Newbie looking for advice and perspective on first prop

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by DukeNukem117, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    Hi, I want to introduce myself before I get to my question.

    I'm new here and new to prop making in general. I was inspired by volpinprops and eventually found my way here. I am currently a 3rd semester (out of 10) industrial design student and I am on the final leg of my model making class. I have 5 weeks to produce a final model and I would very much like to do a prop of some kind. I talked to the professor, who is a professional model maker but for products, and he gave me the ok.

    Now its just a matter of picking a subject that I can do in 5 weeks. Since this is my first prop, I'm going to try to avoid anything complex or difficult by nature (helmets). Since I am graded heavily on the quality of the finish, I want to keep it small enough to give every square surface the detail it deserves. Maybe something with the volume of a shoebox I'm guessing. But past that, I'm not really sure how to pick something that is going to be both cool and challenging, but not more than I can chew in the given time. I have some model making and shop experience, so I'm not completely starting from scratch, but I will likely have to learn the majority of the things. Here are the skills and tools at my disposal:

    Skills:
    - Experience working with polystyerne foam (and a convenient supply of it)
    - Some experience with priming, painting, and clearing using a spray gun, but no experience with imitating "wear" or other materials besides plastic/metal.
    - Experience with most typical shop tool, though limited experience with a mill.
    - Limited experience with soldering and electrical work.
    - Experience working with blueprints, autocad, profile views, etc
    - One time experience with casting a mold.

    Tools:
    - At least 10-15 hours of weekly access to a shop which also has a mill.
    - Laser Cutter
    - Possible rapid-prototype machine (3D printer)
    - Dremel, though I just borrowed it from my friend and actually never used it.
    - Autobody polyprimer, spray gun, some paints and clear
    - A really experienced model maker (of products, not props)

    I have my own car, a fair amount of discretionary income, and I live within driving distance to stores like lowes and hobby people. I should be able to spend about 20-30 hours a week to work on this and still get by in my other classes.

    So thats basically me in a nutshell as far as prop-making goes. Sorry if its a bit long winded. I doubt anyone can quantify these things and measure it to an equally arbitrary difficulty number on a project, but I figure it gives you guys a better idea of where I'm coming from.

    As for what I've been thinking about doing, I'm a big halo and I love the design of the gravity hammer. I would not be ashamed to have this hanging over my fireplace.
    http://images.wikia.com/halo/images/1/1b/Type-2_Energy_Weapon_Hammer_Halo_Reach.png

    Would this be harder than it appears? Its hard for me to judge because everything in product is usually so simple that not much time has to be put into creating the form, and most of the time goes into the finish. With props, it seems like just as much time goes into planning, constructing, and assembling the form as it does applying the final finish.

    Thanks for all your help.
     
  2. Contec

    Contec Master Member

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  3. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    Thanks. I found some on 405th's forum as well for guidance.

    Though I was reading volpin's N7 article, and at one point he decided to cast a mold of it.

    N7 Rifle, Mass Effect 3 | Volpin Props

    Why did he do that? He was clearly on a short deadline with only 14 days to complete it, and the casting seemed to add an additional layer of process to what looked like a perfectly fine wood base. Was it so that he didn't have a 20lb gun in the end? Or that he would be able to easily replicate more in the future?
     
  4. Contec

    Contec Master Member

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    Yes, the weight is a issue but also by having a hollow resin version makes it easier to add light, sound and such other cool stuff. If volpin would have wanted that with a wood version he would have needed to plan for the wiring before he started. I also believe that the other times the game company's paid him to do a prop they later came back and asked him to do another so that they could auction them out for charity. Now he would not need to remake the whole thing from scratch.



    and also he might wanna sell some casting for himself to fund future cool projects.
     
  5. Alan Castillo

    Alan Castillo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Do you want to specifically stick to Halo props ? If not, then your choices are only limited by your imagination :)

    Whatever you choose to do, rest assured that you will get all the help, feedback and advice that you need from the board :thumbsup

    You sure have come to the right place for that :) :thumbsup :thumbsup
     
  6. Volpin

    Volpin Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    When BioWare commissioned that project, it was communicated that there would eventually be more rifles made for them. To date I've made three completed versions, but there are orders for an additional eight replicas. Time was short, yes, but its a lot easier to ditch sleep for a couple days than have to scratchbuild another master!
     
  7. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    Wow thanks so much! You guys are awesome!

