Tuesday, June 23, 2015

District 9 Wikus Costume Part 2

T-Minus 45 days to Stockton-Con

Apologies for the long time between posts, I've been spending most of the time planning everything and just getting all the pieces together.

Since posting Part 1 I've gotten a lot more ambitious with the rifle. I've decided to add lights and sounds to it, a trigger function, and even make it so that the gun will not function without my alien hand (which will be changed later so that I can use it whenever without having to put on my alien hand).

I went to Sparkfun.com for most of the electronics, they seem to have a large range of different electronics for different projects.

First, the brain. I decided to go for a Pro Micro 3.3V Arduino Board, it was cheap and should be able to achieve the basic functions that I need. I also decided to get a Micro USB to Female USB and plan to have the Female USB part sticking out of the gun (with the Micro USB plugged into the Arduino) so that I can reprogram the gun later, if I need/want to.

Next is the soundboard and speaker. I got the Audio-Sound Breakout board and a PCB mount speaker. The microSD is what will carry the sounds that the soundboard will play through the speaker.

This gun's gonna need some power, so I got a 9V battery connector. My plan is to have the 9V battery in the gun's magazine and have the connector sticking out of the magazine well, allowing for easy and fast battery changing.

Six LEDs, 4 red ones that will always be on, and 2 blue ones that will light up when the trigger is pulled.

I've been using the scene in which Wikus is strapped down and forced to test fire the guns for references and I noticed that one or two of the guns have spinning bits. Hence this small motor.

The switch for turning the gun on, and the button to have behind the trigger mechanism. Not sure how exactly it will be put together, since I haven't been able to open the gun yet, due to a stripped screw, but I'm learning as I go here.

Here's the cool bit. This here's a reed switch. Basically, it's two metal bits held apart from each other that go together when you hold a magnet to it, allowing it to send a signal. My plan is to have a magnet in the alien hand so that the gun will not do anything unless the reed switch detects the magnet from my hand.

And then the various resistors, regulator and transistors.

Before I made the final purchase on all of these, I drew up a blueprint (with some help from my dad) on how it would all be connected together.

Right now I'm testing out all the electronics on a breadboard and learning how to program the Arduino (which I've named Neil) and the soundboard. I've picked up some different aesthetic pieces for the gun, but I'll go over those later. Mostly because I forgot to take pictures of them.

Finally, I've been making a bit of progress on the alien skin bits. I found some stuff called InstaMorph that comes as a jar of little plastic (non-toxic and biodegradable) pellets. You heat up some water and pour some pellets in and they melt into a moldable form for shaping and only takes a few minutes to dry into a really solid plastic. If you mess up at all, you can drop it back into the water or heat it with a hot air gun to reshape it. I practiced with a bit of it and painted it with a semi-gloss black paint I got from Hobby Lobby. In the end it turned out looking pretty cool, though I'll need to practice a bit more with the shaping.

I'll post more on the makeup part of the project and the aesthetics of the gun later, for now this is all I remembered to take photos of. Just a month and a half until Stockton-Con and I'm starting to feel a bit nervous about this project already.

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