Saturday, June 9, 2012

Nickel - Claws - Katamari

The first in-depth look at my Nickel costume: how to make moveable robot claws!

I started by drawing out my design full size, keeping in mind material thicknesses so that my hand would fit inside. 

 I cut those pieces out and traced them onto foam core. For each hand I needed 2 'hub' pieces and 4 'finger' pieces.

 Then I measured the outer curve of the fingers and made strips of illustration board that length that were wide enough to fit my hand inside.  I lightly scored the hidden side with an exacto knife so it would bend easier. 

 I began the long and painful process of gluing the fingers together. It should be noted that the illustration board really needs the curve worked into it before you attempt gluing it, because it was fighting the glue like crazy!

 After the first attempt failed, I decided to put in supports that would double as a greater surface area to glue to and just generally make everything 10 times stronger.

The most important thing here is patience. They had to be held until they were completely dry, or they broke the glue. I decided to have some people help me out here, so I didn't die of boredom. :P

 Now that the base structure for the fingers was done, I began to work on the hubs... But I realized that I couldn't finish them until I had the fingers completely done.

 Even with our best efforts, the glue still slipped a bit, and so the edges didn't all line up completely. So --after testing it on some scrap foam to make sure it was safe to use--I spackled the claw fingers.

 Spackle is awesome because it dries white, is sandable and easy to apply. :D

Sanded them off, and just touched up some areas.

 Then I measured and drilled the holes for my pivot on the fingers and the hubs, making sure they were equal distance on each side. The idea is that the bolt on each side would make it both secure and easy to move.

I gesso-ed them in preparation for spray painting. (The LAST thing I needed was to have them melt!) Unfortunately, I used a paint on gesso on the hub pieces, which not being glued to anything warped really badly, as a result I had to remake the hubs.  >: /

 The fingers were then spray painted grey. I took my bolts and worked them through the holes I'd drilled. Assembly went as so: the bolt was twisted though the hub, then the finger until tight, then I attached the nut. This was done for both fingers. Then I twisted the bolt through the opposite hub and the other side of the finger.

My friend Sarené, who aided me with some of the assembly suggested I add a thumb-strap for easier movement.

Then I added the illustration board to the outside layer of the hub to finish off the piece. Once that was spackled and sanded it got the full spray treatment. :D

Unfortunately we had some paint chipping with the tape, but we were able to do some touch-ups.

Finished! And they look fabulous! >:D

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