1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Scratch Build – In Progress Cygnar Storm Strider - Update#28.5 - 9.06.2011

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Gentleman_Dingo, 3 Jun 2011.

  1. Gentleman_Dingo

    Gentleman_Dingo New Member

    Joined:
    30 Aug 2007
    Posts:
    444
    Likes Received:
    18
    Sponsors:

    Hazard Factory:
    [​IMG]
    http://www.hazardfactory.org/

    Privateer Press:
    [​IMG]
    http://privateerpress.com/

    Green Fairy Studios
    [​IMG]
    http://greenfairystudios.wordpress.com/

    Hello All,

    Man, am I nervous about this post... This is my first casemod and I’ve been lurking here off and on since 2007. I tried haphazardly putting together a casemod for PAX PRIME 2009 and met a couple of great modders that schooled me in the true and fine art of casemodding. Unfortunately all of my experiences and skills were (and probably still are) rudimentary. Now I’m putting my heart, passion and time towards a real project and hopefully have it ready for PAX PRIME 2011.

    First off, after seeing project logs by Phinix and Attila, I realize I am an amateur in more ways than one. I’m not sponsored. I don’t have a CNC anything. I don’t even have a drill press. I don’t have hours or fabricating experience nor can I weld aluminum with Attila’s skill (but damn, does he make it look easy). I have a dremel, some files, access to a hardware store, and access to a HazardFactory’s metal shop when it’s convenient for them. Speaking of which, I have to give many thanks to Rusty Oliver, who has patiently answered all of my questions, provided help where he can, and is very supportive of any creative process and artistic endeavors of every shape. If you get a chance look him up he was one the TV show Weaponizer. So, to sum things up, I love doing this and I will get better with practice reading and your helpful input and criticism.

    The idea:

    Privateer Press’s Cygnar Storm Stryder as a case.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    My planning is ad hoc at best. I’ve got my sizes and plans all jotted out on paper and you’ll probably see my drunken scrawl on the large master documents I have hanging in my basement. But for now here are a few of the details:

    - Going to try to key the case in scale with the dimensions provided in Privateer’s concept art.

    - I have to utilize some of the computer parts I already have in my current computer (screw you economy). With no sponsor, this all comes out of pocket and the bulk of my money is going to pay for the scrap aluminum. This means at a minimum I am using:
    o my current videocard
    o a spare 500gb HDD
    o my current power supply

    I will probably end up buying:
    o mobo - TBD
    o a I-7 2600k (LGA1155)
    o memory - TBD

    - This case will stand about 33inches or 84cm tall

    - The legs, dome, and lightning coils will be made using the lost-foam casting process.

    - I will work this project as though I have a 80 day deadline but will continue if I miss it.


    I am already a couple of steps into this project, so you should see some updates this weekend and following updates at least once a week. If I’m missing something please tell me so I can include the information and improve future logs.

    Thanks and wish me luck err umm I mean skill!

    C--
     
    Last edited: 6 Sep 2011
  2. Mizakoto

    Mizakoto Problematica

    Joined:
    3 Jan 2011
    Posts:
    39
    Likes Received:
    2
    Loooooooooooooooooooooooking forward to this! Good luck!
     
  3. KidMod-Southpaw

    KidMod-Southpaw Super Spamming Saiyan

    Joined:
    28 Sep 2010
    Posts:
    12,592
    Likes Received:
    558
    You clearly haven't learned anything, despite what you think, Attila and Phinx will also tell you that you don't need sponsors and expensive tools to be a great modder. In fact, better modders do fantastic things on the cheap.

    Good luck! This looks like a great project.
     
  4. Gentleman_Dingo

    Gentleman_Dingo New Member

    Joined:
    30 Aug 2007
    Posts:
    444
    Likes Received:
    18
    I apologize if I came across that way. I don't mean to be self-depreciating. I hope that I can do a great mod 'on the cheap'. My statement was that I am an amateur and I was setting a level of expectation of what you'll end up seeing here. I don't have a CNC foam cutter/lathe/plasma cutter, I'm not being sponsored, I don't even know if I have the proper tools to get the job done. What I am doing is what I can with what most people have in their house/apartment.

