How to make a Holographic Cobra Commander USB Drive
So, I was stymied on what to get a discerning Joe collector for a Secret Santa gift. Well, Top Dollar, it kind of went like this... I saw a picture of an octopus hanging out of a computer...and then...
The USB drive
It all started with a little drive and I mean little.
I got this little baby on amazon.com. I'm sure by now you can get twice the memory at half the price... note: This picture does not show the little sleeve that was included with the drive that acts as a case -- more on that later...
Choosing a figure and measuring
I decided on the Holo CC for a couple reasons. It looks interesting in it's own right, at least to non-Joe folks, and also I had a couple of them, in case I messed up. Which I did.
I took a measurement of how far the drive stuck out of my computer to figure out how far into the torso I would have to insert the 'butt' end of the drive. It turns out, it was all the way to the waist line.
Carving with a dremel
I then took this Dremel bit and carved out all the plastic that was in the way on the torso's back, including making 'slots' in the shoulders. This also meant I had to remove the pegs and of course, the back screw guide.
After making sure the drive would fit and discovering I hadn't taken too much material out (small miracles!) I discovered that I was now in trouble for attaching the legs. I also discovered that the arms were not going to fit as they normally would, due to the width of the drive in the torso. I carved on the shoulder inserts until they mostly fit (the left arm is rather stiff, and had to be put in place during gluing) I destroyed the first set of arms at this point.
Epoxying things in place
I realized that the next few steps had to be done at the same time...
I took some 2-part clear epoxy resin and mixed up enough to set the drive into the torso, and carefully put a small bead around the torso edge. I then added the left arm, knowing the right arm would 'pop' in after gluing. I took the assembled waist and legs, and made a pointed 'v' with the rubber band, pushing it up into the resin in the torso with a piece of metal coat hanger. I then put the front of the torso on. And backed carefully away...
Just kidding -- although be warned -- if you use 2 part clear epoxy that comes in a big syringe (from Home Depot) like I did, it's an exothermic reaction -- do it in a cool place, or stick it in the fridge -- you don't want to melt your drive! Ok, I doubt it gets that hot. But it sure does stink!
Turning the head into a cap for the drive
While that was setting up, I moved to figuring out how to make a cap for the drive out of CC's head. My first attempt, using a heat gun and my vise, was a spectacular fail. So, I decided to use the sleeve that was included with the drive, and cut CC's head in half, and pray that epoxying the halved hood to the sleeve would be enough to hold it in place, although I knew that it would 'stick out'
I used a combination of a small hacksaw, x-acto knife, and prayer to get the head apart. Note to ARAH customizers -- there is a generic ball joint inside this head that is perfect as a blank for sculpting, or as a sacrificial piece for non-ARAH heads!
It had been about an hour or three at this point, and the epoxy in the figure had cured (and cooled), so I continued to finish the head sleeve -- I marked how far the sleeve had to go down the protruding drive, and cut at that mark. I used the clear two-part epoxy to fasten the hood halves to the sleeve, and held them in place with my fingers, and then a clothespin, while it set up.
Putting things back together
I went back to the figure. It was going to work out awesome! I sat him up, I moved him around, I played kickboxer with him... and noticed the waist was getting looser and looser. So, I gave the legs a little tug. And out popped the rubber band....
Well, long story and much cursing short, I discovered I wasn't getting the band back in, and that the epoxy probably wasn't going to hold the rubber anyway. Plan B: JB Weld the Legs to the Waist, and Clear Epoxy the waist to the torso. Goodbye articulation, hello Pepsident....
This photo shows: A: The JB Weld holding the T-Hook inside the Waist B: The drive and arm epoxied into place inside the torso C: The hood halves epoxied onto the cut-down drive sleeve D: The carved-up shoulder joint of the right arm
Finally, everything was dry, done, and ready to go --
I learned quite a bit while doing this project, most of all was patience and willingness to macguyver a little -- it didn't come with blueprints!
Merry Christmas, folks!