Saturday, October 31, 2009


This kind of goes with that last post, sort of. Here's a video of Questor making demands on the Earth. I used a free program called Audacity to create the sounds.

For the heck of it, here's a black and white version with old film scratches.

I know it would have been a more effective video if Questor wasn't just lounging on the couch in my living room, but I'm too lazy to walk over to the door and go outside. The door is AALLLLLL the way over there, and I'm over here.

If you watch this video and say "Hey, that doesn't make any sense!" don't think you're missing something. It really doesn't make any sense. I just wanted to test out the robot voice and see if it sounded roboty and looked right with a video of Questor moving his lips. The background noise is supposed to make it sound like he's on a different planet. I should go out to some rocky area with no trees, like a strip mine.


It's alive! It's alive! It's alive! mwa-ha-HA! The dowel in his head slid into the body but the hole was a bit loose. I squeezed out some of that Gorilla Glue onto some paper and rolled the neck dowel in it until there was a thin film around the circumference of the dowel, and let it puff up and dry. It formed a pseudo O-ring and gave the neck a friction fit. DONE!

For no reason, here are some random photos of the big and little Questor brothers.

Here is mini-Questor crawling out of his UFO.

And Happy Halloween! In spite of what they say about Christmas, I say Halloween is the most wonderful time of the year. You don't have to drive around in the miserable cold and icy snow going from store to store looking for gifts and worrying if they will like what you got them, or if you forgot someone, and never getting there because someone slid in the ice and crashed into your car and now you're standing out in the sleet waiting for the cops to come, and blah blah blah and so on and so forth!!!

You just sit around and eat candy and watch monster movies. That's the best night ever.

Friday, October 30, 2009


These are the final steps in the Mini-Questor project.

I painted his back details to match the colors of the original larger version.

I painted his front details. It's not very clear in this picture, but also I glued wires in the holes on his chest.

While that stuff dried I got some wire and bent it to match his antenna.

On the top of the antenna, I made a little ball and painted it yellow. The ball is made by rolling up some 2-part epoxy putty like the kind Billy Mays was always hawking on tv. Then I pushed it onto the wire before it cured. You have about 5 minutes and then it becomes as hard as a rock.

He's soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo close to being finished now.

I used Gorilla Glue to glue the bubblegum machine container to his neck ring. Be careful with this stuff. The container says it expands 3 - 4 times its original size and they ain't kiddin! A tiny drop the size of a sesame seed expands to the size of junebug! If I didn't know better I'd swear it was the same thing as that spray foam insulation stuff. I just held it together by hand until the glue dried. It took about 10 minutes. When you are holding something tightly 10 minutes seems more like 30.

After that dried, I drilled a little hole in his helmet and into his brain for the antenna to attach. I didn't have a small drill bit the size of the skinny wire, so I put another straight piece of that same wire into the drill and used it to drill the hole. Then I used that Gorilla Glue again to mount the antenna onto the brain and the bubble.

Tomorrow after he's good and dry I'll put his head on his body and be done with him. YAY!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Two things happened today.

1. He got a white undercoat:

2. He got painted silver from head to toe.

I don't usually mess with an undercoat, but silver paint is a weird thing. It's very watery. It's almost like water with little metallic flakes mixed in. Without an undercoat, the silver paint seems to absorb into wood as many times as I care to brush it on. The white provides a barrier. Even with the white undercoat, it took 3 coats of silver before it looked evenly coated.

Tomorrow I'll do the detailing.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Painting-muscle engage!

His brain is a big ball of electronics. To simulate that I used gesso, which is a really thick acrylic, to make dots or bumps all over his head. I made an extra large bump for his nose. After that dried I painted it black.

After the black undercoat dried, I put random dots of random colors of paint all over his head. His nose was the innards of an earphone speaker. That, the eyes and mouth were the only things I actually had to do a good job on. The rest was just sloppy dots.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Robot construction continues.

His arms were glued into his body. Also I drilled some holes in his chest for wires to be attached.

His hips were glued into his body.

His head is temporarily resting in place to check the fit. I can't glue his helmet bubble to the neck ring until I paint his head. After his head is painted I'll give him an antenna.

After seeing him put together I noticed his arms were too long. I considered just leaving it but every time I looked at it, I couldn't NOT notice it. They were supposed to stop at the bottoms of his knees but they went down in a gorilla fashion almost to his feet. In this pic you can't tell so much because his elbows are bent. When they are straight he nearly drags his knuckles.

I cut his forearms in half and removed a chunk so they were the right size. Then I drilled a toothpick-sized hole in each of the 2 halves and glued them back together with a shortened toothpick.

Ahh... That's better.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Howdy! This is part-6 of a Who-Knows-How-Many-Parts series where I am making a miniature robot to match a larger version called Questor. This robot will have joints in his arms and legs so I can animate him in a film. Either animate him or control him like a marionette. Also his head will need to turn.

This picture shows the jetpack for his back. It's not easy to carve a piece this small without fileting my fingers. When it happens it's usually due to my laziness. If I wanted to go to all the trouble I could glue newspaper to a board and let that dry, then put a dot of glue on this jetpack and glue it to the newspaper and then let that dry, and then carve it on the board, and then pop the carving off the newspaper board and sand off the glue, but who wants to do all that?! It's quicker to just hold on to it and try to aim away from your hand when you carve into it. Usually it works okay. It only takes a few accidents to learn not to aim a sharp blade at yourself.

