Dragon Costume on the 3D Printer

First off, I want to give a shout out to Quintox303 on Thingiverse for their design. I had a work trip during the time I made this costume and didn’t have time to do the 3D model design of the dragon scales. Here are the scales I used:

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2779147

I decided I wanted to design a dragon costume after my boyfriend decided he wanted to be a knight for Halloween (dragon and dragon slayer… ha… ha…). A lot of things were easy to purchase, such as the tail and the wings, but I wanted to make my design a bit more unique and put my 3D printer to use. As some of you may have noticed, I took a hiatus from this blog due to a family illness. I won’t be as active on here due to this, but still want to make time for my hobbies and show them to you all.

I knew I wanted wrist and neck scales, so I began by designing a wristband that could use Quintox303’s scales. I modified them a bit so that weren’t as large and tall:

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I then purchased some tulle and got to work. I printed a few layers of the scales, then paused the print, carefully placed a layer of tulle, and continued to print:

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And voila, the finished print:

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Next was painting the scales to a color that would match my costume and imitate, well, dragon scales. I ended up using a layer of black spray paint, along with multicolored Spaz Stix spray paint:

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I purchased some gloves off Amazon, and using sewing, velco, super glue, and patience, fashioned a pair of dragon scale wristbands:

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(Yes, drinking was involved in the making of these wristbands lol)

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You can see some errors from this close up: some of the paint didn’t dry as I’d like, and some of the dragon scale points got pushed down, but I wasn’t too worried as this was a one night costume that I knew would probably get a little bit tossed around anyways.

Of course, between making my wristbands and my necklace, my front fan decided to die.

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Buh bye fan. I have had issues with this fan before, so wasn’t surprised by it dying on me. I didn’t want to risk printing without a fan, so I purchased a similar 12V fan online, spliced and soldered, and we were good to go (I’m making that sound much easier than it was… I’m no electrician). Anyways, I unfortunately did not take a lot of photos of the process of making the necklace, but it was very similar to how I made my wristbands, but using a small fabric necklace purchased from amazon as a backing (and of course the tulle and leftover fabric from my gloves). I also modified the scale 3D models even further to be smaller and flatter so that wouldn’t be so “jarring” on my neck:

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Alright, here are the final photos of the design! I hope you guys enjoyed, I had a lot of fun making this costume and even more fun wearing and being a dragon for the night 😀IMG_1406.jpg

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Learning Unreal Blueprints for VR II

 

The second project for Udacity’s Unreal program was called “Hide in Seek”. Building upon the foundations taught in “Kitchen CleanUp”, the game required more complex blueprint coding. The premise was to initiate the game, hide an object around the apartment, and have the user utilize locomotion to move from point A to point B to “destroy” the object. Each destroyed object would gain the player a point. I decided I would create a can and a trash bin (both designed in 3dsMax) for the game so the user would effectively be “recycling cans” to gain points. Again, my job was to:

  1.  Create a player pawn with a controller that had the ability to interact with the can (using blueprint interfaces)
  2.  Spawn a can at a different location every time the user found and recycled the previous can (randomly spawned at target points, as used previously in KCU)
  3.  Create a recycling bin that would read if a plate was in it and destroy it (and once destroyed, a new can would need to be spawned)
  4. Develop a timer and score system that the player could see, a method to start and end the game (event dispatchers) and a start menu (interface widgets)
  5. Lastly, but most importantly, create a locomotion method that would move the user around the apartment. Here is the method I used- a line trace to draw a cylinder to identify a location where the player could move:

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Here’s a preview (another grainy GIF rather than video):

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Main menu created in Photoshop + Illustrator:

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Can UV texture created in Photoshop + Illustrator:

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Low-poly can:

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Low-poly recycling bin (a basic blue texture was later added in Unreal):

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UX/UI Design through a DesignLab Course

I decided to take a UX/UI design course because it’s a topic I’ve always been interested in. As an architect, it is my job to determine how a person uses and interacts with a space (in my case, a physical building or place). However, I am very interested in virtual interaction, particularly in VR, and was hoping to gain knowledge from this design course. First, I’m just going to give my overall thoughts of the course I took, “UX: Interaction Design” with DesignLab, and then I’ll jump into what we learned and what I felt I gained from it all.

