One of the holy grail props in movie history is Deckard's PKD Blaster from Blade Runner. This iconic pistol has been intensely studied by replica prop builders, including Adam Savage. Adam finally meets the real hero prop--in the collection of Dan Lanigan--and bring his own storied replica to compare with the original!
This is a pretty special build. Angelo Casimiro, or TechBuilder on YouTube, lives in the Philippines. He wanted to make a full sized, fully operable BB-8 for his dad for Christmas. His build used only household materials, and things from the local hardware store. My favorite hack: using roll-on deodorant for bearings and old speakers for their magnets.
But the ingenuity and prodigious problem-solving don't end there. He made his sphere using only newspaper, a beach ball, some canvas, white glue and wood putty! I would hire this kid in a New York second. With the ubiquity of 3D printers, laser cutters and the like (which is wonderful, don't get me wrong!), it's easy to lose sight of just what tremendous possibilities reside in humble materials like scrap wood, cardboard, hot glue and newspaper.
This would be an incredible classroom build for literally ANYONE.
But there's another reason I love this video.
Filmmaker Barbara Anastacio recently toured a new architectural model museum at the Mana Contemporary gallery in Jersey City. Architect Richard Meier discusses the importance of these models as artifacts of the architectural design process, and why they should be preserved and appreciated. The 15,000 square-feet museum houses about 400 models, hundreds of architectural drawings, and a thousand books on architecture. Definitely marked as a place to visit the next time I'm on the east coast! (h/t Sondre)
Last week, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum announced the team that has been tasked with restoring the original television filming model of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 (no bloody A, B, C, or D). Restoration is lead by John Goodson, who is joined by ILMers Bill George and Kim Smith (now of Creature Art & Mechanics Digital). The team is analyzing not only the aesthetic details of the model as it appeared on the show (circa August 1967, during the filming of The Trouble with Tribbles), but also the original materials and construction methods to understand its aged state. The Enterprise isn't just getting a new paint job, it's getting a paint job that represents the same pigments and plastics layered on the model over its production lifespan. The Smithsonian blog post has many more details about how the team is achieving this, along with the restoration roadmap for the model to be ready for display in by this summer--Star Trek's 50th anniversary. (h/t Gavin Rothery)3
Welcome to a new year of Show and Tells! In this series, we feature awesome kits, projects, collectibles, and gear that we've discovered on the internet. This week, Norm shares some new figures from artist Jason Freeny, including a set inspired by LEGO minifigs and a beautiful anatomy model of a balloon dog!
Meet the newest member of the Tested family! Watch the full One Day Build of Finn here.
While on his MythBusters tour, Adam spent a day in the workshop of Avenue Q puppet creator Rick Lyon ... and left with a new friend. See photos and get behind-the-scenes facts from that One-Day Build.
Adam Savage is a HUGE fan of puppets. And so a very special One Day Build was conceived when Rick Lyon, creator of the puppets for the Tony award-winning musical Avenue Q, invited Adam to stop by his Newark workshop to design and build his very own puppet. Everyone, please meet Finn!
Two great videos I saw recently diving into the intricacies of the stop-motion animation process. The first is an Academy Originals production, following Laika animator Daniel Alderson as he explains how he collaborates with the director, fabricators, armaturists, schedulers, and production team to animate one shot in a film. The giant scheduling wall they have set up to coordinate production is impressively daunting! Next up is this behind-the-scenes featurette from Cartoon Network, showing the making of a stop-motion episode of Adventure Time, directed by the amazing and talented animator Kirsten Lepore.
I had been in the market for another 3D printer for my fabrication fleet, and I had my eye on a few machines during Black Friday. I narrowly missed a great sale on a Wanhao Duplicator i3 for a cool $299, and instead I settled on a Folger Tech 2020 i3 kit on sale with an LCD panel (currently priced at $280). Here's how it's been performing for me, and what you can expect for a 3D printer of this price.
I had done some reading on this particular kit so I knew to expect some hurdles during it's construction. The biggest complaint that the community has - and indeed I have too - is that the build manual has several mistakes and blatant inaccuracies that Folger Tech has yet to fix. There's some simple stuff like typos of bolt dimensions - using one bolt length in one sentence and another length in the next sentence, leaving you to figure out which one they really mean. These are easy to figure out. But then there's the problem where it tells you to mount the X-axis end stop on the wrong side, and if you don't understand why 3D printers are put together the way they are, you'll have a difficult time understanding why it's moving in the "wrong" direction and why it won't home properly. I highly recommend reading the manual fully before starting to make sure you know what to expect.
There is an absolutely massive thread on the RepRap forums which contain a huge amount of information and fixes. As of this writing, the thread is at 88 pages long and I've only managed to work backwards through about half of it. If you're considering one of these kits I recommend at least skimming through the forum thread on your own, but I've tried to compile the biggest issues and fixes from my experience here.
While on tour, Adam Savage visited Code in the Schools, an organization with the mission to bring computer science education to Baltimore city youth. During his visit, Adam met with co-founder Gretchen LeGrand and her team of instructors, then spoke with the students about their experiences in the classroom.
