Eyeball Searching & Space Capsule Turning
A ping pong ball was great for working out a way of moving an eyeball with a micro computer controlled servo. But a ping pong ball, that's an inch and a half in diameter, is just a little too large to work in the space capsule size I had in mind for this piece. I needed to find a smaller eyeball.
It could be shear coincidence, but this need for a smaller eyeball happened in late September. If you're looking for eyeballs you'll find they become plenitiful - a month before - HALLOWEEN. Eyeballs are everywhere - big ones, little ones, bloodshot ones. They're at the checkout counter at the grocery store, hardware store, toy store, hobby shop, craft shop, auto parts store, toy store, 7-11s - they're everywhere!. Picked up four the right size at Affordable Treasures, a local store filled with all sorts of odd stuff . I hit Affordable Treasures when looking for INSPIRATIONS - feathers, little wind up toys, all sorts of things with LEDs in them, . . .
What I'm trying to get acrossed is that when you're doing what you're supposed to be doing - you get what you need - when you need it. In this case it was 1 1/4" diameter eyeballs - with thicker walls than more delicate ping pong balls. I could use my drill press to drill the holes for the eyeball's turning axis, small holes for connecting "arms" to the servo and a fine toothed pull saw to cut off part of the back so I could make the connections to the servo's arm
Took a little sanding to get rid of the seam, a couple of coats of gloss white, some Prisma Color felt tip pens and black Sharpe for the pupil and three or four coats of clear gloss to get it looking like an eyeball,
With that key project need met - it was finally Time To Turn.
I've got a small lathe - a JET Mini. It has a nominal max diameter of 10". But if you want to move the tool rest around without dismounting the blank, the practical max diameter is more like 7" so most of my turning wood is relatively small - usually under 4" in diameter. Now you can't turn lidded boxes from wet wood - it moves too much to get any kind of decent lid fit. So when I searched my dry wood stash my choice for this piece was limited to some very very dry birch I got from a "died standing" birch tree - and it was spalted. It also happened to be from a dead tree that was up against one of the buildings at the Bill Wilson Center, a temporary shelter for very troubled teens, some of whom were strung out - on speed - or had at least one Speed Freak parent.
I happened to be driving one of my pseudo-adoptees to and from school while she was at this shelter (very troubled teen and a long story I won't go into). So while returning her from school one day, I noticed they were taking down this standing dead tree. Being a turner, I checked out the wood. Dry AND with evidence of spalting. Asked if I could have some - and they cut up what I wanted - the way I wanted it cut. Gave the crew a twenty as a token of my appreciation. When I got home I roughed some larger pieces to round - and stashed them away for some future project.
So this "spaced capsule's" wood has a connection to the consequences of Speed - it's impact on users - and their kids,
Turning the capsule from this wood was much like trying to help a very troubled teen - it fought me all the way - tearing out no matter how sharp the tool or how it was presented to the wood, punky spots that were tricky to turn even with a lot of thin CA glue virtually poured into it. Had to resort to my 60 Grit Gouge to do much of the final shaping.
You can see in this full sized image how uncooperative this spalted wood was - evidence of all the CA glue still visible at the lid joint and just below the "nose" of the capsule - tear out and chatter marks where I haven't sanded - and some remaining 60 grit sanding scratches.
Note that the bottom of the "capsule" is a long radius curve.
THAT will have unexpected consequences - as you'll see.
Will do a lot more hand sanding and Still have to work out where to drill the hole for the eyeball to look out of before applying a matt white to the outside - flat black to the inside. I've got an idea for using tiny glass Bead Blasting Beads for the final finish of the capsule - to get a fine white crystal powder look to the surface. If it works the way I hope it does, it'll hint at Crystal Meth(amphetamine) - a faster acting and harder hitting and even more addicting version of amphetamine. Very nasty stuff - that looks so deceptively harmless, almost pretty, yet can wreak so much havoc and devestation.
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