Scrap-a-dactyl: an Abtract Piece




Introduction: Scrap-a-dactyl: an Abtract Piece

About: I'm cheap and like to use what I have on hand and I really enjoy taking things apart to salvage parts. Rather than be a precise engineering type of person, I'm more of an enthusiastic tinkerer. Making things...
This is my latest artisitic endevour: The Scrap-a-dactyl. A pterodactyl made from garbage. Sort of a modern relic juxtaposed with the ancient past of the base. The best part for me is that the Scrap-a-dactyl can actually flap his wings. What follows is the process of how I made it.

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Step 1: Materials and Tools

Here's a list of the materials and tools I used to create this piece. Since the materials were salvaged you probably won't have exactly the same things in your parts collection I did. So you may have to do some creative substitution to make your own Scrap-a-dactyl.

  • Broken corkscrew (bit missing)
  • Beater
  • Steam iron plate
  • Hard drive arm
  • Radio antenna
  • Big rock
  • Rubber foot (optional)
  • Epoxy putty
  • E-6000
  • Clear spray paint

  • Drill
  • 1/4" masonary drill bit
  • 7/32" drill bit
  • Drill bit sizer
  • Reciprocating saw w/ metal cutting blade
  • Hacksaw
  • Bench vise
  • Clamps
  • Ruler
  • Marker
  • Awl
  • Torch
  • Utility knife
  • Diagonal cutter
  • Hammer
  • Files

Step 2: Wings

The first step in constructing the Scrap-a-dactyl is to make the wings out of the plate from a steam iron (heretofore referred to as "the iron"). First use a ruler and marker to draw a line bisecting the iron vertically on its face. With that line drawn flip the iron over and draw a horizontal line across the base of the iron. Make sure that this line is higher than the points where the heating elements enter the iron so that the resevoir inside will be exposed.

With the lines drawn clamp the iron to your work bench with the base hanging over the edge. Use your hacksaw to make a starter notch. Then use your reciprocating saw to cut the iron along the horizontal line.

When the horizontal cut is finished transfer the iron to your bench vise. Make a starter notch in the top of the iron with a hacksaw and then use the reciprocating saw to cut the iron until you get close to the vise. When you've cut the iron as far as you can reorient the iron in the vise so the base is facing upward. Now complete the cut from the base side of the iron. Be careful as you make this cut, as the reciprocating saw's motion will peel the thin metal on the back of the iron off and it could go flying. Safety goggles and a dust mask are recommended.

These cuts will be rough so use the hacksaw and files to clean them up and make them safer to handle.

Step 3: Wing Attachment

Dry fit the arms of the corkscrew into the exposed resevoir of the iron halves. When you've confirmed the arms will fit into the resevoir seperate the parts and flip the corkscrew over. Smear copious amounts of E-6000 on the arms and into the resevoir of the iron. Place the arms of the corkscrew into the iron halves so the E-6000 coated surfaces match up. Secure the arms in place with spring clamps and allow the glue to dry.

After the E-6000 has dried mix up some epoxy putty. Work the epoxy into the gaps between the arms and the iron halves to reinforce the bond between the arms and the iron. Allow the epoxy to fully cure.

Step 4: Foot Preparation

While the wings are curing it is time to prepare the foot. Clamp the beater into your bench vise. Use your Dremel or a hacksaw to cut through the first tine. I used my Dremel to score the tine and finished the cut with a hacksaw as my Dremel is slowly dying. When you've cut through the first tine, rotate the beater 90 degrees. Then cut the next tine. Repeat this process until all the tines are severed. Then cut through the central beater post.

Step 5: Drilling Holes for the Foot

With the foot prepared I needed to drill holes in the Scrap-a-dactyl's body and the base in order attach the foot to both. The first step to doing this is to measure the diameter of the beater's central post. I used my drill bit sizer and the central post of the beater is 7/64" in diameter.

