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Unread 03-20-2017, 08:03 PM   #1
fabrickind
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Plastic prop with complex shape?

I decided that I want a prop of some type to go with my cosplay of Harle from Chrono Cross, and that it would be /really/ cool to make the Frozen Flame.

As you can see, it's a pretty complex shape. There aren't a lot of references of it, but I imagine that it would look really cool as transparent plastic, dyed so that it gets the effect of the orange and yellow. I'd possibly consider sticking an LED in there so it can glow.

How would I go about this with the tools and materials that I have access to? I can buy pretty much whatever clear plastic I would need (PET-G? Polycarbonate? Acrylic probably won't work for this with my setup), but I pretty much only have hand tools to work with it, and a heat gun. I'm imagining a more 3D shape to this thing than just gluing flat sheets of plastic together. Resin casting is probably out of the question due to cost and space constraints.

I would imagine that I can use the heat gun to shape plastic sheets, and that I would need to cut the sheets into the shapes of the curved rays and glue them together somehow. Other than that, I'm not sure if I'm on the right track with conceptualizing this. (I'll probably have to draw out a few pictures to make sure I can get the iconic silhouette /and/ make it so that it's a 3D object with rays sticking out in all directions, but that's less the issue here than conceptualizing the construction of it.)

So, members of the cosplay.com props section, how would you go about making this prop if things like resin and 3D printing were off the table as options, and you just had some hand shears and a heat gun to work with? Am I out of my depth here? Y'all were instrumental in my Pearl spear, which was the last complex plastic prop I made, so I hope we can figure this one out, as well :]
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Unread 03-20-2017, 11:59 PM   #2
Dictamnus Albus
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if theres a clear version of instashape or friendly-plastic
(beads you melt in hot water) if clear is available usualy pigments are too

id try that, so you can free shape it since it looks more organic globular
than crystaline
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Unread 03-21-2017, 11:37 AM   #3
fabrickind
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Sadly, nothing like that exists as far as I can find. :|

Instamorph does transmit light to some degree, so I could have it glowing, but it wouldn't have the clarity that I'm looking for. Something more hand moldable like that would make more sense than plastic sheets, though, which is why I think I'm getting hung up on this.
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Unread 03-21-2017, 04:04 PM   #4
jdcooper97
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Do you have a vacuum form machine? Or the means to make one? If so, I'd recommend building it out of whatever you can, just to get the shape of it correct, then using a thin transparent plastic vacuum form it to that piece. You'd probably need to do one half at a time then glue them together.
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Unread 03-21-2017, 04:05 PM   #5
Dictamnus Albus
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would make for a nice project for a glass maker (maybe its not as expensive as it sounds?)

vacume form plastic is another option

but ya, cant really come up with anything homeworkable

gelatin could work but youd want to accelerate the process
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QpEWO5gjR4 start at 12:25
(60 years is a bit long)
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Unread 03-21-2017, 05:56 PM   #6
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Yeah that's uh...hm. I don't think it's reasonable to think you can make an exact replica with the tools you have. I do think making something a bit more organic looking (so not smooth flames) would still look good though. Have you looked into Worbla's Transpart already? You could make fire in the same general shapes and arcs as the item, and just not sweat getting it as smooth and "frozen" looking. Or maybe you could, depending on how easily molded that stuff is. I also can't speak to how stable something that large made entirely out of Worbla would be though, or if it'd end up easily crushed assuming you make it hollow.
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Unread 03-21-2017, 06:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdcooper97 View Post
Do you have a vacuum form machine? Or the means to make one? If so, I'd recommend building it out of whatever you can, just to get the shape of it correct, then using a thin transparent plastic vacuum form it to that piece. You'd probably need to do one half at a time then glue them together.
Unfortunately not. :[

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dictamnus Albus View Post
would make for a nice project for a glass maker (maybe its not as expensive as it sounds?)

vacume form plastic is another option

but ya, cant really come up with anything homeworkable

gelatin could work but youd want to accelerate the process
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QpEWO5gjR4 start at 12:25
(60 years is a bit long)
Oh man that dried gelatin looks nearly perfect. Let me just cast this thing in gelatin and wait 60 years and I'll have an amazing prop when I'm nearly 90. :P

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Originally Posted by Scunosi View Post
Yeah that's uh...hm. I don't think it's reasonable to think you can make an exact replica with the tools you have. I do think making something a bit more organic looking (so not smooth flames) would still look good though. Have you looked into Worbla's Transpart already? You could make fire in the same general shapes and arcs as the item, and just not sweat getting it as smooth and "frozen" looking. Or maybe you could, depending on how easily molded that stuff is. I also can't speak to how stable something that large made entirely out of Worbla would be though, or if it'd end up easily crushed assuming you make it hollow.
Yeah I'm starting to think that it's not possible with the tools I have access to.

