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props panel [east]

caboosewasherecaboosewashere Registered User new member
edited April 2012 in PAX Archive
did anyone write down the site that has the slideshow from the props panel? accidentally deleted it from my phone.

caboosewashere on


  • gfishgfish Ottawa, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    I did but got it wrong.

    -- PokeTron: Ampharos
  • caboosewasherecaboosewashere Registered User new member
    i tried what i thought it was but it didnt work, so i dont even have notes from it after i deleted the note by accident

  • Trooper0621Trooper0621 Registered User regular
    Here are my very random scatter brained notes from the panel for people to reference. Hopefully it'll help until videos are up. I've edited the notes a little bit, but not terribly much so it's a bit random.

    If anyone is headed to RTX, I'm looking into running a panel on prop making there, so I'd love to know what sort of questions and expectations people have and what you'd all be interested in since it should be a similar audience composition

    From Pixels to Props

    Bill Doran - Seattle, WA

    Zander Brandt

    Harrison Krix

    Matt Munson

    Starting a Project
    Painting and Finishing

    Mold making - Needs its own seperate panel. In depth subject that would run 2 hours +

    *Safety first
    3 things to get - Respirator + Filters ($30 and $15); Gloves; Safety goggles
    Cheaper than new lungs!

    Starting a Project
    *Pick a project
    Beginner to Expert level (Link to Batman)
    Pick something in your experience level.
    Finish something small and get encouraged!
    (Or go crazy and make a full suit, but be dedicated)

    Easy projects:
    Mod/paint a cheap toy (Nerf)
    Buy a pre-made replica prop kit to assemble and paint

    What can you make with the tools you already have:

    Will you need to buy new tools?

    Budget time and cost; Set a limit

    Double your time budget

    Collect reference materials - Google image search
    Consider contacting the game creators for reference
    *Bioware, Robot Entertainment have both helped out before

    Sources for reference:
    In-engine model viewer
    3rd party model rippers
    Concept Art webpages

    Make 2d Vector blueprints
    -Inkscape = Free program
    Corel, Adobe Illustrator

    Use Kinkos for printing large scale black/white drawings
    Relatively cheap!
    Use as physical reference

    If you are experienced with 3d modelling software - CNC Machines are a possibility

    Cheap place to start
    aka rapid prototyping for people with less CNC and more origami skills

    Mix it up - use different materials

    Don't get stuck on one material
    Different materials are better for different applications, pick the one that works best


    Acrylic - Great for laser cutting, hard to drill.
    PVC Sheet "Sintra" - Don't have to seal. Dense, PVC foam
    Cut into panels, attach w/ fiberglass/epoxy
    Heat and bend
    PVC (Pipe) or electrical conduits
    Styrene - Can get at Garage sale signs in a pinch, otherwise order online; score with razors and snap

    Vacuumforming - Requires table construction, whole different panl

    Model railways/hobby stores sell little plastic things you can use for detailing to save time (ex: details on Volpin's armor

    MDF - Carve with scroll saw and dremel; Tough to seal and get nice finish; Cheap and easy to work with; Toxic - use respirator - formaldehyde gas =/= fun

    Hardwoods- have to fight grain

    EVA "Craft Foam" - heat formed - razor, dremel, sandpaper, heat gun - Cheap

    Polystyrene foam - coat in bondo to seal - Polyester resin will dissolve? (These notes might be wrong...I thought Bondo was pretty much polyester resin) Use urethane resin to seal

    Expanding foam - Not great to work with, just used to block out big void areas

    Florist's foam - Brittle, easy to dent - Bondo doesn't dissolve it - cheap filler

    Apoxie Sculpt - refined bondo

    -Pick up in your local auto parts store

    Polyester Resin (aka fiberglass resin) - Needs fiberglas cloth or mat underneath it for strength.
    -also all at your local auto parts store
    -Fiberglass cloth gets everywhere!
    -Layer cloth in alternating directions for greatest strength
    -Can also chop up and sprinkle cloth bits in
    -Can also use Resin/Bondo mixture (aka 'Rondo') for slush casting, etc.

