Chrish066

New Member
BLUF (TL;DR) -
This is the process I am going through for making Mentats and Fixer from the Fallout series. (That's the Fixer addiction pills from Fallout New Vegas, not the weird long rifle from Fallout 76) Like with my other builds, I want these to be as close to game while still being "real" world accurate as possible. It's a hard balance to find, especially when game designers have to do funky stuff with sizing to make them visible.

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*NOTE*
I apparently get really wordy and like to add lots of pics. Don't like it...you have the ENTIRE rest of the internet to go to. You have been warned.

Origin Story -
The beginning of this started in the middle of my other project, the Realistic Fallout Cap Stash Build. I was running into some issues getting the Cap Stash logo right on the tin and decided these 2 project were close enough I could test out techniques for the Cap Stash on the Mentats/Fixer.

Game Reference (Sizing in-game vs real-life) -

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Same as last time, finding "real world" size for these is somewhat a guessing game. But, I had done most of it for these 2 while working on the Cap Stash.

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Since I decided the Cap Stash is about 5.5 x 3 x 1.75, That puts a Mentats/Fixer tin converted size of 5 x 2.5. I looked all over the internet again (my job was pretty boring at the time, so I had nothing better to do, haha) and found these.

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I can work with these tins being 5 x 2.29 x 0.8. Not perfect, but close enough for my overly picky brain to be ok with.

Label -

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1st things 1st, I gotta redesign the label. I need to polish it up, but also I need to make it mine. If you are following the Cap Stash, you know I really enjoy taking the basic game texture and adding real world aspects that you would really find on the product. If you pick up any product in our world, there are certain things you expect to be there. The products name, a slogan, manufacturer, ingredients (depending on what it is), etc. And it would look...wrong if they weren't there. So, I gotta take the main design aspects of these 2, and add the things that I feel are missing.

Front -

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I dropped the game texture into my free Photoshop clone GIMP and resized it to the size of my tin. As you can see below, I kept basically all of the design elements there, but added what I felt was missing. The little things that make it "real", like a slogan under the name and the quantity in the bottom right. I did also change the style and location of "MED TEK" on the Fixer. On Fixer it was lower on the triangle....and also said "MED TEX" for some reason. Both of which didn't look good, so I changed it to match the "MED TEK" on the Mentats.

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Back -

The back was a bit more tricky. I wanted the back to have the look and feel of a real medication. I used a lot of retro medication labels from the 1920s to the 1950s as reference and matched how they looked. Mix in a little modern and retrofuturistic flare and this is what we got.

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Name, Description, Distribution Location, Warning and Dosage -

This is all pretty standard stuff you find on the back of most real world products. I wanted to add the specific locations that line up with the Fallout games they are from. Mentats have 3 different distribution locations (DC, Boston and WV), and Fixer is from Vegas. The warning label "MIGHT" be habit forming, I thought was funny because in game, MED TEK apparently knew EXACTLY how addictive it was, and even went as far as introducing it into areas like college campuses to get people hooked. The dosage I also wanted to make have some funny or game specific tie in. I remembered the book "The Dark Fields/Limitless" and took some inspiration from that. "In case of persistent intellect, consult a physician or increase dosage and decipher the solution."

Ingredients List (and also Dune) -

Mentats -


I wanted the active ingredients list to match how the game said you create them, so I went to the Mentats and Fixer Wiki pages to get more info. Crafting Mentats (in Fallout 4) needed the materials Brain fungus (2), Abraxo cleaner (1) and Lead (1). *Side note* The name Mentats is a reference to Frank Herbert's novel Dune, where humans that are turned into supercomputers are called "Mentats". Given that, I wanted an Easter egg back to him/his book. I made up the ingredients "66 mg Herberticillin, an extract of F. herbert "Brain" Fungus" (a play on penicillin and Frank Herbert and also .... "Brain Fungus" didn't sound very scientific), 42 mg Sodium Borate (just the fancy name for Borax cleaner, which I figured was the games version of Abraxo, also which...pretty sure would kill you if ingested it), 34 mg Lead (which would 100% kill you if ingested, haha). The person working with me on this project is a doctor, so I defaulted to her for a majority of this part to make sure it all looked right. All the rest of the stuff in it I pulled from a list of common nootropic (improve cognitive functions) ingredients. I added some doses for each and called it done.