It doesn't need to be totally smooth, but it does need to be transparent. It also doesn't have to be super large -- I'm thinking something that can fit in my palm.

I've seen flame props and some pretty cool icicles with Transpart, and that might be an option. I've thought of that. Does anyone know if you can recombine PET-G or a cheaper plastic in similar ways, or will I have to use Transpart? This is much more along the lines of what I'm thinking for this prop (something that can be made out of heated and formed sheets) rather than the more complicated processes that others are suggesting.

I might have to dive into resin casting for this, but considering that I've never done it, have none of the materials, and it's a larger piece, it'll get very expensive very fast for the materials for just the one piece, and that's assuming that I do it perfectly the first try and don't mess it up. I also don't have anywhere to store the volatile chemicals involved long-term, so I would pretty much be buying the materials, making the one piece, and throwing them away (if I don't use all of them), which seems like a huge waste. (The cost would be in "I could make an entirely new costume for this price" territory.)
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Unread 03-21-2017, 10:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fabrickind View Post
I decided that I want a prop of some type to go with my cosplay of Harle from Chrono Cross, and that it would be /really/ cool to make the Frozen Flame.

As you can see, it's a pretty complex shape. There aren't a lot of references of it, but I imagine that it would look really cool as transparent plastic, dyed so that it gets the effect of the orange and yellow. I'd possibly consider sticking an LED in there so it can glow.

How would I go about this with the tools and materials that I have access to? I can buy pretty much whatever clear plastic I would need (PET-G? Polycarbonate? Acrylic probably won't work for this with my setup), but I pretty much only have hand tools to work with it, and a heat gun. I'm imagining a more 3D shape to this thing than just gluing flat sheets of plastic together. Resin casting is probably out of the question due to cost and space constraints.

I would imagine that I can use the heat gun to shape plastic sheets, and that I would need to cut the sheets into the shapes of the curved rays and glue them together somehow. Other than that, I'm not sure if I'm on the right track with conceptualizing this. (I'll probably have to draw out a few pictures to make sure I can get the iconic silhouette /and/ make it so that it's a 3D object with rays sticking out in all directions, but that's less the issue here than conceptualizing the construction of it.)

So, members of the cosplay.com props section, how would you go about making this prop if things like resin and 3D printing were off the table as options, and you just had some hand shears and a heat gun to work with? Am I out of my depth here? Y'all were instrumental in my Pearl spear, which was the last complex plastic prop I made, so I hope we can figure this one out, as well :]
Why are you asking about material choice again? Haven't you learned anything with the Pearl spear? I'd think that after having free samples of some of the plastics and experimenting with them that you'd have some idea on what to use here.

Regardless, you are over complicating this. Plastic energy and fireballs are done a lot in the cosplay world so there are resources out there for this type of stuff. I'll even bring up a tutorial for you.
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Unread 03-21-2017, 10:44 PM   #9
fabrickind
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Saying that I'm overcomplicating it is actually exactly what I needed to hear!

Though, with the usual flame tutorials, they're a bit of an amorphous shape. Is it still possible to get the iconic silhouette of this item? I'm mostly looking for confirmation that I'm headed in the right direction than anything, and it's the shape that's throwing me off, I think. (The spear ended up being a matter of engineering a correctly shaped flat piece and learning to heat in the right way, but this shape is much more complex, and I'm not entirely sure how to go about it with flat pieces.)

I mean, I can see what I have left in plastic samples (and I did learn a LOT from those), but it's mostly either acrylic (which I don't think I can use for this with the tools I have) or very thin polycarbonate, which...might be okay, I'll have to try it out, though I was less impressed with it than the PET-G.

I suppose, if nothing else, I can have a more amorphous, traditional flame prop and use that.

Thanks!
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Unread 03-22-2017, 02:08 PM   #10
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How big do you want it to be? It's honestly not terribly difficult to make a home vacuum form machine and just use a oven to heat the plastic before putting it into the actual vacuum former.

Make has a good video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5CGfoxnKaQ
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Unread 03-22-2017, 10:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fabrickind View Post
Though, with the usual flame tutorials, they're a bit of an amorphous shape. Is it still possible to get the iconic silhouette of this item? I'm mostly looking for confirmation that I'm headed in the right direction than anything, and it's the shape that's throwing me off, I think. (The spear ended up being a matter of engineering a correctly shaped flat piece and learning to heat in the right way, but this shape is much more complex, and I'm not entirely sure how to go about it with flat pieces.)
As always, other attempts (not plastic though) are good starting points for brainstorming shapes.

Flat pieces will be fine. It's basically just a process of creating a base shape then heating, bending and twisting plastic upon that base, layer after layer, until you have the shape you want. Which is actually what the tutorial I posted was doing. Do this enough times and it will be hard to tell that flat plastic sheets were used. Also don't forget to sand and paint in between. The maker of this prop said he used flat PET-G sheets.
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