Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Iron Man Arc Reactor build.

I wanted to do something a little different for my next project and with my friend starting his Iron Man helmet, I wanted to make an Arc Reactor. I used 2 main references and kinda went with my own design, so It's not screen accurate. I checked out an "instructable" by Honus, and a build by ThrowingChicken on his website for some tips.  I printed out a picture from TC's website as a blueprint to start, and cut a ring 1" deep from 4" pvc pipe for the outer bezel.

I then cut out 2 rings from Sintra for the inner ring the same size as the one in the blueprint

Next it was time to cut out an acrylic ring for the light lens/diffuser. I started with a 3\8 inch (aprox) thick of acrylic and traced the outer and inner lines on both sides with a sharpie. I then cut out the center section with my rotary tool. The cut was kinda gnarly so I needed some serious sanding to get it round and smooth.

I wrapped some medium grit sandpaper around a tube around the same diameter as the hole, this trick make a perfectly round hole that looked like is was done on a bandsaw by someone who knew what they were doing !

and again for the outer cut

I scuffed the acrylic ring with some fine steel wool to hopefully diffuse the light some.. I made a template to use so I could make sure the copper wrap would be evenly spaced

I cut some little squares out of Sintra to put between the copper wrap and the clear ring to simulate the tops of the transformers, then I took some light guage power wire left over from car audio installations and cut them into about 2 foot lengths. I layed the wire flat and carefully using my hobby knife, sliced off a strip of the casing lengthwise and pulled the bare wire out. I wrapped the wire tight around the Sintra square and clear ring and trimmed the end of the wire to be on the bottom of the ring, then superglued it in place.

Based on a tip from a youtube video, I checked out the cheesy car accessory aisle at Autozone and found a package of blue LED lights that came with a little 12 volt battery box and switch so people could try the lights out in the package. I thought this was perfect and saved me alot of time and headache soldering led's and trying to wire my own contraption.

The Arc reactors similar to mine on screen had 10 lights around the outer ring and 1 in the middle. The lights I bought only had 10 led's total so I cheated and put 9 on the outer ring and 1 in the middle, it turned out good for the spacing in the final product. I mounted them to another thinner acrylic ring the same diameter as the main ring, which fit nicely on top.

I took one of the inner rings I cut from Sintra and drilled holes in it, keeping them "grouped" in 3 even sections , and used some small screws and spacers saved from a fried computer I painted the top ring black and the bottom ring silver and mounted the 2 together as shown.

I used a faucet aerator for the center bit. The one I bought from Lowe's was a pain in the behind to cut apart too.

Here you can see the 2 inner rings together, and the back plate of the reactor. I used a dvd shiny side up thinking it would look cool, but you really can't see it, so that was a waste. I glued little pieces of Sintra between the wires so I could mount the center part above them and not damage the wires. I hot glues the wires in place so as not to pull them out from the lights from the back, that string of wires is bound to catch on crap occasionally when showing off.

I glued the backplate into the bezel first, then the light ring, and I also cut a short piece of chrome 1 1/4 sink tailpiece to put in the middle for mounting the whole center section, it fit perfectly inside the rings and the sink aerator fit right on top. Before mounting this however, I glued the last led into the sink aerator.

 In the previous picture, you can see the 12volt battery box and switch that came with the lights. The last thing was to make a trim piece for the back, cut from a sticky foam square from the craft store.

 All finished !!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Predator bio mask helmet !

Predators are bad-ass, I always wanted a Bio mask and dreads ever since I watched the first movie, so I decided to give it a shot

     My best friend is a wiz with pepakura and put together this pep model of a bio helmet for me

I made some temporary cardboard braces on the inside to make sure it held its shape while I applied a few  coats of resin on the outside

Then I took the braces out and lined the inside with fiberglass mat, I added an extra layer in the cheekbone area behind the eyes where i felt it needed reinforcement and dabbled in a generous layer of resin to the fiberglass on the inside, this made it REALLY strong, I even banged it on a table to demonstrate to a co-worker how durable it is now!

Once I had some solid coats of resin applied, I sanded down the ridges left by the joints of paper

After that I Marked as many high and low areas with a marker that I could to make applying the bondo easier. It really didn't take that much bondo to smooth it out due to preparation and the excellent pepakura work of my friend.

Here I am getting the shape pretty good, I gave it a coat of primer and made some final shaping adjustments, the onlt trouble I had was with the crown ridge area. I tried not to make it too perfect and smooth because it is supposed to look like a forged metal mask.

