20160906 - The Within Reach Design Challenge

posted Sep 6, 2016, 5:41 PM by Eureka Confounding   [ updated Sep 6, 2016, 5:42 PM ]

Matterhackers challenged us designers to invent tools to make life easier for people with limited use of their hands, like folks with arthritis, Dupuytren's Contracture, etc. 
Fun challenge; I have lot's more ideas to model in the future.

Within Reach Design Challenge

This is my contribution - to hold your smartphone.

This necklace enables people with crippling arthritis to use all the features of their smartphone .  (I originally invented this for myself, because phones get more slippery and fragile each year, yet the obvious camera-strap has not appeared yet.)

I made a YouTube video explaining the final product: https://youtu.be/2PIiWbboD90

Smartphone Within Reach

I hope to have prints for sale on Confounding Contraptions too.  I will make them in two colors: GNG and SMFJP (that's Gangsta-Nerd Gold, and Samuel Jackson Purple).

Printing this design requires great bed adhesion, so use hair spray on top of the blue tape or the heated bed.  No support material is needed if your printer can print 45° overhangs and 11mm bridges.  I use 0.3mm layer thickness and 1.5mm wall thickness, so the chain links and phone case are solid plastic, but the neck support is hollow with 20% infill.  The print is 182mm x 207mm x 14mm high.  I use PLA to save the polar bears.

I started with the iPhone case designed by techsteramman on Thingiverse.  In the end, I only used the beautiful rounded interior corners and modeled or remodeled everything else myself.

The SolarPunk Coloring Book on Wyldspace.com

posted May 21, 2016, 12:05 PM by Eureka Confounding

On my Art website, I have published a coloring book for grownups, sort of a comic book to unwind from your work week with some positivity.

The SolarPunk Coloring Book

Since I am still having no luck with my job search, I am trying new ways to do something valuable and maybe make a little cash.  Publishing books and art and selling contraptions have been a dream of mine for a long time.  I should have started years ago, but when I had an aerospace job I was always too busy with the responsibilities to pursue arts and crafts.  Maybe I needed a coloring book.

20130822 - Fold-Away Dragon Contraption

posted Aug 22, 2013, 5:50 PM by Eureka Confounding   [ updated Sep 20, 2013, 8:30 PM ]

First, here is a fairly quick demonstration of the completed costume.  I won an award at the DragonCon Masquerade this year with the Knight transforming onstage into a Dragon and back.

And here is the link to video of the DragonCon Masquerade this year, brought to you by The Fans Point Of View fast-forwarded to this costume.

Here is an explanation of how my newest costume mechanism works, and how I designed it.

Here I show step-by-step how I made the gloves for this costume.

This 4 minute video shows how I made the boots for this costume.

This is a long one. I show all the details for making the all the coverings for the animechanical dragon head.
And here I show how I made the helmet from ordinary craft materials in a step-by-step demonstration.

20121208 - Digitigrade Stilts

posted Dec 8, 2012, 7:26 PM by Eureka Confounding   [ updated Dec 8, 2012, 7:47 PM ]

Here is an explanation of my first model of digitigrade stilts.  They allow the character's knees and ankles to bend while walking.  It uses the muscles in the legs and leverage to keep the character up on their toes.

Digitigrade Stilts 1 (Faun style)

Here is a second build of the same model of digitigrade stilts with a larger base for stability in a costume that has limited visibility.

Digitigrade Stilts 1 (Tauntaunstyle)

This is my second model of digitigrade stilts.  These barely go up to the knee because they are based on a shoe and a light shin pad and a good old latch and pawl which locks and unlocks the ankle so you don't have to use your muscle strength as much.

Digitigrade Stilts 2 (Werewolf Style)

And here's just a video of me walking in the stilts Mark 1.

Walking in Digitigrade Stilts

20120825 - Vishnu, Defender of the Universe

posted Aug 25, 2012, 3:57 PM by Eureka Confounding

This is my completed (?) costume of the Hindu god Vishnu, who keeps Karma working and generally keeps the universe is good working order.  The costume features four arms carrying a Chakram (a missile that returns to the thrower like a boomerang), a flower (which slowly opens as it grows like a soul gaining wisdom), and a large mace (a gavel of justice and much smack-down); the fourth hand waves its open palm signifying peace and goodwill.  The halo shows how this semi-earthly manifestation is positively glowing with joy and holiness.  The crown on his head shows dominion particularly over the moon and such cycles of nature.  Whenever a mortal turns to evil, Vishnu puts his foot down to freeze them in place, then when they return to goodness, he lifts his foot to free them.  This constant dance makes him a very busy fellow.

Vishnu, Defender of the Universe

I'm playing Vishnu a bit more serious than he should look.  He should be peaceful and regal, but I'm trying to see how I look at the same time that I'm performing.  That should be a lesson learned: just perform and don't care what you look like, then review the video and critique yourself.  Don't criticise yourself while you are performing.