    I'm using a dremel, housing insulation, wood glue and toothpicks to accomplish what I'm doing. You'll kind of see what I'm typing about in a couple of hours or so. I'm resizing my next pictures right now.
     
  5. Gentleman_Dingo

    Gentleman_Dingo New Member

    Joined:
    30 Aug 2007
    Posts:
    444
    Likes Received:
    18
    Update #2

    Alright! Back to business! The update:

    I decided to start with the biggest time sinks for this project... the foam prep for lost-foam casting. There are going to be 4 main part-areas that will be cast in aluminum using lost-foam casting: Legs, Shin plates, Lightning Coils, and the Dome. There might be other pieces and detail parts that I might cast but I'll be creating those as the need arises.

    First thing I did was take an image of the actual miniature for perspective shots and the concept art and crop and blow up the images for basic patterns to use. I'm using these pattern for the shape and general idea of the parts. I did take some artistic liberties and changed some of the depths and design to work with casting and function. I'm not going to post the images of the partners as they are actual sizes but you can look at them by going to these links:

    Right Side Coil
    Left Side Coil
    Right Side Leg
    Left Side Leg

    Next I started tracing the pattern shapes onto 2" (sorry I'm a backwards American and recorded everything in inches) blue closed cell foam. Then I sketched out and created the base plate onto .25" foam core.

    [​IMG]

    In the above image you can see my first attempt at creating the coils. I messed around with how I was going to create the coils. I knew I was going to have to create the coils in two parts so that I could properly core the coils for lighting. So I was going to have to have two equal and matching parts that have two unique sides. I originally cut the coil shapes directly out of the blue foam. Then I realized that it was going to be nearly impossible to make the two halves from a single pie. Then I realized it was going be equally difficult making each half match while carving each separately. Finally (and successfully) I was able to create a process for making both halves match by rounding two parts into cylinders at the maximum diameter of each coil. See the stages below:

    [​IMG]

    Before rounding out the two halves, I did make sure I could refit the two halves by making a center line and using toothpick to pin the parts:

    [​IMG]

    Here are the finished foam bases for the legs and the coils:

    [​IMG]

    The legs have been much simpler. Each leg could be made from one single piece of 2" foam. I could draw a pattern on one side, create an x and 2 y axises and replicate a mirrored pattern on the other side. From there, I just had to fill in the details of the pattern (compensating and changing depending what I thought was doable and functional). I colored the first piece I began working with to help me visualize the difference in depth.

    [​IMG]

    Here you can see my progress with cutting off the excess foam and, with the top right piece, a preview of the of a semi-finished foam leg.

    [​IMG]

    I'm still considering just how much detail I need to put into the foam piece. The lost-foam casting process transfers the detail extremely well but working with an aluminum piece is much easier to detail. I've already remade a leg once due to an errant dremel jump taking a chunk out of the foam.

    Here's a picture of me getting crazy and taping a bunch of the in-progress pieces together to get an idea of height. So far this case will probably stand about 33" tall from ground to top coil. Please keep in mind, the torso and foam-core pieces are not representative of what going to be there. They only provide the basic shape.

    [​IMG]


    Finally, for this update, here are some of the tools I'm using:

    A fancy straight ruler and compass left-over from my days being victimized by the Art Institute of Seattle (long story), a nice right angle ruler, a box cutter and an exacto-knife.

    [​IMG]

    A hot wire cutter! This is used for making large base cuts and removing big excess foam chunks. If you end up using one of these, remember to keep that wire taunt. It helps when making straight and accurate cuts. As you use the hot wire cutter, it bends and stretches the wire.

    [​IMG]

    I picked up a little foam cutter magic wand and the local craft store. it's great for doing detail work, cutting into corners, and putting straight holes through the foam.

    [​IMG]

    And finally, the dremel. My little buddy gave up the ghost last week. The wife was wonderful and bought me a nice new upgraded dremel 4000. The dremel and it's grinding attachments are what I'm using to reduce the foam in sections.

