Saturday, July 28, 2012

Subject Delta’s Drill Arm 2012 Edition


Last year’s drill was huge and heavy.  Wearing it actually did mess something up in my elbow and it hasn’t fully recovered.  So if I was going to do this again this year, I had to keep it light and build in better supports.

Keeping it light means using some materials that may not stand up to the drill motion.  That means it might not spin.  If it does, yeah!  If it doesn’t, yeah!  As long as it doesn’t cause me pain, I’m going to be happy.

Like last year, the main structure is PVC pipe.  Unlike last year, it is lighter amounts of PVC and has some flexible supports.

IMAG0702IMAG0703IMAG0704       IMAG0705IMAG0706IMAG0708

Everything is held in place with pop rivets.  The two cuffs actually help to distribute the weight to my whole arm and shoulder.  The blue pipe is actually a flexible PVC wire conduit.  It’s been used in a lot of builds this year.  Now on to the mechanics.  Time for another drill to die.

IMAG0698Pretty well gutted.

IMAG0700The new support system.

IMAG0710IMAG0711Not a lot of clearance for fingers here, but you can see the custom made pistol grip.  Much more comfortable than last years model.

                                          Beer.  So many uses.

Now for the *%$&#(#$$! cone.

I struggled with this for a while, but managed to get it eventually.IMAG0723

Now for resin and then fiberglass.

Now, the blades.

Lots of sanding, Bondo, sculpting putty, primer, and paint later and it’s done.

IMG_7238IMG_7239IMG_7240IMG_7241IMG_7242IMG_7243IMG_7244IMG_7245IMG_7246IMG_7247This is the battery pack for the drill.  The intention was to keep the whole thing self contained so I could take it off if I needed to without much help.

So, the big question, does it spin?  Sadly, no it does not.  Something broke lose on the drill shaft inside the cone and it does not spin.  Honestly, that doesn’t bother me at all.  I just wish I could get the drill motor out so I could lighten it up even more.  Plus with thing being made of fiberglass, if it did spin, it could actually hurt someone.  It still has enough oomph behind it to make a good melee weapon or a good “Either get on the escalator or get out of the way!” convention prod.

Subject Delta’s Helmet–2012 Edition or v3.0


I call it v3.0 because what follows is my third attempt to build this helmet.  The v1.0 was last year.  Then v2.0 basically self destructed and I had to start over.  So this brought me to v3.0.

Now last year, it took me around 9 months to build this helmet.  This year, I did it in a month and a half.

I had some criteria for this build to improve over last year.
1) Stronger
2) Lighter
3) More accurate in scale
Optionally, I wanted it to be cooler too.

For v3.0, I started with some very familiar materials to use as the skeleton: cardboard and paper.

IMAG0676The cardboard was glued around a hard hat.  The hat helped me keep scale and makes this very comfortable to wear.

Paper was then glued over the cardboard to give me an even skin surface for the next step.

Last year the next step was paper mache, but that takes way too long, is not sturdy and not as light as you would think.

IMAG0680My tools for this year are fiberglass.  Not just the resin, but the matting too.

This was then effect of the fiberglass.  It is very sturdy at this point and light as a feather.  It needs a lot of sanding, though.

IMAG0683                                 Sanding is done. Now to the Bondo.

I used the Bondo to build up the surface and smooth it out even more.  I knew I was going to need a lot.

IMAG0684Standard can of Bondo on top of a 3 pound can of Bondo.  They’re both gone now.

Naturally when I started this, it got cloudy and started to rain, so off to the basement.

IMAG0686The lighting here makes it look like it is covered with butter cream frosting.  It’s not.  Now for more sanding.

IMAG0687Smoother.  Now we prime it.  I prime it here so that I can get an even single color and be able to see what the surface really looks like and know where to fix.


Now for some more Bondo and sanding and priming.

IMAG0691IMAG0692IMAG0693IMAG0694Yup.  Different color primer.  This is actually a high fill or gap filling primer.  Works great.

Now I need to start thinking about the face glass, lights, and rivets.

Last year the lights I used in the face came out really orange instead of yellow.  This year I dismantled some LED flashlights I got on clearance to use for the lights.  The flashlights had a long lamp like section and a standard spot light section.  Lamps for the face and spots for the chest.  To color the face lights from white to yellow a piece of yellow party napkin worked for a great filter.

IMAG0721Hey, the blog isn’t called The Real Redneck Geek for nothing.

IMAG0722All the lights in and working.

IMAG0749Quick size comparison from last years build.

IMAG0764Face glass and rivets in place and everything masked for one last primer coat.  Rivets are the same wooden plugs I used last year.  The orange bit on top is for the camera.  It’s actually the lid off a Gatorade bottle.

IMAG0765It’s ready for paint now.

The “hammered” effect didn’t come through as well this year.  They must have changed the formula.

IMAG0818Shiny and new like it just came off the assembly line.  That’s not going to work.  It needs distressing.

IMAG0819Center of the mask also got tinted like last year and then I used shoe polish to add the black smudges.  Then I dry brushed on some green paint to look like corrosion.


IMG_7237All lit up.  The lights in the face actually remind me of the helmets from the original Battle Star Gallactica.

IMG_7229The dive weight is cut from foam and then colored with shoe polish.

I was also able to accomplish my optional goal of making it cooler.  Last year I had 4 fans in the helmet and they just couldn’t move enough air.  This year I bought this:

31HS58-xf0LThe Vantec Tornado Case Fan. with airflow levels as high as 85 CFM.  It is a little loud, but not that bad and the payoff is a nice cool breeze in my face the whole time.
IMAG0817             Gorilla tape, hot glue and cardboard make a good fan mount.

IMAG0816Two switches for the lights and fan.  All the batteries and wires are under the fan mount.  That’s when I realized, I may need to change those.  Quick use of the box cutter and:

IMAG0815Peel this open, and there are the batteries and wires for if I need them.

So, from 9 months last year to 45 days to build this.  All criteria have been met and honestly I am really proud of this build.  I know it is not perfect, but for a quick last minute decision to build this, I think it’s great, and I have a feeling my two biggest fans will like it.