A look into the mind of the Monster.


L5 Production Blog: Day 2

L5 Production Blog: Day 2: "Here is a glimpse into Day 2 of filming. Don't forget to subscribe to our Youtube and Facebook pages for as-they-happen updates! http://w..."

L5 Production Blog: Quick Video Update

L5 Production Blog: Quick Video Update: "Here is a quick video update from Day 1 of shooting."

L5 Production Blog: Blog cross-posting

L5 Production Blog: Blog cross-posting: "Hello Folks...quick update for you. We have been featured on Mark Strauss' blog Subtexter. Check it out here.... Mark's Blog. Well worth ..."


L5 Production Blog: That is a WRAP!!

L5 Production Blog: That is a WRAP!!: "Hello L5 fans! Chad Burns here, switching hats from Production Designer to Public Relations now that we have wrapped principle photography o..."


Another good day in space....

Well, we did a lil more shooting today for L5, quick thoughts from me...
Once again got to run around in the spacesuits.
Overall...I think they worked pretty well.
I think they look damn good on camera, and they definitely impart some (forgive me!) gravity to the performances.
The Crew seem to also be pleased with them.
Had a couple of issues with the helmets today, but the locking rings are just keyholed MDF since we didn't want to wait on milled aluminum ones (like we need to spend that money anyway...) so they are kinda wearing out already.
The soft kits held up well, although the sleeves and pants needed to monitered to make sure all the connections stay closed.
The PLS/Backpacks even stayed mounted after repeatdly bashing into the ground during a couple of minor stunt falls. Not gonna lie to ya folks...had a couple of heart-stopping moments during Will's falls, what with the big badda boom noise and all. I just envisioned total failure of the suit, with several scenes still to go in the day.
But they held...minor damage and lots of scuffs...but kinda what we wanted anyway.
Only shot I have been able to snag so far...thanks Tom! 

I still suck at taking pictures on set...but I pray you forgive me, what with the wearing of no less than 2 hats and all.
Speaking of which, I still have Production Design work to do for the Saturday shoot...so back in the hole I go.

PS> I know I am short, stop telling me about it ok?


Few notes from Shooting L5 yesterday...

I know I did a VLOG already today...
But i wanted to do a quick note with some pics of the suits on set.
There are a few shots floating around the interwebs....
Here they are
This a a shot of me during the first run of suiting up on set. This is only the second time I had all the parts of the suit in one place, and the first time I had put it all on together...
Here I am with everything on, sans helmet. Note the rope...it later got set to be attached to both points on the waist bearing.
Here is a shot of me and Will suited up and talking with Stanley the director.

Couple of 'behind the scenes' shots of us doing a scene.
Here is a good one of Will doing his Hero bit...I got to also do some work with the close-up rig...but I don't think there are pics of that...sigh.

SgtMonster's VLOG Dec 07


mobile update...

Quick update
We (Stanley,Wife and I) worked until 2am last night, but got a good bit done.
We got suit a's shoulders done...both PLS packs roughed out and suit b framed.
We also did as much mocking out as we could of the helmets as we can without the spheres...which will probably show up wedded since I am now out of town for the holidays.
Sorry no pics or video right now, don't have the files handy.
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Now fully Skinned!

Well folks...the MARK IV, Ver 4 EMU/EVA suit Alpha is skinned out as of.......

The SCLCS is remounted correctly...and is prepped to house all the electroincs we'll be mounting up a lil later...it even as an access hatch!
shot a super quick and crappy vid. Had to kinda cut it short...guess why? (the answer is on your speakers!)

State of affairs.

As promised, here is a State of the Suit Address.

Yesterday Stanley and I met with Brian, the engineer who is working with us on the MARK IV.
We got a shipment of fresh shiny bearings in, and Brian was helping us make some presice mesurements and then laser cutting the spacers and mounting hardware.If that ain't building with science...I don't know what is.
Here are the bearings freshly unwrapped.
While pretty damn close to exactly what we needed, they where not ready to go straight out of the box. the holes you see in the pic are not in fact holes...they are divots for lil plastic tabs..so we had to drill them through. We also countersunk them so that the hardware we used to mount them would be flush. This resulted in a fair amount of Aluminium shavings in the bearings and races....so I spent a good while taking them apart, cleaning, re-lubing them and putting each ball bearing back in them...one by one.
Then with a little tweaking and adjustment..they got mounted on the HUT...
Next steps are to begin sleeve construction and finish the HUT covering.
Overall the hardest thing was keeping the bearings away from Stanley...

MARK IV, quick update.

