Full Speed, A Head!

 Posted by at 18:49  No Responses »
Jan 102017

This post is part of a meta-series. Click here for a list of all posts in this series.

Hey, remember this project? This project that I haven’t much talked about in the last, oh, nine months or so? Guess what! I just finished assembling the high-detail paper model for the base mold!

Full-resolution paper model mold base, front 3/4 Full-resolution paper model mold base, rear 3/4

I did indeed switch to using hot glue after my last update, to excellent effect. Rather than applying it via a hot glue gun, I instead used the glue gun to keep the glue in a liquid state and spot-applied it with toothpicks. This worked out really well, with one giant downside that I didn’t recognize until the damage had been done: leaving hot glue to just sit there with heat on it results in some of it vaporizing. My office, where I’ve been assembling this, is not well-ventilated. As a result, once I realized why I had started coughing and feeling miserable, I shelved the project for a bit. Also, finishing Embers and running a D&D game for some friends took over my life for a little while, but Embers is now out1 and I’m finally getting a handle on balancing my prep work for the D&D game, which means time to work on this has materialized once more!

Full-resolution paper model mold base, front 3/4 No doubt spurred into action by seeing Rogue One, I dove head-first back to work. This time, I kept a fan running at all times and wore a simple dust mask, which prevented most of the fumes from getting anywhere near me. I also purchased the fellow pictured here on clearance at Target to keep me company while I worked.

Everything has come together exceedingly well, as far as I’m concerned. I hit on the idea of creating small little cardboard cross-section supports, hearkening back to my original design approach to this whole project. I noticed some structural deformation happening to the cardstock due to the growing weight of the model. Given that forestalling this kind of warping with the resin and fiberglass step is the next part of the plan, I didn’t want to go into that step with an already-warped model!

Cross section printout glued to flat cardboard
Cardboard cross-section supports on the face Cardboard cross-section supports on the scalp and brim

I looked over the major distortion points and created simple planes intersecting the helmet model in Blender, then printed these out with the paper model plugin the same way I had everything else so far. I rummaged around in the basement for a cardboard box of the approximate right dimensions and sturdiness and then got to work slicing these up and gluing them into place. I used a green marker to identify the vertex attachment points on the physical model that corresponded with the origin locations for the planes on the 3D model. Turned out as well as I hoped!

Here’s the completed helmet beside its prototype ancestors. The massive size of the original prototype doesn’t really come across in this picture due to perspective, but it dwarfs both the small sizing prototype and the full-resolution model.

Full-resolution paper model alongside low-resolution prototypes.

With ventilation now prominent in my mind and knowing that my next step involves resin and fiberglass, I need to resolve the workspace air quality issue. It’s the middle of winter, so working outside just isn’t an option. Fortunately, I have a solution that’s been waiting for me to realize it exists for over seven years: the small, unused, vaguely creepy basement side room beneath the sun room. I can’t realistically ventilate the entire house-length basement to the degree I’d need to for working with resin, but that little room is its own space with its own window. Getting enough airflow to keep it well-circulated is easily within reach of a hardware store ventilation fan and some dryer vent tubing to direct the fan’s airflow out the window.

Making those modifications to this proto-workshop is my next step. I’ve also started formulating concrete plans for the vacuform table I want to build to manufacture the rest of the armor, which I’ll try to post more about in the coming days and weeks.

  1. And the next book’s word count is increasing day by day, don’t worry! []

Success and Shaking

 Posted by at 14:52  No Responses »
Aug 232011

Apparently, that worked.

After taking Cody out for dinner, we came home and not only did I manage to sit down and pound out a couple thousand words in about an hour, but I also made time to play some guitar and work on a painting. The trick now will be keeping it up. Setting a consistent time to write will probably be the best tool in the box to make that happen. I started at 9pm yesterday. That’s late enough in the evening that I don’t feel like I have to do it right when I get home, but it’s also early enough that if I spend an hour or two writing, I still have a little time afterwards to do other stuff, too.

Of course, I did all of that stuff and then ran into the realization that I still hadn’t made any progress on my basement stairs. Sigh. Perhaps tonight I shall try to make some headway on that.

In other news, we just felt an earthquake that evidently originated out in Virginia. 5.9 out there, though only a very mild rocking here. Many people didn’t even notice it. Those of us that did weren’t sure what we were feeling and it wasn’t until news of the VA quake exploded that it made sense. It seems that such intraplate earthquakes are rare, but not unheard of. I got a kick out of the fact that this quake was mentioned on the Wikipedia article about intraplate quakes not an hour after it happened. Oh, Internet, you are delightful.


 Posted by at 23:03  No Responses »
Jun 182011

True to my word, I started on the vacuformer last night. The basic table framework is assembled — a gangly 3’x3’x3′ metal lattice of shelving parts. This afternoon, I headed out and bought a couple of cheap toaster ovens, the heating elements from which will end up as the oven component of the vacuform table. I couldn’t do much more construction until I had both of these components in hand, in order to properly plan out dimensions.

There’s also another impediment, which I’m working on presently. The basement stairs are, succinctly, a deathtrap. They’re very old wood held to the floor above by a thin piece of plywood and held up by one solid piece of wood and one cobbled-together leg. I am worried they’ll collapse out from under me every time I use them. Since the vacuform table is to be assembled and used in the basement, it’ll necessitate traversing these stairs on a regular basis. Not cool.

I’m building new ones. My big expedition today included transporting a great deal of lumber in my tiny Jetta (12′ long boards in a Jetta is quite a thing) from the store to the house. I’m presently in the process of slicing up the lumber destined to become the risers and steps. All the wood will get a nice sanded edge, be stained and sealed, and the new staircase will be supported by six 2″x8″ support beams.

While I’m not working on the stairs, I’ll be proceeding with planning out dimensions and materials for the vacuformer, so progress continues on that front continues unabated.