Introduction: Fire Breathing Dragon, Jürgøn

Picture of Fire Breathing Dragon, Jürgøn

This project was for the class design and prototyping at Howest college in Belgium. We made the prototype with four people in about three weeks, part-time work.

The dragon exists out of 3 parts: a tail, a tower and a head. The following steps will show you how to make each part in detail. At the beginning of each part there will be a list of materials and tools you'll need. Lastly we'll explain the assembly and usage of this installation.

Do keep in mind you'll be working with gas and flammable materials, so make sure you work precise and safe.

Step 1: Tower: Materials and Tools

Picture of Tower: Materials and Tools

This is what you need to make the tower.

Materials:

  • PU foam ( 15 circles with variating diameters from 60-45 cm)
  • PU foam, for the merlons
  • Fiber glass; coarse (3m)
  • Fiber glass; fine (0.75m)
  • Polystyrene resin ( 3L)
  • Sandpaper (grain 40)
  • Double sided tape
  • PVC tube (2m long, 15-20mm diameter)
  • 2 cans or grey primer
  • Fake moss

Tools:

  • Saw
  • Belt saw
  • Surform (grater)
  • Files
  • Brushes (about 10 normal ones)
  • Cups
  • Latex gloves (lots!)
  • Coat or other clothing to protect your skin and clothes
  • Sturdy gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Tinner's snips
  • Sander
  • Glue gun
  • Optional: gas mask (we didn't have this but it's better to use it)

Step 2: Tower: Base

Picture of Tower: Base

Wear a dust mask for this process.

Measure out the 15 different circles on the foam.

Cut these out using a saw and belt saw.

Punch a hole in the middle and stack them on the PVC tube with double sided tape between them.

Use surforms, files or sandpaper to smoothen out the shape, add details like the grooves to resemble bricks.

Add bricks on top to resemble merlons.

Use high pressured air to clean the tower. It's now ready for the fiber glass layer.

Step 3: Tower: Fiber Glass

Picture of Tower: Fiber Glass

Put on sturdy gloves and protect your clothing, lay out your materials. Prepare your fiber glass by ripping it in small pieces (around 10x10cm, with gloves on!). Put on your latex gloves and then measure your resin and activator following the measurements very precisely, and mix together.

Put resin on a piece of fiber glass and put in on the foam. Pat with the brush till the fibers are completely glued to the foam. Then add a second piece of fiber glass overlaying the edges of the first piece. Continue this for the whole tower.

If you need to stop, make sure to leave the edges (about 5-10cm) clean and free of resin. This will make it easier to recommence working. Also the neater you work now (no stray fibers, bubbels ...) the less work you have later.

Step 4: Tower: Sanding, Painting, Details

Picture of Tower: Sanding, Painting, Details

When your fiber glass has dried completely. Put on sturdy gloves and goggles you can now start by cutting off all big pieces that stick out. Then proceed with sanding using either coarse sandpaper or a sander, watch out not to damage the pillow of the machine.

Clean the surface with high pressured air.

Paint the tower grey, we used grey primer so we didn't need a primer. If you can't find a coloured primer, you might want to use that before you paint it grey.

Let it dry and add details like fake moss, using a glue gun.

Step 5: Head: Materials and Tools

Picture of Head: Materials and Tools

The head is quite similar to the tower, also using PU foam and fiber glass.

Materials:

  • PU foam ( 15 circles with variating diameters from 40-30)
  • Fiber glass; coarse (1m)
  • Fiber glass; fine (0.75m)
  • Polystyrene resin (1L)
  • Sandpaper (grain 40)
  • Double sided tape
  • Aluminium sheet (50x50cm)
  • Green/white/black paint

Tools:

  • SawBelt
  • saw
  • Surform (grater)
  • Files
  • Brushes (about 10 normal ones)
  • Cups
  • Latex gloves (lots!)
  • Coat or other clothing to protect your skin and clothes
  • Sturdy gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Tinner's snips
  • Sander
  • Glue gun
  • Optional: gas mask (we didn't have this but it's better to use it)

Step 6: Head: Base

Picture of Head: Base

Wear a dust mask for this process.

Cut out 5 circles for the neck, 3 cubes (for the top of the head and 2 for the eyes) and two long pieces for the beak.

Glue the neck together, make a hole in each and draw a piece off wire through it. Continue with the other pieces till you have the head. Make sure the wire goes trough the whole neck and mouth.

Use files, surfoms and sandpaper to shape and finish.

Clean the head with high pressured air.

Cut out of the aluminium sheet two pieces for the inner beak. We also added two teeth to make it more comical. Sand the edged (wear gloves!).

You're now ready for the fiber glass layer.

Step 7: Head: Fiber Glass

Picture of Head: Fiber Glass

Put on sturdy gloves and protect your clothing, lay out your materials. Prepare your fiber glass by ripping it in small pieces (around 10x10cm, with gloves on!). Put on your latex gloves and then measure your resin and activator following the measurements very precisely, and mix together.

Start at the neck and work around and up to the beak. When you are doing the beak, put some resin on the backside of the aluminium pieces and glue them on. You might need to use some duct tape to keep it in place. Watch out not to cover the hole in the beak and not to glue the wire to the structure.

For the head you might want to finish with a layer of fine fiber glass, this will make it appear smoother.

Step 8: Head: Sanding, Painting, Details

Picture of Head: Sanding, Painting, Details

Sand the head like we did the tower.

Paint the head green, the eyes white with black pupils.

Your head is now finished.

Step 9: Tail: Materials and Tools

Picture of Tail: Materials and Tools

We will first explain how to make the fire system and then how to incorporate it in the tail.

You can make this how you want it, we made it with a Festo pressure valve and based my design and system on that valve.

Materials:

  • Mdf 12mm
  • Multiplex
  • Green paint
  • Sandpaper
  • Festo pressure valve
  • Gas tube
  • Coupling from 6mm ø to a gas intestinal output
  • Screws
  • Alluminium tube 6mm
  • Coupling from gas instestinal to the tube
  • Candle

Tools:

  • Band saw
  • Screwdrivers
  • Hammer
  • Drill

Step 10: Tail: Fire System

So i took the pressure vault and started making a system where you could jump on and will activate the vault.

I made a hinged board, it's simple just a box with a door that hinges to the inside. If the board is pressed, the vault get's activated and the gas can pass under pressure. The box is 30/20/10 and the top of it is the hinging board 30/20. I sawed the MDF in the right pieces to make the box. I used a panel saw to get precise an straight cut's.

Once you have made the box, you can screw the vault on it, i used an aluminium u profile with holes in to lock the vault in the right position. Now test the hinge board, it should activate the vault.

The vault is for 6 mm ø so you need a couple from this diameter to a gas tube. Drill 2 holes in the box where the gas tube fits through, 1 IN and 1 OUT. So use the couples to exchange the 6 mm pressure tube to a gas tube and put the gas tubes through the 2 holes.

Step 11: Tail: Wooden Tail and Assembly Tail

Once you have a board that hinges and activates the vault under pressure, you can make a tail in multiplex, it has high resilience. I made a system where you can jump on the the tail, which activates the vault and once you come off the tail the tail get's back in his original state.

I used a belt saw to give the tail a free form.

So the tail actually works as a spring.

I attached the multiplex tail to the hinging board of the box. So now you can test if the vault get's activated by jumping on the tail.

I painted the tail in green, so it fits with the head of the dragon. I also added 2 footsteps on the tail because you need to jump on a certain place of the tail otherwise it won't trigger the pressure vault.

Step 12: Assembly

Picture of Assembly

All the parts are done, let's assemble!

First off we start fitting the tale in the tower. In the tower there is a hole, we pull the gas tube through the tower to the top (we used a pvc pipe to help us put the flexible gas tube through the tower). Then we pull the gas tube through the head of the dragon to the mouth. The tail fits in the small cut underneath the tower, make sure that the gas tube is pulled tight.

You can cut the tube on the perfect length and add the couple piece, i used an aluminium plate with 4 holes and screwed it on the fiber glass on the inside of the mouth. Now that that is secured, we can use the candle as a pilot.

Put the IN gas tube on a gas bottle with a gas release (for safety), and put on the pilot.

Now u can jump on the tail and enjoy your home made fire breathing dragon!

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