It probably would have been easier to just remake this damn thing. And I still might end up doing that.
I downloaded a free 3D print R2 and imported it into Lightwave. It was pretty good to begin with, but it was not 3D printer ready. I cut off one of the projector knob things and it had some free edges inside of it, which would not have printed. And I’m not talking about the part I cut off either. I filled into some spots, then realized the entire (now) pink area of polys were also free floating with no thickness, so I had to use the Thicken tool on it. Except it didn’t quite work because of all the funky triangles. It also had a free floating cylinder inside that didn’t intersect with anything for no apparent reason.
A couple of months ago, my husband got the bug to build his own R2 unit, specifically, Whistler, who is Corran Horn’s droid in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Whistler is green and grey but otherwise is built the same as Artoo, Luke’s famous companion with a bright shiny silver dome and catapults and whatnot. The biggest difficulty so far has been obtaining a proper dome – as an R2 dome isn’t quite a half sphere, but is slightly extended, almost egg-shaped. My hubby has managed to collect motors, wheels and has even programmed the R2 brain in a Raspberry pi. Whistler has a projector, sheets of styrene set aside for body and feel paneling and even piles of MDF that will be CNC cut out for the legs. The dome has been nearly impossible to find or have made – it is 300 mm high and 465 mm across, but 45 cm is acceptable, as are true half-spheres for the purpose of the approval of the many droid building communities – many of which share around free information and are happy to discuss building methods, parts and their own solutions to the myriad problems of re-inventing the sci-fi astromech that is so universally well loved.
Since we’re going to the trouble to build and modify 3D printable parts ourselves, I’m making it to those oblong proportions. The free model that I found has a true half-sphere dome and I can’t quite use it. So the plan is that I’m going to cut off or duplicate all the pieces on the dome, then stretch the dome, cut out the new panels and doors, then cut the dome up into printable pieces. That’s going to be a lot of chopping.
The 3D printer we’ll be using can only handle a 9 inch wide by 13 inch tall area, so the dome must be broken up into at least 8 pieces.
My biggest gripe with the free model (besides sizing) is that it isn’t smooth. If someone printed it as is, it would require a lot of smoothing, which would remove some of the outer shape, which might make pieces too small. But they couldn’t print it, because it has random floating cylinders in it. Gr.
3D printing requires some smoothing process as it is, so that’s not a huge issue. but the dome is very complicated, and having to remove too much could have serious consequences for the fitting back together stages.
Tweak mesh: check
Reize mesh to 4 inches/101 mm: check
Added posts to help keep stable while printing: check
Subdivide for density: check
Make all triangles: check
Rotate so it builds flat: check
Exported in a printable format: check
I’ve updated the object so none of the leaves are overlapping. Everything is now on one single layer, but I may have to break it up again for 3D printing, I don’t know yet, but I hope I only have to add some posts to the back that can be broken or cut off to support the leaves and arches while printing. The leaves and vines are now partially attached to each other in back, also for printing support and for physical support, since there are so many free floating tendrils.
I don’t know when I’ll be able to do a test print, but hopefully soon!
I’m also going to have to make the mesh denser, it’s currently in ‘smooth’ mode with fewer polys than it looks.
In other news, Tandy leather no longer carries any grey suede, except for the super expensive lambskin hides, so I’m either going to have to go internet hunting and hope I can find enough of the same color and quality to make the chase dress, or I’ll have to just suck it up and go with a thick micro or ultra suede. I’d prefer to have my own real leather outfit, but reasonable pricing tends to win over perfect material. Or it does when I’d have to get $500 worth or lambskin.
One of the costumes I have on my “to-do” list is the “Chase” dress worn by Arwen in the Lord of the Rings movies. A very helpful person has already gone through and done every bit of necessary research I could ever think of.
The belt buckle on the costume is huge and delicate, and I cannot currently cast metal objects. It seems like a good candidate for a 3D printer item. I used a sketch someone else had made as a basis for modeling the belt buckle in Lightwave.
