Friday, March 21, 2008

Motto of the quarter: "If you have problems, rotate it 90 degrees"

Definitely been a while since I've made any progress lately. I first off still need small buttons. I also need thinner fabrics. But, while I wait for that, I redesigned the hips that had failed over time to retain their positions due to loss of friction within the hip joints.

Acquired a few new things that compelled me to redesign the hip structure. First element of interest was Old Snake from the 20th Metal Gear anniversary Medicom Ultra Detail Figure line. These figures are by far the most detail you'll get for 7" tall figures. However, they suck ass. There's about 5 points of articulation with a very unstable center of gravity. All the sculpts are unsatisfactory except for the Big Boss figure which I didn't get to buy.
You can see by the image that it's leaning. It's one of the drawbacks of not having movable legs.

Microman's Chun Li figure was a surprise for what I paid for it. It looks very cheap and poorly made, but it actually is one of the best figures I've ever bought. It boasts 30 points of articulation, and I see about 8 ball joints. Despite having weak joints, it's still a very decent figure. What made it more special was the extra set of hands it came with, so you could actually compensate for the lack of poseable fingers.

The next item acquired was a can of Performix Plasti Dip plastic coater. This stuff rubberizes anything. Unfortunately, it does not adhere to anything other than paper. (Wait a minute! That's a good thing!) With rubber permeated into the paper, I have a means of special coating my paper ball joints for extra life. I used this stuff in liquid can form for coating metal surfaces for a project and it turned out well for what it was.

Now to the main bit of news: I've rebuilt the hip structure by changing the housing assembly for the ball joints around 90 degrees. The previous method had the axis of rotation of the cylinder and the ball joint shaft on the same axis. This made the housing easier to make, but all the friction was strongest when the system was oriented 45 degrees or more, due to the nature of the non uniform spheres. The new setup uses a 20mm tall 7.5mm inner diameter/11.5mm outer diameter tube made of a Bloodstoke Howler. The same assembly as the older leg redesign, namely the shaft and the tubular thickening method was retained. A newer end cap housing was needed. I chose to use an octagonal cover reinforced with aluminum. This would keep the ball inside the tube, one of the problems why I avoided this setup. The ball tends to slide up and outwards where it is harder to restrict the motion without excess mass.

Anyways, the operation works fine for now. The legs retain a better hold when posed. I preworn the joint by cycling the ball joint around to ensure the total expansion that it would endure was factored in this time. After that, I rubberized the balls so they would have more friction. I'll release templates and schematics for the layout.

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