Life Size Robot Prop/Dummy- Original Design (Pic Heavy)

Jediknightandy

Active Member
Hey All!
Hope i'm posting this in the right place, just wanted to share some pics of a life size robot prop/dummy/stand in that I made nearly 6 years ago (Gasps!). I've been out of the game of prop building for a while now and am in the process of getting a workshop built in my garden to make some new stuff. I hope to be posting lots of cool new stuff soon, but in the meantime I'm going to share some of my older stuff..
This is a full sized prop of my own design as part of a college project. I designed the character in digital 3d and then used various methods to scratch build every single part, if anyone is interested i can post the making of photos?
let me know anyways,
Thanks!!
Andrew
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Apollo

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Fantastic design and build and of course we would like to see pics of the build!

Welcome aboard!!
 

Jediknightandy

Active Member
Thanks Apollo!

I guess i better dive in and start showing the build process then
(Most of this is taken from old articles on my own Art Blog, so I'm reposting the images and process here, hopefully someone will find it interesting)

So my initial designs were going to have legs but I quickly realised with a 4 month build time and trying lots of new techniques I wouldn't be able to complete such a large piece, so I opted instead for a 'Floating torso' look, with a large anti-gravity pad instead of legs.
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once the design was complete i built a quick version in 3Ds Max to get a sense of how the parts fit together etc. this was then transferred to Autocad and full size blueprints were printed out and pinned to my work area.
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The next step was to pour some plaster blocks (quickly made a few MDF boxes and poured herculite plaster into them)- these would be the shapes i would use to carve many of the shapes from to Vac form/ form Carbon fiber shapes on. by printing out full size front views and sticking them to the blocks, I was then able to cut out the profile on a large Bandsaw while the plaster was still quite damp.
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Using Rasps/chisels and reference of the full size prints of the side views I was able to carve most parts to shape in this way, including the head.
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Once the parts were carved,some were to be moulded, first part was the head, it was a pretty rough mould, looking back I could have been a lot neater! A simple silicone mould with a 2 part fiber glass jacket and i was able to make the first fiber glass part.
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Next part was the main torso, which I had initially carved in Plaster, but the symmetry was not looking good, and I needed to be able to have 2 copies that would mirror each other, to create a torso with full depth. So i went back to the computer and knocked out a pattern for 4 layers of MDF that I then got the CNC router to cut out. layered them up and added lots of bondo, and sanded down to shape (Sorry i dont have pics of the layers, never thought to photograph it!) then it was a case of doing a simple flat Silicone fiberglass mould that i could make 2 torso shells from.
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I will leave the progress build there for now, let everyone digest it, I can add the next part tomorrow. Next part covers the carbon fiber outer shells seen in the final pictures.
Thanks again!
A
 

Jediknightandy

Active Member
hey all,
sorry for the delay in posting this next part, been busy building a workshop for future projects!

this next part covers the carbon fiber panels seen on the robot.
(This method may be a bit of a mish-mash of techniques, but it worked for what i needed it to do)
For the exterior shell of the torso and a few other parts i wanted to have a carbon fiber look to them, after some research I decided to do it for real and visited a family friend who runs a canoe and kayak center where he makes carbon fiber paddles. After a quick demo I bought the required materials and scampered back to the workshop. What follows is the process involved.


a rough pattern for the torso shell is layered down with masking tape, the tape prevents the fiber from fraying when cut with a scissors

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you can see in this image the plaster carving of the torso shell has been covered in a semi hard foam board, it bends when heated and is very solid when cool. using a heatgun you are able to shape a flat piece of this 'Thermo flex foam' and shape it around your plaster shape. this will form the base material of the carbon fiber, sturdy and very lightweight.
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next step is to mix the epoxy resin, if i remember correctly it was a mix ratio of 1:3.
then using a clean layer of plastic underneath your fiber, pour the epox directly on top of it..
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after pouring your resin then begin spreading it on the fiber, like buttering a piece of bread..

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then you lift the soaked fiber sheet and begin smoothing and shaping it onto the foam. the resin soaks into the foam and creates a very strong bond.

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while the resin is still wet the next thing that goes on is a layer of nylon fabric called Peel-Ply.
this fabric basically soaks into the resin and pulls it up away from the fiber, so that the fiber is trapped in a layer of resin between the foam and the peel-ply. the reasons for this are apparent soon..
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once the resin dries you then rip the peel ply away, the peel ply does not stick well to the surface but it creates a slightly raised even texture on the dried resin which is easy to sand down and polish. without the peel ply, the resin would settle on the top of the carbon fiber and there would be no allowance for sanding without sanding down into the actual fibers themselves. below is rear torso panel dried with Peel-ply still on..

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and here is the same panel with the ply removed
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then after a few hours of sanding with wet and dry sand paper you have a very smooth finish.