    [​IMG]



    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    That's all for now. The next update will have the material tests for the lost-foam casting and the progress of the dome.
     
  6. Gentleman_Dingo

    Gentleman_Dingo New Member

    Joined:
    30 Aug 2007
    Posts:
    444
    Likes Received:
    18
    Great news! My little brother is getting me a great deal on a I7-2600k processor! Better on the pocket book but now I need to re-look at motherboards.

    Any suggestions on a micro-ATX LGA1155 motherboard? I'm currently comparing boards on newegg.com.
     
  7. Attila

    Attila still thinking....

    Joined:
    22 Feb 2008
    Posts:
    1,258
    Likes Received:
    237
    Cant help you with the Mobo but I'm watching closely. I'm very interested in casting aluminium, so please don't skimp on the details. Great start to your project. Good luck. :thumb:
     
  8. kelmannen

    kelmannen New Member

    Joined:
    5 Feb 2011
    Posts:
    377
    Likes Received:
    6
    have to agree with attila, REALLY looking forward to the casting process :rock:, much pictures please! :clap:

    ps: do have a d 4000 myself, a little more of a machine =) 175W instead of 125W =)
     
  9. Tna

    Tna Moda'a'foca modding power!

    Joined:
    18 Jan 2011
    Posts:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    more pictures ;)

    wanna see that done
     
  10. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

    Joined:
    13 May 2007
    Posts:
    10,542
    Likes Received:
    722
    Holy Cow! What an ambitious flippen project-thing this is! :D
    The only thing that would make it cooler is if you had a cat to statically attract all the foam debris.
    I'm with Attila on this one. Don't skimp!
    Would it be better to make the armor/bent plate/shield panels separately?
     
  11. Gentleman_Dingo

    Gentleman_Dingo New Member

    Joined:
    30 Aug 2007
    Posts:
    444
    Likes Received:
    18
    Update #3

    Update #3 6.8.2011

    Never let it be said that I don’t listen to my audience’s requests. As part of the learning process, I decided to jump in and get my feet wet with the lost-foam casting. In all honesty, I’ve read quite a bit of at-home casting blogs and online manuals on the process but I still wanted to see a couple of things for myself. Obviously I wanted to familiarize myself before I was committing fully detailed foam parts to the rigors of molten aluminum. I wanted to know how certain types of foam and products reacted to the aluminum. I am working with three/four different types of foam: 2” thick blue home insulation closed cell foam, 1” thick pink home insulation closed cell foam, white open cell foam used for flower arrangements, and .5mm thick foam-core (foam board that’s lined with paper on each side). In all honesty I really isn’t/wasn’t any real difference between the pink and blue foams and how they reacted to heat but I didn’t want to take any chances. I also wanted to see how wood glue reacted in the mold.

    As a side note, I would like to mention both the Irish Foundry (here in Seattle) and friendly people at Austin Design/lostfoam.com. Both companies are friendly and helpful for the casting enthusiast. The owner of the Irish Foundry helped me formulate my questions and give me direction on what I was looking for in the design process. They directed me to Austin Design. Austin Design or Lostfoam.com makes their living by creating foam models for companies using lost foam to produce multiple custom parts. Austin Design’s sales folks were awesome in answering my questions on their processes for creating foam models and some of at-home materials they’ve had success with. They also offered to make the foam models for me, if I sent them the CAD designs, all for a low price. I politely declined for two reasons: I’m poor and need to save the money for materials and parts. And, well, I’d rather have fun making the foam models myself.

    There are plenty of details that won’t be including in regards to this process because I’m not too terribly sure of them as this is my first time casting and I’m relying on the help and instruction of Rusty Oliver. There is definitely a finesse or art to casting (any type of metal casting) that requires you to document and calculate several aspects of the process each time you do the process. If you keep track of this information it will help you reduce the amount of fuel needed, eliminate having to recast parts, increase the strength of the parts you cast, and improve the quality and detail of your casts. I’ll allude to these details but they’re only a small part of the data Rusty has collected to refine his craft. To the advantage of this project, I am allowed a wide margin of casting error because these parts won’t be used in any commercial or mechanical function (i.e. parts of an engine block, pieces of a working submarine).

