The Face Of The Future

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Mar 152016

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Been quiet on the stormtrooper front of late, but it’s still coming along!

Face plate as of March 12 Full face and forehead as of March 15

Still all done with tape, with a few exceptions where I resorted to superglue (and nearly stuck my fingers together several times). I’m thinking about trying hot glue as an alternative. Still sets quickly, but is a little more forgiving. Messy, though…

A New Level Of Detail

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Oct 262015

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I may have gone a little overboard with how detailed the paper printout of this model is. That said, it’s going to look amazing when it’s done.

The mic tip inset

I’ve been assembling everything with nothing but scotch tape so far. Cutting up tiny strips of tape and putting enough pressure on them to make sure they stay in place is proving incredibly tedious, though, and I’m mulling over various glue solutions. (Elmer’s? Superglue? Something else?)

Pieces under construction

Even so, when I can put it beside my two prototypes and see just how much better it is, it’s worth the effort.

Comparison with the prototypes

Sep 192013

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As of September 10, I finally had all of the cross-sections cut!


I’d been working in the basement, since the stairs were finally done, but all of the pieces felt a bit damp (not severely so, just…not as firm as one might expect).  I brought everything upstairs to dry out for the night before I started gluing the cross-sections to the profile. I’ve been doing that two-at-a-time, more than a little frustrated by how “slow” Elmer’s is to bond. Really, though, that’s just impatience talking.

As I’ve been going, I noticed that the thin cardboard of the main profile is actually bending a fair amount, which I’m going to have to figure out how to correct before I start filling in the foam. Would be a shame to go to all this trouble to achieve a fair amount of symmetry only to have my entire axis be wobbly!

I also had a minor crisis last night, when I realized that I had mislabeled cross-sections 25 and 27 (part of the “face”). I realized this when I went to put on cross-section 26 (i.e. after 25 had set) and it was larger than its predecessor. I checked my Blender file and all was well, but the profile I had in Blender did not at all match the profile I expected to see for 25, based on the printout template and the cross-section itself. Sure enough, I had mislabeled it (and 27) in Photoshop! Cue emergency surgery to slice that cross-section off of the main profile and replace it with 27.

I just attached the “true” 27 a few moments ago. Here’s how it’s shaping up:

(Bonus: In the background on the right, you can see the two toaster ovens that I’m going to use to form the plastic-warming oven for my vacuform table!)

Halloween Redux

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Oct 152009

I’m excited about Halloween.

Cody and I have decided to pair as Dr. Horrible (her) and Captain Hammer (me).  They’re simple costumes, so they don’t really fulfill that deep-seated need to construct something  epic.  However, they’re fun costumes that we can achieve with the time we have.  Most of the attendees at the party we’re attending should recognize the outfits, which is a bonus.

So, that’s good news.

From a more long-term point of view, I did some reading up and I severely underestimated the utility of papier-mâché.  I’ve been imagining a future filled with hot ABS plastic and noxious fiberglass-resin fumes because those seemed the only ways to get good, smooth, solid costume pieces. I’ve always thought of papier-mâché as crude and flimsy.  In the form I used, it was.  But that’s because I was only exploring part of it.  Check out this guy.

It makes a lot of sense, if one pauses to think about it. At its most basic, papier-mâché is the same thing as fiberglass: fibers suspended in a glue.  Paper is a lot stronger than one might give it credit for, too.  Sure, we can rip paper by pulling nearby sections in opposite directions, but have you ever tried to tug on it from two opposite ends?  It’ll give, but not without effort and usually local to the area where you’re pulling, not in the middle where the highest stress is.  Paper’s strong stuff.  Add glue to the mix and you’ve got a decent material—if you execute it correctly.

What’s more, the “strip” form is only one of the two ways to use papier-mâché.  The other, using pulped paper, ends up as a clay-like material that can be molded and shaped however you want.  Way more versatile.  Layer something up with several layers of strips, work in detail with the clay form, and then waterseal it with lacquer of some kind and you’ve got a pretty formidable piece of hardware that’ll stand up to a good amount of weathering.

Get some fine-grained sandpaper to smooth it down, and you might, might have something on par with ABS plastic or fiberglass—as far as costuming goes, anyway—and at a fraction of the cost and risk (glass fibers can do terrible things to your lungs; where’s the risk in water, paper, and flour?).

Suffice it to say I plan to test out this hypothesis at the earliest opportunity.  If it works, hoo boy.  I shall become a costume making machine.