Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Budgeted Omni Tool Prop

Some cosplayers made a very excellent replica for this prop out of acrylic or plastics or something that had to do with laser cutting. And of course he sells them for about $200 a prop. DEFINITELY WORTH IT if you want to drop the cash and go for high quality. Simply google omni-tool prop and you'll find it pretty easily.

But I want to do it MYSELF even though I'm a terrible prop maker...worse than costumes.
So I'm going to make a low cost omni-tool and share how YOU can make it too!

 Here are the materials I plan on using.

  • Heat Gun/Blow Dryer
  • Scissors
  • Exacto Knife
  • Box Cutters
  • Glue Gun/Clear glue
  • Masking Tape
  • Scotch Tape
  • Printing Paper
  • Invisible Mounting wire
  • References
  • Two 2-liter Clear Soda bottle smooth sides
  • Orange, smooth transparent folders/binder dividers
  • Clear Snaps (optional)
  • Orange Sharpie (optional)
  • Orange Enamel paint (optional)
  • Testors Window Tint Spray paint (optional)
  • Orange Vinyl Headlight tints (optional)
Here we go.


 Either print or draw the pattern for the omni-tool. Make sure you scale it to your arm.
Check out my Armor Pattern making video to do this with masking tape and paper.

Then cut your pattern out.

Clean the bottles and get all the labels off. Try to get all the gluey stuff off.

ALTERNATIVE: Instead of soda bottles you can use those transparent folders or binder dividers, preferably one without a texture. They are very flexible so you can form them into the right shapes easily with your pattern.

The Making

Using the bottle, lay your pattern on the body of the bottle and tape it down. Usually this size of bottle is long enough for the forearm and has a pretty good girth to it. You might be able to find a 3 liter bottle if you need more girth.

Alternatively you can trace the pattern but due to the clear nature of the bottle I prefer not to mark it up.

Here's how I've used my bottles. The cylindrical shape of the bottle makes it ideal for making the round bits without seams.
(NOTE: You can use a smaller bottle for the smaller cylinders of the pattern if you choose to do so.)

Use your cutting tool to cut out the shape you've taped down. Do this for all your pieces.

With my binder dividers I've also taped down a few pieces to cut out Preferably those things that didn't need a curve. Granted, the soda plastic is very pliable and with the right amount of coaxing it can take a flatter shape. It takes low heat and heavy books.

Before we attach all the pieces it needs to be the right color.

The Tinting

Here are a couple of methods I thought of for coloring this bad boy.
1)The cheapest way I've found so far is to simply use Sharpie marker. The downside is that you're most likely going to get streaks.

2) Glass Paint. There are several brands at craft stores that you can try out. Check by the model car section that might have what you're looking for. Simply water it down and brush right onto the clear plastic.

4) Headlight Tint Stickers/Window Tints. The application might take some practice but hey, it's got a nice effect if you do it right.

5) Window Tint Paints...I found this video that lists what supplies to look for. Tamiya is the brand I noticed has the tinting.

Or skip the whole color thing and just use the folder/binder material. ;)

The Construction
Now the hard-ish part. Connecting the pieces together.

For some pieces, I just use hot glue around the edges. I find it best to prevent glue seams to tape the pieces together first. That way the glue seam is on the inside of the piece.

Some pieces can be more flexible, such as the hand piece of the omni tool or the retractable blade of the omni blade.
A couple of suggestions:
Eyelets: Unfortunately very visible But even the pro looking ones have a screw in them.

Invisible Thread/Fishing Line: Tie a knot at the top and on the bottom and add a bit of glue for good measure. A little more subtle. I did this for my omni-tool

Clear Snaps: Either sew on with the invisible thread or glue on. SNAP it's done.

The Finishing Touches

Details: Using a thin paint and fine brush or even the tip of a push pin, you can "etch" some of the design in.

The absolute cheapest way to go on this is getting orange glow necklaces at  a party favor store.
But the effect is pretty obvious. UNLESS, you wrap it around the circular area only.

LED Shoe Laces: I found these at Target once for like 4 bucks. It's a DEAL. The battery pack is pretty small so you can be discreet about it. It can flash and hold a constant glow if you press the button. Again, It's a bit thinner than a glow necklace so you can get away with more. It's highly versitile.

Install your own LEDs. To be honest I don't know how to do this. Which is why I go for the cheap stuff. I don't know if the material used to make this item would work with intense wiring. Proceed at your own risk.

Use and Care

It's designed to slide on and off your arm. The omni-blade obviously has a different design to it. Invisible thread may be useful again or some velcro pieces that attach to your costume may help.

It's very flexible, and because it's so cheap you don't have to worry too much about being rough with it. I would not recommend extreme heat as that can change the shape of the plastic. It should be mostly water proof. I haven't gone swimming with it so what can I say?

Enjoy your prop that cost you (hopefully) WAY less that $200.

Here are a few of my attempts:
- Binder dividers
- Thin binder

- Soda bottle

Friday, March 20, 2015

Transparent Worbla or TranspArt



This is the answer for so many of my prop issues for Tali!

It's also a fantastic way to make casting molds. Seriously...if I could make a visor with this!!
This would be way easier than thermoplastics. Downside is that it is pricey.

I want to make an Omnitool out of it. Also redo the visor. :D

Why haven't I updated this!?

Ha so it's been awhile since I posted progress. And progress had been made! First I'd like to show off my Grey Warden costume that I "debuted" at PAX South. Some of it broke off before I got this picture taken. :P

Grey Warden...missing elbow armor.

Tali's cosplay has been retired early as I rethink the design. The helmet is the only part that really came out nicely. Well...the metal arm stuff was pretty good too...and pants. Okay but my issue is that it had too many moving parts to put on by myself. I'm rethinking some of my take on the costume design. Like I probably will sew the bandeau onto the shirt directly and make the neck thingy out of fabric instead of foam. I still have plenty of leftover fabric so I can do it.

And I'm still unemployed. :P Much sadness. I have the fabric for the Inquisitor but little motivation to work on it. Currently, I have some very serious things to think about for my life in terms of work. We'll see how things go.