To be upfront: the class itself was a bit pricey, and I felt it didn’t give me everything I was looking for. The course seemed to be geared towards someone with little or no background in design, and of course since my background is design, it felt lackluster. The topics were broad and lectures seemed to only scrape the surface of true UX/UI.  My tutor was really nice, but I felt like we just went over topics discussed in the online lectures and nothing more. At the end of the course, I realized what I needed was not information regarding what UX/UI is (because as a designer, I should already have a grasp of interface design and how clients interact with my work). Rather, I needed the tools to begin building these UX/UI interfaces. On a positive note, I did gain some of these skill sets.

The overall project was designing a website for an online grocery store. Firstly, I learned how to analyze and compare competitor’s work, as seen below:

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After analyzing the competitor, it was time to start working with site maps and user flows. Sketching out how one’s site would work and how people would move through it was not as easy as I thought, and I had to go through a few more competitor sites and draw a few flow iterations before I could come up with this:

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After creating a user flow diagram, I set up wireframes to display my imagined site pages:

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And lastly, I tied together the flows and wireframes to create a site map with my wireframes:

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Overall, I did have a lot of fun creating my “website/app” and it was definitely a good design exercise. I feel somewhat more knowledgeable about what does and doesn’t work for a good interface. However, my next goal is to actually jump into the actual physical creation of these interfaces (….maybe I should just learn to become a developer…)

Maya 2014 Tutorial

I had such a blast doing these tutorials by John Aurtur Mercader:

It’s been a few years since I actually completed his tutorials, but I was reminded due to my reignited interest in Autodesk modeling software, including Maya and now 3dsMax. I ended up with a model I was pretty happy with:

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Right now I’m currently enrolled in a Udemy course for 3dsMax, so we’ll see where that takes me!

Zipping Together Two Mummy Bags

My boyfriend I are avid backpackers and do a lot of camping trips in the spring and summer time. We have increased our inventory of gear since we first started dating (I had most of the gear at the beginning of the relationship, now we are about even). He purchased a new sleeping bag last year (the REI Helio down, right zip) and I knew at some point I would need a new sleeping bag as well. I had been using an REI Radiator sleeping bag leftover from my childhood backpacking trips with my family- literally, this thing is 20 years old. It held up amazingly, though! Check out this picture from circa 1997 and one my boyfriend snapped today- same bag:

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You can see I’m on top of two other sleeping bags, which leads me into the fabrication topic of the day. Many sleeping bags cab zip together, which is really great as you can cuddle and steal warmth from a significant other. In order to zip together, two mummy bags must each be one right-zip and one left-zip. They also need to be of the same zipper manufacturer. I knew that when I would purchase my next sleeping bag, I would want it to zip together with my boyfriend’s Helio bag.

I went to REI to try to find an REI brand sleeping bag that could potentially zip with the Helio. I spoke with a very helpful REI rep, who recommended the REI Flash sleeping bag. Since my boyfriend is very tall and has a tall sized sleeping bag, the rep also recommended going for a regular size men’s bag as it was left zipping and might fit a little better next to a tall bag. However, he wasn’t positive the Helio and Flash would zip together and unfortunately, they had none left in stock. The bag had all the specs I wanted (correct temperate range, great weight for backpacking), so I decided to take the risk and order the bag online. However, when I received the Flash, we immediately realized it would be impossible to zip the bags together for two reasons:

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Firstly, both of the zipper fasteners were on their respective bag’s top zipper. One would have to be on the bottom and one would have to be on the top in order to zip properly. You could potentially flip one of the bags over, but then the head part of the mummy bag would cover your face- not ideal.

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Secondly, even if the zipper fasteners were on their correct side, you couldn’t attach the fastener to the zipper due to a blocker (item circled).

I realize the reason this all probably happened was because both of the bags are men’s sleeping bags and REI only guarantees that their REI brand men and women’s bags will zip together. I was so happy with the Flash bag that I didn’t want to return it and go through the trouble of finding another great sleeping bag that could zip with the Helio. It was time to figure out a possible solution using 3D printing!

