Mythbusters Sign

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by vistaVision, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. vistaVision

    vistaVision Well-Known Member

    Trophy Points:
    747
    I finally found a few minutes to finish this little project. Sign is about 6 in. x 24 in. and is made of styrene sheet. This was an easy and inexpensive prop build well within anybody's abilities. The finished sign gets instant recognition from visitors. I will be happy to elaborate if anyone wants help building their own!

    Marcus
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Werstrooper

    Werstrooper Well-Known Member

    Trophy Points:
    866
    I love it! :thumbsup

    Did you use R&B for the metal finish?
     
  3. RobTFirefly

    RobTFirefly Member

    Trophy Points:
    180
    It looks perfect!
     
  4. protokev DMD

    protokev DMD Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,535
    id definitely be interested in how you achieved the look. ive been thinking about a few different ways to go about it myself and welcome the guidance
     
  5. steveclaus

    steveclaus New Member

    Trophy Points:
    16
    Fantastic job! I don't know why I never thought of making one of these. Now I have to have one! Kudos!
     
  6. DrStranglove

    DrStranglove Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,241
    Yes! Please post a tutorial for we block heads!!
     
  7. Prince NEO

    Prince NEO Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,772
    I agree with all posted above, if you have the time, please make a tut or some kind of instructions.
     
  8. vistaVision

    vistaVision Well-Known Member

    Trophy Points:
    747
    Thanks for the compliments! This really was an easy project. Sorry I didn't document my progress with WIP photos. Here's what I did:

    I started by grabbing a few pictures I found with Google Images. Just search for “Mythbusters sign.” I selected a few of the larger file size images so I had some resolution to work with. Note: I believe that there were 3 signs originally made, and appear to be in a variety of sizes. You can see them in just about any of the Mythbusters episodes. Many of the images I found on line appear to be digital art created for marketing and advertising the show. I don’t know for sure, but there are several signs and they all look a little different. Mine is not an exact copy of any specific sign.

    Using photo editing software (in my case it was Paint Shop Pro) I made a simple outline of the sign and letters by tracing my “borrowed” image. I made the outline on its own layer and, when finished, discarded the original image leaving me with the tracing. Of course, this could also be done freehand, or on tracing paper over a print, or however. I then played around with the size of the image until I could print it at my desired length (24 inches). You could also size up a small image with a series of enlargements on a copy machine. The letters are a bit rough so this is not a real critical operation (see, easy and forgiving starter project…).

    My sign is made from two layers of ¼ inch white sheet styrene that was left over from another project. The first layer is the sign backing itself, as said, it is about 6 inches x 24 inches. The second layer is the 11 letters. I believe that Adam Savage had recently posted that he made the original signs from 1/8 inch steel. If I were to do this again, I would certainly use the thinner material. It would make cutting the letters easier! I traced the letters from my 1:1 print onto the styrene. I simply placed the paper print on top of the plastic and traced the letters with a nice new wet Sharpie. The ink soaked thru the paper and transferred the letter outline onto the styrene. You could also cut out the paper letters and trace around them or use carbon paper (that stuff still available??).

    I rough-cut the letters out with a jigsaw. A coping saw, scroll saw or band saw would also work. Since I had quickly rough-cut the letters, I dressed the edges to the final shape with a small circular sanding drum on my Dremel. Don’t be too concerned with perfection here, the letters (and entire sign) exhibit a rough, handmade look to them.

    Letters were bonded to the sign with MEK. Any liquid styrene cement will work. I prefer a chemical “weld” but epoxy or ACC would probably work. Keep in mind, the sign (especially at 1/8 inch thick) will be somewhat flexible, you don’t want letters popping off! Once all the letters were bonded in place I used coarse (80 grit) abrasive paper to create “grinder” marks in the top surfaces of the letters. I was sure to keep them at a consistent angle. The illusion after paint isn’t bad.

    The next detail was the welds around the letters. Because of all the rust, it is very hard to see what the actual welds look like. I have tried a variety of materials to make fake welds (needed on the GB Proton Pack I recently finished) and have not found any material or technique that I really like. Since these welds are crusted under rust, I used the old “hot glue” fake weld trick. Can’t say the fillet of globby hot glue really looks like a weld, but its good enough for me, for this project. You might try epoxy putty or Sculpy to sculpt your welds.

