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Author Topic: How do I begin on this?  (Read 2114 times)
JackRabbit87
Deck Hand
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United States United States



« on: June 18, 2009, 01:48:23 am »

First off, sorry if this is in the right section, and for my first post to be a "HELP ME!" Thread, but I am going to be doing a Steampunk costume for a convention next year, and while I have 13 to 14 months, This will be the first prop I will have made for a costume, and I want to do it right. What I am making a steam-powered hand cannon for my Airship Captain (a distant cousin of the hook-hand of modern Pirate imagery.) Here are some pictures for reference. Keep in mind that these are not to scale, and I am still at the stage where I am open to change due to feasability. this is the rough draft.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Basically, what I need to know is how to start on the body of the hand-cannon. if I use a cardboard box, it will be cheaper, but it will look... like a cardboard box covered in paint. If I weld together copper sheets, it will look AWESOME... But it will be too heavy and WAY too expensive. I need a middle ground that is light, easily shapable and cutable (for the tubes and the furnace slats) and won't get in the way of my food budget for three months. Please, if anyone has any ideas of specific materials to use, let me know.

- "Mad" Marcus Manheim
« Last Edit: June 18, 2009, 01:57:03 am by JackRabbit87 » Logged

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Orwin
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Typical Dabbler of Various Things


« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2009, 07:51:07 am »

I'm equally new, but my first instinct would be that this is not in the right place.  That aside:

If you have the means to do so, I'd actually go for a thin copper sheet if I were you.  A little bit more heft would give it a nice feel, and if I understand correctly, your hand would be inside it anyways to balance the mass better.  last I checked small copper sheets were actually fairly reasonably priced, but I suppose that depends on your budget.  They would definitely be much more expensive than cardboard.  However, I think that says more about the price of cardboard than that of copper.

Were you planning on rigging up some red LEDs or something to shine through the furnace vents?  Because that'd probably look pretty cool if you reflect it off a backing.

If you could find the right sort of cannister you could even hide the batteries or such for that in those little "pontoon"s.
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Dr. Hastings
Zeppelin Captain
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Canada Canada


listen first, then learn to speak


« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2009, 08:19:47 am »

yes, a thin copper sheeting could work. What may also work, a sheet (paper thin) of copper, wrapped around the box. thus retaining the weight and the colour. Ta da! and plus its easily altered and modified as needed. To attach it you MAY have to solder the sheets together, But you may want to get some sort of shielding between the box and the copper for that, otherwise you could mix copper powder and apoxy and the Should look right enough.
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Orwin
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« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2009, 09:20:15 am »

Building off of of Doctor Hasting's idea, you could build from cardboard, wrap paper thin copper around, remove cardboard, solder, then replace.  The cardboard gives you structural integrity (sort of), the copper actually look good (and is slightly more damage resistant).

I know nothing about apoxy, so I'll leave that bit alone.
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darkshines
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Miss Katonic 1898


« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2009, 09:23:41 am »

Make sure you have a rod or stock inside to grip, thats my only advice for now. Also, I would love to experiment with being able to screw and unscrew barrels, sights, silencers etc! There was once version of Hook where he could unscrew his hook and have different things put on, I love that idea!
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Dr. Hastings
Zeppelin Captain
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Canada Canada


listen first, then learn to speak


« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2009, 09:26:32 am »

The problem with putting the cardboard back in is if you solder all six sides together, Where are you going to put it? At least one side would have to be soldered with the box inside, causing probable disastrous fire failure. Unless you collapse the box down and fit it through the hand hole! Genius! I don't know if you thought of that... But I assume it was your idea in the first place.

After which you have fed the box through the hand hole in the copper, you merely push the sides out and reform your box.

but you need hand holds. for support, and for wearing altogether. So that won't work. You'd have to epoxy (sorry about the misspell) with copper dust or paint in it. It would have an off tone, and cause a deformation on the copper, which in turn, would look LIKE soldering hopefully.
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Otto Von Pifka
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« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2009, 09:52:17 am »

are you dead set on a box shape? a tube would be easier to make and a bit firmer by nature.

start with your sheet of brass and wrap it around something smaller than your final size to curl it and make it easier to handle. check out pvc pipe fittings in the plumbing section and look for something your arm fits into. probably a butt connector for 4 inch pipe would work. cut a block of wood the same diameter as the fitting. screw down a piece of thicker metal to the face of the block and cut and file/sand the edges even to the wood. wrap you big sheet around the pipe fitting (with a little overlap) and add the wooden plug to the end, with the metal plate even as close as possible. if you don't want to deal with trying to solder seams just use JB weld epoxy and wipe off the excess. the gray color is very close to oxidized solder.
you can drill through the two layers where the metal overlaps and screw the metal to the pvc pipe fitting and the wooden block. a few screws around the outside should firm it up nicely. use tiny screws and epoxy between the skin and the pipe. you can later drill tiny holes right next to the screws and glue in upholstery tacks to look like giant rivets.

the wooden block at the end will give you something to screw the barrels to.
a strap or handle screwed to the back of the block would make it easier to orient and keep the thing on.
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Orwin
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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2009, 10:01:52 am »

Well, my inclination would that he would probably be using some sort of leather or padding to fit it against his arm, and so my conception had him soldering only 5 sides together.  However, that is a fairly practical idea, collapsing the box down.

Thinking more on it though, I'm not sure how the grip would work with the cardboard framework.  Although perhaps you could just fix a leather thong to a bolt at the barrel end, which would be hidden by the gunbarrel.  That strikes me as potentially not being terribly stable, however.


Addendum:  I think Otto may have now trumped all our efforts, albeit it strikes me as being harder to fit potential furnace effects into.  Over all it would be a much sleeker and more efficient design.
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JackRabbit87
Deck Hand
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United States United States



« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2009, 04:16:42 pm »

WOW! Thanks, Guys. a few things to reply to.

Orwin: It was always the plan to put some LEDs in there with a reflective surface behind, as that would look COMPLETELY awesome

Darkshines: another idea already in the plan. A friend once made a chainsaw for an Ash Williams cotume and he had a hand grip. It worked fantastically.

Otto: You, sir are a genius. I was hoping for a box shape, as it would be easier to fit the furnace that powers the gun into, as Orwin posted, but you are giving me ideas. Maybe I have it hanging off the bottom, with LEDs making both sides glow as opposed to just one. If I do this, I'll miss the clockwork ammo reloader, but that may be a bit advanced for me at this stage.

As for everyone who suggested the copper sheeting, I work at a Home Depot, so I can easily lay my hands on this, and I'll check prices next time I go in. A friend suggested a moldable plastic, but after your suggestions, I may go with the copper sheeting if I go with the box idea. The only problem is that when it comes to soldering, I am an ameteur, so it probably will look a bit sloppy. (however, I might be able to get away with that by saying this was cobbled together during a battle). keep the ideas coming, folks. this is reealy helping in the planning process. Also, rest assured, when I make this, there will be a thread posted in the Tactile section for your viewing pleasure.
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Gunny001
Gunner
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Canada Canada


« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2009, 04:24:44 pm »

if I use a cardboard box, it will be cheaper, but it will look... like a cardboard box covered in paint.

Just as a note - an old stage-prop trick is to laminate several layers of aluminum foil over a cardboard/carstock base. Since this is, indeed, a metalic surface, it gives the right texture/luster, and can be painted, or, better yet, varnished with the correct color finish.
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SilasHarridenMD
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Australia Australia


The best kind of Fusion... is confusion!


« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2009, 06:13:23 pm »

There was once version of Hook where he could unscrew his hook and have different things put on, I love that idea!

you can get an epoxy put called knead it, that comes in a copper colour, it doesn't look too bad,    dries really hard though.
freaky i was just watching that film tonight, Spielberg marathon.
I'd invest in some of these, then you don't even have to worry about electronics really
http://glowproducts.com/ledcandleproducts/flickercandles/
i reckon something like this, hope you don't mind i had a bit of a stab at the problem
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
sorry image is abit big.

edit: the hand is upside down.. Oops, well it was about 3 aclock in the morning!
« Last Edit: June 20, 2009, 08:38:50 am by SilasHarridenMD » Logged

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JackRabbit87
Deck Hand
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United States United States



« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2009, 07:09:08 pm »

i reckon something like this, hope you don't mind i had a bit of a stab at the problem
Spoiler (click to show/hide)


hope you don't mind if I use those plans for the final device. It's not too different from what I had in mind, though MUCH better drawn. Some of that will most likely be incorporated into the final product, most likely the LED Candle. Thanks a whole bunch. Maybe I'll put a box section on the PVC Pipe I may end up using to be the furnace... though that may be too complex, it's DEFINATELY something to think about.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2009, 07:19:18 pm by JackRabbit87 » Logged
Project13
Officer
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United Kingdom United Kingdom


Airship Grease Monkey And Engineer Extrordinaire


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« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2009, 09:17:24 pm »

One Word

Plasticard

thin plastic that handles like Card, cuts with scissors and is perfect to make a rough shape. Can be glued using superglue and manipulated using a heatgun or simply hot water!!

jeez, i sound like an advert

L
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SilasHarridenMD
Officer
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Australia Australia


The best kind of Fusion... is confusion!


« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2009, 09:40:12 pm »

I'm drunk... / glad it helped... Grin

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Dr cornelius quack
Rogue Ætherlord
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United Kingdom United Kingdom


Arrant Carney. Phmebian Cultural Attache.


« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2009, 11:01:46 pm »

Perfectly good place for this kind of question.

Bear in mind the sort of battering that a prop of this sort will take when worn "in action" at a Con. Make sure the structure of the thing is up to some heavy duty wear and tear as there is nothing more depressing than having a piece that you've spent lots of time on fall to bits halfway though the day.
I'd say, start with a single piece moulded box section rather than building one out of plasticard or craft board. Maybe some kind of electronics 'project box' or a square section drainpipe. The DIY stores sell some good sized pipes as ducts for extractor fans/tumble dryers.

As for giving it a metalic look, there are plenty of options. Self adhesive plastic sheet, gilding wax, metal foils or just good old paint.

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greensteam
Zeppelin Captain
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United Kingdom United Kingdom


Steamed up from birth


« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2009, 12:42:02 pm »

We are busy doing similar for our first ever Scotland event soon, so here are some ideas my son and I have used for weaponry:

1. Raid the recycling bin in the kitchen: lots of plastic bottles have great shapes and can be easily painted. They will no longer be recognisable as their original selves, unlike a cardboard box.
2. Go to your nearest £1 ($1 in the uSA) stores and get some basic weaponry from the kids section. Cannibalise several bits into one. Add some wood, some copper scrap etc and paint. I got some perfectly hideous transparent plastic revolvers which have a spark maker inside, so I am enclosing the sparker, trigger and part of the barrel within a larger item so that pretty blue sparks come out when I "fire" it.
3. Skip (dumpster in the USA) raiding for metal of any kind, wire is good too. Look out for copper wire, often in the heavier duty red or yellow insulation for earthing (grounding in the USA). Strip the insulation off and you have loads of pretty shiny copper wire for binding things and making scrollwork.
4. If you live near the coast, beachcombing is another great source of oddities for nothing.

Nothing I make costs more than a couple of quid and a bit of paint.
Go for it and good luck
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