Half Life 2 Gravity Gun build (tons o' pics!)

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by Volpin, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. Volpin

    Volpin Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    This is a project I've had brewing in the back of my mind for a while now, ever since I had finished my Portal Gun build a few years back. The Grav Gun is a lot more complicated than its physics-manipulating sibling, and I've finally gotten to the point where I think my propbuilding skills are at the level where I can do this thing justice.

    The problem up until now is that (like in Portal) there are 2 versions of the gun; the "equipped" model and the "environment" model. The equipped model is far more detailed, but only includes the upper left rear section of the gun, as shown when the player is holding it. The rest of the model doesn't exist. The environment model is a full 3D model, but pathetically low in resolution.

    [​IMG]

    I had a chance to visit Valve a year ago, and spoke with one of their lead designers who really wants to see this thing made. To that end, he provided me with an excellent 3D model that he had made personally, which shows the gun in all its detailed glory. With this in hand, I could finally start my project (before anyone asks; I'm sorry but I do not have permission to distribute this file or post any higher-resolution imagery)

    [​IMG]

    I've been working on the build for about a week and a half, but wanted to have some more substantial progress before I fired up a build thread. This is the first project where I've used laser cutting before (service provided by Ponoko) so there's a lot of new ground to cover.

    It took about 3 days of plotting and measuring, then the plans for the gun went to Ponoko about 2 weeks ago. I got these in the mail just this past Tuesday:

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    Most of whats there will get you about 65% of the way to having a grav gun, but there's a lot of sanding and molding yet to do.

    For instance, the cages that fit over the illuminated bars. I made these out of 4 sliced sections of acrylic, with styrene added for the beveled edge. I'll need to mold this and make 6 copies.

    [​IMG]

    The front barrel assembly shown here is 4 pieces as of now, but will eventually need to have 4 more layers to be complete. There's some apoxie sculpt in the edge that will be sanded for a bevel

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    Main section of the rear body going together. I went with clear because that was the only .080" plastic they carried and I didn't want this thing to be too bulky. Before sending these out to be cut, I made a few paper mockups to be sure of the dimensions. Good thing too, the first 2 attempts were wrong!

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    Not everything is getting laser cut though, the cylinders on the back of the gun as well as the prongs have both been lathed & sculpted by hand and molded. The claws were one of the smaller molds I've attempted, and glad to say they came out very well.

    [​IMG]
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    I did mention there would be illumination (of course there will, right?) and I'm planning on putting an Arduino in the body of the gun to give the LEDs some nice PWM pulsing effects. Boards are off at BatchPCB.com getting printed, should have them back in a couple of weeks. There are just shy of 100 LEDs in this thing. Gonna be BRIGHT!

    [​IMG]

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    I'll be updating this thread as the project commences from here on out. Deadline is December 1, so gonna have to move quick!

    EDIT: Deadline is so I can make the Child's Play charity auction event in Seattle on December 8th with the gun in-hand.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
    benhs1898, SurferGeek and sycor like this.
  2. Akira

    Akira Active Member

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    Awesome!

    Tim
     
  3. chinbeard

    chinbeard Active Member

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    Looking great so far!
     
  4. comicguy

    comicguy Sr Member

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    I've wanted to see this done the right way for years. I've seen a few paper crafts of the gravity gun but nothing like how this will end up. I can't wait to see the finished results, this is going to be amazing!
     
  5. Dainbramage546

    Dainbramage546 Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Looks amazing so far! Can't wait to see the end result.

    We've got a couple laser cutters here at school but I haven't attempted to build anything with them yet. I might have to take a stab at something [simple].
     
  6. Slukaj

    Slukaj Member

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    Ah, I was figuring that you were using the reference pictures I sent you a while back. I couldn't figure out how you were able to come up with this kind of detail!

    Looks great so far!
     
  7. BLACKULA727

    BLACKULA727 Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Awesome start. I love how clean everything is. Wish I could work this neat, im kind of a slob...lol. Anyways, this is going to be great!
     
  8. JnAStudios

    JnAStudios New Member

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    Yours are some of my most favorite builds, Harrison. Looking forward to how this one progresses.
     
  9. boodha

    boodha Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Wow... Just, WOW!
     
  10. dstilgar

    dstilgar Active Member

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    So, Valve invites you to go to their studios and then shows you the model file for the gravity gun that will be in Halflife 3, and requests that you build them a model before Dec. 1 for a nice big Christmas surprise, that surprise being Halflife 3 being released before Christmas this year! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! AGHAHHHAHAHA!HA!H!H!AH!HAH!AH!HA!HA!HAH!HA!A

    I knew it! I'm so pumped!

    On a side note, although you have talked to some of the guys at valve about this, I've always thought of the gold tone inside the front assembly to be gold mylar, kinda like on the moon lander. Do you know what it's "supposed" to be and how are you going to do it. Gold mylar lit up with amber LEDs would just be rad.
     
