Since we started making costumes, Brian has talked about how he’d love to do Captain Cold. The perfect opportunity presented itself with the MomoCon Cosplay on Ice event, giving us a great excuse to do winter-themed costumes. One of Captain Cold’s most iconic pieces of costuming are his glasses, called igaaks. After searching the Internet, Brian found Paul, a man who makes amazing igaaks at incredible prices. We were lucky enough to sit down with Paul for an interview.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a writer by trade. By day I write manuals for installing computer hardware, and at night I teach part-time college essay composition. But by temperament I am an experimenter and maker. My kitchen counters and dining room table are strewn with wiry half-connected microcontrollers, rusting hand tools, and spray cans containing various paints, adhesives, and coatings.
What inspired you to make the igaaks?
This is a long story, but the short version begins with a poker game. I was involved with a monthly poker game that was attended by the most unfathonable and intriguing woman in the world. Unfortunately, she was not married to me. Quite a distraction. Unwilling to give up my love for the game, I desperately needed a way to focus my attention on the cards only (or at least appear to be focused on the cards). I immediately discarded the idea of traditional dark sunglasses as uninspired and banal. Thus Igaaks were born.
Can you walk us through the development process? How did you get from idea to production?
My first attempt was to steam bend a piece of oak. While I learned that you can indeed bend wood, but it not easy, and the wood has a tendency to lose the bend over time if it is not treated properly. I had no idea at the time how to keep the wood bent, so I moved to using metal. I took strips of aluminum and hand-cut slits into them with a hacksaw, and tried out various geometries. Finally, I settled on a design that fit just how I wanted, but was flexible enough to accommodate various head sizes. I then hired an engineering student to draw the prototype in Solidworks. Next, and here is the frustrating and sad part, I asked for quotes from various plastics manufactures to see if they would cut and bend my design in small quantities. Some never returned my call. Some laughed. Some gave me quotes of around twenty to fourty thousand dollars for a small quantity of 100 units. These firms were all in the United States. It was quite disheartening. Finally, I found a firm in Brazil that was willing to make the prototypes for a reasonable cost. And we wonder what is going wrong with American manufacturing? Anyway, once I had Acrylic prototypes I modified the design a little bit more and then went into prodcuction with water-jet cut stainless steel and brass. I then bend the steel and brass by hand, and then do some sanding and coating to get the final product.
We have a question that we ask in every interview we do, so we’ll start with that one. The term “geek” has kind of expanded to any hobby, any behavior that you just absolutely go crazy about. What’s your geek?
I’m a Geek about the ancient Chinese strategy game of Wei-chi, known as “Go” in the United States. I have the rank of Shodan,
The other question we ask all the time, because we always get weird and interesting answers – are there any projects outside of what you’re doing, that you would love to do? We started our site to share our projects – cosplay and projects we’ve done to our home. Aside from the igaaks, what is your favorite project and why?
I love block printing–linoluem cut and wood cut. There is something marvelous about print, even more so as it is dying in our digital culture.