Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tony Stark's'd you do that?

Photo by:  Norm Chan

Photo by: Jarvis

My second costume for Dragon*Con was a Tony Stark Heads Up Display/Interior of Iron Man's suit.  So many of the shots from the Iron Man/Avengers movies showed Tony's face with graphical information and targeting displays that look really cool.  I aimed to come up with a way to bring that effect to life.

Here's how:

I started with some very nifty source material.  The artist who designed the HUD and a lot of the graphics for the movies had some materials that I used to design my own HUD.

I took elements that I thought would look cool and work well in my design and created a Vector image in Inkscape.  I created two layers that would nicely compliment each other when I combined them as red and blue.  These images were taken to a local maker space that had a laser cutter.  The edges of the acrylic were cut and the pattern were etched.

These two panels where then heat bent with a heat gun and a large cylinder (of oatmeal, if you're curious).'d they light up?  Well, if you've read my original Tony/Pepper build, you'd see the tablet we made by shining light through acrylic.  Any scratches glow due to internal reflection.  (SCIENCE!)  I simply controlled where the light would diffract with my etches.  I put some surface mount LEDs along the edge to create the effect.  I added three reds and three blues, but it was probably overkill.

Here's Bill trying out the sweet view.

The two layers were epoxied together using a spacer and I put a foam edge over the wiring.

The whole thing got a stiff wire to hold it place on my shoulders.  I had to Velcro it to my belt loop to keep it from tipping forward.

That's pretty much it.  It is actually a pretty simple build that could be done with a knife and time, if you don't have access to a laser cutter.  As usual, I did my best Stark Stache and used my brother's arc reactor shirt to complete the Tony transformation.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Claptrap: Untz untz untz untz...

Some time ago I was offered a chance to go to Dragon*Con with some fantastic cosplay pals.  I wanted to make it a secret to my brother, so I built a Claptrap robot from Borderlands in secret.  Here's the result.

I started with a papercraft model of Claptrap.  You can find the model here.

I used MATH to scale him up to a size that would fit into a suitcase.  The challenge was the I would have to be able to assemble him in a hotel room.

I made templates out of card stock and cut the body pieces out of this plywood.

Most parts were epoxied and screwed together.

He got some yellow and black paint on the body.

I intended to make this a puppet that I could wheel around.  I also wanted to be able to move his arms.  I built shoulder and elbow joints to accomplish this.

I got a glowy ball at Wal-Mart for his eye.  I used a PVC adapter to hold his eye.  I found an old wheel for him to scoot around on.  He got a few layers of acrylic and rub'n'buff for the details.  As a bonus, I put a speaker in him and ran an the input from my phone to play sounds off a sound board.

Claptrap got a lot of love and I enjoyed pushing him around Dragon*Con.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sir Anthony of House Stark

Each year I chaperone a trip to Washington D.C. with my 8th grade students.  We typically spend one evening having dinner at Medieval Times.  I typically use this as an opportunity to showcase a costume or two.

My WoW mage and Dragon Age Rogue were good choices.  This year, I've been on a pretty big Iron Man kick, so I decided to build a medieval themed iron man suit of armor.

The armor parts were mostly done with craft foam.  I had a chain mail coif already, so I built the pauldrons and mask to hook onto it.


The armor pieces were modified from Mk7 foam/pep files.  The forearm guards were held on with elastic.  I didn't even really sew the tabard as much as I cut a hole in a piece of cloth I had and tossed a belt around it.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Iron Man Hand Repulsors!

I wanted to make some repulsor lights for the palm of my Iron Man gloves.  I also wanted to do it on a tight budget.  What I found was a bike light at Big Lots for $2 a piece.  I got a bunch of them because they were fairly cheap, super compact, and bright.

I dismantled the lights to be even smaller and bent the lights to point the other way.  I wanted to have the button facing outward in my palm.

I found a chunk of nylon plastic that I cut and sanded into a pair of discs.  I drilled holes in the bottom for the LEDs.

The whole assembly fits comfortably into my falm with the glove in place.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

On cosplay, physical appearance, and chainsaw disfigurement

I've got some time on my hands as I'm proctoring a state test, so I wanted to share a moment that I had a couple of weeks ago.  I was helping my father chop down parts of a tree that had been growing up and over the house over the past 25 years.  It was the kind of thing where we would look at the thing every couple years and say, "Yup. That'll have to come down some day."  Naturally, we waited until the tree was a monster and the process of removing it would be slightly on the side of lunacy.

I found myself balancing myself on a narrow rooftop, trying to start a chainsaw to hand to my father, who was dangling from a makeshift harness from a branch in the very tree we were trying to dismember.  As I pulled on the starter handle, I lost my balance, let go of the handle, and the chainsaw flew directly into my nose.  I immediately started bleeding everywhere.

My very first thought, before I worried about the tree or my personal health, was that I had done a Tyrion Lannister/Battle of the Blackwater facial modification to myself and that I would be cosplaying with a mask for the rest of my days.  The good news was that the wound wasn't as horrific as I estimated.  I'll have a small scar on my nose and I have since considered myself lucky not to have caught the saw with my eye socket or teeth.

In the past several months, I feel that I've gotten more in touch with my own personal appearance.  I've lost over 20 pounds and am now overly concerned with marring my face.  And it is all because of cosplay.  I lost weight to fit into a morph suit for my Mega Man costume and I've been more and more interested in portraying Tony Stark.  I am wondering if anyone else has had this kind of realization.

Foam Man!

It doesn't exactly have the same ring to it and it is certainly not as protective as the real thing, but I've finally decided to try my hand at making some Iron Man armor out of EVA foam.

I want to have a costume to wear for the opening of Iron Man 3 next week, so I decided on doing the boots and gloves for the shot of Tony standing with his suits of armor.  I don't have enough time to do a full suit, and this is my first real experience working with foam, so I thought this would be the right size of a project.

The pepakura files for this project came from the RPF user jackieisrockin and we designed to be used with EVA foam.  The main difference with normal pepakura files is that the tabs and pieces that add depth have been removed.

The only other thing to be careful of is the thickness of the foam.  I've actually got a sheet of foam that is closer to 3/8" thick and I think it is too thick.  Also, some of the parts are meant to lay over the top of others and I went with some 3mm craft foam.  The trade offs here are stability vs. thickness as an entire piece made of craft foam is too wobbly.  The glove parts, for example, are craft foam because of how small and articulated the parts are.

Thus far, I've got most of a boot, a forearm, and a bunch of glove parts.  I am also planning on making a helmet for my Pepper Potts (wife) to carry around.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Arc Reactor Upgrade!

I started with the Think Geek arc reactor.  I found an image of the new arc reactor and scaled it to the size of the one I already had.

The triangular section was printed and cut out in card stock.

I traced the design onto some plastic I had from a Thai food container.

The plastic from the old piece was trimmed and the new plastic was inserted behind it.

Assembled, no lights.

Powered up.

Hooray!  No more of that pesky palladium poisoning.  It's certainly not perfect.  The LEDs are spread out to accommodate the old piece, but there's a decent amount of light diffusing through the white portion to make it look good.