Vortex Manipulator v1


Well-Known Member
So my eldest turned 6 last month and for his birthday I decided to make a vortex manipulator, because he's a big Captain Jack fan (no comments on John Barrowman's noted behaviour thank you!) and so the journey began!

I wanted to do this out of leather, so watched endless leather making videos. Mum gave me a bunch of leather that would do the job, so I bought a few proper leather making bits and pieces like the punches etc. But to make sure I didn't ruin real leather, I got some faux leather (pleather) to practise on.

The control panel

This I did not design myself but there was an adequate model on Thingiverse that looked good printed. Printed in PLA+, it was alot better than the original PLA attempt I did! Could look stunning in resin but I couldn't afford that on the time frame I had.


Now the original manipulator has an indented top to accommodate the control panel, so I wanted to reproduce this detail. And bloody hell it was difficult. Pleather is not forgiving at all and no amount of research allowed to get the results I wanted out of it.

So in my attempts, I made a crude resin buck to use as a former to shape the leather.


Which didn't turn out too badly itself, until I tried using it...



No amount of heat would allow me to get the pleather into shape, I didn't have protective gloves so that didn't help either but still.

I resorted to bending some milk carton plastic to glue the pleather around... not great but it'll do.


The wrap around

And then the arduous journey of making the rest of it. I am not a sewing machine user, nor it seems able to sew cleanly by hand but when the deadline is getting nearer...


It didn't end up too badly if I say so myself!


The deadline loomed over me so much, I had to option but to give him the pleather version - and he loves it! Now he's asked for the whole Captain Jack costume... oh boy....



And a little video showing the option available to add some electronics to the control panel itself, so its not completely sealed inside!

Now that I've learnt quite a lot about this, I can move onto a proper one out of leather!

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