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How to make a pilot bust

Have you ever wanted to make your very own pilot? Here is an how-to!

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Fraazen18/01/2015 22:05:19
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42 forum posts
52 photos

Hallo!

As many, I do not like to have an empty cockpit, especially if a clear canopy is to used. Drones apart, every plane is flown by a pilot and everybody of us is a pilot. So a decent "avatar" should be considered.

A year ago I started the construction of the beautiful CleanSweep from Tim Hooper and then I started looking here and there to find an appropriate figure for the role. I was not wanting to spend a fortune for a very good figure, after all it's not a scale model. Nor, the simple Chinese molded and painted figure seemed absolutely poor for a model with a certain character.

I was also wondering about a very unique pilot, maybe not the best one, but a least only mine. And "snap!" the idea came!

Why not sculpting one?

Stay tuned to see the progress and have some hints!

Francesco

cymaz18/01/2015 22:37:56
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8670 forum posts
1177 photos

There has been two articles written in the RCME in the last few years, that I know of.

Paul Marsh18/01/2015 22:41:07
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3710 forum posts
1053 photos

...Take his wallet...!laugh

Pete B - Moderator18/01/2015 22:49:45
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Moderator
7583 forum posts
732 photos

Take no notice of cymaz, Fraazen - he could probably get a small baby in his current project....teeth 2

I'm always open to new ideas, so bring it on.....thumbs up

Pete

Tim A18/01/2015 22:55:29
216 forum posts
11 photos

I want to see too, if anyone can show me some fresh ideas I might be able to make one that looks like a real pilot instead of a geriatric bus conductor.

go for it Fraazen!!!

Steve T18/01/2015 23:05:32
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488 forum posts
74 photos

Check out my album, so far I have Tigger, Shere Khan, Winnie and Baloo the Bear, in Spits, Hurricane and Mustang. Can't take it too seriously can one!

cymaz19/01/2015 06:59:52
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8670 forum posts
1177 photos
Posted by Pete B - Moderator on 18/01/2015 22:49:45:

Take no notice of cymaz, Fraazen -

SWMBO does that as well........crying.............Just an observation, I didn't say he could not do it.....crying

Fraazen19/01/2015 22:44:12
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42 forum posts
52 photos

Hello guys and thank you for your support!

For sure I'm not a master sculptor, so I looked for a way to combine technology (i.e. a PC) and manual work in order to streamline the process and obtain a decent pilot in a reasonable time.

Unfortunately, I'll be abroad for few days, so you have to wait a little bit for the complete explanation... Just a picture for now, the subject I started from... Quite complex for now, but he will become easier later!

Regards!

Francesco

pilot_bust_01.jpg

Ian Jones20/01/2015 00:44:28
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3218 forum posts
1397 photos

Is this going to be 3D printer job?

Fraazen20/01/2015 09:18:43
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42 forum posts
52 photos

Of course this could be an option, but this is not the case!

There will be some hand work to do, too!

Fraazen24/01/2015 10:35:50
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42 forum posts
52 photos
Posted by Steve T on 18/01/2015 23:05:32:

Check out my album, so far I have Tigger, Shere Khan, Winnie and Baloo the Bear, in Spits, Hurricane and Mustang. Can't take it too seriously can one!

It seems as you have a squadron of excellent pilots!

Fraazen24/01/2015 10:54:41
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42 forum posts
52 photos

Ok, I'm back from my trip in the cold russian winter, so I can continue on this project.

The first step is to find a suitable bust figure in 3D. OBJ data format works well, but other are suitable, too. The one I'm going to use was downloaded for free from the site **LINK**. You need to login and become member, but that all, nothing to pay.

Another useful tool for our purpose is the 123D Make software, also available for free both for Mac and PC. I like Mac, but this is just my preference. This is a powerful yet easy to use software that let you convert this complex 3D model into something more simple and, most important, real.

