Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Grinch snowman

At work I was given the task of making something to represent our department.
It had to be over 5 foot tall and be roughly snowman shaped. 
Since I work in a library (relatively new job) I decided on the Grinch.

Once again I was given exactly $0.00 as a maximum budget, 
and I had to have it finished in one day, so considering the
Project Triangle…

It would not be my best work.

I started off with some legs.  Made from 2x4s

My wife cleans a doctor's office and they regularly throw out styrofoam coolers that have transported refrigerated medicine. (No they don't transport organs or anything like that.)
I got three of them that were roughly the same size.

Using my heat knife I cut two holes in one of the cooler lids.  Just big enough for the 2x4s to fit into.
I then glued the legs with Gorilla Glue.

I put the cooler back on the lid and we have the starting of the body.

I drew out a rough Grinch face and sanded it down a little to give it some depth.

I needed to make his nose so I used my Drill Press Lathe method. (described here)

I shaped him a small pointed nose.

He needed the tuft of hair, so I used my hot wire cutter and cut that out of 1/2 inch pink foam.

I made a hole in the top of his head for the tuft to go into.  And glued it in with Gorilla Glue.

I forgot to take pictures before he was painted so here are a few before he was assembled.

A blurry shot of one of his arms.

A coat of green paint. 

Waiting to dry and be moved to his new home.

The Grinch arrives at his new home.

I think he is happy about it.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Building the Rocketeer Helmet - lenses

Update on the Rocketeer helmet project.  I have been really busy and it has been hard to work on some of my "fun" projects.  That being said, I did carve out a little bit of time to work on my Rocketeer helmet.  When we last left off it needed some lenses.

I have never put lenses in anything before, so I had a little trial and error process.

I first ordered some sample lens sheets from  They come in 4 inch by 4 inch squares.  I peeled the protective paper off of each side, then holding it with needle nose pliers I used my heat gun to slightly melt it.

I melted the plastic outside of the helmet until it would flop over all by itself.  Then I put it inside the helmet and used a rag and pushed on the lens to slightly bubble it out.  

This is the first piece (after it was cool enough to hold.)

I taped the lenses in place...

 and couldn't resist trying it on.

Then I had to take a picture outside.  

I peeled the left side of the tape off of the lens and folded it over.  I put some 5 minute epoxy in a large area around the eye, and folded the lens back over.  I held it in place until the epoxy held then I did the other eye.

It is available for sale on Ebay 
Rocketeer Helmet Fan Made Custom Prop 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Making the rocketeer helmet update

Ok so it has been a long time since I updated the progress on my Rocketeer helmet.  I could use a variety of excuses, I moved to a different state, the majority of my stuff was in a storage shed for 6 months, I was abducted by alien pirates, that last one was just to see if you were still reading or just skipping ahead to the pictures. 

The air dry clay worked great until it dried, popped off the helmet and shattered into a million bits.  Actually it was about a dozen, but you get the idea.  I had to epoxy them back on and repair the spots 
with bondo.  

I learned from the other side and turned the helmet onto it's side when letting the clay dry. The first time it was straight up and down (on top of a high dresser so that my kids wouldn't mess with it.  Which is why they broke into a million/dozen pieces).  This new way resulted in a piece that was unbroken until I tried to epoxy it on. Which it proceeded to snap into several pieces.  Which I had to repair with bondo and sanding.  Despite that, the air dry clay gave me a very good way to add oddly shaped pieces.

The right vent never really had the right shape to me, so add some bondo to try and straighten it out.

After numerous times bondo and sanding and bondo and sanding I sprayed a primer coat on it.  People always ask me if I changed my mind on the color.  Um no. I am impatient and I sprayed it the copper color because I just wanted to see what it looked like with the copper like finish.

I hit it with some hammered black finish mainly I wanted to see if I could get it glossy and since that was the only gloss spray paint I had, I used it.

It turns out I hated the hammered black finish.  It never seemed to dry. It stayed sticky. (It might have been old paint.)  I sanded it some and sprayed it the copper color again.

I needed it to look like I welded the pieces together, so I used hot glue to make the weld marks.  I wasn't sure if the glue would hold the spray paint or not, but I figured I would test it. 

The hot glue did take the spray paint and didn't flake off or anything.

I ended up not liking the welds so I ripped them all off sanded down the small leftover spots and put hot glue on it again.  This time I used a minimal of hot glue and it looks better I think.

Next I needed the four rivets that go around each eye.  I took a brass brad paper holder thing and cut off the two tails.

I bent the leftover pieces inside being careful not to scratch the outside.

Then I hot glued them in place.  I spray painted them and they didn't really want to take the paint.

It left little pools of spray paint which i had to sand off.
I found out several light coats are far better than one heavy coat.

Next up Lenses.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Monster Key

I have been wanting to make the Monster Key from my book The Monster Key.
In the book the key unlocks the portals that exist under every bed.
You can get a copy of my book at
  I have tried in the past to do this but I have met with dismal results.  This is really an attempt to make something by making a liquid rubber mold of the object first, then cast it in resin.  I have never really done this before so it will be a learning experience.  After this I hope to be able to finish and cast my rocketeer helmet.  But enough of that.  Back to the Monster Key

(I forgot to take pictures again)
Before this picture: I got a dowel rod that would just fit into my drill press.  It wasn't thick enough so I added bondo all around it.  Then once the bondo dried I put it in my drill press and used it like a lathe.  I sanded down the bondo to the shape I wanted.  There are small holes that were there from when the bondo was applied.  I might fix them later, we will see.

I added some oil based clay to the back end.  This is Hard clay.  I tried medium but it just wouldn't hold up.  

I formed the rough shape and started working with the clay tools to shape it better.

Mostly finished needs to be smoothed.

I added the other end and attempted to smooth the eye part.  So far It looks the part!  I am real pleased with the progress.  

The next step, get some rubber and find out how to make a mold.