First foamcore project!

January 2, 2017 at 3:47 pm (Art, Board games, Foamcore, Sketches) (, , , , , )


Ever since I found out that foamcore exists, I’ve wished I’d known about it sooner. I used to build things out of cardboard and even plain foam, and even at the time I wished those materials had the same properties as foamcore. It is fantastic and easy to work with. Now, keep in mind that I only have a small amount of experience in carpentry, so I apologize if use the wrong term for something.

For my first project, I decided to build a box insert for storing cards from a board game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game. This is a game where they release expansions on a monthly basis, so there are a lot of cards, and a lot of things to organize. Unfortunately, the company that manufactures the game did a poor job on the box it game in. They’re known for having boxes only designed for transportation of the game and not storage, but this one is particularly bad.

For this project I bought a photo box from Michaels (meant to store ~1000 photos) as the outer casing. I made up some sketches and calculated sizes for all of the pieces. I can post my sketches and measurements if anybody is interested in producing one of these. The inside of the box measures 280mm by 189mm.

Now, one of the defining factors of this project is that I made interlocking pieces so that glue is not entirely necessary. I *do* intend on gluing it together eventually, but I’d like to see if I plan on modifying it later. Contrary to what you might think, this didn’t actually take long. I chose to not do a box joint as the foamcore might not be sturdy enough for it, and it would be very time-consuming to cut.

This design choice is “controversial” as most foamcore projects I’ve seen either use a butt-joint (just glue the pieces together), a mitre-joint (cut 45 degree angles and joint), or a lap-joint (cut a trench out of one pieces and insert the other piece). I haven’t attempted any of these joints in a project before, but after a few tests, I wasn’t entirely happy with them. The butt-joint is said to be strong, especially if you pin the pieces together, but I don’t like the idea of only depending on glue, and I don’t want to work with pins. The mitre-joint seemed like a good option, but I didn’t want to have to buy a special cutting tool, and it seemed like I’d be asking for mismatch problems with all the components I’d have to cut. Lastly, the lap-joint seemed like a decent option, but it is a big pain to slice 4mm cuts in 5mm foamcore consistently. Cutting rabbits would also be very difficult as I’d need to chisel out the parts.

Additionally, I made finger slots on the ends of each channel so that it is easier to pull the cards out. I made decide later to cut semi-circles out of the slot (for style points), but right now they are rectangular slots.

ANYWAY! Here are some pictures of how the process went. It was really fun to work on, although my back hurts from hunching over my table to get a 90 degree cut angle.

EDIT: I added a last photo showing the core set of the Arkham Horror Card Game plus the first scenario pack inhabiting the box. I haven’t made dividers yet, and I was in the middle of setting up for a play-through last time I had the cards out, so there’s a random handful of cards in the center.

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Some more paintings from my week off

November 27, 2016 at 5:36 pm (acrylic painting, Art, Colored Pencils, painting) (, , , , , , , , )


Here are some more paintings I worked on during my week between jobs. The following is a brief description of each:

Deep Tractor Ruts: This was my first attempt at using a gel medium. The photo doesn’t show it, but the tractor ruts are actually textured. 8″x10″.

Flower in Watercolour: This was my first usage of watercolour pencils. I wanted to give them a try, so I picked a copyright-free image of a flower to use.

Sunlit Woodland Path: This was a quick painting I did to play with more expressive styles. 8″x10″.

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Arkham Horror in Coloured Pencil

November 24, 2016 at 7:27 pm (Art, Board games, Colored Pencils) (, , , , )


This is my second attempt at using coloured pencils (Prisma Colors). It’s a picture of the cover art for the board game Arkham Horror. I’ve only casually been working on it while watching tv, so I have no idea how long it really took, but I spent more time on it than I should. Eventually, I got bored and realized I didn’t center it properly, so I stopped working on it. It is roughly 7″ by 4″ on mixed media paper.

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Autumn Birch Trees

November 19, 2016 at 3:37 pm (Art, painting) (, , , )


I recently completed a larger painting of a photo I found online (free license). I finished half of it and liked where it was going, but I’m not really happy with how it ended up. It’s acrylic on 9″x12″ canvas.

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Afternoon Projects

October 1, 2016 at 4:44 pm (Art, painting) (, , , , )


I had some coffee this morning and then was itching to do something productive, specifically something art-related. I ended up doing almost 3 full pieces (acrylics on 8×10″ canvas). I used a couple YouTube tutorials for the first two to get in the mood for the style I wanted to play with and then did the third as an original based on a photo I took in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

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First time using colored pencils

September 30, 2016 at 8:44 am (Art, Colored Pencils, Sketches) (, , , , )


I found an old set of Prismacolor Scholars in my mother’s basement when I was cleaning out old highschool and college stuff, so I figured I’d try my hand at that. I found a YouTube video of an artist’s timelapse of finishing a picture and decided to try to do what he was doing. I have mixed feelings about it; I think I’ll need a few more tries before I like what I do.

The long version of the story here is that I also discovered that I bought my wife a set of Faber Castell colored pencils a while ago. I was a little excited to try them out because of what I’d heard about them (they’re oil-based vs wax-based). I started drawing the same picture as you see above (which was my first attempt at it) and I got part-way through before I realized my mistake. It turns out these were Faber Castell “Classic” colored pencils – meaning they’re not much different than typical Crayola ones. The big deal here is that they don’t blend at all; I had just assumed I was doing it wrong and trucked on. This is what that partial looked like:

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Niagara Falls Painting

September 27, 2016 at 1:27 pm (Art, painting) (, , , )


I recently finished an 8″x11″ piece of the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. It’s done in acrylic paint on canvas. My first finished piece of this size and the first use of my new easel. I don’t think the colours really look great in this photo, but it was just taken quickly using my phone in non-ideal lighting.

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Found old artwork

September 22, 2016 at 1:20 pm (Art, Sketches) (, , , , )


While visiting home to go through all of my old boxes of junk from highschool and college, I found a lot of old artwork. I took pictures of most of the stuff I thought was decent or okay for its time. I thought I’d post a few of them here (I’ll post more eventually).

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Salt and Pepper

August 20, 2016 at 5:09 pm (Art, painting) (, , )


I recently cleared out some of the stuff I was working on that was taking most of my attention. I wanted to get back into painting but wanted something small and quick to work on. This piece was done on 6″ by 6″ acrylic paper based on a photo I took.

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BioHive: Bioinformatics blast from the past

July 7, 2016 at 10:30 am (Computer Science, Processing, Programming) (, , , , , , , )


Lately, I’ve been combing through some of my old projects so I can index and archive them. Among these old projects was my BioHive code; a bioinformatics visualization tool I wrote years ago. It was an attempt at exploring genome comparison data sets. It was actually the first non-trivial Processing (P5) app I wrote.

Different genomes would get organized into layers (indexed using colour) and nodes would be joined together based on similarity strength. Thickness of the lines would indicate connection strength, and filters could be applied to reduce clutter. Selecting a node in a layer would show information on the genome it represented as well as the top similar genomes.

These are a few screenshots of the app. In this example, Syphilis is the point of interest and they are just different views of filtered results.

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