Making Straight Parts Crooked (day 4)

This project has a long history. I take some pride in the fact that, way back in 2005 or something, I drew up plans for this thing on graph paper and for the most part, I think what I drew in those plans back then holds up. I think I nailed it. That said, from time to time a detail does come up where I think it benefits from a bit of revision. Sometimes this realization comes long after I’ve built physical model parts for that portion of the design. The forearms are one such area: In principle the forearms on the Zaku Kai are pretty simple, but in practice I find it a bit difficult to execute that design in a way I’m really happy with.


The forearm is basically built out of three components: There’s the roughly cylindrical core with thicker bands at the wrist and elbow, the knobs on either side of the elbow, and “vambrace” that covers the back of the arm and extends over the elbow. When I originally designed it, the core part was straight, built around a single axis; something you could turn on a lathe, basically. Over time I started to feel my interpretation of the forearm didn’t really look as nice as I’d like, but it took me some time to work out how to improve it. Generally I felt that giving it a little more of a curve and more of a sense of bulk would help, but it’s hard sometimes to get from a broad idea of what I think will be better, to an actual choice that I believe really is better. Eventually I came up with a nice improvement for the part and incorporated it into my Blender model.
However, these changes hadn’t previously made their way to the parts I’d built back in 2012 or something. I’d considered it but never took the plunge to actually make it happen. As it is I’m not sure it’s quite right, I’ve introduced more of a curve to the forearm but I’m not sure the bends are just in the direction they should be. I’ll keep working with them to clean up the spots where I cut the part, and to correct the bends if I decide they’re not good enough.

2 Comment(s)

  1. I’ve been following this project since 2006, and it’s super exciting to see you working on it again. Can’t wait to see how it comes out!

    BR | 2022-02-17 | Reply

  2. Thanks! It’s good to be back on it. Before I decided to do this 100 day challenge I was going to focus on getting a model done each month this year – I’d recategorized the first half of February as “late January” in the hopes of finishing my January project by… January 46th or so. I may come back to the “model per month” thing but I think this hundred day thing is a lot better. It’s good to be back on the Zaku, and I think the nature of this challenge is very good for keeping me making progress.

    Like in the past I’d work on the project for a while, and then get all the photos together and make a big post for my site, post it around on various forums, etc. – and then I’d maybe idle for a bit, basking in that accomplishment. And during my more productive times I’d come back after a bit, do some more work, and then another big post on the site… But during my less-productive times, that basking period would just stretch for months, or even years. I’d switch to other projects for a while or just disengage from the hobby entirely for a while. There’s nothing wrong with doing other things of course but when there’s a specific goal in mind you think about what helps you achieve that goal, and what doesn’t…

    I like what the hundred day challenge is doing. Every day I do some project work, and update the site. I don’t necessarily get a lot done in a day (and the posts aren’t necessarily the best as a result?) but it keeps me making progress. I’m glad I tried this. The simple “work on it every day (even if only a little)” would be hard to stick to all the time but I think it’s much more effective than, say, trying to hit a contest deadline or something. If the goal had been “finish this project in a hundred days” I’d probably fall into all the same old traps of procrastination. But with the goal just “work on it each day” – it gets me taking those steps each day. Do I finish in a hundred days? I kind of think I will, if I stick to it, but if not that’s OK too – I just have to keep working.

    Thanks for following my work, I kind of wish it hadn’t dragged on for like 17 years or whatever, but it’s gonna be pretty sweet when it’s done.

    tetsujin | 2022-02-18 | Reply

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