ammunition. Never again,
never again. It doesnt deserve all the attention it got from me. Fuck off you piece of precedic space litter.

I didn't even test the shooting that much as I did with previous guns. It seems accurate and far-shooting, but not as far as it shoots without a barrel/firing pin. The combination sucks. I used ALL black LEGO parts I could find to bring it to live and then it turns out like a big, unrevertable mistake. I even thought about making more models using this ammunition type. I thought I finally found the combination of small size and stability I wanted. But no, it isn't like that. Maybe it's just that this kind of bullet really requires a rubber- or spring-poweredhammer. Maybe it's really the gun and it's firing pin. I don't know anymore. I'm out of ideas and motivation.

Today is a sad day. Well, I should just forget what real guns do. It's not worth thinking about, is'nt it? I shall find my one way to make them work. They work totally different, especially because they consist of very small and stable elements I can't have. It's a totally different world I do not want to enter anymore. I'll do what I think is good for my construction and they will do what they think is good for their construction. Nothing else. I learned a lot how they work, but in the end they are still different enough to have nothing in common with reusable plastic shooting devices like the ones I'm doing. I'm not sure if I want to keep the gun as it is. Or take it apart. It doesn't deserve to exist, but it was also a shitload of work. I even lost LEGOs. Well, I give it some days to see sun again.

If you wonder about the title: It is a prototype. And will ever be, for sure. I don't want to think about working longer on a bolt-action modell, it's no fun at all. I also won't showcase it on deviantART.

Oh, and the the level right from the scope on the left gets locked on left from the magazine if chambered. I have a lot of pics laying round here, but uploading is so slow day - just not worth doing..

Berliner Philharmonika

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I just watched the Berliner Philharmonika at the Waldb├╝hne in Berlin from 2008. I'm not someone who's listening or watching classical that often but this time it was the most pleasing experience I ever had with classical music. You could almost see how musicians and music melt together, like a string of harmony full of all kinds of feelings I could imagine in this moment. It's feels just great to see how phenomenal music can become when executed by an army of perfectly tuned musicians. It's also interesting to listen to it. I'm not sure what they were playing but each part was unique and never felt the same. Just great! A full orchestra. Now I know why people like to there and listen to it live. My problem in general with listening to such music live is that I always want to see the musicians playing in detail. It teaches me a lot of facts, like how they get special tones and such. Maybe I'm just interested in the musicians and how they play together rather than the music. But well, this is also important. If I'd only like the music, I wouldn't care to watch it, but buy the CD or so. I can only repeat how awesome it is too look at them playing! I feel entertained. Really entertained. This rarely happens and even more rare in combination with an emotional and staying touch.

6.25.2010

Exhausted

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I rarely was so exhausted after working on a LEGO modell. I solved the cartridge problem, fixed another problem, shortened something there, reworked the magazine pusher a dozen of times, adjusted the rubber a million more and almost needed to disassemble half it's body. Finally I can say it works relatively well. But what works? Yeah, what works, that's a good question... At first, if using enough power, every bullet can be chambered and extracted like in a real bolt-action rifle. Plus, a new cartridge will take place where the previous one was thrown out from. It's a really complicated thing to design if I look again at it and I wonder why I didn't try to find an animation how it works in reality, like this one. Again, reality had way more experience with designung things. I could've used this animation to understand how it usually works. Instead, I just took the operation and it's components -> somethind slightly different but with a major impact on design. I hate that it's not possible to go smaller in LEGO without jumping from cartridge-fed to projectile-fed. It's just not possible, everything has it's limits. It's so late here and I regret ever making this one. It takes so much time and in the end it could've been easier to just use normal projectiles. Unfortunately, without this experiment I wouldn't have been able to imagine why. I know much more than before and it's again, as usually, a shame that this is the only way to knowledge. Fail, repair, learn. A never-ending cycle usual everywhere. Making magazines is annoying. This little animation I linked showed a little but very important difference compared to my version: The cartridges are raised before getting chambered. My cartridges don't have this, I just push them into the chamber within a straight line. And that was one the many problems I'm having with it. It leads to many, many problems you can solve by testing and experimenting over and over again. Bah. I somehow want to make a smaller of like you can see in the animation. Without cartridges but projectiles which get push by the firing pin itself.

However, it's damn late and I know I'll only have 6 hours if I don't want to miss a lesson. And to be honest, I guess I'll just sleep as long as I want. It's an english lesson! Why the fuck do I need this one, I'm millions of english words and sentences everday - there's really no point in repeating hilariously easy stuff on and on again. Just four weeks, just four weeks...

6.23.2010

Gotcha

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Found the problem why the triggering didn't work at all. Trigger and firing pin themself work fine, the cartridge doesn't. Its because my snapper doesn't allow the firing pin to move completely against the snapper element, so sometimes the bullet with just work or get triggered later. I'm I found this problem early, doing some more snapper prototyping for now.

LEGO gamepad

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Hey, it this a nice idea? I'm not sure I it's archievable without Mindstorms, but I get more and ideas for the Mindstorms chip. And I think making input devices can be pretty useful - especially in combination with things like game or synthesizer control.

I still need to buy it some day.

One rubber band

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Well, I did say I'll continue with the bolt-action carbine and I lead myself to success in pretty short time. Took some time to experiment with how to attach which rubbers where but in the end it works pretty well - maybe depending on the gun's angle (didn't test enough but should work I think). If I remember correctly, my first tries involved an almost solid cartridge pusher with two rubbers attached. Problems were jamming due to non-flat plates as cartridge rail (can't rotate them, cause they are part of the gun body itself -> required for stability) and the number of used rubbers. Two rubber bands, to be specific. I settled over to just one rubber band. The reason is quite simple but hard to notice: two rubber bands operate individually, and if side of the pusher jams, it's rubber may stop, but the other won't. Thus, using one rubber band does it much better if it spans over the area of two rubber bands. One operational part with less power but a much better "left/right synchronisation". Another very problematic part is that to due not-that-well-rotated plates the pusher can jam when trying to push the last bullet (in this case, the pusher becomes a part of the bullet chamber). I made the upper part one/two bricks wide to avoid collision with the frame/body parts. But to still guerantee pusher stability inside the magazine, it's a bit longer and about four bricks wide below in the magazine.

Yeah, I know, that's a bit too detailed and hard to imagine. But I'm just fucking glad to finally have a working magazine that doesn't jam anytime. If I optimize this concept further, I'm sure I'll get a handy and versatile box magazine, usable in every other construction, too. So for now I'll work on the trigger and stock. It works - sometimes. I think the problem in general in that I used a very, very loose rubber band for the firing pin, which rarely goes where it should. Problematic, too, is that I don't have a proper grip/stock, trigger limiter and frame around the trigger. It'll be a bit more complicated to solve cause I don't have such a nice way to lock the bolt lever like used in real bolt-action rifles such as the Mauser etc. Well, I'll experiment a bit. Now, that I found a way to get my magazin working, it goes better and better. Maybe I can even reduce the amount parts used to gun by removing the bolt case at the end to the gun. That'd awesome! It would atleast help to get some magazin parts appropriately colored.

stuff

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Hey, if I think about, I only use TIGSource to showcase the stuff I'm making at the moment (and the moments before and so on). I don't feel like a part of a "community" anymore, nor I'm interested in reading things other than something really new and interesting like about bigger games I'd like to play; it's more like a come and go now. Most of the time I just scroll through the WIP threads for games and other things but that's all. TIGSource has so many more parts and it makes me wonder if it's really a community or just like some groups of people who got namely unified by the big TIGS banner. It never was different for me and I doubt it'll ever change. But is this really a "community"? Definition-wise yes, but most of time I just feel like somebody appearing invisible to others and grab some information just to bring some stuff up on myself from time to time. But well, maybe I feel a bit lonely with what I'm doing in the world. TIGSource is and was always open for everybody, for awesome individuals and scum. So I guess I can still abuse it's nature as a shameless promotional dump and line up myself with all the other spammers, flamers, bumpers, pretentious wannebees, hysterical pseudo programmers, seemingly moderators, addicted gamers, manbaby eaters, pixel magicians and longtime stalkers. I mean look at the world of TIGS and name me a place that doesn't consist of weird things. It almost solely exists to gather such people, which is also what it makes unique among almost all other things.

