GIANT ANT PROJECT
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GIANT ANT - This is the giant hexapod after coating the tail in epoxy resin and filler and eventually painting it to look (relatively) like the body of an ant. Bear in mind we do have a lot of work to do on this model before we begin to fabricate the actual robot version. But for now this gives us a reasonable idea of what an animatronic version would look like. Note: steel wood and composites were used in the making of this model. Always seek the advise of your parent or teacher before using such products.
GIANT ANT - This is what I'm working on at the moment. I'm learning how to make things come to life from the drawing board, using epoxy resin and glass woven roving laminating, working from wooden, plaster and polystyrene artwork. Eventually the robot version of this large scale model will be made in carbon fiber.
In this picture you can see the tail of the giant robot hexapod that I call Anthony, after we coated it with polyester filler and sanded it down. Polyester filler is very hard to work with due to it being very quick setting so we had to work very fast to be able to get it to this standard. We modified the formula of this paste so that we could apply it very quickly with a brush, and it was much more flexible than normal polyester pastes, it is rubbery in texture. See painted tail directly below and the laminating and surface preparations below that.
This is the tail of Anthony, after the first coats of paint.
In addition to the epoxy and woven roving, the underside is reinforced with GRP (ADX40 vinylester resin). We may need to take a mould from the artwork, to produce carbon fibre shells for the robot. Right now the robot can be developed bare frame, independently from the artwork. This is me doing a bit of hard work, keying the surface for the polyester paste coating.
This is the tail for the giant robot hexapod (Ant) just after we applied the epoxy resin. Now I know it looks a little patchy, but trust me it will look a lot better when it is sanded and coated with polyester filler to toughen it up a bit against impacts and harsh weather. When making a one off, you don't want to go to all the expense of making moulds. In this case the moulds would be a relatively complex, four piece assembly.
EXOSKELETON - Insects have an exoskeleton, one reason they are so much stronger than endoskeletons, like humans. It also means that an old insect looks much the same as a young insect. No saggy skin and wrinkles. The head is also the skull. We had to cut out the plaster to make sockets to fit the wooden compound eyes. To save weight and time carving, the eyes are two-piece.
In this picture you can see the head for the giant hexapod, to be fixed to the body below. I can't wait to assemble it to see what it looks like. This artwork is now a museum exhibit in Sussex.
You can see how big the art work is from the VW camper in the garage behind. The polystyrene tail is coated in black emulsion to protect it before applying a layer of composites. A steel frame joins all the parts.
That Volkswagen van is over 40 years old, nearing completion of a 4 year restoration for ocean awareness (and other) events. When vehicles are that old, they are rated as 'Historic,' so become tax and MOT exempt and heritage assets. Owners tend to lavish attention on old vehicles. Fortunately, there are parts suppliers for almost every body panel and mechanical part.
This is the Australian bulldog ant. A sting from this insect can paralyze a human, and they can run as fast as us. In Australia they call them 'Jumper' ants. We scaled this real ant up times 300. This is what we are working off. You can scale up any insect and make your own art work, if you fancy making a giant mosquito or a wasp.
Some people have built massive octopods, powered by diesel engines, that a man can sit in and drive. They are part way to the fictional Jaeger robots used to hunt Kaiju, except that they are very slow and don't have weapons.
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