Sunday, December 30, 2012

Holiday Ray Gun

This gun has actually been on the shelf in the workshop for quite a while. I put it on hold while I finished up the last two pieces. I finally put the finishing touches on it while on Christmas vacation.

A big part of that was that I had designed myself into a corner; I wanted to included a power level setting dial, but didn't have much direction on how it should look. Soooo, it sat for a while until I came up with something that I liked.

The INENSITRON has a working dial and sits inside of the housing for a toy pirate compass.The housing is glued on to the wooden handle with the dial glued inside of that. The graphic looks much cooler at normal size and has a classic hand-drawn feel. The tubes (wiring) run from dial to the trigger, and one to the pressure gage.

The pressure gage is an old standby in the workshop. I designed this on the computer a few years ago and keep a printed sheet with a dozen or so for whenever needed. The housing is a small toy compass top on a gumball machine toy container base. The meter hand is glued in place (in the safe position).

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but scale is one of the biggest concerns when putting a piece together, and can really make or break a design. It is very easy to overwhelm a piece by adding something too thick or too wide for the rest of the gun. Also, if a piece is too small, then that can be just as distracting; leaving large boring spaces on the gun. So, I toy around with stuff all the time, trying to find the right scale parts for each piece. It probably is the most lengthly part of the entire process, for me.

Keep zap'n...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Classic Ray Gun

This is definitely one of my favorites, and is ironically, one of the simplest pieces I've done, so far. I toyed with the idea of adding bells and whistles, but I decided to keep it simple, and I'm glad I did. Using a new grip pattern for this gun; not as twisty and exotic as the previous handles I've cut, but it fits nicely.

The trick with any handle, is to make sure you leave enough room for screws to secure it to the base, while leaving room for a trigger.

Again, working with a lot of clear material as much as possible. I find painting transparent materials very rewarding for some reason; its like revealing the invisible man in the old black&white horror movies. Anyway, some metal paper fasteners, for rivets and electrical tape for bands.

The barrel is a wooden candle stick. I used an exacto-knife to cut a groove for the fin to fit into. The fin is plastic cut from a plastic container lid. Wood takes spray paint a lot differently than plastic, or metal, and the end result can sometimes be hard to predict. In this case, I skipped the black undercoat, and went with just primer and bronze spray paint. The wood gave the paint a rough finish which definitely gave it the look of a used and often-handled weapon.

I had toyed with a new power level setting dial on the back end, but I couldn't get the mechanics to work with unscrewing itself and leaving hardware in the body of the gun. So, I just added some flair to the end and called it good. I will likely try building the power selector again, once I spend some time in my local hardware store, looking for pieces to make it work.

Hope you like it.

Keep zap'n.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dirigible Days

Came across this yesterday and thought this low budget web series had a lot of heart. Some very neat steampunk models and props and good effects. If steampunk is your thing, then check it out...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Deco Rocket

This is one of those projects that just comes out of nowhere. I knew that I wanted to eventually make some steampunk rocketships, but I hadn't given it too much thought; I usually just kind of tooled around with pieces to see what fit well together. I just decided to bite the bullet last weekend, and put this together in about two days.

I intentially didn't take any WIP pics, because I knew I would be tempted to post them. I felt like seeing the process might diminish the final result, so no WIP photos. It is mostly plastic, with some metal pieces for detail and flair. It is very light and I had to glue a giant steel washer to the bottom of the rocket, to keep it from teetering on the base.

The rocket detatches easily from the base, which is made of found plastic items, wood, and some metal.

You can't really see the wood from here, but I added a clear coat first so that it would mask the grain when I painted it. A very fun piece to make and a very rewarding finished sculpture.

Really Long Ray Gun

This is probably my new favorite raygun. It is every bit of 14 inches from end to end, which makes it the longest pistol I've made, so far. Its the third with the new wooden handles, though the second to be finished; I tabled the previous project to finish this one. While I think a lot of the base items are very obvious, they just fit so well together it doesn't matter.

This piece came together when I suddenly became unable to find the small champaign glasses that I often use for gun barrels. A new, simpler model was now out, and the more ornate ones were nowhere to be found. Once I stopped cussing, I picked up a few of the newer glasses and started tooling around with ideas. Very pleased with the result.

There are very parts to this one in comparison to some of my other work. Instead of trying to add textures or lines to show metal bolted together I just added a few brads as bolts suggest joined metal.

The other interesting thing about this piece, is that it marks a lot firsts for me. This is the first time I worked with plexiglass as a medium. While plenty of the work I do starts out with transparent ingredients, I though plexiglass would be a perfect item to make fins with; its thin, its durable, it takes paint well...its perfect. Plus, I had a giant sheet of it, from the old house, so it was double perfect.

Well...not so much. It can be very fragile, and its hard to cut with a jigsaw. Actually, the jigsaw goes right through it, but the heat fuses the plastic back together instantly, so you still have to break along the cut line with pliers, or whatever. Now, this may seem obvious to some of you out there, but it wasn't to me, at the time. Oh well, live and learn.

Once I finally got the fin cut out, I sanded it and added electrical tape and bronze paper fasteners as bolts. Plexiglass pretty much show every mistake that you make, but it all disappears after its painted...thankfully. Dispite the grief that it gave me, it is still pretty rugged and makes for a more rugged piece, overall. I will definitely use it again.

