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Doing a project? Journal it here!
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Xaqtly
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2012-03-05, 02:56

The thread for creative projects you're doing, so you can keep us up to date and journal it and/or post photos.

This weekend I fixed a nasty eyesore of a problem - the chrome front grilles on my car. I'm not much for chrome. I don't like it on wheels, or on cars in general. Cadillac is, I think, still trying to appease older drivers while beginning to make new and exciting cars for younger drivers, so they figure they'll just slap some chrome on there and it'll be all good. Well I wasn't having it.

I am not a fan of making cars look stupid, and I really enjoy subtlety rather than obnoxious loud colors, stripes, 22" chrome rims etc., but something had to change.

So when I started, my car looked like this. This is how it comes from the factory, with chromed grilles up front.









I thought that chrome was doing a disservice to the looks of the rest of the car, with its black (stock) wheels, and dark tint. I didn't want to make it look stupid, or overstated, but I really dislike the chrome. So the answer was to make the grilles match the other parts of the car, with black contrasting the diamond white, just like the stock fog light enclosures and the wheels do. If done correctly, it would look good but still be subtle and not look like an aftermarket modification.

I decided on using Plasti Dip, as it was going to be easier to apply it without having to take the grilles out of the car. Since it acts like rubber cement before it cures, it would be easy to simply rub off any accidental overspray if necessary without having to worry about actually spraying black paint onto the body.

So we filled the space behind the grilles with newspaper to avoid spraying the heat exchanger and the radiator, used 3" painters tape to mask off the surrounding body, and got to work.
















After doing the grilles, I decided that the side vents, which were similarly chromed, needed the same treatment. So we masked them off and did the same thing.













Suffice it to say I am extremely pleased with how it came out. It's exactly what the car needed, in my opinion. It still looks factory stock... just better.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2012-03-05, 07:28

Nice, I like the black over the chrome in this case too. Well done, and I'm not one for modifying stock in most cases.
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drewprops
Magnificent Basturd™
sagacious-d
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2012-03-05, 08:52

I like how he got the black paint all over his fingernails!

#gothrockpaintjobz





...
  quote
Xaqtly
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2012-03-05, 11:49

Haha, those are my gf's hands, and the nails are black on purpose... not for goth reasons, but more for star warsian dark side reasons.
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Xaqtly
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2012-03-19, 13:17

I drove down to LA this weekend in hurricane force winds and then rain... the winds before it started raining were throwing tumbleweeds all over the road, and my car took a tumbleweed to the face. The plastidip was a casualty, as a large section of it peeled up where it was hit.

But it's still all pretty much good news; the plastidip protected the underlying chrome, and then it's pretty easy to just pull up a section, re-mask and re-apply. So I'll be doing that this upcoming weekend, hopefully.
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Mac+
9" monochrome
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: I'm here
 
2012-03-19, 14:09

I meant to post when I first read this Xaqtly - I admire what you did. I'm not much of a handyman/tinkerer, so take it for what it's worth, but I think you and your gf did a great job with this.
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murbot
Big Idiot
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Canada
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2012-03-23, 12:36

Wow, that looks really good. Much, much better than the chrome. Were you a little scared before pulling the trigger on that stuff the first time? I think I would be.

Awesome job.
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Xaqtly
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2012-03-23, 13:23

Sort of, but I had watched some videos and done some research. We were pretty careful with the masking, and ultimately the stuff does come up pretty easily if you want it to, before it cures all the way.

I would not have done it like this if I had been using actual paint. But since this stuff just kind of rolls up and pulls off if you want it to, I wasn't too worried. That's me, as long as it's not dangerous in any way, I'm all for it!
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Xaqtly
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2012-03-25, 18:35

So to repair the plastidip that was torn up by the tumbleweed, I just removed the damaged bits from the lower chrome lip surrounding the upper grille, which was easy. It just pulls up, it's sort of elasticky. Then I masked out around that lower lip section with painters tape, and covered the rest of the area with newspaper.



Then it was just a matter of respraying 4 coats, letting it dry a bit, then removing all the tape and newspaper, plus the overspray strip. I also redid the side vent because it had torn in a couple spots.



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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2012-03-25, 19:28

Man, that looks really nice, much better than the factory look. Very professional work.
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Cascadia
 
2012-03-26, 00:16

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xaqtly View Post
So to repair the plastidip that was torn up by the tumbleweed, I just removed the damaged bits from the lower chrome lip surrounding the upper grille, which was easy. It just pulls up, it's sort of elasticky. Then I masked out around that lower lip section with painters tape, and covered the rest of the area with newspaper.

Wait a minute. Is that...

...is that...