Final coat of primer before finsh sanding with a fine grit foam sanding block

I sprayed it with a mettalic silver paint first, Then I did the weathering/dirtying using some torn up kitchen sponges and black spray paint sprayed into a bowl. I would just dab the sponge into the black paint and dabble it quickly around areas that should be dark, the crown ridge, eybrows, cheekbones, around the laser housing etc. I would then dabble silver paint over that using the same method, changing back and forth several times until I had the right look.

Starting to look better ! I coated the whole mask in a clear coat to preserve the weathering, give it a little shine, and improve durability.

I carved the temple piece, witch I believe is a line for connecting the hoses the predator rips off before removing the mask in the movies, out of an air-dry sculpting clay that I found at Michael's craft store, It was ok, but something like Apoxie Sculpt would have probably been better. Once dry, I glued it in and painted it to match. I also rummaged through my junk and found a suitable peice of black mesh and glued it inside to cover the eye holes, visiblity is still very good.

 Next was the dreads, after researching "The Hunter's Lair", Replica Prop Forum, and youtube, I decided to try something called backer rod,  It is a foam rod, kinda like pipe insulation, that is used for gaps in concrete, wood, etc to fill in the gaps before sealing them. I cut the backer rod into 2ft lengths and used the heat from a burner to soften the ends, then rolling them on a tabletop quickly to taper the ends. I coated them in Plasti-dip spray rubber and hung them out to dry.

I cut a strip of Sintra and made it so it attached to the bio mask and wrapped around the back of my head, kinda making the mask into a helmet, also giving me a place to attach the dreads. I cut the end of the dreads at a 45 drgree angle and hot glued them making a row just under the crown edge, and another row under that, the hot glue actually holds it really well.

I took apart a 3 led headlamp I got from Lowe's on sale and installed the guts into the laser housing, They look blue here as I haven't yet tinted them red. For now, the "beads" are just chrome tape until I decide to fabricate some better ones.

Sport hunter vs. Bounty hunter, that would be epic !

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sora's Kingdom Keyblade from Kingdom Hearts

One of my favorite games of all time is Kingom Hearts, and I always wanted a good replica of the main weapon of the game, the Keyblade. I chose Sora's Kingdom Key as a good starter project to learn from, and despite being a simple design, it was my favorite version.

I did some research to see what others had made online and found NO good tutorials, most of what I found was paper mache, cardboard, and duct tape. This is my first build of completely my own design. I first drew the pattern for the handguards by hand onto some cardstock and cut them out, then I traced them onto some plywood and cut them out with a jigsaw. I coated the handguards in resin to seal them and hide the woodgrain, giving me a better surface to finish.  I sanded the 2 guards together so they would be perfect twins.

I took a coupling piece for the inch and a half pvc I was going to use and wrapped in sand paper to give a curve to the inside of the guards so they would fit nicely against the couplings in the final assembly

For the main shaft, I used inch and a half pvc, 2 couplings, a large wooden dowel, and 2 endplugs, one of the endplugs was sanded down to fit inside of the coupling and was used on the handle end.

The wooden dowel fits perfectly inside of the recess in the encaps and gives the entire Keyblade rigidity.

I made the handle length just right so that the guards would mount evenly on the couplings when assembled

Once I test fitted the Handle onto the dowel, I cut the piece of pvc  for the shaft to the length I needed, taking the end plug into consideration. After that I drilled a hole all the way through both couplings so I could run a wooden dowel through for the attachment of the hand guards, taking care to make sure my holes were drilled straight and parallel .

I struggled a while with how to do the ornamental blue part where the handle meets the key shaft, I finally took a 1 1/4" plastic sink tailpiece and fit it into the end of the coupling. The lg wooden dowel fit perfectly inside of it too, then I shaped the conical part with bondo and spot putty. I then could slide the 1 1/2"  key shaft perfectly over the sink tailpiece.

I cut the "key" part out of Sintra after hand drawing a pattern  and cut a groove the right length in the end of the shaft to hold the Sintra in place with the help of some epoxy, I put the endplug in and filled in the joint and irregularities with spot putty and sanded it smooth for painting "stainless steel" silver

Everything was assembled temporarily to make sure all was good before painting

I really didn't weigh as much as I expected, It could easily be carried around a theme park or convention all day.
I collect Disney Trading Pins and lucky me I had an extra Mickey shaped metal lanyard weight that was perfect for the "keychain"

I then finished all my painting, using average spray paint over fine-sanded automotive primer and finished my project !

My next write up with be my Predator bio mask with dreads, and then my Iron Man arc reactor !