#4884071
I suppose I could drill holes all the way through to the motherboard, yes. But then I'll need tiny screws that are pretty long.

Or I could remove the cap and threads, use a flat-head bolt all the way through to the back. More effort, more secure.

A simpler option could be to remove those #6-32 x 3/8" screws and use some longer ones. The stepped disc is solid MDF.

Thanks for the callout about securing this, that's probably what I'll do. The epoxy is really strong stuff, so the longer #6 screws as additional anchorage should be sufficient.

Bill
#4884101
Okay, made a quick run to Home Depot and replaced those screws with 3/4" long ones instead. To do it right, I had to remove the Clippard, clean it up, drill fresh pilot holes, and re-glue it to the wood disc.

The valve is now tightly secured. Post above has been updated.

Thanks Alan for the observation!

Bill
MonaLS liked this
#4884252
28. WEATHERING: BEGINNING

I'm still working on the ion arm, but in the meantime, I decided to learn some weathering skills. The cap of the ion arm is perfect for experimenting with, so that's where I started.

After doing a a lot of reading and tumbling down the YouTube rabbit hole, I decided that I will only do light weathering. I like a newer look to the pack, but still used enough to look realistic. The weathering will help bring out certain lines and details, and I really, really do not want to overdo it.

For the ion arm end cap, it's commonly the most heavily weathered part of a pack, so it's a good place for me to learn some restraint. I believe it's supposed to look like black paint is chipping off the aluminum from overuse, but I'm going to only take it so far.

At Home Depot, I found these Sharpie paint pens:

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These are very different from regular Sharpie pens, in that the applicator tip really gets saturated with paint, but that stiff tip provides enough resistance to make it easier to work with than a paintbrush. I'll use drybrushing on more of the other areas of the pack, but this part really called for chipped paint. :)

So off I went.

Most of my time was spent stippling dots in the corners and areas I wanted to show chipping, and I also connected some of the dots with more dots and with short lines. Completing corners on the other surfaces was crucial to realism, as was really stopping and thinking about where the wear and tear really happens.

I also ran the side of the pen tip along the edges, to help bring out the lines and indicate a sharp metal underlying material. And I stopped, stepped away for a few minutes every now and then, just to keep myself from overdoing it. It's better not to weather enough.

And behold, my first real attempt:

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I'm very happy with this. I can always add more later, but restraint is the goal for my semi-idealized pack approach. And I can even use the gold pen for touching up faux brass areas!

Next post, I'll show how I actually built the full ion arm.

Thanks for reading,

Bill

RUNNING PARTS COST:

$4.97 - Gold and silver Sharpie paint pens (Home Depot)

$252.09 - previous total

TOTAL: $257.06
#4884454
29. ION ARM

The ion arm is that boxy thing that protrudes out from the upper left corner of the pack. There are several very specific parts on it, as well as tubing attachments. Definitely a challenge, but a fun one!

First, this is my sketch, as I once again made it out of sign plastic (I had enough plastic left not to have to buy another sign). My feeling here was to build it in two pieces and combine them. This is not only easier, but gives the part more structure and stability.

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I won't go through a lot of detail here, because the process is exactly the same as for the gearbox/crank generator.

First, I made the larger piece, a rectangular box that goes the whole length of the arm (minus the cap). The corners are gently rounded.

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Next, I made the smaller sloped box similarly. Because the "Legris" elbow is bolted in to the lower surface of this box, it was necessary to attach it prior to assembly of the box and mask it later.

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Then, I superglued the two boxes together, aligning the seams as tightly as possible.

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After that, I used two applications of Bondo spot putty to fill the seams, sanding them to make it look all like one box. I did a better job this time hiding those seams. :)

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Once the seams were sanded smooth, I used hot glue to make very light fake welds (I don't like the heavy weld look on this component), then masked off the Legris elbow and painted the piece using the usual black formula.

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Time to build the end cap. This part is supposed to look like a block of machined aluminum, painted black and weathered so that the paint looks like it's chipping off.

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1. I cut a 1/2" block off the end of a spare piece of 2x4 lying around, and trimmed it to 2-3/4" x 1". I could have layered a few pieces of MDF to get the right thickness, but this was more convenient, and the harder wood results in cleaner holes.
2. I drilled 1/4" holes in both ends using a forstner bit, and drilled 3/8" holes in the face, a countersink about half-way deep, again using a forstner bit. I finished those holes with 1/4" all the way through.
3. Painted the block black, with a little more emphasis on gloss, but not a lot.
4. Weathered the block with my silver Sharpie paint pen, as explained in my previous post.

For screws, I picked up these M5 socket head cap screws at Home Depot. They were too long, so I cut them using the cutting wheel of my dremel (a hacksaw would work as well), to ensure they don't stick past the bottom of the block. I then glued the screws into the countersunk holes with epoxy.