Spoiler (click to toggle):
3 for $1 avacados? ZOMFGimissvegas.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
Man, that looks really nice, much better than the factory look. Very professional work.
Idunno, I kind of liked the chrome. But we've long established that I have no taste nothing can be loud/bright/garish enough for Robo. *punkrockhorns*

In any case, it was very nicely done, and it does probably suit a respectable Cadillac wagon better than the factory look. Even if that wagon has roughly three million horsepower.

Well done, Xaqtly!

i won't let you hurt my planet / and i won't let you hurt my friends
  quote
Xaqtly
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2012-03-26, 01:39

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
Man, that looks really nice, much better than the factory look. Very professional work.
Thanks! I like how it looks too. Normally I'm not that bent on changing a car's appearance - in fact I've never done anything like this on any of my previous cars - but the chrome grilles just had to go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
Idunno, I kind of liked the chrome. But we've long established that I have no taste nothing can be loud/bright/garish enough for Robo. *punkrockhorns*

In any case, it was very nicely done, and it does probably suit a respectable Cadillac wagon better than the factory look. Even if that wagon has roughly three million horsepower.

Well done, Xaqtly!
Thanks. It's just a personal taste thing, there are plenty of other CTS-V owners on the Cadillac forums who like the chrome just fine. It's just not my style I guess. I have no plans to change anything else on the car, visually anyway. I think Cadillac did a good job on the design overall, it's pretty striking.
  quote
Xaqtly
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2012-03-31, 15:02

I bought a Nest thermostat! In case people don't know who Nest is, it was created by iPod and iPhone designer/creator Tony Fadell after he left Apple. So what? Well Fadell did exactly what Apple does - he identified a market that desperately needed an overhaul, and created a solution. Exactly like both the iPod and the iPhone. Nest is basically what a thermostat would be if Apple designed one. It's beautiful, it's simple, it's massively functional, and it changes how you think about thermostats.

Why are thermostats so laborious to use? You can program one to have set temp changes across a week, but it involves going through a badly designed interface to set static times for each day of the week. You know what would be great? If you could just change your thermostat to the temp you want it, whenever you want it, and it would simply remember it and program itself. If your thermostat knew what day of the week it is, whether it's the weekend or not, knew if you were in the house or not, what the outside weather is like etc., and just took care of it for you. If you could check up on it via an iPhone app or through a web site, and make changes remotely.

Enter Nest. As stupid as it is to get excited about a thermostat, it's no less stupid than getting excited about the original iPod after getting your hands on one and realizing what a game changing device it was. Like Jobs and Ive, Fadell understands that simplicity is at the heart of a successful user interface, and Nest delivers in spades. It's simple to install, it's simple to set up, it's simple to use. At the same time, the interface is beautiful - absolutely Apple-like in its genius. They really thought about every aspect of this thing and it shows.

It even comes with a little screwdriver unit with 4 magnetic tips, perfect both for removing your existing thermostat and installing the Nest. It's so cool I'm going to keep it in my toolbox and keep using it. It's the sort of thing Nest could make money from if they sold it by itself. It's that "way above and beyond" attention to detail that has always been a part of Apple culture. Here are some pics of the install, which only took me maybe 30 mins.







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Maciej
M AH - ch ain saw
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2012-03-31, 18:33

Sweeet!
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Xaqtly
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2012-03-31, 20:21

Just realized the Nest also has a motion/proximity sensor, so when you walk by it, the screen fades on and shows you what it's set to as well as what the current temperature is.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2012-03-31, 21:40

That is very cool. I'm considering it for my home....but not sure I'm ready to spring for that since my wife and kids do stay home.

Speaking of kids..... Enter my project!



And the finished project:


Yeah, we know the grass needs cutting, but it's been raining so much here you can't tell it was cut last weekend!

Anyway, it was a fun project for the most part. My mom was over helping me out with it and the kids don't even know it's up yet. We hope they don't see it until later since it's for a surprise for them next week. Now was the best time to get it up though.

I did, however, put the top bar on upside down the first time. That was not fun. Had to undo everything just to roll the bar over. Not a top quality project to say the lest. But it was what I spent most of my time rowing today and it was fun. Can't wait to see the faces on my kids when they see it.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2012-05-11, 19:43

Here is one of my recent creative projects. No real-time journaling for this one, but I will (partly) for the next one...

This here is a shield for a Dark Link costume I made for work recently. I ended up having to go without a proper back scabbard and boots due to a time crunch (thanks to having to work in the office over the weekend when I was going to do the costume), but otherwise it turned out well. I'll have to put on the chainmail, black gloves, black hat, and black tunic for a fully suited pic later.



