Author Archives: Dr. Sabins

Personal Project: Pokémon Great Catcher Device

This item card, from the Pokémon collectible card game, inspired my lady-love to have me recreate it in physical form to the best of my ability. With the COVID-19 virus canceling a lot of events, I saw opportunity in being housebound, and set to work.

This is a good starting point.

Modding the exterior with 3D prints and other plastic parts was only half the battle. I also used some parts from our friends at Adafruit to bring lights and sounds to the device.


The end result strongly resembled the inspired design, with enough of it that was uniquely my own invention.

The Great Catcher, my version.

I theorize that such a device would be used in interactive game settings as an accessory that draws Pokémon into its Pokéball with the equivalent effectiveness of a “Great” throw, every single time, without fail. Its purposes during matches would be roughly the same as the card.

Pokémon is the intellectual property of Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures, under the Pokémon Company brand. This piece is intended as homage and is not for sale.

News of the Future…

It has recently come to my attention that coin-cell battery technology is getting even more advanced as of late. This WIRED story about Li-Si batteries may be part of the future of such technology. Another interesting story from WIRED heralds the creation of an exceedingly damage-resistant Li-ion battery. Neat stuff, even though it may be some time before we see such technology on the store shelves.

 —Dr. Sabins

Experiment: 3-D Printed Cameo Frames

Not bad, for my second ever attempt at digital scuplting.

Since metal jewelry parts can sometimes run out of stock, I wanted to see if I could create 3-D printed parts of a similar quality out of polymer materials. An additional benefit would be making them non-conductive to electricity, meaning easier integration of LED circuits and small coin-cell batteries. I began by making the above cameo frame in a 3-D sketch program out of primitive shapes. I then exported the design to a rendering program for refinement, and finally exporting the file again as an .stl file for printing. The successful results are below:

This ABS print fits a 25 x 18 mm rhinestone perfectly.

It did not take long before a friend commissioned me to make some cameos in custom sizes, which were easily done by scaling up the file dimensions accordingly.

Upcoming experiments may include making other forms of custom settings, as well as creating custom crystals out of cast resin molds.

SGL Imperial Bolt Revolver

“Vi Armorum Pace” = “Peace By Force Of Arms”
“Salutaret Mortem Cum Risu” = “Greet Death With A Smile”

“For The Emperor!!” From the world of Warhammer 40,000 comes the SGL Imperial Bolt Revolver. Futuristic styling mixed with classical detailing defines this Space Marine’s weapon, complete with purity seals against the influences of chaos. This six-shot, .75 caliber bolt pistol would feature marshmallow high-explosive-tipped rounds in its chambers, a feature unavailable to clip-loading bolters. As it is, it fires powerful Nerf Mega darts that should not be aimed at anyone’s head.

The 3D prints for this piece come from at the following links, under the Creative Commons – Attribution – ShareAlike license.

Warhammer 40,000 and its associated properties are owned by Games Workshop Group PLC. This is a custom build intended as homage.

This piece is currently available through our partnership with Realms Edge Armory and Art, currently based out of 600 W. Town Street in downtown Columbus, OH. Ask about “Dr. Sabins’ Hurt Locker” for inquiries.

Commission: Glowing Eyes for Dragon Bracers

Once again, my associate Brian at Realms Edge Armory and Art has created some masterwork leather pieces that I have added my own enchantments to. Feast your eyes on these custom dragon head bracers with green, glowing eyes, activated by a flick of a concealed switch beneath their snouts!

I’m actually hoping that this is the beginning of more collaborative projects with Brian and his leather crafting. Perhaps I could add 3D printed amulets to leather armor pieces as well…

(In answer to any inquiries: No, I don’t know how much they cost to make. You know the old saying… “If you have to ask how much, you probably can’t afford it.”)

Personal Project: “Captain N” Power Pad and Zapper

The idea for this project comes from a Saturday morning cartoon in the 90’s, that many fans of the old Nintendo Entertainment System may just as soon forget:

Captain N: The Complete Series on IMDB

The series lasted for barely three seasons, and really hasn’t aged well, particularly since many of the characters that appeared in the shows were unrecognizable to those who played the games. Still, the idea of being pulled into a universe made entirely of game-worlds was a novel one to me, because unlike reality, games could theoretically be fair, even if they were difficult.