    Re Alan:
    I'm not restricted to halo, but I have 5 weeks and the clock is ticking, so I just went with the first knee jerk "hey, that would look pimp over my fireplace" reaction. I havn't started anything officially yet, aside from getting as many detailed shots of the hammer as I can find for dimensioning and planning. But when I think about the big sci fi universes that have had an impact on my life, for some reason halo tops the list. I've read most of the books, cured many nights of insomnia reading the wiki, and played the campaign of the first one many times over. Star wars would the runner up, but I feel like that's a bit over-done, especially given how much lucus merchandises the franchise.

    I do love the art design of district 9 however, and I have the art book on hand. I thought about a prop from D9, but most were too complex. The gas project does seem do-able though.

    http://cdn2.mixrmedia.com/wp-uploads/ziggytek/blog/2010/03/d9-gas-projector.jpg

    My only reservation is that from looking at models of people actually holding it, it seems like the stance from the grip to the trigger is rather significant, and my don't think my little girly hands will be able to reach that far. But i'm not taking it off the table. I would like to make up my mind and begin construction by Thursday though.

    I'm also considering the boost machine gun from vanquish:
    http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/imag...010/preorder/boostmachinegun._V187016391_.jpg

    I like the design, and it seems do-able with my time and skill, and it would be more unique in the replica community. But I'm having a hard time finding images of it for the backside.

    Re Volpin:

    How much additional work is the casting/resin process? Since this is my first prop, and I'm combing through tons of knowledge as it is, maybe I should just skip it for now and revisit it in the future? I want to revisit this in the future and install some old speakers into the business end, and have it play the smashing sound. The three holes on the front look like ideal speaker openings.

    And if I was able to buy one table top tool, would the scroll saw be the most versatile?
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
  8. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    I just received an additional piece of information from my teacher today:

    It has to be an original design, lol.

    So I'm currently collaborating with a friend who is a concept artist to design a district 9 based prop.

    I've also been doing more research on techniques, as well as ordered some apoxie sculpt as well as wonderflex. Reynolds advanced materials is within driving distance, so if I decide to cast it, I can always pick up the materials for that locally.

    How do people print the blueprint to scale though? Kinkos?
     
  9. robstyle

    robstyle Sr Member

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    You can hit up a large format print shop ot you can use a program on your home computer to print it on standard paper and tape them together.

    Might I make a suggestion with this being your first design an build, keep it small, keep it simple. Think of something hand held with lights and an LCD screen that can play images or video. Simple led lighting is very easy to assemble, cannibalize from an exiting item or build from an off the shelf kit. If your designing a tracking type device, the LCD screen can be a cheap and basic picture viewer that has GIF or JPG playback. You could design basic graphics in photoshop. If the picture viewer has an adjustable playback rotation (most have a 5 second minimum rotation but some have 1 or 2 second) you will get the effect of a walking pace during the rotation.
    Just keep the design functional in both size, shape and lighting. You need not mold or cast anything. Make it out of sheet styrene or ABS using plant on greeblies for added detail.

    I dont know why but led lighting seems to wow people.

    Ive had to design and fabricate exactly what I mentioned above in one night. Its very basic and simple when you have a plan laid out.
     
  10. Contec

    Contec Master Member

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    I would use a Nerf rifle as a base and then scratch build it to make it more BADASS....
    A good paintjob can hide a lot of ugly things on builds. Weathering make things look real aswell.
     
  11. LeoFirebrand

    LeoFirebrand Active Member

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    I have actually scratch built the assault rifle from D9 in 4 weeks so if you decide to go with a gun similar to that it's doable and like the previous poster said you can print it out on computer paper if you use photoshop and just stitch it.

    One additional thing to keep in mind is you probably dont want to build the gun as just one long piece so you need to take into account where you want to break the model up into pieces. When coming up with you design I would also suggest avoiding subtle curves or rounded geometry as in my opinion getting that to be symetrical can be time consuming especially if you have not done it before. But the District 9 art style has rigid geometry in general so that should work well.

    I also concur that smaller would be better as it will give you more time to perfect the piece and I could see a District 9 style pistol with gas canisters all over being really impressive.
     
  12. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    Thanks for the tips, I'll post up our design when we finalize.

    Where do I get ABS? Isn't that the hard plastic most airsoft guns are made out of? How does that work as a material?

    Also, since I don't have unlimited access to the shop, there might be some lull time at home over a weekend or something where I have nothing else I can work on. Should I wait until everything is finished and assembled before I start the priming and painting process, or can I paint/prime in pieces?

    And are there any good threads of D9 weapon builds? I find alot that are just displaying the WETA replicas.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011
  13. robstyle

    robstyle Sr Member

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    It may help if you added your location. Any plastics and many hobby supply shops stock sheet styrene and abs.
     
  14. LeoFirebrand

    LeoFirebrand Active Member

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    Cant help you on the plastic as I do all my builds out of paper and foam core.