Obligatory bathroom mirror self shot:



It's probably not clear in the pics, but this shield is actually nicely curved unlike the flat one I made for Halloween some five years ago.

Post-completion journaling progress!
  1. Sketched out the patterns onto newspaper.
  2. Cut the newspaper patterns and transfered to poster board.
  3. Ever-so-carefully curved a full sheet of black foam core board. This takes extreme care and patience. Basically, you soak one side of the board with hot water and slowly apply pressure, making the wet side concave. In this case, I used a dish towel by the sink to keep wetting the one side with hot water, and I gently pressed it into the side of the bathtub bit by bit. You have to take this very slowly, though, or the board will snap and you'll get a big ugly wrinkle/crease. Once allowed to air dry, the board holds the curved shape.
  4. Cut the main shape from the curved foam core board.
  5. Used a fat paintbrush to coat the convex side with Mod Podge. This both acts as a sealer/strengthener and gives the surface a wood-grain appearance.
  6. Cut the various detail patterns from black craft foam.
  7. Brushed (finely) a couple coats of gesso on the craft foam parts. This both acts as a sealer and gives a smoother appearance. Craft foam is naturally spongy and refuses to take paint well, but the gesso fills the pores and creates a much less porous surface for the paint to stick to.
  8. Spray painted the gessoed craft foam with chrome spray paint.
  9. Spray painted the chromed craft foam with a light coat of matte acrylic sealer.
  10. Elmer's glued the various craft foam parts onto the main board.
  11. Cut a few lengths of 3/4" PVC for the handle behind the shield (not visible).
  12. Hot glued the PVC to the foam core board.
  13. Duct-taped (yes, at this point I was rushing and rapidly cutting corners ) an extra strip of pleather for the arm strap behind the shield.
  14. Done!

The second project I've been working on I'll post shortly in situ.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
  quote
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2012-05-11, 20:32

Second recent project!

I actually started this one before the Dark Link outfit, but this one didn't have as pressing of a deadline and had to be put on hold for a while.

This other current project is a full-size recreation of the Goddess's Harp. I've never made a prop quite like this before and it posed all sorts of new challenges to me. Things I've made before we're typically boxy or could be deconstructed to a series of boxy shapes (like the Ghostbusters proton pack). This thing is all curves, though!



I started by finding lots of in-game screenshots. I fired up Inkscape and made a pretty good facsimile of the general shape.



I took my template and cut out the main shape from foam core board. I cut a 1/2" wooden dowel for the top neck of the harp. I paused for a day or two trying to think of a way to add depth to the body, and I finally decided to build up from the base board starting with a perpendicular strip of poster board.



I also pondered for a while how to make the strings. I found this great gold cord from the craft store that I decided I would tie to the neck with a cat's paw hitch and sink into holes in the lower base.



Marking the base holes and adding some fins to the structure to give a basic shape:



Cutting the holes and preparing sides to cover the gaps:



The final skeleton:



Again, I paused for a while to consider how the skin would work. I considered poster board, but I figured I'd never be able to calculate the right curved 3D shape from a flat sheet. I considered craft foam, but I faced the same problem even though it would be more flexible and forgiving. Finally I realized papier-mâché would work. I hadn't papier-mâchéd anything since 6th grade some 18 years ago oh god how that makes me feel old.

So, the first layer of papier-mâché went on!



I've since plastered on several more layers to each side, and this evening I decided it was time to move to the next step: smoothing it out. I reached for the gesso and started brushing it on thick.



Once this has dried thoroughly, I'm planning to sand down some of those big bumps and imperfections. I'll slather on another layer of gesso, and repeat until reasonably smooth!

More to come later.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
  quote
Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Cascadia
 
2012-05-11, 22:30

Bad. Ass.
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Artap99
Totally awesome.
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Charlotte, NC
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2012-05-12, 11:42

I was curious about the rigidity of papier-mâché as a medium and then realized that I have a box fashioned from it that would probably hold up if sat on.
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Xaqtly
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2012-05-12, 17:44

Holy awesome!
  quote
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2012-05-22, 22:53

Updates to the Goddess's Harp!

I've been pouring hours into this thing over the past couple of weeks. Gesso, dry, sand. Gesso, dry, sand. I lost count along the way, but it has at least 10 thin coats across the whole body. I was finally satisfied enough that 90% of the lumps were gone, realizing that getting that last 10% to perfection would take an ever-increasing length of time of careful brushing and sanding over and over. Time to move on.

The final round of sanding used 180 grit sandpaper. A fine powder coats everything in my home office. The stuff just floats and doesn't like to sink. Cleanup is going to take a while.



