Monday, July 30, 2007

Miscellaneous post

Nothing critical in developments today. Made a Sturmgewehr 44 at 1/6 scale for entertainment purposes, so Hotaru can have a full sized (I guess full sized relative to her) version of my favorite Call of Duty 2 weapon.

The suit is looking better the more I look at it. Anyways...

In other news, today was excellent. I now have a proper chair to sit in after 7 years of using a stool. Also, Paris Hilton has been disinherited. Joy.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Black Suit

Today's attempt at clothing resulted in a full dress suit. Black shoes (which I still need heels for), skirt, jacket and white shirt were completed. To my surprise, the black construction paper didn't fully disintegrate while converting the paper to a more fabric -like texture by means of repeated crumpling. It was stiff, and tends to develop tears and holes in higher stressed regions, which render the paper soft but pliable. At this point, it would be a good time to explain the clothes making process.

You'll need some generic paper, preferably construction paper to work with if you want color. One of those economy packs you get at a supermarket or CVS should be sufficient. Those have a poor initial strength and should wear out quickly. If you happened to buy the stronger kind, around 100lb or so, you're going to need some assistance. Preferably a squad of schoolchildren conveniently duped into "doing an art project" to crumple the paper for you. I've been working with my hands for about a month, and it's starting to hurt when I crumple a large amount of sheets to convert into fabric. I unfortunately do not have access to child labor, and thus had to tough it out.

Next, you need to carefully crumple the paper into a ball or anything that doesn't form repeated creases. Creasing the paper will develop significant wear lines that will be noticeable. Unless you're going for something like a checkerboard pattern, I'd advise against it. After about a few rounds of good crumpling and possible imagining that you're strangling something, you should have a stressed sheet of paper. You'll need to smooth it out now. You can use an edge of a desk, but I use a wooden dowel and roll the paper over it to weaken the paper further. You now should have a decently soft sheet of paper, assuming your child laborers haven't torn it to pieces.
You could look for patterns to cut out to make your clothes, but I have to freehand, since I'm hampered by a lack of decent clothing making resources. I start by wrapping the paper around the torso and making a tube that fits around the figure, then I start cutting away elements. First the armholes via long slits from the top, then the neck hole. I next start shaping the paper around the model until the desired shape starts to result. After a week of "sod this" and watching more Top Gear, I resume the process. Eventually, after a long series of cutting and gluing to fit, I get something that resembles human clothes. Perhaps the worst tutorial ever.

Anyways, it would be best to show the final results of today.
Today's pictures don't have the silly drafting backdrop that hangs on my desk or more interesting poses, but offers some shots of the model from several views. Sadly, since I'm an idiot and a crap photographer, you'll be hard pressed to see details on the clothing. (Black is hardly an ideal color to use to show details for the freehanded clothing)

As much as I like the results so far, it only reinforces the fact that the original goal of this project wasn't to make a female Reservoir Dogs wannabe, but to make two figures I want but can't cheaply buy:

a Kirakishou doll and a Shenhua figure.

Perhaps, after all this girly cocking about, making 1/6 scale accessories, I'll return to my goal and start figuring out how to make 4th dimensional clothing. Apparently, Shenhua's dress's back tail things flare out excessively to make a proper costume out of while being able to pose in such a manner. I'll sort that out in a few weeks... hopefully.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Today's results of shirtmaking

Hooray. After three weeks of not putting any effort, I got a decent shirt made. And as a bonus, being lazy to make sleeves provided a vest!. The time I spent not making proper shirts was spent on other things, like making a 1/6 scale FAMAS rifle.
I think she looks a bit like a valet from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, from San Fierro. Ah well. it was a test run anyways.

There were some interesting developments that got in the way of the shirtmaking process. Things like Top Gear's Polar Challenge. Google not being very cooperative. And plain laziness and a lack of understanding of how clothes operate. But I got somewhere close to decent shirts and as a bonus, I now have a variety of shirts to fiddle with.

More fun things to come, maybe some more development notes as well.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Making Cone Frustums (Revised)

Today's lesson is on how to make approximations for spherical objects out of paper. Why? It's easier and lighter to make these to fill up the dimensions for a round part of the model (in my case, to round out the joints to make them more spherical) than by making them by layer.
Figure 1: Making something round into a polygonal mess! The item on the far right is the side view of this "frustum" I'll be talking about.

I've taken the essence of the idea from a paper modeler forum.

(Edit: URL doesn't exist anymore. No point making you click on a link that doesn't work. I might as well explain how it works here.

The principle is that you draw two concentric circles, cut out a sector, and when you glue that sector end to end, you get a cone frustum. How does it work?

Figure 2: All you need to know about the next paragraph.

First, you need to know three things: how tall your cone frustum is, and the smaller and larger diameters that compose the top and bottom of it. From Figure 2, you can see the arc segment for the smaller and larger circle shares the same arc angle. As a refresher, arc segments are:

Eq 1.) arc segment length = pi * radius* 2 * (arc angle)/(360 degrees)

We're going to use this to set up two equations: one being the arc segment length of the smaller circle and the arc segment length of the larger circle, then setting the angles equal to each other. This gets us

Eq 2.) (Arc length 1)/ (π*radius1* 2) = (Arc length 2)/(π* radius2 *2)

or simplified,

Eq 3.) (Arc length 1)/ (radius1) = (Arc length 2)/(radius2)

We know arc lengths 1 and 2, since we've chosen what the cone frustum's top and bottom diameters are. These diameters will correspond to the arc lengths, since when we cut and assemble the sector, the edges will form the diameters of our frustum. Confused? You'll understand when you try it out soon.

As a recap, the circumference of a circle = pi * diameter.

However, before we can proceed, we need to know the difference between the two radii of the concentric circles we're going to draw. This is where the height of the frustum comes into play. We'll be using the Pythagorean theorem to do this.

As a refresher, the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the square root of the sum of the squares of the two legs. (a^2+ b^2 = c^2)

Figure 3: Frustum geometry and how it relates to our arc sector.

We want the length of the sloped side of the cone frustum. We have the height and the bottom leg, which is HALF the difference between the two diameters since we have two sides of the trapezoid. Substituting these into the Pythagorean Theorem and referencing Figure 3, we get the following:

Eq 4.) Radius2-Radius1 = square root of (height^2 + ((larger diameter- smaller diameter)/2) ^2)

Hooray. Now we combine Equation 4 with Equation 3 and we can solve for one of the radii. Once we know what one radius is, we can determine the other using Equation 3, since we know the arc lengths= circumference of our cone frustum tops and bottoms. Once we know the radius and arc length of the inner or outer circle, we can solve for the arc angle using Equation 1.

Still confused? Can't be bothered solving equations? I have simplified the process down for you, with less potential error involved by turning it into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet!

Edit: Added a download link to a much more updated cone calculator. This one's a bit more silly, as it includes my attempt to calculate the shape of offset cones.

Figure 4: Excel spreadsheet. Copy as directed.

What you'll need to do to use this is enter the smaller frustum diameter and the larger frustum diameter along with how tall you want the section to be. It will spit out two circle diameters which you should then draw concentrically, along with an angle. Use the angle to draw a sector on those circles. The resulting rainbow shaped arc will be the thing you need to cut out and glue together. Just remember to add your own tabs.

Here's the layout of the spreadsheet. Fill in the text fields as they are arranged, as the commands reference the numbers in the second column exactly.

Now paste in
B5: =B2/2*SQRT(1+4*B3^2/(B2-B1)^2)
B6: =B5-SQRT(((B2-B1)/2)^2 + B3^2)
B7: =B2*360/(2*B5)

E5: =B5*2
E6: =B6*2
E7 was a reference number for me, since some of the angles produced were over 180 degrees and I only needed to deal with the remainder. This value is =b7-180 in case you want to reference them in terms of increments of 180, since protractors tend to deal only with 180 increments.

Figure 5: Cone frustum side view on left; sector ready to cut and glue on the right

This image best shows the result of the exercise. Stolen from the site I linked from.

