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  • posted a message on A Steampunk/Dieselpunk Three-Digit Life Counter!
    Final entry:

    The installs went well, but I neglected to calculate the current drain for the Nixies. Wound up putting a 10k resistor in series with each tube. This dimmed them a tiny bit but you can still see them quite well and the batteries should last even longer.

    Here is the strobing circuit, with the 10k ohm resistor added:

    Posted in: Third Party Products
  • posted a message on A Steampunk/Dieselpunk Three-Digit Life Counter!
    Thanks!

    We had to design and install a strobing circuit. The original setup used way too much current in order to keep the nixie tubes 'always on'.

    We figured flickering them on and off really fast would still look good but reduce current consumption by at least 60%. We were only getting about an hour and a half out of our 4.5 volt battery pack.

    Our strobing circuit worked well. We made some changes to the values of the resistors, added a diode and got a cycling rate where the display is only on 30% of the time, at 70 cycles per second.

    The battery pack was bumped up to 6 volts and the unit now runs for 6+ hours!

    I have completed the other two strobe circuits and tomorrow I install all the electronics in the other two units. I will have to change the current limiting resistor for the 'power on' LED, though. It is too bright as it is, right now.
    Posted in: Third Party Products
  • posted a message on A Steampunk/Dieselpunk Three-Digit Life Counter!
    Here are two videos of this unit in testing:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1YzCQ8xz90

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkuyZxM_EyE


    Thanks for following my progress!
    Posted in: Third Party Products
  • posted a message on A Steampunk/Dieselpunk Three-Digit Life Counter!
    And the first unit is done! Ain't she pretty?





    Posted in: Third Party Products
  • posted a message on General age of MTG players
    I am 57. I started playing when I was about 34, in June of 1994, when Legends packs were going for an exorbitant $5 each.

    My son John is 22 and has been playing since he was 6. He's pretty darned good, but prefers multiplayer Commander.

    My friend Pat is 60. He and I play Commander at the local every Thursday, and sometimes pickup games at other shops. Pat's son is about 26, and plays Commander while assigned to an Army post in Germany with his wife.

    I make life counters on the side, sell them on Etsy. There's nothing quite like them there, so I do okay. I am currently making three digital Steampunk Life Counters with Pat, intended for Commander. The idea is to enjoy all aspect of the game, not just the card-flopping. I have a custom playing mat, I have custom-made deck boxes, a carrying case, life counters, etc. Quality of life, if you will.

    I don't know. Maybe that 'quality of life' thing is a concern only to old guys like me. The younger guys seem content with backpacks and binders, pencil and pad of paper. The playing of the game is the only thing that seems to occupy their attention.

    Me, I've slowed down a tad and I'll be honest - I love the look of a foil island when it hits the table. It's beautiful. Even when I lose, which is common, I still get so much pleasure from the look and feel of a smooth spalted birch deck box. I read the pithy sayings on my playmat, and contemplate the beautiful art and gleam of gold and silver metal beads on my life counter (the promo 'Servo Exhibition', a subject dear to the toymaker in me).

    My tokens are mostly pretty little glass counters: yellow, blue, green and red, they've served me faithfully as every token type you can imagine since 1996. I flip a silver dollar minted in 1900 to determine who gets the boot.

    I don't meet too many players my age, but we are out there. And we have our fun. My son, who learned to play Magic from Dad, now helps Dad with the finer points of Pre-Release deck construction and the playing thereof. The circle is complete, and the game is what it always was - an excuse to hang out with people you like.

    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on A Steampunk/Dieselpunk Three-Digit Life Counter!
    We've made the final major addition to this project, one I thought of last night after seeing the reflected glare of the overhead lighting on the glass faces of the nixie tubes.

    The old displays in the past used hoods to shade them so the nixie tubes didn't have to be driven hard for brightness (and shorten the life of the nixie tube).

    So we added a 'hood' of leather. It looks pretty good. All we have left now is some trim, additional decoration, installing the 'power on' indicator and hitting it all with a protective polyurethane coating.









    And finally, a picture to give you the scale of this unit....

    Posted in: Third Party Products
  • posted a message on A Steampunk/Dieselpunk Three-Digit Life Counter!
    Thank you! We have more gears on the way, additional images, and LEDs for the 'power on' light. I should be able to make them work well.
    Posted in: Third Party Products
  • posted a message on A Steampunk/Dieselpunk Three-Digit Life Counter!
    Today we did a fit/function test on a single unit.

    Please note that we use only high-tech equipment on our projects!









    Posted in: Third Party Products
  • posted a message on A Steampunk/Dieselpunk Three-Digit Life Counter!
    Today we mounted the Nixie tubes in their housing with RTV. The blue tape masks off the nice polyurethane finish we gave them yesterday.