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To make the brass rods, I used 1/4" wood dowels (from the assorted dowels pack), and sprayed them with Rustoleum gold spray paint. After testing their depth in the end cap block, I measured and cut them to the right lengths.

I decided not to worry about any knurling in the lower rod, and I like flat ends better than rounded. :)

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Next, I epoxied the rod pieces into the block. The upper rod ended up just a little bit too long, but I'm okay with that.

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After that, it was finally time to glue the block onto the rest of the ion arm. I sanded paint off the mating surfaces prior to using epoxy.

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For attaching the brass elbow, I looked at some screen-used pack shots, and it looked like I could get away with raising the brass elbow just a little, so I used a black-painted piece of dowel to raise it about 1/16" off the surface.

I also glued the elbow on the arm itself, not the cap. Some of the screen-used packs had it on the cap, some on the arm, so it's legit. :) I feel it looks better in this case, because its diameter is large enough to hang over the edge of the cap.

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And now the resistors. These three highly detailed resistors have been scratch built by different folks a number of ways, and after wracking my brain for the best approach and the lowest cost, I came to a decision. I cheated.

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Sorry, scratch-building purists, but ten bucks for all three resistors, in fairly high quality resin, is too good to pass up! Contrary to what the eBay post said, they did need a minimal amount of sanding cleanup, and they arrived light gray in color, so painting was necessary as well. But they were free of bubbles and full of authentic detail. There's no way I'm simulating these!

For the smaller Dale resistor, all I needed to do was paint. I only used the flat black, as these parts with all their curved edges look shiny enough with just the flat.

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For the larger Dale resistor, I drilled 1/4" holes in either side with a forstner bit, about 1/4" or so deep, and then painted similarly.

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And for the Sage resistor, I drilled a 5/32" hole in one end for the tube.

I wanted to try to simulate the exposed wire lead on the other end, but I didn't have any suitable wire or clothes hanger lying around. But I did have a dusty old flyswatter, and that wire worked fine. I flattened one end with a hammer, and cut it to the right length. The metal is too hard to drill a hole, so I went without. I also put a hole in the resistor to accommodate the wire, and painted it black.

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To attach the resistors, I first glued them into their respective places with epoxy. I then picked up two 3-packs of these M3 x 10mm socket head cap screws form Home Depot:

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After drilling 7/64" holes right through the resistor holes into the ion arm, the screws went right in very tightly, no glue necessary.

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And finally, I attached the ion arm to the rest of the pack, again using epoxy.

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That's it for the ion arm. Next post, I'm doing something much simpler: the filler tubes.

Thanks for reading,

Bill

RUNNING PARTS COST:

$0.70 - M5 x 20mm socket head cap screws (2 pack) (Home Depot)
$0.45 - M3 x 10mm socket head cap screws (3 pack) (Home Depot)
$0.45 - M3 x 10mm socket head cap screws (3 pack) (Home Depot)
$3.76 - Rustoleum Specialty 11 oz. Metallic Gold Spray Paint (Home Depot)
$10.00 - Resin cast resistors, from "heavyprops" (eBay)

$257.06 - previous total
$15.36 - this stuff

TOTAL: $272.42
#4884603
30. FILLER TUBES

The two filler tubes stick out from the pack, between the attenuator and synchronous generator. They are super simple capped PVC pipes, nothing more. This is going to be a very short, very boring post.

First, I cut two 3-7/8" lengths of 1" inside diameter PVC pipe, leftover from the PPD, Clippards, and vacuum tubes, and traced the ends onto leftover sign plastic, for capping (as demonstrated for the vacuum tube).

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I capped both ends of the tubes and sanded them smooth. I also cut a short piece of leftover dowel, for mounting the brass elbow I made previously.

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After painting the tubes the usual black, I epoxied the elbow on the end of one of them, using the dowel piece inside as a surface for gluing.

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And finally, I epoxied them onto the square plastic "platforms" I had made way back when I was making the central cover, making sure to sand some paint off where glued surfaces were to come into contact.

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That's it, super easy. Next post, I'll finally take on the bumper. Gonna need a few extra days for this one!

Thanks for reading,

Bill

RUNNING PARTS COST:

-- NO MONEY SPENT --

TOTAL: $272.42
#4885603
It's coming, I promise:

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Just need a little more time...

Been learning a new skill, all about Bondo, through trial and error. Man, what power. I recommend.

No, I've not gotten any better about woodworking. Don't trust what you see.

