we’re making some progress

this morning i got thru a bunch of work at once.  first i mashed up several batches of two-part epoxy.  i had about 30 minutes of working time, so the labels said, so i mixed up small balls and then mixed them all together in the end.  i’m glad i didn’t try to mash it all up at once, because it started out hard to work and just got harder.

i spread it inside the helmet, on top of the cured spray foam that was already inside of it.  i wasn’t sure if it would attach.  i wasn’t sure if the hat would attach to the head.  i tried it on several times, and peered beneath to see a huge gap between the head and the filling, so i peeled it off, mixed up more epoxy, slapped more inside of it, smoothing it together like you do with clay.

it was very much like clay, only it smells much worse and after awhile my fingers started to smart a little.  could’ve worn gloves, but it wasn’t awful like the spray foam on my hands was.  some things you take precautions for, some things only newbies and children take precautions for.

after a very long time, and almost half the available epoxy, i had the hat mushed down on the head, and was using my finger to smooth the joint.  there’s a little joint where the putty joins the hat to the head, a little maybe an eighth inch space all built up with putty and smoothed with a wet finger.

you only have a short time to make things clean before it sets up, and it’s important to take the time to smooth things and wipe things off and shape things just so, and flick off little crumbs.  all these things become very tedious to remove later, and oh so easy with a finger dipped in a glass of water.

like the underside of the collar.  i wanted it way sticky-out, and so built it up about two inches away from the body.  i only put a little padding on the other collar tip, and later tonight i’m going to glue the whole collar down with gel medium, flat all the way around.  i’m tired of messing with little details when i have so much more fussy work to get to.

i was going to put the phone in his flipper, but it didn’t look right.  it’s too big held the proper way, and sticks over the edge of his flipper, which is just asking to get it pulled off.  and if i fit it into his palm, it’s facing the wrong way.  so, in lieu of a belt holder thingie, i decided to just stick it onto his belt and maybe paint a holster on later.

that’s not a real phone, by the way.  i cast daniel’s old phone last week, using a rubber/plastic cast, and got a plastic resin positive.  then i painted it, in the mistaken idea that i could glue it down and not have to touch it up.  yeah.

you’ll perhaps note the thin white line between the back of the phone and the dolphin.  it’s visible mainly against the belt.  that’s the same putty. carefully fitted and smoothed before the phone is mashed down for good on top of it.  the dark lines on the bottom are pencil lines from when i was sketching it out.

i’m going to have to paint the phone again, but i’m going to have to paint absolutely everything on the dolphin once i’m thru fastening things on.

and this is version one of what i have to work with.  all sorts of fittings in 1/2, 3/4, 1 and 1.5 inches.  and some reducing couplings.  and a few flanges.  i got some cpvc pipe also, because the 1/2″ cpvc is loads thinner than the 1/2″ pvc.  internal dimensions, probably.

the models i took to the store with me weren’t made with pvc, except for the compression couplings.  everything else comes from a slightly different part of the aisle that deals with, strangely enough, fish tanks and such.

i took the two 1.5″ traps stuck together assembly you can see in the picture, and fitted them all around the base of the dolphin until i found a couple of places where they fit onto wavelike protruberances.  i penciled the outlines of these.  and then i took my two model pumps and my model sand filters, and placed them on the relatively flat parts of the waves, such as they are, and outlined them as well.  i don’t have a protein skimmer, so i took a quart plastic container and outlined it where i could fit it into a cranny.

one challenge is to put them in natural flat places that only need a little building up with putty.  the other challenge is to make them secure.  i’ve got to fasten them to something solid, like the dolphin’s legs, and if at all possible, drill thru the fiberglass and bolt the damned things on.

it’s really too bad i have to design this like an army tank.  if it didn’t have to withstand the elements, and didn’t have acts of domestic terrorism threatened against it, then it could be a much more delicate and intricate sculpture.  as it is, it’ll end up resembling those horrible hulking fiberglass ronald mcdonalds you can see lurking around the playground.

i’m going to take most of the pipes and fittings back, and get more and different ones.  if you come by my local home depot this week you may see me in the plumbing aisle sitting on the floor, putting fittings together and looking like my 3 year old.

it’s going to take several rounds of examining what i have to work with and seeing what kind of structure i can build on it.  until now i’ve only imagined it finished, and now i have to see it being built, which is long and full of effort.

i’m also having quite the challenge with the tail fin.  i want to put the shiplike front of the aquarium on it, but the space i have to work with is awkward.  fitting two awkward objects together so that the result is both pleasing and recognizable is a little problematic.

i thought i had the design last night, and hurriedly scribbled it into my notebook.  but when drawn on the three dimensional fin, it looks strange.  the problem is that the fin is curved.  and the aquarium is curved.  and whatever i draw on this surface is going to look like it’s supposed to be straight, so whatever curves i put in are going to be misinterpreted.  it’s actually rather a nightmare.  but i will continue to look at it crosswise, and at some point the way it needs to be will hit me like a baseball bat to the head.

progress at last.  is it because i’ve put my writing to bed for now?  nanowrimo is over for november, and now the only competition for my attention on the dolphins is xmas presents.  and my grandkid.


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