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Callahan last won the day on March 10

Callahan had the most liked content!

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About Callahan

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    In the jungles of Skaro
  • Birthday 27/01/98

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  • Location
    Painesville, Ohio

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  • Interests
    Filmmaking, portrait photography, landscape photography, Star Wars, all things Tolkien, Doctor Who, cardboard props & weapons

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  1. I got a chance tonight to work more on the shoulders! At the beginning, I decided to cut corners into the circular hole in the bottom of my shoulder frame, because I really need the room for my actual shoulders. Now, my small goal for tonight was to cut out more shoulder "struts" for structural integrity. For preparation, I found more small PVC tubes as strength supports. Then, I set to measuring out two more vertical cardboard supports; these will go in the back half of the shoulder section, midway between the other "struts". I had to measure the bottom edge, and estimate the distance out to the top edge. Once I got that, it was easy to mark and cut out the pieces. Now, to make sure I didn't accidentally switch pieces, I marked the first with a symbol, which led to me doodling the 12th Doctor's bow tie and tweed jacket. Then, when I marked the opposite piece, I decided that the Doctor should have a worthy opponent, so a quick sketch of an NSD soon followed. The pieces aren't glued yet, but they do fit nicely: One other thing: tonight I tried to start trimming the excess hardboard from the top of my skirt, and I accidentally pulled the panel right off of the top cardboard hinge. Oops! I guess I'll have to borrow some kind of Dremel tool to get those trimmed: Anyway, that's all until tomorrow! Cheers! - Callahan
  2. Hello everyone! I apologize for the long delay in posting; I haven't been working on the Dalek as much as I should. Tk7273 and Russellsuthern, thanks for the encouragement! I really appreciate it. Now, to building. I've glued all of the skirt panels together except one, which I've left out (for now) because it's extremely useful as a window into the skirt's interior. That brings me to my progress so far: even more re-attachment. I decided that I simply don't trust the staples holding the panels to the bottom of the skirt, so I'm currently in the process of pulling them out, detaching the bottom hinge of each panel, and putting everything back with wood glue (which I bought more of). In addition to my mistrust of the staples, I have another reason to re-glue some of the panels: when I turned my skirt upside-down, I saw that many of the panels were far from flush with the frame. As a perfectionist, I had to fix this: So, that's going quite well, minus the fact that I keep backtracking on my progress. I've learned that it's best to measure a million times before I glue, measure again while I'm gluing, and measure yet again when everything is dry. Anyway, that's all the progress so far. I haven't made the time to work on any sections other than the skirt, but I did find some gutter cover that should work well as a layer of mesh in the neck: That's all until next time! Cheers! - Callahan
  3. Hello again! In addition to the skirt and fender, I have now started the shoulders! This should be quite interesting. For anyone who's wondering, I will be constructing them primarily out of cardboard, with wood filler or Bondo to get the beveled edges. I know a few people have been skeptical about my choice of materials, but I take those opinions as a healthy challenge to get it right. To begin, I laid a large piece of cardboard (cut to already match the "lid's" width & height dimensions) on top of my skirt, and traced the edges of the panels with a marker. From there, I pencilled in a smooth circumference inside the edges, which I then cut out. I did do it by freehand, but it should be quite symmetrical enough to work just fine: From there, I used a template I had made in Adobe Illustrator to outline and cut a perfect circle in another large piece of cardboard. You can view this template here: 55.1 cm NSD Top Shoulder Cutout.pdf. This document can be printed out in 6 pages, and the edges of each paper, when taped exactly flush with each other, come together; the shape on the pages forms a perfect circle. Now, this document is not guaranteed to work with every printer, so I don't know if it'll work exactly for you. You can mess with the printer setting to get the scaling/margins right. Here are some photos of that template in action: After I did all of the circle work, I moved on to the inner triangular supports that give the shoulder frame its height. To make these, I did some quick math to get the dimensions I needed, and then cut the 4 pieces out from more double-corrugated cardboard. To firmly fix them to the bottom of the frame, I used hot glue as a base, and small PVC pipes as side supports. This technique gives the triangular supports stability. I would have preferred to use wooden blocks, due to their larger nature, greater surface area, and overall sturdiness, but my box of blocks is currently buried underneath loads of storage. Anyway, I used that structure on both the bottom and top frame joints. Later on, I'll give the joints more support. Besides, I think the pipes look kind of weird, so I'll probably change or cover them later: After the frame was assembled, I quickly cut a circular hole in the top and bottom frame pieces, just so it would be easier to work in, and I wanted to try it out with my shoulder width. It's a little bit tight on me, but some modification should make it go a long way. Also, I put it on top of my skirt and fender, and I definitely fanboyed a little bit. This thing is going to be big! Every time I start a new piece, I'm surprised by the dimensions. Anyway, that's all until next time! Cheers! - Callahan