Oh man, this post is sowhat useless. I could've made six millions of guns in the time I needed to write it.

6.21.2010

I lost

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It defeated me. I couldn't a way to get a helical magazine working with track parts. I sat down half of the day just to get it working. I even found way to archieve a surprisingly cylindric ramp shape. However it's possible to make a helical magazine, I don't think it can be done with such track elements anymore. And again, a drawback. No matter what I'm doing, I don't get magazine done. It seems like a curse, extremely annoying. It's over, no helical thing before I did other models. I still think the problem is the ammunition itself; if I had completely round ammunition, it would be much easier to handle for this edge-heavy track/plate construction I did. I had to use cylindric bullets build with normal LEGOs and flat plate on top and bottom. They may work well within other setups, but not here. They just turn around and jam the whole system. Some rotations, yes, but only on short way in the magazine. I hate it. It's frustrating to discover where the limits are. There's is no way this time. I better find another way to make the ramp. I also have an idea with big gears as rotary and smaller gears as ammunition. I'd only need to find another ramp construction wit the horrible part about it. Using gears consumes less space, more edges and thus a smaller diameter, which isn't possible with LEGO tracks (I'm already close to the diameter limit possible with rotation). If I only had a way to make smooth helical ramps with LEGO. Everything's just in rectangles or circles. Another idea is to recycle the track and add an own ramp inside . But well, all these track parts have horrible way of implementation when used like I use them. Lots of offsets here and there, specific track count for 90° compatibility and such. Not that nice. And annoying.

Let's freeze this project for a while. Bolt-action carbine is almost done, it just needs to do a magazine. It really was a stupid idea to think it can be done quick and easy as a distraction from working solutions. *sigh* I don't get it. So let's back to internal box magazines. Since my design will probably never allow an attachable magazine (there is also no real reason for doing so - why do I need an attachable magazine if I still need to fill it with bullets manually), I'll continue using internal. Let's update my list of magazine types:

Box: I solved all problems I had before, box magazines are very very possible.
Casket: Hm. I still don't know how to archieve it.
Tubular: While I redesigned my bolt-action carbine for smaller part count, I experienced that it's often not necessary to make fully-blown barrel or tubes/pipes/whatever to put ammunition in. Therefore, I'd just need to make a minimal "rail" for the cartridges cause they got pretty stable over time and don't need a complete plate protection to move along the magazine. Therefore, a tubular is surely possible and won't look as stupid as I thought. Cause you have, say, a 3x3 barrel plus a 3x3 cartridge directly below. Add 1 plate in height for cartridge stability and 2 in width to keep the cartridges in our now not-so tube. This makes 5x7 barrel, which is totally ok I think (keep in mind that the tubular magazine is under the barrel, so I can still grip comfortably).
Rotary: The helical magazine gave me ideas how to archieve this, but I'm not sure if it works with such big cartridges, too. It's just a question of size I guess. Well, just right now I think about making semi-automatic rifle/carbine. My only problem so far is, that I still need to find a comfortable solution for rotating to the next cartridge. Since it's torsion-based, it does it on it's own, but I'd require enough energy to extract the empty cartridge, too! I could adapt a bolt-action version, but as I mentioned some posts ago, I don't want to thin it out further. And well, bolt-action really is part-consuming. So if I ever do a rotary magazine, I'd better find a clever semi-automatic mechanic.
Drum: IAs with the helical design, a drum magazine could only work when combined to with non-cartridge projectiles. I don't want a drawback for bigger guns, so I make one. Also, it still looks shitty.
Pan: No reason for building such a shitty magazine
Helical: I wrote why is isn't possible. Atleast not now.
Belt: I tested it. I can mount cartridges on four track parts. If adding a gear thingy to make it move, it could work. But since it's very heavy and big and not of interest, I don't want to make one. Too complex for something that's just not handy enough.

So, what's still interesting for me? Box, tubular and rotary magazines. So that's it. While reading more stuff about rotary magazines I found that, for me, it's only possible to archieve a revolver-design when using non-cartriged bullets and a trigger-charged rubber OR muzzle-loading each revolver chamber manually with projectiles (build-in cartridge). The most versatile way would be the first variant. I could make a hammer and trigger and combine them and whatever else. Well, maybe I get an even smaller bullet version working. I'm tempted to test something out. 3x3 cartridges work great and stable even for bigger projectiles. But I didn't test things like 3x2 or so! My idea is to create a thin version with stability frame so that they only work well within a chamber. This way I only need to create a strange-looking and open cartridges which may work better with revolver-sized guns. Let's see how small it can get.

Something completely unrelated: Parents on holiday suck. Seriously. They disturb the system you've build up over all the years and don't even regret doing so. Fuck off you bunch of annoying de-structurizers. I thought it finally stabilized, but that was just plainly wrong. I don't get money for living elsewhere and I don't want to get a student job (I need my freetime, sanity and such, you know). Live sucks. If I only had a place just for me. Paid, of course.

6.20.2010

Absolutely possible

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Yep, it's absolutely possible to create a helical magazin in LEGO. The trick isn't easy to find out, but I think I found a good system. The work that's left is to measure the right rotary and ramp diameter. And well, that's a tedious work. And I'm not in the mood for tedious things, so I'll instead watch a good Twighlight Princess speedrun and do my Java ssignment.

Helical thingy

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I found this great site with a lot of interesting informations about all kinds of guns. Cause I wanted to know how helical magzines work, I took a look at on Calico's guns and they even provided some pictures from the patent description about their magazine technology. That is great, cause I finally understood how it works. In the middle of the magazin is rotary component with can carry up to 7 bullets close to it and 7 more between magazine case and the bullets close the rotary. Arrange a multiple of this constellation in a row and add helical ramp to in a way so that each bullet alters in height. What we now have is an object in which we just need to rotate the rotary in the middle and all bullets will move together with the rotary to the magazine front. To automate this we connect a gear or wound up torsion element at the end of the rotary and BAM we get an awesome to store a huge amount of bullets in stylish and space-sparing format. I really like the general idea of it and since I discovered it I always wanted to make one - as I already posted somewhere her. And I think I found a few to archieve this! The last LEGO set I bought had track in it I at first wanted to use for a vehicle or magazine belt. Btut well - isn't it possible to archieve a helical shape with, it? And that's what I'm doing right now, building a rotary and adding the helical part to it. My first idea was to attach millions of little pins to the tracks (which kinda works) but the main problem is that the tracks itself are pretty flexible and even with plates added against instability it's still shakily and not safe. The second idea is much better and simpler to build: each track part isn't just plain but has connectors and a varying "height level" if seen from the side. What I'm doing just to use these height levels as a helical ramp. I think this will work much better and safer - the version with millions of pins isn't an alternative.

Magazine

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Oh man, yesterday I was so sleepy while posting that I forgot what I wanted to say about the magazine implementation!

