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1  CLOTHING / Costumes: Completed Projects / Props for Joker Costume on: September 22, 2013 12:06:11 AM

I recently completed a matching set of props for a Joker costume that I'm putting together. They are a *prop* sword cane and something that I don't know the proper name for. I've been calling it "extendopunch", but it's something that I'm sure we all remember from countless looney tunes Smiley

Here's a video of the items in action:
extendopunch: http://youtu.be/PA_oYJlvJZM

cane: http://youtu.be/f6yXlMDzUMk

Starting off, I'll give some info for any crazy folks out there inclined to build a extendopunch gadget. It's a crisscrossed scissors mechanisim with a punching glove on the end. Fairly basic, but there's a couple tricks to building it sturdily and *relatively* safely. Huge disclaimer here. There's aspects to this thing that could hurt your fingers if they get caught between the moving pieces (speaking from personal experience Wink

One of the first things is to create long handles that extend beyond the width of the mechanism when it's closed. This way, when you retract it, it doesn't slam down on your hands.

To make it sturdy, you'll want to alternate between single bars of metal and double bars that sandwich the singles as shown in this closeup. I used 1/8" thick by 3/4" wide aluminum barstock held together by 1/4" bolts with locknuts, all of which can be found at Lowes or other major hardware stores.

Just for fun, and because this is for the Joker, I decided to add a silly face on the business end of the device!

I won't be giving any info on how to build the cane (sorry!) as it's actually something that could, potentially, get you into serious, SERIOUS trouble if you build it outside of compliance with your local laws and then carry it around where you live. Secondly, it could potentially be built in a very dangerous fashion. I have to stress that this is a prop only and is completely blunt with no sharp surfaces whatsoever.

All of that being said, a basic description is that there is a light-weight spring mechanism inside the cane that will lock into the closed position when the tip of the cane is pressed against the ground. Then, by pressing on a button hidden underneath the cloth grip on the handle, it releases the mechanism and reveals the 13 inch fake blade.

And, of course, as this is for the Joker it's all topped off with a splash of color Wink I thought purple worked nicely

the items in the "closed" position
2  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Backpack-mounted reed organ on: July 04, 2013 01:10:11 AM

A long while back I embarked upon a quest to build a very strange instrument that I had imagined. The end result is an acoustic, human powered, portable, wearable reed organ. I've taken to calling it the "Borgan" Cheesy

To make the borgan, I used two old accordions that were in need of repair. Both of their button-boxes were shot, but the keyboard and bellows from both instruments only needed a little bit of TLC. So they were given new life within this strange frame.

The air for the instrument is generated via two foot-pumps which I built from plywood, leather, cabinet hinges and springs:

It flows from the foot pumps and is stored in the bellows, which have been linked together:

When notes are pressed on the keyboard, air flows out of the larger air hoses and into an air intake on the back of the keyboard assembly - where it then flows over the reeds to produce sound:

For a demo, I played a very shortened version of Mozart's Rondo in A Minor  Smiley

My favorite part of this project was the discovery that I'm actually NOT the first person to build an instrument like this. Much to my delight, someone who heard about what I planned to build sent me a link to an instrument built by an Argentinian man in the 1980's. The man's name is Nez Corts and he calls his instrument the Organo De Campanias. It's absolutely beautiful and information on his instrument can be found here (in spanish): http://www.lesluthiers.com/frame_instrumentos.htm
3  CLOTHING / Costumes: Completed Projects / Warhammer 40K Powerfist on: May 28, 2013 10:04:43 PM

I've been wanting to make one of these for a long time. Recently had the opportunity to Smiley

Each finger can be individually controlled. I don't have much in the way of photos yet, but here's a video of it in action:

The hand is made from an aluminum frame to form the "skeleton" and EVA foam to create the armored exterior. Color was done with spraypaint. At each joint springs are used to return the fingers to a neutral position. Motion of the fingers is achieved via loops worn on the wearer's (or "puppeteer's" if you like) fingers. The skulls are fabricated from white plastic and the domes over the red LED lights are made from a semi-translucent plastic.