Starting with this:
After about four hours, I’m here:
The bottom-most leaves are slightly asymmetrical, and I’m going to modify the top set of leaf/wings to also be a little asymmetrical as well. I want to capture the feel of something hand made once it’s printed, and not completely perfect. The only thing I want to look exactly symmetrical are the long upper and lower half-loops. The belt buckle will tie on the sides with ribbon.
At the moment, some of the leaves are overlapping on each other, and I’ll have to fix that before exporting as a printable object. I’m also going to tighten the raised ridges on the half loops to make them more distinct. I’m going to have to experiment with the leaf thickness to see if it’ll be strong enough once printed. I may also glue a wire to the back loops to reinforce them if they seem wobbly.
A friend said she wanted to look more like Morgana, and took the original photo of herself at the Festival of Legends in Chapel Hill. I tweaked it for her, to look more like a specific character photo.
A friend requested this River outfit for her appearance at ConNooga 2014. It was a little last minute, but it came together nicely. She helped me research the dress, and while the colors are a little more royal blue than I wanted, she is happy with the result. A later version of the dress may be painted to look like the print that the overlay is supposed to be. Like the dress in Serenity, the overdress is made of a sheer poly fabric and all seams serged in white – close fitting at the torso and flowing out into a half-circle. Because of how lightweight the material was, all the seams are reinforced with a straight stitch in blue thread and fray-checked.
The underdress is knit and cut on the bias for extra flow. The lower hem is turned under once, and the seams serged and reinforced. I made the straps with some trial and error, and the top of the dress has a soft bra panel lining to avoid outer seam stitching showing. She found a prop sword on Ebay that is close to screen accurate.
Photography by Russell Harrison.
Meeting new people and running into current friends at like-minded festivals is always fun, but sometimes not as much fun as finding the photos later. I’ve known Paul Cory through con circles and other people, and I always love his work. He’s taken a few shots of me that I adore, so I’m a little biased. He’s always around North Carolina sci-fi and fantasy conventions, and sells sessions for reasonable fees.
I also wanted to show off the suede cloak.
About 2 weeks ago, that cloak started out as six pieces of soft pigskin suede. I used every single bit of it, with only tiny scraps left over. The cloak is patterned roughly after a fleece version that a company in UK sells. Their cloaks look hand-serged, and nice and full and flowy. My friend wanted one that was real leather suede, and through fortunate timing, we found a pile of it on sale at our local Tandy Leather store. We inspected and unrolled around 10 pieces and chose six that were closest matched in tone and color. I gleefully took them home, petted them, then hung them vertically to let the skins stretch naturally for a few days. I knew the cloak was going to be heavy, and it would stretch on its’ own and possibly pull any seams I had done if I didn’t let them hang first and pre-stretch.
I made one mockup of muslin following a simplicity pattern. We weren’t totally happy with the results, so I cut off the sleeves and skirt, and made a new bodice using McCall’s ‘snow white’ pattern. The sleeve holes were better fitted for movement, and I used the bodice pattern pieces 1-4 and the upper arm, cut in half along the upper curve, then cut the pieces so the top curved in and removed the need for any sleeve ease. You really don’t ever want to try to ease a leather sleeve. This bodice fit better under the arms and in front, and I was able to fit a hood to it and the existing bell sleeves and skirt with no problem.
The biggest change ended up being the fullness of the coat. The cloth mock-up had 8 panels, but we reduced it to 6, because a leather coat didn’t have to be as full as the dress pattern, and we would have had to buy another hide to fill it out.
The suede sewed together like a dream. I really didn’t expect it to just zip through my machine so well, even using my non-digital ‘heavy duty’ machine (I also own a digital machine and 2 sergers, and an embroidery machine). It was thick, but easy to work with, no worse than any other dense, slightly stretchy fabric. My machine does worse with vinyl and breaks more needles.