Fixer -

I wanted Fixer to have a tie in like Mentats did, since they seemed so similar. Melange is the "Spice" in Dune and we liked how it sounded. The ingredient "Melangatonin" was what we created. Also I wanted to make the ingredients to have a bit of fantasy to make it work in game. The rest of the ingredients in Fixer are basically every real world addiction treatment we could fit in the space.

*DOCS NOTE* The Doc helping with this has pointed out 2 things.
1. Each of these pills would be the size of a Nerf football.
2. The dosages we have would 100% absolutely kill ANYONE that took them. Multiple times over. "So much death". Hahaha.

Barcode / QR -

I also tried again to put a funny QR code, but the original idea didn't work. I did change up the QR later and it MIGHT be working now.

Painting the Tins -

Once we had the designs for it, then we have to get them the right color. I started off thinking Mentats was manufactured as bright white and had gotten discolored through the 200+ years of sitting. After some back and forth I decided that I don't know it was white for certain...and that trying to manually age a color that looks right is gonna be a MAJOR PAIN. So I decided to match the color best I could. After several test colors I landed on Almond for Mentats and Maui Blue for Fixer.

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These blues didn't make the cut.


Vinyl....again.....

The 1st thing we tried for the labels was vinyl. I had been working with vinyl with the Cap Stash with.....mixed results. Doc is pleased with vinyl. I am....less so. But, I tried it anyways.

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The look was almost perfect! But (because there is always a "but"), the vinyl covered the weathering on the tin and made it look like a black ink smear. It also didn't have the right texture. When you ran your finger over the tin, it felt....wrong. You could hardly feel the vinyl so I don't really know how else to explain it other than...it just didn't feel like what my brain expected it to feel like. I guess a good comparison is have you ever held counterfeit money? It looks right in your hand but your brain just....knows that's not what it is supposed to feel like.
So.....were trying a few other techniques to get it to work.

Frickin Laser Beams -

The Maker Space I'm a member of has 2 laser cutters I have access to. I am going to use tape to mask the tin, then use the laser to perfectly cut the designs I want on the tape, remove the lasered parts (weeding), then paint the tins the color I want them. Using GIMP I designed SVG files to drop into the laser software we have LightBurn.

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I masked the tin up and threw it in the laser. Then I cut out the design.

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I take them out and peel out (weed) the part I want to paint.

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Now comes the paint.

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I think it turned out pretty good so far. (Don't mind the blue, I was still finding the perfect color at this point) The look was right and it even had the right texture. You could feel the raised part of the paint, which is part of what my brain was wanting with the vinyl and not getting.

Working with a high powered laser there are plenty of places to go horribly wrong. I have been attempting to be safe and not destroy too many of my tins unnecessarily. (See my experiment with the sand blaster in the Cap Stash build) So, we have done a LOT of tests to see what settings on the laser is the best to use. There are a LOT of setting to mess with though. Power %, laser speed, DPI, etc. I decided to sacrifice a few of the tins to testing.

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The one really big thing about testing.... To be REALLY effective....you need to actually DOCUMENT your findings. Which for some reason....I did not. Got excited. Anyways. So after sacrificing those tins to testing, I still didn't know what settings were gonna work best.
I started working on lasering the back and found out that the settings I THOUGHT were right...were in fact... not even close.

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This is the best one out of the batch I did that night....and I'm not sure if you can see it or not in the pic....but the alignment might have been JUST A TOUCH off. This is when the QR code still wasn't working. I have updated it since. Also, I added black acrylic paint to this to make it stand out a bit more.

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Much better and with a redesigned QR code that actually worked OFF THE TIN...but the laser was too hot. (Most likely because I didn't write down my earlier settings...) You can see how it looks blurry from the heat. I need to turn it way down next time to get the crisp look I had with the other one. (Also I paid a BIT more attention to the alignment, haha)

Fixer Back -

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The Fixer tin was kinda a pain because the game texture has Fixer as a blue lid, but silver bottom. This is kinda a problem because I'm using the laser to scorch the paint. But if there is NO paint...... You might remember such problems from Realistic Fallout Cap Stash Build where the back of the Cap Stash has black text on a silver tin. I decided to try out an interesting technique to get it done and had some pretty surprising results. The tin I got comes black. I reversed the image in LightBurn and burned off the black EXCEPT for the text. It didn't work perfectly, but good enough that I think with some tweaking, I should be able to do it for Fixer AND the Cap Stash. (I would just spray paint black before I laser)

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You can see how it looks after I laser it but before I cleaned the black (now) powder off.