Well folks...we now got roller bearing for the sleeves...
this weekend we will finish the skin on the HUT and start the sleeves.

In other progress notes, the bearing system for the waist is getting a little tweaking from Brian, our engineer.
We also have the gloves and boots in hand...although they need a lil dressing up.
Still waiting on the polycarbonate spheres to SHIP!!


Update on the MARK IV, Ver. 4

As promised, here is a quick update on the status of the construction of the EMU/EVA for L5.

We have all the structural Shell Shock down, and this thing is tough!
How tough you ask? Welllll....it survived a 2+ foot fall onto concrete with nary a scratch.
I thought Stanley had a hold of it...Stanley thought I had it...but gravity had it...boom crash and my heart stopped.
No damage...I am again impressed with Shell Shock.
The only draw back is, it is difficult to get a butter smooth surface because of the shape of the suit.
This is not a failing of the material, but of the shape of the suit. As the Shell Shock dries, it is still a lil fluid, and runs down the curves of the suit a bit. This causes some 'texture' to appear. I think we could overcome this by building the suit up and sanding it...but that would take more material than I think we can afford to buy. Therefore we will be adding a skin of fabric to the shell using the same stuff we will be making the softsuit from.

Ok...enough jabber...here are pictures!!
Here the HUT has the PLS (Primary Life Support) and the SLSC (Secondary Life Support Controls) mocked out.

Here is a front view...the hyper observant will note that the SLCS on the front looks a bit crooked. Yes it does. That is an arifact of the it not being a perfectly square box...and the fact it might be mounted a lil off.
Shut up....It's a mock up!!
As you can see here...when worn it looks better...also now it is me that is crooked so there.
Side view as worn....
Here is a shot of me kneeling in the suit...movement is good although it is getting heavy...around 15 lbs so far.
Also done...we got the mounting points for the arm bearing done, as well as the helmet mount ring. We also figured out how we are going to make the helmet snap in place...which is gonna require a bit of hardware manufacture.Also need the spheres to actually get SHIPPED!!
A quick Video from the workshop fitting.

Version 4, MARK IV

IMAG0009, originally uploaded by duncan_the_monster.

Suit is starting to take shape!!
More tomorrow..promise.


Work orders for today.

Ok...today is gonna be more work on Suit A. I need to finish prep for more Shell Shock, and prep the PLS for mounting. Still waiting on the polycarbonate spheres to show up so I can start figuring out mounting for the helmets.

At some point my new phone is gonna show up, so I will have to handle that.
Still waiting to hear back from Headhunters about possible freelance gigs.
Haven't got much done on my Dieselpunk timeline...well nothing hard noted, lots of thinking and rough sketching out.
Hope to get some stuff written out on that later tonight.


Post I wrote for the L5 Production Blog....

Well Hello L5 fans!
Quick notes here from Chad Burns, your friendly neighborhood Production Designer.
There are lots of things in the works, but the one everyone loves to talk about is the Mark IV EMU…commonly called the Spacesuit.
Hand in hand with Toms post on tone, I want to discuss the goal of the Spacesuits we are making.  Our goal is to make a suit that is not a direct copy of current suit designs, but is still grounded in reality. Stanley has designed an incredible suit…and it falls to me to help make it take shape.
We are building a Hard Upper Torso (HUT), similar to the current Mark III designs being tested by NASA and ILM Dover, with a bearing ring system between the HUT and the soft portions of the suit at the arms and waist.
As alluded to in the Video Diary, the current HUT is the forth version we have constructed. Some of you have asked for a little more info on the previous versions, so I’ll walk you through the evolution of the Mark IV.
Mark IV, Version I and II.
 The first version was a shaped foam board sculpted scaffold that we planned to use as a casting form for fiberglass. It didn’t quite shake out as we liked, so Stanley redid the sculpting.  That was Version I...it didn’t even make it out of prototype.  After redoing the foam board carving we had Version II ready for fiber-glassing. 
That was where I got to start getting my hands dirty with the build process. The fiberglass didn’t work as we would have liked on several fronts. One, the resin heats up as it cures. It heats up to the point of melting the foam board, even sealed in coats of primer.  As you can guess…not good for the process. Secondly, the fiberglass didn’t take to some of the complex curves as well as we wanted it to. We even tried shoring up the regular fiberglass with medical fiberglass, which still didn’t form the way we wanted.  After several attempts at getting the fiberglass to work…we knew when to step back and try a different method.

Mark IV, Version III and IV.
The next attempt was Version III. Rather than attempting to cast the suits, we planned to build them individually. We built a frame out of MDF, and overlaid a skin of cardstock this time.

