Monday, February 27, 2012

New Rise of The MattMobile Episode!

This is a fun little episode where I show how to save a few bucks at Lowe's. Huge thanks to Grant Imahara for doing some bookends for me!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Caprice Exhaust Removed

As promised in my currently uploading video (link to follow shortly!) I have removed the exhaust pipes and muffler from the caprice. It took under and hour, though I did have to resort to some sawzall magic near the end. I figure it can just be welded back together when the time comes, so no big stress.

Now all that remains prior to the stretch is to move some cables and pipes, and I think we'll be all set to go!

Harkness Vortex Manipulator In Transit

With all of the fun at the recent Gallifrey One Doctor Who convention in Los Angeles, I have redirected some of my attention toward this piece, which has been on my list of things to make for some time now.

Some of the good folks over at the RPF drew up the parts and uploaded them to shapeways a while back, so it was just a matter of going there and ordering the parts. They should be in my hands in a few days.

Then comes the hard part, making the leather bits. I'm thinking I'm going to commission our man Kai Norman to make it for me. Depending on his schedule, I may end up taking a stab at it myself, now that I see how thin the leather involved is. There's a good chance my sewing machine would be able to handle that. We shall see.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Engine Lifting Items and Garage Clean Up

A couple items showed up from jegs the other day. First is an engine lift plate. This attaches to the top of the block, and then provides a few easy attach points for the hoist. In case that doesn't work, I also got a set of chains.

I did a bunch more work re-arranging the garage. The goal this time was to make it so I could fit the chassis and the shell in the garage at the same time, and still have room to work. This meant taking a set of shelves down to the storage unit, along with a bunch of boxes filled with car parts. The big trash cans now sit next to my work bench. Which while stinky, frees up a lot of space

MattMobile Consulting

I don't have any pictures to post, as there's nothing really to show for this particular entry, but I do have some news about the MattMobile.

Local friend-of-a-neighbor Bo came over the other day to assess the chassis, and to give me a quote on the stretch. I initially thought Bo was strictly a metal worker, but it turns out he's also a HUGELY passionate auto restoration pro!! After going over the chassis for a few minutes, Bo had ALL kinds of insight and tips into the build, and offered up some great suggestions on things I should be considering when working on the car.

I'm very excited to have Bo join "Team MattMobile" as I think he'll be a great asset. He's a local guy, which means he'll never be too far away.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Arkham City Grapple Gun - First One Done

A bit of a happy-dance is going on right now over here in Irvine over the completion of my first Grapple Gun. I would say overall it turned out OK. The fit and finish of this piece is not quite where I would like it to be, but seeing as how it needs to be delivered to the set today for filming, I figured it would be ok.

That's right.

I said "delivered to the set today for filming." In a very interesting twist of fate, this piece is going to be used in an independent film. I can't really say anything else right now, as it's pretty hush-hush, but I will keep you posted as more information becomes available.

You'll notice of course that the gun is painted with Krylon semi-flat black, which is NOT representative of the color scheme seen in the game. I know that. However, the director of the film asked for one in all black, so I delivered.

The real upside of this 'quick' build is that I learned a lot about how the whole thing fits together, and I will be applying that knowledge to the other two that I am building right now.

Engine Cradle Arrives

For when I pull the V8. From the Mattmobile.

Mermaid Tail Technique

The experimentation really never ends when it comes to urethane. With each new project comes new demands on the materials, which means developing new ways to use them.

Regular readers will know that the "holy grail" of urethane for me is a product that can be applied in very thin layers, but will be very opaque and most of all will not pull back from silicone. My existing molds are silicone, and I don't want to have to remake them as rigid molds. Though frankly, that probably would have been a lot faster, and saved me a lot of heart ache.


My favorite product for silicone molds right now is Smooth-On Brush-on 50. Or 40. It's a great product that does most of what I want. Ideally, I would be able to apply this with an airbrush. The problem is that when I thin it with mineral spirits so that it will flow through a spray gun or airbrush, it tends to lose some of its more interesting properties. I've been searching for a better method, and the other day decided it might be worth trying to apply it with a paint roller.

I picked up one of those dinky little touch-up rollers from home depot, and gave it a try.

The results were fantastic. In this picture, you can see how the detail of the mold was not lost. No bubbles either. Pretty much any flaw you see in this pull was a flaw in the mold. Very nice!

Here's what it looks like on the inside. Not as uniform or smooth as one might get from an airbrush, but still workable.

Because this is VERY thin, it is also very flexible. I doubt I would ever brush it on this thin in a production piece, but this is a neat image as it shows just how much abuse this stuff can take.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Engine Removal Stuff

Thanks to a tip from Mike Senna, I purchased tonight what is called an "engine lift plate." It's basically a little device that bolts onto the engine. It gives you a place to hook into with your cherry picker so the engine can be lifted easily.

I got mine from Jegs.

Here's a link, if you are curious.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Engine Hoist Acquired

Mike Senna of R2-D2 fame and fortune came by tonight to drop of the engine hoist that we purchased together a while back. He needed it to work on a project of his own, and I obviously need it for the mattmobile.

Now I need to purchase and Engine Lift Plate so that I can make some magic happen.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Chassis Stretch

Not much to report on the MattMobile front, other than I'm doing some logistical work on getting the chassis stretch done. A friend of mine found a place in the valley that does good work, and their prices seem fair. It's not cheap, but I believe they will do a good job. And when we are talking about the most significant piece of structure, I think it's a good idea to spend the money to get it done right.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Days Work

The Superman Returns project is not dead. Just moving REALLY slowly. Tonight I had cause to do some experiments with some really nice pigment I got a while back from my friends at The Bronze Armory. This is a VERY close match to the burgandy seen on the cape. I'm quite happy with it, and expect to use it in the future. I spoke to a machinist friend a while back about getting the diamond plate custom cut, and he said it's totally feasible. Just expensive. Story of my life.

I'm also working on some stuff for an upcoming project. I made a few molds today, and also did some stuff with urethane. I don't want to give too much away, but the three disks are a set of experiments I'm running. I'm not sure which one will turn out best, but we shall see. This is a new technique for me, and I'm not totally sure how it will turn out, but because of all of the work I've done with Urethane over the years, I have a pretty high degree of confidence that this will work out the way I want it.