    As far as the painting goes...you can do some painting as you go but I would make sure you have whole sections built. When I did mine I had 4 sections. The Rear stock and grip, the Front barrel/front grip, the large gas canister, and the barrel tubes. I would not paint something that does not have all details as it can make it difficult to attach the other pieces. Also definately wait till the whole thing is assembled to do weahtering. If you mix any custom paint colors also make sure to make plenty of extra so you dont have to try to color match later.

    I dont have any build pics of my district 9 gun but the basic principle is break the model into sections. First build the basic underlying shape and the add details on top of that, layering up. I have some build pics of my Mal's Pistol from Firefly which show what I'm talking about with layering. The same principles would apply to just about any build.

    Firebrand Creations
     
  15. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    Thanks for all the help guys. Sorry for taking so long, but I wanted to have some progress to show before I bumped this. I did find some local suppliers of plastic that I will visit next week. I'm in long beach, Socal, so luckily there were plenty to chose from.

    Anyways, here is what we have so far.

    We wanted a gun that would act as something between a medical device and an enforcement device. We knew the prawns were a insect like race with a caste based society, and that they were miners. So we decided to go with a gun that fired some kind of "stim pack" into the flesh of other prawns to either get them to fall in line or work harder. So we wanted something that blurred the line between medical device and firearm.

    I chose #4 because I thought it filled that concept, and looked simple enough to complete. I think one way it could work is that the leader prawn would harvest some kinda chemical from a plant/animal/something that is native to their homeworld. They would stab the needle into the object, then pull the upper handle like a syringe plunger to extract the substance into the canister. They will then fire this substance at other prawns like a super spitball that will corrode through their carapace and enter their bloodstream, giving them a surge of adrenaline to work harder or fall in line.

    I'm going to wait until he gives me a more detailed picture before I start modeling it in solidworks. But from the looks of it, there will be 4 main components. The gun will probably be 2 pieces, breaking horizontally at the middle. The plunger will be made separately, and attached to the top with a stainless steel rod, as well as likely sliding on a "rail". The canister will be lathed from a wooden block, and the needle will probably be lathed too, similar to Volpin's Little Sister Syringe.

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3491/3272584156_317f6e87c5_z.jpg

    I want to stick some LEDs on it, but I'm not sure where. None of the guns in the movie had lights.
     
  16. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    11/20/11 (25 Days Left)

    Here is a brief status update:

    My friend drew up some basic orthos, and I converted the profile to an autocad drawing. I plan to convert the drawing to a 1:1 scale PDF and print it at school for transfer. The thickness of the gun isn't very fleshed out yet, and that is something I will need to figure out over the coming days, so I didn't draft those. I'm currently reading up on basic electronics on how to hook up the LED and CCFL in the meantime. I have made some general plans for constructing this thing. The red is just notes for myself on concerns.

    My next update will probably come wednesday, which is when we leave school for thanksgiving holiday.

    Question: What advantages does sintra have over MDF? I know it can be bent if heated, but I don't see it used in that way alot. I know its much more expensive.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
  17. Contec

    Contec Master Member

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    If it was me i would not bother with lathing the canister from a wooden block.
    I would look for bucket or other premade canister.. Maybe a piece of plastic drain pipe that you make two disk to fill the two ends with. That way you get a hollow inside that you can add led into.
     
  18. robstyle

    robstyle Sr Member

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    MDF and sintra are completely different materials. Will you be doing bondo and seam work on the finished master? If so, you want to stick with MDF.

    For the "needle" I wouldnt make that out of a wood dowel. You will be better off using plastic or even rubber/dense foam to sculpt or form it as one piece. Reason is the wood will have texture and stand a good chance of breaking.

    Other parts that are listed to be lathed, the containers, unless you have the machinery and materials on hand, just use off the shelf items. Its a great way to come up with the final thickness of the thing as a whole. If you base them off PVC pipe, the sizes become apparent. The front top is 1/2", the rear 3/4" or 1" and the front bottom is 2"... If you go into this without those sizes finalized odds are anything you machine for those parts will be redone.

    The battery compartment can be near anywhere.

    To keep things basic and on a single power supply you may want to reconsider the CCFL lighting and swap it for a super bright LED configuration. If you take a hollow acrylic/plastic tube and place a hazed surface acrylic rod inside and point the LED's both front and back of it, it will light the hazed solid rod up brightly.

    Once all your sizes are finalized, get a full scale print up in front of you and trace it over the MDF and start cutting. You may find it easier to cut 1/4" or 1/2" sheets of MDF than a single 1" but again, much comes down to the thickness of the final parts design.

    One last thing in regards to the design, 9 of 10 people will think that rear upper section is a handle. Make sure its strong enough to handle the weight of the entire thing. If thats not possible I would suggest making that piece half size.
     
