Alien Clock: Finally Finished!

And with everything assembled the project is finished! There was a small amount of coding involved, but it was pretty simply and mostly self explanatory. The Arduino sketch can be found here on my GitHub. It’s really just a combination of the Arduino ToneMelody example, Adafruit DS1307 example, and my custom L9110S llibrary that I wrote for OpenADR. And without further ado, the final video!

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Alien Clock: Putting it All Together

Facehugger

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I hot glued the clock mechanism into its place on the back of the Facehugger. The Facehugger won’t be too tight against the face so the dial will still be reachable.

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With the mechanism in place, I just had to slight the hands onto the shafts protruding from the center hole.

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Unfortunately the addition of the mechanism didn’t leave space for Kane’s nose, so it had to go.

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And lastly the Facehugger was attached! The legs provide a pretty good grip when bent around the head but for additional security I drove a metal rod partway through the mannequin’s head and hung Facehugger on the protruding bit.

Chestburster

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I cut a hole in the duct tape roughly where the Alien juvenile burst from Kane’s chest in the movie.

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I used a combination of foam-core board and cardboard to give the bottom of the mannequin shape. I also 3D printed holders for PVC piping to make a structure to hold the Chestburster mechanism.

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The final Chestburster mechanism mounted to the base.

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The mounted electronics consist of a Sparkfun Redboard, L9110S motor controller, and DS1307 RTC.

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Lastly was to cut a hole in the shirt so that the Chestburster was mostly concealed but not restricted in movement.

Alien Clock: Updated Chestburster Mechanism

As mentioned in my post on the Chestburster mechanism, the two motors aren’t mechanically linked, causing a problem where one motor would crawl ahead of the other. To play it safe, I devised a method of avoiding this problem. I reprinted a few of the parts and added 2mm steel rods to act as guides for the motor carriage.

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The metal rods are attached to the ends of the whole mechanism.

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The rods are threaded through wings on the carriage to keep it straight.

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And here’s a pic of the new assembly.

Alien Clock: Painting All the Things!

So rather than make individual posts for painting each of the pieces, I decided to lump everything together. The Xenomorph design has varied a lot between depictions, so really there were no specific requirements for coloring and design. I wanted something similar enough to the original designs to be recognizable, but I wasn’t that concerned about fine details.

Disclaimer: Since I don’t have an artistic bone in my body, my wife was kind enough to do most of the painting for me. She did a far better job than I ever could have and everything turned out wonderfully!

Prior to painting, I coated all the prints and the styrofoam head in liquid latex, which was an interesting experience. The bottle I purchased advertised that it was good for monster make up or making scars on faces, but it was difficult to work with to make a smooth surface. Luckily, the dried latex peeled off really easily, which was convenient in the case of mistakes but also sometimes peeled off too easily. After several tries, however, all the pieces had a nice matte finish and fleshy look to them.

Facehugger

Since Freddie the Facehugger is so large, we were a little concerned about keeping the color scheme constant if we went with the same messy approach used for Charlie. Instead, she mixed a ton of light yellowy greenish gray (again, technical terms!) as well as a darker, browner version and a deeper dark gray/brown for shadows. She coated the whole thing with the lightest shade and then contoured the edges and details with the darker colors. This approach was less detailed than mixing small amounts of each creepy bloody shade for Charlie, but it was the easiest way to keep this consistent from the tail all the way out to the arms. One extra challenge with Freddie was all the joints. We wanted to cover as much of the white PLA as possible while still allowing some flexibility. To solve this problem, we used a very watered down paint that was more translucent but soaked into the joints better and did a good job of covering all the visible white sections.

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Chestburster

For Charlie the Chestburster, she painted a base coat of yellowish peachish brown (that is the technical term for it, I believe) with some gray mixed in for texture and then added darker gray to the shadows and details to help define them. For the blood, she mixed a bright red paint with black, brown, and green to get a deeper color and painted this on thick in splotches and also watered it down to stain other areas. This was a lot of just splashing paint around and hoping for the best, but the messy look really turned out well!

