The Move! Progress and pics...

Started by Leon, 03 April 2012, 07:46:17 AM

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Womble67

Hi there

The new place looks absolutely fantastic however I think you've got your hands full setting the new place up. 

Andy
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Leon

05 April 2012, 11:18:50 PM #31 Last Edit: 05 April 2012, 11:20:51 PM by Leon
Peter, I'm not sure how it is in the US, but industrial space in the UK can be very expensive, so we have to make the most of the space we've got here.  There is room to expand at a later date maybe, if we think it would be worth it.

Quote from: peterdong on 05 April 2012, 12:52:13 AM
Will you guys have a lobby, or a display area/museum for painted minis?

There will be a customer area, not really a retail style space though, more a 'pop in for a coffee and a chat' kind of place.

Quote from: peterdong on 05 April 2012, 12:52:13 AM
Maybe a long hall with black and white pictures explaining Pendraken's history?

Just not enough room for that kind of thing!

Quote from: peterdong on 05 April 2012, 12:52:13 AM
How 'bout a large 55 gallon saltwater fish tank, just for decoration. ;)

No...  :D

Quote from: peterdong on 05 April 2012, 12:52:13 AM
What about like premade miniatures of the most popular figures so people can just walk in and buy?

Maybe as we go along we can look at this, but there's quite a few obstacles, such as having money/metal tied up in stock which might not sell soon, needing room for several hundred of the most popular codes, etc.  We can cast things for people to pick up though, we'd only need a bit of notice, maybe 24 hours?  And we can cast smaller orders as people wait if need be.

Quote from: peterdong on 05 April 2012, 12:52:13 AM
You should probably organize the moulds so casting is easier (like in crates).

The moulds are all organised better now, see the pics below!

Quote from: peterdong on 05 April 2012, 12:52:13 AM
Advertising of some sort?

We'll have the Pendraken signage outside, and I might look at putting some display pieces on one of the walls.


Quote from: Womble67 on 05 April 2012, 10:01:27 AM
The new place looks absolutely fantastic however I think you've got your hands full setting the new place up.  

There's definitely a lot to do, but there's quite a few of us down there, so 90% of the setup will be done before Tuesday, and we can sort the last 10% after Salute.



So, today's update!

This morning we had our first visitor, as Forum member The Shootist popped along to give us a hand for a few hours.  The first job on the schedule was to get all the moulds back up onto the racks, in chronological order.  With two of us, this didn't take as long I was expecting, so we were done around lunch time.  So we've now got three separate work areas:

Workstation 1:



Workstation 2:



Workstation 3:



We then got the partition wall finished off, with the benches on both sides of it.  The far side will be for packaging the orders, and the side in view will be where we pile the orders as they are cast, and also where we put the show orders as they come in:



And today we had the first official casting in our new home!  Dave did the honours:



So, it's all coming together quite nicely:



Tomorrow we'll be getting the old tables cleared off, sorting any spare master moulds which don't have homes on the racking, and then starting to sort out the office.  The phone lines don't become active for another week as BT couldn't get an engineer to us any sooner, but we've invested in a Mi-Fi unit, which will do as a stop-gap.  I can also then take it away to the shows with us, so we're always online.

:-bd
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nikharwood

Looks top-notch - well done guys, and great to see Dave casting the first figures in the new home  8)

Maenoferren

Sometimes I wonder - why is that frisbee geting bigger - and then it hits me!

clibinarium

Looks Great, but..

THAT'S a casting machine !? I had imagined something more impressive in my head; more like this kind of stuff;







...OK maybe not that big. Still I think the actual art of casting good figures is something akin to japanese sword smithery.

Annatar

06 April 2012, 06:26:42 AM #35 Last Edit: 06 April 2012, 06:39:39 AM by Annatar
You forgot to post a pic of Workstation 4 (behind the portcullis... first pic) ...  :d

Nice place by the way...  8)

Though the walls look a bit blank....
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Techno

So....
How much bigger is the space you've got now Leon ? Twice, three times, four times the size ? More ?
You'll be wondering how you ever fitted everything in at the old 'place'.
Looks superb.
Congrats again !
Cheers - Phil.

Steve J

Glad to see that the move has gone smoothly and quickly by the look of things.
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Quote from: Steve J on 06 April 2012, 09:02:16 AM
Glad to see that the move has gone smoothly and quickly by the look of things.

Wait a week ---

ianS  :d
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fred.

Its cool to see photos of the behind the scenes - I only had the vaguest idea of how the figures are produced - and now I know more, but have lots of questions too!

The black rubber disks are the moulds? Do these split in half? So that you can get the cast figures out, and the hole in the middle is where the liquid metal goes in?
Do you have a range of figures in a mould, or do you have a single pack's worth in a mould?

The black machines are the spin casters? The black disk goes in one of these and is spun around? Then liquid metal is added? Is this stage quite quick, i.e. 1 laddle of metal, let it spun for a short length of time, then what? Let it slow down and remove the mould (which I guess is hot from the metal?) how long do you have to wait for the mould to cool so that you can get the figures out? Do you have lots of sprue that is used to feed the metal in, is this melted down and re-used?

One of the manufacture sites talks of 50-60 cycles per hour - which sounds really fast to get the mould in an out and get the figures out. Or would this be using multiple moulds?

Sorry for so many questions, Leon - if you have time to answer them all it would be great.

