Friday, September 7, 2007


I've started to make a new mold for the top of k9's head. I think I should be able to use the rest of the mold I've already made, but getting the top right is key. I've taken some step by step pictures documenting the process.

Step 1: Gelcoat. I've applied gel coat to the top of k9's head where I plan on putting the fiberglass. Note, I've included the sides where I'll have a lip. That'll make it easier for me to have good edge definition once I have the mold complete.

Step 2: Fiberglass application. I've shown two layers of fiberglass here. One layer of fiberglass cloth with a layer of fiberglass mat. For both materials, I use tools that are essentially spatulas to spread the resin into and across the material. I waited a little over an hour between applications.

Step 3: Demold, and touch up. At this point you pull your original out of the mold. If you didn't do a great job with prep this can be challenging. Like it was here. Note all the gel coat that stayed on the model. I didn't have this happen the first time through. >shrug<>

I'll be sanding the mold this weekend and hopefully I'll be able to cast a suitable top piece of the head with what I've got.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Fiberglassing :(

Not too much has been happening with K9 lately. I've made a fiberglass mold of the head and started to cast. This is what I've learned about fiberglassing.
  • Its not as easy as it looks on the internet. Shocking, I know.
  • Resin cures really, really fast at temperatures above 100°F. Cure kinetics in action - guess those years of polymer science classes weren't a waste.
  • The above fact makes using resin in Phoenix AZ in August pretty awful.
  • Gel-coat from the local fiberglass shop is expensive.
  • Fiberglass resin gets everywhere. And it smells.

So as you can tell, I'm having a ball. I'm going to try a different approach since the first piece I casted was a disaster. In the mean time, I'm going to work on the ears and other miscellaneous k9 bits. But just to prove I've made a good effort, below is a picture of the mold for the head.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Nose Blaster? Check.

Just a quick update this evening. Added the nose blaster to the head, sanded and primed. There's a few rough spots around still, but I think I'll be ready to make a fiberglass mold this weekend.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A little paint goes a long way

Over the weekend I managed to finished up the head - sort of. I still want to add on the nose blaster, but in the mean time, I slapped some primer on the head to give him an even surface finish. And, you know, cuz grey makes him look more like k9 and less like a craft project. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A good head on his shoulders

I had been juggling what I should do next, as I saw it I had two options. I could either learn fiberglassing and make a fiberglass version of the body or I could get k9's head taken care of. Realizing that I have absolutely no idea how to fiberglass, I've opted to do his head.

Construction has been pretty straight forward - 2 side pieces cut using the patter in the blueprints referenced in the first or second post of the blog. Tried to use the same MDF I've been using, but that wouldn't bend. Then I tried cutting grooves in the MDF, and well, I screwed that up. Fortunately, I had a 1/8 inch piece of board in my garage from a poster. So I cut that up for the sides of his head. Its working pretty well.

Once I got the two sides connected I started connecting them with 1/2 x 1/2 basswood cut to the proper size. With wood glue, clamps and my brad nailer in place I started putting the head together.

Once I got a few points between the side connected, I noticed the head was a bit wobbly. So I added some structure by using 1/2 thick MDF for the front part of the "mouth" and the nose area. Finally I've used some thin sheets of hobby plywood to cover the top of his snout. This is the same thin plywood I used on the curved back of the body and I will also use it to skin the curved parts of the head.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Body

No, no, not a post about the excellent Buffy episode about Joyce's death, instead a quick picture of K9's finshed body. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Getting there...

Just a quick update this evening. I've got to the two upper panels on the sides as well as the next part of the back taken care of. It's now really getting that K9 shape to it. And yes, it still attracts cats.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

2 sides + front + back = box

Yesterday I finished the back lower panel, the one with the recess in it. Today I've gone ahead and started building the body. With what I've got so far, I have a box. At least its a fancy box. A fancy box that seems to attract cats.
I'm not sure what else I'm going to get done this weekend, but at least its coming along.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Two (2!) Side Panels done

Last night I finished the second side panel. Which of course, was the 4th side panel I made. Here's the run down.

Side Panel #1 - that was the one pictured here - wasn't satisfied with the angle of the triangle bits, so I started over.
Side Panel #2 - completed it over the previous weekend. Satisfied.
Side Panel #3 - was halfway done and then had a disastrous accident with the saw. Trashed it.
Side Panel #4 - its the partner to #2.

Next up is working on the lower back panel and it's recess. Like the front panel, the back panel should be fairly straightforward.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Side panel success, sort of

Quick update from the weekend. I finished the recess in the front panel - that was super easy. I also finished a "first draft" of the bottom side panel. I'm not thoroughly thrilled with it, however, as I'm sure the side triangle bit should not go so far inwards. This coming weekend I'm going to go ahead and start the other side panel and see if I get that one more to my liking. Worst case, I end up rebuilding the first panel. No biggie. A few pictures for you to enjoy below - including a shot of the template for the triangle bit. And yes, that is an Empire Strikes Back duvet cover.

Friday, July 20, 2007

First Cuts

While the first post makes it seem that I've just had this wonderful idea to build a full sized prop replica K-9, the truth is that I've been thinking this through for awhile now. I took a vacation day from work earlier this week and took the plunge. Starting with 2 2ft x 4ft MDF sheets, I started making the body panels for K-9. I used plans that I downloaded from Project: K-9. These same plans are available at the Doctor Who Prop Builders Club.

My goal for the weekend is to get the recess in the front panel and possibly figure out how to do the side recessed bits.

So what's this about?

A BLOG! Something there clearly aren't enough of in the world. There are two types of blogs, at least, in my opinion. Ones that are about something and those that are about nothing. This blog is going to be 90ish% the former, with the rest random musings.

What's this one going to be about? This blog is going to chronicle my buidling of a full scale prop-reclica of K-9, the tin dog robot from Doctor Who. If you have no idea who / what K-9 is, he's the little guy who's in the logo of this blog. He's also fully owned, trademarked and all that stuff by the BBC.

This isn't my first go at a prop replica of K-9. About 20 years ago my Dad and I made a 1/2 scale one out of balsa wood, an RC car, 2 spoons and some pieces from an erector set. I still have that K-9, and you can see him right over there to the left. Granted, he's not very accurate and he needs a little touch up, but he's still my first and favorite K-9. I'll probably squeeze a post or two in about him as I give him some much needed attention.

I've rambled sufficiently for a first post - now how about we go and get some building done?