    Onto the process:

    This is the sand or Petrobond if you want to go the brand name. Since Rusty hadn’t done any casting in a while the sand had lumped into chunk as it pulls the moisture out of the air. This area being Seattle, there’s no shortage of moisture. So I spent the next hours or so un-chunking his fine sand (he had two types of coarseness). Unfortunately, he didn’t have a tool to pulverize the chunks of sand, so it had to all be done by hand.

    [​IMG]

    Since we didn’t know how long it would take me to torture the sand into usability, we waited until I had completed this task before preheating the foundry. This is essential if you want to continue using your foundry with any length of time. The ceramic in the foundry tends to get a small amount of moisture with disuse. If you heat that moisture up to fast it will expand and cause the foundry to crack. Cracked foundries are not happy foundries. By preheating the foundry, we evaporate that moisture. Once the foundry is nice and preheated we can turn up the heat to a level necessary to melt the aluminum.

    [​IMG]

    While the foundry was heating up, I readied two of the three pieces I wanted to test. The one piece not shown is the foam-core. Let me also mention, if you’re going to take project log pictures for this wonderful forum, remember to load your camera’s memory card. If you don’t your stupid camera might take picture for the ether and mock you later when you go to do the log write-up. The lightning coil you see in this picture had several wonderful pictures of its creation that won’t be shown because I forgot to load that memory card. Fortunately, I had planned on remaking this part in foam if this process didn’t work out perfectly (yes, I planned for my failure). You can see the sprues wood-glued onto the parts.

    [​IMG]

    Here you can see some of the first pieces of scrap being melted in the crucible of the foundry. As we were melting pieces we would check on the progress and carefully remove the skin of slag that appeared on the top of the pool of molten aluminum (that silver gloop on the lower right corner of the foundry stand is the slag).

    [​IMG]

    While we were waiting for the aluminum to melt, I began packing the parts in the sand. Now this is one of the main advantages of doing a lost-foam casting rather than a 2-part mold casting. A 2-part mold sand casting has several steps. First off you need sand that has had water mixed back into the sand to allow it to solidify around an object. You fill half of the mold with sand and place the object into the sand. You have to pack the sand around the object and level that half. Then you fill the second half with sand, covering the object, pack sand and level again. You dig out the vent holes and your pour spout. Finally you remove your top half, remove the object, and hope you don’t jar the mold and make the sand collapse into the negative space. With lost-foam, you can cut out half those steps and not worry about jarring your model as there is no negative space for the sand to collapse into. Please note the incredibly large trough we made… while it doesn’t have to be this large (as we see later) the trough allows the contaminates to pool at the first point and then the rest of the molten aluminum fill the cavity.

    [​IMG]

    With the mold ready we check on the foundry and it’s almost ready… (sorry for the blurry picture, was trying to assist and photograph at the same time)

    [​IMG]

    Here’s a decent picture of the molten aluminum:

    [​IMG]

    After 34 minutes of melting, it came time to pour. (sorry for the blurry picture, was trying to assist and photograph at the same time)

    [​IMG]

    Oh noes!!! Unhappy, surprised mold is unhappy and surprised. Ideally what you should see is aluminum filling the vent when it reaches the end of the mold. With this pour we only saw one of the vents fill. :sigh:

    [​IMG]

    After the pour we gave the material time to solidify. We waited about 15-20 minutes before knocking the sand off of the aluminum. Then we ran the aluminum under cold water to cool the piece. Here are the results of the first cast of the lightning coil, I put the left-over foam bit next to the casting:

    [​IMG]

    I learned a lesson on the design of the foam model. I made the connecting links to the spiral coil portion too thin for the aluminum to travel through the model. Anything less than a .25” won’t work for a horizontal casting/pour. We also noted how big the trough was and how much aluminum we wasted with the first pour. We ended up chopping up the excess and melting it for the second pour. Here is a decent picture from the second melting (only 27 minutes this time):

    [​IMG]

    For the second pour we attempted to cast the white foam ball and the foam-core. We packed both objects with different styles to see the effects of the processes. I know double trials of both processes and material probably wasn’t the most effective or scientific method but we were having fun. The white foam ball we packed in an old butane gas canister. The molten aluminum burnt right through that metal. Fortunately we had placed it in a bucket of the coarser sand. Please note the iron molds to the right. All of the excess aluminum was poured into these trays so the aluminum could be reused at a later time. You DO NOT want your aluminum to cool in the crucible as this can lead to a useless crucible.