20120824 - Hari Krishna Costume with Halo

posted Aug 25, 2012, 8:09 AM by Eureka Confounding

I put it all together here to see how it moves.

Hari Krishna Costume with Halo

Admittedly, my moves (and waistline) need a lot of work.  But let's focus on the costume.  Both thumbs need to move more, so I already tightened up the wires that pull the thumbs.  Also the elbows don't move nearly as far after the fake skin went on as they did before.  I think that's because the fake skin is trapping the actuator-tubes which used to move freely out of the way.  Now they are trapped inside the shell and fighting back against motion.  I'm not sure if I can fix that.
Also, you can see that a couple gold straps are under my arms which are supposed to be over my arms.  I'll need my Hunny to help me get the contraption on and off because I can't get out of the costume by myself when those are holding it all together.  I don't know if anybody besides me would notice, but the extra straps holding it onto my shoulders will let me rest backstage better.

20120823 - Rubber Hands

posted Aug 23, 2012, 5:57 PM by Eureka Confounding   [ updated Aug 23, 2012, 7:51 PM ]

After applying 7 layers of liquid rubber and either baking each layer in the oven at 230°F for 20 minutes or sitting it in the back window of my car in the Florida sun for a few hours, I decided the gloves felt thick enough to pull out of the molds and see.  At first I was happy with the Rigid Wrap because I could peel it apart layer by layer down to the last layer which had a plastic coat of mold release. The latex rubber did not stick badly to the plastic mold release.

Unfortunately, the Rigid Wrap did not pick up my skin texture on the inside, it kept it's bandage texture.  The mold release might have smoothed it out a bit, but certainly not enough to make it look like fresh young skin.  They looked like Egyptian Mummy hands.
I whipped up a mix of Burnt Sienna Acrylic paint and liquid latex rubber and dabbed it onto the rubber hands.  That didn't smooth out the skin texture at all.  At best they look like incredibly old wrinkled hands.  At worst they just look like a costuming mistake.

So I quickly grabbed a vinyl glove, spray painted a pink base layer, followed by a layer of beige. Here's what it looks like compared to the molded rubber hand.

I don't know which is worse.  I'm going to have to try to do these hands over before my time is up.

20120822 - Chakrum

posted Aug 22, 2012, 6:56 PM by Eureka Confounding

Vishnu should be shown with a huge mace (basically the Gavel of Justice, and a mighty weapon), a Chakram (like Xena carries, but it has all the power of Sailor Moon's most powerful Moon blast), and a lotus flower of growing enlightenment, and an open hand of peace (to counter all the weapons).

A couple dinner plates form the templates to cut out from foam core poster board, and some good glue bonds the two layers together for stiffness.

20120821 Crowns

posted Aug 22, 2012, 6:31 PM by Eureka Confounding   [ updated Aug 28, 2012, 8:21 PM ]

From what I read online, there are a few important distinctions between the appearance of Vishnu and Krishna.  Krishna's crown has peacock feathers frequently, which would complement his dark midnight blue skin.  Vishnu has a crescent moon in his golden crown and a rivulet of the Ganges river, and his skin is the color of clouds laden with rain for your crops.  Almost no artists ever get these details right, and I don't blame them because it is about like trying to draw a creature from the Lovecraft Mythos; the spiritual symbolism is more important than the concrete details of the image.  The whole point is that they are alluding to concepts outside our ordinary experience that we haven't seen in the commonplace.
Long story short, (Too late, it's already a long story.) my crowns are also not going to hit the mark metaphysically, but they should have two different attitudes.  I can make Vishnu's crown more orderly and regal with the crescent moon hovering in it since Vishnu keeps the universe in working order and keeps karma working.  Krishna's crown should be more chaotic and youthful.

I start off with the simplest and cheapest ingredients: wire, popsickle sticks, hot glue, magic markers, masking tape, and spray paint.

20120820 Halo with optical illusion

posted Aug 22, 2012, 5:38 PM by Eureka Confounding

Many paragons of virtue and holiness are painted with a halo to illustrate how positively beaming with joy they are.  Like this great picture for example:
Shiva with Halo(Click on the picture to visit the artist's web site.)

  I want this costume to include a psychedelic halo with a moving optical illusion.  Here is a video of how I made it and how it looks.

Halo Costume Optical Illusion

I took ordinary poster board and spray painted a big Peace sign for the back of it.
Starting Peace sign with masking tape
And I bought a sheet of perforated steel with offset 1/2" diameter holes.  I spray-painted the hole pattern through the sheet onto several sheets of poster board so I could have my pick of colors, then finally I spray painted the metal golden.
Perforated metal makes a good template as well as making the effect.

And it  all came together as shown in the video above.  This is called a diffraction pattern, and it does all the work for you.  No batteries required.
Finishing the gold finish

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