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Unread 01-14-2009, 08:18 PM   #1
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Dr. Franken Stein's Screw Tutorial

Soul Eater is getting to be a pretty popular series, and I've seen plenty of awesome Stein cosplayers, so I figured I'd try it out myself! Arguably the hardest part of the costume is the screw (unless you elect to make Spirit in Deathscythe form as well, because that is more of an advanced prop too). Hopefully this tutorial helps! Also, obviously this is my method of making it, so if there are certain parts of it you think that could be done in a more efficient way, by all means do it.

So, for those of you who don't know what it looks like, here is a reference pic: http://img60.imageshack.us/img60/6559/drsteinhz6.png

The basic idea here is to use an arrow-through-head gag prop (which can be found at most costume shops) and a small party noisemaker (the kind that clicks when you spin it). The problem most people have with Stein's screw is that they make it too heavy, which causes each side of the wire frame to sag down. I've seen it often done with plaster, but it just seems to be too much weight for the arrow-through-head prop. What I will be using is a combination of foam cores, and polystyrene sheet plastic. The former you can find at any hardware store, and the latter you can find here (sorry for the long URL): http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=USPlastic&category%5Fna me=76&product%5Fid=3008&MSCSProfile=95385A1F52DEA1 A229D5B3754205446434345BE03107164A9B4AAB3AF89B9F82 B9A7F421876C1BE39B4AB028E6360548992921574C0088EE02 E23FD024BEF1DC2F4D43759DB500814B5D7C7F06C534F68797 E5906FBAC292EF4560AE174ACB25EE9426D59C94F0C5A9A806 CC1DCE90D0D9956A38F32C25C2B2AB44C9586B38CE879A1486 3B6EBA00
I usually go with the .040 inch thickness. Using sheet plastic for the exterior will not only reduce the weight, but will also increase the durability and the overall look. Plaster and paper maché will often come out lumpy unless you are really good at it. For the foam core, I used some 3/4" thick polyisocyanurate (for the main circular part of the screw) and 1/4" thick styrofoam (for the slightly raised part of the screw head), but you can use whatever works for you. Here's a picture of the foam materials I used: http://img294.imageshack.us/img294/2...8090802hn2.jpg
Also, I primarily used hot glue for adhesion, as it works wonders.

First, measure the length from the middle of the noisemaker's handle to its edge, and cut a circle of that radius (plus maybe a quarter inch or so) out of some tack board, or paper, or whatever. This is your main pattern. Using that circle, trace another circle. Take a ruler, and draw a chord on the circle of appropriate position. This will be the "raised" portion of the screw. Here's a picture of my patterns: http://img164.imageshack.us/img164/1...6091810ur8.jpg

Next, trace and cut out TWO of both the circle and the circular segment out of the polystyrene sheeting. In one of the plastic circles, make a small hole in the center, and push the handle of the noisemaker through:

Now you want to create some filling between the two plastic circles so that the part of the noisemaker that's on the inside doesn't move. Here's what I did: http://img520.imageshack.us/img520/3...6091812ok0.jpg
That's the polyisocyanurate foam you see there, but you can use anything you want really. The idea is to make the raised part of the screw head less thick than the main circular part. Anyway, glue the filler foam onto your circle/noisemaker contraption, and then glue the other plastic circle on top of it. Here's about what it should look like: http://img509.imageshack.us/img509/6...6091845aj6.jpg

Using the "chorded" circular segment pattern, cut out two pieces of thinner foam core, like so: http://img413.imageshack.us/img413/6...6091912hk2.jpg
Glue the foam pieces onto the assembled screw head, and then glue the plastic circular segments on top of the foam: http://img297.imageshack.us/img297/8...6091944am5.jpg

Next, we're going to take care of the styrofoam on the "inside" of the top of the screw head. You'll see what I'm talking about in just a bit. You'll want to measure the length and width that you'll need for the strips, and then either make a pattern for them and then cut them out of the polystyrene, or just measure the strips directly on the plastic sheeting and cut them out.
Glue them on, and you'll end up with this:
Getting closer!