  19. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    Thanks. I will reconsider using LEDs for all the lighting after I spend thanksgiving break tinkering with electronics. I ordered a 6" blue CCFL for 7$ just in case. The reason i didnt initially go with the tube/led at first was cause I didn't understand what Volpin was doing here with the PCB:
    http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1257/5148799094_689c10852f_z.jpg

    I think I will use pvc for the tubing instead, though I'm not sure how to get that beveled edge without using some kind of lathe.
    Maybe a router?

    And thx for warning me about the top, I will try my best to reinforce it.

    -----

    As for progress, I actually did trace the blueprint today and began cutting the body with a bandsaw. So far so good, and I would have pictures if my stupid phone saved them properly.

    One frustrating thing that happened was that I was hoping to use the lacquer thinner technique for transfering it, but whatever paper/ink combo they used at the school print lab was apparently too high grade to fall for that. I know the paper is bond, but the ink just looked like normal ink, albiet in 6 different colors on a massive printer. To top it off, I had to pay 35$ for 2 prints of just black outlines, which is barely any ink. I can buy an entire marker pad or a color ink refill for the price of one of these. Where do you guys print this stuff usually? I went to the school print lab because I heard kinkos was suppose to be even more expensive!

    irregardless, THIS STUFF IS AWESOME!
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
  20. Contec

    Contec Master Member

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    I don't have printer place around where i live so i print the blueprint out on a regular computer printer. Loads of A4 pages that i then tape together.
     
  21. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    Hmmm, interesting. I never liked taping myself back when I did careplans for nursing (a whole other life), so I'm going to look on craigslist for an old large scale printer just for BPs.


    Anyways, progress update (11-26-11, 19 days left)
    I didn't do much over the last 2 days on account of thanksgiving. The main body part has been cut out with a bandsaw. Some further detailing in the cuts needs to be done, and I'm going to start sanding for symmetry starting tomorrow or monday, then router the edges. The side panels will be designed and cut into acrylic with a laser cutter. I thought styrene or sintra might be easier to paint over, but thats what my shop teacher said to use.

    As you can see, I've gotten alot of the electronics in the mail, and am sorting through how to make it all work. The CCFL does have a large footprint, but the rod is the perfect size, so I'll see if I can make it work before turning towards LED/acrylic tube.

    Few things that I'm still undecided on:

    1) The trigger guard slot - I'm not sure if I should try using the milling machine to cut this out. The MDF is too thick to use a scroll saw, so a jig-saw might be the best way, then I smoothen it out with putty. I'm not too experienced with jig saws, so I dont know how much kickback or control it has. Another option is to simply drill a ton of holes. Lastly, should I cut each separately or clamp the two MDFs together for a better shot at symmetry? Its going to clamp together to be 1.5 inches thick.

    2) The trigger - A static trigger would be extremely easy to do, but a moving one would obviously be better. However a moving one would take much more time, as I would need to cut a slot between the two thick pieces of MDF, and cram a trigger, spring, and possibly hinge in there. Since I dont have the time to wire the trigger to interact with the lights, it would simply be there to press. I'm not sure if the trade-off is worth it for how much additional time it will take. Is there a way to "cheat" a trigger function that is much easier and less complicated that I don't know about?

    Thanks, and I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!
     
  22. robstyle

    robstyle Sr Member

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    Make the trigger a slide as opposed to a classic trigger. That way you just have to make the trigger out of MDF and round the edges off. Cut a channel into the trigger guard and handle to mount it. This will also allow you to mount a micro momentary switch behind that trigger that can activate the lights when pressed. If you get a switch that already has a heavy enough spring on it, youve solved the trigger return issue.

    Any plastic, ABS, sintra or styrene material isnt easy to paint but it can be done. You should look into either a plastic primer or cheap out and dust the surface with Krylon fusion from a rattle can. Ill say what will save you on the paint is a weathered look. Not silver edges but actual grim, wear, texture and color.
     
  23. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    Something like this? (see attachment)

    I originally considered carving out a channel, and making the trigger mechanism out of something like Sintra or Styrene externally, then sliding it in. But your method simplifies that even more.

    I think I'm going to skip turning on the light with a trigger for this project, and save it for my next prop. I am going to hit up a local electronic store one of my profs recommended to find one of those audio playing mechanisms, I'll update how that goes.

