After doing my research on the Terminator T800 hand I started building some of the “bones” in plastic and resin. If this all worked out well I would proceed with the complete hand.
All the “bones” in the T800 arm are rod stock in diameters that are impossible to purchase. I then went looking for items that were the proper diameter from which I would then cast resin duplicates. AAA batteries, and X-Acto handle, a mechanical pencil and a few others were all tubes in the diameters I needed. I cast silicone rubber molds from these and resin casts were struck. I then sanded down the resin casts to make half and quarter round versions and made rubber molds from these for new casts. After about two weeks I had several quarter, half and full round stocks in the various diameters for the bones.
I then laminated various thicknesses of styrene stock together to build sheet stock in the sizes I would need for the “knuckles”. I laminated a bit thicker than the actual piece then wet sanded down to the true sizes. Several sanding passes to round off corners to the proper radii resulted in some very accurate knuckles.
At this point I experimented with CA glue and epoxies to cement and fillet the bones to the knuckles and test a prototype. No pulleys or non-structural details at this point.
Although it was very cool to see the structure and shape coming together I felt that the resin/glue was a bit flimsy. I had experimented a bit with adding glass fiber to the resin casts but it didn’t help much. I was also concerned that painting the hand in metallic would be even more difficult because of the moving parts. I began reconsidering the medium and started thinking about metal.
I already own a full compliment of woodworking tools but metalworking would require an entirely different setup. I spent about two months researching and talking online to people and came to the conclusion that I would need (at minimum) a lathe and a mill. I looked into Chinese mini-mills and several others and settled on a Sherline. Small enough for what I’m working on and expandable to within reason it seemed like a good setup for this and other projects. I’m also planning on designing my own encoder readers and software for measurement before I make it CNC compatible. Therefore the T800 arm will be on hold for a bit as I tool up for metalworking.