After testing the Flat-Pack Camera Arm I built, I was pretty happy with the results. Happy, except for one detail: the joint at the base of the arm would creep down over time. This wasn’t a problem while taking shots of projects at the bench, given how often I’d have to reposition it anywhere. The big breakdown was trying to capture time lapses. The creep was just too noticeable, and it would never stay in place long enough to keep the action of a day’s hacking in frame.
So, I set out to make some locking plates for the arm, and I think people could find some interesting uses for the process I came up with. The broad strokes of the method are that you design the part you’d like at the end in CAD, design a floor under your part with walls around it (I call this a bathtub), print the bathtub mold you designed, cast the mold using 2-part silicone (making sure it’s nice and level), and cast your final material into that mold. Once you’ve got the knack of replicating parts using 1-part molds, you can get fancier: adding vent holes for letting air escape or labels for your parts or building multiple parts for your molds for even more precise geometry.
Below you can find more information on the whole project:
Mold making and casting has been a huge part of my life for years. It started in the SFX industry, making molds and cleaning up parts for robotic snakes on Snakes on a Plane (really), and has become an even more significant factor with the recent soft robotics project. However, one thing has plagued me this whole time: buckets.
There are lots of elegant methods for prepping a mold, squaring away your shop space, keeping everything all clean and science-y, but no matter how you slice things (unless you’re dealing with 50 gallon drums), pouring out gooey slimy liquid rubber always ends up being a mess. I often end up going through several sets of stirring sticks and dipping disposable cups into my material in the hopes of keeping everything quarantined and safe from contamination. Still I end up feeling like a Dickensian orphan, dipping a ladle into what amounts to $200 of runny goo. Continue reading →
I really like candle making. Despite the mess, the cost of materials, the burns, and the constant fear of spilling hot wax over everything I hold dear, it’s completely worth it. If you remember, a long time ago I made a set of candles cast from impala horns. I’ve wanted to do more projects like this, especially as I ramp up to doing an absurd huge candle project based on much larger and more elaborate horns.
The process started with taking an antique apothecary bottle, cleaning it up, and cutting up some cardboard to form a mold box. I waxed the cardboard, made some clips to hold everything together, and marked out where I should build up the clay to form the first half of the mold. Continue reading →
I’m a fan of elaborate Halloween costumes. I’m also an enormous fan of home built fx projects, like Missmonster’s full body werewolf costume, and about everything Volpin Props has ever made. Back in ’05 I got an itch to create a Dr. Mario costume. Of course for any successful Mario costume, you need the signature jet black Mario coiffe and pillowy mustache.
It started out with bribing some friends to wrap me in plaster bandages. The process was pretty painless, all in all, with the exception of removing my face from the plaster mold. I’d used oil as a release, but had been kind of liberal with it around my eyebrows and lashes. Unsurprisingly they stuck in the mold, which made the subsequent foam cast of it kind of eerie. The new foam head came out with my eyelashes embedded in it. Continue reading →