View Full Version : The Matrix Rebirth 8.0

Crimson Sky
03-06-2007, 11:19 AM
This is the worklog from the old TBCS website, copied and pasted here. Photos of the completed project can be found here (http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/index.php?module=photoshare&func=showimages&fid=3).


September 3, 2003

My latest and by far most ambitious case mod is inspired by the 1999 feature film The Matrix. The project, named The Matrix: Rebirth 8.0 vividly captures the pivotal scene in which the enigmatic Morpheus explains the true state of humankind under the control of the machines.

The system will be in the mini ITX form factor, using the Via Epia M10000 motherboard, an amazing 1GHZ mainboard barely 7" square. The board comes courtesy of Via Technologies and Mike Hermon, tech guru over at X-TremeModz.com. I'll start here with some screen captures from the movie to give you a sense of direction the case mod will take.

Looks like the concept they were going for here was sort of a "tree" ...you have a main trunk and branches, and the "fruit" is the amniotic sac.



There is that "stalk" or trunk or whatever that holds the eggs..I've started building it by
taking a clear acrylic tube and kitbashing parts from 2 diff Alien models, a giant frog model (the green plastic) and various Plastruct architectural parts. The putty colored stuff is bondo that I've drizzled on so I can embed parts.

Those little white posts will have wires coming from them that wrap around the stalk...sort of like sockets. In the movie, there are these creepy-crawler centipede creatures that wind their way up the stalk..I'll cast a few of those from plastic toys.



I spent the evening finishing up the model of the "stalk" that holds the egg pods. I spray painted it black and gave a temporary drybrushing of white acrylic just so you can see the detail. Drybrushing also helps me rethink parts I don't like. The height is 15" at the longest twisted branch at the top.


Close up of the tendrils that can be seen at the top of the stalk.


If you notice in the screen cap, there are thick tubes filled with pink liquid that weave in and out of the stalk. I started installing the thickest hose first, creating small 90 degree nubs and posts from Plastruct architectural parts. The thickest hose is 1/4 OD, and the thinnest is 3/32.

After the model is airbrushed and resin coated, I'll use a hypodermic needle to fill the hose with tinted pink resin, because it's the only substance that will actually cure inside the tubes!


I'm thinking of crafting the "Nurse Spiders" by hand using clear acrylic and a heat gun...sort of like glass blowing with plastic.



Crimson Sky
03-06-2007, 11:30 AM
For the egg, I found an $8 champagne glass in the house, and as it turns out it is the perfect size and shape of the egg I need for the project. I just need to remove the stem and grind the bottom smooth. Well my trusty Dremel and a reinforced cutting wheel did the trick..I scored the stem near the base and tapped it with a ball peen hammer. Here is the result.



No, I'm not making a toast here..just playing around with color and texture. A few drops of food coloring and some shredded cotton balls. Fetus was Photoshopped....I think I'm grossing myself out this time.


Since I know the size and shape of my egg now, I started work on the hanging mechanism for it.The egg filled with liquid has some weight to it, so I made the curved part pretty sturdy by injecting aquamarine epoxy into it with a hypo




Here we have a pic of the egg as it hangs from the mechanism. I took an 1-1/2 "
threaded PVC plumbing fitting and cut it down, then using marine epoxy I glued
it to the top of the champagne glass. The screw cap is located inside the cone
shaped hanging mechanism. I need to be able to take this thing on and off to
install the fetus animatron, and change out the fluids once in a while.


The mainboard I'm using for this project (my first mini ITX) came yesterday, courtesy of Mike Hermon owner of X-tremeModz.com (http://www.x-trememodz.com/), and our co-sponsor on this project, Via Technologies. Mike is helping me with forum network advertising, promotions/sponsorships and tech advice. Thank's Mike!

For those of you not familiar with this board, it's the smallest x86 on the planet, yet boasts the robust architecture we have come to expect from Via. The model is the Epia M10000 [1GHZ proc] and the specs can be found here.



Crimson Sky
03-06-2007, 11:39 AM
I took 3/32 x 1/4 " brass bar and using a file and my Dremel, I created the hinge for the elbow you see here. I used 1/32 brass wire to make a hinge pin after drilling holes.
I then took an old radio antenna (it's chrome plated brass) and cut small sections to solder onto the brass hinge, thus creating the forearm and upper arm. The tubes, being hollow, will allow me to run the control cable from the shoulder to the forearm, where I'll epoxy it. The hinge is very loose and floppy.

Next I sculpted a tiny hand from Sculpey, a polymer clay that bakes hard in the oven. I baked it at 250 for 10 minutes to semi-harden it. The joints will be exposed, un till I dip the entire puppet into liquid latex and let it cure in the floppy position. When the latex dries, the joints will be rubberized, and when the joints are flexed by pulling the cable, they will return to their relaxed state...No need for springs...hopefully.



I finished the upper mechanism that controls the arms of the fetus puppet. I'm using an alligator clip to hold it up (not part of it). The small hole in the center of the shoulder bar is where the cables that operate the arms will run. I'm going to use 80lb test monofilament (fishing line) for the cables. I took a break and was messing around in Photoshop...hence the weird face on my thumbnail.


Here we have a really tiny leg assembly...the joints are at the hip and knee...sculpted from Super Sculpey (I decided against Sculpy 3..too soft) over hinged brass joints. When I get the other leg on I'll take a pic without the sculpey over it so you can see the skeleton. The grey material is where I used milliput epoxy putty for strength




Here you can see the left leg joints prior to sculpting.