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Blaker

Looks great Leon, yall needed the expansion.

So Dave did the first castings at the new digs and with Mordor just a few feet away was Dave casting the first run of the Aztec Tank with Tarletons  :d


Leon

Quote from: clibinarium on 06 April 2012, 12:56:51 AM
THAT'S a casting machine !? I had imagined something more impressive in my head; more like this kind of stuff.

Yep, that's it.  It might look a bit more impressive when I paint them, but they're all homemade by Dave.

Quote from: Techno on 06 April 2012, 07:00:00 AM
How much bigger is the space you've got now Leon ? Twice, three times, four times the size ? More ?

It's about 5x the size of the old garage, but has to incorporate a lot of the stuff that was in the house as well.  So it's more like garage + utility room + bedroom + bit of loft + bit of dining room when you add it all up.  Maybe 2 or 3 times bigger than the combined old space?

Quote from: fred  12df on 06 April 2012, 12:05:41 PM
The black rubber disks are the moulds? Do these split in half? So that you can get the cast figures out, and the hole in the middle is where the liquid metal goes in?
Do you have a range of figures in a mould, or do you have a single pack's worth in a mould?

Yep, these are in two halves, and contain a variety.  If it's a regular size pack (30 foot/15 cav/3 guns) then one mould will usually contain 1 full pack.  We can get a few spares in, so a mould may have 32-40 foot figures in it, which allows a few spares in case of miscasts.  Something like the WW2 foot which come in packs of 10's will generally be 3 codes to a mould.  Vehicles vary, you could have 6 tanks with turrets, or 10 smaller vehicles.  They may be a mixture of different codes, or maybe a half and half mix of two codes.  It does vary a lot.  There are even some moulds where the turret is in one mould, and the hull in another, depending on if they've been remodelled, or came to us at different times, etc...

Quote from: fred  12df on 06 April 2012, 12:05:41 PM
The black machines are the spin casters? The black disk goes in one of these and is spun around? Then liquid metal is added? Is this stage quite quick, i.e. 1 laddle of metal, let it spun for a short length of time, then what? Let it slow down and remove the mould (which I guess is hot from the metal?) how long do you have to wait for the mould to cool so that you can get the figures out? Do you have lots of sprue that is used to feed the metal in, is this melted down and re-used?

The machines are the spin-casters, all handmade by Dave.  They each run off an electric motor.  The mould is placed horizontally inside, and held in place by a metal plate.  As the machine spins, metal arms clamp the mould down, and then liquid metal is poured through a hole in the top, into the top of the mould.  The centrifugal force flings the metal out through the sprue, and into the figures within the mould.  It doesn't need to spin long for our figures, but the larger the figure, the longer you need to spin for (if you don't spin long enough, the metal will shrink back as it cools, leaving miscasts).

The mould needs to be left long enough for the metal to cool, so we work on a stack of several at once.  Dave does 3 cos he's got asbestos hands, while I prefer 6.  The hot one goes on the bottom of the pile, and has cooled by the time it reaches the top.  The sprue is melted down once the figures have been clipped off.

That's a brief summary of it, there are some more technical bits involved, and it can be quite a science at times, learning how to get it right, and why something might be miscasting for instance. 

Quote from: fred  12df on 06 April 2012, 12:05:41 PM
One of the manufacture sites talks of 50-60 cycles per hour - which sounds really fast to get the mould in an out and get the figures out. Or would this be using multiple moulds?

50-60 cycles sounds rather optimistic to me!  That would be one a minute, which I think isn't possible to be honest.  Just clipping the figures off takes at least 1 minute, to allow you to check them as you go.  We aim to average 20 spins per hour roughly.  It can be more if you're doing easy stuff, longer if you've got fiddly bits.  It may be possible to do more spins with 28mm's for example, as you're only clipping 16 figures per spin, as opposed to 30-odd 10mm's, and you can quite often just bend the 28's off with your fingers.  But then 28's require a longer spin time, so you'd lose time there.


Best thing to do is come along sometime and pay us a visit!  You can see the machines in action, and have a go at casting yourself!

:D

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Leman

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Leon

Yesterday and today have been spent mainly painting, and finishing off some little odds and ends with the benches.  We've also managed to bag a couple of sofa's from eBay for the bargain price of 99p!   :o  So we had a little trip out in the van to pick those up as well.  I meant to grab a pic of them, but we've taken the covers off to give them a wash first, so I'll have to get a photo when they're back on.

So, work stations complete, each with their own shelf to keep everything neat and tidy:




Dave has knocked up some metal trays which we can either fix to certain benches, or they can be used as portable worktops, so we've got those painted up now:




And we've picked up a cheap fridge, which will soon be joined by a freezer, a microwave and our £5 kettle to finish off the 'catering department'...  :D




Sunday we'll be popping another coat of paint on a couple of the benches, and also getting the office sorted out.  Might even get chance for an Easter egg or two hopefully... 

There's only a couple of things we still need to get hold of, so I'm currently scouring eBay for a decent coffee table, a filing cabinet and another swivelly office chair!

8)
www.pendraken.co.uk - Now home to almost 6000 products, including over 4200 products in 10mm, plus MDF bases, Vallejo paints, I-94 decals, Red Vectors MDF buildings, Raiden Miniatures, Militia Miniatures and much, much more!

nikharwood

Nice to see that everything's progressing in the corporate colours  :)