Over this past week or two as the raptor pieces come together, I have noticed a greater need for reliable, durable, and elegant methods of joining the ABS rods, foam, and latex. The legs, because they have used some metal pieces, have been able to use more traditional hinges and joints that thread onto the ends of their aluminum and steel. The head team on the other hand has been using hollow aluminum rods and crimping to join two ends of ABS rod. They and the body team have been using tape and zip ties to join most of their various materials. The team working on the harness have also used some traditional bolt and screw techniques to secure the harness structure onto the backpack frame. The plastic rivets have become more and more popular this week as well. Both the head and foot team have been exploring their use on close cell foam. The close cell foam also lends itself fairly well to the use of contact cement. That being said, the contact cement usually needs smooth and clean surfaces for bonding which are not always available. One work around has been to use the same contact cement on a patch covering the seam of where two pieces of foam come together. The skin team also had some interesting challenges grafting together multiple pieces – when they did not allow the latex to set fully, the seams were shiny and very obvious. The electronics team will also be working on ways of securing their EL wires to the frame in such a way that does not block light and, for the final raptor, can poke through the latex skin to be seen here and there. All of these connections have been evolving and refined from our first few days of masking tape and cardboard (No offense to either! They are still in some parts of the raptor.) and will continue to be put under the limelight as the design finalizes.