    We added felt 'feet' to the bottom, and put some decorations on the outside that fit the theme.

    (Funny, I ordered 80 gears, but only a handful of them were really nice with teeth that matched. Oh well!)

    Tomorrow we resolve some fit issues with the rotary switches and the box clasp, add more decoration to the top of the box, and hook the nixies up electrically to the rotary switches.

    Am still waiting for battery clips and LEDs in the mail - hope to get those by next Wednesday!








    Posted in: Third Party Products
  • posted a message on A Steampunk/Dieselpunk Three-Digit Life Counter!
    Here is more progress:





    Posted in: Third Party Products
  • posted a message on A Steampunk/Dieselpunk Three-Digit Life Counter!
    I was searching for a project that my friend Pat (an expert woodworker) can do while the surgery on his right elbow heals.

    We are both in our late 50s, early 60s and play a weekly game of EDH down at the local. I'm into hobby electronics and am basically a toymaker.

    I decided to start a little project, something that would let me work in Pat's wood shop, doing the stuff he can't right now (due to the surgery), and help keep him from going crazy with enforced idleness.

    I came up with a life counter that uses IN-12 nixie tubes for the display, and rotary switches to adjust them. We wanted to use as much off-the-shelf components as we could, to minimize the amount of work in the woodshop we would have to do.

    Here is what we have so far.






    We've also come up with gears, images and so forth that will give this project a Steampunk / Dieselpunk feel to it.



    We're making only three of them. Seems a waste to make just one, and more than three would make this a bigger project than I want.

    You can see from the abacus-style life counter (I make those too) the scale of these devices.

    Let me know what you think!

    Cent13


    Posted in: Third Party Products
  • posted a message on Magic: The Gathering and Jerks - A dangerous combination
    Quote from Dradjeel
    This is a fine specimen of blaming the victim. It's not the insulted party's fault if they don't like being insulted, they're just too thin-skinned! If they didn't want to be losers they should start playing better! Hah.


    True. I've been playing this game 95% casual since June of '94 and very early on, realized that in a Type 2 environment? I suck. So I stick to the style of game that suits my speed. Multiplayer, mostly. EDH is fun and I have a deck, but the quest for the infinite loop is not for me.

    So yeah. There've been players who do the insult thing and talk smack. And they are jerks. They excuse their behavior by calling it the 'truth' but we all know what that's about.

    That said, there is something to growing a spine and a thicker skin on the part of the 'victim'. I've listened to guys talk like that since I started. Being in my mid 30's when I started playing, I just looked right at 'em (most were teenagers with decks full of mox gems) and waiting for them to stop saying words. I'd shrug, say "your mileage may vary' and went back to shuffling. None of them ever drove me away from FNM - I stopped attending on my own because there was simply no way I could compete.

    My son, on the other hand... has been taking what he knows about the Type 2 environment and assists me in designing and playing ... better Timmy decks! In return, over the years I have taught him to stop playing with folks who act poorly. It's been my experience that beating these kinds of arrogant players at the game never actually teaches them anything. They are already in a place where they can rationalize anything away - you know, "he only beat me because I was getting mana screwed, etc".

    Just cut them off. Play them if you are in a tournament and are matched, but otherwise? Don't talk to them, don't give them the chance to comment or feed their egos. Find folks who like to play casual, and let your deck and your playing skills do the talking.

    I hate infinite loops and decks that capitalize on them. But hey, that's the game. Bring more disruption - or have your local gaming group (if you have one) expand their banned list for EDH a bit.

    A word to the OP: don't appeal to the snarky player's sense of fair play or a sense of loss regarding the 'player who storms off and never comes back'. It has been my experience that such people don't give a rap whether the game shop has enough players on Friday Night, or (indeed) care if the shop is even there next month. They only care about feeding their ego through the game and they will travel hundreds of miles to do it.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on InkedPlaymats.com... has anyone had dealings with them?
    Well, I commissioned the art and could have had a PSD file... but it clocked in at 110 megs. Hard to get it from England to here. The JPG was 10 megs, and I figure it's at 300 dpi and has enough information to make for a good image.

    My hope is that they can lighten the art (it's kinda dark) to compensate for the printing process.

    I guess we'll see...

    Steve
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on InkedPlaymats.com... has anyone had dealings with them?
    I commissioned a playmat with them. A gift, with more to follow if it turns out well. I know, I know... small potatoes. I sent $43 via debit because they have to covert the art from JPG to PSD. I don't have PhotoShop.

    Trouble is, I sent a few emails previous to suss out their ability to compensate for the 'darkening' effect of the playmat inks.

    (I just now got a reply.)

    What has been the general experience with this company's product quality? Good? I am considering commissioning more art, some really good BattleTech oriented stuff from Scroggins.

    Regards,

    Steve Satak
    Posted in: Magic General
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