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Author Topic: SpaceClown's WIP Costume Build - Will Be Pic Heavy  (Read 29418 times)
SpaceClown
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« on: June 13, 2011, 07:03:57 pm »

Hello All, new member of the forums here with my inaugural posting.  

This isn’t my first steampunk build, but it is the first big one and the first I’m documenting here.  A couple years or so ago, I helped out with smaller builds for some friends' costumes.

This was a Fairy Hunter's Toolkit
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Toolkit Detail
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

And this was a compass (front)
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

and the back
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

and finally there was a set of goggles
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

At the time I built these was an absolute stranger to steampunk, but I liked the SP aesthetic; the hard blending of science and the fantastic.  So, after doing those smaller projects, I began thinking about my own SP costume.  I’m still mainly attracted to the look of steampunk, and I haven’t read much fiction in the genre, or done anything in the community.  Much of my experience is just garnered from my time lurking here at Brass Goggles.  

Still feeling quite noobish, I decided to just duck in and have some fun.  I’m chronicling the build, so hopefully I can solve problems or answer questions for your own projects by detailing my own efforts and frustrations with the materials, assemblies and detailing for the build.  This first post is after a few weeks of work, so I'll split up the early builds among a few posts until I'm posting regular updates.  

So here is where I started.  
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

This was a big lump of glass that I spotted at a local Michael’s Arts and Crafts.  I don’t know why, but it snagged in my brain and I figured I could do something with it eventually.  I picked it up, and in the car ride home, I saw the diamond in its place at the center of a device used for focusing and converting steam generated electricity into a beam or burst aetheric weapon.  

I decided that such a device would never fit within a handheld weapon, so I’d have to design a back mounted power source, and instead of a simple pistol grip emitter, I wanted something with more visual impact.  A power-glove type device is what I settled on.  

I also started thinking about a character to attribute all of this madness to.  I decided that I’d take a more Weird West direction rather than straight Victorian, even though the guy I’m building up was probably a transplant from Europe.  Something like an immigrant skilled laborer attracted to the frontier of the United States by the adventure and freedom, who arrives and finds himself in over his head with all the gunslingers, banditos and natives running amok.  He decided to give himself something to even the odds a bit, and slowly pulls together the parts to complete his device.  

That was a good enough start for me, so I started sketching.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

{Small aside time – I’ve noticed that in any of my builds, having exacting specifications to attain usually leads to a lot of needless frustration.  Being unable to machine my own parts, I’m always at the mercy of what I can scrounge, buy off the shelf and modify with my limited tools and know-how, so I prefer to have a far looser finished product in mind, that way I have much more room to play around with as I’m building.}

Once I knew (very roughly) what the device should look like, and what other props I would need for the costume, I moved onto more technical aspects, like components, assembly, materials, cost and encumbrance.  

I decided to stick mainly with plastics rather than metals (I know, I know, I know…even the mentioning of plastics around here is usually enough for the purists to get their knickers twisted, but I’m going to be wearing this thing around, and I’m not exactly made of money, so forgive my blasphemy until you see the finished product, then you can judge all you want), specifically, PVC conduit.  

If I had gone with metal, in order to keep the weight down I’d have been forced to use metals too thin to withstand the rigors of transportation and construction, and the impacts from people and things as it is worn around a crowded convention space.  There is also no way I could have afforded all the sheet brass it would have taken to build this thing.  If I had been designing a sculpture, I’d have stuck to the proper materials, but since this was designed to be worn, I decided to make it wearable.  

I broke the costume up into smaller assemblies to keep it from overwhelming me to the point where I’d be able to procrastinate.  I also gave myself about 10 or 11 months to complete the thing (necessary for two reasons, I don’t want to rush this, and it will take that long to cover the expense of the build purchases)

 -The backpack/power supply
 -The Power Glove
     o The PG Cannon
     o PG Cannon Housing
     o Leather Glove
     o Electrical/Glow-y Bit Conduit
 -The backup weapon holster (for a period slug thrower, which will be purchased)
 -The tool kit and belt, (which will be purchased and modified as needed)
 -and of course, the ubiquitous goggles.  

I have no idea how to sew (and I’m not terribly inclined to learn), so I’m punking out on that aspect, trusting the products of www.westernemporium.com  and www.gentlemansemporium.com to help me out with the clothing, as well as www.aurorahistoryboutique.com to help with the slug thrower.    