Next I choose where I wanted the beater to connect with the Scrap-a-dactyl's body. I then heated my awl with a torch and pushed it through the spot I had chosen on the body to create a pilot hole. With that done I then drilled a hole in the body using a 7/64" drill bit. I cleaned the edges of the hole using needle files.

With the hole drilled in the body I chose a spot on the rock where I wanted the foot to join. I tried to balance the placement in such a way that it would incoporate the fossil in the base rock in the view making it part of the assemblage, but not damage it. I placed the severed beater on the rock in a couple of positions until I found one that sturck the right balance. I makred this spot with a marker. Then I used the smallest masonry bit I had (1/4") to drill a hole in the rock. I would have preferred a hole of the exact same size, but since I don't do masonry drilling often, I couldn't bring myself to run out and buy a new bit. The epoxy putty I used to secure the foot will be able to make up the slight difference in size.

Drilling rock is a slow process so be patient. Be sure hold the rock firmly to the bench and lift the bit occasionally to allow the rock dust to escape. You may also want to stop and knock the dust out of the hole occasionally, or vacuum it out. Bend the tines out to the side and use the beater to check the depth occasionally. When you've drilled as deep as you want, it is time for the next step.

Step 6: Sealing the Rock and Leveling It Out

You should seal the rock so it doesn't shed dust all over your house. The clear spray paint also helps accentuate the details of the fossil. Now I made the mistake of attaching the foot to the rock before I sealed it. This left a dull sheen on the foot, so I recommend sealing the rock before attaching the foot. Take the rock to a well ventilated area and lay it out on newspaper to catch overspray. Then apply several coats of clear spray paintto the rock. Be sure to flip it over to seal the bottom as well.

Once the paint has dried this would be a good time to make the base as level as possible. I did this by placing the base on my work bench and pressing on the various edges to see how the base shifted. Once I determined where the low point was, I went into my parts stash and found a rubber foot that fit beneath the rock to stop the wobble. I placed a dab of E-6000 on the foot and joined it to the rock and allowed it to dry.

Step 7: Attaching the Foot

Now it is time to attach the foot to the base and the body. Mix up a glob of epoxy putty the drop it down the hole in the base, then press the beater into place and allow the putty to cure. Then bend the tines of the beater down to rock surface. Use a hammer to smash them around the edge so it looks like the foot is gripping the rock.

Next fit the body onto the top of the beater, pointing in the direction you want the Scrap-a-dactyl to face. Mix up another glob of epoxy putty and work it around the beater where it joins the body inside the corkscrew. Wait for the the putty to cure.

Step 8: Head to Tail

With the body secured to the foot it is time to add the Scrap-a-dactyl's head and tail. To add the tail I took advantage of a hole in the neck which held the bit of the corkscrew. If you don't have a handy oriface, you'll need to make one with a small drill bit. I tried to test fit the antenna into the hole and because of the way it broke it stuck out at an odd angle. To correct this I used my diagnol cutters to clip off the bent end. I then used a hammer and the anvil on my bench vise to shape it so it would fit in the hole. With accomplished I dabbed some E-6000 on the newly shaped end and inserted it into the hole.

With the tail assembly curing I turned my attention to the head. The hard drive armature had a handy tab sticking down that fit nicely onto the corkscrew handle. I put some E-6000 into the space between the tab and armature and then pressed it onto the handle. Make sure you get the head balanced just right, or else it will pivot to one side as the Scrap-a-dactyl flaps.

Wait until the E-6000 has fully cured and then carefully cut away any excess from the head and tail using a sharp utility knife. The Scrap-a-dactyl is now complete.

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    14 Discussions


    5 years ago

    Best documentation and clearest photos I've seen. I don't spend a lot of time here but I wander around ocaisionally-- well done.


    Reply 5 years ago



    7 years ago on Introduction

    Wow guy,it caught my eye so had to check it out.Nice job.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I've got some ideas for a fountains with bits moved by the water flow.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! This piece was a perfect confluence of crap that had been collecting dust in the workshop for several years. I always knew I could do something with it...