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Author Topic: Arm Made of Gears - HELP A GIRL OUT  (Read 496 times)
ladylullaby
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« on: May 09, 2017, 09:29:13 pm »

Howdy y'all
(Have I established by American-ness yet or should I include a depressed eagle and confused fireworks?)

I'm making a steampunk'd Sailor Jupiter (complete with a hand-stitched petticoat that lights up like LIGHTENING) and have run into one design conundrum. I want to create a metal arm make of gears and the like topped with a replica of the planet Jupiter. I have two problems I would love to tap into the steampunk community for:

First, I am not sure how to include such a large foam ball on top and still have reasonable mobility, and am considering leather straps holding it in place, potentially adding to the illusion that the arm is fake (I know that can be problematic and isn't what I'm aiming for, but I am just recognizing the possibility). It would most likely look very Attack-on-Titan-esque and I don't wish to cover up the iconic sailor collar too much, as to detract from the original Jupiter design form the anime. If you have any suggestions on how to properly turn a giant foam ball into a wearable arm cap outside of straps to increase stability, I would love to hear your suggestions.

Second, I wish to make the arm out of gears that will incorporate battery-powered mini string lights. I'm buying cheap jumbo packs of gears off of ebay that are simply cheap metal scraps, and already have some useful pieces scrapped from a broken sewing machine and old science-y tools. This includes a half-circle metal plate, some pieces that extent and retract relatively easy, and a broken compass. My plan is to solder the vortex of the compass (the joint connecting the two moving pieces) to the metal plate in a way that it will still be able to move for the elbow joint, but that's all I got. I do have only limited access to two soldering guns (thanks engineer partner and metallurgy bff) and don't want to abuse them too much. I am considering using thin floral wire to create a frame out of gears to conform to my arm shape, but would love suggestions of how to mold the shape so it's reasonably wearable.
(I am using the technique Victorians used to make arm cuffs to attach the arm using rows of buttons and ribbons. So that's all figured out but I would still love suggestions.)

Thank you for bearing with me. (NOTE: I will include pictures of the design when I get to a computer that isn't public.)
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RJBowman
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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2017, 03:34:13 am »

Scrap the styrofoam ball and find a transparent plastic replacement; you can then cut out a section to make it fit over your shoulder like an epaulet or shoulder pad. You can then paint the features of the planet onto the sphere while leaving enough transparent surface exposed that you can pack it with lights and gears and they will still be visible. If you can find black-light LEDs, you could paint patterns on the sphere with fluorescent to make a luminous planet suggestive of the Sailor Scouts' astral powers.

For the arm, you're essentially making armor, and you might actually be able to by vacu-formed armor from a costume supplier or, if you are really ambitious and have access to the equipment, you can make a form for the arm and vacu-form your own.

If those options are unavailable or not to your liking, you can build the arm from flexible plastic sheeting from a craft shop or if that isn't available, I have heard of people using plastic for-sale signs available from hardware stores; since you will probably be painting it anyway, the color or printing on the sign shouldn't matter. You could even cut plastic pieces from large plastic bottles (2-liter soda bottles for example), and you may even be able to make use of some of the various odd bottle shapes to give the arm compound curves or other surface features.

The trick, to make it look like a prosthetic rather than armor, is to avoid bulk, and make it look like there is machinery in the spaces that your arm occupies.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2017, 04:46:13 am »

Not very well versed in the Sailor Moon universe (not my cup of tea, too far back in time and wrong Anime subgenre), though perhaps I can see a sailor uniform with mini-bustle skirt, and a good amount of white fabric with emerald green and pink accents (of which I'd emphasize the green more)...

Regarding the mechanical arm with Jupiter globe, does it have to be solid foam, and a whole sphere globe? And why so big? Instead of a whole globe, could it be just like a half sphere "stone" over the back of the glove (a typical anime magical girl device)? If you were to make an image view of the Jupiter centred at the polar region (i.e. looking at Jupiter from the north or south poles), a simple clockwork mechanism hidden under the half sphere would rotate the planet without you having to have a whole spehere attached to your hand. You could have the North pole rotating in your right hand and the South pole rotating on your left hand.