The final product is going to be gold, but I've done enough projects like this to know that I should have a dark primer before laying on any metallic paints. I gently sprayed on a layer of black paint, taking distant wide sprays to avoid the trademark "splats" that spray-painting tends to produce.



I was a little disappointed that the dried black spray paint actually felt rougher than the well-sanded gesso. So, I tried something I'd never done before: sanding after spray painting. This turned out to be a genius move, as this round of sanding delivered an even smoother surface! This time I went for the finest sandpaper I could find at the local hardware store: 600 grit. The surface actually feels like glossy plastic afterwards. I tried to capture some of its smooth sheen in this pic under a desk lamp.



Next was time to re-drill the sink holes for the cords. The holes had shrunk a bit as I layered on the gesso. Pretty straightforward, albeit stressful, to hold the drill steady at just the right angles.



More pics to come later! I've just now given the harp its first coat of metallic gold spray paint. After it dries, I have only a few more steps to go…

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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RowdyScot
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Join Date: Apr 2005
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2012-05-23, 00:25

Holy fuck, Brad! This is simply astonishing!
  quote
Xaqtly
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2012-05-24, 14:53

Man, what an awesome project. I can't wait to see the finished product.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2012-05-24, 16:02

No kidding, that is going to be one well done project Brad. Thanks for sharing!
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Yontsey
*AD SPACE FOR SALE*
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Cleveland-ish, OH
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2012-05-24, 16:38

Xaqtly, how are you liking that Nest thermostat?
  quote
AWR
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: State of Flux
 
2012-05-25, 10:26

Quote:
Originally Posted by RowdyScot View Post
Holy fuck, Brad! This is simply astonishing!


You took the words out of my mouth!

Nice work.
  quote
Xaqtly
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2012-05-25, 13:06

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yontsey View Post
Xaqtly, how are you liking that Nest thermostat?
I really like it a lot. I don't interact with it much these days, but that's because I don't need to. It totally learned my schedules and now it starts cooling the house down when I get home, when I go to bed, it puts itself in away mode when I leave the house, it's awesome. Because my dog is in the house when I'm gone I set it to not let the house go over 75 degrees in away mode, and that's been working great.

I can get pretty detailed reports of the energy usage per day via the iPhone app, the web site or right on the Nest. For example, yesterday it ran the AC for a total of 4 3/4 hours, and I have a detailed breakdown of exactly when it was running and for how long. It looks like it ran a few times during the day, like at 10 AM it ran for about 10 minutes. I just got that info from the iPhone app. It's also smarter than my old thermostat in a number of other ways, like it can control the fan independently of the AC condenser, so while it's cooling the house down it runs both but then it will turn the condenser off but keep the fans running to maintain the cooler temp for a while without needing to run the AC. Smart.

And it uses local weather conditions via my wifi network to determine how and when it needs to turn things on and off, in addition to the built in sensors. One thing that surprised me is how much better a job it does at getting the house to a comfortable temperature than my old one did. It's not just cool from a nerd perspective, it is seriously better at keeping the house where you want it. Whatever sensors and software it's using to determine how to cool and when are obviously a lot better than most default thermostat units. With this one you get the sense that when you set it to 70, the house is *exactly* 70.

It's obviously kind of expensive for a thermostat but I can't recommend it enough. It does so much, and does it so much better than normal thermostats.
  quote
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2012-05-25, 21:29

Thanks for all the compliments, guys. This prop is turning out almost as well as I'd hoped (I have stupidly high expectations of myself). This Goddess's Harp is actually part of an ensemble for my wife who is going to be dressed as Skyward Sword-version Zelda tomorrow for Animazement. I have a costume I'm also working on for myself (hint: it's not Link) that I'll be wearing tomorrow too. I haven't taken step-by-step pics of it, but I'll be sure to post something here when it's done too.

(She went as Yotsuba last night and Misty (from Pokémon) today, and Sunday she'll be the lesser-known Papa Sato (from Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki).)

Okay, gotta get crackin'! I only have a couple hours left!

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
  quote
Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Cascadia
 
2012-05-25, 23:47

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
I have a costume I'm also working on for myself (hint: it's not Link) that I'll be wearing tomorrow too.
GROOOOOOOOOOOOOOSE!!!!

Post pics )

I like the harp and the shield and the harp thou

Oh

Go back

Gah stupid screen oh we'll

NOT DEUNK.

ok drunk haha

Buy I. Really do like it!,, really!m

And Xaqtly I like the nerd wgn and turtle I like the playground but mainly the nerd wagon

Because

WAGONN,,,,,,,!

Happy mememorial day weekend everybo dy!mM! I am going to go grill things

FOR FREEDDOM,,!!

i won't let you hurt my planet / and i won't let you hurt my friends
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