Wednesday, October 9, 2013

WIP Wednesday/Pepakura tutorial

So I've been working on my Halloween costume. This year I'll be going as the Medieval Batman that I was planning for last year, but didn't finish. So far I've only made progress on the helmet. This post will also serve as a sort of Pepakura (Pep) tutorial.

For the base I am using the Skyrim model for the Ebony helmet.

Before you start Pepping, you need a few things. First and foremost, you need a model to Pep. You three options when it comes to a Pep model. First you can use a Pep model someone else has made. This is the easiest and fastest way to get what you need, though it may not be an option if no one has made a Pep file for what you need. The second option is to make a model yourself. This takes a while and you need to know how 3D model. Once you have a model you can export it to a .pdo (the file type used  by Pepakura). Your last option is to pull a 3D model from a game and import it into Pepakura.  I am using the Pep model from 405th user zombiegrimm (the model I used and others can be found here). I had to shrink the model down because it was way too big to start off. 

The next thing you'll need is the Pepakura Designer. If you are going with an option other than using a Pep file you find, you'll need the Pepakura Designer over the Pepakura Viewer. The Designer lets you edit and unfold a 3D model. The viewer will let you arrange the way the Pep pieces print out. 

Now you'll need some cardstock. You need to use cardstock over paper because it holds up better than regular paper. I would use at least 50lb, but not more than 75lb. I have some 100lb that I couldn't get through my printer without it jamming.

 Now that you the paper you will want to print out your Pep file. I like to turn the thickness of the lines up to 5 because it makes it easier to tell the difference. You'll want to make sure that all of the parts fit onto the pages and use as much free room as they can before you print.

Now that you have all your pieces printed out you'll want a ruler, two colors of pen (I suggest a dark color like blue or black and a bright color like red or pink), scissors, and tape or gluesticks.

It helps to keep your pages in order. That way you can look at your Pep model and find the piece you need instead of scanning all the pages for matching numbers. 

There are three kinds of lines on these pieces. Solid lines are the edges and are where you cut. Dashed lines are mountain folds and dash-dot lines are valley folds. Mountain folds fold down on the line to form a point, like a mountain and valley folds fold up to form a channel or valley. I always draw one of these on my  pages so I don't forget which is which.

Choose a color and stick with it. Make one valleys and one mountains. You'll probably have more mountains than valleys. I try to find a nice central piece and build from there. Cut it out, mark the lines and fold it accordingly.

Then you'll want to find a piece that attaches to this one, rinse and repeat. You'll want to line the numbers up and tape/glue the tab to the next piece. Eventually you'll have the finished paper product.

I added cardboard to the bottom to make sure the helmet didn't deform during the hardening process.

Next you should use resin to make the pep file hard so you can mold it or use the piece directly. You do this by coating the piece in resin. I use fiberglass resin from Home Depot that's used in auto repair and boating. Stuff smells terrible, but get's the job done. I like to use cheap chip brushes used for painting. I try not to buy the brushes if they are more than 50 cents each. 

I did three coats. After the resin base coats, you'll notice that it's still pretty flimsy. You'll want to reinforce this so it becomes rigid. You can use fiberglass matte, which is a pain in the butt, but will be extremely hard after a few layers. Another option, which I tried for the first time and found worked extremely well, is to use Rondo. This is a mixture of resin and Bondo. I added a layer on the inside and outside, and  now the helmet is pretty darn hard with very little effort. For this particular Rondo combo, I mixed equal parts resin and Bondo without the catalysts. Once they were mixed I added the appropriate amount of Bondo catalyst and double the liquid resin catalyst.  I slushed it on the inside and brushed it on the outside. 

After the Rondo has cured, I added some regular Bondo to fill in some spots. After a little bit of sanding and trimming, this is what I've got so far. 

At this point you have a regular Bondo'ed prop you can either cast or use as is. Since I don't have a lot of time, I plan on using this piece as my costume helmet.

And that is how you Pep. 

Next up, lots of sanding...

Until next time,

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