Welcome! Prop makers introduce yourself here

I am a prop maker by chance. What that means is I make things for others but its usually by chance.
One of the props I made my Avatar is wearing.
Its a cyclops visor that is from the 2nd xmen 2 movie the more streamlined version.

another prop I made was the robotic hand for the actress Tara Reid. The hand is featured in Sharknado 3.
I did not paint it but I 3d printed it out and I used zbrush to create it.


@StephenCook, welcome to the group! How cool is it to have your prop featured in a movie! Exciting!

Yea even thought the showing was for about 5 seconds.
And it was never shown at the theaters.


Still counts! So what’s in your workshop now?

Right now I do not have a workshop. I am working on getting one.
I have a 3d printer 8 x 12 x 11.5 inch build size.
A KNK Zing for paper, leather and vinyl etc…
I have the 1000mm x 1000mm x-carve.
various router bits with 4 routers including the one that came with the xcarve.
I also do wood burning and micro carving with an air driven tool.
I also like to air brush when I can. Lately I have no room to do it so its on hold.

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@SeanKeplinger … really late reply here, but ‘cold casting’ is usually mixing metal powders into a resin of some sort (epoxy, urethane, even polyester). You never really need to fire it, just polish it up and it can look like solid metal. Won’t be as strong obviously.

I find copper and bronze powder on E-bay or amazon (300 grain or so), and use it in 2-part T-88 epoxy for filling engraving lines or even worm holes and flaws in woodworking.

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I worked for a special effects lab several years ago and we brushed the metal powder into the silicone mold first, covering the show surface(s), then poured in the epoxy. After it kicked and we popped it out of the mold and burnished it a little bit, it looked exactly like metal. With this method, a little goes a long way…:sunglasses: I don’t have any pics but we made a T2 endoskeletion hand that was really cool looking.

Sounds like a neat technique! Has anyone tried “rub and buff” paints before? Can you achieve a similar effect?

@MidnightMaker great idea, I’ve sort of used that by just floating really big knot holes partway with clear epoxy, then topping with the metal powder mixed in; never really tried actual molding myself yet. It’s just how I came across the powder supply by searching (eventually learned terms like “cold casting” would get me to a good source).

@SeanKeplinger the rub and buff stuff is probably ok for something that’s not going to be handled much, since it’s basically just like a wax finish on furniture…it’s almost like sparkle lipstick or eye shadow essentially. Likely setting yourself up for a lot of constant rework in an actively handled prop, and no way to put a safe clearcoat atop the wax that will actually bond to the piece, unless you’re just getting it down into really thin grooves and floating something like a thick (as in final application thickness, the stuff itself is runny as heck) liquid epoxy (the Mirrorcoat or bar-top stuff that makes a glasslike layer that you have to torch to get the bubbles out and that runs EVERYWHERE when you’re doing it)

I bought a wax-based metallic pigment used by woodturners that’s designed to wipe down into only the pores and highlight them a different color (like drastically different - neon green metallic in something like dark walnut or whatever). It was expensive crud and frankly I didn’t care for the effect. You have to get your sanding PERFECT or it also highlights the finest surface scratches as well.

Thanks for the tip on the rub-and-buff! Saved me the trouble. I’ve had good success with basic metallic acrylic paints and some nifty weathering techniques.

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@SeanKeplinger - and you do quite well with it. I’m certainly not going to knock your finishing when I don’t do any starting … been wanting to do prop guns for a while but still dialing myself in on just planar things.

FYI, another finishing suggestion, Modern Masters makes a series of paints with actual metal particles that you can then actually weather (verdigris, rust, etc) with different acid chemicals. Not the easiest stuff to work with and kind of stinky - the iron in particular has rather large particles so it yields an almost sandy texture - but sometimes invaluable for the effect. I’ve used it on larger engraved signs and plaques, and my computer case right now is actually copper verdigris.

And, if you’re not trying to just do props from specific games and movies (I know, those are what sells because of fan recognition) have you ever used Deviant Arts for ideas? I’m definitely NOT suggesting ripping off anyone’s intellectual property - I’d contact anyone before attempting to build off one of their images esp. for sale vs. just personal use/display (which would constitute fair use I think, same as if I just drew a picture of a known character for my own wall). Here’s a few links with examples:



Thanks for the compliment!

There is definitely no shortage of models out there – so many great designs! I did have one commission that was made from a Deviant Art post. I tracked down the artist and was given permission to build the model:


Wonderful. And you’re still using just Easel, getting all the rounding done manually??? Esp that detail in the middle with the (I’ll call them) ‘crenelation’ outline…or was that a very thin strip wrapped around a circular piece like a segment of PVC?

Although it’s a little expensive I’ve been thinking about doing a prop gun or two and actually installing a real picatinny rail section for accessory mounts like a laser spot or flashlight. But then the difference in finish in the ‘real’ part to the fake might give the whole game up too much.

On that center detail, I manually cut a semi-circular piece on the scroll saw and then used foam for the crenelation detail.

You can purchase “sport rail” relatively inexpensively. The problem you’ll run into is that it’s either not properly sized for your model or it will look “too realistic”.

I have sport rail modeled in Easel here: http://easel.inventables.com/projects/uGji1-B2v7Y5vT1qmHDc4A#

As we discussed in the gun handle scale thread a while ago, there are software packages that can wrap the dentil molding profile onto a 3D curved surface like a semi-circle (if that helps at all).

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That’s show biz