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Mannequin

For the face itself, I just spray painted the styrofoam head model with two coats of “Skin colored” paint. The model had some stains and marks on it when I got it, but this really covered them up well. Plus, his face will be pretty much hidden anyway (poor guy).

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Clock Hands

The clock hands were just black and gray paint mixed together. We had to do two coats to get in all of the grooves of the uncoated PLA. The benefit of this is that it lets some of the white plastic show through and gives the “tails” a more textured look.

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Alien Clock: Making Kane’s Uniform

I decided to model the mannequin after Gilbert Kane, the first victim from the original Alien movie. In order to add some realism to the model, I decided to make his uniform from the infamous last supper scene.

He has two patches on what looks like a white shirt. The shoulder patch is the Nostromo Crew patch and the breast patch is the Weyland-Yutani logo There appears to be a pocket and some other details on the shirt, but for my purposes I’ll just use another one of my undershirts.

And luckily for me, the patches are readily available on Amazon, with the Nostromo one here and the Weyland-Yutani one here.

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Both patches were iron-on so then went on easily.

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And with that, Gilbert is ready for his last meal!

Alien Clock: Making the Mannequin

Originally I was hoping to find a full mannequin body locally to use as the “host.” Unfortunately I was unable the find anything and all of the online options seemed expensive with shipping.

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Luckily, HackPGH had some spare, foam mannequin heads lying around that they let me use for my project. Still in need of a mannequin torso, I found this Instructable which provides instructions on how to make a mannequin of your own body using duct tape casting.

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I used an undershirt as my scrap shirt and, because this project doesn’t really need an entire mannequin upper body, I stopped duct taping at my navel. I only ended up using a single roll of duct tape, but would recommend more as more layers result in the final product being stiffer.

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This is already the creepiest thing I’ve ever made, by far.

The last step for the mannequin was attaching the head to the torso. The fit was already snug so a few strips of duct tape were all that was needed to attach the head.

The wig is something I picked up from Amazon. I’m hoping to style it after Kane’s hair from the original movie.

Alien Clock: Extending the Clock Hands

Despite the modifications I made to the Facehugger (adding a cutout for embedding the clock mechanism), the shaft of the mechanism doesn’t quite reach all of the way through.

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To remedy this, I attempted to design two nested tubes to extend the minute and hour shafts, which were 3.5mm and 5mm respectively, through the 8mm hole in the Facehugger. On top of these tubes I added keys so that the hands that came with the clock could still be used. Unfortunately, printing nested tubes accurate to 0.05mm while only 3mm thick, all with a 0.4mm nozzle is almost impossible.

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Above is a picture of the outer tube that extended the hour shaft. It doesn’t look too awful, but some intense boogering is visible on the right side. This part is the key that would go in the original hour hand. The minute hand didn’t turn out so well and was essentially one long 3D print blob. I briefly looked into buying a precision 0.2mm nozzle for my Printrbot, but with the ceramic tips currently out of stock I had to think up another way.

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So keeping the trouble I had in mind, I reprinted the Facehugger with a 20mm diameter hole for the clock shaft instead of the original 8mm.

Then, taking advantage of the larger diameter, I designed wider extender shafts (19mm for the hour hand and 14mm for the minute hand). I was also able to make the walls of the shaft thicker, giving the printer more space to accurately print the piece. I also decided that, rather than reusing the hands provided with the clock mechanism and having to design an adapter from the extender shaft to the keyed holes in the hands, I’d design my own that were more in line with the aesthetic of the clock.

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Using the grown Xenomorph tail as inspiration, I designed both clock hands.

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As visible above, the Xenomorph tails look fairly accurate and fit perfectly! Because the 3D printed clock hands were roughly twice as heavy as the thin metal ones that came with the clock, I was a little worried that the clock wouldn’t have enough torque to lift the hands. However, after some brief testing, the clock doesn’t seem to have any trouble with the heavier hands.