Monday, 29 September 2008

Face Detail

Here are more stills from Invasion of Time, showing head, mouth and gun detail.


I have noticed that the collar tartan does change between stories, but using stills from the story, Invasion of Time, I have been able to match at least one collar tartan to the Buchanan Modern Tartan. I have, however, noticed that the Ancient version of the tartan is used in several other versions of the collar. I am not sure if other tartans are used, people with a Scottish/ Celtic background could tell me better, but that is what I have noticed. Also sometimes the collars look faded on the outside, but you can tell the original tartan must have been brighter by looking at the rim and inner part of the collar.
With that information, and tracking down a little shop in NSW (Scottish Accessories Shop, Croydon) that sells tartans, I bought a tartan scarf that I will use for the collar. The scarf is such a lovely woolen fabric I dread to cut it!!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

SportBEC Switch-mode Battery Eliminator Circuit

I have a battery, I have the motors, I have a speed controller, but I need something that can get power to the the servos efficiently and without frying them. I have chosen to go with the SportBEC option. Here is a little about it... And it is a tiny part, I must say!!!

SportBEC (Battery Eliminator Circuit) powers your receiver and servos much more efficiently than a standard BEC. As many as 8 servos can be powered without worrying about an overheating BEC. SportBEC works great up to very high voltages, and is especially suited for "sport" aircraft and glow conversions. SportBEC is usually a necessity at 4s and above when running high torque or digital servos.

SportBEC's output is selectable between 5V/6V using a small slide switch. The 6V setting gives more speed and torque to the servos, and is especially useful for helicopter flyers. A red LED indicates when 6V is selected.

We use these BECs in our robots for powering our control systems that have high current demands. We will hook up IP cameras, wireless bridges, microcontrollers, etc. and the BEC has no problem with the current demand. Great source for servos too. Since its a switching supply we eliminate the need for multiple batteries, we run everything off of a single 24V source using the BECs for the control and servos instead of having a separate battery or batteries.

Because it is an efficient switching regulator, SportBEC can supply its full rated current of 3.5A all the way up to 33.6VDC.

Many design hours were spent on SportBEC to ensure it does not create radio interference. It uses a shielded inductor and optimized layout, so you can use it without fear of glitching.

SportBEC installs between your ESC and receiver, so you don't have to modify your speed control to disable its internal BEC.

For best results, ensure that the SportBEC is installed at least 2 inches away from your receiver and antenna.

Additional notes: If you are using small servos make sure they can run at 6v. Some sub-micros, notably the Hitec HS-50 and Futaba S3154, can be damaged by a 6v supply.

For even more information about the SportBEC go here or here...

I have uploaded some information about the SportBEC, including the manuals, so it doesn't vanish like so many things on the web do...

A Beginners Guide to Switching Regulators.doc

A Beginners Guide to Switching Regulators.pdf

SportBEC FAQ.doc

SportBEC FAQ.pdf

SportBEC Manual.doc

SportBEC Manual.pdf

Using an External BEC on multiple models.pdf

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Neck Tube

The neck has been a bit of a problem for me for a while, and reading the forums I knew that it would be an issue. The original diameter was 5 1/4". There is a couple of stories of what the neck material is on the hero prop...

The usual one the you hear is that is a style of ducting tubing.

The second, and more recent that I have heard, is that it was a rubber gaiter from a tractor. This is a quote from a recent post on the Doctor Who Prop Builder Guild... Thanks Phil!

"I was talking to Matt Irvine at the NSC a couple of months ago and he said the original prop used a gaiter from an old tractor or bit of agricultural equipment - he wasn't sure which as he didn't build the original prop." - Phil

Knowing that they used a Mini steering boot for the tail bushing, it is very possible that the latter is true. However, the former is easier to get hold of... At least for now...
I headed off to the Purple Pig (a place in Hobart that probably sells the largest range of hoses) and bought a half meter length of rubberised ducting tubing that the guy at the shop thought was the closest to my reference images.
Sadly it is only 5" in diameter because they have stopped making the 5 1/4" ones many years ago, but that 1/4" shouldn't make too much difference. The chap ended up giving my a trade discount because he liked the idea of the build so much! :-D
A big thanks to Sarah for holding the tube during the photos!

