Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Worst Words EVER!!

And what might those be I hear you ask?? Well in my opinion they are "Oh that will be easy!". And usually what follows is anything but easy. For those that need to be caught up, I will recap...

My friends daughter is in the high school drama group and they will be preforming an adaptation of "Treasure Island". Well the part she will play is pirate/parrot, dressed as a pirate, carrying a parrot, and the parrot has lines and actions. Well talk moved to the parrot, and tales of what the original cast did and what they were looking to do. So when a rough outline of what they were looking for had been sketched out, I said that would be easy....

And apparently those words also mean, I will build it.

Well it was easy in hind sight. I mean, the final product didn't change that much from the original design. But DAMN, figuring out HOW to keep it LIGHT enough to carry and use plus STRONG enough to survive teenagers, that is a hair pulling exercise. Anyways, here are some pictures of the early construction.

These are pics of the body. You can see some of the control mechanisims that control the beak, head turn and wings. Most of the construction was made of balsa wood, bass wood, wood dowels and pieces of my old R/C race car. There is also brake cables off an old ten speed bike, the handle of a tooth brush, 20 lbs. test spider wire fishing line, parts of the trigger mechanism from an old air soft gun and assorted springs, washers, screws and nylon cord.

Here are some pics of the head. The beak was made out of layered bass wood. It was then cut out on a ban saw and shaped by hand. The pivots and linkages for the beak control are the front spindles and tie rods off the R/C racer. The frame and levers are made of bass and pine. It was then covered by styrofoam. I am not real happy with the final shape, but I will fix that on Parrot 2.0 .... did I just say that???
Well without a doubt, the biggest pain was the wings. They started out with 4 lift arms per side and ended up with 1 per side. And since that change I have figured out the problem with 4 and it should work right on the next one.... there I go again.
Then it was time to cover it. And of course I picked the absolute messiest, hardest to work with fabric ever created by man to cover this puppet. Sewing it was a nightmare, so I ended up hot gluing it to batting. Long process, but the end result actually made nice seams.
Here are pics of the "almost" final product.

The picture of the rear controls. The thumb is used to turn the head side to side. There is a trigger in front that works the beak. The lever at the bottom is used for flapping the wings. It is out on its test run now. They are using it in rehersals and so far it hasn't had any problems. If all goes well, I will add flight feathers at the ends of the wings and tail feathers in the last week before the show. So, for all practical purposes this project is done. The stress is behind me. I can relax for awhile.
Well, that is unless you have a friend like Walrilla. Then, you will be of on your next project before you can even catch your breath. And of course it will only be about a 1000 times more intricate and complicated and time consuming. But it will also be for ME, and I have at least 7 months to make it... that might be cutting it a little close. But stay tuned for contruction updates of DRAGON. It is going to be a monster.