Current Plan -

So this is where I am. I need to tweak the Fixer texture in GIMP to make it a bit more bold. I need to get back to the maker space and laser a bunch more tins to get the power settings right. But that's about it. Pretty close to done. Hopefully my next update will show off a final product.

Stay tuned!!
 

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Update 18 Jun - Father's Day Edition
I'M BACK BABY!

Progress -

After a short break dealing with life (Adult-ing can SUCK seriously sometimes) and trying to force myself back into my art projects, I am back. You might remember we left off at needing to redesign the logo to make it more bold, and to get back to the Maker Space to laser a bunch more tins.

Logo Redesign ...or not -

My 1st thought was I needed to redesign the logo because it wasn't perfect.....but as I was looking at the logo and some of my previous laser-ing I decided that I think the logo is fine, it's my LASER-ING that needs improved. So I haven't messed with it really at all.

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Freaking Laser Beams (Redux) -

One problem or task I hadn't thought of when getting "back to the Maker Space to laser a bunch more tins" .....is you 1st need prep AND paint all of said tins. So I spent a while getting some ready. For some reason this was WAY harder than normal, but whatever. I got it done. I took a few back to the Maker Space and starting laser-ing.

Back -

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This time I channeled my inner Adam Savage (66). I spent a lot of time doing what I did not do last time and kept track of ALL of the settings. I was able to really nail down the power settings finally. As you can see below I did a much better on the alignment this time than I did last time, but it is still a touch off. Next time I will have to REALLY focus and get it perfect before I laser.

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And this is before adding black paint to the indentions to try and make it "pop". (66) I am VERY happy with it.

Front -

With the front, I am still running into issues with finding the right setting to cut the mask completely without burning the paint. I have not nailed those settings yet. More testing is needed.

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I am considering going back to the black masking tape because I feel like it was a bit more crisp than the clear transfer tape is. You can see below that with the Mentats especially, it kinda bled over the lines. Without being able to see through the transfer tape because it's black tape, I will have to do a better job making sure its straight and lined up, but I need to do that anyways.

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Here is where I have ran into difficulty multiple times with this project. Trying to paint 2 different colors like 1/16in apart from each other. The green triangle RIGHT above the red Mentats. Seems like an easy thing to do but for the ease of the project as a whole and repeatability I want to do them at the same time....when both paints are wet. It is surprisingly difficult to use 2 hands to hold a divider in place, while using the other hand to do the spray paint. My very basic knowledge of human anatomy tells me I either need another person, to spend more time in Chernobyl or I need to change the process a bit. I think I am gonna go with the 3rd option. I will discuss that further below.

Epic Fail -

And here is where this session took a nosedive South. Everything was going great, right up until the laser burned off the entire lower portion of my tin. Somehow I clicked some setting on the laser that made it decide to laser off THE ENTIRE BOTTOM before I stopped it. "Didn't you double check all your settings before lasering? Especially after it taking so long to get back to the Maker Space and spending SO much time working on this tin?" I hear you ask through my computer. Well.....no. Actually, I did not. I had been there a long time, I was getting comfortable with the laser (maybe too much so), I was tired and my 6 year old helper was hungry. I should have, but no, I didn't.

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I was so close to having a finished product too. All I had to do was outline everything and add the text... Next time I will be more vigilant. Still looks pretty good though.

Process Change Test Mk....86 or something -

Looking at some of the reference pics I have I see that it looks like the triangle and the Mentats/Fixer names are raised.

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I thought I could get a similar look by laser-ing around the border around the triangle and text but ...... I think if I use a different kind of paint for this part and apply it fairly thick with a brush, I could get the raised look I want and also not have to grow a 3rd arm to manage painting the different colors.

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Next I will mask a tin, laser it and try to fill the mask with these paints, to see if I can get that raised embossed look from the game. More tests! (66)

So now what? -

- I need to paint some more tins to take up to the Maker Space.
- Mask said prepped tins to laser.
- Laser tins
- Weed the mask
- Paint the mask
- Have unbelievable success in this test resulting in the perfect look and surprising ease of process!
- Wake up and deal with reality

I will, as always, keep you posted in my process. Hopefully we are coming up on the end of this project and I can get back to my other project, the Cap Stash!