Friday, 26 September 2008

Let There Be Light

Another thing I bought recently was the Knight Rider LED kit that came in a little while ago, well actually two kits from Active Electronics. I have also bought the coloured high bright LEDs from Oatley Electronics to replace the dimmer red ones that come in the kit. From Jaycar I bought LED mounts for 5mm LEDs. I have started building one already...
As mentioned before, one kit is destined to light up the control panel, the other one will light up the false panel that I am planning.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

New bits

Over the last few months I have been hunting for parts for K-9 and here is what I have found…
A few posts ago I mentioned that I had bought some windscreen wiper motors. Here they are cleaned and stripped next to a 12V sealed motor cycle battery.
The steel turn arm was removed by clamping tightly the turn arm in a vice, getting a friend to help hold onto the motor to prevent it turning as I undid the nut. They are well fixed on!! The brass mounting was removed by removing the small nuts using socket spanner.
A bit of CRC was used to ease the nuts off as they had welded on over time. All nuts and bots were retained for future mounting. Then with some more CRC the motor was thoroughly cleaned up.
Just for all you car boffins out there... Here is a photo of what they would have looked like in the original car...
And this is what I sort of hope to achieve with them, like Robert's K-9.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Totem in The Age

As mentioned in the last post, I have put a piece for Totem. Well, The Age newspaper has written an article about it... It can be found directly on their site...

Oh, you inscrutable doll

September 20, 2008

More than 120 artists' dolls will soon be on display at Federation Square, writes Frances Atkinson.

Sayraphim Lothian with Rachel Hughes' bald calico dolls that are part of the Totem installation.
Photo: Roger Cummins

THERE ARE TWO Sayraphim Lothians. One has pale skin, shiny hair and large eyes, the other has shiny hair, large eyes and pale green fur. "I'm so happy with it," the real Lothian says, gently stroking the little monster's hair.

The creature sitting quietly in the corner represents a part of Lothian she'd rather not talk about in detail. "I suppose she represents my own insecurities. She's a monster who is trying to fit into human society. She's wearing a handmade dress and has jewellery that doesn't quite match."

The furry doll is part of Totem, an installation made up of more than 120 dolls that will fill the hollow walls of the atrium at Federation Square as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Lothian approached artists from Australia and around the world and asked them to create a doll with soul - a piece that "reflected their inner identities". A few found the question so personal they couldn't commit to the project, but many others found the idea of creating a doll that embodies some aspect of themselves an irresistible challenge.

Lothian describes herself as an art mercenary who works in television, film and theatre. She's also a graphic and web designer who is happy to do anything artistic, providing she's paid for it:

"Which is basically what most artists do to prevent working in call centres." Lothian also worked as a puppet technician on Spike Jonze's yet-to-be-released film Where the Wild Things Are, based on Maurice Sendak's classic children's book of the same name.

At her headquarters, the Auspicious Arts Incubator in Southbank, Lothian's studio resembles a surreal mail centre where packages in brown paper and bubble wrap of assorted sizes take up every inch of space. There's a Frida Kahlo-inspired skeleton, a traditional-looking doll with a fabric cigarette hanging from its mouth, a brightly coloured, papier-mache doll featuring Andy Warhol's face.

The latest arrivals are on the desk. One is a small sculpture of a rabbit with large belly, protruding front teeth and what Lothian suspects are real whiskers. It hangs on to a smaller bunny doll, in the same manner a toddler might grasp a favourite toy: upside down, by one leg.

Lothian said the artist, American Carisa Swenson, was initially worried Australian audiences might not like the doll because of our prejudice against rabbits and the damage they can do to the environment. Lothian doesn't really know what Swenson is trying to convey with her doll, but adds, "I'm fine with that. I don't try and interpret them too much." But, she adds, "all art is personal because it comes through this filter of their own experiences".

Of course, dolls don't always equate with sweet. In his book A Room Full of Toys, Alberto Manguel observes, "The body of a doll is always slightly disturbing." He might well be talking about a piece submitted for the project by Melbourne artist Jon Beinart entitled bubbapilla - a stack of five headless baby dolls which are connected with only one head at the top.

With each set of arms and legs pointing to the front, it does resemble a bizarre baby/caterpillar hybrid that is undeniably strange and beautiful. In contrast, artist Madeleine Hoxley drew on her science background to create a free-form quilted skeleton that's anatomically correct. Black stitching provides the shading while caffeine-coloured fabric helps promote a creamy, bone-like pallor.