Strangest thing is... I've never actually played Warhammer. I've just always loved the artwork and armor from the game Smiley
4  CLOTHING / Costumes: Completed Projects / Shoulder armor made from vintage Coca-Cola tray on: May 08, 2013 05:45:28 PM
My awesome wife went to a garage sale the other day, and bought something for me. It was a vintage steel Coca-Cola snack tray. It was a bit banged up and had some dents etc. in it but that made me happy as I therefore wouldnt feel bad about cutting it apart.

It now has a new life as a piece of armor:

For the post apocalyptic lady who thirsts for adventure.

And has a bubbly personality

Only Coca-Cola will do!

.. am I the only one who finds the dead fox draped across the ladys shoulders a tad weird? It looks like its trying to bite her finger. Seek vengeance, Mr. Fox, VENGEANCE!!!
5  CRAFTING FOR GOOD AND NOT EVIL / Crafty Charitable/Social Causes / A call to arms! (terrible pun warning) on: January 29, 2013 06:42:40 AM
http://thingiverse-production.s3.amazonaws.com/renders/ed/79/be/ac/d9/Liams_Robohand_preview_featured.jpg [Edited to remove broken image insert]

First off, I apologize for the horrendous pun. My buddy Rich and I often can't help ourselves with hand/arm jokes as we create these devices. Rich is a finger amputee, and he often tells me that he's "short handed".

With that taken care of, please let me introduce you folks to our little friend, Liam, and his "Robohand":
Rich and I designed and fabricated Liam's robohand in our garages on opposite sides of the world. His device is part of our open-source prosthetics project and was received by Liam at no cost to his family.

http://thingiverse-production.s3.amazonaws.com/renders/bf/c1/17/29/a0/Liam_with_new_hand_preview_featured.jpg [Edited to remove broken image insert]

I'm coming here to the Crafting For Good board to see if you folks can help us with something? Now that we have a completed device, we need help in making it easier for people like Liam to find us so that we can adapt this technology for use by others in need.

http://thingiverse-production.s3.amazonaws.com/renders/07/18/91/88/b1/Liam_shopping_cart_preview_featured.jpg [Edited to remove broken image insert]

Anyone can help by sharing information about our project on social media sites they are members of. The more the project is shared, the higher the chances become of a person in need of a "helping hand" Wink hearing about us. Moderators, please let me know if this request is in any way out-of-line and I will happily modify or remove it Smiley I didn't come across anything in the policies.

Thank you!
6  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Using prosthetic mech-finger to type on: January 09, 2013 07:33:45 AM

Hello all!

Another update on the finger prosthesis project. Richard, the co-creator and designer of what we've been calling "Robohand", now has a more refined version of the prosthetic which has a new tip that allows him to perform precise tasks like....

Typing: http://youtu.be/DF4wUQKkx10 Smiley

One of the best aspects of this current design is that much of it was constructed from things one can find at a hardware store. The main lever arm & mounting arm for the tip were made from a brass door hinge. The control ring was made from a plumbing fitting. The grip-pad on the finger tip was made from a pad that you can buy to stick underneath table legs. The sleeve to provide padding for his stump is a finger-grip that office workers use when sifting through stacks of paper.

Here are a few images of the latest device:

The only specialty components involved in this design are the orthopedic plastic used to create the hand-mount (usually obtained via a doctor or physical therapist) and the tiny ball-joints (the little ball joints are used in RC cars and can be obtained via a hobby shop or online store).