The series’ protagonist possessed a belt with a controller-like device called a “Power Pad” for the buckle, and a laser pistol in the form of a “Zapper”. The Power Pad could allow the wearer to jump up or down great distances without harm, or dodge left/right at blinding speed. It could even stop time for up to about 30 seconds or so by using the “pause” feature. The Zapper was a weapon that de-rezzed enemies, but could also switch to an “ice beam” for freezing enemies with the right power-up.

The most difficult part of rebuilding the old NES controller was figuring out a way to make the top lights an animated counting system for uses of the Power Pad’s abilities. This took considerable time and more than a little bit of designing the modifications as I went. The first thing that I had to do was to see if I could learn enough C++ to program an Arduino Pro Mini and NeoPixel strand to incorporate inside the controller housing.

I searched online for the appropriate open-source resources. The first came from Joseph Corleto on the site, which describes his method for interfacing the serial chip on the controller’s mainboard to the Arduino for the output of text strings. Next, I consulted a site by Hans Lujiten called that described how to program different animation effects for NeoPixel strands. The only part that remained was adding my own logic for the counting system, which required careful attention to the sequence of code and the use of conditional mathematical operators.

Once the circuit worked well enough on the breadboard, it was time to permanently solder everything together:

During final assembly, I had found that the 2x CR2032 batteries that I was going to use to power everything was woefully insufficient. I upgraded to a lithium-polymer battery cell and power charger board from Adafruit. I then created a 3D printed housing to protect the power charger board while still making its ports accessible for recharging the LiPo. I also added hardware for making the new Power Pad into a belt buckle, as seen below.

The best achievement was making sure everything functioned as expected before, during, and after sealing up the case, as seen in this video.

In conclusion, a project like this is built on the work of many that has gone before, so I cannot take credit for inventing anything. I will say that Arduino projects such as these are probably far too expensive in terms of labor and materials to sell to anyone, let alone remake. I did learn a lot, and I re-familiarized myself with many disciplines that needed some practice.

UPDATE: A good friend and associate, Brian Johnston of Realms Edge Armory and Art, made me a belt and holster set for these items. He is available for commissions at his email of

All associated intellectual properties are copyrighted by Nintendo of America and by Games Workshop. This is a personal project, intended as an homage.

Steampunk Six-Shooters

For the connoisseur, these six-shot single-action revolvers have been upgraded with a couple of key improvements. The slide actions, which advance the cylinder and arm the main spring for firing, have each been given a unobtrusive knob on their hammers. These allow the slides to be used more quickly without throwing off aim. The second feature is that the cylinder will fully swing out from the body, allowing freer access to the chambers for faster reloading.

All of these models have the same durable paint treatments that other dart blasters have been given. For safety, none of the internal workings or the blaze orange barrel markers have been altered or removed. Six standard darts have been included with each weapon.

These items are being sold at the Town Street Annex for $20 USD each.
Inquire within about “Dr. Sabins’ Hurt Locker”.
Custom makes are also available at the menu bar links above.

Personal Project – NERF “Revoltinator” Repaint (Shock Rifle)

Upon seeing this monstrous plastic toy in the toy aisle, complete with its integral lights and sounds, I somehow knew that I would be getting it and repainting it for the holiday season. I also knew that I would probably be kicking myself for all the details that they put into the molding on its exterior. It basically looks like it was cobbled together from various random items in a hardware store, which made it perfect for representing a mad science project.

The motorized dart firing mechanism only engages when a magazine is inserted into the well on the bottom. I could screw on a plastic Kydex panel over the well opening, and thus make the blaster safe for taking to a convention, in order to show it off. I have to wonder if that feature was intentionally designed into this product, but it should work just fine for me nonetheless. I will post updates with any photos taken at conventions while in costume.

Holiday Ornament Pendants

Just in time for Small Business Saturday 2019! Choose any of six different colors in these silver-trimmed, light-up glass ornaments. Each comes with a strand of rat-tail cord for wearing or hanging up, and a 1220 coin cell battery for power (inserted +/ “flat” side outwards, facing away from the bulb). Preliminary measurements report an increase in festivity of over 200% when these ornaments are displayed!

Note that all exposed soldered surfaces use leadless (tin-silver-copper) solder, as per the RoHS standard. (

These items are priced at $10 USD each, in addition to tax and shipping.