Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Interstellar TARS Model Project Interim Report - 1

Interstellar TARS Model Project
Interim Report - I

Object: To design, draw, and produce the robot from the movie, 'Interstellar' into an model figure.

I. Introduction
I heard about the movie Interstellar since quite a long times ago. It was such a big hit not only in the United States but also in South Korea. Everyone was talking about the movie and especially the robot in the film. However, I could not see the movie until last a few weeks ago since I had too much works to finish. Finally, I watched the movie at the local town's small movie theater--since big theaters such as Regal Cinema no longer had Interstellar. I was just very fascinated by the robot in the film. I really wished to have the robot like that. With my skills of making plastic models--although it was not so professional--I have a good confident to make this model into real.

II. Plan of Making
I will not be able to make the full size robot with an actually functioning robot like the one in the movie; I thought I could make one by myself in small scale. I collected some data and information of the robot, and then started to design the robot through Autodesk. Later, I waited until the DVD version available so that I can watch only the robot parts over and over again to collect more detailed information (accuracy is always good!)

My model is about 3 inches x 6 inches. I first produced the prototype version of the robot with 3D printer with dimension of 3/4 inches x 6 inches for now. This will be changed however! I figured that the length of square of the base times eight is the height of the robot.

Fig. 1. Autodesk Blueprint of Part 1
First, I made only the first part of the robot (It is the far left side part of the robot when facing the front). This part is not going to be used for the actual final part. Rather, this part is for getting a good basic sense of how the model will be look like and to ensure there is no design defections.

Since printing just a big one chunk of plastic bar is not so cost effective and takes a lot of time, considering economic factors, I decided to make two parts and put them together. Just like a plastic model.

Fig. 2. Showing the inside of the two separate parts.
Painting had been applied before the picture was taken.
Fig. 3. Side view of the figures.
Fig. 4. Bottom view of the figures 
After I retrieved the figures, I sandpapered each part and assembled them to spray the metallic silver paint. Later, this became a problem though. The figures matched perfectly although I had to give a little sandpapering.

Fig. 5. After sprayed silver paint
As you may can figure that the surface of the figure is not quite so smooth like a Porsche. This is one thing I cannot figure out yet. I can probably sandpaper a bit more, but if I do, it will decreased the size of the figure. I was thinking about using a primer before applying the paint. I have never used a primer though--honestly, I do not even know what that does! Third solution is to use a putty to fill up all little holes and make the surface very flat. However, I truly do not think I can make the figure's surfaces' so flat. It is most like to accept the second solution--using a primer.
Fig. 6. Size configuration with a ruler (inches)
Since 3D printer cannot print so accurately as 0.01 inches, I am going to use a laser cutter to slightly give a line shape on the figure. It will not cut through all the way but give a little intaglio. I have not decided if I want to use the laser cutter after the painting or before the painting. Will the pain catch a fire?

I bought a very fine Sharpie black marker to fill in the lines once they get engraved. However, I doubt the lines are wide enough to be filled up with a black marker.

The following picture is a practice figures to give a good sense of visual measurement of the thickness of the 3D printer model and the laser cutter's power.

Fig. 6. 3D printed models and laser cut acrylic plate
III. Recommendation
When I sandpapered first and assembled the parts together, I figured that there is quite a wide gap between the parts. Since this is not so ideal for the quality of the final figure, I should glue the parts together and then sandpaper the figure. I also considered to use a putty; however, due to financial matter, such proposal has been denied.
The holes for the magnets are too big. Since I already purchased magnets for this model, I will have to make some kind of a thin wall to keep the magnet inside but keeping the hole small enough to look similar to the real one.

IV. Conclusion
I have a long way to go. It is only a prototype so far. However, seems everything is going well for now. I am going to use a laser cutter to give a slight line by engraving the surface of the prototype to test if this way of giving line is suitable.

Reference
All images used in this post are created and taken by Hosung Won. All rights reserved.

Next Report will be updated on April.