  4. Alright, I've made a bit of progress since the last post. I've got all of the panels secured except one, and I'm replacing the staples in the cardboard hinges' with wood glue, due to its much stronger bond. I don't yet have photos of that, so these will have to do: In addition to that, the top "lid" of the skirt broke! The paneling it was made out of wasn't strong to begin with, so I kind of expected this to happen. To fix it, I cut a piece of double-corrugated cardboard that would fit around the already present hinge, and glued it on the underside of the break. I'll check it in the morning; I hope it holds well. In the future (most likely the summer), I'll finish the skirt by fiberglassing the inside. For now, I'm going to clean up the seams, and leave it be until I have the proper materials/experience to complete it properly: That's all I have for now. I've started the shoulders, but I'm going to post that content in another reply. Until next time, - Callahan
  5. Hello everyone! I wish I could say that I made forward progress on my Dalek's skirt, but I actually needed to make some backward progress before finally getting it right. You may remember that I was having trouble getting the skirt's "lid" level; well, No More! Either that, or Gallifrey Falls. Anyway, I was having much difficulty whilst trying to line up the panels with each other. Then, I had a bit of a "light bulb" moment. I thought to myself, "Silly Callahan! You've been wondering why these panels don't line up very well, when the answer is right in front of you: the "lid" is several centimeters too low!". I had assumed that keeping the "lid" at that lower level wouldn't affect the panels' alignment, but it turned out that I was very wrong. Once I figured that out, I had to *gasp* pull apart all of my previous gluing. I cried a little bit inside. Once my tears dried, I placed another light stand inside the skirt and set a spring clamp to hold the now-free "lid" at exactly 68 cm tall. Yes, I know that the skirt is supposed to be 68.6 cm, but none of my panels reached those extra 6 millimeters. When I had both ends of the "lid" at 68 cm, I temporarily clamped various panels to the outer border, guaranteeing that the "lid" was 68 cm above the floor in its entirety: Then, I began to glue (again). I feel very good about this gluing job, because the panels initially lined up much better than during my first two tries. I decided to begin the gluing with panel #6 and the left iteration of panel #1. Like I said before, clamps are holding the sides of the "lid" exactly at 68 cm, so everything should be relatively simple going forward. To see if the "lid" was level, I pulled out a bubble level and voilà! The bubbles were almost perfectly centered: Something else I figured out also saved me a lot of headache: I have had my #4 panels mixed up! I had a hunch that there was a reason they never lined up well. Now that that's fixed, everything lines up nicely! I'm excited, now that I've gotten past this stage of "well I totally messed that up again." Cheers! Until next time, - Callahan
  6. Progress! I was able to set up some panels for gluing tonight; they should be rock solid tomorrow. I've been using Elmer's wood glue, and so far it's been a great adhesive! Before I glue each panel, I remove any leftover hot glue spots, so that the cardboard and hardboard have the best opportunity to bond. Then I find a way to securely hold the two surfaces together. This is easy for panels where the cardboard is almost the full width of the panel, but gets a bit tricky for wider panels, like the back and sides. You can see in the photos below that I've used a variety of methods to secure the gluing: spring clamps, c-clamps, and even a ratchet strap! The strap is holding the right front panel firmly against the skirt's "lid" via a light stand. The stand gives the strap solid resistance to hold against, maximizing the pressure against the panel itself. Does that make any sense? Hopefully you can see what's going on in the pictures. If this method proves successful, I'm definitely going to use it on other panels, because it gives me the ability to secure a panel when I can't use a clamp. It's great! Also, I thought a few of you might be interested in seeing what kind of space I'm working in. I've got my basement set up as a video studio specifically for this project, as I film almost every time I work: Cheers! - Callahan
