Intro: Metal Wire Toothless
Hey!!! So this is my first instructable so please be gentle in judging and i hope you enjoy doing this as much as i did!! So I am a big fan of How To Train Your Dragon and love making stuff too so one day i figured i would make a sculpture of everyones favorite little dragon, Toothless! This is a long and relatively difficult project so be ready for some trial and error and some wrapping of wire in between small openings.
Step 1: Supplies
First of all get lots of wire material and leave room for error. i had a lot of scrap wire and got some that was being thrown away by a store so i figured id re-purpose it. Remember you can always take off but you cant put more on. I personally have made two of these sculptures one that fits in your hand with smaller gauge wire and one the size of a persons chest. I used aluminum crafting and artistic wire because it was cheaper, pretty, and takes a while to tarnish. i used larger, stronger gauges (1/8") for the skeletal outline of the body and wrapped thinner, more malleable gauges (16-24 gauge) around the skeletal outline. Along with that several different types of pliers do come in handy for this project! Needle nose work the best for sure though. A lot of this is based off personal preference and how easily you can manipulate the materials and how strong you want this to be so choose carefully and test things out.
Step 2: Sketches/Plans
Now this was a lot of work. I actually did some research about toothless' size and learned that he is supposed to be 26 feet in length and 48 feet wingspan. i drew some sketches and it seemed disproportional so i looked at some pictures online and based my design off of them (sorry for my bad handwriting). I figured out Toothless' anatomical structure (Six spines in his wings, 3 spines on his tail-wings, 5 spines on his tail fins) from Hiccups' sketch and numerous pictures of him and views of him from the two movies and TV show. (my sketches are fairly accurate and well proportioned) I still primarily used this as a guideline for my actual model though. (with a few improvements)
Step 3: Measurements
Now these are my measurements JUST FOR THE SKETCHES!!!. In reality the length of each said measurement is more or less proportional and i altered what i felt made the model look better. (the tail is the only part i made to size) Each measurement is based off the sketch with no measurements (just little notes). Take the tail-wings, there is 4/16, 4/16, and 3/16 that is relative to the final sketch. In my actual metal model those distances were twice as much so the metal model is 8/16, 8/16, and 6/16 (I'm keeping the fractions the same denominator in order to avoid confusion) This is also from a simple top view. so in order to make it more realistic you will actually bend the wings, body and fins so take this into account if or when you make your model.
Step 4: Building
Now this is where you have to use a bit of your imagination and some serious hands on work. i started with the red outlined design and made a metal model of just that flat piece. Then i added the horizontal sides and the circle wraparounds that you see in the second pic. You can glue, weld, or do what i did and simply wrap the wire in the right places to keep everything in place. once you have the body right i started developing the wings. i originally made them flat and had several trial and errors and broken wire from having to undo or having bent it too much. Again a lot of this is looking at the design sketches, trying out what you think will work and modifying it to work.
Step 5: Wings
The wings are relatively straightforward, like i said i started them flat which made it easier. Again a lot of this is looking at the design sketches, trying out what you think will work and modifying it to look good. Making the wings was creating a simple curved strong wire that fit the curvature of the wing and then making a separate curve ocean waved pattern for the bottom of the wing. and finding about one third (or halfway down) the wing/arm and stringing smaller gauge wires to each of the six crests of the bottom wing. if you've made it properly you will have two prongs opposite to the tip of the wing, bend these prongs and use a very thin, sturdy wire and wrap and pinch these bent prongs to the spine of the skeletal structure. The tail wing and the tail fin is designed almost the exact same except i used one whole wire for the outline and tried shaping it correctly literally on top of my sketch to make sure it was right. but again, trial and error.
Step 6: Legs
The legs were a bit difficult. What you need to do is attach three straight wires to the body facing downwards leaving plenty of room at the bottom to wrap around a circular "foot" piece that you see in both photos. i spent some time making these structurally strong and the right shape so it looked like he was crouched slightly in a realistic way. these three prongs come in handy when you are wrapping them, if you only use one or two you manually have to curve the wire making it more difficult. Try looking at my placement of where i attached the legs to the body and experiment a bit on your own and try whatever works.
Step 7: Wrapping
Now the give the skeleton a body. The wrapping is probably the easiest but most tedious part of this whole ensemble. i felt the easiest way to do it would be to start from the tail. i wrapped it tight but was careful cause if it was two tight it would try to overlap my last wrap and make it not look nearly as neat. the only difficulty i had was looking the wire through the legs and wings, i literally had to unravel the entire string of wire and feed it through. After a while i found it strangely therapeutic though so it was a win win situation. i used a smaller gauge wire for the tail but for the body and legs it was taking too long so i switched to a larger gauge and felt it worked out better too. For the legs i started from the body down, just wrapping and hiding the beginning of the wire and then wrapping down and around the leg and wrapping and hiding the wire under the foot. I attached the wings and legs first because while it does make wrapping more difficult i figured it would be more difficult attaching the body parts to a fully wrapped body and i think i chose the right order. The fun thing about wrapping this is it makes it light and completely hollow which i thought was cool.
Step 8: That's It!!!
Thats all i got for this project, i can say that this was an original idea, i had a lot of fun and i cant wait to see if anyone out there will build on this project. i know i sure will (wanna build an even larger model maybe 2 or 3 feet instead of 13 inches?) ask questions (i tried covering as much as i could) and leave comments if you wanna know anything or have any tips i might use for my next project please!!! (or if you're also a fan of How to Train your Dragon)