    Found items - tiny human skulls, googly eyes / furniture tacks (rivets), make your own christmas ornaments (Balls!)
    "Please help me find a tiny human skull for my grenade launcher"

    Time Vs Precision - Cost/benefit
    "Fast, cheap, or good. Pick two."

    Hand tools to laser electronic fancy doohickeys; same purpose, different precision and speed

    Dremel Tool - Most necessary tool
    Can use third party

    Blades - Exacto and box knife

    Coping Saw -> Scroll Saw - > table -> band

    Drill and assorted Bits - drill is expensive

    Files - cheap and durable

    Rulers and T-Square with straight edge - Buy a quality T-square, cheap ones may be warped
    -Dialed Caliber to measure inside/outside (analog good enough for hand work)

    Design software (aka illustrator, etc. See above notes)

    Putty and Fillers - Evercoat, Bondo (EVERYWHERE)

    Gloves, sticks, and bands - 2000 count popsicle sticks, rubber bands, latex gloves. Also great for building popsicle cabins.

    Adhesives - Epoxy, ?Barge?,
    Knowledge of how adhesives work together ; "Bondo squish" - using a softer, not super adhesive thing to form a tight little seal and sand down to shape

    Sandpaper - Will get worn down and you'll have to replace it. Seriously.

    Build new tools with existing ones


    Outsourcing - Double check scale/sizes before ordering

    Laser cut parts - Ponoko (used by Volpin); Shapeways; Pololu
    Do design work in illustrator

    3d Printing - Very expensive

    Example - Mike Iverson

    Full helmet = ~$450
    Needs precise 3d modelling
    **Not meant for wear - use for prototyping and mold

    PCB Printing - Build circuit boards

    Other resources - not covered in class:
    Vinyl Decals
    CNC milling/Lathe work
    Water-jet cut metal
    Pre-build electronics


    Painting and Finishing

    General Practice
    Prime it first
    Base coats - Lighter colors go on first, then darker, then metallics (tape will take off sparkle)

    Weathering coat should not be the same as your base coats (e.g. enamal and acrylic)

    Less is more - a little bit of dirt and silver lines can go fine. Going overboard may look odd.

    Acrylic, Enamal, Lacquer, Acrylic-Enamal
    Certain paints will lift up other paints. - Test everything first for reactions


    Aluminum powder - Flammable, used in molds
    Gloss black paint, sprinkle aluminum, polish
    Dust iron filing powder
    Vinegar, lemon, hydrogen peroxide and spray on metal. Spray on small children you don't like.

    Have respiration in your house

    Build a nice rack for painting without having to flip items around.

    Texturing - Hammered metal texture paints; patio furniture texture; all ready pre-made in spray cans

    Drybrushing - rough bristle brush w/ silver paint to accent edges

    Antiquing - Paint a part glossy, go over with a darker color, and use sandpaper - looks like bronze

    gold, airbrushed brown, then sanded down to bring out gold

    Decals - Printed, vinyl mask (aka stencil mask), vinyl, water slide

    Paper towels = Cover with loose coat w/ acrylic paint and wipe off with wet paper towel
    Alternative: Spray super close with primer then wipe with rag before it dries, achieves same effect. - One good wipe in one direction
    Check out gametavern's youtube channel for an example

    Mustard Method - paint over the mustard
    Or other food choice
    Relish not recommended, no matter what panelists think

    Shawn Thorsson - protagonist4hire.blogspot.lcom
    Yay, shawn!