I do intend to learn some basic circuit design, soldering and such so I can do the electronic components myself.  Additionally, I looked around online for leather holsters and decided that I would do that myself as well, as the ready-made holsters were invariably both expensive and not the right size for the slug thrower I have in mind.

So, loose schematics in hand, I took a trip to my local hardware store (in this case, a Lowe’s) and bought the PVC conduit I’d need, plus the other major assembly pieces.  

In the next post, I'll get into the early build.

As always, comments and questions are quite welcome.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2011, 07:12:55 pm by SpaceClown » Logged

There is no problem in the world that cannot be overcome with the suitable application of high explosives.

First Build: http://brassgoggles.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,31253.0.html
Second One: http://brassgoggles.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,38856.0.html
SpaceClown
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2011, 07:29:39 pm »

I decided to start with the gauntlet/power glove

Step one was to trim a 4 foot section of 4” PVC to the right size for my forearm, which I did carefully with a hacksaw (knowing that any mangled edges would be covered on one side by the “blast shield”, and on the other by the 4” female adapter).  Ideally, I’d have used a bandsaw or tablesaw for this cut, but as I can store neither of those under my bed or in my closet, I had to make do with the handsaws. 

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

The “blast shield” was simply a 4” joint.  I cut a section out of it (again, hacksaw) perpendicular to the edge so that there was a proper gap for my hand, then moved on. 

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

The rear part is simply a 4” PVC female threaded adapter.  I plan to stick it on then later in the assembly I’ll use some kind of putty to fill in the threads, or more likely cover it with leather or fabric.  (This section won’t be attached just yet, as I’ll have to work on the inside of the main Power Glove section, placing some soft foam inside to make a snug fit, and securing the leather glove to the section of conduit.)

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

{A Side Note – On any PVC work, I had to go in and sand out the raised manufactures logos and the PVC tolerance notifications that are molded to each piece.  I mainly used 120 grit sandpaper, then finished it off with some 180, then 220 grit to get the plastic smoother.  Hopefully the blemishes won’t be too noticeable, but honestly I’m not sure what they’ll look like until the PVC parts are primed.}

So once all these pieces are together, it looks like this.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

The black glove you see in the above picture is one half of a leather BBQ glove set I picked up.  They ran about $10, and were just about perfect. 

With the basic form of the Power Glove set, I started working on the cannon next.  My original design called for three barrels, which were originally done with 1 inch PVC, but that gave the cannon assembly a vertical profile that was a bit too tall for the glove, so I used ½” CPVC instead.  (The main difference in the PVC and CPVC are really only material if you are actually using the conduit to transport material.  CPVC can handle hotter temperatures before bending and melting.)  I just cut them to size, and used a 45 degree angle to shape the business ends. 

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I have a large selection of plastic gears after a few months of scavenging (including the fortuitous opportunity to tear apart and old office copy machine….absolutely wonderful gears and greeblies in there, including something special I’m saving for the goggles), so I instantly wanted to incorporate some drive gears into the design of the cannon.  I have some brass gears liberated from a thoroughly broken anniversary clock as well, but those are too precious to use on an assembly where they will be mostly hidden.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I sorted the gears by the diameter of the central gap, and began looking for the proper rod to run through them.  After a week or so hitting hardware stores and sorting through wooden dowels (too flimsy) and other plastic bits that also would be likely to bend under the weight of the cannons over time, I found my answer at a JoAnn’s Fabrics and Crafts store. 

An 8mm wide, 11” knitting needle.  Made of aluminum and the perfect diameter for my selected gears, the needle would perform admirably in its repurposed duty as the central rod for the cannon assembly, easily taking the weight of the CPVC cannons.  There is a minor caveat.  Most of the needles you can buy are covered with a non-stick coating.  This means that you will have a devil of a time gluing anything to the needle.  Before you start plugging these things into a project, be sure to sand the shaft to get that non-stick stuff off.  You might also want to prime the shaft after you sand it.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
That one is blurry...sorry.

With the central rod selected, I needed a way to space the barrels around it evenly.  The answer came in the form of these lengths of rectangular plastic that I came across years ago.  I’ve used them in a few different projects, but any length of balsa or basswood, or anything you can cut to a consistent width would have done the trick. 

