After a long time of not updating, I’ve started to built the actual head for the robot using EVA foam, which was my first time using it. The reason I am using EVA foam is that it is lightweight yet firm, easy to cut and form into shapes, and the joining of parts only requires contact glue (other glue will suffice but contact glue gives a better stick). Plus, I know that I will be building as and conceptualizing at the same time as I do not have any blueprint, every little details on the robot will be an impromptu decision I make during the building process, so low price of the EVA foam will allow me to work more freely so that I do not have to be afraid of making mistake and paying a huge sum of money on it.
To start it off, I converted the paper Husky head into EVA model with 10mm thick EVA as a base layer.
Planning and cutting the paper piece out to form a template with the consideration of how much EVA foam can bent so that the final product could form (10mm thick EVA foam bend drastically differently from paper so I have to keep this in mind when forming the paper template)
The foam is cut with slanted edge to form an angular joint with the pieces at the side, the curves were made by heating up the EVA foam and bent into place, all connections were made with contact cement to make sure it will last overtime.
the blade need to be sharp consistently for a high quality cut so the blade is sharpened after a few cuts.
Test piece were made and resin was applied to test the result of it and to strengthen the EVA foam to make sure they last as long as possible.
To learn and understand the materials fully, the resin-ed test piece were sprayed with black model paint to understand how they will look like with different variable (how the cut affect the outcome, how thick the resin affect the appearance and so on)
details were then cut and added to the head , all using EVA foam with knife, contact cement and hot air gun.
after the front details were added, I’ve dissected the head to add a magnet system that ease the maintenance in the future if it is required.
After which, eyes were added in to test the appearance of the head, the eyes were specially installed in a way that it will give an optical illusion that it is looking at the user no matter where the user is standing.
And then, more details were added to the front head.
The front were coated with more than 8 coats of resin and sanded which helps the paint to stick onto the head. (this whole process took about 2 weeks as the resin require time to be fully hardened between the layers. plus coating them while prevent dripping and sanding is a labor intensive process)
and then, the sanded head were airbrushed with primer (to help the paint stick to the head, and also help me to see the surface quality like checking of small bumbs)
After a few primer coat and sanding between the coats, the head were sprayed and mask to create a clean and beautiful spray job.
for the back of the head, details were built with laser-cut parts while LED were soldered and installed.
then, like the front, details were drawn and cut out from EVA foam and sticked onto the back of the head with contact cement. the LED on the back were also tested to see which colour combination looks the best.
As same with the front, the back were resin-coated with many layers and then sanded and primed, meanwhile, for the internal structure, speakers were soldered and installed inside the ear with properly placed velcro to help with maintenance in the future.
for the front of head, acrylic pieces were cut and melted with hot air gun to provide a protective cover for the eye, which two layer of tinted coat were sticked on it to darken the overall feeling and gives it a more compelling eye to the dog head.(and it affect greatly on the quality of the eye on camera, which I hope people will be taking photo/video of it during the FYP show.)
afterwhich, the dog head were masked and sprayed in many layers with model paint.
towards the final after the base colours were masked and sprayed, the corners were touched up with small brush. Water decals from toy models were added to the head to give it a more interesting finishing and make the finishing completed. As in my research, I found that small details is the key factor that differentiate a normal artwork and a insanely impressive one.
For the appearance of the head, lastly, it was sealed off with two thick coat of samurai lacquer spray paint and then airbrushed with a model grade matte clear coat to remove the shine from the lacquer paint (which is too glossy and look like it is a plastic toy.) small details like carbon-fiber vinyl were sticked to the side of the head to finish it off and gives different texture to the dog head.
The process of making the head from start to finish was long, but I’ve learnt many skills as this was my first time using EVA foam, so everything was a good lesson, even from the small details like “how to cut EVA foam properly” is an invaluable lesson for me. And throughout this process, I also learnt that what materials could or could not go with the other, and also how to cause the paint to stick onto the resin firmly and not peel off.