  11. MooMooEgg

    MooMooEgg Sr Member

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    You're ridiculous, Volpin. So ridiculous. :thumbsup
     
  12. TMBountyHunter

    TMBountyHunter Active Member

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    Keeping a very close eye on this thread for awesome :D




    Unfortunatly Valve doesn't work like that. They still have DOTA 2 to kick out the door and are in the middle of closed beta. They've also announced CS:GO fairly recently and that'll need just as much effort. Those two pretty much fill up 2012 for them as far as actual releases go. They're also still have a massive lineup of updates and DLC for TF2, L4D2 and Portal 2. If they announce HL3 now it'll be for 2013 and even after that Valve Time needs to be taken into account.

    I want HL3 as much as anyone else, but you gotta be realistic about it. Otherwise you're just settig yourself up for disappointment :(

    Earlies plausible HL3 announcement is E3 2012.
     
  13. dstilgar

    dstilgar Active Member

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    Yeah, I know. I'm just kidding.

    I have a strong feeling, however, that DOTA:2 and CS:GO are going to be the last games (or close to it) before Halflife 3 comes out with a new engine (let's call it Source2). Valve cancelled the episodic model when they remembered that they are Valve and they don't rush anything, but I also think that it was 2007 that the Source engine really started to see its limits.

    In 2007 Crysis, COD4, Bioshock, and UT3 all came out with new engines. This is also the last we saw of Valve's episodic release of Halflife games. While current updates to the Source engine look better in some ways, it's now 2011. The Source engine is behind the curve, especially when it comes to particle effects. I think the jump in graphics that came in 2007 really put a stopper on Halflife releases. Halflife is their premier franchise. It has to be better than every other game. It has always changed the industry. It always wins game of the year. Valve isn't going to release the next game unless they are sure it is going to do/be those things.

    There's also the point that Halflife 1 was the premier of the GoldSrc engine and that Halflife 2 was the premier of the Source engine. HL3 will be released as the premier game for Source2.

    So, what is Valve doing? Well, they've been silent about Halflife all this time, while keeping the Source engine from looking like complete crap. I think the Source engine has been a place where they experiment different ideas for a new engine they're working on, as well as a place where they can take some elements from the new engine and work them into Source whenever the code complies.

    And that's the important thing, Valve is going to want a way to migrate much of their code to the new engine, like they did when they essentially ported HL:1, etc. to the Source engine.

    CS:GO is one way to heavily test the ability to take a game from the Source engine to Source2. However, SC:GO can't be the game to premier Source2. It has to be Halflife 3.

    Also, Valve has been getting better about Valve time. More and more I see them release updates on time and even early. While I don't think they are working any faster than they have before, I think they've learned their lesson on talking about it.

    So when will HL3 come out? I think as early as holiday season 2012, or even summer, but that's wishful thinking. However, I don't see it being later than holiday season 2013. The Source engine isn't going to survive that long.
     
  14. sycor

    sycor Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Yeah another reason why I hate Volpin. :) Can't wait to see more.
     
  15. Lucky7

    Lucky7 New Member

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    That 3D model is amazing. I don't think anyone could have put together a gravity gun faithful to the intended design without it. I just did a quick search for other reference materials and its pretty staggering how little there is, considering how much of a center piece it is to the games.
     
  16. Volpin

    Volpin Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The mylar is a neat idea, but one I hadn't considered until now. I was thinking it was a translucent sheet of some sort of material. I'm imagining the orange bars than run lengthwise to be some sort of resonant charged crystalline material, and their arrangement focuses the resonance down the "barrel" of the gun toward a disc made of the same substance, which lets the user aim/control it. My version will be a plexi sheet with orange LEDs embedded, which will pulse like the bars.

    Short answer, no. They didn't tell me the substances of the orange stuff, but I did receive some interesting design direction concerning the rest of the gun. That comes later...

    I've been to valve twice now, and have only seen 4 of the 5 floors of their office. Its my suspicion that the HL:3 stuff happens up there, but I have nothing to back that theory. In both of my trips, I have seen nothing that indicated HL:3 was being worked on at all, actually.
     
  17. deadbolt

    deadbolt Sr Member

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    Wow, very cool!

    Looks like a promising build. :thumbsup


    -Carson
     
  18. DarkJedi1500

    DarkJedi1500 Well-Known Member

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    What going on that the deadline is December 1st?
     
  19. Lucky7

    Lucky7 New Member

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    I always assumed the orange stuff was Xen crystal, which caused the whole resonance cascade from HL1. There's even some at Eli's lab at Black Mesa East in HL2.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2011
  20. dstilgar

    dstilgar Active Member

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    Nice connection. They certainly have a similar look. It's just so hard to tell from the pictures, but you are probably right.
     
