Sunday, September 19, 2010

Entry Two: The Gunslinger

All my friends know there's two things I really love in this world: Robot Arms and Team Fortress 2.

So when they heard that my favorite class, the Engineer, was getting a robot arm for his update, they called me immediately to tell me the news. It was pretty much the best day of my life.
Well, after many hours of being an extra-dick offensive engineer on LOLCANO, I realized Halloween was approaching, and I felt it was high time I added another robot arm to my collection.

I'll be posting periodic updates on this robot arm project; it's got to be a lot tighter than the last since I'm replicating something all ready in existence. The first thing I did was stop by Skycraft Parts and Surplus for my birthday to pick up some of the odds and ends I needed for the arm, then I drew this vague mock-up.
As you can see from this images, I'm unsure what the three circular pieces on the wrist friend Scott told me to email Gabe Newell or Robin Walker and see if they can ask the artist about it, but I'm way too nervous!

Anyways, after that, I headed out to a flea market to find a lawnmower handle. We couldn't find the lawnmower parts stand, but I did find this old clacky keyboard that would work perfectly for the numpad on his forearm!

I love clacky keyboards, and I had really wanted to keep it as the keyboard for my computer; I was only completely devastated to find out the old port was waaaay too big for the keyboard port my computer has. It's okay, though, because engie robot arm really deserves the clacky keypad more!

Taking the keyboard apart was a lot of general, I like getting a look at the guts of electronic stuff ever since I customized a rock band guitar a while back.

 Anyway! So my always skeptical but very handy roommate, Nagle, and I began working on the forearm piece. We want it to be hollow so it's lighter weight, and we leave room for the electronics that will make the button and the tiny red LED light up.
Then I cut the numpad out of the keyboard with a dremel, and cut a wood piece to be inset slightly; we'll screw the plastic numpad onto that wood piece, then add the keys once they're painted.
The next step is to glue and screw the wood pieces together. I'm going to spec out the wrist piece and then Nagle's going to take it over to his Pop's workshop and use a lathe. As far as the fingers go, I'm going to try and work those with plastic. I've never worked with plastic before, so I don't really know where to begin. I might email some of my favorite prop-makers ans ask their advice. More Robot Arm adventures to come!

Edit: Oh yeah, another's how much I've spent so far:
Rubber tubing(not shown): 2.50
Orange Wire: .90
Big Red Button: 5.00
Gauge: 3.00
LED's: 1.00
Clacky Keyboard: 5.00
Primer Spraypaint: 3.10
RED Spraypaint: 4.24
Gunmetal Spraypaint: 5.99
Wood Glue: 2.97
Screws: 3.77

Too lazy to total, but it's around $40 so far, and that's a lot to do with the fact that I'm just starting out and don't have a lot of this stuff lying around.


  1. As a work in progress, it sure looks promising.

    Did you ever actually e-mail the artist behind it? I would imagine that they'd help out in whatever way they could.

    Looking forward to it's completion!

  2. I don't know what specific 3D artist worked on it, but I could do some digging or just drop GN a line.
    I might. I still can't decide what they are, and my deadline for this moved up like 3 weeks <<