At the GI Joe Convention in Dallas in April I met Greg Brown of Cotswold Collectibles. I had sent him some of my 3D print samples some months earlier and he expressed interest in doing some project work together for Cotswold Collectibles, which had recently begun to issue mail-out catalogs in full color again, featuring some Adventure Team-themed outfits and full sets
He showed me plans he had for a complete stealth set which harkens back to the good old days of the GI Joe Adventure Team. Here was a modern take on the Spy Island set, and it included a black and silver version of my AT Surveillance Drone which I had designed last year and 3D printed. The drone featured in one of my diorama entries at the Convention, seen here:
The drone, printed in white, hovers above the scene, suspended by a thread on an armature.
I began work immediately. First, the construction of my drone was a bit flimsy, especially the working camera head which pivots around a hub using a tenuous connector that was easily broken and came loose easily. I opted to fix that by using a screw. Second, the struts that hold the central hub to the outer ring were individually printed and had to be glued together in another relatively tenuous connection.
My first improvement was to combine the three struts with the central hub for a single, strong part. Then I created notches in the ring and pins in the struts so the hub part could snap to the body accurately and strongly. The rest remained relatively unchanged; the legs (not seen in this photo) which form the bottom segments of each strut hinge down as landing gear.
But the drone had to fit into an existing Cotswold backpack which Greg sent me. I found that I had to scale the drone down to 75% of the original. This meant that moving parts may not work, since tolerances at that scale would be different.
(I test print in neon yellow to make sure I don’t confuse them with final parts. And I have a lot of neon yellow with not much use for it.)
To my surprise, I printed three test drones. One at 50%, one at 66.66% and one at 75% of the original size. To my utter shock and astonishment, each one functioned perfectly when printed. Even the 50% scaled version had working legs that folded without an issue.
The 75% version fit the backpack perfectly.
I began printing a couple of test models, sent them to Greg for approval, then began printing in earnest.
Here, I assemble the drones:
Then (not shown here) the camera is placed in the camera head by friction so it can swivel on its axis freely.
Then I had to design the arm controllers. I had a simple idea in mind and wanted it to be a single piece. But the design made me want an accent color so I made the control pad red on a silver cuff that can snap to a GI Joe’s dressed arm.
The space below the control pad in red is reserved for a sticker which will show the view as seen from the drone’s camera.
So here are some pictures Greg posted featuring the finished prototype:
And here is the catalog, which I got in the mail a couple of weeks back:
P.S. I am currently at work on my second Cotswold set. News on that as I am allowed to post it. Stay tuned.