Sunday, September 19, 2010

Entry One: The U.B.R.A

Hello, all! My name's Ingrid, and welcome to Robot Arms Incorporated, your one-stop-shop for enhancing your lifestyle--cybernetically!

The story of Robot Arms Inc. started like any other; just a small-town girl with a dream. A dream of passion. A dream of adventure. A dream...of a Robot Arm.

This is the initial sketch I did of the original U.ltra B.itchin' R.obot A.rm. The details were a little fuzzy; all I knew is I wanted a wide, cannon-like forearm.

After initial runs to both home depot and an awesome local shop called "Skycraft Parts and Surplus Inc.," I got myself a couple floodlight casings, a rubber glove, and some aluminum tape, coming up with the aforementioned forearm.
I also knew the shoulder piece would be a big part of the arm; I would need something major to help hold it up. I all ready had a harness in the works, but it really needed a badass mech shoulder piece. With the help of my very handy roommate, Nagle, and his equally handy collection of tools, we cut and bent out the pieces for a 3-layered metal shoulder. With a few metal wings for robo chic, I laid out the basic parts to see how the arm would eventually come together.

With the deadline of a dress-up day at my office quickly approaching, I sewed together the harness from heavy-duty nylon straps(be sure to get a heavy needle and watch your fingers!), then sewed that to the sleeve cut from a classy Salvation Army leotard(complete with snaps on the crotch--nice to see you again, 1986!). With the help of three cans of Full Throttle and lots and lots of duct tape, the UBRA prototype was completed.

It was a big hit, but wearing it that day provided me with a lot of insight. The first was that rubber gloves, while awesome, get really sweaty when you're just wearing them around. The second was the loose wires weren't as neat a concept as I'd thought in my head. Lastly, the upper arm just wasn't robot-y enough. It looked empty.

After another trip to Skycraft and more help from that crafty Nagle, I got ride of the duct tape, tightened the wires, replaced the glove with something a little more breathable, and added a perforated metal upper-arm piece, complete with some sweet exposed circuitry!

But a cyborg's work is never done; I'm constantly on the prowl for ways to improve the UBRA. I plan on doing some more surgery to incorporate a better glove, and a new flexy elbow piece made from an accordioned rubber boot and a dryer vent. Stay tuned for UBRA updates and even more robot arms! 

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