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10 March 2005 @ 08:41 pm
Zhang He Strike Claw progress picture  
As I said in the description, this still needs a bit of tweaking, but it's finished enough to photograph, and overall, it looks pretty good. It's a very close match to my original front and side views of the claw, which pleasantly surprised me (I didn't expect to get it that close with a simple plate-based pattern), and the curves are nearly dead-on symmetrical. You can see where I had to Frankenstein pieces on because my first go at the pattern piece wasn't quite right. Tape is my friend.

Craft foam claw mold
Current Mood: pleasedpleased
arafel on March 11th, 2005 02:54 am (UTC)
*lusts after your cutting mat*

I'm boggled by this whole apparatus - it's amazing. What's it made out of, and how did you ever get started on it?
The Heavy Metal Matador: southparkrydain on March 11th, 2005 03:28 am (UTC)
That cutting mat is w00t indeed...and I even got it on sale, too.

As far as the claw goes... *blushes* Awwww, you're too kind. ^_^ I'll try to explain it as well as I can.

The entire mold is made out of 1/4" craft foam (that flexible stuff sold in sheets at fabric and craft stores) and tape (both to hold it together and to bend in some of the pieces). As far as patterning goes, I had some good reference pictures showing a dead-on top and side view of the strike claws, so I used those and measurements of my arm and hand to draw my own life-size top and side view. (I made a small version on graph paper and then drew a grid on butcher paper and used that to help me transfer the pattern by hand. I also made much use of the measurement tool in Gimp to help me figure out the proportions of various parts of the piece.)

I started with the hand piece because it's the only one that has to actually fit a limb and all of the other pieces ultimately originate from it. The length of the piece was measured from the top view, but the width required some more work because of the curve. To make a very long story short, I used the top-down width and the height (from the side view) to draw an ellipse that touched the edges of a 2w x h rectangle and fit neatly over my wrist, and then I measured that to get the actual width of the bottom of the piece. If you're not an anal math dork like me, you could just squeeze some foam over your wrist and mark where the ends wound up. The distance from the end of the point to the beginning of the taper came from the top-down view again.

With all those points known, I cut the hand piece and taped it around my left wrist. I marked where one end of the tape fell, removed it, and retaped it so I had a fitted curved piece and both of my hands free. Then I proceeded using similar tactics: getting the length of the piece from the top-down view, measuring the curve of the piece it would be fitted over to find its bottom width, cutting it out, taping it in place. I put the piece over my top-down view as I went to make sure that its proportions were generally similar. To get them to curve to match the reference picture, the undersides of some of the pieces had to be squeezed by running tape across the bottom. (That's how I got the longest piece to curve inward. It really was that simple. ^_^) All of the pieces are basically pentagonal. I added the taped-on pointy bits afterward so that the bottom edge of the claw would gradually curve downward. The trim is 1/2" strips of craft foam. It's somewhat bulkier than the in-game trim, but that's OK with me because it will show up better and may even wind up a bit shorter anyway, as I'm laying the thickest layer of glass first (to avoid picking up slight surface imperfections).