Sunday, May 29, 2016

Make BIG Puppet Robots

The second Laputa robot, this time the one from the Laputan garden, is finished and visiting Fanime!
We love every new picture and update Grant shares from Fanime, where he's the Laputa robot from Castle In The Sky, a Miyazaki creation, like Kaonashi... the No Face spirit.

This grand cosplay project began with Grant last year, and has been supported by BOoM with William, Alex, Geoff, Clark, Maria, and Natalie. The last time we checked in there was a form built to create the paper mâché torso, and Geoff had begun welding parts for the aluminum frame. Here is an updated Make post about building the second robot from Laputa...

The first head was solid foam, and heavy. For this second head, William modeled the form using 3DMax, then let Frankenrouter CnC each layer. This made a hollow, and lighter head.

Light and hollow. William using his head!

Here is the robot's chest, in paper mâché... you can see the foam form beneath the paper torso.

For the face plate on the robot's head, William modeled parts on the computer, then ran those designs through the 3D printer. This new design was made with holding electronics in mind.

Another development in the second robot was to make sleeve cases for arm and leg segments. This improvement made the arms and legs stronger, more flexible, and easier to manipulate like a puppet. Muslin was cut, then sewn with separate compartments for each foam segment.

More 3D designing and printing by William. This will be the robot's badge.

This is the crest that is on the Laputan badge. William created it on 3D Max, and then 3D printed it.

The garden robot has two full arms, without the spikes of the warrior robot. So, they made new arms and a second hand.

Painting time! The budget is small and tight, and we feel thankful when we can score a bargain, like finding just the right color by mixing all the leftover house paints from the garage.

The ideal shade of Garden Robot Green.

The surface of the badge is aluminum, and the frame and emblem are 3D printed, then finished.

Last year's head next to this year's model. Now there is room behind the eye plate to add electronics.

Inside the eye plate, William rendered plates and coverings to make the eyes, and add supports for Geoff's LED lights. Geoff programmed the lights to flash in the same sequence from the fox squirrel scene in Castle in The Sky. William made a slow motion screen capture of the scene, so they could replicate the light pattern.

Thank goodness for this lighter head, with it's special features and adaptations. Along with the new frame Geoff welded, the whole robot puppet weighs less, and is stronger, more stable than Version I.

Before Grant left for Fanimecon, Clark and William helped Grant do a test run, assembling the parts, and trying it all on.

The aluminum frame comes apart for easier transporting. It attaches to the backpack frame, which Grant wears. With this design Grant is able to act as the puppeteer, moving and animating the big robot.

A little troubleshooting to get the pelvis section secure to the frame called for more Velcro, and more hot glue. But, confidence is high! This was Thursday, the day Grant and Suki would get to San Luis Obispo, and the next day to San Jose.

Bringing everything together... much easier with friends. Check out the feet, too. This version is designed and built so that Grant slips his own feet into the robot's, and now he can walk in the robot's feet!

A twelve foot tall gardening robot. Beautiful.

Securing all the parts, and admiring the lighter weight, and more stable design.

Clark looks on as Grant slips into those feet.

Feeling the success! The robot looks fabulous in the garden!

Even transportation was taken into account when designing Version II, and the torso fits perfectly in the roof carrier, while limbs accordion nicely and fit in the car. Grant is clear for take-off!

Back home we were thrilled to see the first share from Fanime! Big Bots! Great making, BOoM!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Make BIG Robots

This is the Laputan Robot from Castle In The Sky,
with Grant, at Fanime, May 2015.
Let's call this "Version 1.0."

Laputan Robot V2.0

This is a cosplay project for Fanime. The design team and consultants include: Grant, Alex, William, Natalie, and Geoff. The build team includes: Grant, William, Alex, Geoff, and Clark.

From 2015, here are some build moments, days before the convention...

The entire foam creation was built on a PVC frame and worn attached to a backpack frame. The mass and height of this design caused a few issues at the convention... including it being too tall to actually enter the venue, and the frame PVC breaking! These are some of the issues being addressed this year, as the BOoM team works on Laputan Robot V2.0... it needs to be lighter, smaller (so the torso can fit in a car roof carrier,) and a lot stronger. Also, this is the garden version, so now it has two complete arms.

Here are some build moments from this year's new and improved big robutt...

A new, smaller torso mold, which will be used as a base to create a paper mâché torso.

Cornstarch and diluted wood glue, and a lot of newspaper strips.

Geoff has been welding an aluminum frame to act as a spine... this will replace the PVC, which snapped under the tension and weight of the original 'bot.

William and Maria with one of the two halves of the Laputan Robot torso. Fortunately, the weather has been cooperating this year, and these drying parts have come together quite nicely. Another change, which you can see in the top photograph, is the slipcover sleeves for the arm panels. Grant sewed each pocket for every panel of the robot's arms.

BTW, Fanime is this week! There's a bit of crunch here, folks! The good news might be that this creation could be seen at the next Maker Faire... we sure hope they accept our application!