Once you try it out, you'll understand what's all behind this gibberish and can start making cones out of paper.

(-Revised by J.Norad, June 16/2009)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

How to make a new set of arms

The arms looked "Butch" to most people I've shown them to, so it was time to slim them down. Since it's not easy for her to go on a diet , like most Americans , we resort to massive cosmetic surgery! I'll be showing the steps to make an entire set of arms, which can be adapted to make all sorts of other parts.

First , you'll need to design some parts. To make a hinge joint that allows for axial rotation, you'll need three parts: one for the male end (in this case, the elbow joint) and two for the female end (the arm connector bit things). From the small , mildly blurry pic, you can see a pink thing with three elements removed. From left to right, we have the elbow piece, the outer housing (with an extra stick thing that I accidentally put there) and the inner housing with a stick coming out of it. This pink thing is my makeshift tracing template. You'll need some of the following materials shown before you proceed:

A stylus (mine's real bootleg, being a tack taped onto an X-acto knife shaft)

Some binder clips (to hold the parts together as they dry)

Scissors, and a 1/8" hole punch (not pictured)

Chaff Magic the Gathering cards (to sacrifice for the greater glory of YAWGMOTH!) You can see here I've chosen a Giant Octopus with proxy text scribbled over it. You might have to resort to more delicious offerings like crap rares if you want to go for style, or with a crapload of plains. I like using stuff from a pile of reject cards I personally hate.Side note: make your shafts 3mm in width. You'll need them to fit snugly into a custom tube.

Now that you have everything, trace 8x of each part with the stylus onto the MtG card. After developing carpal tunnel, cut out these pieces as best as you can. You might notice the scattered assortment of bits with holes in them. You'll need to make holes in with the 1/8" hole punch to allow for the bolts to go through. Since I designed my hinge joints around 10mm diameter circles, I naturally put the hole in the center. If you like hobbled figures, put the hole off center or at a bad place. However, I personally like having figures that aren't eligible for disability checks.

Here's a completed elbow piece. This piece will support two arm attachment points to allow for more movement. This was built from laminating 8x layers with Elmer's glue and allowing it to be clamped dry with binder clips.
Behold the magic cube! This is a 12mm cube I built specially for the next set of construction processes. It has a 1/4" hole in two ends, to allow for threading a hollow tube 6.35mm in diameter to be inserted. You'll preferably want one of these made for this purpose. This one uses 4x layers to stiffen it.
Now, a 17.5mm long piece of card was rolled and inserted. I made mine 12mm long to accommodate for two shafts to be inserted. You can ignore that and make yours long enough to be supported by the magic cube.

After putting in your makeshift cylinder, roll up some 110mb cardstock 37mm long into a hollow tube and somehow stick it in there. I like to partially insert it, put glue around the base, then shove it in to allow the glue to spread inside.
This is the finished female arm joint. Note the stick coming out. That is going to have to fit tightly into the tube.
Insert like so.
Here is the finished joint, composed of two female ends onto the B shaped elbow piece. I have used some small bolts and nuts to secure it. Naturally, I added some washers to help reduce wear and increase grip.
"Dear me, this isn't going to cut it for a new arm. I demand you finish the rest of it!" -Hotaru

In order to complete the arm, you'll need to wrap another card around the newly made cylindrical stubs to make a tube that will tightly fit it. Secure this larger tube to one of the smaller tubes (I cut some notches in one end to overlap the arm assembly bit) and glue. With the other end, you can now insert another similarly shaped tube made with the magic cube into it to make a force fit rotation joint. Now you have a hinge joint that can rotate to provide more movement. I've fitted some extra elements onto mine, namely cone frustums to flesh out the arms to make them more round. I'll detail how to make those later.
This is the arm after cosmetic coverings were added. Here, you can see 1/4" hole punch scraps used to cover the nuts. I've added epoxy to the nuts to prohibit movement before covering them, so I'll never have to worry about them slipping as I adjust the screws on the other side. The arms are now ready for sanding and painting.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Painting Hotaru

This weekend's goal: paint the figure. Unfortunately, I know nothing about paints. All I did know was that whatever I buy better be cheap and effective. I decided to choose some semi-viscous paint, with the consistency of paint you'd buy from a hardware store, maybe more viscous, with the goal of being able to hide small flaws in the surface. Terrible choice, as I should have gotten a more viscous mix. Anyways, for 4 dollars, I got a big ass bottle of economy priced white acrylic.
Yeah. Really big bottle, perhaps overkill. I'm never going to use this up. Ah well.