STAY TUNED FOR MORE

Overly Obsessive Realistic Fallout Mentats/Fixer Build​

 
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Update 29 Jun - Micro Version

Progress -


This will be a short update today. This won't be long or drawn out. (Haha, That's what....he said....Wait...no)

Organization -

I spent some time organizing the thumb drive I use to plug into the laser. I had a bunch of images and SVGs just kinda all over the place and found it difficult to find what I needed. It made me have re-export the images I needed in the moment at the Maker Space. Definitely ate into my limited time at the space. So now that shouldn't be a problem.

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Now everything is nice and cleaned up, which should help me move faster in future.

All the Painting! -

I actually took the time to prep and paint several tins to take.

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I take some of that black masking tape made famous in my Cap Stash build and covered the raised edge so I won't paint it. The game texture looks silver. You can see it on the blue Fixer lids above. Then I spray painted 4 more Mentats tins and threw them in the oven to finish ...curing? (Is that the right word?) Well, dry completely.

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Easy Bake tins. So now I have 6 Mentats tins and 3 Fixer tins ready to take to the Maker Space for laser-ing.

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So that's where I'm at. I got everything prepped. I plan to go to the Maker Space on Friday before the holiday, and will have updates for you then.

Will I be able to get to the Maker Space?

Will the laser crap out on me?

FIND OUT NEXT TIME ON

Totally Extra Realistic Fallout Mentats/Fixer Build​

 
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Update 9 Jul -

Progress -


I made a LOT of progress forward and learned several things (good and bad) since last we talked.

It smells like barbecued dog hair... -

Have I ever mentioned the smell when I use the laser? Because it DEFINITELY has one. And...it's not the best. It's a mix of burning hair, masking tape, dust and paint. "I don't know why but overall it just smells like the color brown." I got to spend a lot of time basking in that lovely smell while working on the tins. And because I prepped a lot of them, I got to smell it for a long time. I got all the tins laser-ed and ready for paint and brought them back home for the next steps.

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Look how crisp the masking tape is compared to the transfer tape. I think the plastic of the transfer tape was melting around the laser so the edges weren't as defined as this is. So the 1st thing I learned is to stick with using the black masking tape.

Channeling my inner Samwise Gamgee -

Next thing up to do is to weed out all the bits that I need to get paint on.

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Using a dental tool set I picked up, I weeded out the triangle and the name for each Fixer and Mentats. On all the tins I prepped...Good thing I decided to do so many.....

Paint Test -

The time has come .... (ominous musical crescendo) for the paint test test. If you are just joining us, I am trying to recreate the raised embossed look of the letters and triangle from the game texture.

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Earlier I picked up some Testors model paint. I thought I would try to pool the paint in the open bits of the mask and when it dried BAM, we would have the embossed look we are after.

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I realized is that the paint will pool up (YAY), but it won't do so evenly...(BOO). So the nice smooth even embossed look I was after....was kind of a bust. But I wanted to see how it would look after drying. I mean, maybe it will smooth out!!! Right??? .... Just to be safe I also spray painted one so I could compare them side by side and see which looked better.

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When I went back the next morning to check on them the 1st thing I noticed was that the model paint was....matte.... (66) Definitely NOT the look I was going for. After I peeled off the mask I found that the paint did not in fact smooth down level. That you could see all the bumps and valleys that were there when wet. I am going to have to figure out IF I can even get the embossed look I want. I have an an idea...but it's a really bad one. More thought is needed there. The other thing I noticed is that the edges around the mask looked really terrible!

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1st pic is the nasty looking model paint. 2nd pic you can see how clean, neat, level and glossy the spray paint did. Not nearly as raised as the model paint, but man it looks good. The 3rd pic you can really see the lumpy texture of the model paint, especially in the triangle.

So it looks like the model paint test is a bust. But the spray paint was a huge success, so I guess the law of equivalent exchange is happy.

That Kid is Back on the Escalator Again -

Now that the painting is done on the Fixer, I have to go back to the Maker Space... again to laser. I took a lunch break from work to sneak back up to the Maker Space to work on it. I REALLY wanted to see how the tin would look with all the design features together. Everything was going great, right up until I saw the outline wasn't aligned on the tin.

