In my attempts to fix some of the remaining issues with my TF2 dolls/figures/minions, I needed to actually build a toolbox for the Engineer. As it stands, it's currently a shoddy hollow one piece box painted red with no details on it. Surprised no one said anything about that publicly yet. (Then again no one reads this nor has the balls to say anything) Anyways, since I now have better skills and tools to work with, I can put the old toolbox of the past behind me and roll out a newer shinier (or in this case, matte finish) toolbox with actual features!
The toolbox might be a bit bigger than I remember it was supposed to be. Oh well. The Engineer won't be holding it all the time. It'll mostly be stood or sat on by the Engineer. Or used to actually hold items.
Since I'm now building to a higher standard than what I used to settle with last year, I've decided to make the toolbox house a teleporter that can be unfolded from inside the box. That involves making sure the toolbox has enough space internally while being structurally sound to fold open and closed. The toolbox has no perpendicular faces to the floor, so some simple geometric calculations were needed. I went about establishing the angles the faces made with the floor for each side, then using some trigonometry to figure how much to elongate the sides.
The toolbox would be formed out of two single sheets to form the bottom and lid.
Once the halves were defined, I reinforced the thickness with three layers of X-men cards. These were done in separate panels. I cut out a V shaped groove along the seams to allow the panels to fold together.
Now that I have the envelope for the teleporter constructed, I determined the final dimensions of the folded up teleporter and scaled some screencaps to size. The above image highlights the various methods to get the teleporter to fold out and lock together. The folding arms use a sliding pin mechanism to restrict angular movement, accessible underneath the arms where it's not easily noticeable, but still accessible during the transformation sequence.
To make the arms, I decided it was easier to form the solid arm out of a single sheet, then reinforce individual sections with more X-Men cards. The sliding pin locking assembly involved a series of double hole plates around 2mm thick. These would interface together where the arms break apart.
A lot of the next stage is making filler to hold the components together. This involves making guide plates and empty boxes and stuffing them in the arm envelope. The outer part of the arm is just a hollow box with some reinforcement to keep the top surface from warping under additional weight.
Here's a few views of the sliding pin locking mechanism, with the top removed. The pins can come out 2mm and interface with the outer plate without interfering. Sliding the pin out engages the outer plate 5-6mm and restricts movement fully. For the mechanism, I ended up using 5.7mm diameter rods with a 5.9mm diameter hole. Odd, since the hole punch I used should have made 6.35mm diameter holes. I suggest ensuring your holes do not deviate more than 0.5mm apart when building all three plates. You want some wiggle to slide them freely and any large offset will likely cause seizure.
The center spindle involves two cylinders. The outer is made of two more complex shaped half circles with an array of tubes. The smaller ones allow for hinge movement for the arms. The larger one interfaces with the smaller center tube. A 5.9mm diameter rod (or equivalent clearance) eventually goes through the smaller center tube and connects the two outer halves. It needs to fit securely but loose enough to provide movement with a layer of paint on it. The rod will also interface with a hole on the base of each arm to lock them level once assembled.
Here, you can see the hole positions. Note the hole in the right arm's base and the alignment with the outer spindle halves.
To attach the arms, I used 3.175mm diameter bamboo sticks. The sticks do not run through the spindle halves. This allows the main connecting shaft to run unobstructed. From this stage, it's mostly decorative.
Here's the full sequence of building the teleporter from the toolbox. All the major components are now in place.
Right now, I have almost a full set of Engineer crap. However, highwaychile's dispenser is still a loaner and needs some improvement. Mostly needs to be rescaled, and done the proper J.Norad way. If I can figure out how to make it collapse into the toolbox, I'll make that the next TF2 figure update project. Until then, time to enjoy the glory of having a kick ass toolbox.