Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Moveable Beast: My Portable Sculpting Studio

Hi there everyone. This is just a quick post I put together in response to a few questions no one asked, regarding my sculpting tools and set-up. So I thought I'd give a quick overview.

Washers at about 10 cents each. Dental tools at around $5. Blistex for 99 cents. Paper clips for the same. Junky pens-- priceless.

The tools: 

1) (top left) A cork to use as a handle for the mini. I've glued washers to both the bottom and the side of this cork so that it can be used for either small or large figures.

2) (middle) Sculpting tools. You can see at the bottom a pair of cheap store-bought dental tools, which aren't very good for anything but rough work. The three tools above them are the gold. They are scratch-built tools, filed down from paperclips, polished with super-fine sandpaper, and mounted in disused ball-point pens using putty. If you want to put together a set of these, check out this tutorial. King uses drilled out pieces of color-coded dowel, which is way classier, but I didn't have any of that on hand, so crappy old pens it was.

3) Blistex. This is about the most portable form of petroleum based wax lubricant that you can find. And it smells nice, too (better than green stuff anyway.) Just make sure to use it sparingly or else rinse the model with soap between layers of GS, since it can really prevent new layers from sticking.

Food-container: free with some food. Sandwich baggie: free with a sandwich. Box: free with a $1000 gizmo.

The Set-up:

Here's where it all gets clever. I happened to have an Ipad box laying around (HAHAHAHAHAHA, yeah right. I snagged an extra from work) which was a great size for fitting in a book-bag, since its roughly text-book sized and shaped. It was also nice and sturdy and therefore unlikely to be crushed. 

I took a small food container (I think this one once held parmesan cheese) and glued it right into the box with a small lake of superglue. Once that cured, I put in my super-glue, my blistex, and all of my small- and jumbo-sized paperclips. 

I found a handy velcro strap for wrapping my tools and my six inch pocket ruler in. Rubberbands work too.

I found a small sandwich baggie. I placed my green stuff into the sandwich baggie.

I then cut a small square of cardboard, and laminated it with clear adhesive sheets. I can smear a little blistex on here to have a portable, flat, non-stick surface. However, I am beginning to have problems with air-bubbles under the laminate, and so will probably simply replace this with an old CD.

Finally, I laid all of this out in the box to see where I could put my figure so it wouldn't be disturbed during transportation. There was the perfect cavity on the bottom right. Once I had the spot, I pierced the side of the box with a paperclip which I then glued in place. This formed a short spike on the inside of the box onto which I could put the cork. The spike goes through the center of the washer and into the cork, preventing it from bouncing around. This way I can take my studio somewhere, sculpt for a while, and place the uncured model in the box without fear of my work being ruined. If you want, you can also glue magnets into the box to stick to the washer and make it even more secure.

There is also enough room to fit a pair of pliers and a pair of clippers for making armatures. And the box lid makes a passable portable photo back-drop.

As always, remember to post a comment if you have any questions or feedback. It would make my year.

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