Within the next week, for those who are interested, we'll be sharing more detailed information on how the prosthetic devices are constructed on our blog: http://comingupshorthanded.com/2013/01/04/celebrating-our-first-year/

7  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / UPDATE on prosthetic finger project on: November 23, 2012 10:11:21 PM
http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/486978_287433981376669_1185416220_n.jpg [edited to remove broken image insert]

A while back I posted on this board sharing an open-source prosthetic project I'm involved in. I just got back from a trip where my design partner and I got to work together in-person for the first time. An exciting new development: we were able to start developing a design for a little boy who was born without fingers on his right hand. In line with the goals of our project, Liam (the awesome little fellow) is receiving what we come up with free of charge.

6 days, 20,000 miles of traveling, many hours of work... it was excellent. There is an unbelievable amount to share, but I'm too worn out at this point. Hopefully the images and video will help to give a picture of the process and results.

Here is a video telling the story of our work this week: http://youtu.be/cyC6_LY7oq0

And here are more photos of both Richard's prosthesis and Liam's prosthesis:

Thank you to everyone in the Craftster Community who has been so supportive and encouraging! Cheesy
8  CLOTHING / Costumes: Completed Projects / Pip-Boy made from scavenged parts on: October 25, 2012 08:03:35 AM

(the photos have censor-bars across them because I removed a web link from the photo to comply with our community's policies Smiley My wife was the photographer and she kindly gave me permission to remove the web-link)

I recently made this for a client of mine. He wanted me to make a re-imagined version of the Pip-Boy from the Fallout games. So, what I constructed is what I imagined the Pip-Boy would end up looking like after a decade or so in the wastes: Rough, gritty, almost all of its' components replaced with scavenged bits of tech as the original pieces, one by one, either broke down or were smashed in fights with mutants.

The control panel and speaker grill were stripped off a vintage CB radio (manufactured in the early 70's). The screen housing was also taken from a piece of 70's tech: an old 35mm film editing machine. To prepare the bits of the CB radio, I dismantled it, removed the face plate  (which was that plastic, fake wood pattern ever-so-popularly used in the 70's) and repainted it with a flat grey primer. The screen housing was easier, I just had to cut it off of the film editor. The little gizmo on the top is a gear mechanism for advancing the 35mm film. When you spin the large wheel, the little wheel spins rapidly. It serves no purpose but is very fun.

There is a compartment below the screen housing into which a smart phone can be inserted. The flap then is wrapped back around to cover the edge of the phone (the phone used as an example is larger than my client's, hence it sticks out a bit.) I left the screen housing open by removing it's old screen cover. That way, one can interact with the smart phone inside.

The entire back of the Pip-Boy is covered in black leather. Every piece of post-apocalyptic wear is better with leather. And sports equipment. LOTS of sports equipment. Tina Turner's guards in bartertown would've been in a bad place without their sports equipment. But I digress.....  the Pip-Boy is attached to the forearm with stretchy & comfortable broad elastic straps.

As you can see from the status of all of the limbs... this vault-dweller is a-okay!
9  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Home-built mechanical finger prosthetic on: September 11, 2012 06:42:13 AM

I know... The subject line of this post is a mouthful! There just isn't any other way to reasonably describe this thing Cheesy

I've built a large number of unusual things. This is, however, the most unusual, fun and important project that I've been a part of. In December of 2011, a man by the name of Richard Van As who saw one of my Youtube videos sent me an email with these pictures in it:

He very simply asked if would consider partnering with him to build a mechanical replacement for his missing digits. I was excited to jump in and figure it out with him! The catch: he and I live 10,000 miles away from each other. What ensued was a lot of emails, pictures and drawings sent back and forth, and Skype sessions. Now, after a lot of tinkering, we have our first truly functional prototype:

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/PkmHfT_rDf8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

We aren't patenting the design; instead we're giving the knowledge away for free. I thought Craftster might be a good place to share some info on the construction of this device.