    I spent a good portion of the day tinkering and reading up on electronics. I was able to complete a lightbox side project, which I'm pretty happy about since it costs a fraction of what stores charge, and is bigger. But it taught me some stuff about soldering, LEDs, etc. I also figured out how to make the CCFL work, at least in theory. I'm going to run the cable into the front canister, which will house the inverter and the 12v 27A single cell battery. The on/off switch can be on the bottom, inside the beveled end. I think I will even have space to fit the LED components next to it. I'm going to ask a friend who is an electrical engineer major if I can hook both up to the same switch.

    I think the reason my professor recommended acrylic is cause he has alot lying around in his shop, so I don't have to buy it. I'm still figuring out the construction for the top and the barrel, so I'll figure out painting afterwards. I think I'm required to use my spray gun, so I'll be using PCL 2 part automobile primer, along with house of kolor paint. I'll do weathering if I have time, but at the very least, I'll need to deliver something painted in the end. I really want to do weathering, so even if I don't make the deadline, I'll tackle it at some point.

    Thanks for all your help, and I'll post back when I have something new.
     
  24. robstyle

    robstyle Sr Member

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    You could do the trigger that way but I was suggesting sliding it into the channel from the rear then simply mounting the handle. The spring loaded momentary switch would be the return. Its the same principal as a water gun or nerf in regards to the channels.
    [​IMG]

    For your LED lighting might I also suggest you dont just add LED's as an afterthought. Use them for internal type ambient back lighting. Keep the design as a weapon and not a swap meet toy. To keep it simple, cheap and basic I still suggest off the shelf dollar store flashlights and such. That is if youve not already spent money on parts.
     
  25. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    Too late, haha. I think I'm just going to have the CCFL for lighting, so as to not overdo it. I think I'm having a better idea of what you are saying with the trigger. But how should I cut the channel out? I'll have to cut an identical part out of both sides of the body. Router? Mill?
     
  26. robstyle

    robstyle Sr Member

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    You can do anything really to channel the trigger guard for the trigger. Router, dremel, hobby knife, chisel... whatever you have on hand that will do the job.
     
  27. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    Status Update (11 Days Left)

    Man, I couldn't have picked a worse time to get sick. Some things had to change as a result of that and further realizations as this project went on.

    [​IMG]

    Strangely my class did not have a chamfer bit for the router despite having 2 boxes of router bits. I tried to chamfer the sides myself with a router and a course sanding bit. I think I'm just going to use a fillet bit and a router instead. I'll probably smoothen out the insides with bondo.

    [​IMG]

    I tried milling out the trigger slot but ended up needing to make additional adjustments with a dremel. In retrospect, I probably shouldnt have cleared it all the way to the back, but I'll get to that later.

    [​IMG]

    In order to have a stopper for the trigger spring, I made a small channel into the wood and glued inside a lego piece. Luckily, the little circular extrusions underneath fit the spring perfectly.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I used many small scraps of masking tape to cover up the exposed area of the trigger. I needed to insert the trigger and connect both halves of the gun in order to make further progress, and I needed a way to paint everything else without repainting the trigger. This way I can peel off the masking tape with tweezers after everything else is painted.

    [​IMG]

    I bribed my roommates with chocolate and ramen so that I can have the living room for the next 2 weeks.

    [​IMG]

    A big box of lasercut pieces to sort through and attach once the body starts coming together.

    -------

    Currently I'm working (or trying to) on the barrel assembly. I'm struggling to find the right diameter PVC pipings, and I don't want to have to buy a 10 feet pipe for 6" of it. I have a big fat dowel (you can see it in the corner of one of the pictures) that I am considering lathing.

    I've decided to abandon the whole back top syringe handle altogether, and will instead have it become a simple geometric stock. This was partly to cut down on the workload, and partly to not have the end result look like a super soaker. I've also shelved the bayonet and lower front canister for now, as I can attach those at a later point. I've also ditched the CCFL cause it seemed out of place. So much time learning electrical knowledge that won't even be used in the end lol.

    One thing that I am trying to decide on is what to use to smoothing out the edges. I tried using apoxie sculpt today, and was disappointed to find that it didn't stick to MDF all that well, making it difficult to sculpt. I also tried heating and bending styrene to cover up the inside of the hand guard and trigger slot similar to what Volpin did here:

    http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5076/5907415670_3ec8e873ae_b.jpg

    But styrene proved difficult to manipulate, and it kept warping and curling. I think I might just use bondo to smooth out everything. Should I consider bondo glaze or dolphin glaze for that instead? I also have wonderflex on hand, though I don't know how well that'll work.

    The last thing I'm trying to do is figure out how to paint this thing. Alot of it will probably be assembled when I reach the painting stage, just because I need it assembled to guide construction. I'm wondering if I should construct some kind of hanger or arm to hold it up so I can hit every side with primer and paint.

    Man, I'm learning so many new things in the construction of this so far, though I wish I knew half of those coming in.