One of the most captivating pieces is by American artist Beth Robinson. Her doll, about 45 centimetres tall, is a woman wearing a dress made from vintage fabric. She has long, dark hair, a hank of Robinson's own locks, and four arms. One set reaches up to her head in despair or frustration, the other holds tiny dressmaker's pins and a black voodoo doll. Her eyes are entirely silver - sightless and watchful at the same time.

Via email, Robinson says, "I spent a lot of time thinking about who I am as an artist and a person and how the two work together to create me."

No less curious are five large bald dolls made out of simple calico by Melbourne artist Rachel Hughes. Delivered in a woven basket, each face is delicately painted in muted colours. Lothian suspects they are partly a self-portrait of Hughes and each of her four sisters. "I think they're incredible," says Lothian. "Every choice an artist makes tells you something about them."

While some of the pieces are as far removed from a prosthesis-coloured Barbie or pimped-up Bratz doll that you can get, many are influenced by traditional doll-makers. Lothian said she was inspired to create Totem partly because of her own childhood connections with dolls.

Her grandmother Marj was a member of the CWA and spent a lifetime creating dolls for Lothian and her sister. "She knew about the project but developed dementia and died early this year, so I've dedicated Totem to her memory."

Melbourne artist Jade Burstall is making a documentary about Totem that will run on a large screen during the exhibition. "'I'm not a crafty person but I got on board because I was drawn to the idea of dolls with souls. The installation process will take Lothian two days to complete and Burstall plans to capture much of it on film.

The project has also inspired debate between artists about the nature and craft of making dolls, and the process of transformation that turns a doll into a work of art. Lothian believes environment has a lot do with it.

"Some dolls are clearly not playthings. Most of the dolls in Totem are one-of-a-kind art dolls." However, Lothian hopes audiences will connect with the installation. "Totem is not just about self-identity, it's like a vox pop of how a section of society see themselves. Each doll has been created using a wide range of techniques that showcase how varied the craft can be."

Totem will be on exhibition at the Fracture Galleries, the atrium, Federation Square, city, September 25-October 12.

The Age is a sponsor of the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

This story was found at:


I haven't posted for a while now, not because I haven't done anything to my K-9, or done anything Dr.Whoey, but I have been distracted by other things that have taken some time from the build and posting... Here are some of the works that have distracted me...

My doll is made of copper wire, piano wire and clay for the
Totem exhibition 24 Sep - 13 Nov at the Fractures Gallery, Federations Square, Melbourne.

I also have a couple pieces in the GLC exhibition 19 Sep - 2 Oct at the Moonah Arts Centre. I managed to sell the photo on opening night :-)

Touching the Well

Image Details:
Digital photograph (Sony α 100, f/5.0, ISO 400, focal length: 30.0mm, hand-held, unflashed), printed on archival professional photographic paper, digitally laminated and block-mounted.

Artist’s Statement:
In this image, a smooth, delicate and feminie hand reaches out, seeking something within the moving, dark water. Hands are important in the sharing of love: literally, in terms of sensuality and touch and symbolically, in the display of commitment and marriage (i do).
Hands are also used to worship, to pray and to display reverence. People raise their hands to God and count beads with their fingers as they pray. Holding the hand of a loved one can be a type of worship (idol).
Hands have always been, like faces, an important way to identify someone. We each have unique handprints, handwriting and artistic/creative style (i.d.).

Homo gynoides sp.

Artist’s Statement:
Technology is a mask that veils our true selves from the modern world. Though technology is meant to help us in our every day lives, increase our senses and stimulate us, instead it forms a barrier reducing our social interaction and awareness of our surroundings.

The mask has had putty to reshape it, an additional head section put in using card and papier-mâché, it has been strengthened using papier-mâché, had electronic components (mostly from old hard-drives and CD drives) glued, screwed and hacked into her face, and some wire added. The black is a back gesso primer.

Dry brushed. This is a two coat dry brush, the first is using Jo Sonja's Rose Gold metallic paint, and then the second is the Rose Gold mixed with equal parts with Chroma Cadmium Red to produce a more vivid red.

Varnished using a satin artist's varnish and wires added. The eyes have been fixed in and battery pack soldered. The front of the battery pack has got a layer of red holographic tape over it that shines through the mouth to create "teeth".

And finally... The mask with its lights on!