Zero, the dog from Nightmare Before Christmas

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KennyZ

Active Member
Years ago I wanted to make a different top for my K-9's (Doctor Who) chassis so I could swap it out and do something different easily. Well, I finally got around to doing that. Meet Zero.

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Right now the head is one I found at Spirit Halloween. I'm going to sand down the mold lines, cut off the nose to rig for lighting, and paint the eyes and mouth with Black2.0 to see if I can make them look more interesting. Eventually I'd like to make a different head for him with a moving mouth.

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This year I mostly want to focus on getting the body to look like a flowing sheet. I'm messing with a thermoformable plastic a late friend picked out as something that might work. I think it is the same type of plastic used as water shields in automotive doors. I'm working through it but I sure wish Jonathan was still around to give me pointers. Sketch, the cat, seems skeptical I'll be able to make this look right but I'm hopeful.
 

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KennyZ

Active Member
Thank you. Sketchy doesn't get impressed by much unless it is food.

I had a plan for the pumpkin nose that involved an Arduino Nano, RGB Pixel, and programming to get a flickering effect. Thankfully while talking to a fellow droid builder he said "just get a tea light, they have an LED that flickers when you apply power." It even had a little plastic "flame" diffuser. It's perfect.

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KennyZ

Active Member
Time for paint. My friend said this material took paint very well and he wasn't joking. It only took a single coat of white primer for great coverage. I decided to just go with the one so I can see if I can make some interesting internal lighting later. I followed this with a light and random ghosting of glow in the dark and then a matte clear.

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While the nose glue was setting I thought I'd see how the glow reacted. It was purely an experiment so I had no idea how it was going to look.
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It's hard to photograph (just like a real ghost!) but it looks better than I expected.

Next up, finishing the wiring for the lighting, ripping some Zero sounds from Nightmare Before Christmas, and wiring in some speakers. Oh, and I need to glue the PVC frame together. Then test drives can start.
 

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KennyZ

Active Member
Aaaand failure.
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You'd think I'd remember something like this by now. This is at least the third time in my life that I have painted something flexible and neglected to get paint that can flex. I took the skin off because the frame needed to be glued and this was the result. Seems I should have gone with Plasti Dip instead.

Before I started the repainting process I figured I'd glue up the frame. It's glued together enough to be sturdy but I can still break it down to fit in my Camaro's trunk.
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After stripping as much of the white paint as possible I repainted Zero with the Plasti Dip. For now I've lost the glow in the dark ability. We'll see how this paint holds up to the flex and then I'll see what I can do to restore the glow. I've got a few large scrap pieces set up for testing.
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Oh, someone asked on another forum. That little black and white cat that is sleeping in every photo isn't real. Sometimes I end up with kittens that need to be taken care of and I think I can put a warm water bottle inside it so they have a warm thing to sleep on.
 

KennyZ

Active Member
I managed to patch up the mistake I made cutting the neck for Zero. I also found mask in Walmart's halloween section. It'll be useful for when we go to events later this month.

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I decided to just tape over the LEDs on the circuit boards. While Zero was off the base I got a decent photo of the size difference between the chassis and the prop.
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I'm starting to think I might have time to get a servo configuration built so Zero can have a turning head. It all depends on how quickly I can learn Maestro.
 

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KennyZ

Active Member
Zero and I had a great time at the Halloween festival. He did pretty well but I will definitely need to upgrade the motors and tires before next year. The grass drained his batteries quickly.

Zero001.jpg

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I didn't succeed in getting his head turning this year. At least two people said that it would be funny to put it on a lazy susan so he could spin his head all the way around. I think it'd be too exorcist for Zero. Hopefully I will have the servos in by next year so he can look side to side and nod. I did figure out that a quick back and forth on the controller gives him the illusion of wagging his tail. It got a few laughs.
 

Moviefreak

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Zero and I had a great time at the Halloween festival. He did pretty well but I will definitely need to upgrade the motors and tires before next year. The grass drained his batteries quickly.

View attachment 1508066
View attachment 1508067

I didn't succeed in getting his head turning this year. At least two people said that it would be funny to put it on a lazy susan so he could spin his head all the way around. I think it'd be too exorcist for Zero. Hopefully I will have the servos in by next year so he can look side to side and nod. I did figure out that a quick back and forth on the controller gives him the illusion of wagging his tail. It got a few laughs.
Great job!
 

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