The Gravimetric Quantum Field Disruptor built by Ecktrol Manufacturing Co. in Ohio, USA. The “Model A” was only produced from September of 1948 to April of 1949 before it was recalled due to a dangerous fault within the induction stabilizer coils. All known examples of the Model A were dismantled. In June of 1949 the GQFD was re-issued as the “Model B.”

Ecktrol Manufacturing was one of only a handful of companies with clearance to produce ray-based devices after the world-wide treaty of 1929 that halted the production of weaponized field manipulators.

Officially these new devices, designated “class 2” were built for “scientific research and industrial applications.” Due to some rather glaring loopholes in the WFM Treaty, however, it became a simple matter of applying for a special RBD (ray-based device) permit, allowing for even members of the general public (provided they had deep enough pockets) to own one. Because of the expense of purchasing and maintaining an RBD, they were often bought by small groups and enthusiast clubs that proliferated across North America and Europe.

The 1970’s brought new regulations and tightening of restrictions, essentially ending legal access to functioning RBDs for private citizens and organizations.

Clipping from Poston Chronicle (Poston, Ariz.), January 15, 1943
Parts list for the EM-GQFD
3D rendered turntable video.

Matchbox Robots

Really? 2011?? It’s hard to believe these little junk robots were built for a show at Argyle Fine Art that long ago. These robots included boxes with artwork on the covers. I was inspired by the sometimes less than honest packaging of my youth.

The Mighty Galactic Destructo Robot came with a city skyline to threaten with its springy “angry arm action.” The Atomic Oracle has a blissfully grinning silver baby face behind a freely rotating optical lens. All the better to see and know all!

If you have anaglyph 3D glasses now is the time to put them on!
The Mighty Galactic Destructo Robot
The Mighty Galactic Destructo Robot. So scary!
The Atomic Oracle with 360 degree vision!

And, as usual, the folks at Argyle Fine Art took more reasonable photos:

Photo by Argyle Fine Art.
Photo by Argyle Fine Art.

An Insect

An old microphone, springs, plumbing fixtures, typewriter strikers, and a vegetable steamer all lent parts to this insect sculpture. I came up with a scientific sounding name for it at the time but I can’t remember what it was now. I do remember that an expert pointed out an error in the name. It had to do with the number of wings.

Whatever you want to call it, this piece is definitely insect-like. And while I was very happy with how it came out I found it difficult to photograph well. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m no photographer and clearly I was not shooting under anything like ideal conditions. I’m sure I took photos in our kitchen with a smartphone. Not great.

I feel like it was this piece more than any previous one that made me think an accurate 3D render would be useful. With a render I can control various aspects of the virtual camera, surroundings, and lighting that would require equipment I don’t have in real life. Also, it’s another excuse to practice 3D modelling and rendering. I enjoy the variety of switching from actual to virtual building. When I’m tired of being in the basement I move to the computer in my little home office. Eventually the computer will become tedious and it’s back to the workshop again.

Not terrible, but I’m no virtual lighting expert either!
Argyle Fine Art did a better job with their photo.

Finally Finished. (maybe)

It was a strange and busy time here when my daughter suddenly had to stay home and attend school on-line back in early March. We live in a part of the world that has had no new covid-19 outbreaks for months, so my daughter has been back at school since September. My wife and I can both work from home. So many people have far greater challenges these days and we are keenly aware of how lucky we are.

With time to spend tinkering in the workshop again, I have made significant progress on a ray gun I started woking on years ago. I finally settled on what pieces to use and worked out how to make them fit together. I found some of the details for this one especially enjoyable to work on, such as the power supply label, and a metal switch plate that i fabricated myself from a large steel washer. Making custom metal parts is not something I normally do. It was very satisfying.

Custom Switch Plate.
Custom Label.
Label in situ.
Tiny dial for tuning the forward sensor.

I often make virtual 3D models of my completed ray guns, and this one is no exception. I spent more time trying to make this virtual version’s materials look accurate, not just the shapes and dimensions.

Virtual 3D version

I’m often not entirely certain when a piece is finished, but at this time I don’t see much I would want to add or alter. I do need to construct a stand for it, and I’m also working on some printed material to accompany the piece, specifically a manufacturer’s parts catalogue.

I hope to have the real piece available for sale at Argyle Fine Art (Halifax, Nova Scotia) soon!