Here's a rundown of the parts of our prototype:

The hand mount (A) is made from rigid material and formed to the amputee's hand. The lever arm (D) is attached to the hand mount with an axle at position (I). The passive tension system is attached to the hand at position (F)
The artificial finger is made up of a rigid lever arm (D) to which pulleys (C), a form fitting sleeve (B), hinge (E) and Finger tip with grip pad (G) are attached. A cable runs from the finger tip (G) through the pulleys and  attaches to the hand mount at position (H)

We don't have photos of the complete process yet (mostly because we haven't perfected all the steps, lol Smiley ) but I would like to share with you, at least, the wonders of an amazing material called "thermoplastic"!!!!

To start things off, Rich sent me an exact copy of his hand so that I could have an in-person version of it when building models of our designs on my side of the globe:

It's cast from plastic and very durable (so that when I'm clumsy it doesn't break!)

Thermoplastic, I'm fairly certain, has been imbued with magical properties by some sort of ancient race of mythical creatures. It's more likely that it's just a marvel of modern chemistry.... but imagining it being created magically is more exciting.

This is the first time I've worked with it and it's indescribably useful. You cut out your pattern and then immerse the piece of plastic in boiling water for about 20 or 30 seconds. It then turns into a clear, completely flexible material that can stretch and it even adheres to itself! The amazing part, you can take it straight from boiling water, shake off the excess droplets and then handle it without it burning you. It's not even uncomfortably hot. For some reason it's a terrible conductor of heat, but I digress.

After preparing the thermoplastic, I use the model of Richard's hand to create whichever part of the mounting system I'm experimenting with. Here you can see me forming it to fit around his index finger stump. The flaps at the top are later bent together and then the thermoplastic fuses to itself.

Here I am fusing the flaps at the tip. In front of me is my electric kettle, a measuring cup to hold the boiling water, and a bowl full of ice water. After the part is formed, I immerse the part into the ice water. This cools it rapidly and turns the plastic back into its' high-strength, rigid form.

After the hand-mounts are made, then it's a matter of mounting the other hardware and components to the device & sharing what we've made with each other on our Skype brainstorming sessions. Here's a link to a story on our blog that shows both how we communicate with each other on the project as well as an exciting development! Richard's mind is starting to sort of "feel" with the prosthesis!

On 11/17/12 I will be flying over to South Africa to meet Richard in person for the first time and work to finalize our design! For those that are interested, we will be posting video updates on our progress on the fine-tuned version on the site that I linked to above. Smiley

November has come and gone, and my visit with Rich went very well! Here's a video that summarizes what we did together: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyC6_LY7oq0
10  CLOTHING / Costumes: Completed Projects / Incredible Hulk Costume Mechanics on: July 19, 2012 06:26:55 AM

So I know this very cool guy by the name of Alfred Norris. I met him, electronically at least, when he contacted me about commissioning a set of hand mechanics from me. When he told me what said mechanics were for... I can't tell you how excited I was to start the project! Al and I designed the hands together and I just finished fabricating them last night.

Al is making an 8 foot tall hulk costume. I've seen the concept art etc. and it's going to be amazing. When he has finished it, I'll see if I can either get him to post something on Crafster or I'll share it on his behalf. For now, there's a video of the "Skeleton" of the Hulk in action at the end of this post. Hulk's head is going to be located above the head of the "Puppeteer" and his shoulders above where the Puppeteer's elbows are in the video.

Without knowing how tall I am, it's probably hard for folks to get a sense of the scale of these giant mitts. Here's a picture that should help a bit (photo was taken before the hand's were 100% complete)

I'm just shy of 6 feet, so with these on my arm-span is increased to approximately 9.5 feet (Hulk's arms are proportionally larger than a human's when compared to his height... more like a Gorilla than a man).

'' . strtr(htmlspecialchars(stripslashes('<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/wfTMuqkLUKY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>'), ENT_QUOTES), array('&#38;#13;' => '
', '&#38;#32;' => ' ')) . ''


While this post is *technically* about a costume that's currently in production, my portion of it (the hand skeletons) is complete Smiley
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