Player 2: Press Start to Join

10 Sep

Frame for Eleanor Lamb Helmet

I don’t know about you all, but I could use a break from Subject Delta’s helmet. This week, we began work on Eleanor Lamb‘s helmet. Daniel kept saying that this shape was going to be a whole lot easier to execute and I kept telling him to stop saying that! But he doesn’t listen to me so everyone knock on some wood!

Eleanor Lamb's Helmet basic shape

First of all, we needed to get something to help us build the shape of her helmet and something to anchor it to; a bouncy-ball and a flat wooden ring. You’ll also notice a metal strainer in the picture. Coincidence? I think not! After we taped the ball onto the base we needed something to stabilize it while we worked and, wouldn’t you know it, that ball fits perfectly in our kitchen strainer. Don’t worry; it was clean.

Next, I went back to cutting cardboard strips. Have I mentioned how sick I am of cardboard strips? This time around was easier because we had the appropriate tools. I used a box cutter this time instead of the X-Acto Knife.  While the box cutter is anything but elegant, it gets the job done. It was easier to cut the long strips more quickly and the less time I have to spend cutting and bending cardboard strips, the better!

Next, we busted out the hot glue gun. The plan was to tuck the cardboard strips between the ball and the wooden ring and then glue the cardboard to the ring. Daniel was very insistent about this process while I, on the other hand, was afraid that we would puncture the ball with the edges of the cardboard. Oddly enough I wasn’t nearly as concerned about the hot, metal, plastic-melting tip of the glue gun that we would later aim at our only ball.

We positioned the first strip, me wincing as Daniel pushed on the ball and wedged the cardboard indelicately into place, and I moved in with the hot glue gun. But I had to stop. Because of the legs on the front of the glue gun I couldn’t get the tip close enough without having to blindly shove the glue gun into the seam. So we conducted the rarely attempted hot glue gun leg surgery. Now we could operate with full visibility.

Eleanor Lamb's helmet frameThis was nerve-wracking work; Daniel watching as I put the glue into the seam. Sometimes we stressed each other out by trying to direct the other. This became another exercise in communicating about something more than the task at hand, we had to take care to let the other know when our tone of voice was a hindrance instead of a help.

During the planning phase, I had wanted to use single strips of cardboard, reaching from one side of the ball over to the opposite but Daniel came up with a plan to give us a strong focal point at the top of the helmet and make those pesky cardboard strips more manageable. I have to admit, this is pretty cool and the pictures that go with it are also pretty cool. — Sara

If there’s one thing I learned from the construction process on my helmet; it’s that the skeleton is the most important aspect of the helmet! Get the foundation correct and the rest will fall into place all the more smoothly. Sara had the right idea with ‘continual strips’, but I convinced her that we only needed half strips. It was my belief that the other strips could be cut and made to meet the first strip in the middle. Sara would lay a strip of hot glue and I would smooth it with my finger, fusing the two pieces together. It turned into an awesome star shape!

Eleanor Lamb's helmet top frame

The result was better than expected and, once papier-mâchéd,  will give us a dome with a much smoother and much more consistent surface. And, since Sara doesn’t get a helmet to help with the pressure at the top of the structure, we wanted to reinforce it with a cardboard circle.

Eleanor Lamb Helmet frame

We bent it and worked it so that it was good and flexible and then glued it on.  We had a pretty complete frame but I was afraid if we papier-mâchéd directly onto the plastic of the ball, we would run into problems when we went to cut our potholes. — Daniel

My solution was this. Trace the shapes of the negative space between the cardboard strips, trace the stencil onto the card board and cut it out. Then I should have been able to glue the wedges of cardboard in between the strips and then we’d have a solid ball of cardboard that was safe to papier-mâché and cut. So I had Daniel rig up that light and I started working on the first section with printer paper.

Eleanor Lamb's helmet tracing Eleanor Lamb Helmet card board tracing Eleanor Lamb helmet cardboard cut out

Let’s analyze this step by step. Firstly, I should have used tracing paper instead of printer paper. Although I thought I had solved the translucency problem by back lighting the ball. Secondly, remember how I said that we had bought a cheap X-Acto Knife instead of splurging on a really good quality one? Well, that cheep, bendy X-Acto Knife cut the shape I needed but it cut at an angle so when I went to fit it in between the cardboard strips I had to trim it. This trimming resulted in our third point; all that space between the wedge and the cardboard strips for the hot glue to seep through and pop our only balloon.

At this point I stopped and did some math. There were 13 sections on the ball and each would require two stencils; a top and bottom. These two stencils would not be identical from section to section so each would have to be drafted and drawn. That’s 26 stencils for those of you counting. Now, if they worked perfectly I could probably whip them out in about 5 minutes a piece which would put me at 130 minutes or a little over two hours of work. But this calculation is based on everything being perfect the first try which, based on the first try documented in the pictures above, wasn’t going to happen.

Daniel and I stared at each other as we weighed our options. Would it be worth the time and possible frustration to proceed? Or should we take some other course of action? The only problem with taking alternate action was that neither of us knew what that would be.

Check back with us next week. Hopefully we’ll have this figured out by then! — TCG

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5 Responses to “Player 2: Press Start to Join”

  1. stacycharnay September 11, 2013 at 12:21 PM #

    Looks awesome guys!!!…but now we can’t play with the ball…

  2. TinyTK September 14, 2013 at 8:47 AM #

    You guys are good!!!! This looks awesome already!!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Level 2-2: Solo Mission – Strengthen Helmet | Co-Op Campaign - September 17, 2013

    […] separately so you won’t have to go without a complete weekly dose of Those Crazy Gilberts! Last week, we were staring at the incomplete shell of Eleanor Lamb‘s helmet, wondering what the best […]

  2. Level 2-3: Upgrade Player 2 | Co-Op Campaign - October 2, 2013

    […] Remember when I asked all of you to knock on some wood because Daniel kept saying that Eleanor Lamb‘s helmet and harness would be easy to build? Thank you to all of you that did because it must have been enough to keep Murphy from moving in or even squatting in the yard. We have some amazing pictures to show you but not a lot to describe because we’ve been there and done that and you’ve all been there and done that with us! […]

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