One time I was reaching for a chisel and I didn't see another chisel in the way, and cut my ring finger on the side, a little above where a ring would go. It cut a nerve and half of my finger stayed numb for 10 or more years. I didn't notice the feeling coming back into it month by month, but year by year I could tell it was getting better. Now it's fine.

Here's a front view of mini-Questor's chest. Besides the boat, everything is made from drilling holes and gluing in dowels. Even though the real version has gears on his chest I think it's small enough no one will notice if I don't put teeth on these dowels.

Back view. It's not exactly the same, but with paint I think it'll be okay.

Speaking of paint, he's almost ready it. I need to glue his hips and arms into his body and that's about it. Oh, he will also need an antenna. And then THAT'S about it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


It's a lazy Sunday afternoon; therefore I shall be lazy. All I have is this gizmo for his chest. On the big version I used a toy boat. Since I can't buy a toy boat this scale I had to make it out of wood.
I also glued the caps onto his hips so his legs stay on. No glue touched the leg, just the cap, so they can rotate freely.

I sanded a flat spot on his chest (see above pic) so this flat-backed boat would glue down firmly. In this picture you can also see I trimmed the excess from the hip pins so they are flush with the caps.
Yikes! Look at my scuffed up living room furniture! At this point it seems silly to try to protect it with a mat or newspaper. The reason I've been working on it in the living room is so I can watch old monster movies on tv while I tinker.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


My robot child is in about the 4th trimester of his conceivement. Normally trimesters don't last this long but he's problem child.

I drew a hand on a chunk of wood and cut it out on the bandsaw. The hands were thin enough I only had to cut 1 hand and then slice it on edge to make 2 hands. Also I epoxied the arms into the shoulder pieces. This photo shows the hands before I smoothed them up with chisels and sand paper.

There's a hole in each side of the body. That's where the shoulders will be glued in place. The free-spinning larger ring (see last post) will be the only part that gets glued into the body. The hole is deep enough so the cap on the end won't touch anything and the arm will rotate.

I went ahead and glued his shoulder plates onto his body so I could see if I needed to do any adjusting on the arms before there were glued in.

Now his feet are glued on and I glued pins in his knees, so his legs are complete.

This is a hip/leg dry fit. You can see the pins in the hips are extra long. After I glue the caps on I will trim off the excess. It's better to have too much than not enough. It's finally starting to look like something now.

Tomorrow I'll work on his robotic chest gizmos.

Friday, October 23, 2009


This is part 3 of my mini robot-building surgery. I'm making a miniature version of THIS larger robot I built earlier.

The head is a wooden bead. The large version has lots of electronics all over it, but I don't want to attempt all of that at this scale. I'll let the paint simulate that stuff. I mostly just need a round shape with protruding eyes and mouth. The eyes are smaller beads. I drilled shallow holes so the eye beads would sit 1/2-way deep and glued them in place. I had to make a mouth because I couldn't think of anything else to use. It's nice when there's some found piece of plastic you can take off another object, and I do that when I can, but this particular project isn't lending itself very well to things like that.

Here's a layout of the pieces I have so far. The large original robot has upside-down banana split dishes for feet. I carved fluting around the edges of these wooden feet to match the larger version.

To make elbows I did these 3 things in this order:
1. I wrapped some wire around a nail to make a toothpick-sized loop.
2. I drilled a toothpick-sized hole through the edge of a dowel, toward the end.
3. I cut a slot perpendicular to the hole using a bandsaw (very carefully.)

These are the shoulder joints. These were the most worrisome pieces so far. I drilled holes in the ends of 2 dowels, and cut them at 45 degrees on the opposite ends. The 45 degree mitered ends were glued together to make this bend.

There are 2 different sizes of wooden rings here. I am sliding the larger ring on first and it will spin freely without glue. The 2nd smaller ring will be slid on and glued so it captures the larger free-spinning ring and keeps it from falling off.

Now I cut off the excess pin. Notice the hacked up desk I'm working on? Oops. It WAS new. My wife's not too happy about that since it's a piece of furniture in out living room.

What I have now are the finished shoulder joints. the larger ring will allow the arm to rotate forward and backward.

Tomorrow I'll get to the arms and hands. Be here! Same robot time, same robot channel.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Day 2 of the mini-Questor project:

These are the legs. I made them with an X-Acto knife, a drill, and various diameter dowels. If you are careful and don't get in a hurry you can slice out a sliver at a time without breaking anything.

This is the hip piece. It will be glued into the body, and the legs will attach to it. I made it by VEEERRRRRRY carefully drilling into the center of the horizontal dowel and gluing a vertical dowel in it. Also I drilled into the ends and put smaller dowels in those holes.

The black plastic piece is from a car air freshener I bought at the dollar store. It was shaped like a roulette wheel. I only needed the middle part. It will be used as the Saturn ring around mini-Questor's neck. The dowel piece is his neck. I had to drill a hole in the the end and glue in a smaller dowel to match the hole diameter in the plastic piece.

The neck dowel slides into the plastic ring like this:

I notched out a groove in the plastic ring so it and the bubblegum machine container will fit together.

Those small donut-like pieces are caps to hold the legs onto the hips. They are pieces of dowels with holes in their centers.

More tomorrow
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