Tanker Crush. In 14 years of MythBusters, we've done a LOT of explosions, but this was our first implosion. It had been on my list for years, but it was so logistically difficult, we saved it for the final season.
The myth: Engineers are steam-cleaning a freight-train tank car when a rainstorm lets loose. Thwarted by the weather, they seal the container -- which is full of hot steam -- and head home. The rain cools the outside of the tank car, while the steam inside condenses and contracts, and the resulting pressure differential causes the massive steel car to crumple like a soda can. But would this be possible?
EVERYTHING about this episode was on a big scale. It took a year for the producers to source a tanker car for us to destroy, and months more to find a rail yard willing to host the shoot. (We finally found one in Boardman, Ore. Thanks again, guys!) The team really killed it for this one.
The tanker car itself is the biggest prop in MythBusters history, measuring 67 feet long and 10 feet in diameter and weighing 67,000 pounds. Its steel is 3/16" thick. This puppy was HEAVY.
Did I mention also that it was hot? Very hot. We were shooting in the high desert in the middle of July, and it was brutal being outdoors all those days. The steel was too hot to touch. To go INSIDE a tanker was an hour-long air-quality-monitoring escapade. That piece to camera I did from inside was so insanely uncomfortable. I think it was 130 degrees in there. Holy cow, I'm sweating just remembering it. Being out in that heat and repeatedly having tank cars not fail made it a very long shoot. Long, hot, tiring, implosionless days. (Is that even a word?)
Meet Gordon Tarpley, a prop builder and cosplayer who specializes in C-3PO. He's one of the few C-3PO cosplayer and performers, and has been working on his suit and performance for years. We chat with Gordon about his build process, how he's improving his suit, and what it takes to perform as this iconic Star Wars character.
Adam Savage gets special access to one of the spacesuits from The Martian to study and document it for his personal replica project! Here's Adam's gleeful first impressions after opening the suit's shipping crate and appreciate for some of the fine fabricated details seen in person. (Bring home The Martian, nominated for 7 Academy Awards®, on Blu-ray™, DVD & Digital HD today.)
Greetings Tested readers! I'm Bill Doran, prop maker from Punished Props. You may recall the District 9 Alien Rifle project I did with the gang for last year's San Diego Comic-Con. That was a super fun collaboration and we're looking to do more of that in 2016. I'm also slated to write some articles for the site throughout the year. These articles will be on various subjects relevant to prop and costume making.
Today I want to talk a little bit about CNC routing, particularly with the X-Carve from Inventables. Inventables reached out to a bunch of makers on YouTube to share some demo units and I was fortunate enough to get my hands on one. I've built up my tool collection significantly in the past few years so I'm not hurting for options, but I was particularly excited about this machine, for a number of reasons.
First, it's big. The version I received has a 1000mm x 1000mm cutting area. Compared to the 20" x 12" area in my Full Spectrum laser cutter, the X-Carve is a monster. The CNC router can also cut materials that would be dangerous in a laser (like PVC plastic) or materials that would be impossible in my laser (aluminum).
The X-Carve can also cut materials into 3D forms, similar to my 3D printer, but it has a couple of distinct advantages over that machine as well. For starters, my Dremel Idea Builder is limited to just one material: PLA. The X-Carve can tackle just about any plastic or wood you throw at it. In many cases, it's also significantly faster than a 3D printer. The Z-axis depth is much more limited than the 3D printer at just a couple of inches, but as I said before, the X and Y axis can travel 1000mm in either direction; much more than my 3D printer.
Does this make the CNC router the only tool I'll need in my shop? Of course not! It is, however, an extremely powerful and versatile tool that boosts what's possible in my small prop making shop. I'm really stoked to see what I can make it do. I'm also looking forward to the day when my CNC router, 3D Printer, and laser cutter are all running concurrent jobs while I cackle maniacally like a mad scientist. At least until they all become self aware and destroy humanity.
What's your favorite movie starship? If Han Solo's Millennium Falcon isn't on your shortlist, there's something wrong with you. And if you haven't yet enjoyed the crazy aerobatics of the galaxy's most iconic hunk of junk in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there's something really wrong with you.
For the latest film in the staggeringly popular space saga – featured in the February issue of Cinefex – the Falcon gets a new pilot in the form of Rey, a lonely scavenger from the desolate planet of Jakku. However, just as Rey isn't the first person to sit behind the controls of this much-loved spacecraft, so the Falcon seen in The Force Awakens is hardly the first version of the ship to have graced cinema screens over the years.
So just how many Falcons have there been?
The very first Falcon of all was created for the original Star Wars in 1977. To begin with, she didn't even have a name – Lucas and the rest of the crew referred to her simply as the "pirate ship". What's more, she didn't look one bit like the retrofitted saucer now familiar to fans around the world.
Constructed by the model department at Industrial Light & Magic, that first Falcon was long and thin, with a cluster of chunky engines at the back. Late in the day, when the lovingly-created six-foot miniature was more or less ready to go in front of the camera, director George Lucas decided the ship looked too much like the Eagle transporter from TV show Space: 1999. Suddenly, it was all change on the Falcon front.