The second element was selecting a proper color to give the skin tone a less alien/abnormal color. Fortunately, I found "Portrait Tone" paint for the "bargain" price of 7 dollars. I could have probably gotten away with something much smaller in quantity.

This bottle should last me several hundred projects. I ended up using 1/20th of the bottle or less. I couldn't tell you how exactly, but I somehow accidentally added enough white acrylic to get the proper tone I wanted.Anyways, I dumped the paint into a Styrofoam cup and went to work.

"Good, god, J. Norad, what the hell are you doing? That looks terrible." -Hotaru

Indeed, using a Styrofoam cup was asking for trouble, so I cut it in half and augmented it to be "no-spill". After about two hours of unscrewing bolts, painting, and rescrewing the bolts, the job was done. The figure was semi-properly sanded down before applying paint, but some areas just had to deal with awkwardly layered cardstock making a weird surface. I probably should have done a better job, but hey, this was my first time painting anything other than a wall.

The end result is a much better head, with paint hiding some of the seams. I still have to get the hands and feet properly done before I attempt to paint those. There's also a need of a bit of retouching on the whites of the eyes, as the portrait tone mix got a bit in there while trying to get an even coat on the head.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Housecleaning and Introducing Hotaru, J.Norad's new poster girl!

Things are looking pretty good. The Sleeper Agent project is a success, yielding a customizable doll that I will never ever build another of. I probably should have simply bought a 30cm Obitsu, but this was a good test of my engineering skills. Since I'm limited on the number of poster girls I can mess with due to the fact that they're incredibly time consuming to produce, interchanging heads will suffice for now. Today's post introduces the latest development to come out of the workshop, colored hair! And to model this development, I introduce Hotaru (Named after Sailor Saturn, on which the hair style was inspired by), my model for all things random.
She'll be of assistance to brighten up things, as a prop girl. Taking pics of mundane objects like tools, parts and severed fingers isn't good for an unpopular blog, so she'll help out with displaying things. Go Hotaru!

On a side note, this blog has been cleaned of my childish rantings and more emphasis has been placed towards model development, namely guns and figures. More updates as they come.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Shenhua figure, Mod1, MK1

This took a while to get sorted out, and I'm still unhappy with the results of the dress.

The hair is made of stripped wires attached to the head, covered by thin layers of paper to flesh it out. That gives the hair a flexible support that can be changed if needed.

Here's an image of the internal structures that allow the figure to move. Each limb is composed of the same amount of pieces and hinged components. More developments as they come.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Stage 1 complete (finally)!

 After 5 weeks of development, I finished the groundwork for my figure.

Hands have been developed, with wire skeleton supporting rolled up paper fingers housed in a cardstock frame. Epoxy putty served well to flesh out the feet, but proved too difficult to work with for the fingers. Everything is near complete, except for those kneecaps... and a better neck mechanism.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Looks like a fencing outfit...


Understructure assembly:

I used rolled up cardstock tubes 3-4mm in diameter, in a partial array at sections to flesh out the thicker sections. These were then secured with lots of rolled cardstock layers. I still need to smooth out the hard edges. Possible solutions include sanding or more layering with progressively thinner paper. I still need kneecaps. That and a better head.

Here's a shot of the ass. Bit bigger than I hoped, but it's done.

More in a few days...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Saturday-sunday's progress. Torso has been fleshed out.

I'm still missing kneecaps despite me needing to make them. The first of the joint coverings are in place, counting the bolt/nut covers and the cylindrical coverings for the rotation elements.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Still kicking...

 We got a head now. Too bad this one's too big, so I had to redo it at 80% reduction.

We're getting somewhere for once. Still need to do hands sometime.