My biggest problem with the magazin is that it requires some kind of pushing element to a) push all cartridges up properly and b) close the chamber/magazine inbetween so that the cartridge doesn't jam or fall out of the inbetween. My first idea also showed that it's necessary to create a stabilizing element for the gun's body cause the immense rubber power pushing against the it makes it to fall apart. If I want to make a detachable magazine I'll have the problem that I didn't design my gun for such a thing. And to be honest, I think it's better to keep in internal -> I tend to put all related parts of a model to one place so I see that they belong together. And cause I'll never really make a second magazin (I think so, don't I?) it's the easiest way to make it internal. I'm a bit disappointed about the cartridge size. It doesn't enable me to make the magazin invisible or inside the gun. I'm forced to use a huge block of cartridges unter the inbetween and can't insert it from top like I wanted (mostly due to stablity reasons, case part of the inbetween is part of the chamber, I shortened it). Therefore, I'd like to insert cartridges from bottom with loading stripes or such. Most problematic part is the pushing element. In reality they use spring-powered ones, much smaller than with rubbers! Even if I had a spring for use in LEGO, I'd still have he problem of it's force and thus stability. I did some test and it seems that during high pressure from the magazine I can't extract cartridges as properly as I want... It all depends on the perfect rubber length and strength. I found 2 very lax and long rubbers I can use for it. They shouldn't be too strong and not too short, their integration has to feature pusher stability with cartridges inserted and while having a full magazine in. Now I know why high-capacity LEGO guns use so many long and soft rubbers: they are easy to stretch even within longer magazines. Also, the pusher isn't very stable. I need a construction with which I can guerantee no left/right top/down differences for each side of the pusher. It's ridiculous how effort need to be in a magazine-based gun! I'm truely impressed what gunsmiths archieved in the last centuries. I'll do some on modern magazine and gun designs plus some vids on youtube how people archieved their working magazines (but I guess they don't have solution that are suitable for my case). I read about gravity-based magazines, but I think these aren't suitable for what I'm doing, especially cause they only work in one direction and not from bottom to top like I need it. Too bad that a tubular magazine just too long for my current design. But hey, I could just test it. Oh, better not, I don't have so many black LEGOs for it... I have enough LEGOs for a black box magazine. Should make one with them some day.

Well, magazines are really difficult to make if not concepted out with the weapon body itself. Maybe I should try another version after this one with a definitely stable internal magazine. I'm sure how to continue now. My concept is to keep it minimal for now - since I don't know how to get complex concept working correctly. I'm out of ideas. Time for inspiration and distraction. Programming! I have to code some bits of Java.

A lot of stuff to tell

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Sometimes it's easer to start from the very beginning. And that's what I did: A complete new design with less connectors and many more holes on the side. I shortened the bullet chamber since I don't need a lock for locking the barrel and build a complex bolt construction with integrated extractor component, needle to release the cartridge snapper and the part with which you push and pull the whole thing. If that wasn't complicated enough, the problem began with getting the extractor actually working. It's LEGO and thus big and bulky, not suitable for really tiny components like the extractor hook. That was my problem and I tried many, many, many ways to create a system that snaps to the bullet (I even had a dozen of different bullet designs, each of them with stability flaws) when pushing the bolt and throws it ouf of a chamber/magazine inbetween (from which the cartridge gets into the bullet chamber). After many, many tries I found a version that rather worked. Only problem was that I had to stabilize to whole gun frame due to the relatively high force you need to operate the bolt. I was able to stabilize to a certain degre and began to work on the magazine. Holy shit, that felt like a step two weeks back in development.

The problem I had with the magazine was a) the rubber bands, b) jamming in the magazine/chamber inbetween and c) tentative magazine construction. Well, c) stays apart from a) and b), these two were real problems. I haven't yet solved a), but b) is more or less solved. My cartridges just had too many edges so that they prevented themself from getting extracted, inserted or even pushed to the top. So I added some of the many L-parts to give them a real frame around it and smoother grip, atleat at the of it. This works very well and I even have a more stable version that the one I'm using at the moment. The only disadvantage of this one is that I need a better needle for triggering. I'm pretty glad that I'm now having very well-made bullet design that is stable, has a weight and shoots as good as before if not better.

Wooo, all this stuff took me very long. No wonder why you can't find any bolt-action LEGO guns on youtube - they are pretty complicated! Now it's time to sleep for me and do some programming for uni next day. When I'm done with it, I'll continue making a magazine. That'll be annoying and hard I say you.

6.17.2010

Extractor

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Hooray, I found the right word for my bullet ejector! Extractor! This took some time... And this little word is also what I need to work on. I took apart my repeater to make it lighter and less frustrating to make. Simple things and such. First I want to do is a to make better extractor, especially one without external attachments, with some kind of groove or hole in the bullet. This way I don't need to invent a new way to get the external extractor working correctly (there were a lot of gears and jamming and such). Instead, I only need to put some small parts here and there and everything's fine. Atleast I hope so...

Fail in the midle

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Oh man. I've overcome my all-in-one-color concept and now I discovered why I did wrong with this model. The concept behind is functional but I somehow made the chamber too long and now I'm suffering from the problem that I need to take it apart and remember every piece if I want to continue this exact model. I think it's better to make a new bolt-action design and learn from I was able to create so far. Less chamber length (since I don't need lock and such) and a better ejector block.

I'm also out of energy. The process of making a 360°/180° Quicktime VR thingy is so time and energy absorbing. And now the talk I have to do! I dropped the idea of making a program to show the stuff I'm talking about in realtime. I just don't have the nerves for that. Beside the unfinishedness of it, it's a pretty useful multi-purpose system for altering multidimensional data arrays. It's more OOP than I'm used to, and thus rather header-heavy.

And I'm now off to take the rest of the day before I collapse next morning after the talk. Even worse, I hope I don't forget to turn on the alarm clock.

6.15.2010

360° panoramas

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I'm doing an assignment for uni where we have use several tools and lots of images to create Quicktime VR objects. These are 360°/180° rotatable panoramic images. I had to make 36 pictures, 12 in 0°,45° and -45° horizontal camera alignment but I guess I need to take some shots again... I had to take another camera this time and that one isn't really good for making quality shots cause it tends to blur images no matter what you're doing. On the camera's screen it looks great, but on a computer screen you can see all the things it's blur. At the moment I'm running a stitcher/image analyser to make a huge panorama picture of it. I hope the algho is able to track down which shots belong to which place! Well, maybe I should take my own camera. I have one but my sister someone made the display unusable... It works but you can't see any of your shots of even the menu, the display is totally messed up. Maybe I should just try to set off the light and do what I can with it. The other cam has a horrible focus system and doesn't even inform you if it focussed right. Damn thing! Atleast it's a digital camera. Thus I can keep the error count more or less low (no need color adjustment and such). The only thing I'm concerned about is the sun. I photographed in a forest close to my home and there were pretty extreme differences between +45° and 0°/45° images. I'm not such a pixel pusher to like adjusting a dozen of photos. Well, I'm glad the pixel pushing assignments are nearly over! Just this one here. Next topics are SMIL and later Flash, too! Maybe I'll clearly hate them but atleast I won't have to cope with such annoying photoshoppings. Yay, the analysation is almost done, have to take a look!

So glad

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I'm so glad, I'm gay. Nothing beats what you think is sexy.

6.14.2010

Why guns

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Um, another one of these posts. I tried to find a place where I can showcase my LEGO creations without success. Not that there don't exist such sites - there are plenty of them but it somehow feels... wrong. I often encounter this feeling and it means that it's really not a place for me where I can become happy. Most of these communities or forums share the love for LEGO in terms of design possibilities and as scratchpad for learning and prototyping purposes (like if they want to do robotics or mechanics later). To be honest, I find the design part of it rather limiting and case-sensitive. Technic-wise it's very flexible and thus good for almost every kind of thing. Too bad most that most communities are design-focused or just for praising official LEGO models instead of creating their own ones. I miss people there who do actually have the interest in making models or builds that fulfill a specific purpose or are useful for something. Well, guns aren't the most useful things on earth, but I always enjoyed aiming practices and activities were you need patience. Did I say I love more complex firstpersonshooters for the fact that you often have to deal with different gun and aiming types? Well, I think I'm making guns not only for the technical fascination but also because I like shooting targets. I know, I mentioned before that just shoot for testing them, but since I can shoot pretty far, it suddenly fun to use them. In this case my guns have a special use that is not just having fun by making or watching at them. And that's what I miss when browsing the web for LEGO models - actually useful things. A remote-controlled car has use for me (driving around with it, playing!) but a model that's good for looking at it? No, that's nothing I'd called an actual use. Maybe for some people, but not for me. There are so many interesting things build in LEGO which have no real use. I'm always afraid of creating things (LEGO, program, design or not) that have no use. It's my nature to do thing only if they have a use for me and meet my mind's setup. I can also not understand go out to have fun in a disco - does is has a use except for the moment? After it I feel bad for doing anything that really helped me in some way. This attitude towards the creation and consumption of things is what is driving since I became 14 or so. And trust me - almost everything I'm doing I can give a reason. Call it weirdo or not, I can't become a part of community which almost solely exists to make things which have no actual use. Therefore I see no reason for joining and showcasing my work there. I'm still a lone wolf if it comes to that. Thinking of that, I think it's better pause browsing forums and participating in communities for a while. It's time for me to a) take a break from thinking it's good to keep up-to-date with things going on there, b) to wait for feedback messages and such (that's ridiculous, cause I'm doing these things for me and not for anyone else) and c) to finally finish that goddamn stuff I need to do for uni. Seriously, I'm close to one real deadline and another one I set for me to keep my sparetime and head free for modelmaking and other projects and such. The faster I'm done with all this, the faster I can progress and realise the ideas I have in my mind.