Here is a pic of the preliminary sculpting of the fetus head. As you can see, the entire skeleton is now covered in Super Sculpey. I will be putting on a skin of liquid latex over the entire puppet. It's going to be trial and error with the latex, but fortunately it can be peeled off at any time and re applied. The latex will add the "spring" to the joints, and once pulled, they will return to their original position.



Crimson Sky
03-06-2007, 11:41 AM
The sculpting on the fetus is complete. Next step is to create a latex "skin" over the model in order to give some spring to the joints. I'll be using Alcone Theatrical Latex, a Caucasian flesh colored formula made for special effects makeup applications. Alcone's mix is strong and pliable, and good for slush molds or dipping. I may have to build up certain areas (like the pelvis) with pieces of cotton balls prior to putting the skin on.


Experimenting with texture and color. I'm going to use acrylic paint to enhance the cotton material..sort of like veins.


Here we have the Mehron Liquid Latex I'm using for the skin of the fetus. The light beige will be the undercoat color, after which I'll add some bluish tints and veins to the model. After that, I'll give some coats of the translucent Liquid Latex (left). It should have a realistic depth of color to the skin after that.


After thinning the beige latex with water, I gave a couple of coats to the model using my trusty Paasche VL airbrush. It will take many coats to build the skin to the thickness I want, so patience is a virtue as the latex dries in between coats. There is a 3% shrinkage on the latex when it dries, helping it to form tightly to the detail on the model.


The coats of latex are progressing . The facial features softened up pretty realisticaly..as I said earlier before the final few coats of translucent latex, I'll highlight the lips eyes and ears with some pigmentation. You can see the skin around the joints building up. I'll try to get the skin about as thick as a balloon. We used the spray on latex technique for making full scale animated props back in the old days of mechanical FX.



Here is the painted and completed fetus. You cant see the subtleties to the paint, but in real they are effective. The next step is to rig up a mounting mechanism. The fetus must be attached to the inside of the glass egg so when its animated only the limbs will move and not the entire puppet. It must also be completely removable from the glass egg.



Crimson Sky
03-06-2007, 11:51 AM
I'm waiting on several parts from Blue Point Engineering (http://www.bpesolutions.com/animaequip.html) so i can begin construction of the plexiglass case itself. I wound up purchasing the Puppet 2 controller, two servos ball joint linkage and brass cable for wire controling the fetus. As soon as I get these I'll post pics of the products.


Small controller for single servo control with up to 4 minutes recording time, loop playback with variable time delay between loops, auto start-up and easy recording features. Several modules may be daisy chained together and controlled from one master module.

Push-Pull Cables: Plastic, Steel & Brass

I went for the brass because it's the most flexible.


Just purchased a USB 128-Bit Encryption biometric fingerprint scanner for the project. Allows multiple users, replaces web passwords and so on..even encrypts individual files on the pc...Should be a cool futuristic touch to the power/reset button control panel I'm making.


As you can see, I completly redesigned the fetus both mechanicaly and visually. There is now a lever system that moves the arms and legs via the cable (in yellow) at the top of the stalk. I've seen many photos where the fetus has crossed arms and legs, so I went with that look. The fetus is now attached to the 'cap', and is independent of the glass egg. the egg is threaded at the top, so I simply screw it on.



The solid brass mechanisms will be hidden by a clever latex 'palcenta', and by the other goodies I plan on adding to the fluid-filled egg. The fetus still needs painting and detail work, but that will come when airbrushing begins.


Here are some sneak peeks of the unpainted case in progress. I'm a bit further along than in the pictures, but I want to save the final look for my TechTV appearance. The Blue mirrored plexi on the top will weave into the technorganic look of the stalk/egg/fetus. The oval silver mirror plexi has the power, reset, DVD eject/ fetus control buttons. The large oval cut-out is where the biometric fingerprint scanner is located.

The Matrix "marquee" (upper left) will have a small blue CCFL inside and the logo is printed on clear acetate.




Crimson Sky
03-06-2007, 11:55 AM
Couple more pics of the case & its construction. System speaker mounted in a Lexan ring, rear of the case w/power supply and motherboard cutouts. Bottom of the case is clear plexi that's been frosted with an orbital sander, and should make a nice soft green glow when lit.




Details of the 'harness' for the control panel. Note the biometric fingerprint scanner. Next pic shows the harness in place. Buttons will be painted accordingly and resin coated. Titanium socket head cap screws and nylon nuts hold it all in place.



Rear of the case showing the cut-outs for the PSU fan, power cord and motherboard back panel..


Crimson Sky
03-06-2007, 12:00 PM
Here we have the 'leg' detail on the left side, and the DVDROM cut-out. Note the small hole on the lower left for emergency eject.


For the rear fan grill I found an old housing from a small set of speakers in my junk box.


Paint priming the case with my airbrush and All-CladŽ grey micro filler laquer. These laquers dry in 10 minutes and can be masked with tape in about 15 minutes.


A few coats of chrome paint was used to give a good shiny base for the metallic blue.



What would a mod based on The Matrix be without a bangin' VFD display from Matrix Orbital (http://www.matrixorbital.com/)? The fine folks at Matrix Orbital (http://www.matrixorbital.com/) were kind enough to send over a 4x20 and a 2x40 display for integration into the case. I'm going to create another marquee-like structure and mount the display on the top right side.


Crimson Sky
03-06-2007, 12:02 PM




Crimson Sky
03-06-2007, 12:51 PM