No one's perfect when it comes to measuring and cutting, so if there are gaps or imperfections in the side of the screw like this http://img382.imageshack.us/img382/5...6092027wq2.jpg, just glue on a little strip of craft foam (like the Foamies brand sheets, for example) like so: http://img93.imageshack.us/img93/1791/0106092029wn9.jpg

The only exposed part of the screw left is the perimeter, so let's cover that too! Cut out a strip of plastic that is the screw's circumference in length, and the screw's depth (from the surface where the noisemaker handle is sticking out to the surface of the raised screw head) for the width: http://img520.imageshack.us/img520/8...6092047ev6.jpg
Start wherever you'd like and glue it around the entire perimeter. Now, you will have parts where the styrene protrudes to the same height as the raised screw head, even though there is no raised portion here. No worries, just take an X-Acto knife and cut away the excess. You'll be left with something like this: http://img509.imageshack.us/img509/8...6092115qz1.jpg
If there are small gaps in the plastic seams, take some hot glue and use it to caulk up the gaps. If there are uneven seams, you can use the X-Acto knife to cut away any excess.
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Unread 01-14-2009, 08:18 PM   #2
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Pretty good so far right? Now for the smaller, cylindrical parts of the screw. Take a PVC pipe (I used a 3/4" interior diameter, but as always, whatever you deem fit) and cut two small lengths of it: a short, perhaps an inch or so long, length for the part of the screw thread that is adjacent to the screw head itself; and a somewhat longer (2.5 inches perhaps) section for the end of the screw that will implicitly be coming out of the other side of your head. I have the longer section pictured; I forgot to take a picture of the other one: http://img413.imageshack.us/img413/3...7090815rn9.jpg
Take a small rectangular strip of the plastic and wrap it around the inside of the PVC pipe, cutting it down to length such that it just barely fits: http://img297.imageshack.us/img297/1...7090816gx0.jpg
Measure how long that strip is and remember it. Then, cut out a plastic rectangle with the length being that of the PVC section, and the width being that of the strip you just measured. Obviously, do this for both PVC sections: http://img294.imageshack.us/img294/3...7090832uv2.jpg

Put the plastic piece on the interior of the pipe: http://img511.imageshack.us/img511/4...7090837mr6.jpg
Then, glue strips of craft foam to the interior of the polystyrene cylinder until the interior diameter is small enough so that the handle of the noisemaker (or the rod of the arrow-through-head prop for the opposite, longer side) snugly fits. Note that you are not gluing the polystyrene or craft foam to the PVC pipe itself.
Now push the styrene/foam amalgam out of the PVC pipe, and voilà! Instant cylinders, which look pretty slick, I might add: http://img398.imageshack.us/img398/4...7091008mb4.jpg
Here's a picture of how the cylinder fits onto the screw head: http://img413.imageshack.us/img413/3...7091010al6.jpg

You might be asking why I didn't simply start with the PVC section itself and add craft foam to the inside of that. Well, the answer is that the PVC adds more weight to the end product than the styrene / craft foam does. I'm also a bit of a perfectionist, so I suppose that can be attributed to it as well. xD

Anyway, on the end of the screw there is a sort of dovetail groove on it. To get this effect, I glued an extra piece of styrene around the screw tail. Here's a picture of the pattern I used: http://img294.imageshack.us/img294/6...7091051ia0.jpg
And here is the finished product:

Almost done now! The next step is to connect the screw head and tail to the arrow-through-head prop. First, I went ahead and cut off the ends of the arrow itself, since we wont be needing it. I also cut the handle of the noisemaker down to size a bit: http://img297.imageshack.us/img297/5...7091023vv8.jpg
In my case, the handle and rod diameters were such that when I cut off the end of the handle, the rod could actually slip right into the noisemaker handle and into the head of the screw! I used the short plastic cylinder as a medium between the two. As for the screw tail, remember that I added enough craft foam to the inside of the cylinder so that the rod would fit tightly. Here's a picture: http://img382.imageshack.us/img382/8...7091135sd2.jpg

Of course, this should all be glued together with thermal adhesive or something else strong, so that there's no chance of it coming apart. Make sure that when you're gluing the screw head combination that you don't accidentally glue the plastic cylinder to the screw head itself; remember that you still want to be able to turn the screw so that it clicks! Next, measure the diameter of the screw tail, cut out a polystyrene circle of that diameter, and glue it onto the end of the tail, like so: http://img93.imageshack.us/img93/7527/0107091151tn0.jpg

Awesome. Now the only part left is the paint! I used spray paint because it's easy, uniform, and looks great! First, start with a gray or black primer: http://img520.imageshack.us/img520/4...7091202eg9.jpg
If you want to know why you should use primer, go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primer_(paint)

For the final coats, I used a mixture of semi-gloss black spray paint, and silver spray paint. First I gave it a couple coats of the black, and then lightly sprayed the silver (i.e. not a full coat). This gives it sort of a dark metal look: not bright silver, and yet not pitch black either. I think it turned out rather nice! Here's a picture (sorry for the blurriness): http://img103.imageshack.us/img103/3...1090630eq3.jpg
Here are some pics of the screw on me!

