The robotic arm of Anakin Skywalker is iconic in the world of Star Wars. From its beginnings in Episode Two to it's evolution into Darth Vader's robotic arm, this is one movie prop that tells a compelling story. This article will show you how to make your own homemade robotic Anakin arm for your Star Wars collection or Star Wars costume out of a pattern you create yourself.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Ribbed rubber matting (used for car flooring)
- Sheet styrene
- Black spray paint
- Silver spray paint
- Elbow length black glove (right handed)
- PVC pipe rings
- Exacto knife
- Super Glue
- Oven gloves
- Measuring tape (for tailoring)
Measure your glove size. Determine your glove size by measuring your right hand: Loop the measuring tape loosely around your hand, being sure to disregard the thumb. The inch measurement you calculate will be your glove size.
Lay your right hand and forearm down on a sheet of paper and trace around your hand and forearm to make a pattern. Inside the hand section draw an upside down "U" shape stopping at the knuckles and ending with a straight line before the wrist.
Measure your forearm with the measuring tape at the top, middle and bottom. Record these measurements on the paper. Using a ruler, draw lines across the forum using the lengths recorded by your measurements. Center the lines so that the middle of the line is the forearm. Place the ruler on the paper and connect these lines vertically. Do this for each side. The resulting pattern should tapper wider at the bottom. This will be used to properly cut the forearm armour out of the ribbed rubber matting.
Test the PVC pipe rings to ensure fit. They should be three different widths with one at the top of your forearm, middle and one near the base. Make sure that there is at least a quarter inch or so of space between where you want to place the rings and your arms. This spacing takes into account the glove and the robber matting. To ensure it's correct, slip on the glove and place and test piece of the ribbed rubber matting on your arm to make sure the pipe rings fit.
Trace a pattern of the metal joints onto a sheet of sheet styrene three times, one for each joint. You must do this free hand. The pattern is about three and a half inches long and one and half inches high. The two ends should look like "+" symbols. The centre is a wide rectangle frame. Connect the ends to the middle with two parallel horizontal lines.
Planning the Pattern
Cut an oval out of ribbed rubber matting for the top of your hand using sharp, heavy-duty scissors. Next, cut a length of rubber matting the size of your forearm and set these aside. Make sure to follow the pattern you created. You can transfer the pattern to the rubber by cutting it out from the paper and taping it to the rubbed rubber.
Cut out the metal joints pattern from the sheet styrene with a pair of scissors. Leave a bit of space around the pattern to ensure that it comes out right. Using the Exacto knife, trim the pattern to the exact shape required.
Spray the PVC pipe rings with black spray paint in a well ventilated area.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Take the sheet styrene patterns and dip them in the boiling water. Remove them quickly and with oven gloves, bend them to lie flat on the surface of the PVC pipe rings. Let the sheet styrene cool and set. Spray the sheet styrene with silver paint.
Assemble the robotic arm. Super Glue the silver coloured sheet styrene to the PVC pipe rings. Glue and stitch the ribbed rubber to the elbow length glove. Slip the PVC pipe rings over the forearms at the desired place and slip a bead of Super Glue around the inside of the rings. Let the glue dry before wearing the robotic arm.
Assembling the Arm
Tips and warnings
- Test the PVC pipe rings for fit at the hardware store before buying them.
- Sheet styrene can be found at most craft and hobby stores. It is commonly used for creating custom buildings for train sets.
- Floor mats for cars make a good ribbed rubber matting and can be found at any auto shop.
- Be careful when shaping the sheet styrene. It must be done quickly to bend properly. Be careful not to burn yourself. Wear appropriate protective gloves and eye protection when using spray paint and Super Glue and work in a well-ventilated location.
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