    The last dimensional detail I added was crusty rust texture. I used a couple of old paint brushes and bits of sponge to stipple on some DAP vinyl spackle. This stuff is cheap (any hardware store) and is great for adding texture to things you are going to paint. It dries very quickly and can be thinned or cleaned up (even after drying) with water. I just applied a few layers of this material around the letters where I wanted rust to appear.

    I painted the entire sign with Krylon Fusion (for plastics) Nickle Shimmer. Hadn’t used Fusion before and had wanted to try it. Krylon claims a chemical bond with the plastic and recommends no primer. Its too early to say how durable the finish is, but so far I have not had any problems, and I like the color.

    When the Krylon had dried (overnight) I created the rust color with several washes of acrylic craft paints. Burnt umber, black, red, browns and orange were used. Go look at something rusty and study the colors. The acrylics are forgiving and wash up with water before they dry. Using a lot of water and a little color you can create various strength washes. Build up the colors slowly and you will get a more realistic effect. I finished up after the colors had dried with a little drybrushed orange here and there.

    See? Nothing complicated. Give it a shot and post your results!
     
  9. Jannix Quinn

    Jannix Quinn Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,981
    Would you be able to post a close up shot of the 'welds' and some of the rough parts please?
     
  10. .:MirrorminD:.

    .:MirrorminD:. Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,710
    Wonder what Adam thinks of it :) Maybe he can give some tips


    It looks great btw
     
  11. propologist

    propologist Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,771
    now just need " busted" and " confirmed" ones now
     
  12. .:MirrorminD:.

    .:MirrorminD:. Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,710
    Don't forget Plausible
     
  13. vistaVision

    vistaVision Well-Known Member

    Trophy Points:
    747
    Here you go. Using thinner materials for the letters and finding a better way to create the welds will improve your sign. You might also want to go heavier on the rust texture. For me, this was sufficient, as this prop will not be handled up close, just hung on the wall. I'd rather get it finished and move on to the million other things I have on my workbench than obsess over the welds!
    [​IMG]
     
  14. punisher

    punisher Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,476
    NICE! Ive used fusion before. Its pretty tough!
     
  15. treker2557

    treker2557 Member

    Trophy Points:
    180
    Thanks for the tutorial. I"m going to build one this weekend to hang on my wall!
     
  16. Dung0beetle

    Dung0beetle Well-Known Member

    Trophy Points:
    556
    The welds look too good. Have an amateur weld the letters :p
    [​IMG]
     
  17. vistaVision

    vistaVision Well-Known Member

    Trophy Points:
    747
    Be sure to take a few pics and post your results!

    :)
     
  18. vistaVision

    vistaVision Well-Known Member

    Trophy Points:
    747
  19. zenix

    zenix Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    2,090
    cool! i want one. well, all 4.
     
  20. Zaxmon

    Zaxmon Well-Known Member

    Trophy Points:
    556
    lol wait till Adam sees this.
     
  21. michelmoermans

    michelmoermans Member

    Trophy Points:
    180
    Cool! This is one of those projects that was always high on my list but always postponed due to little time... But I got a sweet 5 day vacation in the next week so I'll get cracking on this!

    I'll post some pics when it's done ;) I'm gonna scale it down so I can hang it outside my door though ;)
     
  22. Apollo

    Apollo Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    5,035
    Looks great!

    Send one to Adam!
     
  23. CJ 617

    CJ 617 Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,486
    How did I not notice this until now......I love it!!!! :)
     
  24. michelmoermans

    michelmoermans Member

    Trophy Points:
    180
    Just gotta get some rust paint (or some acrylic paint) in the morning and do the rust and I'll be finished. In the mean time here's a work in progress picture. Mine is made from MDF wood and glued together with hotglue. It's a little messy but I kinda like how it turned out, it gives some texture to it.

    I took some pics of the construction and was wondering if I could use your line pic for a tutorial. Full credit will be given ofcourse :)

    Edit: can't get image in so here's a direct link :)

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/17/dsc03993z.jpg/
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2011
  25. TallDarkandDisfigured

    TallDarkandDisfigured Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,731
    Lookin great! The hot glue has a good "weld" look to it.

    I'll be making one at work soon now that I have the lettering..
     
  26. Steamboat Spidey

    Steamboat Spidey Active Member

    Trophy Points:
    330
    This sign is so much better than the one that Discovery sells! Great Work
     

Share This Page