Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Recycling Parts

It occurred to me that I had some gas mask parts that could be combined in a new and different way. If I took the Pachydermos/Olifant leather pattern and made it without the copper ears or the rubber hose trunk, it could serve as a gas mask with a snout. Not out of the question, after making the RHINO mask with the big horn.

For the canisters, almost two years ago I made some custom ones for one mask and then never used them again. That seemed like a good start, and I could easily enough make a variation of eyepieces and fabricate something for the exhaust (to fill the hole in the snout). Using these preexisting pieces would save me a ton of work and allow me to produce a new gas mask in a fairly short amount of time.

Let me explain the history of the different canisters, eyepieces and exhaust ports that I have used in my steampunk leather and resin pieces.

The first steampunk leather piece I made (Sept 2008) was the #43 gas mask, copied from a yard sale find. For one of the eyes I molded and cast a camera lens. For the other I used the end of a flashlight. For the combination canister/exhaust I scratch built it using acrylic sheet, screws and a knob from a camera.

The next mask I made was a respirator I call the Bad Air Transmutator. It has no eyes, and I scratch built the pair of canisters. Two months later (Feb 2009) I made Pachydermos, my elephantine gas mask. It had a lot to it, and I scratch built the matching eyepiece bases and caps.

I made a leather covered vacuum hose, and leather trimmed copper ears, and when it came to the canisters I didn't want to scratch build them as well, so I used the Transmutator canisters. My first recycled piece.

Fast forward to July 2009 when I built the Defender gas mask. I scratchbuilt new canisters, and used a camera zoom for the right eye. For the left eye I used the Pachydermos eyepiece. Recycle #2.

For the indy film After the Fall I modified the Transmutator canister design by shrinking it down and covering it with a metal grid. My first two-part canister. That is the canister I'm using on my latest gas mask.

In Jan 2010 I constructed the RHINO gas mask with everything newly scratch built: Eyepiece base, eyepiece cap, canister and exhaust horn.

In June I made the steampunk plague doctor mask Dr. Beulenpest, using the Pachydermos eyepiece base and a new nonagonal eyepiece cap. For the other eye I used the camera eyepiece from #43.

That brings us to my lastest mask Ragnarök, a term which means the end of the cosmos in Norse mythology. For the new exhaust port I'm using the Pachydermos eyepiece base and the Beulenpest cap, along with a circle of drywall sanding mesh and scratch built screen to hold it in place. For the matching eyes I'm using the Pachydermos eye base and a new domed eyecage.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Domed Eyecage

For my latest steampunk gas mask I wanted to make an eyepiece that was a domed cage. After considering various ways to build such a thing I settled on what I know best, leather and resin. I began by laser cutting a circle of vegetable tanned leather with cross bars, shown on the left in the picture below.

My goal was to have it shaped like the dome on the right, with the cross bars spaced so that the wearer could still see through them adequately.

I stretched the dampened flat piece of leather in three steps. I began with the wooden knob I had used for forming the ear on Pachydermos, shown above on the left. In my wanderings I had collected the steel fence post ends shown above on the right, one with a higher dome than the other that I used for steps two and three.

Once the leather dried it became rigid, and I molded it in silicone rubber. Here is a photo of the leather original on the left, an unfinished cold cast aluminum casting in the middle, and the finished, polished casting on the right.

And here it is placed into the undyed leather mask.