  7. Hi cdngoose, Thanks for the advice! It's good to hear another perspective on hot glue. I agree that in many circumstances it's likely to fail (I've decided not to use it on any more wood materials), but I'll have to respectfully disagree about your "hot weather" statement. I've found that hot glue holds up in any temperature, and it's the materials that determine the tackiness. It's great for cardboard and paper, but obviously not so great on wood. Anyway, I don't want to instigate an argument, but I felt the need to mention that. As for the fender, I appreciate your corroboration with advice from other builders: make a thick fender. The fender was the first part I worked on, so I made it easy to construct. I have a potential situation to use woodworking power tools now, so I might buy some thick plywood and re-attempt those panels. I'll see what I can do. I'm not too worried about the skirt being strong, but I'll certainly look into fiberglassing it. My brother's done that before, so maybe with his help I can do that this summer. I will still be assembling some parts of the Dalek out of cardboard, but I have a plan to make them have a very nice finished, smooth surface. Also, I'm glad you knew about the "turning-the-skirt-sideways" trick for fitting it through a door; I was elated when I found that out a few weeks back. If you ever encounter someone in the same space/location predicament as I, please let them know about that; I know I will. When I first discovered that trick, it took loads of stress off of my mind. At the time, I was preparing to build the skirt in sections, and I really wanted to avoid that. In conclusion, your comments have certainly been helpful; it's always good to hear someone else's perspective, especially from someone more experienced at this than I! Cheers! - Callahan
  8. Many thanks Tk7273 for your encouragement! Alright, to continue with the build, I got a chance last week to work on the skirt. For context, if you watched any of the above YouTube videos, you'll know that I need to construct my Dalek in pieces. For those of you who don't know about that, my situation is this: I'm building my Dalek in my basement, which has a normally-sized door at the top of the stairs. That door is the only way out of the basement, so I need to make sure that I can get my Dalek through it. The only way to accomplish this is to make the fender, skirt, shoulders, neck, and dome in separate pieces that can be assembled. This has made construction of the skirt particularly hard, as I can't attach it directly to the fender/base. Anyway, the work last week began very well, but as I got further into the building, everything kind of fell apart. Here's a few pictures of the skirt before anything went wrong: All of the panels are attached to a thin plywood frame that fits onto the fender/base. I had attached them using double-corrugated cardboard as flexible hinges; these hinges were stapled to the plywood, and hot-glued to the hardboard. For anyone who's wondering, I used an actual staple gun, not a craft stapler. Anyway, the panels were taped together at the top, simply so that they would hold the correct shape and stay aligned. I was preparing to tape the top "lid" of the skirt in place, to get it ready for permanent attachment, but as I picked up the whole skirt by one of the panels, this happened: Some of the staples I has used pulled right out of the plywood! This initially irritated me, but as I thought more about it, I realized that it was very possible for every panel to pull out. This rather scared me, as I had spent several frustrating hours gluing them in place. You may remember that I had to hand-cut the panels, so each one has its own alignment mistakes. Those mistakes made it very tricky to get them all lined up properly. To solve this detachment problem, I started to re-staple the cardboard hinges with long 1/2" staples, which I presumed would really anchor the cardboard to the plywood. Instead of doing that, the 1/2" staples only penetrated the wood halfway, proving themselves a bit useless. I could easily pull them out with my bare hands, so I decided to switch to staples that were only a little bit longer than my original ones. Those seemed to work well for now, but I'll feel much more confident about handling the skirt once I implement stronger connections. Please take not that I was not stapling with a camera in my hand; the photo below is just an example: Once I finished that, I set to work stapling cardboard hinges onto the top "lid" piece, which was made of some wooden paneling (not the thickest stuff in the world). This went well, but I had to figure out what to do with the sharp staple ends when they poked out of the top surface. To solve this, I decided to use some needle-nose plyers to bend the sharp ends inward and downward, essentially anchoring the staples into the wood: When that was done, I started to hot-glue the tops of the panels to the "lid," which was very satisfying. I always like building things that take on some kind of "thickness," even if it's only perceived, so seeing this come together was great! Then, something occurred to me that hadn't before: keeping everything level. Since I hand-cut the panels, they each had their mismeasurements, meaning that none were at the correct height. I realized that I had to rip out all of the panels that were done, measure the height of the "lid" from the floor, and glue them at that level. To add to my problems, some of the panels detached from the bottom plywood, and I had just run out of hot glue, so I was forced to use wood glue, which is way slower than I'm used to: At this point, I had to go to bed. The skirt still needs lots of gluing, but I'll be much more patient next time I work on it, so everything should end up better. When I get to this again, I'm definitely going to correct the x-factor misalignment in the first two panels, as well as try to secure the rest of the panels. Until then, I'm open to any suggestions you all may have! Also, please let me know if you think a bonding method of mine won't be strong enough; I'd like to know your opinions. Cheers! - Callahan