After you have downloaded the 3D model and 123D Make software, let import the model by clicking on the "Import" command. Then browse to your file and click "Open". After few seconds (or minutes, depending on your machine!) your model will appear. Notice that the user interface is now a little bit more complete, with additional commands.

123d_make_01.jpg

Rotate the model and fit it to screen size up to the point you're satisfied with it, using the commands I've hi lighted on the right.

Now, looking at the left panel, change units to suit your preference and needs, choosing from in, cm, mm or ft.

Now, adjust the size: it's enough to modify to height to have all the others scaled accordingly. Of course, you can also deactivate the control "Uniform scale" to achieve a somehow different (maybe hugely?) effect.

I'm going to use a height of 7cm.

123d_make_02.jpg

Engine Doctor24/01/2015 11:29:16
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2302 forum posts
27 photos

Whatever happened to a block of balsa scrap and a sharp set of tools? Not forgetting the elastoplast and first aid kit of course: -)

Fraazen24/01/2015 11:44:28
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42 forum posts
52 photos

The next step is the magic one! With few clicks we are going to transform the model in something more realistic.

Click on "construction technique" and choose "Stacked slices": the model will change dramatically, becoming something like this:

123d_make_03.jpg

At this stage you should have guessed what my idea is: to transform a complex, detailed 3D model into a series of balsa slices that will be glued in stack and refined to our needs.

Now you have to change parameters a little bit to make a balance between the number of slices to be cut and the level of detail, nothing that thinner slices will provide a much, much better level of detail. The picture above uses 4,5mm balsa slices, while the following ones are created with 2,5mm and 1,0mm respectively. Impressive difference, true?

123d_make_04.jpg

123d_make_05.jpg

Fraazen24/01/2015 12:01:20
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42 forum posts
52 photos

For my needs, a thickness of 1,5mm seems to be ok. This is the result.

123d_make_06.jpg

After that, playing whit the "Dowels" panel let you add a dowel which is very helpful for aligning the stack when gluing them together. I would suggest a vertical dowel that has the further benefit of being able to keep the stake aligned in both X and Y directions, while a round one will leave some play to turn them left or right, that could be good if you want to create a bust that faces on either side of the plane. If you choose (as I did) a vertical dowel, this is automatically added to the project as well and will pop-up on the screen.

Fraazen24/01/2015 12:09:15
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42 forum posts
52 photos

Ok, last couple of picture and we can finish with this boring (although very quick) software!

Click on the little arrow on the top right corner: a new panel will appear showing you the number of sheets and parts that are going to compose your pilot.

123d_make_07.jpg

Next, a click on the "Get plans" button (bottom left) let you export the plans in different formats or print them on your desktop printer. The first option let you create a DXF file that can be used also with CNC machines for easiness of construction. In my case, I had my stake printed out on a couple of A4 pages.

Ok, for today we have finished! Recap: we downloaded a model fro Internet, then we used the 123D Make software to slice the model into something we can build and finally we have printed (or exported) the slices so that we can now move to the construction phase.

Stay tuned for further development!

regards,

Francesco

Bob Cotsford24/01/2015 13:30:02
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7984 forum posts
444 photos

What an ingenious process,though I do see it becoming labour intensive if you don't have cnc or laser cutters to hand!

Tony Bennett24/01/2015 13:34:08
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5075 forum posts
129 photos

well i am going to give it a go, but using depron instead of balsa.

Fraazen24/01/2015 14:45:04
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42 forum posts
52 photos
Posted by Bob Cotsford on 24/01/2015 13:30:02:

What an ingenious process,though I do see it becoming labour intensive if you don't have cnc or laser cutters to hand!

Not that much!

in fact, it's going to take a n hour or two to cut out the parts, and gluing is only 10-20 minutes, depending on the glue you are using.

Fraazen24/01/2015 14:46:17
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42 forum posts
52 photos
Posted by Tony Bennett on 24/01/2015 13:34:08:

well i am going to give it a go, but using depron instead of balsa.

In this case, considering a thickness of 3mm it will look like my second image, a little bit "schematic", but still recognizable!

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