Published November 1st, 2012 by

I’ve wanted to build a Terminator T-800 arm for some time but couldn’t decide on the medium.

I considered machining the parts from machinable wax then casting in resin. Since there are no duplicates anywhere in the arm casting wouldn’t be efficient. Casting is ideal for multiple parts that are identical so it seemed like overkill in this case.

I originally decided to approach the project as a buildup in styrene and resin. First I’d do a prototype of one phalanx of the index finger of the hand. This would allow me to test the strength of the build and the epoxy & glues I’d be using.

I found someone on the internet that had had access to the original Terminator props and precisely measured them, transferring it all into very accurate blueprints. Nearly 60 pages of them.

I started the research and development for the plastic version in October of 2012.

I’ve broken the project blog into several categories based upon my attempted approaches.

Attempt One-T800 in Plastics was in plastics, which I abandoned after about a month of work. It wasn’t giving me the strength or heavy metallic feel I was after. I though metalworking would be much better but had no metalworking experience.

I decided to learn metalworking. That single sentence contains a LOT of work and about a year and a half of R&D learning and tooling up to be able to do it.

Attempt Two-T800 Hand Metal Prototype was practice–I learned CNC machining and wrote my own CNC Milling application….mainly because I though that what was commercially available was buggy and sucked. For details on that adventure, see my blog entry on MillDroid.

Most of the Shop projects on this blog are a result of the learning experience I spent on the T800 hand. Learning techniques, building my own tooling, restoring old metal tools that I could use. An expert metal worker could probable have done the hand in a week; I had to learn and build everything along the way. These distractions, while time consuming, helped me with the techniques I would need as I built the hand. I’m nothing if not very patient.

Attempt Three-T800 Metal Hand is my true build of the hand using all the tools and techniques I’ve learned over the last year and a half. Now I have to complete it without any new distractions or new tools 🙂


1: Terminator T800 Hand - Introduction