Thursday, November 14, 2013

Crazyleg build Pt 1

Epic costume requires epic preparation, as they say, and late last year I decided to embark on the most difficult thing I'd ever built: stilts.

I've always been fascinated by digitigrade legs. Their shape and form have sort of been a partial obsession for me from the day I saw my first anthromorph drawing.
I'll admit, I am not much of an engineer and such stuff can have fairly dangerous outcomes when attempted by people who don't really know what they're doing. So following a build put online by another maker, I've decided to follow the design as close as I could for safety's sake.

As a result, the whole thing ended up fairly expensive but I think I'll be satisfied with the build once it's done (I hope) as I'm making it as part of a Shadowrun character costume that I've had in mind for quite some time now.

After months of waiting, gathering materials and doing research (special thanks to the fursuiting community for tackling many of the major issues involved in figuring out such legs) I set to work.

The stuff I ended up needing:
Heaps of aluminium flats, steel tubes, a large quantity of bolts, two sintra boards (6mm), nylon webbing and tri-guides/glides, aircraft cable, turncables and a big handful of washers.

Finding the components wasn't easy, considering the local market for small metal purchases is terrible. That and having metric system bolts vs American standard system bolts wasn't a walk in the park either. Some bits I had to order online from specialty metal stores, alongside the majority of bolts and nuts I'm using due to not being able to source for strong bolts locally.
Like these tubes! Always remember to check for WALL THICKNESS when buying tubes. The size can be right but if the tube wall is too thick, yer f*kd!
Most of the bolts I found were class 8.8 at their strongest, or more commonly Grade 2 which was good enough for standard applications but we needed something strong enough to be stood on by a grown human being.

Class 8.8 = Grade 5 bolts (strong but not strong enough!)

I was not willing to risk it at all and went ahead to get Grade 8 bolts from

I also got my aluminium C-channels and metal tubes from

My buckles and nylon webbing from

Now on to the show:

While I was waiting for my metals and bolts to arrive, we decided to get working on the sintra first.

My dad was over for the weekend and he had agreed to help out a bit so he brought his jigsaw along with him.

Cutting them with the jigsaw was like plowing a hot knife through butter, and we had chopped up the whole lot in no time. We then drilled holes in the appropriate spots so they can be mounted onto the aluminium frame later down. From there I proceeded to sand down the sides to get rid of all the rough edges. Rough spots are easily sanded down due to the nature of sintra, so they were pretty easy to handle overall.

Kinda looks like a toilet seat, that.
Next was forming them up with my trusty Skil heatgun.
The sintra pieces are meant to go around your thighs and lower legs to provide support, and thus need to be molded to your own legs. Getting them molded is simple business, just had to heat up the inner parts of the sintra and press them down on the appropriate areas to get the shape, holding them down for a couple of minutes to let them set.
Here's a finished piece.
I decided to sand it in a little more just to get the bits that re-roughened up when I bent them. Overall I'm quite happy with how they turned out; and hopefully I can mount them and get to painting soon!