Oh damnit, I totally forgot what I wanted to say in this article besides the stuff I already wrote down. I have this weird fascination with things nobody is doing except me. This includes graphically rich lofi games (not the pixelly ones, that's hifi! I mean text and extremely lowres screens) with performance-heavy features, handmade pixel fractals and sophisticated LEGO guns. It seems I need this time to form my own kind of creative identity - I always did what others will never do, so I think that's why I'm doing it. I feel better this way. For my personal projects I always want to have something nobody's making or ever did. And if somebody did it, too without my notice, I want to be the better one! That's really weird. But still better than trolling other, more successful indie developers like it's going on at TIGSource. That's so lame, really. I don't why people are like that, but I know that I don't want be like they. I've always chosen another way for my personal stuff (which I think I already mentioned here several times...) and really don't want to conflict with somebody else. That may also be the reason why I truely hate it when people come and say they want to do the same or copy or reinvent what I'm doing personally. I'm a bit fragile if it comes to that... Also, LEGO guns. It's something you don't see that often compared to the many "normal" LEGO users. Limiting this already small group of people making LEGO guns to working, brick-shooting guns it's an even smaller group of people. Most of the people making better LEGO guns are also the one's who have a better knowhow of the technology behind. This implies there's atleast a bigger interest in the topic. My guess is that the people who actually like to do bad things with guns are not that interested in the technolgy behind but more in their effect - might, damage, maybe self-defense. I can't prove it but I can feel that's it's most of the time like that. I'm part of the ones who do reasearch after that development to build better models. I have strange fascination not only because I can't explain it - it's also something that other don't like or do that much. This were fascination and personal preference meet - making guns. It's like with the worlds in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Bioshock or music like Noise and Goa - things I dig because these two things work together. I'll always have an "outsider taste" if it comes to things I do for me. I even thought about making stone-spraying devices you can activate via remote-control. I'll say like it is - a harmless LEGO bomb. It's actually very easy to such constructions. I like to think about it. How to use these originally mean-minded and lethal techniques for more or harmless constructions. I never found any branch of mechanic/technology that's more interesting for me... I think nobody can honestly say something against this without beeing narrow-minded in my eyes. Maybe I should really try to specialize in rather weapony stuff. Since I create my first gun I thought about making Borderlands fan art. I thin a gun or buggy like they use them in the game is a good thing to start some day. Yes, I think that's a good specialization - guns and weapons from video games. As I said before I always liked gun technology and video games, too.

So ok, I'm now free for anything that's not community-driven. Like doing stuff for uni. I have a talk to do about basic 2D rendering for my lecture in technical english (we had to choose a random, informatics-related theme).

Atleast one pic (WIP repeater)

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Even if it's not finished, I atleast want to archive it's absolutely black beeing:

I finished the ejector itself, bolt, barrel, barrel grip, cartrigdes and the trigger. What's missing is a trigger fixation, the rest of the part that powers the ejector, stock, magazin, a component to prevent bullets from falling into the bolt chamber, bipod and proper iron sight. I'll definitely need a bipod my bolt is on the left side, operated by the left barrelgrip-holding hand (bad if you're a right-hander like me). And no, the big part in the middle is NOT the magazine! The magazine will be found below the gun. The short part on the left is the barrel... yes, it's that short. At the moment, the whole mechanic requires a very long gun body and bolt chamber. I guess It could be short when using shorter ammunition.

Yeah, that's it. Not much to say about it. I hate that I can't make it completely in one color.

Need more

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FUCK. I don't have any black LEGOs left. And I'm short before finishing it! Fucking shit.

Friday I bought some more and what happened? Fuck, this model is so damn big. It's as big as a real weapon... You know what? I'll add a horsecrap of stuff to it. So that I never want to take it apart. It needs a lot of improvements and I don't even know if everything will work flawless, cause I need more black LEGO parts for this. Of course I could use other colors but I decided to make it completely black. Nuff said. My "only studless" policy doesn't make it better.

Ok, ok. I'll replace some components with other colors. I can't just find any current models in my LEGO shop of trust (TM) with enough black parts to be worth buying. But isn't it a shame? Can anyone remember the awesome, almost black monsters they before LEGO when more modern and design-based? Man, these were soooo great! But now... Everything's grey. Of course, the function possibilities are awesome and almost endless, but this time I thought I could use just one color for everything. Maybe it was just me? *sigh* Somehow I can't get over it. I feel so angry for not having all the parts I want. And that's the advantage of making your own parts: They have the shape you want AND the color (mostly).

*doublesigh* Let's begin again, red for the grip, grey for the bullets, black for the case, yellow for the pusher and ejector...

Beside this I feel that I want to make a car first. Of course I won't do it before I finished the gun (mostly due to the fact that I'll probably run out of LEGOs when making to models simultaneously...) but I can still dream of it.

6.13.2010

Cartridge Rifle V2

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Instead of further working on a bolt-action rifle, I also did some changes on my cartridge rifle I showcased some days ago.


Did a lot of changes but it's still the same. Changes include but not limited to:
  • made almost everything grey except the grip
  • changed cartridge to work without empty rows on the side
  • changed cartridge color to red/dark grey
  • heavier and more stable cartridge
  • ultra lightweight projectile for higher range
  • added cartridge holders left and right from the chamber
  • reworked break-open mechanic: better snapping, harder to open
  • build a case around the trigger to work as a counterpart to the break-open (to a maximum of 90° break angle)
  • changed some parts of the stock to feel better when shooting
  • overall stability and weight improvement
  • better-looking and fixed barrel grip
Yeah, that's a lot stuff I changed. From beginning to end this LEGO gun always ad stability issues due to the break-open element. The way it's used at the moment is rather not suitable for long and stable barrels. When aiming, it often happens that I miss the spot I was aiming for - due to it's horrible stability. What I tried this time was to get rid of it, but I kinda failed. Ok, it's a bit more stable and heavier but it still happens. Well, I think I'll get it working right if I keep current break-open snapper. I also have another idea, but that's something different I need to test before. I'm proud of the grip changes! You can't see it in this picture, but it looks actually pretty well and feels better than before. Plus, the changes enable me to attach two cartridges without hindering my hand from gripping comfortably. I'm glad I modded it a bit cause it's now a full-featured LEGO gun with only a few minor flaws. It has a cartridge grip several iron sight spots, a great stock/trigger, it's break-open... Yeah, I can say I really like it at the moment. What I dislike is that I still need some special parts I never get again, I think. Well, then why not care about it! There are better things to do than mindlessly buying new LEGO. I have a lot of great parts to play with, so wtf am I thinking. I think the grip is something I can keep somewhere, even if I start taking it apart. It feels much better than any grip I designed before, so it's definitely something worth reusing.