  21. azn

    azn New Member

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    sweet!!!
     
  22. Volpin

    Volpin Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Its a bit hush-hush for now, but I'll be able to let you know later this month

    Good call! That's the explanation I'm going with from now on. Also gives me a few ideas about how to paint it.

    Speaking of the crystal, I decided to scrap the MDF idea I had with layered laser cut parts. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't get everything together seamlessly, and part of this is because the laser cutter doesn't trim at an exact 90º angle. After sanding the MDF crystal bar for a while, I decided to just scratch the thing together with some sintra and my router. Much faster.

    [​IMG]

    Mockup of how the front ring will illuminate. The two barrel "fan" parts will sandwich this clear disc so only the cutouts will illuminate. I'll also frost the clear insert to help with light diffusion. The three rectangular cutouts are where the prong actuators poke through the disc.

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    Mockup of where things ended EOD yesterday. I should be molding the crystal bar and the bar cage in the next couple of days, so the whole thing should look a bit more fleshed out soon.

    [​IMG]
     
  23. IronCostumer

    IronCostumer Well-Known Member

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    Looks awesome! I've been waiting for someone to make this; never had enough confidence to try it myself.
     
  24. michelmoermans

    michelmoermans Member

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    Awesome! Go man go! :D Curious about the 1 december deadline now to...
     
  25. Goffcorp

    Goffcorp New Member

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    Fantastic work. Eagerly awaiting some updates!

    Goff
     
  26. TMBountyHunter

    TMBountyHunter Active Member

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    This may be jumping a bit ahead but what kind of base/stand do you plan to have for it? D:

    Seems like it will be a lot more troublesome to put down or store than the Portal Gun.
     
  27. Contec

    Contec Master Member

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    Now I do hope you are going to do the Gauss gun from Half-life 1 as well.
    I like the original more.

    The original models
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    [​IMG]
    The High def models
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  28. Crank729

    Crank729 Sr Member

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    Loving the build volpin!!
     
  29. azn

    azn New Member

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    great start. cant wait to see the finishing product.
     
  30. Volpin

    Volpin Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I was planing on doing an acrylic stand similar to the one I designed for my N7 rifle. There's a shop here in Atlanta that takes custom orders for stands like these. They're a bit pricey, but they really show off the finished piece well:

    [​IMG]

    Been fighting a cold off and on, so progress has been a mite bit slower than I'd hoped. Nonetheless, progress continues.

    Added the battery tray to the upper side of the gun. The illuminated "vent" will cover this eventually, and will be held in place with magnets. Still needs the actual battery holder, but I forgot to order that with the rest of the parts from DigiKey a few days ago, so its on hold.

    [​IMG]

    I had been struggling in my mind with the best way to get the rear pucks to fit into the back angled portion of the gun body. Trimming cutouts on the body itself had me worried, because I don't think I could get the two to line up perfectly. I decided the pucks themselves needed to be cut.

    The blueprint here was based on the 3D model giving me the exact profile shape of the rear body. The jig slips over a PVC pipe, and I used my bandsaw to trim out the pucks to shape.

    [​IMG]
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    (These were test pucks; dud castings. I swear my rotocast skills don't suck that much!)

    The finished result:

    [​IMG]
     
  31. SurferGeek

    SurferGeek Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    As much as I loved the Portal game and the amazing build you did of AS Portal Device... I think the Gravity Gun will be my favorite. Seeing a game weapon like this come to life is just thrilling to watch!

    (y)thumbsup

    _THIS_ is the type of threads deserving of Rep points!! :)
     
  32. Audrey2

    Audrey2 Active Member

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    Brilliantly speedy build you have going there.
    Looking magnificent so far, and did I mention shockingly fast?
    Because I think I should mention that a few more times.
     
  33. nick daring

    nick daring Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    That bandsaw jig is a brilliant solution for making that cut accurate. Color me impressed!

    Nick
     
  34. Volpin

    Volpin Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Slowly plugging away. I seem to have gotten a really nasty cold that pops up every couple of days and renders me near dead for about 24 hours. I wouldn't mind the bed rest if it wasn't cutting into my build time!

    Circuit boards came in on Monday and I got all the components installed and tested. The PWM glow effect still might need a little tweaking, but I'll wait until I have all the lights in the gun before making those adjustments.

    [​IMG]
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    The boards sit into the light bars like so:

    [​IMG]
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    That piece and the light bar "cage" went under rubber a couple days ago. Poured the second half of the molds yesterday and should be ready for casting today. Yes, I used Legos. I need to make a second scalable mold box for when I have to make more than one mold at a time...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The grip has also been shaped, but just the basic form so far. Laminated sintra with a cavity in the center to hold a threaded rod to support the weight of the gun. I have no idea what the little cylinder is supposed to be, but its in the render!