    One thing I will say is that if I die from exposure to all this dust and paint, I hope to be reincarnated as something with more arms.

    [​IMG]
    This guy has the right idea.

    PS: Yes, I use a respirator, but its hard to get all this dust out of my living room. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2011
  28. robstyle

    robstyle Sr Member

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    You can always go back and repaint the trigger so dont let that hold you up.

    For painting the surface, if its going to be smooth plastic or acrylic, you can cheap it out and dust the cleaned surface with krylon fusion out of a rattle can. Self etching primer will work as will a filler primer. One issue you will run into with masking to paint colors is the tape will pull the paint off that plastic. Demask the tape by first applying the tape to your shirt or pants. This takes some of the stick off while still leaving enough to hold and do its job. Green or blue painters tape and NOT yellow/brown paper tape is what you want.

    Get the mock up done then worry about paint. This includes all your parts in hand and whatever electronics your still looking to use.

    Dont do that sanding in your living area. Regardless of a respirator its all now all over your place when the respirator is not used for day to day life. Its not just your health but your roommates as well.
     
  29. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    Ok, should I try to keep most of the main components separate until priming and painting?
     
  30. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    I've been really busy working so I havn't had a chance to update the status. Here is a picture from a few days ago. Its a general idea of what the final thing will look like, sans ammo canister.

    [​IMG]

    The barrel has been attached to help construction, but the stock is still separate. The PVC and plastic stock have been sanded down so that primer will stick to it. The edges of the detail panel has been beveled with glaze. I'll probably be priming tonight.
     
  31. robstyle

    robstyle Sr Member

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    Without knowing your final paint scheme I cant suggest full build vs partial for paint and primer. If the acrylic or barrel is to be a different color than the MDF, then it would be easier and more time effective to paint them separately.

    As for your finalized surface and greeblie dressing, remember function over layers upon layers of junk. This is where sci-fi designs go wrong. Less is more when it comes to functionality. You dont see anything unrelated to function on a bare military rifle.

    To add something to your build, consider a simple and fitting display stand. You can possibly use a length of 4" PVC pipe with grooves or sections cut out ad light it from the bottom. Not super bright light but ambient lighting. Just a simple dollar store flashlight will work. Its just to hold the prop for display. Find closet to center balance on your prop and make that the point it sits inside the cut out on the PVC pipe. Please avoid the temptation of of the horrid steel grate or allen head screws or rivets. If your prop doesnt have these, neither should anything related to it.
     
  32. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    Thanks. I actually didn't get to prime today. I was working so late that I didnt realize I attached the barrel 2 degrees skewed to the left. So I spent a good hour getting it off. I honestly didn't plan this as well as I should have. I thought I did all the homework and research, but it was like designing a puzzle, building the pieces, and solving it all at the same time.

    I'm hoping to get it primed tomorrow, and I'll try to get my friend to send me the paint schemes before then.

    Curious, but when trying to center a barrel between 2 pieces of wood, do you just eyeball it?

    Update:
    Here is a rough idea of what we are thinking of for the paint scheme. Remove the orange band on the barrel however.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  33. robstyle

    robstyle Sr Member

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    To get your barrel centered you can measure distances and use a dowel or set screw to get it in place.

    Im glad you posted that progress picture. Where you have the wood box propping it up, thats where the 4" piece of PVC pipe would come into play as a display stand. Avoid clear acrylic or such and make it match the gun itself as if its made for it.

    To my eye your going to need more black color on the top and or rear to even out the black barrel. For example on the rear area, where the tape is crossing that dot, maybe add some fine grate type material or use some screen to paint a pattern over it.

    Where you have dots, whats the purpose? I assume they would be for assembly so it would have some form of nut/bolt or other attaching item inside. If you have an aircraft surplus near you you can pick up some wicked misc bits to place in those holes. Its added detail and fits the design. I have a small box full of this stuff if you want to make the drive from Long Beach to the LAX area. PM me for info if so.
     
  34. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    I have some hex nuts that I want to insert into them after priming. I think I might paint them black before insertion. This is assuming the thick primer I have doesnt just fill them up completely.

    I'm not sure I'll make a display panel just yet, as I think we turn these in individually. Though whenever I get it back, I think I will make something for display.

    The color scheme is tentative. The primer I have is made by valspar and is very thick and white, which would probably work for the white base. I also have some car paint called "orion silver", which might be good to paint underneath certain parts so I can chip away it later during weathering.

    My friend is also going to come over tuesday to help me weather. He says I should look into inserting some kitbash details into that cut-out panel in the main body. I think he is referring to "greeblies" by rpf lingo.

    Any suggestions on how I should "mount" the gun for even spraying?
     
