Studio In a Box


So this is a project I’ve been working away on designing for a while now, as a way to solve a lack of accessible studio space, and the need to stay at home during Covid social-distancing.

It’s a trifold-door cabinet, with internal power supply, that will be installed in my carport, between the secondary entrance (left) and laundry (right) doors of my home. It’s designed so that all the equipment stacks inside it – at the rear is workbench space, including a drill-press station, then the UV-blocking welding screens go in front of that, and finally the welders on a trolley, and a fold-up welding table.

All the equipment within is on wheels, so it can be rolled out and the space configured, with no lifting required. All it requires me to do is move my car forward a couple of metres, but the cabinet is narrow enough that my car can fit beside it when closed.

There’s a long, narrow workbench for my drill-press and bench-grinder, as well as storage, and a table for my metal-cutting bandsaw (a quiet alternative to a drop-grinder), that sits over the Air-Compressor. The compressor is an interesting piece of kit – it’s a silenced model, that uses two small motors, rather than one large one. You can easily hold a conversation at normal speaking volume, while standing next to it.

The power supply, which will sit roughly in the middle of the cabinet, is already installed – a pair of 15 amp, and a pair of 10 amp plugs, on a 32 amp line, so I can drive both the air compressor (10) and the welder’s plasma cutter (15) at the same time. Or, I can keep both my TIG and MIG welders powered up at the same time, and alternate between them, using  MIG to tack things in place, then TIG for the finished welds.

All in all, it should be a super adaptable, and quick setup / packdown low-effort workspace.

2021 – Week 30

My FastSpring store went live this week. It’ll be a bit of time before I have all the EPUB books onto it, but the hard part is done.

This is the first stage in disentangling myself from being reliant on Apple to sell my works. What’s most exciting, is it will see the release of the full collected version of Surfing The Deathline.

Other achievement this week was getting all the steel cut for the console mount. A set of taps arrived, for threading the standoffs to allow it to screw to a VESA mount, and I ordered a vice for the drill press, so that I can drill said standoffs, prior to tapping them.

2021 – Week 29

The mask mandate continues. I bought some filter-equipped face-sock things, but they’re too loose, and fall down. Going anywhere in a mask is difficult, as my glasses fog up instantly, making me more or less unable to see.

It’s strange, but throughout the last year and a half, I’ve had the luxury of not needing to leave the house during mask conditions.

Most of this week has been a bit of a break, taking things easy. I’ve been getting very into Minecraft, as an interesting creative outlet.

2021 – Week 28

A quiet post-lockdown week, though NSW continues to be a zombie apocalypse movie.

I decided to abandon the PVC pipe XBOX rollcage, and redesign it in steel, for a thinner profile, as a getting back into the swing of things project:

It’s all 25x3mm bar, and then mounting standoffs in 10mm rod, tapped and threaded with M4 threads, so they should have a wall thickness of 3mm as well. Fingers crossed, the whole thing should go together quite easily.

2021 – Week 27

The Dome descends again – we have a 3 day lockdown from Tuesday to Thursday. Thankfully, I have things to occupy myself – it’s tax time, and the new game console is fantastic.

2021 – Week 26

The new games console seemed to be having trouble getting a network connection. Every time it power cycled, it couldn’t connect. Eventually I nuked the router to factory settings, and installed its latest firmware, and also reset the console (using the nifty factory reset but keep installed games option), and now everything seems to be working ok.

Kept working on the rollcage, but the green paint was a mistake. Spent a bunch of time stripping and sanding it off, and now trying to paint white.

2021 – Week 25

Hard to believe that after weeks of looking online, I was able to secure a new XBox SeriesX from my local retailer.

Most of the week thereafter, was taken up with trying to figure a way to remove the old XBox 360 from its mount under the desk, and create a mounting system for the new console.

This was yet another opportunity to play with PVC pipe, especially now there are non-plumbing structural connectors, which allow for the sorts of joints you’d never build with a fluid-specific connector.

The goal was to build a sort of roll cage for the console to sit in, that could be mounted on a VESA arm, but which the console could be taken out of for transport.

console cage
Green undercoat, prior to white topcoat.

I’m pretty happy with the result, which should allow the heavy console to be lifted out, and slid in without removing a strong grip.

2021 – Week 24

Second Covid shot this week, and it hammered me for most of the rest of the week.

I’m calling the Surfing The Deathline – Full Course cover complete with this final set of tweaks.

It only took decades, but I’m finally happy with the way I draw these characters.

I spent some time playing with the setup of my Fastspring store, and continuing back-and-forth with a friend who’s experimenting with building a tool to enable EPUB books to be updated after purchase. If we can get that working, we’ll close the loop on the entire purchase and update cycle for indy comics / books publishers.

2021 – Week 23

Full steam ahead on finishing off the cover art for the collected version of Surfing The Deathline.

It feels weird, drawing this set of characters for a final(?) time, after 20 years.

2021 – Week 22

Some administrative stuff this week – pushed an update of Surfing The Deathline to Apple Books, and made some progress on trying to get my head around Fastspring.

The updates for Surfing The Deathline went badly, as Apple is continuing to us a black page template for my uploaded books, and putting the cover graphics onto it in such a way, as to, well see the following image:

So they’re making my covers look like muddy garbage, and while “engineering are working on a solution” and have been for months. There’s a 10 second fix to their site’s CSS that will mitigate the problem in the meantime, but Apple won’t make it.

Had an interesting email exchange with folk from a European agency that produces technology for EPUB books, about whether they’d be interested in creating a delta upgrader to allow customer-side patching for EPUB books, so a publisher could just issue an errata .zip file, and a tool at the customer’s end could run a patch process against the file, to replace the old assets with the new ones. The upside of this is it lets book sellers offer free, or sell paid upgrades / DLC of a book in a way that means they don’t have to issue a whole new book, or manage customer accounts.

They were interesting discussions, but even more interesting was a conversation with an old friend, who’s interested in trying to build this tool himself, as a “just to see if I can” project.

2021 – Week 21

Surfing The Deathline updates, continuing to fix things that have bugged me for years, still finding spelling mistakes that have been in the work since 2006 when the first print version was published.