    [​IMG]
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    2 weeks left! YIKES
     
  35. dstilgar

    dstilgar Active Member

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    Lego mold making, genius!
     
  36. Yellowjacket

    Yellowjacket Well-Known Member

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    Seconded. If that had occurred to me while I was still doing castings it would have solved so many headaches.


    Great looking project. I can't wait to see the finish.
     
  37. hydin

    hydin Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Holy crap, this is gonna be awesome!!!!

    I would not be surprised if you told me Dog was up next :lol

    Chris
     
  38. Volpin

    Volpin Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Mo' work!

    The molds came out very well, some of my cleanest yet:

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    And the results!

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    (need to pull 2 more light bars but I ran out of resin...)

    Started working on the illuminated "vent" thing that sits over the battery tray. 2 magnets will hold this in place and the 2 orange LEDs in the back provide the lighting.

    [​IMG]

    Lighting is blown out a bit here, but you get the idea. The light is a lot less yellow than this in person but my camera is unpredictable at best.

    [​IMG]

    Also, the board jumpers are done and I hooked up one to the arduino to see how the glow effect looks. I'm pretty happy with it!
    video here!
     
  39. KevVader

    KevVader Sr Member

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    Very cool, well done! Love the glow sequence.
     
  40. madmanmoe64

    madmanmoe64 Well-Known Member

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    Awesome light effects. I was going to suggest LED light strips, but now I can see why you needed custom ones.
     
  41. bak9799

    bak9799 Well-Known Member

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    this is one heck of a sweet build!!!!!!!!
     
  42. Volpin

    Volpin Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks for the compliments guys! Still plugging away. Going to lose a day this week to the Thanksgiving festivities, but I'm hoping to have all parts built and ready for primer by the end of this week. Rough assembly would be a nice thing to shoot for as well, but one thing at a time... Maybe I'll save that hurdle for the weekend.

    More progress:

    Got the rear grip finished with the lower plate and side accents. Lower grip butt plate is made from acrylic to take a bit more beating than the sintra would be able to.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The rear drum assembly section has been drilled for a threaded rod that the grip will slot onto. Also added some half-round styrene to the inner support pipe to give a bit of dimension.

    [​IMG]

    A bit more work going into the front assembly as well. The prong arm holders got some small accent pieces - no way I could have made stuff this spindly without the laser cutter!

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    Quick mockup of the prong and claw arm assembly. I haven't sourced the proper hardware here yet so things are just sort of hanging precariously. Even so, it all fits together pretty well and the end result is quite encouraging!

    [​IMG]

    A couple more mockups with the handle and rear drum assembly. This thing is going to look busy when its finished

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  43. comicguy

    comicguy Sr Member

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    Love these progress pics. Can't wait to see this all painted up with lights and all, amazing work man. Someone needs to make a HEV suit to go with this.
     
  44. agentofzurg

    agentofzurg New Member

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    That is just wonderful. So many more details than the Portal Gun - can't wait to see this one done! Nice work!
     
  45. ThrowingChicken

    ThrowingChicken Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    * it, Volpin, this was next on my bench. Gotta beat me to everything!

    Looks great.
     
  46. TMBountyHunter

    TMBountyHunter Active Member

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    Yeah he spoiled my plans as well. I was planning to do full HEV Mk V + Gravity Gun for a con next august but now there's just no way it'll measure up, especually since he got Valve on his side :(
    Now I'll probably end up doing something else...


    This is still ridiculously awesome. Can't wait to see it finished and become green with envy.
     
  47. ThrowingChicken

    ThrowingChicken Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I was literally sitting here and sketching GG construction ideas when I spotted this thread. There are some things here that I don't agree with, but there are no doubts that Volpin's build will be amazing regardless. Now I'm just curious about what happens on the 1st. Unless there is a run being announced I might have to keep on as planned, lol. The HL series is my favorite game series of all time, I have to have one of these, be it through a kit or scratch built.
     
  48. nick daring

    nick daring Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    What a weird, wonky, mis-shapen, unbalanced design.... I love it!

    It's gotta be super hard to hold with it being so front heavy, right?

    Great work.

    Nick
     
  49. Volpin

    Volpin Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I seriously doubt this! There are so many parts on this thing, I don't know if I could make it even in small-production numbers. This one will be a one-off. I'll have some molds to make one in the future (because I will be making more than one!) but without laser cutting everything all over again I don't know how I could make these available.

    Out of curiosity, what are the parts you'd change? Your work is spectacular and I'd welcome the criticism!

    Nick, its going to be awkward, that's for sure. I haven't gotten to the point where everything is assembled and I can gauge the feel of the piece yet though. No doubt, its going to be a weird gun to wield.
     
  50. nick daring

    nick daring Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    You could make a neck or shoulder sling if you wanted to carry it around in a convention setting to help distribute the weight better. It's probably too delicate for a con anyway though.

    Nick
     

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