The needle, selected gears and spacers all assembled, and cut to size.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I used a resin epoxy to hold the barrels to the central rod (since most of it will be covered by the cannon housing, I wasn’t too concerned about the lack of proper mounts showing), and placed it aside for priming.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

One more post and I'll be caught up.


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SpaceClown
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2011, 07:36:25 pm »

Next was mounting the assembly to the Power Glove main body.  For this section of the build, as well as for the cannon housing, I used MDF board, which is fairly light, strong, has the bonus of being relatively easy to cut with hand tools, and can be painted to look like anything. 

I knew that I wanted the Power Glove to be somewhat easy to disassemble (for transportation and storage purposes), so instead of using glue or screws to hold the mounts in place, I decided not to secure the mounts to the base (using tape to hold things in place for the moment).  Instead, I’ll secure the mounts to the housing, and use hardware to secure the cannon housing to the Power Glove. 

I made a pattern for the supports, using the Power Glove housing to trace the proper curvature onto a sheet of graph paper.  Then I cut out a few mounts and did some test fitting, sanding and trimming them until I had it right.   

With the mounts cut to the right shape, I drilled a hole in them to hold the cannon/rod assembly.  Because the front of the cannon is glued and the barrels can’t be taken off of the rod, I extended the hole in one mount all the way to the top, forming a cradle that the rod would slip into.  Once everything is finalized, I’ll just add a cross-piece to keep the rod in place.  Making happy mistakes like this (I could have drilled out the mounts and glued the barrels on after placing the rod) increases the scratch-built/scavenged look I’m shooting for.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Now I was ready to fabricate the cannon housing.  I used MDF for this as well, for all the reasons I listed above.  I made a rough pattern and then transferred it to the MDF, but there was a bit more trial and error in this step than with the mounts.  I had to carefully sand and trim the bottom section to fit flush with the Power Glove housing.  Testing, sanding and testing again.  Patience is key, but after a spell I’ll have the sides of the housing cut and fit. 

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

So that's where I am right now.  I tinker with the build most days of the week, and tend to do work in spurts, but I promise to update as regularly as I can throughout the process. 

Thanks for taking a look, and I hope you guys will chime in with ideas and such. 
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Miles (a sailor)Martin
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2011, 12:44:40 am »

looking good so far. nice concept,nice build thread.  keep up the good work.  miles
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2011, 10:15:59 am »

I will be following this thread with great interest, nice work so far.

TTFN

Gunner
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2011, 10:41:43 pm »

I too am only new here with a fairly big build under way.  I have also used this forum to show step by step my progress.  I think there is no real better way to learn than to see what others have done, and when you get to see how they did it it's even better.  I'll be keeping a close eye on this project with great interest.  Best of luck.

Joey
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SpaceClown
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2011, 11:03:22 pm »

I too am only new here with a fairly big build under way.  I have also used this forum to show step by step my progress.  I think there is no real better way to learn than to see what others have done, and when you get to see how they did it it's even better.  I'll be keeping a close eye on this project with great interest.  Best of luck.

Joey

Many thanks, and thank you for taking the extra time to record your fantastic Nautilus WC build.  I'm really enjoying it, and the results are overwhelmingly impressive. 

SC
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amiemo162
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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2011, 12:19:43 am »

wow this stuff looks really good  Grin can't wait to see it finished. and i really like the fairy hunters tool kit, what does that consist of???
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Ray Hexx
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2011, 12:33:21 am »

I am impressed !!!  Thanks so much for sharing not only the finished product but the steps of the build.  Excited to see more.  The compass is my personal favorite!!!

Be safe, Ray
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« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2011, 12:37:21 am »

This is amazing! I love it. Shocked
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SpaceClown
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« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2011, 02:51:28 pm »

wow this stuff looks really good  Grin can't wait to see it finished. and i really like the fairy hunters tool kit, what does that consist of???

Thanks.  The tool kit started as a little box we picked up at a Hobby Lobby.  The internal packing was a few layers of inch thick foam insulation, with the holes cut out to accommodate the items.  The foam was covered in green fabric which I glued down with a 60/40 mix of wood glue and water.  