RC car control made easy

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Found this awesome idea on the official Lego website. Not the car on th left, but the RC control component on the right! There are controls for RC in LEGOs Power Functions: One with two switches and one with intensity control. Well, the second is big and more expensive. All pros on a side, I feel uncomfortable using it. So I didn't bought it. Instead, I've choosen the smaller one and hell, I never thought about attaching a wheel onto it. It may be not that comfortable, but its fucking clever. And I like clever things as much as I like the simplicity of this small control devices. Great idea, I should try to look at official Power Function implementations more often.

LED screen

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Haha, I'm almost spamming my own blog. Got another idea! There are LEGO LEDs to give your model lights and such. At first I only thought about using them as effect thingies or status light when a mechanic is one or working, but now I could also think of an artificial LED screen be using dozens of them. There are some flaws like that there are always two LEDs connect to one cable and such, but I think with enough switches and workarounds I'm able to create little monitor for ruther use. My idea is to take an NXT chip and build some kind of handheld with pong on it or something like it. Imagine how awesome this is! A handheld completely build using LEGOs and a programmable chip. Man, that's awesome, I need to do this, too! That's even more interesting than a remote-controlled car. Well, I think I really need to buy an NXT set and a dozen of LEDs...

Also, the cool thing is that EVERYBODY can build this handheld without the knowledge of electronics or hardware (like me!). I just need to find out if it's possible to control so many switches in realtime with the NXT. Fuck, that would be SO AWESOME.

I think I have a new longtime hobby.

Train motor

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Hey, I got an idea. To be honest, on the site I posted before, only the desciption of the LEGO Median and XL Motors are wrong. I totally agree with the rest listed there. Looking at the RPM table I think I could abuse the train motor I have somewhere in my LEGO box... Problem is, that these old train get their power by rails only - which I can bypass by buying a new train motor and combining it with the new Power Functions parts. I think that's a good idea! 'm not completely sure where I'll use it, but well - let's see where destiny will lead me.

Carbine

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I'm actually working on a carbine repeater since I managed to plan out a detailed mechanic. It's a quite big and complex thing, especially cause of it's cartridge size (3x3x12). As I mentioned before, the Mause System 98 was a great inspiration I altered to work for ammunition with a groove or rim. The rims or grooves found on modern cartridges are used to pull the cartridge out of the barrel. I didn't even thought about adding a rim or groove or holes suitable for replacing them! Therefore I had to add a new part between cartridge and barrel that forces cartridge to thrust back when the bolt lock (I'll explain this one in another post) in opened. A real bolt-action system would work more efficient because it has a small hook attached to the end inside the barrel. Due to bolt rotation when rechambering, it ejects the cartridge into the right direction. My version of it works different... I'll explain all the details it in another post, since it requires some better words than the ones I have in my mind at the moment. But what I can say is that the movements are similar cause they work very well with is the next step for my LEGO gun designs. Also, it's first time were I'm not able to shorten the barrel that much. I insits on a minimal length which now equals a pistol. Everything is due to cartridge lengths and required stability. A bit weird. Did I mentioned how I eject the bullet now? Well, I use a special mechanic on the side of the magazine. In general I chamber bullets from the magazine, shoot the projectile and put it back into the magazine. Further bolt pulling activates a mechanic to push the bullet out. It's not a springloaded mechanic, but I if you pull the bolt fast enough, I think it works pretty well. Needs an overhaul, though (looks almost as a big as a magazine, the ejector component... I think I can get it much smaller).

My only concern so far is the stability of it. Each side of thi rather renctangular gun has a specific function: on top there is the iron sight and the bolt lever, left from the barrel is the ejector mechanic and the bolt lock, right from it the ejection slot and the underside is occupied by a magazine, the trigger and stock. As you may imagine, it's a pretty complex arangement and I'm glad I did the jump over to cartridge ammunition, cause there are many things I can take as a technical reference... I mean it's still a hobby. What is the point of reinventing everything if you just do it for fun? It's like my game I'm always working on (which's rather making a vision true and experiencing new ideas and technology).

This is completely blue/black by the way. I don't like grey anymore and red/yellow parts are so in my LEGO box that it's not worth mentioning for such a big and complex gun. Even the stock will be black I think. And hey, I bought some new LEGO's with black coverin parts. Good for grip and stock and such. Another a new element I can now try to implement is the use of continious tracks. I also had something like that made out of ultra-flexible plastic, but hard plastic LEGO is definitely better for this. I always wanted to do a track vehicle! Plus some new remote-control elements and a the faster motor I bought, I guess I can do amazing things including the vehicle I want to create and finally an automatic gun. The new motor is less powerful but much faster (I once found this site where some things are but other ones are wrong - tested both motors, with a mechanic attached to it, they smaller one is much faster faster). I think that it's now possible for me to create a fast moving bullet pusher and a rubber-powered magazine. When I'm done with my carbine, I need to test some magazine context. Remember the helical magazine? Yay, that could be dany sexy I say you. I somehow see this idea as something futuristic, alienlike. That may be the reason for why I like it so much.

6.11.2010

Let's get hammered

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I convinced myself to get away from using gears to trigger shots. Instead, I'm now using a hammer to trigger them, which works (due to other cartridge redesigns) very well. Current cartridge can be moved smooth inside a bolt mechanic and thats what I wanted. Last post I said it's more difficult to hammer but I think that was just a silly little thought I, today, immediately disprove. Now I think it is even easier. I have concerns about how the snapper. The last two shots almost pulled the snapper of it's place...

Beside this, I almost completely figured out a simple bolt mechanic. I used the very famous Mauser System 98 as a mechanical reference with some simplifications due to the nature of LEGO. Strangely enough, you can find a ton of details about how it works. I wonder why - maybe cause of the world wars. I'm not happy about reading stuff about a gun that lots of people (especially here in Germany) associate with both world wars, nationalism and gun freaks. The problem is that I only see the mechanic and the general idea behind - what others will never see. Maybe it's bad, maybe it's not. Who knows. What I know is that I don't like how people always see you as a world war fan if you mention names like Mauser or know how older guns work. Or just if you know how a gun in details work or what specific feature/fact terms mean. On one side I can completely understand them. Most guns are made to kill or hurt people, world wars come in mind and maybe someone in your family is still affected by what happens during the second world war. On the other I feel sorry them that they can't see the technical fascination behind or can't get rid of the all the "guns are bad in general and shouldn't be used except if I, the only real person who knows everything about what's good and what's not" thing. Guns aren't bad. The people who use them against livings are bad. That is point I want to make. The only bad thing about is that people don't understand why they associate guns with bad things - because human do bad things with them.

Hmpf, I forgot why I'm writing this. Fact is, that guns are things like everything else. If you use or make guns, it doesn't mean you do bad things with them. Saying that feels - again - like somebody saying I'm bad and what I'm doing is bad. Sometimes I wish we'd live in an apocalyptic world were lots of things can be justified, like making guns. But well, everything has it's downside and in the end I can only try to convinve people that I'm still a nice and harmless person. Even more harmless than they are.

First concepts

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This design is rather difficult! As I initially guessed, I first tried a bolt-action mechanic. During this phaseI didn't yet place any final LEGO pieces, just drawing and concepts. The main problem is - again - the type of bullet I'm using. I still have gear on them and especially these hinder me from creating a smooth bolt mechanic. Well, a solution to this problem could be to make ammunition that is hammered, which means tha it doesn't use gear to trigger, but instead a piece of LEGO smashing against a lever to release the projectile. I think it is possible, but I'm also concerned the force needed to trigger (reducing LEGO durability) and the mechanic required for the hammer. The point is, if the hammer smashs against the lever, you need to move the hammer back out of the bullet to warrant that the snapper doesn't stay above the cartridge. Otherwise you won't able to eject it properly. To avoid it need to connect trigger and reloading mechanic, since there is no way to bring up a change in energy for rapid hammer thrust first forward and then backward. Keep in mind that I wan't to have a trigger and not a handle to operate. A handle is great for doing such stuff but it looks crappy and operates like shit. Plus, it probably jams if I do it... Well, using a lot of snappers and other things it is possible to archieve such step-like blocking of individual component movement.