Another new thing that I did with this model was to inset an item into the handle. In this case, its a locket, that I turned into the power setting dial for the gun.

I had to bore a hole into the grip, without punching through the other side and then file down the cavity so that the locket would fit properly. I am totally unhappy with the cardboard insert, and will likely pop it out and make something cooler to fit here. Overall, its pretty cool.


I did design a new insert for the locket; one that I am much happier with. I drew this by a hand at twice intended size, shrunk on the copier, and colored it by hand. It looks much cooler not zoomed in like this, but you get the genreal idea...

I poured through pages of victorian border design until I came up with this. This wasn't ispired by any one particular work, but is meant to imbody the classic ornamental asthetic of the time. Plus WAVE INTENSITY just sounds cool.

Here is a close up of the chamber. I love the mixture of opaque and transparent in my work and I think the repetition of elongated pieces just make this gun look very elegant. Also, I've added a pic of the front, since its very visible in the profile photo.
Hope you like it.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fist Full Of Stories!

My Jr. High School buddy, SA Barton has finally bitten the bullet and turned to writing full time-ish, while he goes back to school. He has always had a fantastic imagination and knack for putting words on paper; so I'm very glad to see him put it to good-ish use. He is almost a year on Smashword (an e-publishing site) and has already published over 30 short stories, including one magazine piece.

His work ranges from sci-fi to wierd, so check it out:

Keep zap'n...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Another Robot From The Workshop

Just finished finished this guy while enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday. He had been kicking around in a mostly complete state for a few weeks, but I just ironed out the last touches a few days ago...and  love it. I'm calling him Click-bot...

He stands about 5 inches tall and has a magnet on his back for guarding refridgerators, metal filing cabinets, etc. He is one of the more craft-y-ish things I've done, so far. His body is a clear plastic candy container with wooden dowels for the arms and legs. His head is a modified thread spool. There are few gears in his tummy, which can be seen through a framed window on his front.

Here is a picture of how he looked originally, before rummaging through my parts bins, and making a few modifications.

I cut off the bottom of the head, at my wife's suggestion, to make it less spool-like. Also, added a few square brads to creat some ear action and give the sides of his head some interest.

I had carved a line in for the mouth, but thought it needed more charcter. The chin piece is made of painted electrical tape and gives it more a functional feel. The head was originally a character-less transparent dome with an antennae inside (not pictured, and now disassembled). Fortunately, I decided to go for something more charming and anthropomorphic.

The clash of wood and metal(lic-painted plastic) was very striking, and I think is 100% of the charm of this piece. The other cool part is his tummy; it has a clear window so you can see the gears, and such...

There are a couple of metal clockwork gears that can be seen through the tummy window. The window was masked off when I painted the rest of the box, and then a scrapbooking frame was added to hide the mask lines and give the body some texture. Inside are a couple of clockwork gears layered over pieces cut from a gold doylie. The layers are seperated with thin sheets of tranparent plastic to provide a feeling of depth.

The other key element that I like here are the golden bands and bolts on the waist, arms, and feet (which have no bolts). The bands are painted electrical tape and adhesive gems. They are applied, painted black and then a quick go-over with gold paint and a dry brush. The main disadvantage here, like with most applied items, the gems pop off, and don't always take paint well. So, from now on I will move on to metal brads when ever possible, since they already look the part and have a pin that can be punched through the model and glued in place. Live & learn...

Anyway, that is the process, more or less. I definitely see an army of robots coming soon; very likely to storm a table at a local convention or craft show.

Monday, November 19, 2012

New Ray Gun

Hard to believe that more than a year has passed since my last entry. Work and a move into a new house has made it difficult to finish any projects, but I have a new work shop and the mad sciencery has resumed.

This is a slightly more ambitious project than the previous ray guns, as it is not a mod of an existing gun toy. Now that I can spread out and have a place for the power tools, I was able to cut a custom handle as the base for the gun. Two important things here, not using a toy gun means that this handle is cut for bigger adult hands, which means the ray gun itself is a great deal larger than the other projects. Also, it is a really comfortable grip.

It was more convenient to use my phone for these picks, but I'm not super happy with the way they came out. I may add some better quality shots later, but these will do for now.

Here are the basic parts laid out. Still using some of my favorite tricks and pieces, but a few new moves as well. I love the shape of these craft bottles and they come in a variety of sizes and are pretty cheap. I also love being able to toy with transparency, so I masked the spot between the muzzle and body to create a see-though cylinder. In the cylinder, I placed a bundle of tubing and wires to make it look kind of weird and high tech.

Now, I did experiment with a few different techniques. First was the hanlde, but I also covered the body of the bottle with strips of electrical tape to give the impression that it was made of metal plates. I punched holes through the tape and bottle to insert small metal brads. Once the spray paint was applied, it looked like metal plates and rivets.
One interesting thing about electrical tape is that the coating does not appear to like spray paint too much, and the paint never really dried. It was tacky for days, so I eventually opted to dry brush on some acryllic silver metallic paint. Problem solved.

I added some interesting flair pieces on the muzzle, and dry brushed gold paint on some of the accent pieces. So far, one of my favorite pieces. I'm working on a similar gun now, with a few variations in the details. I will definitely be cutting my own grips from now on, though I will still have to use up my rediculously large stock of toy guns at some time, or another.