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Look how nice the text under looks with it.

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And then this. Had to straighten it up JUST a touch and when it went back over it the image was doubled.... It's cool though, because it waited until I was laser-ing the nice spray painted tin to mess up.....(66) BUT, I have to keep reminding myself that these are still tests...and any info we get from them is useful. So, trying to look at it from that perspective, let's check it out.

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The 1st thing I can learn from this is I need to be able to laser, paint and laser again without leaving the Maker Space. I think if we can do it all in one go, without having to recalibrate the laser each time will keep the outline where it needs to be. This means I need to bring my little easy bake oven up to the Maker Space and bake the tin after I do the 1st round of paint....but I have a vague memory of tape being a sticky mess after trying to bake it with paint on it. But I can't remember if it was THIS masking tape, or that other SUPER sticky gaffers tape I used on the Cap Stash... So I'll have to test that too... Seriously...ALL...the....tests....
Looking at the tin, I think the laser outline of the triangle and text looks really good. Obviously I need to do better making sure it's aligned the 1st time BEFORE throwing it back on the laser. I think the slogan will look good when I don't mess up on the alignment too. I think the outline I made for the Fixer is a little off. In GIMP I just duplicated and moved the SVG outline down and to the right, I think I should have grew the outline. So I will need to fix that.
All in all, I think it was a very successful failure. Haha

Fixing the Outline -

I went back into GIMP and found the SVG outline and fixed the outline for the laser.

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In the pics you can just see the red and blue lines. These are the SVG cut lines. Before they were off of the outline in black. Now I'm made it where the SVG will cut dead center in the middle of the outline. This way even if the alignment is slightly off, the outline will cover it up. I still need to make sure I'm as close as possible though.

Tape Bake Test -

Next thing I did was to test baking the tape to see if it made a huge sticky mess. If it doesn't, then I should be able to take my oven to the Maker Space, mask the tin, laser the tin, weed it, paint it, bake it, unmask and remask, paint again, bake again and then throw it back on the laser with it still calibrated. Doing it this way SHOULD make the outline line up perfectly with the triangle and text. Yes, absolutely NO place for errors in this plan....(66)

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I threw the tin that got messed up previously in the oven and baked it for the same amount of time it takes for the paint to dry (about 20 mins at 150 degrees). I pulled it out and the tape was perfectly fine and peeled right off no issues. I guess the memory I have WAS the gaffers tape. (Seriously that stuff was STUPID sticky)

So another test successful and now I know I will be able to bake the wet painted tins at the Maker Space between laser-ing.

Spray Paint Prep and ... Actual Painting -

Now I know that I am going to have to use spray paint to do the tins, I can go ahead and prep and paint the rest of the Mentats tins. So I taped them all up and got them ready to paint.

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Remember Mentats have a different color triangle and text so to fix the issue of needing extra hands to hold the divider in place, I had to tape over the text when painting the triangle and then the triangle while painting the text. That is the big reason I needed to test baking the painted tape....Well, that's a strange phrase....

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Lots of taping and retaping and painting later. I got them ready.

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Looking at the Mentats, I think the slightly raised embossed look of the spray paint is enough to match the game texture. Fixer looks WAY higher so I don't know if it will work....

A New Issue -

I ran into a new problem while taking the tape off after painting X3. It's a small thing so I'm not sure you can see it in the pics or not, but part of the almost base paint peeled off while removing the tape.

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It's pretty small, but if you look VERY closely about the S, you can JUST see it..... I'm not sure if it was a problem with the base layer of paint not being thick enough, the baking of the paint multiple times or the tape being yanked off. But the fact it only happened one in nine times is good. Also, I feel like MAYBE I had been a little aggressive in getting the tape off. In future I will be more gentle in removing it. Hopefully it will solve that problem.


Plan moving Forward -

I learned a lot this go round. Even though I lost a few more tins to the cause. I might be able to salvage them, but that's a future me problem. I'm excited and feel like I'm getting VERY close to the end...

My next steps are to get back up to the Maker Space again with the painted tins. Calibrate the laser really, REALLY well. Then laser the tins with the outline, slogan, quantity, etc. I also need to figure out if I'm ok with not having the embossed look on the Fixer.


Will I calibrate the laser exactly right this time?