I took the measurements of the zippers using a caliper and snapped a couple photos from plan and elevation views. I then brought the images and measurements into Rhino and modeled the zipper. I modeled two zippers, one the same height as the bag’s current zipper and one a millimeter taller in order for the blocker piece to fit through it. Check it out:

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Two poly-surface zippers with different heights and two meshes, exported as an STL to be printed.

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Ready to go!

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I printed two of each of the two-sized zippers on the Mojo 3D printer at Techshop (printing away in the image above). Once the support came off, it was time to test them:

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And it works! This video shows just one zip fastener, but in reality each zipper on the bag, bottom and top, has two zip fasteners, like so:

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Our two mummy bags finally zip together! We did run into one problem though: even when the bags are zipped together, the Helio bag still has an open foot area at the bottom as the starting point of the Flash’s zipper is higher than the Helio, like so:

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You could potentially start them at the same point at the bottom, but then the Flash’s head would be much shorter than the Helio. Either my boyfriend’s feet will be cold, or my head will be at his chest- so I think I’ll be buying him a bunch of wool socks 😛 Jokes aside, I am still trying to come up with a solution for this, and will update my blog once I can come up with something viable. In the meantime, happy camping!

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Becoming Furiosa from Mad Max: Fury Road

My boyfriend, myself, and two friends decided that we wanted to take on Mad Max for Halloween. It was on of my favorite movies of 2015 and I loved Furiosa’s character (a strong, bad-ass, independent female main character- what’s not to like?), so I decided I would go as Furiosa.

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I knew immediately I wasn’t going to shave my head or cut off my arm, so I had to work around those parts of her costume. To start off, I purchased a basic costume from Amazon I knew I could modify:

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I also purchased a tan short sleeve shirt, high waisted black pants, 3 worn leather belts, faux welding goggles, a black infinity scarf, and some children’s hockey shoulder pads. All this was the basis for my costume. First and foremost, I knew I had to change out the belt. One of major pieces of Furiosa’s costume, the belt had to be done correctly. I actually was able to find the designed buckle ornament on Thingiverse: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:943629 (shout out to EmmJ for the design!) I printed the ornament on a Mojo 3D printer and this is how it turned out:

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Looks pretty good, right? So the next step was giving it a nice shine and smoothing it out. I did this by using acetone vapor to smooth out the print. You can do this by soaking paper towels in acetone and placing them in a large metal can. Flip the can upside down and then place your 3D print under the can (being careful to not let any of the paper towels directly touch the print). Note: this can only be done with ABS prints. After that, I spray painted the piece with some shiny silvery chrome spray paint.

The buckle ornament has a leather backing, so I purchased an 8.5 x 11 piece of worn leather from Michaels. I then measured out a circle with about a half inch offset from the ornament and cut it (I realized I could have done this quickly on a laser cutter, but I ended up doing it by hand with an x-acto blade). Check it out:

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The next part was modifying the belt from the costume to include my new buckle ornament. The most important factor was connecting it and making it sturdy while still also making it look good. I cut off the old ornament from the costume belt and also cut off the dingy, crappy looking belts. I left the leather pieces that hung down to hold the original ornament, as so:

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I then cut two holes in my leather and ran some brass coated jewelry chain and connected that to the hoops on leather pieces on the original belt. On the belt ornament leather backing, there are also approximately 20 one-foot chains that hang down. I added this in by cutting holes all along the bottom of the backing and running jewelry chain through the holes. Here is the finished product (which I was quite please with!):

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And here is everything put together:

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The costume came with a sleeve that was supposed to represent Furiosa’s mechanical arm, which I thought was good enough. I unfortunately do not have any images of the in between steps of spray painting the white hockey shoulder pad you see in the image or adding dirt and cutting the sleeves of my shirt, but both processes were quite simple.

Finally, check out pictures of all our costumes! It was a really fun process and I’m glad I got to go as one of my favorite characters.

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Back After a Long Hiatus

I’m back after taking some time off from blogging. I’ve been really busy, with some big career changes in my life. I moved from my job at the State Department/Jacobs Engineering to HOK, private architecture firm. I wanted to be more involved in the design process and working at an architecture firm will give me exactly that. I’m still looking forward to continuing my studies and tests in digital fabrication, so prepare for more posts to come now that I have a bit more down time!

To leave you, here is a wonderful GIF of Commander Shepard dancing in honor of the release of ME Andromeda: