Wow! So it's been over a year since I started my puppet project and I'm still
getting messages and questions about Wheatley every week. You guys are nuts! In the best way. <3 I can't thank you enough for all the interest and kind words. It's been a great year taking Wheaters to conventions and getting to know fellow Portal fans. :3
If you've sent me a message on devart, my blog or youtube there's a good chance you've learned that I'm really really horrible about answering messages. You guys have been so patient with me and I've been meaning to sit down and write a better faq for a while now. I've got my coffee so let's do this thing!
- - - - - - -Q: Can I make my own Wheatley puppet based on yours?
A: Sure! I've seen a few folks take a stab at their own Wheatley puppets since mine went up. It's really flattering that people like my weird ideas enough to give them a try.Q: Can I buy a puppet from you?
A: I'm afraid I still don't have any plans to start selling Wheatley puppets. I know a lot of you guys have been telling me that I'd make a lot of money, but there's a few problems with that. The biggest problem is that I'm not really comfortable trying to make a bunch of money selling a big expensive model of a character that doesn't belong to me. I don't know what Valve's policies are on that sort of thing but I'd need their permission first. Second is the time and expense that goes into the puppet. Even with a final price of $1000, if you consider parts and labor, it's really not as lucrative as you think. Lastly, cosplay is a hobby for me, not a business. Will that always be true? Maybe not! I'm not saying I'd never like to start selling props. If I do I promise you guys will be the first to know.Q: Will you be making any more puppets? Space Core? Rick?
A: Up until now I've said no, but that was mostly cause I was worn out from making the first one. I'm still really new to the prop-making scene and the whole process sorta stresses me out. Now that some time has passed I think the chance of more puppets is better. That's not a promise, and future puppets still won't be for sale, but it's not impossible I might throw together a few more some day. We'll see!Q: I don't understand the instructions in your blog. Please write a tutorial/draw up plans/tell me how you made this part.
A: This is the question I get most and I always feel bad when I don't answer. I never really made the blog to serve specifically as 'instructions'. I was just sort of sharing the wacky process I went through. I know some of the pictures and explanations are clearer than others. I guess I'm a little more open to explaining some things than other things.
I think I poured all the creative thinking I have into a few parts of the puppet. Sorting out the movement rig took a ridiculous amount of trial, error and time spent drawing out plans. The thing is it's not even that mystical or complicated; I just had no idea what I was doing. Some of the eyelid mechanics are so crude that I could hardly explain how I got it all to fall into place. I wish I could show you the shocked face I made when it worked, cause I'm pretty sure it shouldn't have.
The blog does show about 85% of how to make the puppet and to be honest there are just some parts I worked really hard on that I'm not comfortable spelling out every single last step for. I have no doubt
that anyone building their own Wheatley can sort out a way to make the bits not clearly defined in the blog work. If I could figure it out anyone can figure it out. And I seriously mean that. I'm not an engineer, I'm just a nerdy graphic designer. Besides all that, if you puzzle through some of the design process yourself I think you'll feel a lot more rewarded in the end. I'm a big believer in the process as part of the fun. <3Q: How much did it cost to make?
A: I'm terrible at math and tracking expenses, but I made an effort to total out the costs of all the bits in Wheatley and came to about $500. That's not counting cost of tools or the ridiculous amount of money wasted to trial and error. I don't even want to think about how much money I threw away on stuff that broke, didn't work or had to be sanded off. It was lots. D:Q: How big is he? How much does he weigh? Can you share his measurements?
A: He's about a foot across and weighs roughly 6 lbs. I have a saxophone strap that clips inside him that I wear around my neck when I'm carrying him at cons. 6 pounds gets heavy after a few hours, especially when you're trying to handle controls inside the thing and have arms like toothpicks. As for his measurements, I could share them but trust me, you don't want me to. Cause they're all wrong. I eyeballed most of the things, which is such a huge no-no. The consequences were a lot of inaccuracies and uneven bits that've been the bane of my existence. Don't do that to yourself. If you want accurate measurements I recommend loading up the Wheatley model in the Portal 2 Authoring Tools (free if you own the game on Steam) and taking measurements from that. It'll definitely be better than what I'd give you.Q: What makes the eye light up? How did you get it to look like that?
A: This is a question I get a lot that I'm happy to answer. Inside his eye is a small LED light disk like this
. The part of the eye that you see is just a circle of plexiglass with the eye design glued to one side. If I remember the layers right, I put a sticker with the printed eye design on the plexiglass, then glued a transparency with the same eye design print over that, just to make the colors richer. If the sticker doesn't diffuse the light from the LEDs enough you can put a white surface like wonderflex or paper on the back of the plexiglass circle. Your supplies might be different than mine so don't be afraid to play around with different things like clear vs frosted glass.
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Welp. That's a nice little wall of text. I hope that helps answer questions for the folks out there who've sent me messages and been waiting patiently for me to peek out of hiding and reply. If you have questions not on here don't be afraid to send me a note. I can't promise I'll always reply directly, but if I don't send you a response it'll probably end up added to this list.
PS: I totally joined the name change bandwagon. Thank you so much
devart for finally adding this feature!! Now if I could just change my youtube name too. I'd be so happy.