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The Stitchmanta

A to scale/shape Stylized Replica of a Manta Ray Shield

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#1 baghead

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 10:49 PM

Say hello to the Stitchmanta, a Spot on (in terms of scale and curve), but very Stylized Replica for the Top Shell of the Nerf Manta Ray.

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"But Bags, why would you make a Manta Ray out of Burlap?" you ask? Well, for one I loved the Visual Style of the Movie 9 and I love Manta Rays. Why not fuse the two together?

The Story goes something like this:
One of my strongest areas as an artist is as a Sculptor, and I tend to produce work that relates to toys, either by making toys, or exploring the shapes of said toys. During my intermediate Sculpture class last fall I did an entire series of pieces themed to Nerf Guns, with the highlight revolving around Mantas.

As an abstract object, the Manta Ray is quite visually interesting, and I set out to fabricate unique takes on them with different textures and materials, many of them failed miserably. This eventually lead me to Resin and Burlap forming what I like to call the Stitchmanta.

First off with any Resin/Fiberglass project if you want to match the shape of an object you need a mold or basic form to make sure the floppy resin soaked fabric will stay in that shape while it cures. Sadly, the only stock manta shell I had handy was already in a poor state, thus I did the only thing I could.

Make a new one out of Sheet Acrylic.

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Using a Template I traced from the half of a stock manta I then set to work matching the curve. I did this by hand with a Heat gun and a lot of patience. From there I had to make quite a few more:

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^most of these didn't survive the fist batch of Resin Work due to miscalculations on my part about protecting the "forms" from the resin, the ones I'm currently using are mostly Solid Blue actually.

Anyway, From there I was ready to build up my Structure Material which for these, was Burlap.

Using the same paper template I made the plastic forms from, I cut out pieces of burlap and sewed them together, I also used some other Tchotchkies made of brass to add some additional flair.

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After they're stitched together I hand painted on some "stock manta ray-esque" stripes with India ink.

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The Next step was the process of laying down the resin, I used Polyester laminating Resin for the primary coats and fished it with a layer of Finishing Resin to force the whole thing to Kick.

I don't have any pictures of this process, since resin is nasty stuff and not good to keep a camera near. Its also not something your friends want to stand close to you doing and shoot pictures of. Like I was saying earlier due to some poor planning on my part about half my "forms" fused to these prototypes and failed miserably.

Only One of the burlap ones survived after I'd made a lot of changes to improve the way I was laying down the resin and also because I reinforced it from behind with a layer of Fiberglass, which is what I intend to do with All my future ones, the final result after some sanding and a layer of clear coat is what you see at the start of this thread.

Since the end of that quarter I've been wanting to revisit this project and make more, but right after I finally finished up the "survivor" my College Banned the use of Resin, (because stupid people work in it without a respirator, and that supposedly can give you brain cancer and a lot of other horrible diseases) Thus, I've been biding my time for an opportunity and I finally have one.

My Grandfather Makes large scale RC airplanes, and works with fiberglass from time to time. I'm scheduling a week with him where I can go up to his workshop and do a few batches of these badboys, Naturally I'll be selling them.

In Preparation, I picked up a bunch more burlap and the other materials I needed, and even Custom Dyed some additional colors:
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See you guys in my trading thread for these.

-Bags

Edited by baghead, 27 July 2010 - 10:55 PM.

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#2 cheerios

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 11:18 PM

It's very... uh beautiful.
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#3 Aj

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 04:13 AM

I think this a cool idea, very original. However I think that heaps of people would be interested in the acrylic blanks rather than the laminated burlap finished product, have you over thought about selling the acrylic copies also?

Aj
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#4 Split

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 08:10 AM

So how tough are these things overall? If it were just acrylic, it certainly wouldn't stand up to the damage that we can deal out these days, but it's certainly going to be stronger with the fiberglass resin/cloth laminate. Have you tested that out at all?

Other than that, supah awesome man. I still have the picture of the clear ones saved to my computer from when you were first telling us about it. Could you make neon green burlap?
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#5 debandgeek12

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 10:20 AM

This is hella impressive bags. About how long did it take to cut/stitch the burlap and resin it, that is, project time for one stitchmanta start to finish?
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#6 Draconis

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 01:23 PM

I've been waiting for these! They look awesome!
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[15:51] <+Noodle> titties
[15:51] <+Rhadamanthys> titties
[15:51] <+jakejagan> titties
[15:51] <+Lucian> boobs
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#7 baghead

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 01:25 PM

I think this a cool idea, very original. However I think that heaps of people would be interested in the acrylic blanks rather than the laminated burlap finished product, have you over thought about selling the acrylic copies also?

Aj

The durability on the straight acrylic ones is poo, and most def not good enough by today's standard of nerf combat (I've shattered one dropping it from about 4 feet off the ground) then again neither are stock manta shells, those things are super fragile, I refurbished both of my current stock ones with fiberglass patches, only to have them break in new spots. I'll have to laminate the whole shells if I want to keep them usable.

So how tough are these things overall? If it were just acrylic, it certainly wouldn't stand up to the damage that we can deal out these days, but it's certainly going to be stronger with the fiberglass resin/cloth laminate. Have you tested that out at all?

Other than that, supah awesome man. I still have the picture of the clear ones saved to my computer from when you were first telling us about it. Could you make neon green burlap?

Fortunately the Acrylic isn't an element of the construction besides something for the resin-impregnated Fabric and Glass to lay against until it holds shape, and they're pretty durable. This first one's gone through some pretty rough transport between places with no damage, it has a small amount of natural flex and I have dropped it without it breaking. But I haven't given The one I have a serious beatdown from a nerf perspective yet, simply because I only have one currently. The original prototype only used about 8 ounces or resin, I foresee using closer to about 10-12 ounces each on the next batch just to be safe.

I also have this "rough" fiberglass one I made, its paper thin (but because of that razor sharp) and doesn't have anywhere the solidity of the chunky burlap backing it up:
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I went outside juts now an tested it, takes point blank shots from the strongest guns I own using "U3 Superdomes" I confiscated from Ice9. So They'll last.

I should be able to make almost neon green burlap, the only issue with that is most good Bright green fabric dye are powdered, which I don't really have a good way to do. They tend to need near-boiling water, and I don't have a stew pot I can ruin. I could always get some neon green resin pigment to get around that, I used pigmented resin on that all-fiberglass one to get the color pretty close to "manta ray teal."

This is hella impressive bags. About how long did it take to cut/stitch the burlap and resin it, that is, project time for one stitchmanta start to finish?

its been about a year since I made the test ones, so I'm a little fuzzy. I suppose around 3-4 hours max (without considering time spent waiting for resin to kick, and thats more than one at once)... I'm not completely sure. I'll be able to get a start to finish work time breakdown together when I make this next batch.

-Bags

Edited by baghead, 28 July 2010 - 05:51 PM.

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