Prometheum5's collected works
While there are a million other things I should be working on right now, I received the second wave of Hasbro’s Iron Man 3 Marvel Legends figures today. With the comic Iron Monger Build-A-Figure complete, I could not help but dig into the archives and take some comparison photos of Hasbro’s efforts to recreate the classic match up. All that’s missing are the Hot Toys figures, but that would not really be comparing apples to apples. I do wish Diamond Toys had been on the Iron Man train for the first movie, because I would really be curious to see what horribly flawed but gorgeously detained renditions they could have come up with. I’ll probably end up reviewing the entire Marvel Legends wave for CollectionDX because it is a weird wave split between some mediocre repaints and some incredible new molds, but I’m moving soon so that will have to wait. For now, enjoy some family photos.
After the most recent Paul Kaiju show at FOE, I got a chance to stand outside in the cold of frosty Northampton and talk shop with Sanjeev Teh Jerk, master of all things 3D design. While I have been going headlong into home-grown ABS printing, Sanjeev has been working on some face-meltingly cool multimedia affairs for production through Shapeways. Production method aside, we are both always looking to existing toys for inspiration. Sanjeev mentioned to me how he had recently cracked open a vintage Gokin and found a joint design that we both were pretty sure would work in 3D printed ABS. We talked, froze our asses off, and then I went home, and the gears were in motion.
After mulling over the idea for a couple of days, I decided to whip up some tests. I fired up Pro/Engineer and the parts started flowing. It did not take long to realize this was totally going to work.
The hexagonal peg fits into a matching hole. The female part is printed lying flat on the printer bed, so the grain of the plastic works with the design to form a springy socket. ABS is slightly flexible, so the socket flexes as the peg is rotated, making a gloriously clicky detented joint!
ThreeA’s Square^2 is an awesome little design that I have a whole bunch of and love. It is also made from some very simple shapes and made for the perfect test bed for the detent joints. Before we go any further, let me make it clear that my imitation Square^2 will never be for sale or distribution in any way and is not meant to infringe on 3A’s design. It is simply a simple design that I had on hand for inspiration while testing out some ideas. Call it a tribute.
With that said, let’s talk about the design. I made the knee joint as a wraparound joint that the peg slides through. The hip is a fixed peg attached to the pelvis with the rotation in the leg part.
An octagonal peg allows for very positive detents, but that also means it has very few clicks of motion. I am printing some experiments now using twelve and sixteen sided pegs, trying to find the balance between rugged clickyness and granularity of motion.
The Square^2 does not need to be super posable, though, so after adding a couple of aesthetic caps that also keep the pegs from sliding out, my new little buddy was ready to roll.
I made the feet a little bigger than on the official toy to help with balance, and came up with a couple little details to help differentiate my imitation Square^2. For a quick afternoon design to test the joints out, he works perfectly.
He even has a little butt vent!
Now that I know the joints work, I can start working them into new Prometheus Rising Heavy Industries designs…
More to come!
As soon as I posted the first Bounce Tortoise to come out of the acetone vapor treatment I have been experimenting with, I started getting requests for some kind video of my process and equipment. I spent the weekend working on a couple of Allarounds, so it seemed like the perfect time to shoot some video. Spend fifteen minutes with me and watch some Allaround parts go from the print bed to finished smooth, shiny acetone slicked parts ready for assembly.
The thing that has been slowing down Prometheus Rising Heavy Industries so far has been the post-processing and sanding of printed parts. Even though I was happy to leave some print texture on some parts of my figures, there was still plenty of cleanup that went into each figure. I have been hesitant to start a big production batch because the thought of all the sanding that would be needed was pretty intimidating. A couple weeks ago, an interesting post on the RepRap Blog for homebrew 3D printing made the Twitter rounds and kept being sent to me by different people that knew I was big on home printing.
Since there have been home-scale 3D printers making parts out of ABS plastic, there have been people trying to come up with creative ways to easily clean up the print lines of parts, especially using solvents. Acetone is an ideal choice for anything to do with ABS, and people have tried all manner of things from wiping down ABS parts with acetone soaked rags to dipping parts in cups of acetone, all with mixed results. A new technique simplified and made more reliable by the RepRap guys changes everything. The method involves using a hot plate to vaporize acetone, creating a hot acetone vapor cloud that evenly normalizes the surface of filament manufacturing printed ABS parts. I was skeptical at first, because the thought of vaporizing acetone and then finding myself on fire was rather unpleasant, but then I saw the results on the blog. Rough, ridgy parts came out of the treatment mirror smooth like injection molded parts. I knew I had to try it, and the results speak for themselves. This is a game changer.
I was worried about detail loss, but that did not happen. Instead, my test Tortoise came out glossy and smooth, with a finish most closely compared to enameled porcelain. It’s unreal. In around two hours, I achieved a nicer finish than a week of puttying and sanding would yield. With a little care and preparation, the process is quick, easy, and reliable. It’s smooth sailing from here on out, and now the only bottleneck in my process is the printing itself.
Strap yourselves in, because PRHI is shifting into high gear.