Ithorian: Neck Mechanism

Four years, four months, and two weeks later I have an update to my Ithorian costume!

After working on the eyes (my last entry), I started skinning the mechanism and ran into a problem. Really, it was more dissatisfaction with how things looked. The neck mechanism - the push rods and levers that extended the neck movements from my head out to the Ithorian eye stalks - was so far above the neck extension supports, that it forced the neck extension to be way too thick.

Push rod mechanism for extending my neck movements to the eye stalk - original design

Push rod mechanism for extending my neck movements to the eye stalk - original design

But you can see in this image, the Ithorian neck extension, when it gets to the eye stalk, is meant to be fairly flat.

Ithorian Galactic Senators of the Republic

Ithorian Galactic Senators of the Republic

So, time for a redesign. Which is what I was working on four years ago when I got distracted and then didn’t get back to it.

Until now. I’d had a plan for changing the mechanism and started working on some parts. After a couple of false starts I finally got to the following design

New push rod design with lever arms

New push rod design with lever arms

Adding the lever arms allows the push rods to run much closer to the extension supports, making the whole extension much flatter at the point where neck becomes the eye stalk.. Also, because of the angles on these lever arms, any neck movement I make will get amplified at the eye stalk.

I made the lever arms from 1/8” x 3/4” aluminum stock. My first attempt was a failure, but it gave me enough information to design the new arms:

Dimensions calculated to provide clearances

Dimensions calculated to provide clearances

All positions scribed onto the aluminum

All positions scribed onto the aluminum

I use a nail as a center punch

I use a nail as a center punch

Creating a divot to accurately guide the drill

Creating a divot to accurately guide the drill

I prefer using cutting oil and making a pilot hole

I prefer using cutting oil and making a pilot hole

Then open up all the holes to their target sizes

Then open up all the holes to their target sizes

The first piece was adjusted to work properly

The first piece was adjusted to work properly

I copied the fork of the first piece to the second

I copied the fork of the first piece to the second

And then beveled and removed rough edges

And then beveled and removed rough edges

The bends were added by brute force

The bends were added by brute force

Until it matched the angles on the calculated template

Until it matched the angles on the calculated template

The push rod attachment point is tapped for 4-40 threads

The push rod attachment point is tapped for 4-40 threads

Model airplane ball joints used on the push rods

Model airplane ball joints used on the push rods

And the lever arms are complete

And the lever arms are complete

By rotating my neck, the eye stalk rotates. Also, I can move my head forward and backward, and the eye stalk also goes forward and back. i can control the eye stalk as an extension of my own neck movements.

To clarify, this is how the headband connects my neck movements to the eye stalk

To clarify, this is how the headband connects my neck movements to the eye stalk

Movies & TV Updates June 2020

Okay, a lot of changes were made while cleaning up. I’ve gone through all the old pages and brought them up to date.

I’ve also added a fair amount of new information, however I’m sure there’s a lot more that I haven’t gotten to. I’ll just have to keep chipping away at it as I go forward with notices that come across my feed.

Deleted from Movies Under Development

  • Aliens 5

  • Alita: Battle Angel

  • Avatar

  • Bloodshot

  • The Boys

  • Deadpool Sequel

  • Dracula

  • Dune

  • Dungeons and Dragons

  • Harley Quinn Sequel

  • Hellboy

  • Independence Day 2 & 3

  • The Invisible Man

  • Mortal Engines

  • Shang-Chi

  • Sinister Six

  • Suicide Squad Sequel

  • Transformers 8

  • Tomb Raider

  • Z

Added to Movies Under Development

  • Black Panther 2

Changed to Released in Movies 2017

  • Logan

  • Kong: Skull Island

  • Beauty and the Beast

  • Atomica

  • Power Rangers

  • Ghost in the Shell

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

  • The Mummy

  • Kingsman: The Golden Circle

  • Wonder Woman

  • Transformers: The Last Knight

  • Spider-Man: Homecoming

  • War for the Planet of the Apes

  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

  • The Lego Ninjago Movie

  • Alien: Covenant

  • Blade Runner 2049

  • Geostorm

  • Thor: Ragnarok

  • Justice League

  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Changed to Released in Movies 2018

  • Black Panther

  • Pacific Rim: Uprising

  • Ready Player One

  • Avengers: Infinity War

  • LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

  • Solo: A Star Wars Story

  • Bumblebee

  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

  • Ant-Man and the Wasp

  • Venom

  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

  • Aquaman

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Removed from Movies 2018

  • The Flash

  • Toy Story 4

  • X-Men (untitled)

  • Avatar 2

Added to Movies 2018

  • Deadpool 2

  • Mortal Engines

  • Tomb Raider

Removed from Movies 2019

  • Ascendant

  • jungle Book: Origins

  • Deadpool 2

  • K9: Timequake

  • Justice League 2

  • Transformers 7

  • Indiana Jones 5

Added to Movies 2019

  • Spider-Man: Far from Home

  • Frozen II

  • Alita: Battle Angel

  • I am Mother

  • Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

  • Toy Story 4

  • Dark Phoenix

  • Hellboy

Removed from Movies 2020

  • Cyborg

Added to Movies 2020

  • Dune

  • Black Widow

  • The Eternals

  • Birds of Prey (And the Fabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

