Sunday, May 22, 2011

This Week's Project:: Conduit and Cards

With the head completed, I can judge how much mass I'll be dealing with for the head. The neck is identical in concept to those wooden art horse models that you may have seen: three cables threaded through multiple cutaway sections. It allows for the neck to bend in all sorts of fun directions while resembling a a knife rack. I opted to go with this design over any others since there's not much else that works and looks any better. Also, it works, period.

I split the neck into 20 minor sections composed of 5mm thick sections, and one large 30mm long section. From my understanding, the three bones near the head don't have much movement and the head will likely block the movement when angled down, so there's no point adding articulation that won't be utilized. I originally thought of making the sections 10mm thick, but it would look terrible and have poor movement.

Each section is composed of four cards thickness, so they're stiff enough for shape but not entirely rigid as an eight card thick layer. They taper from 30mm wide x 55mm long to 38mm wide x 80mm long. Approximately 10 stacks were used, so 40 cards total. The neck pivot required its own special assembly, which took 3 stacks, or 12 cards.

In order to get the neck to retain a pose, I selected some conduit that I happened to have lying around. Why do I have conduit lying around, you ask? Who doesn't have conduit lying around, I say! It's one of the fundamental building tools for paper modeling, next to sheet metal and and epoxy. Anyone who says otherwise still uses glue sticks and 100% post consumer content paper to make model La Pietàs. I originally chose three bundles, but that proved difficult to bend. The top and bottom rows need to slide within the 3.175mm diameter holes I made, and the conduit was just enough to not allow for smooth movement. For now, I made the center wire a conduit bundle, and opted for a twisted pair of two regular 20 gauge electrical wires for the top and bottom. I'll probably add a third after some more testing.

 The head-neck assembly will be done with a hinge, secured by a nut and bolt. I needed to make an assembly to interface with the hollow head, so I made a partial bucket shaped thing and glued it to the hinge top. Not much to say about my lack of planning here, except that it worked out fine. 

The head adapter fits inside the hollow head. I had to modify the head to allow for the adapter to fit in properly. That meant reducing material in the front of the neck and about 10mm from the back, shaped to adapt to the curvature of the adapter and neck. There's some part of the adapter still showing, but that will be trimmed to fit. 

 Here's the inside of the head. Looks a bit more professional than sanded Hand of Emrakuls bonded together with printer paper.

To attach the neck to the body, I used another 4 card stack to make a mounting plate. Right now, I jammed in the conduit end and it's being held in place by that alone. I'll need to make some stabilizer structures to keep it from wobbling. I'll also need a more permanent and sturdy means of providing neck articulation for the top and bottom wires. For now, the neck can do some decent poses, but can't do a straight extend. The weight tends to make it curve.

 Total costs so far: 124 cards on the neck assembly + 122 cards on the head and body= 246 cards. It's looking unlikely that I'll hit the under 300 mark with the remaining parts left. Then again, a smaller scale horse still costs more than the equivalent of 300 commons. If I increase my budget to 400 cards, it'll be about $100 at the rate of $0.25 a common (or $40 at $0.10 a common), which is still better than what they'd fetch if I tried to sell someone a stack of Kurgadons or Ingenious Thiefs.

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