September 27, 2015 AT 1:22 am

#ElectronicHalloween 2015 at Adafruit – 9/27 Update

Prior Installments: 9/22, 9/25.

Let’s talk about my greebles.

Hey! Whoa whoa whoa. No need to blush.

Greebles are little intricate details that festoon a prop (especially prevalent on sci-fi props and spaceships). Quite often they have no functional purpose, but they lend an air of believability to the object, that there’s some sort of implied backstory and engineering involved.

One of my very favorite parts of making props for cosplay and such has been the hunt for greebles, whether tracking down a suitable item in some dank surplus equipment store, improvising with bits and bobs in various scrap bins in the garage, or some bit of cruft found in the gutter. When I made this Dug collar the first time around, that’s how the greebles were done…bottle caps, Dremeled bits of sippy cups, three different knobs mashed together and so forth…


This time around, constraints are a bit different. The collar’s a lot smaller, meant to actually fit on an actual dog. But also, Becky needs this pronto, so there’s time to stuff electronics in it and make a guide before Halloween. I don’t have the luxury of visiting all the junk stores in the area for Just The Right Perfect Mythical Greeble, much as I’ve always so enjoyed that part of the process. Somewhat reluctantly, I gave 3D modeling and printing greebles a try…


Modeling everything in Autodesk 123D took maybe an hour. Most of that was spent on the knob, getting all the knurled bits. I can’t even get to the junk store that quickly! A quick draft print to check sizes…


And after tweaking a few measurements, each is printed at the ‘fine’ setting in different colored filaments (the indicator lines around the knob were filled with acrylic paint), and a couple extra leather bits were laser cut:


Still a little cleanup needed, but BAM, there you go, greebles. Piece of cake.

It’s all reminiscent of a thing that several friends of my vintage have all mentioned. Music stores. Time was, if you wanted, say, Oh No! It’s Devo on CD, it was this weeks- or months-long hunt for a rare Japanese import disc. No iTunes, no eBay, one had to physically visit all these different places. “Man, those were the good days,” we’d lament, “Record stores! The hunt! That whole social aspect!”

Then you find the rare still-standing brick-and-mortar music store. And after about five minutes of browsing, you realize there’s nothing there you haven’t already found and bought easier online. “Man, these are the good days!”

It’s just like that, but with greebles. I think I’m pretty much done with “the hunt” anymore.

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