Have have you seen these?
http://www.flamingpear.com/gallery46.html

http://www.vendian.org/mncharity/dir3/planet_globes/

A quick search on "Steampunk Sailor Jupiter" returns images of corsets and arm/leg armour plates in green with just a few accents (bow) in pink. Not that remarkable.

Since Sailor Jupiter is supposed to have power over nature... I'd suggest that armour over the body should incorporate a certain style and certain devices besides gears. Two thoughts on this:

1. Electrical devices. Don't confine yourself to gears. Electricity is also very Steampunk.

   Keywords: Electromagnetism, Tesla Coil and Solenoids, Condensers (capacitors) and Leyden jars. Plenty of copper wire.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_coil

A Tesla Coil

2. Decoration. Take your cues from actual history. Add a realistic flavour from the period -even if your fans are not educated enough in the period to recognize it . You'd be surprised how your Steampunk suddenly becomes much more realistic, especially as those few who do understand history or the art of the period begin to ask questions. That is a teachable moment.

Use organic shapes, reminiscent of plant life. These were featured as an aesthetic "revolution" in the Late Victorian Era art and architecture. The main examples are Jugendstil and Art Nouveau, which usually incorporated varied items such as leaves, trees, insects, flowers, etc., which can be easily applied as decoration to armour or dress alike. Shapes became less structured and more organic and asymmetrical toward the end of the 19th. C. in preparation for the 20th C.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Nouveau

Commercial Lithograph for F. Champenois, Editor, by Alphonse Mucha (1897)


Perhaps a plasma disk embedded into an Art Nouveau motif?


An interesting concept. Art Nouveau/Mucha-esque superheroines:

http://ilikethesepixels.com/superhero-ladies-in-alphonse-mucha-art-nouveau-style/

A few people have dabbled with the concept already even if not very well IMHO:
http://imgur.com/gallery/VKz4G (third from the top)
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/176133035401209542/
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 06:55:09 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged

RJBowman
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2017, 02:38:52 pm »

Wilhelm's suggestion of an art nouveau design gave me another idea;  makeup prosthesis. The surface of the prosthetic arm could be molded in latex and applied like a second skin. Like Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy:


It would not be a small, casual project. You would have to make an alginate mold of your arm and make a casting to use as the base for the model. Then you would have to sculpt details over the casting to create mechanical details and nouveau flourishes. Then you would have to make a mold of the sculpted arm and use that to make a latex skin that would be applied to your actual arm (I'm not sure what they use to glue this in place but there are many people that do alien makeup for cosplay and there is certain to be a web site out there)
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ladylullaby
Swab

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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2017, 12:10:04 am »

Scrap the styrofoam ball and find a transparent plastic replacement; you can then cut out a section to make it fit over your shoulder like an epaulet or shoulder pad. You can then paint the features of the planet onto the sphere while leaving enough transparent surface exposed that you can pack it with lights and gears and they will still be visible. If you can find black-light LEDs, you could paint patterns on the sphere with fluorescent to make a luminous planet suggestive of the Sailor Scouts' astral powers.

For the arm, you're essentially making armor, and you might actually be able to by vacu-formed armor from a costume supplier or, if you are really ambitious and have access to the equipment, you can make a form for the arm and vacu-form your own.

If those options are unavailable or not to your liking, you can build the arm from flexible plastic sheeting from a craft shop or if that isn't available, I have heard of people using plastic for-sale signs available from hardware stores; since you will probably be painting it anyway, the color or printing on the sign shouldn't matter. You could even cut plastic pieces from large plastic bottles (2-liter soda bottles for example), and you may even be able to make use of some of the various odd bottle shapes to give the arm compound curves or other surface features.

The trick, to make it look like a prosthetic rather than armor, is to avoid bulk, and make it look like there is machinery in the spaces that your arm occupies.

Thank you for bringing up the topic of bulk! I'm still going to go with as many gears as possible but the idea of using soda cans or more traditional ways of getting around armor is simply something I have yet to tackle, and has given me plenty to research. The plastic ball has a hollowness I like, as opposed to the potentially messy hollow ball that could easily be damaged. Thank you for the wonderful ideas!
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ladylullaby
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@whoisthisricki
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« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2017, 12:16:32 am »

Not very well versed in the Sailor Moon universe (not my cup of tea, too far back in time and wrong Anime subgenre), though perhaps I can see a sailor uniform with mini-bustle skirt, and a good amount of white fabric with emerald green and pink accents (of which I'd emphasize the green more)...


