• Engineers Log: 03-03/07/2021

    Dewet07/03/2021 at 09:25 0 comments

    So it’s been a hot minute since the last time I updated this project. Checking the date now I realize another year has passed and again I am reminded of the glacial pace at which I work on my projects. Over the last year, I have made some significant progress on the design of the CFR and assembling a V1 prototype. Much of this time was spent mastering a new tool I had been putting off purchasing for a very long time… a 3D printer.

    3D Printer

    My new Creatlity CR-10 Pro V2 arrived in good order in early February, and I do not exaggerate when I say that I have not had so much fun with a tool for a very very long time. Now when I say tool, I do mean a proper usable tool. I had put off getting a 3D printer for so long because I did not want most of the process to print a part to be about fiddling with the printer. I have gotten to the point in my life were getting to the result, due to simple time constraints, is more important, and not having to struggle with the tool needed to do the job is a big plus.

    The 3D printer did require a bit of a learning curve but once mastered I am now at the comfortable point where I can queue up my design for printing and just click print. My current workflow is as follows:

    Design in SkechUp/Freecad->Export to STL->Import into Ultimaker Cura->Slice->Click Print.

    Given the cost of some of the parts that will eventually need to be CNC’ed out of metal, I decided to build it completely using 3D printed parts. This was something that quickly justified the purchase of my 3D printer due to a simple equation when having parts printed at a 3D Printing shop:

    (Individual Part Setup Cost X Number of Unique Parts) = Setup Cost

    Setup Cost + (Individual Part Print Cost X Total Number of Parts) = 70% of New Printer Cost

    I know the formula is not 100% but due to the sheer number of unique parts I needed printing and the number of times, I would get it wrong due to my lack of 3D printing experience it was just more economical to get the printer. At least that is what I told my wife….

    CFR V1.0

    Now getting to the actual project: I am about 90% done with the V1 prototype’s mechanical construction. Overall, I am happy with the design especially with the “Core”. From the photos below I think it looks good. The bar graph LEDs and the LCD I added are artistic liberties that I will write off against making the actual unit more functional and resembling the unit inside the game itself.

    I have also started the basic programming and have a start-up sequence used to test the lighting. I have also started working on a UI interface for the PC control side of things. My initial idea is basically to turn the CFR into a sensor platform thus making it an actual useful prop instead of just blinking lights. The UI design is based on the in-game UI design used by Monarch Solutions computer systems. Some of the initial designs are shown below.

    On the electronics side of things, all the sensors have been assembled and tested separately on a breadboard and still need to be installed into the unit. The wiring is a mess but will eventually be trimmed when I design the custom PCBs needed. The brains for the CFR will be provided by an Arduino Nano and a NodeMCU board. As for not just using the NodeMCU board: I have found them to vary greatly in reliability depending on what generic manufacturer supplied them to the local electronics supplier in our country leading to weird input/output problems.

    All in all, I have to say that this project is progressing well. Once I get the V1 prototype completed I will go the route of getting the panels and parts CNC’ed for V2.

    Final thoughts

    Technically all the mechanical files are done if someone wanted to replicate the prop as it is now, and I will share if anyone is interested. It will probably take me another year to finish the next set of work so…. cheers to the year ahead!

  • Engineers Log: 02-26/07/2020

    Dewet07/26/2020 at 10:23 0 comments

    Paper and glue

    So the last couple of days have been spent trying to get a feel for the correct size of the unit. Since I still have allot of research to do and measurements to make the first model is made from cardboard. This will allow me to play with different sizes without spending too much time or material in creating the correct shape. The design started with 12 pentagons with a measurement of 80mm a side and 108 degrees apart. 

    I ran into a unforeseen problem when I tried to model this in SketchUp: I really struggled to get the shape designed. Now I have been using SketchUp for years but for some reason this kicked my ass. I was just unable to model the correct angles to make the shape work and so ended up with a mess. Below is a example of the cardboard design and SketchUp model to attempt and get the correct scale.

    The shape ended up way too big so I need to scale it down, maybe to 70mm or 60mm a side.

  • Engineers Log: 01-23/07/2020

    Dewet07/23/2020 at 16:52 0 comments

    Why the CFR

    I have been a massive fan of Remedy Entertainment's work for a very long time. Starting with Death Rally and the Max Payne series way back I still try to play all their games in my game library once a year. I am intimately familiar with their games but not to the level that I ever thought about owning a prop from any of their games. The closest I have come to owning anything related to a fictional world was the Diablo |||: Book of Cain paperback they released as a special item before the launch of the game. 

    Funny enough I never though about making a prop from anything up until I recently completed listening to Adam Savage's book: Every tool's a hammer. I think it was the many times he mentioned the different props he has made and the way it relates to the make culture that something finally clicked.

    For some unknown reason the single and only thing that I suddenly wanted to make was the Countermeasure form Quantum Break. It serves no purpose and does nothing cool except showing the state of Chronon charge it has. It was an important plot item in the game but actually got very limited screen time so I assume the designers never though much about it displaying or indicating much more than the state of charge and in some cases a date.

    So now I am stuck with my brain wanting to do something and I have to come along for the ride or else...

    Researching the CFR - Chronon Field Regulator

    Understandably I have been unable to determine much about the design of the CFR. Since this was not a movie prop I do not believe a actual working model was designed. I say actual because there currently exists two photos of the real unit I have been able to find. One seems to be the real deal but was posed by someone claiming to have done work for Remedy with the concept named "Fracture Fixer Concept" while the other was from a in game cut scene where you can clearly see this is a half made prop. The rest of the images are all fan based artwork that does not resemble the actual unit.

    With no dimensions, little information and no consistent 3D model in the game to actually determine what it should look like I assume that I face the same challenges as most people trying to replicate a prop.

    What I have so far:

    1. The CFR consists of 12 pentagons. 
    2. The pentagons look to be made of Aluminium with rubber corners.
    3. All sides of a pentagon add up to 540 degrees and since we will be using a standard pentagon the inside angles between sides will be 108 degrees.
    4. Using a guesstimate of scale based on this being American made I looks like the sides are 3inches or 70mm +-.
    5. The unit seems to have some sort of "core" that can be extracted trough one of the covers on the side. This will be a nice option to build in.
    6. There is a LED bargraph that indicates state of charge. (In this case can be used for the battery)
    7. There is a 7 segment display that can show a date. e.g. 03291999
    8. There is a 6mm audio jack that serves as a "fibre" connection.
    9. There is a 6 pin DIN connector that serves as some sort of data/power connection.
    10. 1 x Red LED and 1 x Green LED (Status of core lid open/close I assume)
    11. 9 x other holes/rings that contain some sort of sensor/device (Maybe I can stuff these full of actual useful sensors)

    Now that I have gone through the list above there are a few things I can take artistic liberties with to actually allow this thing to be useful. 


    1. Add a accelerometer to detect when the unit is picked up and allow deep sleep mode for MCU.
    2. Add real life sensors like temperature, humidity, CO2, light and others. Need 9 of them.
    3. Add NFC to allow you to activate the core extraction process.
    4. Add WiFi to remotely control the CFR.
    5. Add RGB effects, because this is a must.