I learned something important while stitching embroidery on real leather suede. The sewing needle gets hot, very fast. I could only embroider around 6 inches at a time, and that was pressing my luck. I had to clean the needle regularly with nail polish remover. When it overheats, it melts the suede and the needle becomes sticky with seared animal proteins. The thread broke often, but not in ways that hurt the leather, and the Coats embroidery thread is working well so far. The leather is backed with non-fusible interfacing, then the extra was cut away after stitching. It took me 8 hours of sewing to embroider the middle back, sleeve back and shoulders. It will probably take me another 12 to do the bottom edges and front. Fortunately, I found that I can prop open my laptop and have re-runs of Buffy running on Amazon Prime. I have to stop often to clean and let the needle cool off every five minutes anyway, so it was a nice distraction.
I’ve only used about 3-4 leather needles so far, which is pretty good, considering. I have more embroidering to do on the cloak, but I got as much done as I promised I could within a 2 week period. My customer is thrilled with her product.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 is coming out in a few months, and I think I need to make something that’s going to be too warm to wear in June.
The first HTYD movie was wonderful and my husband and I both bawled at the end. I still can’t watch the damn thing without crying. Toothless grew on me fast – his style threw me off at first, but the animation of his expressions and body movements and especially the eyes won me over fast. My favorite dragons have traditionally been D&D versions, with strong, well defined bodies and distinct shining scales. I’m still annoyed that Smaug is technically a Wyvern rather than a dragon – his arms are build into the wings rather than as another set of limbs. Back to topic: last year, I made this Toothless for my nephew:
Toothless was partially completed on the plane to New Zealand and during the first few days of travel. He was finished in time to pose for photos on the South Island near the Franz-Josef glacier. Which we got some good shots of, but our helicopter ride was canceled at the last minute due to weather, so we never actually got to go set foot on it. That would have been my first helicopter trip ever too. Ah well. This Toothless was delivered over Christmas, and apparently has not left my nephew’s side since. He was put together following a free pattern by “KatyA” on DeviantArt. The pattern can be found here – http://katy-a.deviantart.com/art/Toothless-Pattern-Part-1-of-4-161986741 It is NOT released for commercial purposes, so I can’t make more of these for sale, only personal use.
Which leads me to this = Toothless Dragon Hoodie
This dragon hoodie, on the other hand has no released pattern, but I suspect I can bastardize a few pieces of the DA pattern, or at least blow up the tail portion for the hoodie. It is done by a Canadian company, and it simply looks amazing. I’m plotting on doing my own, and I don’t know at this point if I’m going to make the whole thing from scratch or purchase 2 hoodies and scavenge tail, claw, wing and horn material from one of them. I found a few base designs that I like – I prefer the ‘slim’ fit style, and I found a hoodie on ebay with a double zipper style that I would like to use as a base. If I go the buy and modify route, I’d need two of the same style hoodie, maybe one the largest size they carry so I can harvest the bigger one for material. I like the diagonal seam across the front and would like to try drafting a pattern with raglan sleeves, and the lower pockets as in the ebay example (not the front pouch that most hoodies seem to have). I also like the draw string hood, so I’ll use that as well. I don’t like the puffy arms as much, however, so I don’t know if I’ll keep those as part of my design. I think that would make it different enough for me to sell if I don’t.
Using 2 hoodies – I have matching material, but it may not be enough. having a base to start with could, in theory, save me some time but I’ve become wary of ‘time saving’ shortcuts. It would be nice to not have to go through the whole fitting process though.
Using hoodie fabric – I can do my own design, make a pattern of my own (and in theory, digitize and sell that) but it will take extra time to do everything. On the other hand, I’ll have fabric to burn, and I can pick fabric that I can be sure won’t be too bulky with the added tail and whatnot. There are advantages to being able to make another one, say for my nephew, with fabric I can buy readily.
Either way, I’ll need some black fabric paint and maybe a nice stencil for clean paint edges. I know for sure I”ll be doing a half-red tail with the viking symbol instead of all black like the one for sale. I’d like to do my own design and sell it – perhaps a Smaug hoodie for sale instead of a Toothless, so I don’t risk stepping on the other shop’s figurative toes. My own Toothless hoodie will have the center back wing spines as well as seven pointed flappy wings rather than the four points that the already existing hoodie has.
Also, Midna related.
Should be available for voting on in the Halloween contest soon.
I’m calling this ‘done’. There may be a few other things I could do, but I’m pretty happy with it.