Thank you so much for your art deco suggestions and adding more electricity! I am creating a slightly altered but generally in-period petticoat with lights throughout, but the idea of physically adding magical-girl themed art to my person is a wonderful idea. The Tesla coils really got my gears turning on how to make the Jupiter wand. And I guess I am a little stuck on gears for the arm, but including more early-electricity motifs across it is very clever! I think I am going to switch to a plastic ball for the arm, and I want it big to emulate Jupiter because she isn't the most popular of scouts and I want to make sure nobody mistakes me for Loki (same colors). If you do have any suggestions on down-sizing anything for ease of movement while still being obvious about my character ( I know it's not your cup of tea, which is probably why you would have a fantastic opinion on making sure I won't be mistaken ) I would love to hear them. Thank you!
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2017, 03:19:25 am »

Like a very large Jupiter cuff bracelet bangle on your wrist?

Funny you mention Art Deco. Technically, Art Deco is the exact opposite of Art Nouveau.

Whereas Art Nouveau is about organic asymmetrical shapes and natural colours with natural materials, Art Deco came in the 1920s with highly geometric and symmetric shapes, in man made materials like brass, steel or aluminum, and if natural materials are used, they are "cold" materials such as marble and granite, preferably contrasting with metal accents. It's main subject is modernity. Think giant sky scrapers, internal combustion engine, electric and radio devices, and aluminum airplanes. Very Dieselpunk.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Nouveau

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Deco

In Steampunk there is always a balance between the technical and the artistic, and we're not afraid to combine historical periods, as that is the whole point of Steampunk. More than anything we are anachronists.

More modern technology like electric devices will meld with the highly geometric Art Deco. Older technology like gears and steam will meld with the older Neo Gothic and Romantic styles of the Victorian Era, which are also geometric, albeit different. But Art Nouveau sits right in between the two periods and is based on nature which is the subject of Sailor Jupiter, see?

But, pedantry aside, this discussion recalls the style used by Japanese manga studio CLAMP's xXx-Holic manga/anime series, where the animation is drawn in a style reminescent of Japanese wooden block print, and where the style is an equal mix of 1890s Art Nouveau and 1920s Art Deco.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XxxHolic

Their latest spinoff:

http://www.mangahere.co/manga/xxxholic_rei/

Right click to zoom

Really interesting graphics, and the book manga is a work of art itself. It's difficult to see how you could meld these two disparate styles, but when drawn together with a Japanese print style it makes a lot of sense.

Perhaps give your character an edgier look with a Hime-princess look (Google Japanese term, but basically like a Flapper bob in the front, but with the hair on the back very long, like the main female character in xXxHolic - at the expense of recognizability because the original Sailor Moon characters are so... well, 1980s, shall we say?

Or perhaps not. Just make her with an all-short bob, closer to the 1920s styles.  It looks to me that Sailor Jupiter is naturally tuned to a 1980s New-Wave short-bob look, vaguely related to the 1920s Flapper "wavy-bob" hair cut.

Somewhere between Art Nouveau and Art Deco, there is a congruence that will match your character's concept, though it's difficult to visualize now, TBH.

Perhaps I'm babbling to much Cheesy I tend to do that

JW
« Last Edit: May 11, 2017, 05:34:44 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
RJBowman
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« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2017, 03:31:31 am »

Thank you for bringing up the topic of bulk! I'm still going to go with as many gears as possible but the idea of using soda cans or more traditional ways of getting around armor is simply something I have yet to tackle, and has given me plenty to research. The plastic ball has a hollowness I like, as opposed to the potentially messy hollow ball that could easily be damaged. Thank you for the wonderful ideas!

I recommend against using actual metal for the arm; especially the thin aluminum from soda cans. The edges of plastic sheeting, if they rub against your skin, may scratch and irritate. The edges of aluminum can metal will cut you.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2017, 05:03:52 am »

Question: How prominent or lacking is the astrological sign for Jupiter ( ), in the Japanese anime/manga(s) whichever it may be?