  • The New Mutants

  • Bloodshot

  • The Invisible Man

Added to Movies 2021

  • Doctor Strange 2

  • Shang-Chi

  • Avatar 2

  • Suicide Squad Sequel

Removed from TV & Online Under Development

  • Altered Carbon

  • Black Mirror

  • Borderlands

  • Damage Control

  • Daredevil Season 3

  • Marvel’s Most Wanted

  • Jessica Jones Season 2

  • Frequency

  • Galaxy Quest

  • Halcyon

  • Happy

  • Hellfire

  • incorporated

  • In Time

  • Krypton

  • Myst

  • Mystery Science Theater 3000

  • The New Mutants

  • The Punisher

  • Runaways

  • Snowpiercer

  • Son of Zahn

  • Time After Time

  • Transylvania

  • Untitled Mars Project

  • Untitled Paranormal Project

  • Untitled X-Men Project

  • Unveiled

  • Watchmen

  • X-Force

Added to TV & Online Under Development

  • Dune: The Sisterhood

  • The Chronicles of Narnia

  • Undone

  • Magic: The Gathering

  • Hungry Ghosts

Changed to Released in TV & Online 2017

  • The Gifted

  • Midnight Texas

  • Ghosted

  • The Orville

  • Star Trek: Discovery

  • Inhumans

  • The Defenders

  • Into the badlands Season 2

  • The Tick

  • Death Note

  • Bright

  • Titans

Removed from TV & Online 2017

  • The Crossing

  • Black Lightning

Added to TV & Online 2017

  • Happy!

  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return

  • The Punisher

  • Runaways

  • Time After Time

Changed to Released in TV & Online 2018

  • Cloak & Dagger

Added to TV & Online 2018

  • Altered Carbon

  • Daredevil Season 3

  • Legacies

  • The Crossing

  • Midnight, Texas, Season 2

  • The Gifted, Season 2

  • Black Lightning

  • Black Lightning Season 2

  • The Orville Season 2

  • Into the Badlands Season 3

  • Krypton

  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return Season 2

  • Runaways Season 2

  • Titans

Added to TV & Online 2019

  • Carnival Row

  • The Rook

  • Stranger Things 3

  • Jessica Jones The Final Season

  • Stumptown

  • The Boys

  • Batwoman

  • Supergirl Season 5

  • The Flash Season 6

  • Riverdale Season 4

  • Nancy Drew

  • Supernatural Season 15

  • Legacies Season 2

  • Charmed Season 2

  • Black Lightning Season 3

  • The Tick Season 2

  • Cloak & Dagger Season 2

  • Star Trek: Picard

  • Harley Quinn

  • Happy! Season 2

  • Krypton Season 2

  • The Punisher Season 2

  • Snowpiercer

  • Titans Season 2

  • Watchmen

  • Project Blue Book

Added to TV & Online 2020

  • The Orville Season 3

  • Project Blue Book Season 2

I'm back!(?)

Well, last post was May 14, 2017 - an update to the movies & TV listings

Last cosplay update was February 8, 2015 - a post about the Ithorian costume.

Last Upcoming Event was for the 2016 WonderCon in May.

What happened? Where have I been?

Busy? Sure. Procrastinator? Yup. Hard staying focused on any one thing? Absolutely. Giving up on geek culture? Not on your life!

Which brings me back to this little website of mine. Its intent was to serve as a diary of sorts. A place to record what I’d been up to, note significant events, organize my thoughts around geek stuff, and as a focus for my writing so I could (hopefully) get better at it.

So, what’s changed? Why am I starting to dust off the surfaces and knock off the cobwebs after a 2 to 4 year hiatus?

Well, I AM RETIRED, BABY!

After 40 years as a software engineer and expert in testing IR and Electro-Optical systems (big fish in a small but lucrative pond), I quite my most recent place of employment (25 years) in January. I’ve been extremely fortunate and am able to fully retire and focus on a lot of other activities that I’ve only been able to dabble in.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it on this site, but I’m the founder and partner of an improv school in Santa Barbara (sbimprov.com) Even before retiring it has grown rapidly and seems to be limited only by the amount of time I give it.

I’m also a woodworker, cheese maker, slide-rule collector, and roboticist, in addition to all my geek related activities. As my wife puts it, my hobby is hobbies. Oh yeah, and I’m a husband, uncle, son, brother, friend…all those social things that pretty much make everything else worth it.

Why am I back and writing this particular post? Because the original motivations are still there, and I’ve been using my retirement to finally organize my office, clean out my workshop, dust off and take inventory on projects that were never finished (are any of them finished?), and now update this site. Although I don’t expect anyone else to read this, I need to say these things for my own sake. And to document how I’m feeling and thinking right now as I write this.

Also, I was recently contacted by someone who wanted to know if I’d gotten any further on the Ithorian costume. I was embarrassed to say that I hadn’t but that I do plan on getting back to it with some changes I’ve been thinking about. That made me think about how much I’ve learned from others who’ve posted techniques, tips, and progress on their builds. Time to pay it back!

I don’t plan on posting all the things I’ve been doing since my last posts. If that comes up while documenting current progress, so be it. I don’t want to get bored looking back. Suffice it to say I’ve continued going to cons, wearing cosplay, watching TV and movies, creating things, and listening to podcasts (so many podcasts). This will continue!

Okay, way too much for now. Let’s see what I actually DO.