The jars were purchased (also Hobby Lobby), and fitted with labels.  There was salt, hobgoblin bones (a foot tall model human skeleton which donated the long bones to the project), lichen (purchased from Michael's Arts and Crafts) and currency (assorted shiny bits, buttons and anything that a fairly might like).  

There were also two test tubes, two white candles, a book of matches and the small journal that you can see in the detail photo.  The outside, which I didn't get a picture of, was decorated with some charms and such from Michael's.  

It was a fairly quick build, and very inexpensive, but also very educational.  I learned I hate working with fabric.  

SC
« Last Edit: June 15, 2011, 02:55:35 pm by SpaceClown » Logged
SpaceClown
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« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2011, 03:05:16 pm »

New Update on the Build.


I decided to go back to the cannon assembly and shore it up a bit before finishing the housing.  I noticed as I was tinkering with the cannon housing that the assembly was just too flimsy.  The more secure the assembly was, the easier it would be to cut and sand the housing.  Additionally, the added support would keep everything straight.

First I cemented the blast shield to the power glove’s main piece.  I figured that I wouldn’t need to remove it for any subsequent work on the gauntlet (cross my fingers and knock wood in the hopes that I’m right about that), so better set it in stone. 

With the PVC cement setting on the gauntlet, I moved to the cannon.  I wanted to run some threaded rods between the mounts and use bolts to secure the assembly together.  The smallest section I could buy was a foot long, so I broke out my trusty Dremel and cut the length into thirds. 

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I measured and drilled out the 3 sets of holes that the rods would go through.  The top two are just for support, but I planned on the third containing more gears and such.  I had to make sure the lower set wouldn’t get in the way of the gears that I had selected for the main rod in the center. 

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I selected some more gears that would look good for the lower threaded rod, slapped them on, then screwed the whole thing together to see how it was shaping up.  Unfortunately, after trying a lot of different combinations with the gears I had on hand, I wasn’t able to get a good match anywhere.  Either the diameter was wrong, or the diameter was good, but the teeth on the gears didn’t match.  In the end I decided just to get close.  Instead of using the gears to drive the cannon, I’ll look into running some belts between the two sets of gears. 

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

And a closer, unfortunately fuzzier look at the gears
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

So after an evening’s work, this is my progress so far on the Power Glove / Gauntlet.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

My next step will be to get the cannon housing sides all squared up and looking good.  That will just be a matter of holding the sides against the assembly pictured above, and sanding and trimming the side until it fits flush against the mounts and the gauntlet.  Now that things in the cannon assembly are much more secure, I should be able to knock that out without too much trouble. 

Hopefully I'll have that done by the end of the week. 

SC
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Gunner Gregson
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« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2011, 05:07:10 pm »

i am very much liking the pictures.
i see the cylinder rotator for the nerf maverick on the back of that compass Smiley
this should be awesome when finished and i cant wait.

Ananias S. Wildwire

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SpaceClown
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« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2011, 05:15:20 pm »

i am very much liking the pictures.
i see the cylinder rotator for the nerf maverick on the back of that compass Smiley
this should be awesome when finished and i cant wait.

Ananias S. Wildwire



Wow, great eyes Mr. Wildwire, that is indeed the mechanism from the Maverick. 

SC
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« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2011, 12:37:06 pm »

if you ever want to be able to machine your own parts you should go over to CNCzone and have a look around. I am betting you will find that building a home brew mill will only take longer than it did to cut those boards and allthread. the actual process is not any more difficult. and you have the idea of how to build a loose design and then use the way it is built to adjust the finished product. that is all you really need to build one other than maybe a micrometer or dial calipers that go down to thousandths of inches.
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SpaceClown
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« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2011, 08:00:50 pm »

if you ever want to be able to machine your own parts you should go over to CNCzone and have a look around. I am betting you will find that building a home brew mill will only take longer than it did to cut those boards and allthread. the actual process is not any more difficult. and you have the idea of how to build a loose design and then use the way it is built to adjust the finished product. that is all you really need to build one other than maybe a micrometer or dial calipers that go down to thousandths of inches.