    [​IMG]

    I don’t have pictures of the foam-core pour because it was an utter failure. My part of assisting is to be ready with the extra sand in case the aluminum starts running over the concrete (which can cause the moisture in the concrete to erupt and explode) or if there’s a fire. With the foam-core the paper did not react well with the molten aluminum. It flared up and created a carbon barrier between the aluminum and the foam. This caused the aluminum to redirect out of the mold and a partial forming of the desired shape. So instead of photographing, I was scrambling. This isn’t too bad as anything I would need to make the width and shape of foam-core; I can do with plates/sheets of aluminum.

    I was intrigued by the results of the white open-cell foam ball casting. The product was VERY textured. I'm using the white open-cell foam to model the round portions of the case. While I can make the part textured, I'd like them to be as smooth as possible. So I'll probably end up 'investing' the foam in drywall mud or plaster of paris (I happen to have both in my basement) to smooth out the surface. Here is the result of foam ball (before and after):

    [​IMG]


    That’s all for now. The next update will probably be up in 2-3 days.

    78 days left to finish this Mod.
     
    Last edited: 8 Jun 2011
  12. Gentleman_Dingo

    Gentleman_Dingo New Member

    Joined:
    30 Aug 2007
    Posts:
    444
    Likes Received:
    18
    Shhh! No spoiling the future updates! The next update will be for the dome and the case plates but after that will be the fancy Cygnar shin guards. I want to get a little further on them before posting. ;)
     
  13. sixfootsideburns

    sixfootsideburns modeteer

    Joined:
    6 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    621
    Likes Received:
    9
    awesome work man! Have you ever looked into adding an inoculate to the molten aluminum before you pour it? My company (read the company I work for) owns our own foundry (though we cast iron not aluminum) and lots of the parts we cast for production run a lot better and give better final results if you add inoculate to the iron before pouring. Just thought I might mention it as a suggestion :) If your interested in a little more information just send me a PM

    Great progress though man! Really exciting stuff!
     
  14. Gentleman_Dingo

    Gentleman_Dingo New Member

    Joined:
    30 Aug 2007
    Posts:
    444
    Likes Received:
    18
    PM sent!
     
  15. BLUEHORSESTUDIOS

    BLUEHORSESTUDIOS I haven't lost a finger yet!

    Joined:
    19 Apr 2010
    Posts:
    273
    Likes Received:
    24
    Dude this is awesome, if you need any help I live right down I-5, seriously !!!
     
  16. Gentleman_Dingo

    Gentleman_Dingo New Member

    Joined:
    30 Aug 2007
    Posts:
    444
    Likes Received:
    18
    Update #4

    Update #4: So far I’m on schedule?

    Only 77 more days until PAX 2011 and I’m feeling fairly confident that I’ll have it completed by then… but we’ll see how confident I am when we’re down to the last 7 days.

    So far I’ve given you some peeks at the legs, lightning coils, and materials testing the lost-foam process. Today’s update is about the main case enclosure, kind of… I’ve been designing the enclosure under the idea that I’d be using a micro-ATX board with my current video card tilted horizontally with a flexible PCI express extender cable. I’ve arranged it so the motherboard location can be moved on the base plate if I go with a different model/brand. I’ve also designed the enclosure to work with any single graphics card that is no bigger than 11”x5”x3.5”. If I can’t find a suitable/economic replacement, I’ll be using my own graphics card which easily fits within those dimensions. The globe will be cast and either welded or bonded to an aluminum plate cover. The base plate will be made from a single aluminum plate. There will be 4” walls separating the base plate from the cover. These walls are still being designed for their stylization. I won’t assemble the walls to the base plate until I’ve finalized my motherboard decision.