Will any new and fun problems arise?

Will this newborn just lay down and take a nap???

FIND OUT NEXT TIME ON

Over The Top Realistic, I'm REALLY Ready To Be Done With This Fallout Mentats/Fixer Build​

 
Update 12 Jul -

Progress -


I HAVE A FINISHED TIN!!! (66) I am beyond excited! I'll show you below. I got back up to the Maker Space and I got to work on them again.

Hyper Careful Setup -
I spent almost 30 minutes setting up the laser and jig this time. I made sure the tins were straight on the jig and locked it into place. This was part of the problem before where the tins designs weren't straight, so I was REALLY careful to get it perfect this time.

Why are we always "Testing"? Just go!! -

To make sure that the tins was in the perfect spot, I decided to test the alignment using one of the many tins we have messed up in this long process. Since the tins are already painted, all we need to laser this time is the silver frame, the outline of the triangle, MED TEK and Mentats, slogan and the quantity. All of these except the frame are at the same power settings so they are on the same layer in LightBurn.

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This is the tin that got messed up a few weeks back on the laser now.

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It looks like its aligned properly. Look at how the MED TEK went from looking pretty bad in the 1st pic to how good it looks in the last 2!! Time to get laser-ing!!

Sorry, I Got Excited -

1st one I threw in was the tin that the paint peeled off. I was still making sure that it was gonna look ok and figured this one was the best to mess up if it wasn't right.

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Good thing I did test using this one. I chose not to make sure I was in the dead center of the tin before laser-ing. I thought they were probably "close enough". Turns out...not so much. You can see that the Mentats is a touch off center and the red comes outside the outline. Gives it a kinda 3D effect which is cool but...not what the game texture looks like. If I'm gonna mess up a tin to a learning experience, glad it was one that was already messed up. And now I know. I need to make sure EACH and every tin is DEAD CENTER.

IT'S GO TIME -

We are ready to go for an actual for real-for real tin!!

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So far, so good. It looks like this one is lined up well and I did a good job finding the exact center!

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Look at how clean that MED TEK came out. I don't know why I like how that looks so much but MAN, it looks sharp!

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The outline and frame are done. Our 1st tin with ALL the design elements on it....and it didn't mess up!! This looks BEYOND awesome!! It turned out PERFECT!!! I am so stoked about how well this looks!! All the design elements are lined up perfectly. The different techniques I had to use all came together REALLY well. Even the raised lettering and triangle looks really good under the light. They also feel right when you run your finger over it, which didn't happen with the vinyl.


This video really shows off the embossing of the lettering. The back is still off center a bit because it is the back I made several weeks ago, before I figured out how to center the laser really well with each run.

Don't Stop Me Now -

I feel like I'm on a roll so I'm gonna keep going. So up next, I'm gonna throw the last Fixer tin on there and see if I can get a finished one of both tins today! Same thing as before, I get the laser centered and start burning!

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So this one I think I need to make the outline of the Fixer bigger. Even though I got really close, it still doesn't seem like it covered the yellow completely. So I will make the Fixer outline a little bigger before I go back to laser more Fixers.

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You can see it's just a touch off, but it's not bad enough to scrap the tin. Even with my over the top perfectionism. Haha. I think it is looking REALLY good as well!

Group Photo -

I feel incredibly excited about the progress I made today!! These tins are almost done. A few minor tweaks here and there and I will have them ready to sell. Here is what I was able to leave with today.

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What's Next? -

Not much left to do for this project! (Man, that sounds great to say!!)
- I will polish up the Fixer outline.
- I need to go back to Maker Space and put the back of each tin in LightBurn and set the layers and power and all that.
- I should prep and paint some more tins to have them ready to go.
- I will need to age the tins to match the game texture. I have already prepped some age designs in GIMP and put them in my thumb drive. But I will need to throw them into the layers in LightBurn too.
- Make ALL THE TINS!!!!

Thanks for watching so far. I hope you've been enjoying watching me work through this project. Next update will probably be the last for this one... I'm hoping...But probably not. Because... life.

Will this be the end for our tins??

FIND OUT NEXT TIME ON

Overly Obsessive Realistic Fallout Mentats / Fixer Build​

 
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3 Sept - Today's Episode of this Build is Called ..... CANDY!!

Progress -


I know, that probably didn't make ANY sense, but I promise it will. Just stick with it.