Thanks for the website suggestion.  I would like to be able to machine my own parts and whatnot, but I live in an apartment, so space is a premium.  I can't afford a large rig at the moment, simply because I have nowhere to store it.  I've been looking around for ways to be able to replicate the effects of large power tools (table saws, drill presses, etc.) on a smaller, more hobby like scale.  i'm really interested in this device.

mini-TableSaw_Router_ShaperDQ


This meets the size/storage issue, and is perfect for hobby work. 

At least until I have a garage of my very own...then I'll have all kinds of fabulous toys. 

SC
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« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2011, 01:42:09 am »

the thing about building your own is that you control the size. I have seen them as small as mere 1 foot by 2 foot area of use. and they could be built much smaller. the real trick is getting the right controller. if you get a good controller you can use what ever size motor you want and smaller machines can be powered by a simple wall wart. the item you can not make smaller is your computer really. what I am waiting for is a way to run a controller from a smart phone.
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SpaceClown
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« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2011, 03:50:02 pm »

Brief update today.  I wasn’t able to get a lot of stuff done this weekend.

In looking at the cannon housing as I had originally cut it out, it didn’t look bulky enough.  Over the weekend I re-cut the housing, and instead of having each side be a single piece, I separated the pattern to create two pieces for each side. 

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

This added some bulk to the cannon unit, and makes it slightly more interesting to look at. 

I also began painting the cannon assembly, as that is getting to the point where I’m going to have to finalize things and get the cannon put together for good. 

I’m also thinking about my decision to have the cannon be removable.  At first I thought it would be neat, but now that I’m elbow deep in the build, I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be better to make the cannon and the gauntlet a single unit.  That would make the electronic component much easier to deal with to be sure, and it would also mean that the whole thing would be a bit more secure.

I’m still torn though.  Any thoughts or comments on the idea would be appreciated.

SC
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Drew P
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« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2011, 11:03:47 pm »

I am also watching this to see the end product-looks cool!

Sidenote-I turned an old constant speed dremel into a router sorta the same way that guy did a few years back.I use it for shaping metal-it's alittle loud at 30,000 rpm,but works and all I needed was some scrap wood. Oh,and earplugs!
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« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2011, 01:22:38 pm »

I say! That's mighty fine work there!  Smiley
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« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2011, 03:39:38 pm »

Thanks Dew, thanks Jupiter.  Hope you continue to enjoy the build.  I have another small update this morning. 


I moved back to the cannon assembly last night, squaring away the section of the assembly that is going to be exposed.  I knew that there was less and less that I was going to be doing on that section, so it was time to paint it up before it got too hard to reach, as the housing and the lighting rig are added.

With the pieces still all separated out and primed then coated with a basic black color, I wanted to get them looking like metal, but since this was a section of the cannon that gets a lot of action, and probably a lot of oil, I didn’t want it to be very clean looking. 

Most of my painting is done with acrylic colors, purchased from Michael’s Arts and Crafts (no, they aren’t paying me…unfortunately).  There are a few different brands of paint I use, but for metallic colors, the best I’ve found is a brand called Folk Art. 

I should interject at this point that the bottle paints are great for smaller paint jobs.  The more area you have to cover with paint, the harder it becomes to get an even coat.  You start to find that there are uneven spots, brush marks and every now and then a bristle that is embedded in the paint, having come loose from the brush.  For large areas, spray paint is the way to go, unless you have access to a compressor and an airbrush. 

The pieces below were painted with a simply drybrushing technique (don’t use an overly expensive brush for this kind of work.  If you are drybrushing correctly, it means you are viciously abusing the brush, and ruining it for anything other than more drybrushing).  Over the black base coat I brushed on an Antique Gold, then the mid level was Pure Gold, followed by very soft highlights with Inca Gold.  I made sure that the mid level and highlights were subtle, letting a lot of the dark undercoat come through to give the appearance of wear and grime on the gears, bolts and rods. 

When I was done it looked a little like this.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Once the pieces were about where I wanted them, I reassembled the cannon.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

The ends of the bolts on the right side of the above picture will be cut off so right at the nut so that there will be room for the batteries that are going to power the LEDs. 

As I was test fitting and adjusting the cannon assembly, I decided that the area of the gauntlet right below all of the exposed gear work should be broken up.  Obviously I intend to paint the PVC below the assembly when the time comes, but I wanted the bottom to be more visually interesting, so I grabbed some MDF scraps, and made two small lengths that will sit on the bottom of the assembly.  They were painted the same way as the rest, except I didn’t bother with the brightest highlight color, since that would be the cruddiest part of the whole thing. 

