A few years post the creation of Lumen Ex Consilium, I was contacted by a film maker in Austin, Texas who was putting together a Star Wars fan film in the genera of Steampunk. Two hilts were needed in a relatively short period of time. Using a similar design language as before, I built the hilts around custom parts cut on a laser cutter and off the shelf brass tubing and rod. The crystal chamber emitter and various small parts all came from my spare parts boxes. Current progress and a trailer for the film can be found here.
This work-in-progress is from a TV show that was killed too early; Joss Whedon's Firefly blended sci-fi with the old west in a spaceships and horses post civil war galaxy. One of the main protagonists in the series, Malcolm Reynolds carried a war issued blaster made to look like something from our own civil war. I started building a replica of the pistol by measuring and drawing blue prints off of screen captured images of the prop. A foam core mockup was made to test proportions and once those felt correct I started to build the pistol out of pieces of brass and aluminum, shaping them with a dermal tool, files, and a hack saw. Two years into the project I was offered the opportunity to purchase a raw resin cast of a pistol from the screen used molds, which after painting and weathering was adequate enough for me to use in a display. With this copy in hand I set out to make my metal project more accurate, at this time it is still a work in progress.
The Fertility Idol from the opening scenes of Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the most iconic props of the twentieth century. After liberating the solid gold Chachapoyan Goddess of Fertility Idol from a temple deep in the jungles of Peru, Indy was forced to give it up to the rouge archeologist Belloq. The mythology of the idol has it traveling to Marrakech, where Indy eventually picks it up from an antiquities dealer and brings it back to the states.
In reality the prop was built out of resin and fiberglass and gold plated. Built in two versions, a hero and a stunt version, the original prop now resides in the archives at Lucasfilm. The two versions were slightly different; the hero containing glass eyes that could be moved via radio control and the second a solid stunt version that could withstand abuse.
This was my first blaster project, constructed in 2002. Built with the same mentality as Han Solo's blaster from Star Wars, which was built upon a German Mauser C96 pistol from WWI; I chose to base this one on an American Colt Model 1911. I began by taking apart a 1911 bb gun to harvest parts from the interior to used as detailing on the exterior, a scope, digital number display (similar to the one used for the pulse rifles in Aliens), and various parts form my parts bin completed the project. A coat of flat black paint and a custom leg holster completed the project.
Every pulp sci-fi hero or heroine needs a fantastic raygun, no matter whether they are battling martians or exploring the depths of a black hole. Built out of found parts, the Retro Raygun takes its cues from Buck Rodgers and the many Raygun toys from the 20th century. The main hull of the gun is a repurposed light from a beach-cruiser bike, the handle was built by me and consists of alternating layers of aircraft grade mahogany ply and spruce. The barrel is a brass tube with a drawer pull fitted on the end as an emitter.
Biodynamic Structures at California College of the Arts, San Francisco, California.
The 2010 Biodynamic Structures Seminar brought sixty people from twenty different countries together to learn, research, and build fully interactive biodynamic structures in ten days. Starting with a series of workshops focusing on Arduino, Grasshopper, Firefly, and structural systems, the class challenged students to develop full scale working prototypes of a biodynamic system of their choosing.
Each group of students started by locating an area within the CCA campus for their intervention. They then isolated the issues inherent in that location that a biodynamic system could address and then set out to design and build their full scale prototype of the intervention, applying what was learned in the three days of workshops to the project.
These first few post will be about existing or past projects. The first project I want to bring to the forefront is a lightsaber from 2007.
Lumen Ex Consilium was built as a joint project between myself and one of my old college buddies. He was looking for something interesting to give to his brother as a gift, I was looking for a project that was different from the others I'd done before. Lumen Ex Consilium was designed in the style of Steampunk, a historic alternative to victorian London where mechanical computers rendered in brass, leather, and wood ushered in the birth of the information age through clouds of steam and coal smoke. Built mostly out of period materials, Lumen Ex Consilium opted for an open handle to facilitate fast cooling of the steam chambers and a custom brass, steel, and copper faraday cage around the crystal chamber to protect the user from the massive amounts of energy needed to create the classic lightsaber blade…