Bill
#4885607
This is so extremely excellent, sir. The method for your Clippard builds was exceptional. Scratchbuilding the base of the clippards has driven me nuts for years. I recently figured out how to build the resistors from foam.
#4885962
31. BUMPER

More pics than usual in this post, so I apologize in advance for overloading your browser! So settle in, grab a beer, because this is a long one!

The bumper is that large horizontal metal bar that covers the cyclotron and is bolted to the sides of the pack. It's a very strangely shaped piece, and particularly difficult to shape.

I was going to bend a piece of hot wheels track and call it good, but thanks to the wonderful feedback I've gotten on this thread, I figured I had better step up my game a little bit and try for something a little more authentic. Especially since the bumper is one of the most noticeable parts on the pack. Whew, it was a seriously big task!

I don't have the skills or tools to take this into full-blown woodworking territory, so even though this build has turned out to be a bit labor-intensive, it would not call it a "highly-skilled" undertaking, and it certainly didn't require major power tools. It did, however, require lots of extra time and patience. And sanding, lots of sanding.

First things first. I measured the outside width of my pack at the synchronous generator, and found that dimension to be exactly 13". Too big to make the bumper according to plans, and too big to use a prefab resin bumper. So I took Stefan's blueprints, and using Photoshop, I stretched the arms at the right points so that the inside horizontal dimension of the bumper would be 13".

I printed four copies on card stock and taped them together (too big to fit on one piece of paper). Then, I cut them out. Two for the side "rails" (which will be plywood), two for the inside "core" (which will be styrofoam). Where the rails and core line up, I left extra material, since the core can be easily shaped to meet the rails.

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I picked up a piece of 12" x 24" x 1/8" Baltic Birch plywood from Michaels for the rails.

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I cut the wood longways down the middle, and then shortened the two pieces to about 13-1/2" long. This can be done with any hand saw.

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I wanted to make sure the rails match each other perfectly (matching to each other is more important than accuracy to the pattern), so I used a technique I learned online to temporarily stick the two planks together. The trick involves first covering one side of each piece with masking tape:

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Then, I used superglue to mate the two planks together on the tape side. That way, I will be able to pull them apart later.

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Next, I used a VERY light coat of spray adhesive to stick the rails pattern onto each side of the stuck-together pieces, lining them up on each side as perfectly as I could. I did this with lots of marking and checking. The spray adhesive is light enough for me to remove and reposition as necessary, but tacky enough to hold when I need it.

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Then, I rough cut around the pattern, using a combination of hand saw, coping saw, and dremel, until I was as close as I could reasonably get.

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After that, I sanded the piece up to the solid lines. To do this, I used the drill and sanding drum as shown before, again zip-tying the trigger in a closed state and holding the wood up to the drum.

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I took it slow; this took half an hour or more, just being careful. Even so, I still made some mistakes!

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Again, hitting the pattern perfectly is not as crucial as consistency between the two pieces, so I wasn't too worried. This won't really be noticeable. You can see above that I also pulled the pieces apart and cleaned them up with a bit of fine-grit hand-sanding.

For the core, I got this piece of 11-7/8" x 9-7/8" x 1-3/16" styrofoam on Amazon. It got my attention because of its price and ideal thickness for this part. I won't have to to use two layers!

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A word about cutting the styrofoam: Cutting styrofoam is easy, obviously, but can leave jagged edges and mess everywhere. Instead, I used a hot wire cutter to do all my styro cutting. I had previously built a nice table one using the guidance in this video, but there are cheaper alternatives, even some you can make for as little as a dollar, or even less. It is worth taking the time!

So, I cut the foam piece in half across its width, and glued the two pieces together end-to-end using superglue (after testing my Gorilla CA glue on it to ensure that it doesn't melt the styro). This gave me a piece that was roughly 5-7/8" high by almost 22" long. I shortened it to 13-1/2" long, and this was my working piece:

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Similar to the wood process, I stuck the pattern on both sides (reversing the back pattern) with a light coat of spray adhesive...

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...and rough cut around the pattern first with my foam cutter, and then sanded it by hand.

Again, where the core lines up with the wood rails (solid lines), I did not sand all the way up to the pattern. I will sand the core up to the wood later. I only sanded up to the pattern at the dotted lines.

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And then I peeled off the paper patterns.

Now, about that styrofoam. It is full of holes, and will melt if I try to spray paint it. This piece needed a lot of reinforcement, and a smooth surface. Some of that coating I can do after the bumper is mostly assembled, but the parts where the core is below the rails will be pretty hard to do. So I opted to coat the dotted line areas before assembly. For this, I used Bondo body filler:

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This stuff is pretty cool, in that it's fairly easy to sand and cures in 30-60 minutes. I had only used Bondo once or twice before, but it is very easy to work with, and is very forgiving. It comes as a can of paste that I put in a Dixie cup, and then I stir in a tiny bit of hardener (which comes with it in a small toothpaste tube). The more hardener I use, the faster it cures, so I can use that to give me as much working time as I need. I only ever use a tiny drop of hardener, and I stir it really well in the Dixie cup using a popsicle stick, until it's fully mixed.