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I also plan on slapping on some gears and small doohickeys to further break up the bottom, and try to really marry the cannon assembly to the gauntlet housing.  After that there will just be a final touch up on the paint, and I’ll cover everything with a matte clear coat to protect the paint job.

I’ve grabbed a piece of wood veneer that I plan on slapping onto the cannon housing once I’m finished tweaking it and planning where the holes for the electronics need to be drilled.  I also picked up some very small basswood planks that I’ll use for detailing the housing, but sadly that will have to wait at least until Thursday. 

Hopefully I’ll have an update Friday morning.

Also, I’m undecided on the final color for the barrels.  I was thinking a nice deep metallic red, with a lot of black scorching close to the business ends from the heat and aetheric energies.  I think the red would look fine against the brass, copper and dark wood color of the housing, but I would welcome any suggestions. 

SC

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« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2011, 03:04:27 pm »

New update today.

I applied the wood laminate to the Cannon Housing, and then trimmed it to shape using a utility knife.  The laminate is actually wood veneer flooring, which I picked up at Lowes.  I thought about a wood patterned contact paper, but I couldn’t fins a dark enough color without having to order it and wait days or weeks for it to come in, so I went with the flooring.  One side of the laminate it adhesive, so it was exceedingly simple to stick the MDF to it and then trim it.  The results aren’t too bad.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

The cross section of the cannon housing is a giveaway, but I plan on covering that with the basswood trim, which will be stained and applied with wood glue in the detailing phase.

I began to realize here that I had drifted off of exact measurements for the Cannon Housing, so cutting the top, front and back pieces would be much easier if I could use the Cannon Assembly itself as a guide.  To do this I knew I was going to have to join the side panels to the Cannon Mounts, but before I would be able to do that, I needed to finish up all of the drilling on the side panels, which meant before I could go forward, I needed to design the lighting rig in earnest, and get the main body of the Power Glove painted and drilled out.

I had to pause here to make sure I had the correct steps in the correct order.  I really can’t stress enough how big a deal planning is for builds like this.  Taking the time to walk through each section of the build and look for problems will help immensely because you can solve most problems before you encounter them.   Of course some do pop up in the course of building things, but for the most part the more you can plan and visualize, the easier things will be. 

The Lighting Rig

I decided to light sections of the Power Glove and the backpack Power Supply simply for the “Wow” factor.  When I helped my fiancée with her costume (the Fairy Hunter), she told me she wanted some alchemical reagents as part of her equipment.  I gathered some interesting looking bottles, and used the guts of a few glow sticks to make the liquid glow brightly (for a couple of hours).  During the time she wore her costume, she got more comments and questions about the glowing bottle of liquid than about any other aspect of her costume.  I figured that if I ever did one, lights or glow-y bits would make the costume stand out in particular, so lighting became a must for me.   

After some designing and thinking about the Gauntlet, I settled on adding some warm light to the exposed gear work at the rear, drawing attention to the detail work I did there, and creating a pipeline of condensed aetheric material that would power the cannon.  I had seen articles and videos on YouTube showing how highlighter ink can be hit with ultraviolet light to make a glowing liquid, and knew that was how I was going to get the pipeline working. 

The yellow light for the exposed gear work consists of two 5mm yellow LEDs, a 150 ohm resistor, a 9 volt power supply and a toggle switch. 

The circuit for the UV LEDs is basically the same, except there are 4 LEDs and two resistors. 

The UV liquid is just water and yellow highlighter ink, contained in a few small glass bottles I picked up in a set at Michaels.  The yellow ink creates a vibrant greenish yellow when hit with UV light.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

The Yellow Circuit will all be hidden in the area behind the exposed gear work, but the UV circuit will be bigger, and require a way to hide it.  After looking around at various methods and materials for the lighting rig, I settled on 3/8” copper tubing which is easy to cut, and period enough for me to not need to paint it once it was done. 

I sketched out how I wanted the rig to look, and after some compromising due to the diameter of the tubing, and settled on a basic layout.  There will be two tubes, on either side of the Cannon, each with a single “aetheric fuse” (bottle filled with UV liquid). 

