Monday, June 27, 2016

Jack Spicer: An Evil Boy Genius, An Evil Inspiration

Jack Spicer from Xiaolin Showdown, a clip from the TV show
My bestest boyfriend in the whole world got me the perfect Christmas present this year: Season 1 of Xiaolin Showdown on DVD. This is a show that aired around the time that I was ten to thirteen. I loved watching it as a youngster. My favorite character was the comic relief guy, who also happened to be a red-headed Evil Boy Genius.

I'm not generally one to root for the bad guys, but it's hard to resist when they're the paragon of what you want to be. (Aside from being a screamer.) So let's look at what Jack Spicer, Evil Boy Genius has:

  • A evil lair/laboratory
  • Lots of robots
  • Advanced knowledge of physics and mathematics as it relates to ripping a hole in the space-time continuum
  • Artist snobbery
  • An evil laugh
  • Red hair
All good resume material for the up and coming evil mastermind.

I had forgotten about the show until recently, and so was thoroughly enjoying re-watching it. Multiple times. After going through the 1st season a third time, I determined that I was this world's manifestation of Jack Spicer, and that I must become more like him. Which takes me to one of my future projects.

Jack Spicer's HeliBot that he got from his Grandma
when he turned evil.
You can't be Jack Spicer without the HeliBot (his little backpack). This is probably one of main distinguishing characteristics of Spicer. I developed a design that seems pretty practical (at least for a costume) and that would be slightly complicated to make. Making the pack would involve my welding, soldering, and circuit design skills.

I wasn't a welder until fairly recently, when I took a creative metal design class. I got to experience the joys of the oxy-acetylene and Mig welders, although the things I created were never really practical. Sort of like Jack's semi-useless robots. When making Jack's HeliBot, I would be using my welding skills to create the shell, creating welds where you can see the lines in the above image. I figured I'd do it this way so that I didn't have to do much metal dishing. And, fortunately, I'm just strong enough that I can bend steel with my hands, something that Jack may or may not be able to do. For the metal I'd use, I'm torn between steel and aluminum. I've never welded aluminum, so I don't know how it would go. Steel would be easy enough to weld, but would end up being pretty heavy, even if I used a thin gauge.

With my soldering and circuit design skills, I would be figuring out how to get my Propeller micro-controller to run a couple little DC motors. I figure I would use the motor as the means to extend the stocks and props for the HeliBot. I'm still not entirely sure how I would make the mechanism to extend the stocks, but the props themselves will be easy enough to run. My circuit designing skills are a bit limited, but, with a manual and Google on hand, I could come up with the ideal design for connecting my MC to the rest of the circuit. I think my biggest concern with the circuit will be how to provide enough power to the motors without frying my little Propeller MC. We will see...

And, finally, the HeliBot would not be complete without a watch to tell it when to extend the props and get them spinning. When I went to visit Parallax last year, I got one of the people there excited enough that he took me into the back room and let me pick from a selection of discarded modules, electronic components, and manuals. That was a good day. In the back room, there was pretty much everything I needed, the main of which was a WiFi and bluetooth module, which are the exact modules I'll need for making a watch to communicate with my HeliBot. The only thing I'm missing now is a screen for the watch and some free time to build it all.

1 comment:

  1. Haha, oh dear. It's finally happening. XD Be careful if you decide to use aluminum for the pack. I think you need to use TiG welding for that. There was a kid in my welding class years ago that melted a little aluminum decoration he had trying to Mig weld it to something made out of a heavier metal. Good luck with your project, I look forward to seeing progress shots. :3