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Apollo

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Very cool In your first post I loved the use of carbon fiber in your build.

Again awesome build he looks like he could go into any Major Motion Picture that is being released today! :thumbsup
 

Jediknightandy

Active Member
Thanks for the kind words Apollo, much appreciated!

Here's some more of the build process- Unfortunately I'm missing lots of progress photos at this stage, the deadline was getting nearer, and i didn't have time to snap a picture of everything as I went, but I will try and fill in with words what I'm missing in photos..

This next section covers various different parts, including arms and the Hover Dish.

for the 'ear' pieces i took a mould of a large cog i found in the workshop, added bits from model tanks and planes to create an interesting mechanical part, then moulded in silicone and cast two versions in resin
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in the photo below is also the rear head thruster, a solid resin tube which was turned by hand on a lathe.
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the head now has a carbon fiber faceplate and I have been filling and sanding the head shape, getting it ready for painting.
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the main hover dish was 3 layers of MDF circles, glued together and then the whole thing was turned on the large Lathe in the workshop. the size of it was dictated by the largest size possible on the vac form machine, which i then used thin clear perspex to form 2 copies of the disk shape, this took quite a while as you have to heat the perspex very slowly so that it doesn't burn on

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the 2 dishes were layered on top of each other, the outer one was cut out and would then be the support structure for the 'Thrusters'. the thruster mechanisms were various bits and pieces, the man bits were the large outer casings of cheap headphones. (2 sets collected after they broke from old age- recycling guys!)
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working away in my garage, started arranging all the parts as a kind of dry fit. The grey circular part at the bottom of the bot are disks made from several layers of MDF and Marine Ply, cut on the CNC milling machine and sprayed grey.( at this point the carbon shells were not yet sanded smooth)
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these details are various bits and bobs found throughout the workshop, then moulded in a flat silicon mould so that i could duplicate them many times. most of these parts would be used on the robots arms..
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i built the ams in a way that i would only build one, mould it, and pop out 2 full resin versions. the ivory sections are resin parts, the details above and 2 resin cylinders, turned by hand on a Lathe. the brown parts are the hinges, drawn up in Autocad, 3 layers milled out in MDF by the CNC miller, then glued together.
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the forearm and upper arm section was then moulded in silicone block with a plaster jacket


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the fingers were done in the same way as the hinges- autocad drawings, CNC mileld and glued together, moulded and then resin version cast.
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the left arm was going to be a drill hand, so i lathed some more resin disks, and then moulded and cast out a resin drill head from an old drill i had. the pistons are just aluminium tubes and the white finger covers are just vac-formed styrene parts, based on another shape turned on the lathe.
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all the hand parts were washed and cleaned from any grease before painting.
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Next part will cover the lighting and finishing of the Bot..

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Jediknightandy

Active Member
Lighting and Finishing
one thing I wanted was a really well lit prop, so i spent nearly 2 weeks lighting the bot.
i purchased pre-wired LEDs from a place in England, these are a life saver, no complex electronic maths, just plug them into a 12V power source and bingo-lights! the rear light was a solid lump of clear resin that was turned on the lathe, then 3 lights popped into the underside of it.
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The light was inset into the back of the carbon fiber panel in the rear. throughout the robot i placed small cubes of acrylic that had been sanded down to give a frosted effect, and fitted an LED inside each cube. this diffused the light and created a really neat 'Glow' Effect.
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The Hover dish had nearly 12 LEDs set into a dish of acrylic that was 10mm thick, this was then covered with the vac formed dish i made earlier, which i sanded the inside surface of to give a frosted glass effect.
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Base layer of paint and initial lights fitted on the head
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The ear pieces i mentioned in the previous post were re-cast in clear resin (Sorry i dont have a photo- and then parts were masked off where i wanted light to show through. the whole thing was painted black and the masking was revealed. when i popped in a few LEDs into the resin, the light shone through the masked sections beautifully.
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to get a fully poseable neck, i used a coiled metal wire from a desktop lamp.
these photos show him in various stages of completion

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This is the final assembly and base painting. the next part would be adding the logos and weathering (the robot works on a futuristic race team repairing vehicles- hence the corporate logos you see in the final photos.
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Jediknightandy

Active Member
So here is the Bot, pretty much finished..
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After that i got a bunch of Graphics printed out to apply to the bot to give the idea that it was part of a team with lots of corporate sponsors. once they were were applied i used oil paint and metallic paint to add wear and tear/grease and dirt to the machine to give it a used look.
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So thats the Bot completed. he is currently in storage and I recently had a look at him to see about getting him put on display in my new workshop- 6 years of storage has not been kind to him, with many parts falling off. I plan on refurbishing him towards the end of the year, probably updating his paint scheme and removing a lot of the old Decals. I will post this process as it happens.
Thanks for watching everyone, hopefully i will be posting some newer stuff soon!
Andy
 
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