Instructions #4 - Large Butterfly
The butterfly models built by ColonialLUG members were all created using the same design process. This guide outlines the process using the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail model as an example. Be aware that this style of butterfly uses 400-800 parts per butterfly!
Step 1: Create a Grid.
To start off the design process, create a grid which represents stacked 1x1 plates. Some people prefer paper grids, others prefer working digitally. If working digitally, a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel is a good choice! Our designers use Inscape, a free vector graphics software. Dividers between columns should be spaced 0.31 inches apart and each row should be 0.125 inches in height.
After the grid is created, draw a rough outline of a butterfly wing! While this is easier in a vector software or by hand, the Freeform Shape tool in Microsoft Excel also works fine.
Step 2: Convert the sketch to plates.
With an outline sketched over the grid, fill in plates to match the sketch. ColonialLUG members generally use a medium shade of grey to represent black, so the grid lines are still visible.
* It is important to get this step to as close to the desired final shape as possible. Subsequent steps will make this outline difficult to change.
* It can be useful to fill in adjacent plates on diagonal sections.
Step 3: Adding color.
To complete this step, fill all cells within the plate outline with colors representing the patterns of the selected butterfly. Notice two cells marked in black. These cells, with a 14 plate space between them, are representative of the connectors which will be used to hold the wings to the body.
* ColonialLUG designers found they usually worked from the outer edges towards the center. In the Swallowtail design, it was important to show the tiger-like stripes.
* Using multiple shades of color can enhance how the audience views the model. The Swallowtail uses two shades of blue and two shades of yellow.
Step 4: Merge plates to save parts.
With a wing full of color, the next task is to merge cells to save parts and build a rigid construction.
* Take available parts into consideration when merging cells. The ColonialLUG designer of the Swallowtail had many 1x3 plates in cool yellow (the lighter yellow color), so they prioritized using those.
* A section of 3-high plates in the same color can be converted into a brick. This is useful for reducing the number of 1x1 plates needed in the model.
* Ensure that each column has at least two plates which extend into neighboring columns. ColonialLUG designers often had to redraw the placement of plates on wingtips to improve durability.
Step 5: Build the body.
The body for each ColonialLUG butterfly uses the same core assembly. This assembly is built to connect with each wing at the cells previously marked in black, which are replaced by element 32828 PLATE 1X1 ROUND W/ HORIZONTAL 3.2 SHAFT.
Step 6: Build a mirrored wing.
Using your first wing as a guide, build a mirrored copy and attach it to the body.
Step 7: Finish the Abdomen.
Add appropriately colored plates, tiles, or slopes to cover up the exposed studs on the abdomen. Try to keep the abdomen covering two studs wide, as anything larger will begin to impair movement of the wings.