  9. As promised, here are the YouTube videos that cover my first three months of building. Each episode focuses on one piece of the build, showing me starting or finishing it. Enjoy! If you've gotten down here, then hopefully you've watched at least a little of each episode. If there are any tips, critiques, or helpful suggestions that you may have after seeing my work so far, please share! I'm trying to make this the best Dalek that I can, and I can only do that with help. Cheers! - Callahan
  10. Hello everyone, My name is Callahan, and I'm a first-time Dalek builder! I'm very excited to have started this project, as well as start this build diary. I must confess, I began building in December, so these very first posts won't be current. Nevertheless, I will try to post content as soon as I finish building for the day! Now, a little bit about me: I'm a filmmaker at heart, an enthusiastic photographer, and a nerd about Star Wars, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and of course Doctor Who. I've had a experience making fictional props/costumes before, when I co-directed (and supplied half of the props for) a 30-minute remake of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. That project gave me an honorary PhD. in the science of cardboard building, so I feel pretty well prepared to attempt this. Please note that I am not making the entire Dalek out of cardboard; all of the structural parts will by some kind of wood: plywood, hardboard, MDF, paneling, etc. I want this Dalek to be as realistic as I can reasonably make him (it's a he), so I'll be taking measures to make sure that the cardboard doesn't look like cardboard, but rather like Dalekanium. Anyway, my current progress is that I have the fender started, and I'm working on the skirt. Obviously, I've never done this before, so I would greatly appreciate any suggestions you all may have for my building methods, materials, etc. If you're interested in seeing my past work on these sections, you can take a look at the YouTube videos in the posts below. They're from a YouTube series I'm calling "I'm Building a Dalek!". Cheers! - Callahan
  11. Hi omegagamer89, Thanks for the advice! I've already got the shape of the fender built; it was actually the very first part I worked on. The flat part of the fender is 1/2" plywood, and the angled sections are cardboard. Basically, my fender is even worse than you imagined . I was thinking that the cardboard might help me when it came to running into things, as flexibility is a big part of working with it. That said, my main reason for avoiding plywood is the fact that I have no woodworking power tools at all. I have several friends who have recently offered to let me use some of their tools, but that was months after I had moved on from the fender. If you take a look at the photo below, you'll see that my fender and seat are one piece, and my skirt is another piece. This is because I'm building the Dalek in my basement, so I need to be able to disassemble it and get it through a standard doorway. That's rather tricky. I'm trying to avoid as much additional cutting as I can, simply because I need to do everything by hand. Every piece I've cut on this project was either done with a bow saw or a small handsaw. To give you a small taste of the pain that this situation creates, I'll choose this example: it took me 8 hours to cut the skirt panels. 8 hours of hand cutting. In the future, I'd love to avoid repeating that. Anyway, now that I might have access to some cutting tools, maybe I'll take another shot at the fender (or even the skirt). As to the dome, I still haven't quite figured out how I'll do that. I have a few ideas: #1. Some kind of strong paper-mache with bondo/wood filler for detailing, #2. Some kind of papercraft template made from a 3D file, glued together then fiberglassed (my brother has done that before), #3. The basic shape made out of slices of cardboard, with the top covered with either fiberglass or paper-mache. I don't know yet. My final result may be a combination of any of these three methods. Anyway, sorry for the small book. - Callahan
  12. Thanks Stephen! Hi omegagamer89, Thanks for the help! I'm using MDF-like materials (hardboard) for my build right now, as I'm currently working on the skirt. I don't really have any knowledge or tools for woodworking or fiberglass, but so far "winging it" has gone pretty well. Being a college student, so I don't really have any money to buy materials, so up to this point, I've used anything lying around my parent's house: thick & thin plywood, paneling boards, cardboard, etc. My realm of expertise is with cardboard, but I wanted the fender and skirt to be way stronger than cardboard could provide, so I chose to use hardboard. I already started my Build Diary, but I'm going to try to delete it and start again. The perfectionist in me isn't happy with how unorganized I managed to make the three posts. Anyway, thanks for the message; I'm sure I'll be asking some questions soon! Thanks again, Callahan
  13. Hey everybody! My name is Callahan, and I'm a 19-year-old college student. Now, I'm a Dalek builder! I planning on finishing my NSD before the end of the summer, when I go back to school. Any help is appreciated! - Callahan