The Coke Puller

What’s a Coke Puller then?
While a ‘Coke Puller’ could be a machine .. I’m talking about the guy that stood there with a long handled Coke Scraper and pulled coke from a bee hive coke oven to the wharf.

The picture here is from a book titled – Surface Arrangements at Bituminous Mines. Copyright in 1907 it is invaluable for anyone wanting to model the Coking Industry during the early part of last century.

What I am going to attempt to do is model this gentleman .. create a 3D mesh and have it printed at Shapeways.

Why a Coke Puller? I need someone working one of the ovens for my Coke Oven Bank .. that’s why! What kicked off this was my finding a program – Autodeck 123D Catch which allows you to take a series of photos and convert them to a 3D mesh. I experimented a bit with the program already which I blogged a bit on in the Westlake forum – Autodesk 123D Catch

An Armature
The plan is to take a toy figure and use it as an armature. I picked up this baseball player at WalMart that I think I can modify well enough for my use.

This ‘Jacob Ellsbury” figure stands about 4-in tall and should be large enough to take good photos of (this is very important since the series of photos are used to create the 3D mesh).

Here he is out of the bubble package and posed similar to how I want him. My intention is to get his limbs and body into the posture I want and then ‘freeze’ that posture with ACC. Then I will use a Dremel to grind away all the bits that shouldn’t be there. His helmet evidently covers an empty brain-case .. but that’s fine. That and all of the joints will be filled in using Magic Sculpt (a two part putty). I will also use it to form his clothes.

I’ll insert some pins into the bottom of his feet and then insert those pins into a piece of wood. This will do two things .. hold him in the correct position so I can work on him and hold him off the wooden base. This will allow the camera to take photos of at least some of the bottom of his feet .. this is necessary to ‘slice off’ him from the base and pins in the future.

1st Comparison
Starting to get the figure to approximate the position of the Coke Puller in the drawing. Not to bad .. it needs to lean forward more and the shoulders are ‘screwey’ .. but that’s due to it being a toy. Looks like I will need to carve away some of the chest for the arms to drop into the correct position.

The left arm needs to come back and out .. with the wrist turned out so the hand is in more of a horizontal position. Looks like the shoulder needs to move forward also.

At first I thought our Coke Puller was wearing Overalls .. but looking again I think he’s wearing pants with suspenders.

2nd Comparison
I sliced a bit out his middle to lean him forward a bit and cut away bits here and there to let the arms hang closer to the drawing. I puttied him up .. let that dry before I continue any further.

Getting closer. I don’t have to match him exactly of course .. but it’s fun trying.

Progress: Pants
I’m using Magic-Sculpt to form the clothing. This two-part putty works pretty well staying soft and workable for hours. In fact it states that you need to leave it over-night to set up. So. The pants are ‘in progress’ .. meaning that I have given them a general shape that I want. Next the putty needs to set up for a day or so. Once it has hardened I’ll come back and work on the pants a bit .. some sanding and some thin applications of putty.

The hands on the figure need some modification. The right will probably be cut off and re-positioned .. rotated a bit. The left hand may be ok. Time will tell with that. I’m not going to mess with the head, neck or shirt .. and hands .. until the pants set up completely.

Progress: Clothing
Getting closer. Need to add suspenders. Once that’s done I will put down some primer so I can see where I am. I may fill under his chin just a bit as it’s a little sharp for me .. that should flesh out his face some.


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