    Ryan Palser
    Driveway and Rocks - Dremel, etc. - Intentional damage looks better, make it perfect then damage it vs trying to pass imperfections as intentional
    (Though you can do the latter in pinch, just need to be careful though. See weathering advice)

    Pick a good clear cote - Lacquer, Acrylic lacquer, Enamal,

    PDF of class


    Tips for making realistic body parts/prostehetics - Make a body cast/mold - Sculpt w/ chavant NSP - Mold - Cast in silicone/Urethane or get prefab


    Circuit board design - Check forums, 2 weeks of reading before designing
    Prepackaged kits

    1 BR apartment in NY city - what to use as space - Get a dropcloth and a box fan for your window - Safety is the main limitations - use non-toxic materials
    KANUY cosplay - works out of 1 room apartment

    Working w/ metals - Is it viable?
    Is it possible to heat a silver base, paint, and sand

    Use high grit one sand paper - something that will only wear down a light layer
    Super fine steel wool

    Learning to weld/grind metal bits - Aluminum - Needs function - Look can be faked very well with plastic - Unless it has to look AND function like metal, just fake it with paint

    Helmet - What kind of materials do you use a visor - vacuum forming or cutting motorcycle helmets
    Vac form machine - $100 homemade one (toaster oven, drawer railes, MDF, etc.) Don't burn down your house
    Check out

    Tinting- use chroming material (check Sean's blog)
    One wayed mirror acrylic or PET plastic - tutorials on vacuum forming machine

    *Sean Shaw used a reflective chrome spray paint to give it a one way mirrored effect
    * also had a tutorial using airbrush kit and metalic paint....need to look it up again sometim

    mustard can stain the paint underneath it - 99% isopropyl alcohol will lift stains off paint, will eventually lift paint in larger amounts - use conditioner, toothpaste, etc.

    Marketing information - What is important to know about being competitive in the market - Answer: use what you are most comfortable and can finish in a timely fashion ; Don't start with a new unknown material ; Use what you are experienced with - Deadlines are important; Get good with what you're good at.

    Panel idea:
    Throw a project out and explain how you would approach it

    Example: Catherine Jones Gods/Queens fashions

    Excel spreadsheets for estimates - Figure out time/cost for pricing

    Answer - Resources in the Boston area for prop makers, Reynolds Adfvanced Materials, etc.

    Panel idea:
    List local resources

    Question: What are the turtle spikey looking bits? - Mold making - Keys for molding
    -Plastipaste, fiberglass, etc. Mother mold

    Moldmaking question - smooth-on, what type should I use? Choosing the correct plastic - what are recommended products?

    TAP Plastics?

    Google Matt Munson's youtube channel for - Arkham city grapple gun buil - 1/part and 2/part molds. -

    Dragon Skin, Smoothcast


    Reynolds advanced Materials - Smooth on distributor, ask them what to use, ask tech support. Learn to mold an Oreo cookie!!!!

    Hope that helped!

  • caboosewasherecaboosewashere Registered User new member
    hey thanks you really are helpful, met you before the panel about the fan film you are helping with

  • Trooper0621Trooper0621 Registered User regular
    Glad to be of service, and it was great chatting with folks at the panel. Were you the person with the Rooster Teeth hat and shirt?

  • caboosewasherecaboosewashere Registered User new member
    Ye I had the caboose hoodie and the rooster teeth hat

  • TheRussianFunkTheRussianFunk Registered User regular
    Hey, I jotted the URL down for it, it was
    Here's where it leads (warning: PDF)

  • rascalrascal Registered User regular
    Here are my very random scatter brained notes from the panel for people to reference......
    Hope that helped!
    @Trooper0621 : THANK YOU for the notes! I had to leave 15 minutes early, so this was a big help :)

  • Trooper0621Trooper0621 Registered User regular
    You're welcome.

    I skimped a little bit on the notes for the keys for a mold. (The turtle things asked about during the panel)

    When you mold an object, you cover it in a coat of silicone rubber. This rubber is very pliable and won't hold a shape, but it is excellent for picking up details. To get it to hold a shape, you put 'registration keys' in the mold - protrusions that can be locked onto an outer 'mother mold' that's made of a sturdier material such as fiberglass or plastipaste.

    You can find detailed tutorials on how to create molds on Smooth-on's website and in various places on the interwebs.

    @caboosewashere Figured it was, with the username. =) Hope to run into you again in the future!

  • caboosewasherecaboosewashere Registered User new member
    yeah, i plan on going to RTX next year so if you are going to do a panel then as well I will definitely go to it

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