    Here is a simple template for the base plate:

    [​IMG]

    Here’s the base plate with a 9.6x9.6 mobo to give me a basic idea of placement. The big foam block is there to represent a huge ol’ CPU heat sink should I go the cheap route. Although, if a water cooling system does become available I’ve reserved space in the front left section for a reservoir.

    [​IMG]

    I love my huge sink. I’ve noted several candidate heat sink dimensions on the huge sink.

    [​IMG]

    Here’s the simple template for the cover plate:

    [​IMG]

    Now to introduce the lightning globe:

    As mentioned before the lightning globe will be a cast piece. If you scroll up to the materials test post you will see it’s made of the same white open cell foam. Basically, I simplified my workload by going to a local craft shop and picking up a 10” white foam flower arrangement globe (the elderly ladies always love it when visit the craft shop, they flirt mercilessly). I bisected the globe and then quartered one half. I cored out the quarters with a dremel trying to maintain a consistent .5” thickness through the wall. As you can see, I also measured and eye-balled the placement of the rings. After I felt comfortable with the look and feel of the ring placement I made basic port-holes in the globe.

    [​IMG]

    Next I took some smaller white foam balls and sliced them in half, cored them, then reduced the halves until they made nice little rings. I used regular wood glue (that burned off well in the materials test) to attach the rings to the globe.

    [​IMG]

    I’m almost ready to start casting the globe halves! I just have to wait for the glue to dry, and then I can start widening the portholes to allow more light through the port holes and to fit better with the rings.

    [​IMG]

    Here’s a view of both halves and their interlocking rings. You can see some of the excess glue dripping off. I’m not too worried about the glue as I’m going to have to coat the globe with either an investment of plaster or some sort of leveler to even out the rough texture of the white foam.

    [​IMG]

    This is to give you an idea of what the globe will look like on the plate (note this picture was taken before the rings were attached):

    [​IMG]

    The top cover plate will be divided into two halves to allow access to the motherboard.

    [​IMG]

    I also took some pictures of me playing around to see if everything will fit with a huge sink. The foam blocks are 4” tall and they work as temporary walls. It’ll be snug but it will fit and it the huge sink is lit provide a cool look.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I have also started doodling around with the cutout design on the cover plate. I want to provide maximum visibility of the RAM, MoBo and the graphics card and still maintain some of the case’s style. I probably diverge from the concept art a little bit here.

    [​IMG]

    Finally, I’ll leave you with a self-portrait. This is what I look like after an average day of grinding foam. I play in blue snow.

    [​IMG]

    For the next update, I’ll go more into the creation of the lightning coils and/or shin guards.

    Target next update: June 13-14th.

    Thanks for reading!
     
  17. Gentleman_Dingo

    Gentleman_Dingo New Member

    Joined:
    30 Aug 2007
    Posts:
    444
    Likes Received:
    18
    Thank you! You're only 3 hours away! Question are you going to PDX LAN or PAX? I don't know if I'll have this case done in time for PDX LAN...
     
  18. sixfootsideburns

    sixfootsideburns modeteer

    Joined:
    6 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    621
    Likes Received:
    9
    Mail me your sweatshirt will you? Its almost as awesome as this mod :hehe:

    kick ass progress man, and this weekend I'll be sending you better PM about the casting processes we use and some tips to go with it.

    Keeeppp Goooiinnnnggg!
     
  19. Mystikal0412

    Mystikal0412 Safety First, Think Twice!

    Joined:
    31 May 2011
    Posts:
    89
    Likes Received:
    5
    Can't wait to see the Top being castered. Awesome build so far! I keep this one in my favourites!
     
  20. AnG3L

    AnG3L Ultimate Modder

    Joined:
    19 Mar 2009
    Posts:
    2,634
    Likes Received:
    153
    When I see these kind of mods I feel so insignificant and nothing! This is more than awesome! Nuff said. :)
     

Share This Page