And there you have it, how to make Stein's screw. Hopefully this will be helpful; if you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to ask! -Nick

Last edited by Link-Jun : 01-14-2009 at 08:43 PM. Reason: Fixing links
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Unread 01-14-2009, 09:01 PM   #3
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Looks like a good tutorial, and adding how to put in a noise marker so you can make that 'cranking' sound? Brilliant. Also I think it looks quite believable in the picture you posted too. :3

You should post this in the prop forum 'Turtorial List' sticky and ask to have it added. :3
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Unread 01-14-2009, 09:50 PM   #4
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You sir might be a god among men!!
Ive been racking my brain trying to figure out the way to set up the "arrow through the head" type screw. Then you came along and posted this. A tear came to my eye at the beauty of this amazingly helpful post.
The only question i have is if you could tell me about how long it took to build?
Other than that question this might be the best costume tutorial ive ever seen.
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Unread 01-14-2009, 10:02 PM   #5
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Thanks for the kind words guys!

Bloody_Stein, I was working on this project on and off, and I wasn't really paying attention to time, but I estimate that it took about 3-4 hours of work to get up to the point of painting. And part of that probably came from me being a perfectionist when it comes to measuring and such. I did have to go to the store sometime in between due to my running out of glue sticks though. xD

Last edited by Link-Jun : 01-14-2009 at 10:24 PM.
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Unread 01-16-2009, 05:25 PM   #6
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woah~ awesome instructions & photos! it's really detailed.

my friend has been racking his brain over something similar (though not quite the same character), so he is VERY grateful for this tutorial XD
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Unread 02-19-2009, 09:07 AM   #7
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Thank you so much! I've been thinking about doing Dr. Stein for awhile now, and I just could not figure out what to do for the screw! You are a saviour!
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Unread 02-19-2009, 02:12 PM   #8
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this tutorial is realy great and datayls on screw are ealy nice

i just finished my screw
hera are some pics http://www.cosplay.com/photo/1913197/
just need to repaint it
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Last edited by Giedrius : 02-19-2009 at 02:21 PM.
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Unread 02-19-2009, 07:14 PM   #9
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Wow! Thank you for the tutorial. I will definitly be giving it a try.
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Unread 02-23-2009, 01:46 PM   #10
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Thank you for the tutoriel.
It's going to help me for my cosplay * _ *
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Unread 02-23-2009, 07:37 PM   #11
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Sending this link to my boyfriend who plans on cosplaying as this character =)

Awesome tutorial.
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Unread 04-20-2009, 12:32 PM   #12
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I've been trying so hard to figure out how to get that cranking noise. Thank you so much for this tutorial!!! ^o^
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Unread 06-27-2009, 07:31 PM   #13
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Hey, I'm having problems with my cosplay of stein. The bolt is all wrong, I couldn't find a arrow through the head prop at any of my local costume stores save for one that was made out of very weak material similar to that of a Halloween mask. If anyone could find a sturdy prop online with rush shipping as I need this prop for otakon 09 it would be helpful. (17-19th of july).

Also I'm not sure if I should scrap the piece I have made thus far and start anew. I think the head of the bolt may be to big, and I bought a noise maker but I haven't embedded it into the bolt head yet. I don't know how to cut a perfect circle out of modeling Styrofoam so I bought pre existing circular pieces, and I made the cylinder similar to the material described in the walk through, but its paper foam if you will but looks very similar to the material.

Me with the bolt on. I originally wanted to use a copper wire to make the prop, but I don't know how to fashion it into the correct shape without it messing a lot with the wig. As you can see I'm using stretchy string and it messes with the wig to much, and the prop sags, I've done everything I could think to do with the wig. Also I'm going to get a lighter metallic spray paint this paint is to dark.

The prop I made

Me without the prop.

Also I am having trouble finding a large Grey turtleneck sweater to go with the cosplay. I'm debating whether I should buy one or not because I will prob get hot in it.

Also if you have any suggestions for materials online give me the links asap.

NOTE: this is my first cosplay ever and I'm not the artsy type, and I don't have a lot of resources. Keeping it simple is probably better in my case as I will prob screw up anything complicated
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Unread 02-14-2010, 04:33 PM   #14
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I was only wondering the total cost of this project. I'm going to be Dr. Stein for Sakura-con in April, and I needed to know how much i'm spending so I can pay my dad back for all these supplies. I got the shoes, pants, and the whole shirt done. I need this bolt, wig, glasses, and the lab coat. also, where did you get YOUR lab coat?
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Unread 02-15-2010, 12:08 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by MasterXyon View Post
I was only wondering the total cost of this project. I'm going to be Dr. Stein for Sakura-con in April, and I needed to know how much i'm spending so I can pay my dad back for all these supplies. I got the shoes, pants, and the whole shirt done. I need this bolt, wig, glasses, and the lab coat. also, where did you get YOUR lab coat?
Best bet would be any school/college bookstore. That's where I got mine. You could also try online, if you can get past the bulk sellers.
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