We also did some material research and decided to try a product called Shell Shock from Smooth-On.( Smooth-On was very helpful in figuring out the best stuff to use, and I highly recommend them for anyone doing any prop construction projects. [Smooth-On's  link:  http://www.smooth-on.com/index.php?cPath=1165 ]) 
After completing Version III, and doing some fit testing we decided that it could use some tweaks.

The arm holes where a tad small, and their placement didn’t feel right. Also the HUT looked a little short through the waist, and we wanted the helmet opening more centered over the torso. We also learned that the mounting platform for the Life Support Pack (LSP) was at too steep of an angle. 
Thus was born the Mark IV, Version IV.

We rebuilt the frame, salvaging the helmet opening and the LSP mounting board. This time we increased the size of the arm holes by about 30% and moved them closer to center. We also increased the curve and height of the breastplate, allowing the head hole to be more centered on the torso line. This also decreased the angle of the PLS mounting board…making for a much better silhouette as you can see here. 

Skinning Version IV.
This brings us to our current point in the process, laying the skin on Version IV. We stretched canvas over the ribbed frame, added some felt for bulk, and started laying on Shell Shock.

This product has worked awesome so far!!!  Our results to date have been very good. Currently I am working to polish out the skinning of the Suit A and have begun construction on Suit B. The helmets are our next big step, followed by soft suit construction once we get the bearing systems installed. Overall, not only am I pleased with the current process; I have had a blast making these.


Now with UPDATES!!

Ok folks...I have added the ability for ya'll to get emailed updates from feedburner.

Ya need to sign up in the box.



Mark IV with skin

Here are some shots of what the suit looks like during the skinning process.

First it got a skin of Cardstock...
Then we skinned it in Canvas...

Then it got felt skin over the canvas for a lil added bulk.

Then the first coat of Shell Shock!!!

More to come!!

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Plan of Attack

Well, Today will be taken up by the following.
  1. Looking for job postings
  2. Skinning a Spacesuit
  3. Playing with my son.
  4. Working on my Dieselpunk Alternate history timeline.
In no particular order....although I do have my favorites.
Quick attempt at a video blog.


I'm gonna be a spaceman!!

Gonna be a spaceman.....whoo ho....

Branching out...

Well, not so much branching out as returning to yesteryear.
I used to consider myself a thespian....hell I was the lead in about 5 different theatre productions back in the day.

Well...a friend of mine, Stanley, decided to be master of his own destiny and start a lil think called Hemogoblin Studios.
One of the projects his is working on is called L5. It is a hard sci-fi mini-series, and a really super cool idea.
There is a production blog here....  L5 Production blog
For those of you who hate to read stuff....check this out.
Video Blog


American Nomad.

As some of you know, I recently find myself with some extra time on my hands since I lost my job in a ‘workforce reduction’. I decided to take this opportunity to travel south from Chicagoland and visit my family and friends. One of the highlights always is the fact we wrench and ride on the HDs that have been an ever present part of my childhood.
While working on a 1987 FLHTC that I ended up working out a hell of a deal on from my Da…(Yeah!! New way to spend money I don’t have!) I was regaled with stories of a nearly mythical figure called…Louie.
Now, my Da and his group of buddies have always been an interesting group of folks…good for hours of campfire stories. So I was of course taking mental notes.
This Louie, according to all reports, is a savant engineer. He has, as best I can determine, no formal education or training in any mechanical art. I was shown a 1930’s lathe in one of my Da’s friend’s shop, which had been just a collection of rusty bits and parts in a pile when handed over to Louie. It now was gleaming steel and butter smooth action, each part flawless and perfectly meshed in function.
While to me this alone is a feat of note, I was informed this paled in comparison to Louie’s other works. Then I heard the tale of the American Nomad. The Nomad is a motorcycle. It is NOT a motorcycle you have ever seen or heard of before. It has several distinctions.
First, it is completely handmade. While some parts started out as motorcycle components, they have been transformed both in form and function. The Nomad also contains parts from boats, aircraft, cars and plumbing applications. Some of the most impressive to me however are the parts made from scratch. Like the primary drive. Louie shaped it from a solid piece…with nothing more complex that a hammer and a sandbag.
Secondly…it is a Diesel! Yes…that is what I said. It is a single cylinder diesel thumper. The core of the powerplant was once a military flight-line generator.
Thirdly…and most telling to me is it is absolutely beautiful and amazing to behold. Doubt me?
See for yourself…..