Tuesday, August 28, 2007


I had issues with the latest raygun. At first, I couldn't get the barrel stub to attach to the base of the new barrel. I ended up cracking the joint three times, and on my last attempt, I overheated the pot metal, and it slumped.

I'll need to acquire a new base piece, just to get the barrel stump, or come up with something new.

I stopped work about seven tonight on the raygun, cleared my work area, and started to build bases for two of my rockets. I'm hoping that bases are to rockets as boxes are to rayguns.

It looks like I'll have three rayguns and seven rockets for the art show.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Making progress on the new raygun.

The weather yesterday was really warm, so, I primed and started painting the body of the raygun while I was still torching the bits onto the old barrel stump. I chose a burgundy this time (since the other three rayguns I'll have for DragonCon run in blues and greens).

Julie needed to fire the kiln (glazing yard dragon parts, cone six) yesterday evening, so I had to work at getting the soldering of all the raygun bits done quick, then clean up my workspace, which has typically been the top of the kiln. The great thing about using a torch on the top of a kiln is that you know that you can't set it on fire accidentally. I still put down a fire resistant pad, and do everything on top of kiln bricks.

The raygun bits to be soldered to the old barrel stump, in this case, became a threaded piece from the old candlestick base, that I hacksawed off, then filed to fit. I had to do it a couple of times, again. The first time, I got a strong connection, but the candlestick has a hole in the side, and I needed to have the hole either running vertically or horizontally, and I forgot to check the alignment before soldering. The barrel stumps are made from potmetal, and start to melt if they get too much heat, so I am paranoid about heating them any more than I need to, like when I have to torch them back apart because I've made a mistake.

Today, I've fabricated the new trigger, and cleared a workspace on top of the workbench in the garage to do my soldering. As always, the hardest part of making the trigger is drilling the tiny hole through the curved trigger that the pivot goes through. I have inadequate tools to do it right, and make do starting with a countersink punch, and a drill driving through a jig that I've cobbled together and duct tape. If I get much more serious about my rayguns, I'll need to buy the right tools, especially a drill press.

I'm starting to think about the final steps for this raygun, specifically the display box. I think I have a wooden cigar box that a neighbor gave me that might work without any changes, but I'll need to partially assemble the raygun and try out the fit.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

New Raygun for DragonCon

Started a new raygun tonight. Its another of the flintlock series. I was able to do the metal cutting and shaping on the barrel stub and stock, as well as sanding off most of the paint from the stock. I have a small candlestick cleaned up, and ready to solder onto the end of the barrel. Julie has one of her yard dragons in the kiln, the top of which I use to do all of my soldering.

I need to finish cleaning the body of the raygun, then prime and paint it. I have an aqua colored paint that should look nice.

I also need to fabricate the new trigger, and decide what I am going to do for the finial, as well as check the inventory of cigar and wine boxes to see if I have anything suitable for the display case.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Flash Gordon Episode "Pride"

Being a raygun and rocket kind of guy, I've been watching the Sci Fi Channel's Flash Gordon series. Julie and Steph have been watching it with me. I had high expectations for the show, but we've been generally disappointed by the series (me because there have been no spaceships, and the rayguns are very pedestrian).

A few minutes into last Friday's episode, "Pride", I started making connections between what was appearing on our TV, and a song that I learned as a child, called There's a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea. Its one of those progressive songs like the Twelve Days of Christmas, that started off as a singing game, and then somebody wrote down a particularly good set.

I started to blurt out fragments, and Julie and Steph pitched in as the episode progressed.

It started with "There's a rift in the hold of the ship with a hole", and started to grow from there.

Whenever the episode would slow down, we'd try to summarize what had happened so far in the episode, mess it up, and start laughing. I sang in "Sea Chanty" voice.

At one point, a character started to describe what was happening in the episode, and almost dropped into the same, sing-song chant that we were using. We busted up.

Over the last several days, I've periodically broken into the chant, so much so, that Steph has resorted to a terse "Knock it off, Dad!" every time she hears it.

"There's a guy with a whip who's the mate of the chick with the trick from the tree in the park in the rift with a crack from the click with the tape by the Doc with the Flash by the boat in the hold of the ship with the hole at the dock by the side of the sea."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Raygun "Isabel de La Vega"

This is a non-working replica of the raygun "Isabel de La Vega". I have uploaded pictures to my Flickr site, and will be listing it for sale on Etsy.

The backstory to this piece is associated with the events of 13 May, 2117, at the beach of Ensenada Grande on the Sea of Cortez.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

RIP - Lilly the Anole - 2005-2007

Stephanie's second lizard, Lilly, has died. Steph drew this picture of Slurpy and Lilly, ascending to heaven together.