But OH - wait! Got an idea! I could just connect the hammer to the trigger as I connected the trigger to the bullet... Nevermind, no-one needs to understand this. It's all fine, hammered bullets, here I come!

If I hadn't this idea, I'd surely talk about why the bolt-mechanic thing is much more problematic. Well, it gets a bit easier then. What I under stand is that my real problem that a normal bolt-action doesn't has a hammer, but a bolt with integrated pin. Because the bolt also locks the barrel and prevent the magazine from popping up, it require a mechanic long enough the transport the trigger to the bolt's firing pin. And that's a problem: I'd need to create a completely different trigger for this which is rather unsuitable for LEGO dimensions. I'm really not sure, I should just test it maybe. I'm afraid I'll again run out of LEGOs due to the bullets' and bolt's length! Why the fuck do I have so many grey parts? Horrible, just horrible. What about black and green or better: black for mechanics, white for outer elements? *sigh* This is driving me crazy. And there isn't even a way to get them in colors you want except when using sites like BrickLink. Most of their listed do rather not have what I want or have not the amount I want (buying thousand small packages increases delivering prices extremely. I guess I just have to buy normal LEGO sets and use the tiles I can find in them. Atleast I have a LEGO VIP card so get some €uros back.

6.08.2010

Just some thoughts

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Ok, I really dont know what to design next. I have 5 3x3 cartridges I can use to create a new gun. And I guess this number won't change unless I get more LEGO pieces... So, since the cartridge number is limited and it's design finished there's only one problem left: what kind of gun to create. And this really is a problem! I mean all my previous were made out of limitations like combining rubber charges and reloading, building a case around a cartridge and such. But this time? No real limits. The only limits are the dimensions (3x3 still is pretty big, LEGO pieces arent' too small), reloading system (no gas, no recoil waiting for exploitation) and complexity (I'm not sure I'll be able to create everything).

I have several possibilities and will do some kind of brainstorming while I'm typing this (I like to see my blog as a hobbyists scratchpad). So, don't wonder about the following structure. I'll list what components and design implementations could exist and then write if it's possible or not and why.

a) Firemode
Automatic: Senseless, since it requires a motor/battery and I only have two shots (also, I don't want to waste my cartridges for automatic fire - charging the cartridges is much slower than actually shooting them, so therefore just not worth
Semi-Automatic: Well, I'm sure about this. Semi-Automatic use gas or recoil to chamber new bullets which I unfortunately don't have. So I'd need a complicated mechanic to seperate the trigger action. And that's a lot of messy work I don't want to make. Also, my cartridges are pretty heavy compared to pure LEGO bricks or simple cartridge-less projectiles. It would result in a hard-to-operate trigger... I don't think I want to do this.
Manual chambering: One action for shot, one for throwing out the cartridge hull/rechambering. This is almost the most simplistic version I could do and also the one I'd prefer over other mechanics. Why? Well, it's a stable thing to do. Both other variants require something special I can't or don't want to do. And isn't it the next step for me? After a one-shot breechloader a repeating one with more bullets but insert/eject mechanic? What I learned is that single steps are better than multiple ones. And I have to say that repeater designs are much more different (in operation) than automatic or semiautomatic ones. Yes, I can say I'm very interested in it.

b) Magazine type
Box: Pretty standard and maybe a bit problematic since I use a gear in my cartridge for triggering which doesn't the 3x3 format overall. My only chance is to arrange them parallelogram-like or rotated by 90°. And let's be honest, why the second one if it just means more problems? Well, there are still some problems with my cartridge I'll discuss later.
Casket: I really don't know how to archieve this.
Tubular: A very common type for shotguns and relatively easy to make when designing a bit more carefully. My only problem is that I only shoot the projectile (1x1) and not the cartridge (3x3) itself. Thus, the barrel is 3x3 and the magazin would be 5x5 at a minimum. I think this does look shitty. And if I do guns, I want to do guns I like to look at. Maybe another day.
Rotary: Very interesting but no that suitable for 5 big cartridges. Also, it would be a very large magazine, having similar size problems like my revolver design.
Drum: I can only think of rotary-like version of this. I'm really not sure how to archieve it using LEGOs. I'm not even sure if there a difference between rotary and drum magazines. According to Wikipedia, I think drum magazines use springs instead of torsion. I just don't know! Also, it looks silly.
Pan: Naaaah, that won't work. My cartridges aren't in a shape supporting this magazine size. And again, it looks as shitty as a drum magazine.
Helical: Oh yes, that's sexy. Really. Just a fucking awesome way of packing more bullets into a magazine. I wan't one! Problems: I only have 5 cartridges, they are too big and it's a pretty complex thing to archieve. I can imagine using it within a battery-powered, automatic LEGO gun shooting projectiles directly without cartridge. Well, one day I'll try. If I fail or not doesn't matter - I definitely want to make one.
Belt: Well, I always thought it's simple to make a belt magazine like used in lots of machine guns, but it's actually not. It requires a bigger force (like a motor) to move the belt and forbids normal twohanded handling (my cartridges are just too bulky for this I think). Not a cool thing to do with only 5 cartridges, nono. But still, I have a lot of ideas how to get it working - automatic or not.

c) Feeding type
External: Means using detachable magazine instead of internal ones. The pros are that I can make a smaller and lightweight gun without the need for bulky ammunition storage plus it's very easy to reload. Cons are that I'll need pieces for each magazine and a snapping mechanic. I don't want this at the moment. I somehow don't prefer them.
Internal: Internal magazines are a bit special, especially cause one with a bigger capacity is often more useful when using it detachable. Another con is that you're limiting your gun to a specific amount of bullets, making it less modifiable for later use. Well, I like the idea of internal magazines because they are fixed (more stability) and don't need extra space around the gun itself. However, implementing them limits me to a few magazine integrations since it's useles to use a box magazine below the barrel if it uses the exact space and positon of a detachable one. Nope, if I choose an internal one (and I probably will), I'll use a tubular, or very short box magazine inside the gun body. I'm not sure, I'll find a completely different variant, who knows!

d) Action type:
Revolver action: Tried it, too complex for LEGO (atleast with such a caliber).
Bolt action: I like this one. It also leaves space beneath and beside the barrel. I can think of a model featuring such an action or something similar bolty.
Lever action: I don't like this one, not sure why. Probably because you need to stop aiming to reload comfortably. Since lever action rifles use tubular magazines (I think so), I better use a pump action instead (which I do like much more).
Pump action: Yay, movie makers favourite evil psychopath gun. If I'd go for a tubular magazine (which I won't do), I'd probably choose pump action for it. Well, it's pretty comfortable to use. Not that I ever used such a thing (or even a real gun) but I implemented a double pump-mechanic into one of my muzzleloaders. If I ever get a way to create shotgun pellet shells in LEGO, I'll create a pumpgun for it. Yeah, that's definitely something I also want to do.

d) Magazin orientation:
Vertical: Normal orientation, easy for hammered bullets. Since I used gears on the underside of my bullets, it's rather difficult to stack/insert them like that. Maybe if I change the bullet design to hammering.
Horizontal: Actually, this is the orientation I prefer at the moment. Works well with gears and such. But if I want to go for bolt action, I better make the cartridges hammered (which maybe a rather diffeicult task - hammering could results in easier triggering but also requires a complicated hammer mechanic I need to combine with the action type).

Ok, I'm done for now with listing. That's only a part of what I need to consider for my next model, but I for sure found a lot of inspiration via Wikipedia. Hm. This list is good for adding and removing ideas and such. I'll just keep it here to plan future builds. And I really don't know which of these I'll use. Um, just too many things at first. Need to take out some of them.