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

(The above image has the copper tubing mounts more or less in place and drilled.  The explanation for those is below)

I drilled holes in the rear Cannon Mount to accommodate the two yellow LEDs, and in the inward facing side of the Cannon Housing for the switches for my two circuits. 

I needed to decide how to mount the copper to the Cannon Housing.  I could have just drilled holes right into the housing, but I was worried about the effect all these large holes would have on the strength of the MDF.  I looked through my various boxes of materials and came across these conical pieces of wood, probably from Michael’s.  As it so happens, the copper pipe elbow pieces fit inside the center holes of these wooden doodads perfectly.  I stained the pieces a dark color to match the dark wood grain on the laminate.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Using these as braces, I’d have plenty of surface area to apply strong epoxy glue to the Housing, which should have held just fine.  There was a nagging voice in the back of my head that questioned whether that would be enough, and if the weight of the copper pipe wouldn’t eventually peel the laminate right off of the MDF Housing.  So, knowing that this voice has saved me in the past when I listened to it (and still mocks me for the times I didn’t), I decided to take a look at how I could strengthen the connection of copper pipe to the Housing. 

Eventually I hit upon using small dowels to act as pins, securing the wooden cones to the Cannon Housing in addition to the glue.  I think that will work just fine.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

The white specs above are just the small dowels in place.  I was just test-fitting things here.  The dowels will be stained slightly lighter than the mount for the final assembly.

I drilled out the wiring access holes in the Cannon Mounts, as well as the anchor holes and wiring access holes on the sides of the Cannon Housing, and was just about ready to being wiring the circuits, and securing the copper tube to its final home. 

Before I can do that though, I need to get the Gauntlet Housing ready to receive the Cannon Assembly.

SC


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« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2011, 03:19:39 pm »

I dont have time to reqqd the full article, I've glanced at it and looked at the prety pictures.  Rest assured that I'll he back tomorrow to have a proper read through.
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« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2011, 05:18:40 pm »

Hello All,

Small update today.  I haven't been able to do much for the past few days. 

I began to feel like I was juggling a lot of smaller sub-assemblies.  I guess it couldn’t be helped, since I was trying to get everything completed, so the next few posts will probably be all over the place, but rest assured, I'm still following the build plan I drafted. 

Gauntlet Prep

I wanted a small pipe running along the length of the Housing, and I know that the Gauntlet needed a pressure gauge, holes for the eyelets that the leather belts will hook up to, and a connection for the hose that will run from the Gauntlet to the Power Supply, so I needed to drill those holes into the PVC, which I did.  Immediately after sanding and test fitting the pieces, I primed the Gauntlet Housing.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

The little black pipe is ½” CPVC, with a couple of elbow braces.   It was primed, then given two dry-brush highlights, first silver then a dark red color.  Hopefully it looks convincing as aged iron.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I planned on a few coats of the base color on the Gauntlet Housing, and with the ambient humidity down here in New Orleans, the drying time on each coat of paint was going to be substantially longer than normal.  In between applying coats to the Housing, it was suggested to me that the Cannon Housing could benefit from some aging and weathering. 

The first thing I did was stain the pieces, being fairly sloppy with the application.  This created a nice uneven look to the wood.  Of course that also means a lot of drying time, since the thick section of stain was tacky for days.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Original color of the Cannon Housing for reference:

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

After the stain had dried, I found that it was fairly dark and grimy looking to begin with, so I was able to let it be for the most part.  I’ll always be able to go back (and I probably will, when it is time to place the basswood trim onto the Housing) and touch up if I feel more weathering is needed

After a few coats of the base color, the Gauntlet Housing was looking like this.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

The color is Rost-Oleum Metallic Aged Brass.

Of course, I realized after applying two coats of the base color that I should have really roughed up the edge of the Blast Shield, making dings, splits and gouges that would have occurred in use. 

It would mean more work, and possibly seriously messing up a major part of the build, but I wanted that detail on the Gauntlet, so there was nothing for it but to go after the Blast Shield with some tools and fix the paint damage afterwards by sanding as needed, more primer and a new coat or two of the base color.  Hopefully by Friday

SC
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Joeynana
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« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2011, 10:36:18 pm »

Your painting technique is awesome.
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