The reason I ask is because that is a very obvious symbol which could be worn on the chest, the waist, or the pelvic (low waist) areas - like an oversize cameo. It's perhaps too much of a super hero cliché to wear such a device on the body, but seems to me to make perfect sense, if identity is an issue. Would it be a recognizable symbol by the younger convention crowd?


And a large spherical cuff bangle/bracelet. Something like this: https://www.etsy.com/listing/178824704/clear-silicone-mold-for-fashion-runway but much bigger, such that it unmistakeably looks like a planet? With the image of Jupiter's surface, and the "big eye" storm every one knows?




« Last Edit: May 11, 2017, 06:15:21 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
Otto Von Pifka
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« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2017, 04:10:05 pm »

ok here goes my 2 cents worth

as far as I can understand you want a sort of spaulder  that is a globe that looks like Jupiter and an artificial looking arm to go with it.

to hold any sort of round object on your shoulder you will need a lot of support to keep it in place, I would suggest a sort of sam brown belt to start with, they sell white dress uniform types for marching bands and such, ive even seen surplus military parade belts in white. you would have to make sure the shoulder strap will go over the shoulder with the globe. to this would be a sort of epaulette to mount any hardware for the globe to hook to and to also attach to the arm cover.  something like a military police armband which fits the upper arm and has a built in epaulette to keep it in place.
the arm cover I would use craft foam to build it up in layers for both strength and detail work, and cover that in metallic tape. make the upper arm piece a slight taper with a long strap at the top that would go over the top of your shoulder and meet up with the sam brown shoulder strap.
the lower arm would be similar and the two would be connected by two discs of craft foam with a two paper binder rivets holding to the top and bottom arm pieces. these would act like two swivel points to allow for more freedom of movement compared to just one hinge point.

the upper arm piece could probably be one piece closed but the lower piece may need to be split open to pass the hand and close to conform to the arm. make the lower cover overlap itself and either use sticky back Velcro strips on the seam or tape in some magnets to either piece to hold it shut.
with aluminum duct tape you get a harder surface but the edges can be hard and chafe a bit so maybe use regular duct tape for the build up.
by adding strips of foam cut out in shapes and then taped down leaving stepped edges you will make it look more 3D and purposeful. the thicker spots will make it stiffer overall too. the final layer of tape can be colored mylar metallic tape to give it a golden finish just be careful and smooth it carefully. afterwards you can then make holes for the gears to spin on using the split pins they make to bind papers together with, the heads will look like rivets. on the inside where the rivet arms will hit you, you can place more foam as padding and tape it in place.

the globe itself will be fairly unwieldy even out of foam, I would suggest either a half globe lamp cover made of plastic or a mushroom cover light shade for it, it will be heavier but will sit more down on the shoulder and be less of a nuisance. they have cheap clip on light shades that have wires to grab directly to a light bulb and you can work with that or use the mushroom style made of plastic and add small holes to attach it to an epaulette. I would use either Velcro or magnets to hold it in place and mount a light directly to the epaulette. they sell xmas led strings for trees and other decorations that use a battery pack for power, fairly small that could be incorporated into the arm or tucked into the sam brown belt to hide it
paint the inside of the globe with faux stain glass paints(for translucence) and wear a undershirt with long sleeves to cover the arm inside the foam and just cut off one sleeve to expose your other arm. a pair of formal gloves with maybe some artwork on the mechanical hand to look more like wiring and servo bits (not quite borg but pointing in that direction)
the sam belt can be made from surplus thrift store belts, I've made a few from them and they looked and worked fine, just two skinny belts made the shoulder strap and a wider waist belt added to that. cheapest way to hold them together is to loop the ends of the skinny belts so that they slip over the wide belt and rivet it to itself using a short low profile head screw and an acorn nut so the nut is to the outside and not against you, all hardware store items. you could even then paint the belt using spray upholstery paint, it wont be indestructible but can be touched up after a while if need be, white should be available but maybe even green or pink to match the characters colors.

good luck with your costume, it may seem daunting but just keep at it and it will come together in the end


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ladylullaby
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« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2017, 05:54:40 pm »

Like a very large Jupiter cuff bracelet bangle on your wrist?