Finally, I have of things I definitely want to create later, after finishing the "as far and accurate as possible" rifle I can make with my new 3x3 cartridges. At first, a machine gun with helical magazine. I know it's hard to archieve but I really, really want to try it. The fast-firing mechanic itself will be tricky but managable. And I won't use cartridges for it... They are just to big and heavy for automatic fire. No, smaller bricks are possible plus a rubber getting charge by a motor. Probably no firing rate but will work I guess. The helical magazine will be damn tricky. I'll probably have to use LEGO wheels for it. Or one of these flexible axles I found some day. Well, I'm sure I won't find a solution that quickly. The other one I want to make is a pumpgun with tubular magazin and -the most difficult part of it- shotgun pellet shells. The ones with small pellets in it they use for hunting. I know it'll be a bigger caliber with a very special cartridge. What need to create is a way to a) put tiny LEGO parts in a small cartridge, b) find a way to unlock the top of this shell and c) shoot the whole thing or the parts in it. a) is relatively easy, I already found the parts I'll use. b) and c) are quite different and may work together. My first thoughts are that it's best to stack small 1x1x0.5 rings and use them as pellets. Then, a pushing elements thrusts with enormous speed into this pile from behind and the pellets will fly. Only lasting problem is step c)... Well, my first 3x3 cartridge attemps feauture a loosely fixed projectile on a pusher will start flying after pusher bumped against it's limiting parts. This may be a way to create a cartridge that has a relatively loosely placed top and pelletes inside. The pushing will this thrust not only pellets but while thrusting them, the shell's top, too. I'm no happy about it and maybe it's better to create a rather giant 5x5 cartridge with a second hull around it which again is fixed within the chamber. The pushing element then hits the outer hull which in order hit s the inner hull which will then open a up a hole in the top of the outer hull. I'm not if it works like that... Just an idea. Like always.

Now I need to get some sleep! Man, I should stop talking so much stuff about gun mechanics. I feel like a real fucking gun freak now - which I am not. I'm actually a fan of their mechanics, not their effects and/or realword usage.

Another redesign

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Don't wonder, everything's okay.

6.06.2010

Think different

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From this time fork I shall not find more effective ways to fire LEGO pieces. It's enough, it's over. Only thing I'll do is making gun models. The cartridges fire so fast that it's a problem to find the projectile. I could try to some kind of compostable airsoft/softair pellet but I'm afraid of taking steps in a such direction. I'm still only interested in constructing and modeling different kinds of guns, so I guess it's just better to reduce the overall projectile speed to find them again. Hey, what about a dart-like shape plus a dartboard where I only need to pull them out? Oh, this also means I need to add a spike and such... hmpf. I don't want this! But I also want a dart board for simplified test shooting! Damnit, that just sucks. Hey, what about tiney magnets? Hm, no, there is no way to combine them with LEGO... Shit.

I need to find a solution for this. And it needs to be an outdoor-compatible one. Compostable pellets, though...? Shitty thing is, that they have a different shape than my projectiles have. So, it's probably no option for me. Do compostable LEGO Technic bricks exist? I'd be the first customer. Of course I do love LEGOs material as longliving, superversatile and useful thing. But for such things it's just not an option. Oh my, what I'm talking about! Shut the fuck up, silly dick head.

3x3 cartridge

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MUAHAHAHAHA, new design, higher range and much smaller than before:


Projectile on the left, cartridge in the middle and ramrod on the right. I've already tried several other concepts of how to get it work in 3x3 and most tries ended up in in annoyance and frustration. Well, yesterday night I had the idea of projectile mounted on a bullet pusher using standard LEGO connectors. When fired the bullet speeds up and will kick the projectile from it's connector. That did some work but as nice as it should. It was similar to my previous gun designs and thus not suitable for "high velocity" LEGO guns. Then I thought: why don't create a bullet design like the 4x4 one but just with another snap mechanic? And the result is what you can see above. I used some pieces I never really used before, so this kinda is a premiere. And again, the design is great for all the things a purely mechanical could require. Plus, it has a very, very stable projectile path. I was able to hit with straight-line aiming within 8 meters and more, can't wait to see how well it works with a sight attached to it. Along with higher range comes a different trajectory. My 4x4 design has very predictable path even when firing high into the sky, whereas 3x3 looses almost all of it's energy beyond 15 meters. Totally ok as long as it hit's accurate within a specific range.

And again, my design proves that it's better than my "bullet pusher" versions. Somehow similar to a crossbow but without the curved bow and two pins instead.

Ok, I should continue programming my java assignment... I'm not really in the mood. I woke up 12 am this morning. I'm still tired and weather makes it impossible to think about code. Naah, I don't think I want to program today. Every piece of code for this project I do have in my head. No need for brainstorming at all.

6.05.2010

Cartridge rifle

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So this my new LEGO gun, not as nicely colored and shaped as previous models but completely functional:


It uses a special cartridge I designed for 2x2 caliber bullets with a snapper behind. They provide enormous range and power combined with a strong rubber. During tests if hit every within up to 3 meters. With unfolded sights you can reach up to 5 meters without missing your target. Shooting LEGO guns often requires lots of different iron sight setups to hit on different distances. Everything beyond 5 meters is possible using this gun but requires more scope experiments. Aiming a bit higher (~30°) results in 10 meters or or more.

With unfolded sight:

And, like I mentioned in a post before, it's a breechloader. That you can open the breechlock to insert and/or eject a cartridge. I managed to create a lever-less locking mechanic, just shake the trigger hand and the breechlock opens. Although it can be operated with one hand, I definitely suggest to use both - the barrel is just too long and heavy.

Opened breech lock:


Cartridge inserted:


Well, I'm quite satisfied with the result. And there isn't much to say about except that it of course features only one inserted cartridge. I could try to modify it for getting a magazine into it, but the design isn't really designed for magazine use. I always wanted to create a breechloader and I won't destroyed it so easily. Yep, nothing to say anymore. Did you see the yellow thing bottom left in the first picture? That's a cartridge holder with up to 3 cartridges attached to it. And yes, I know it sucks. I couldn't find a satisfying way of storing them somewhere, so I'll instead keep it as the very simple thing it is at the moment.

Another bullet upgrade

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Some structural changes in hull design made it possible for me to create 3 complete bullets. Before this I used two very special rubbers I found in the kitchen. I replaced with one of these ultra-thick old LEGO rubbers and holy shit does this hurt. Seriously, this one is getting dangerous now. I'm at a point where I can't deny that - if they get into the wrong hand - somebody could actually modify my guns to produce small bruises or atleast a significant amount of pain. Which leads to the fact that's better to not give any specific building instructions. I really liked the idea of giving my instructions to the world, but I'm afraid that all these fuckers who like to use guns for bad things or against living people/animals/plants. With further cruelty it's even possible to modify the most harmless, mechanical guns to some kind of nail/spear shooting device. I don't want this, so I'll NEVER release any building instruction which could seriously hurt. But if it's just a low-energy gun with small caliber, I think it's ok.

Still yes

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My first tries to reduce the weight resulted in great success. They fly more far than expected and use less pieces. The best variant so far used very small and rare parts which I unfortunately don't have. Well, that's not so important anymore. I made the barrel longer, added a barrel grip and foldable iron sights. I'm now able to hit EVERYTHING within 3 meters without sights. Using sights I'm probably able to go farther than 5 or 6 meters, I'll test in later. And it's really pretty accurate. Longer than the doublebarreled pumpgun and less weight. I still have only one cartridge. And I don't think I have the parts to make more without destroying my previous models. However, this one here is definitely better than anything I ever did. Pictures and more detailed description will come later. Now, since I'm satisfied with the results, I'm gonna do some Java programming for uni. It's a simple thing, I just need to sit down and code it. Good job everyone!

