Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Raygun XV.I

Raygun is shipped. Fatigue is already hitting.

I was on schedule enough to try for some of the stretch goals. Made two out of three, more or less, of the revised stretch goals. The original stretch goal was to hand it over early enough so "friends" would see it and order their own. When the CAD went long, there was no longer any way of achieving that window (I didn't have any techniques fast enough to make dupes in the time that would remain).

An idea that came at the last minute was to add pouches and stuff to the belt, Science Patrol style. Not enough time. It was that close to the wire; I could make those up in one morning.

But I did have the leisure to make the belt itself -- aka it was a stretch goal to make a belt for the holster -- and I even dared to make the alternate buckle design, the "Radio Box" buckle.

I have no progress pics for the latter. Not a single one. This was sort of the ultimate in micro-fab. I finished the holster at 11:15 this morning, discovered there was a one-hour slot available on the otherwise totally reserved out laser cutters, jogged down to BART, and did the Inkscape files on my laptop on the train. Ran the vacuum former and raced back home.

What was the build? Took an Altoids tin and pulled (aka vacuum formed) a duplicate out of PETG. Laser-cut an acrylic plug for the back, glued that up, and spray-painted it chrome silver.  (Ride Eternal, Shiny and Chrome!) Laser-cut a faceplate from 1/8" white acrylic including all the component mounting holes and a speaker grill, screwed some random indicator lights and switches into the holes and hot-glued a bit of interesting metallic fabric behind the speaker grill. Glued the face-plate on with Loctite Plastic Bond and stuffed small wood screws into the corner holes, each held in with a dab of wood glue.

The reason for the vacuum-form step was to avoid having to cut holes in the Altoids tin (which is sharp and metal and not fun to be poking around inside. The screws in the corner are dual-purpose; both decorative, and if I'd had time they would have actually held the faceplate, so I could cram some basic electronics inside the box.

The belt, I also didn't take pictures of. The buckle is a chunk of CNC'd aluminum, with a decorative "button" in laser-cut acrylic. Unfortunately file transfer between Fusion 360 (stl files) and Illustrator (for the laser cutter) is difficult. I roughed in the button by eye but it doesn't look quite right.

Incidentally, that shape...large gentle curves in profile, and rounded corners, turned out to be a bit of a pain. So many of these methods and sources, they want to add more. Extend the curves, smooth everything, add details. It is tough to get the very clean lines of cartoons and certain design periods (like Atomic Age, for instance).

I ran short of time to find bolts that were short enough, so instead of tapping the holes I just rammed sheet metal screws in. I can always drill out and tap some day in the future, right? The "ears" were also just undersized; they hold the belt exactly as designed, but they are too tight to allow the velcro end to pass.

But I'm getting a little ahead. I came very close to just hemming two sides, but at last did the belt the traditional fabric belt way; stitched a tube, turned it inside-out, then ran a line of stitching on both sides a half-presser foot from the edge to help it maintain its shape (since you can't iron pleather, at least not well).

And oh yeah. Turning a 2" wide, 40" long pleather tube inside-out? Not fun. It took me about forty-five minutes to finally wriggle the thing through. (Not helped by the fact that I'd stitched the velcro before making the tube, so that the stitching for the latter wouldn't show).

And thus we come back to the holster. Remember the problem? The gun has this 2" dish on the front, meaning if you make the holster big enough to clear the dish without difficulty, the gun ends up rattling around once in.

So I added padding. I had a big hank of white cotton-linen I'd purchased for pants pockets. No batting, and the fabric stores didn't open until 10 am. So I used cotton balls.

I literally shredded cotton balls until they didn't wad up, then carefully stuffed those into the "coffin liner" shape I'd made. I'd pretty much had it with fabric glues and epoxies, so I hot-glued it inside.

And, yes, this was largely to cover the visible (and ugly) inside. I also tore out the previous glue job and wrapped the pleather around the PETG frame instead of where it had been. So now everything is properly hidden; all that is exposed are all my gaping hems and ripped-out mistakes.

The thing that really keeps the gun snug is thicker padding right around the opening. Since it is flexible, and the gun can be angled to clear the dish, it can be made tight enough to grip the gun decently. So that was yet another fabric tube, with quilting passes done by eye (as an aside, I've always loved that look of ribbed quilting in certain sorts of science fiction costume. In this case, it was strongly functional; it kept the stuffed fabric tube from buckling in an unsightly fashion.)

That, too, was hot-glued in place. And there was no more time or the inclination to tear out more stitches in order to work in a keeper strap, despite the 3d printed Element Tikium snap covers I'd made up.

And maybe it's just me, but it looks so much like some sort of Apollo hardware I immediately dubbed it the "A7L Raygun Holster." 

But here it is in full function (the last pics I managed to take before everything went out the door);

No comments:

Post a Comment