  35. robstyle

    robstyle Sr Member

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    For paint/primer either hang it by wire or do one side at a time. Its pending your location.
     
  36. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    Hmmm, its a pretty heavy gun to hang by wire. I would probably need to support it at two points. Do I just go back and paint/prime over the wire area after the rest are dry?
     
  37. robstyle

    robstyle Sr Member

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    whatever works. You could even place it on a milk crate. Whatever works to get it propped up for an even coat. Dont over think it. I paint and primer most things in my hand with a plastic baggie wrapped around my hand or on top of a cardboard box. The thinner the paint the faster it dries and most items do not need a thick coat.
     
  38. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    Ya, I'm probably overthinking this.
     
  39. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    Long day working on this, so here is a little progress update:

    [​IMG]

    I've primed it and is now wet-sanding it with 400grit. The primer I used is actually very white, so I think I might just leave that as the white basecoat parts.

    [​IMG]

    However, I have encountered a few problems. Alot of the edges are being taken off to the material during sanding. I'm not sure if I should reprime those parts, are leave them be for weathering. I don't really know how to weather, so I don't know if I need those areas primed or not if I plan to give it the "scraped edges" look.

    Another thing I noticed is that I don't have a middle parting line on the top and bottom. I can't believe I forgot this. I should have rounded the edges a bit before gluing them together, but crappy planning on my part I guess. I'm going to need to apply a thicker layer of primer on those parts, because the MDF is really absorbing the stuff. Should I try to carve a parting line out with an x-acto or dremel before or after I apply more primer?

    I hope to paint the basecoat on Monday, spend tuesday weathering, and spray clear on wednesday to turn in thursday afternoon. We shall see... :)
     
  40. robstyle

    robstyle Sr Member

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    The ends or cuts on MDF is porous so it will never match the smoothed area of the acrylic or the top layer of the MDF. You can use bondo or seal it with some paint, then sand, primer and keep going. Definitely smooth the area down though. Nothings worse then doing all that leg work only to cheapen out on the finish coat.

    Weathering can be simple or layered. You can do a wash with water based acrylics (the little dollar bottles of paint at Michaels) or layers of paint in various techniques. For a heavy repainted and scarred look you can use latex or Vaseline on some areas then paint over it, remove the latex or Vaseline and do it again for another layer.... Find the look you want then go from there. The layered paint with latex or Vaseline is what you would use to get a Boba Fett helmet look.

    More simple methods are:

    a paint pen to highlight wear areas as seen on the pistol on the bottom:
    [​IMG]

    water based acrylics are easy and quick to wear and if you mess up, wash it off and start again:
    [​IMG]

    I call this dry ragging where you take some spray paint applied to a cotton rag, rub it into the rag and then onto the surface your wanting to weather. It works very well if the base layer of paint is heavier than the dry rag color. The dry rag color reactivates the upper most top layer of the base coat and works itself into that layer adding depth.
    [​IMG]

    Oil based stains, pretty advanced, need an airbrush, patience and some skillz. This involves advanced thought in color depth and how said colors affect each other when layered.
    [​IMG]

    A combo of most of the above.
    [​IMG]
     
  41. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    I like to think my brash, impulsive, and sometimes downright reckless nature gives me a "bad-boy" appeal to the ladies.

    But right now I just feel like a gigantic *******.

    In a moment of "I wonder what will happen..." I decided to try to use a brush to apply a thick coat of primer over the exposed MDF. It did not go well...

    [​IMG]

    Now I'm not sure if I should try to sand everything flat again, or just 60 grit everything, take it to the spray booth, and use the gun to start all over.

    I'm going to start sanding as soon as it dries to see what happens, but yeesh, what was I thinking?


    Update:

    Ok, I think I can do this. I'll wait until it dries overnight, then starts wet sanding 400grit with a foam block. It'll probably flatten out most of the surfaces, but It'll probably wear out the edges since I'm short on time and I can't be too precise.

    I'll use a paint pen to cover up the edges as wear and tear, then clear it. The clear I have on hand is a 2 part automobile clear that takes a day to dry. I've heard that certain clears can dry within an hour. Where would I get the paint pen? And is there a faster drying off the shelf clear I can do at home?

    Update 2:

    Ok, I've sanded alot off the top and middle part. The bottom is kind of messy, so I'm going to strip all the primer off with low grit sandpaper, then mask all the parts I am satisfied with, flip the gun upside down on a spray stand, and spray gun the bottom again for even coverage.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011
  42. robstyle

    robstyle Sr Member

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    Why are you even attempting that work with clear coating? Unless your surface is completely smooth and every edge, corner and line is flush and sealed, its only going to enhance and expose any and every flaw on a super enhanced level.