Hell yes

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Holy hog, this Lego gun is amazing. It shoots fast and hard, but unfortunately I's ammunition is just too heavy. It's so accurate! These damn bullets need a diet I say you. The second bad besides the very heavy ammunition is that a one-handed operation may require a special technique to get the breechlock working correctly. It's short enough to look like a shortened shotgun version. Since it's only a "cage" or frame, I think I can experiment with ammunition a bit. Also, a foldable, longer barrel could be awesome. If I can get the ammo fly faster (for higher range), I'll definitely make a longer barrel.

Charged bullets ftw!

6.04.2010

Second Wind

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Yep, got something working. I lengthened my all-in-one-bullet and created a barrel end with an extra structure to enclose the bullet with more stability. This way I can ensure that a bullet is relatively fixed when firing. It still requires a lot more power to trigger the bullet but due to now pretty high stability it fires very well. AND it's a breechloader! The mechanic took me a bit longer than I expected (I didn't even thought that I was able to make a lockable breechlock). It can be open and shot with one hand plus another to close the breechlock and reload the bullet/cartridge/whatever this thing should be called. It works quite well and I'm going to make the locking completely one-handed, too. Atm you need more or less luck to perfectly close it one-handed. I found out that there's a breech-loaded bolt-action rifle type called Dreyse needle gun. I'd like to build something similar by myself but I'm afraid I'll again fail in recreating real-world mechanics. Lego is different. I shouldn't think about it longer.

I really ran out of pieces. If I want to make bigger and more complex models, there won't be any other big Lego gun in my room. My doublebarreled shotgun has just too many parts. If I'm destroying it I need to create a better, breechloaded but still doublebarreled variant. It hurts so much to know that there's no future for older models. Life is so hard.

Some changes in design

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Changed some colors. Is pretty cloaky and grey. Like I feel, and think.

Why I dislike Java (and high level languages in general)

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You know, I'm currently learning Java at the Uni and I can't get rid of the things I learned to like in C/C++. At first, Java is purely object oriented. This may be fine in concept, but I reality I find it much more difficult to program things with just OOP. You are forced to make classes everywhere - even for things which really don't a class. I only use full-featured OOP for stuff I will use later or stuff I'm designing exceptionally carefully - like vector classes, linked lists and the very basic program structures. Small programs and tools are (for me) traditional procedural tasks. These usually consist of lots of windows, quick'n dirty tricks and such to keep development fast and situation-depending. But well, especially the things Java does already have are a bit problematic for me. Java is a concept language. Everything has a prescribed structure, requires interfaces and other OOP-only shit. If you want to use Java libraries libraries you'll have to code like THEY want - there is no single thing you can wrap or pack otherwise. I just hate it. Worst shit ever is that you've to check exceptions. I don't like exceptions, expecially cause they destroy almost every structure and require extremely annoying workarounds to cope with badly implemented error handling. You know, I'm a hybrid guy. I use procedural and object oriented features and thus I don't to limit myself to just one way. Java isn't something I want to do later. I'd even learn Assembler just to show that I don't like super highlevel language. I just don't like them. They aren't transparent, they are limiting, they are usually slow and force you with no real reason to use hilariously complex concepts. I mean who the hack can remember so many ideas, concepts, libraries and whatever not without really thinking about how to combine them in a more useful and flexible way. Everything I need is a very basic level of computation and hardware support. Java doesn't even allow me to do so. No, no, no. I strongly dislike high level languages. You don't even know what's under the hood. A shadow of it's own will never rise up to the sun.

6.02.2010

Refinement

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Refining things is everything. Therefore I'll refine my actually working guns. That means: less vibrations, more accuracy, more range and easier handling. I'm not sure if I mentioned it already, but my last bullet design had some kind of a free swinging rubber/bullet pusher which does exactly what I want. Let's stop here. Less talking, more making!
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No, it's not disappointment. It's sadness.

Not happy

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I'm not happy with the current Revolver model I'm working on. Even if I get the whole thing working (and doubt it's something I can archieve in a simple way) there's is still the problem that the chamber doesn't work well with the barrel (It just makes CLACK from time to time, resulting in a low-velocity ricochet. Not really what I need or want. Or expected...). I need a better mechanic to force the barrel to one position, I can't mix trigger and torsion properly without blowing up the whole, bullets are to rectangular for proper barrel/chamber fusion and I'm out of parts. That said, I don't want to continue here. Here's a current snapshot of what I did so far:


It's pretty big and I bet it'll be instable, too. It's a big disappointment for me. I shouldn't just start making such complex things without a specific plan or mechanic. I thought that it's now easier to create a revolver model but that was... just stupid. Atleast I know that I won't create another model with such an insane bulkeyness. What could work is to use LEGO wheels as cylinder and small pins as ammunition. Where the hammer is bullet pusher and rotater, too. However, this requires a lot of deeper thoughts which I don't have for such things. As always, I'll just start making my own concepts and models. I still need to create a working model with bullets, so I guess I should think and plan it - like before. I often tend to underestimate things I never did before, which is probably totally normal. We are all beginners in a lot of ways!

Thinking. Thinking, thinking, thinking. A pause!

6.01.2010

Listening to music

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I listened to some of the track I uploaded here and I must say that they still work for me as they should. I even liked some of the previously bad ones more than before! I think that's good.

Revolve

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Since I don't have any ideas how to create an actually not huge breechloader, I started making a revolver! That thing with bullet chambers and such. At first I thought about a single-action system where you have to rotate the chamber with a second trigger. But well, the rotation itself is a problem. I haven't yet found a good and detailed instruction of how the definite mechanics of a revolver work, so I thought about it and got a great idea: torsion! Roman throwing devices used this technic to throw stones and large arrows at shorter distances. My idea is to use the general technique of a torsion catapult to power an automatic rotation of the revolver cylinder. To get energy into it, you just need to rotate by hand some times and it will work (in theory). To stop the cylinder from rotating wild, every chamber in the cylinder has a hook on the side which stops the whole cylinder from rotating. If a chamber is placed behind the barrel, the bullet can be released via the gun's trigger. It's mechanically not complicated but still a challenge since I need to put a lot of stuff at one place. I finished the cylinder, the barrel and the frame. Only thing I need to do (Haha, "only thing"... joke of the year...) is to arrange the trigger and the torsion element. I can't put it directly into the barrel, since there are some structural problems with the centered cylinder rotation when not having it outside the barrel. Plus that there's still the question of how to rotate the chamber hook after the projectile has released it's hull to rotate automatically. I'm sure it will not work with my current torsion-based model. It's only save to rotate the barrel BEFORE triggering cause it will start spinning while the bullet is still in it's chamber. That's the worst thing that could ever happen. To archieve a combination of rotation and triggering, I somehow need to create a motion-seperation: Pushing the trigger rotates the cylinder and pulls the hammer back, when the trigger is at it's maximum, it releases the hammer which hit's the bullet's snap mechanism and everything is fine. It's a bit problematic to choose between them. Using the torsion element it's simpler to seperate both mechanics and in the trigger is in general easier to operate. On the other side, a double-action revolver is much cooler. And probably smaller! No torsion element means I can place the trigger directly behind the cylinder and the hammer mechanic above. I'm not really sure what to do know. Fact is, my current model is somewhat HUGE. And it would be much bigger when using insertable bullets. I had to combine bullet and chamber so that I'm now having very limited model in terms of reloading. A better way is to build the cylinder from scratch, archieving a better integration and thus a more comfortable integration into the rest of the gun. A sad tale! So many ideas and so few time to test them all out. One problem is 2x2 caliber. It forces me to create workarounds for the centric cylinder rotation like the use of not very delicate special parts. I don't like this. But well, there's is no real solution to this. I'm gonna continue this experiment til it's done. I always wanted to create a revolver, so know it's time to actually do it! It already consumes a shitload of LEGO pieces! Soon I'll run out of plastic. I will sacrifice my first gun model (the black one) to get some more of them. There are so many possible ideas the archieve a working gun/bullet model - I need to brainstorm a bit longer.