Flawed Methodology, Compounded Errors (day 21)

Last time around I identified an alignment problem with the spikes on the shoulder pauldron part. Prior to that discovery, while the part is still in rough shape, I felt I was on the right track to get it where it needed to be. However finding the alignment problem left me feeling I needed to back up a step or two to correct the problem. Unfortunately, to do so at this point is a little complicated.

This whole situation basically left me with two options: Either pull the whole pauldron apart, rebuild the alignment guides, and reassemble the pauldron around better guides, or try to reset the front spike in-place on the part as it’s currently built up. The first option would almost be like starting over, but it would hopefully give me a better base for the work. On the other hand, the second option could be quite good enough and would possibly involve a lot less work. I opted for the second option, though I’m not sure I was right about it being the better choice.

For this work I had removed part of the styrene spacer under the spike fringe to hopefully maintain roughly the same spacing but give me some flexibility regarding the angle. I checked the work mostly by using the grid on my phone’s camera aligned to the part’s centerline guide, which was a bit frustrating as it wouldn’t stay in focus, and when the image changed focus, it would shift a little as well. I also had difficulty keeping the spike fringe in place as I shifted it around and rechecked it, so ultimately I pulled the shim out and stuck some clay in to stick the part in place and give me a bit more freedom to move the spike fringe around. As I opened up the hole in the pauldron part wider and trimmed down the alignment guide to give myself more freedom to move the spike fringe around, this also meant that I had to realign not only the part’s orientation, but its position in 3 dimensions as well.. Which became a bit of a nightmare.

From there followed a whole bunch of iterations of moving the spike, checking the position and orientation relative to the rear spike, and repeating… Over and over.

It was at this point that I discovered another issue that had been fouling my attempts to get this thing properly aligned: The spikes aren’t quite straight. If I install one of the spikes, it’s not going to point straight out from the surface of the spike fringe. If I rotate the spike in place, it will have a little “wobble” – so all those times I’ve used the position of the spike tips to check alignment of a spike fringe, the fundamental approach there was basically unreliable. I may need to correct the spike part, or even remake it entirely in order to correct this error. For now I’ve decided to start aligning the spike fringes by checking their outer surface instead of their inner surface (aligning to the guides) or the effect on the spikes.

It’s been a real frustrating couple of days on the project. Most of my time so far on the 100 day challenge has been spent on this pauldron. The fact that it’s not done is itself frustrating. The fact that I’ve torn down the guides that were the basis of this rebuild of the pauldron to the point that I can’t use them any more is frustrating. The fact that the spike fringe parts and the spikes themselves are crooked enough that I can’t rely on them to align anything is frustrating. Maybe I’ve now got this thing looking good enough that I can smooth out the sculpt and use it? Go on to making other parts? I’m not sure.

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