    Get ride of those primer brush strokes, paint it with rattle cans, smooth the surface, then rattle can clear coat it. You can use some of the built up with primer areas as weathering if need be. Maybe its an item that was found in a wreck or battle field now as opposed to in a shop or ready to use.

    You can get paint pens at Michaels or crafts related stores but if your going the fancy time consuming clear coat it probaly wont work anyways. The clear coat probly wont react well to the paint pen.
     
  43. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    Ya, I met with my teacher today and he's not requiring us to go all out 2 part expensive clear coating anymore. Given most people's progress, he just wants something painted in the end. Its been rather confusing trying to meet the course requirements while doing this, which is probably why I've been doing things so excessively complicated.

    I sanded off the blotches and re-primed it. I'm going to sand and paint tomorrow, weather wednesday, and rattle can clear coat it. Is there a particular brand you would recommend for this?
     
  44. robstyle

    robstyle Sr Member

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    as far as brands in rattle cans, keep them all the same. If your using Krylon stay with it. What you want is a fine spray and not rain drop clumps for the clear coat if your insistent on using a clear coat. Most rattle can spray paints dont need a clear coat. Keep in mind again any weathering you do will be affected by the clear coat. It will be visually off setting to clear coat over weathering and weathering over it may end up looking like a cheap toy.

    Since I seem to think you want a gloss finish, off set it with some satin finish areas. Id suggest if your going with the color scheme shown earlier, gloss white with satin black, gray and orange. It will add depth and character while keeping it from looking like a toy. In the end a prop only need follow the five foot rule. If it looks good from five feet away, its done its job.

    What I personally would use, all Krylon: gloss white, satin gray, satin or OSHA orange, satin black. Satin can also be "semi flat". No clear coat. Use a hair dryer to help speed up the paint sure. Let it cool then do some simple water based acrylic wash's with raw umber, plum purple, graphite gray and some color of antique white or parchment.

    Keep in mind about demasking your tape and using green/blue painters tape. Demask it by pulling lengths off the roll and applying it to your shirt or pants. This will remove some of the aggressive stickiness so there is less chance of the tape biting into your painted surface and pulling it up. Pretty much any aggressive tape on that acrylic surface will pull up paint and primer. Dont yank the tape off, pull it at an angle slowly when removing.
    also,
    if your masking a simple line, only allow a bare minimum of tape to touch the surface with the rest being paper or plastic. In other words if your tape is 1" wide, allow no more than 1/4" of it to touch the surface. This way if the paint/primer does pull up, its not on a grand scale and will be easier to repair. That thick primer may come back to peel greatly if forced so be careful.
     
  45. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    Thanks for the info. Unfortunately this is where my curriculum differs. My teacher grades from 5 inches away. I will also be submitting this as part of my portfolio next year to get into upper division, and the panel of judges all grade from 5 inches away.

    I also asked around about the clear coat issue, and it seems like I will have to use the fancy stuff with a flattening agent. It offers better protection for the finish, as this thing will probably be handled alot between now and portfolio. But I've decided to hold off on clear coating until winter break. I just need something presentable by thursday, so whatever weathering techniques I use will only need to be durable enough for me to handle for about a day.

    And really, thanks for all your help throughout this whole thing.
     
  46. robstyle

    robstyle Sr Member

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    I strongly suggest water based acrylics for the weathering. Being your first time, its an easy do over. Attempting to weather with paint is a one shot deal.

    Post some pics when your done.
     
  47. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    Sure thing.
     
  48. DukeNukem117

    DukeNukem117 New Member

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    It was a long long night, and I havn't had time to mirror it for the other side yet. I'm going to redesign the stock, so that isnt included either. The trigger is completely dead now too. Though overall, the weathering turned out pretty well. My friend brought his warhammer enamel, and I bought a cheap set of acrylics. The edges were done with a sharpie fine point paint and a bit of dry brushing. The greeblies were a mishmash of lego pieces, plumbing parts, and earbuds. I still have alot of work left to do on the other side, and I need to re-design and fabricate the stock. I'm taking a CNC class next semester, so that'll be my first project. We havn't painted the stripes yet either. But overall, I'm pretty happy how it turned out, and I'm brainstorming about my next project already. Thanks for your help.

    [​IMG]
     
  49. robstyle

    robstyle Sr Member

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    dont be afraid to use orange tape for the stripes. The top section needs something to pull it apart from the rest of the gun. Maybe grab a sheet of window screen and use it as a masking shield and lightly dust the gray color over that area. Try it on a sheet of cardboard by just laying the screen flat and from about two feet away lightly spray the color. Its simple and quick.
     

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