Funny you mention Art Deco. Technically, Art Deco is the exact opposite of Art Nouveau.

Whereas Art Nouveau is about organic asymmetrical shapes and natural colours with natural materials, Art Deco came in the 1920s with highly geometric and symmetric shapes, in man made materials like brass, steel or aluminum, and if natural materials are used, they are "cold" materials such as marble and granite, preferably contrasting with metal accents. It's main subject is modernity. Think giant sky scrapers, internal combustion engine, electric and radio devices, and aluminum airplanes. Very Dieselpunk.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Nouveau

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Deco

In Steampunk there is always a balance between the technical and the artistic, and we're not afraid to combine historical periods, as that is the whole point of Steampunk. More than anything we are anachronists.

More modern technology like electric devices will meld with the highly geometric Art Deco. Older technology like gears and steam will meld with the older Neo Gothic and Romantic styles of the Victorian Era, which are also geometric, albeit different. But Art Nouveau sits right in between the two periods and is based on nature which is the subject of Sailor Jupiter, see?

But, pedantry aside, this discussion recalls the style used by Japanese manga studio CLAMP's xXx-Holic manga/anime series, where the animation is drawn in a style reminescent of Japanese wooden block print, and where the style is an equal mix of 1890s Art Nouveau and 1920s Art Deco.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XxxHolic

Their latest spinoff:

http://www.mangahere.co/manga/xxxholic_rei/

Right click to zoom

Really interesting graphics, and the book manga is a work of art itself. It's difficult to see how you could meld these two disparate styles, but when drawn together with a Japanese print style it makes a lot of sense.

Perhaps give your character an edgier look with a Hime-princess look (Google Japanese term, but basically like a Flapper bob in the front, but with the hair on the back very long, like the main female character in xXxHolic - at the expense of recognizability because the original Sailor Moon characters are so... well, 1980s, shall we say?

Or perhaps not. Just make her with an all-short bob, closer to the 1920s styles.  It looks to me that Sailor Jupiter is naturally tuned to a 1980s New-Wave short-bob look, vaguely related to the 1920s Flapper "wavy-bob" hair cut.

Somewhere between Art Nouveau and Art Deco, there is a congruence that will match your character's concept, though it's difficult to visualize now, TBH.

Perhaps I'm babbling to much Cheesy I tend to do that

JW


Thank you so much for clarifying! That is what I meant to say, but couldn't think of the actual word when I was writing my reply. Thanks for the clarification and wonderful reference image!
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RJBowman
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« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2017, 06:13:57 pm »

Look what I found:

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RJBowman
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« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2017, 06:16:41 pm »

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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2017, 08:29:38 pm »

Why do I feel that I'm just retracing steps? Grin It seems the whole Art Nouveau Sailor Jupiter is an old hat thing. Or maybe I inadvertently traveled back in time and I was the one who posted the Jupiter-Mucha thing  Tongue

Anyhow, much luck with your project. If I think of something else I'll tell you. It seems several of us are suggesting one way or another to pare down the sphere in shape, size, or volume, as having a full sphere resting like a parrot on your shoulder is impractical.

If it must be on the shoulder, then the Jupiter orb IMHO should be a hollow shell, and be the direct equivalent of a medieval shoulder armor, which implies it is not a full sphere...
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2017, 10:19:00 am »


*snip*

Thank you so much for clarifying! That is what I meant to say, but couldn't think of the actual word when I was writing my reply. Thanks for the clarification and wonderful reference image!


It just ocurred to me that a lot of the styles applied to the contemporary concept of elves (e.g. Elves in Lord of the Rings) can be applied to the style of the armour itself. It is vaguely related to Art Nouveau/Art Deco, in that the shapes were inspired by nature.

Perhaps combining the mini bustle skirt with some elements of this (a quite impressive set of leather armour)?  http://shattan.deviantart.com/art/hight-elves-armor-1-139495119

Look at the rest of this Russian Deviantart pages: http://shattan.deviantart.com/gallery/

All of these shapes could be done in neoprene sheets or the like (available very cheaply at Michaels or Hobby Lobby)

Using photoshop for the Jupiter planet concept as we have discussed so far.... Something like this, perhaps?

« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 10:34:58 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
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