Fix the Fixer -

The 1st thing I needed to do was polish up the Fixer design.

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I cleaned up the text and smoothed out the lines, then polished up the drop shadow. While I was at the Maker Space I cleaned up all the files again generally organized all my new files in LightBurn. I feel like that is sort of a constant process, but I got it done...for now.

Aging...WITH LASERS! -

Next up was to take the really nice tins, and mess them up using the aging designs I made.

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Seriously though, they are so nice looking. I even figured out how to center the back design. It pains me to mess them up.

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Here is what it looks like. Even put one clean to show the difference. I think it looks....ok. I do really like the spotty aging look, but (and this might just be because the tin hasn't been aged physically yet) I think the aging looks too....perfect? Too clean, maybe? I really like being able to see the silver underneath but something about it feels off. I'm going back to my comment about counterfeit money. I don't know that I could say why I think it's wrong, but my brain is telling me it is.

So what to do?

(66), adjust the design and try something else. I decided to try to see what it would look like if the spots had a little black around the edge. I wanted to see if that fixed whatever my brain thought looked off. I broke out my computer and tweaked the spot design. I made a new layer by duplicating the 1st weathering layer of spots and then adjusted the intensity of the silver spots. This gave me 2 spot layers. A larger one I would make black and a smaller one I would burn all the way down to silver. I even combined the black aging layer in with the black outline layer I already have to save time. I threw it back into LightBurn and tried it out.

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That did it! That's what was wrong. I think my brain thought the damage was too clean and perfect. Now, with a little uneven black around the edge, my brain was content. For now at least.

Aging...The Old Fashioned Way -

(66) "We're not banging rocks together here." except .... that's basically EXACTLY what I'm doing. I took the tin to my garage, put it on the ground and scraped it around a bit. But looking at how much almond paint came off, maybe I got a little enthusiastic with it. I want a little bit of the black showing, but not THIS much. I had to rein it in the second time.

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Next up was to sand down the corners. The corners are where most of damage to an object is gonna happen so I wanted to take them down to silver. This time I tried to make the aging on the sides match the top and back. I wanted the black to show just a bit with the silver underneath. I also took care to not HE-MAN the scratching this time.

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This is looking MUCH better this time. It's a lot, but I think it feels right.

Rust -

Like with everything else on my builds, I want it to feel as real as possible. With that, I wanted the rust on my tins to be REAL! So I did a 5 minute internet search, then whipped up a rusting solution to put on the tins. Expose your metal, add a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, and salt and VOILÀ, your metal piece will start rusting almost immediately. (Thanks Bob Vila)

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One of the things that people commented on when receiving my previous Fallout projects was how authentic it smelled. They opened the package and could smell the rust. They loved it because it gave them that immersion that made them feel like they were in that world. I loved it because it was real! It always bothers me when I see people build "old" props and they paint rust on it because most times ...... they don't do a very good job. So for mine, I just use the real thing. REAL rust is easier AND more realistic! It's a win-win! I was chatting with my brother about this when he said "True, yours looks the best ..... for now." When I obviously looked confused he went a little further "You have thought about what your tins will look like in a year or two ..... right??? Your tin is just gonna be a pile of very authentic rusty dust sitting on someone's shelf." I had not actually thought of that. I had gone as far as wanting the tin rusted ... so I made it rusty. End of thought. Turns out, rust is the corrosive chemical reaction that occurs when a metal that contains iron is exposed to oxygen and moisture. And fun fact, once it's started, that reaction doesn't just magically stop. My tins will continue to rust (and look more and more authentic for the Fallout world) ..... right up until the turn to dust. Ok, that's probably a bit of an exaggeration, but they will continue to deteriorate past what I want. So I do want to stop the chemical reaction from continuing indefinitely, because I like the look of the aging right now. "So, how do you stop the chemical reaction?" I hear you ask through my computer. The answer? I don't know yet. I'm working on that. I have some ideas involving clear flat sealant and maybe neutralizing the reaction but need to ..... (yep, you guessed it) test them.

