Friday, October 5, 2012

Oomoo Loomoo Gloopity-Gloo...

...I've got a couple questions for you.

One being, why am I doing this?

Spackle, sand,


Spackle again, sand again...

I'm not just getting bored with it,  and a little frustrated that the surfaces are still far from pristine, but I'm also getting tired of dust everywhere, paint cans and spackle and putty and glue and sandpaper scraps everywhere, and still bits of foam and balsa and styrene everywhere as well.

And I'm worried, too.  I finally found some molding rubber (after trying multiple art stores) and I've started my first pour:

But I don't know how well it is going to work.  I could even lose the master I've spent all week sanding.

(And, yes, that's not an effect of the camera.  The oomoo looked well-mixed in the cup, but when I started the pour I could see it was still a little streaky.  I can only hope it will still set up right!  This in addition to worrying about release from the original, and how I'm going to make a proper two-piece mold, and if I've got enough silicone for all the pieces....)

For this project, it really would have been more economical (for money and certainly for time) to print the faceplate for the MEDKIT as well.  And, possibly, print the body of the CBR kit.  I'm still working out how to design the molds so I'll have a proper wall thickness and the pieces will fit together to make a single unit.  I just don't patience to build a full battery door, at least not in the fragile masters.

And Shapeways is probably superior for another element, too; surface.

See, there is a real flaw in the way I design things.  I contrast with, say, the typical Hollywood approach.  Which is to say; you greeble it up.  Whatever it is, it tends to have a lot of small meaningless surface detail.  If they start with a real object, they hide it under big piles of added stuff.

This isn't always the way.  It is more like a scale.  Steampunk at one end.  The many-litlte-bits of the Star Wars universe, and many game universes.  Working through the more design-centric Star Trek.  And in a few vehicles, you hit the modern era of real-world design; fluid, smooth shapes with fewer "lumpy" details.

Anyhow, for whatever reason, when I sketch out a design I tend to stay pretty close to Platonic forms.  Well, more like silhouettes.  Like the great cartoonists like Carl Barks taught, you want a shape that will read well in silhouette; that will be distinctive, that will have emotional associations.  You might detail it up, but that strong shape should still read.

I do struggle to draw those kinds of shapes, but then when it comes to detailing, it seems I really don't.  My robot had the same problem; it was one smooth glossy hemisphere, surmounted by two glossy bullet-shaped eye housings.  So everything was spackle and smooth for days, even weeks.

These Morrow Project boxes are the same problem.  Part of the issue is, of course, the same one the Hollywood prop builders face.  Which is to say, hiding the fact that it is a model.  If you've re-purposed a disposable razor, you want to alter it and detail it to hide the origin.  If you've carved out of clay and wood, you want to hide the tool marks so it looks like a product of industry, not a cottage.

I swear, the next prop I build should be a fantasy dagger or magic item, so I don't have to work so hard to hide the tool marks!

Anyhow.  The way this works out in the Morrow boxes is I'm trying to get the surfaces as flat as possible, with corners as defined and machine-like as possible.  And that makes for a lot of frustration in time trying to clean up the shapes.

And makes it a better match for Shapeways.

(Still...printing the bodies of the boxes would be over a hundred bucks each.  Although I suppose an interlocking top for easy assembly/dis-assembly, and/or a real battery compartment door, and maybe even rails to support the circuit board, are all wonderful advantages of doing it that way!)

De-molded the first piece.  The Oomoo-30 set up just fine, and didn't react with the clay or the Shapeways print.  Still not quite sure how to deal with the cut-outs -- break the mold there, or build up clay dikes, in which case they'd turn into giant plugs of resin...  Also did a couple more smoothing passes on the MEDKIT faceplate and it is starting to look like something.  So basically I'm a lot more happy with this project right now.  It is even possible the CBR body will survive de-molding (but not likely -- that battery cover is going to be ugly.  Unless I can get in there with toothpick and a lot of patience and seal it properly.)

I'm really coming around on the existing knobs I have, but if I do replace them, I think I will resin-cast around a salvaged brass insert.  Of course that makes yet one more thing to purchase...along with olive drab paint, inductor for a high voltage power supply, screw terminals for the CBR, the mysterious "treatment" area as a stainless-steel Shapeways print, nameplates and/or custom vinyl lettering...

Now if only I had some income coming in.

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