Game Jam – 2017 Trophies

Another year and another game jam has come and gone. What a great event. You can read all about it on the NOVA Text Adventure Game Jam Blog. This year we went with a more complicated set of trophies for the event.

I was planning on just using the same models from last year. They were a simple tongue-in-groove design that did the job very well. I like the way plexiglass looks when it’s all nice and shiny. Not one to rest on my laurels, however, I asked allowed while driving the road, “I wonder if there is a Duke model on thingiverse?” Not more than two minutes later my son reported, “yep.” He’d found on on his phone and so a new direction was put in motion.

Last year we joined NOVA Labs Build Group IX. So we’ve been printing things left and right. Well, that’s not true. We did that over the summer exploring all of the crazy things that could be done with the printer. This past Fall, the printer has been pretty much-running full-tilt on parts for the LHMS Robotics team. So we have never had the opportunity to “finish” a 3d print.

3d prints needs to be “finished” if you want them to look nice. Once a 3d print comes out of the machine, you can see how it prints as layers are stacked on top of one another. If you remember those old 3d puzzles they used to sell, there was a Darth Vader one where you stacked different size cardboard rings on top of one another. That’s what a 3d print looks like.¬†In addition to the layering, bits of string and goop can sometimes mar a print as well. So, if you want to show off something, you want to “finish” it.


There are all sorts of crazy strategies to finish a print. A favorite of mine is acetone vapor – let’s create a cloud of toxic gas to melt our 3d print! As you may guess, that’s not the route we’re going – for not just the obvious reason. We’ve found that printing with PCI works best for us, and the acetone vapor is best used with ABS. Different materials have different strengths and weaknesses, and also require different ways to work with them.

The strategy we used this year is the standard strategy of elbow grease with sanding. Years of experiencing putting together Gundam models and hot rods lends itself to following that route. So the local craft store is where we found all the tools we needed:

  • Sandsponges
  • Primer

Game Jam Trophies – 2016 Trophies

Last year we helped the LHMS Robotics Team put on their 1st Annual Text Adventure Game Jam. The students in attendance learned a lot about Java programming and what goes into making a video game. The competition follows FIRST’s format for the Lego League competitions. The winners received trophy’s I created. We’re doing this same thing this year, but mixing it up a little bit.

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