All the drugs -

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Now that I am pretty close to finishing the outside of the tin, I need to start thinking about the inside. What are we gonna put in it? It has to have something. The tiny little potato quality pic above is all I can find of the actual pill inside. So I started down the strange internet rabbit hole searching for what we could use as the actual drug itself. A few things were pretty obvious from the start. If I'm going to be selling these later down the line, I probably don't want to put any actual drugs or medication in them. I would prefer to not have anyone go to the hospital because they took whatever I put in this thing. I also realized that these things are flavored. They have Grape, Berry, Orange, Party Time... ("What idiot named these...") A flavored pill wouldn't be something that you take with water and swallow. (They don't have Grape Advil pills) So it's probably something you put in your mouth and chew or let dissolve. Listening to the game when you take one, it also has a chew kinda sound effect. Given all this, I feel like the pills should be larger. Bigger than an Advil or most medications I've seen. I was thinking around the size of a US dime or 1 cent Euro. I looked at multivitamins, candy, gum. Basically everything I could think of.

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The 1st thing I tried was Sprees candy. They looked good but were just a little too big. Then I came across was these Sweet Tarts online. I thought they would work perfect, if the size is right! They even have a red and a blue!! One for each tin. Except...they apparently stopped making these just about a year ago. So, dead end.
Then I came across Mentos. These are pretty close to the right look.

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The Mentos Sour Strawberry was perfect! The right shape and size! Cinnamon was just too big and the color was too light. Doc then found this abomination of Bubble Gum Cotton Candy flavored gum. But it was the right color blue...so I got it. Let me tell you...this gum smells just as disgusting as you probably imagine it does. The shape is also a little different from the blue to the red, but they are both just about the same size so...I don't care.



I think they are perfect!! I am beyond stoked at this point!

Paper? -

I really like the look of the parchment paper looking stuff inside Altoids tins. The ones that say "UNCLE" or some other random thing on it. I thought it would look really good and add just another touch to make my tins "real". 1st thing I did was too look up what it was used for. The Wiki article (seriously, I research a LOT of strange things making props) said the paper is used to keep the mints from sticking to the inside of the tin. Seems plausible that Mentats or Fixer would have something similar. I got a piece of parchment paper from my wife's baking supplies and tried it out to see how it would look.

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I think it looks pretty good. Properly cut and folded, it could look like a legitimate product. The Doc working on these builds with me did some research and found super thin printable translucent Vellum paper on Amazon.

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I got some and tried it out. It looked WAY better than even I imagined!

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Then I hopped back into GIMP and threw together a design for the paper. Nothing too complex, just enough to give it that little pop of realism.

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On the MED-TEK Laboratories Wiki, I came across the phrase "Med-Tek focused on enabling better living through chemistry" and liked it. It seemed like the cheesy PR catchphrase that a terrible company like MED-TEK would use. I also liked the idea of having a Founded or Established date on the paper. I was thinking back to those sappy "Our Name ... a family company" type of commercials, and felt like they always want to tell you how long they have been around, like that makes them trustworthy. "Since 1909, our company has DEFINITELY not put profit over people or the environment" I then searched around for the date MED-TEK was founded and found absolutely nothing. I even went as far as asking the helpful folks over at the "Fallout Lore" subReddit. Even they didn't know. So I just made up a date. I wanted it to be in our future just to give it the "This doesn't belong in our world" kinda look to it. So I went with 2042. 42 has special meaning to me as well as being enough in our future to look right. This also gives the MED-TEK company time to get big enough to make what they do and have as many products around the Wasteland by the time the bombs fall in 2077. I finished the design and printed it out.

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That is the perfect look for what I was wanting! I do need to work on the folding to not have so much room in between the paper and tin, but that's an easy fix. Now I will try and age the paper slightly to make it look 200+ years old. I am wanting ununiformed browning with maybe some flaking off around the edges. I don't want the paper to look like it was exposed to the elements, just that it has sat there untouched for 200 years. I will probably try throwing it in the oven and see if I can get the browned look...without burning my house down. (66)

Current Status -

Here is where I am now. I laser aged it, physically aged it, rusted it, then did a watered down wash with black and brown acrylic paint.

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It has the rust, spots, stains...basically everything I was wanting.

Final Tweaks -

I only have a few things left to do. This is getting exciting!

- I need to finish a Fixer.
- I need to age the paper inside.

And I think that's it.... I'm really close to finishing it!!

Will this be the final episode?

FIND OUT NEXT TIME ON

Overly Obsessive Realistic Fallout Mentats / Fixer Build​

 

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