On the right side of the core, I slathered a bunch of mixed Bondo right where the dotted lines of the pattern would have been, with a popsicle stick, scraping it off the sides.

It cured in about 20 minutes, and then I sanded it down carefully, until it was nice and even:

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It really is quite easy to work with. Sure, there are a few air bubbles there, but I planned to fill them later. I also wasn't worried about ragged edges on this piece, as I planned to fill the inside edges of the core later.

Then, I went through the same process on the right side dotted lines, which has much more surface to apply, but doesn't have any corners to worry about.

It's around this time that my core styrofoam piece snapped in half! Too much stress working on it. But no worries, I kept working on the halves separately, and it all glued together perfectly during assembly with the wood rails.

Ready to assemble! I did this with superglue. Notice the foam sticking out past the wood? This is intentional.

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I was then ready to sand the extra styrofoam material right up to the wood rails (where the solid lines had been). I decided to go even farther than the rails, leaving a bit of a "trough" in all of these areas, so that it could all be covered more easily with Bondo.

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For the center plate pieces, I took two pieces of leftover 1/4" MDF and white glued them together, making a half-inch thick piece. I then rough-cut it to size with a saw:

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For shaping the corners and rounded blends, I once again used the improvised drum sander in the form of a drill, taking care to move very slowly!

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Then, after gluing the side pieces onto the bumper with epoxy, I slathered a layer of Bondo on top, and a little around the rounded "join" areas, where the side blocks blend into the bumper arm.

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I then sanded that surface smooth, using a sanding block, and also worked on the recessed "sloped" area where the one arm comes into contact with the center plate. There are still plenty of imperfections at this point, but the plan is to fill them with spot putty later.

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What ensued after this were many, many rounds of Bondo application and sanding, followed by more Bondo, and more sanding. It was probably at least a dozen, if not more, of these cycles, so here are a couple more snapshots of what that was like:

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There were times that I over-sanded, but reapplication of Bondo is an easy repair. This process took a long time. :)

Shaping the bottom of the arm was a similar process, and here's what that looked like:

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After I was happy with the shaping, I then used the spot putty for filling imperfections and smoothing the surfaces. I also used it to round the inside corners, similar to a "caulking," where the styrofoam core is attached to the wood rails.

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The only downside is that the spot putty is more fragile than regular Bondo, so it took quite a few applications and re-sanding to get it where I felt I was ready to move on.

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Finally, I had the bumper ready for the next step: finishing!

The whole thing needed not only a protective layer, but also something to help fill in a few of the remaining pock marks and scratches. White glue was the go-to for this.

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I used a total of four coats, front and back, and then followed up with a light sanding with 400-grit sandpaper. This, I hope, helped even things out just a bit.

After this, I drilled some of the mounting holes, and applied the usual black paint formula:

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It was probably a bad idea to make the holes prior to painting, since this exposed some of the styrofoam, which can be melted by spray can propellant if it's too close. I think it'll be okay, though. :)

Yay! This part is done! I am SOOOOO ready to move on to the next piece. :) It was a great deal of labor, but for me, I still think it was the best way to go, since I don't have giant saws and routers and all that other woodworking stuff. And it was a good learning experience for using Bondo!

I also added the label for this part.

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Next post, I will make the shock mount, and then I will follow with mounting both parts to the pack. It's a little more involved than you might think if you want the bumper to remain removable!

Thanks for reading,

Bill

RUNNING PARTS COST:

$4.49 - 12" x 24" x 1/8" Baltic Birch plywood (Michaels)
$4.38 - 1-3/16" x 9-7/8" x 11-7/8" FloraCraft Styrofoam Block (Amazon)
$5.98 - Bondo body filler (Amazon)
$1,000,000.00 - All that effin' labor!

$272.42 - previous total
$14.85 - this stuff

TOTAL: $287.27
#4885983
xyster101 wrote:That was a ton of work. Turned out great. Honestly a piece of wood 2x8 from Home Depot would have been a stronger and easier to work with material over the foam. That is what I used with the same process as you with your same tools to shape it. But in the end the same result. Looks great.
Yeah, fair point. I think I was a little too hung up on trying to get the width of the bumper just right, for fear that it would look out of proportion. So I stayed away from 1-1/2" thick stuff. I also didn't have a band saw or jig saw, so I couldn't make those perfectly vertical cuts.

Next time, I'll have a better saw available. A jig saw is on my Christmas list! ;)
#4886035
32. SHOCK MOUNT

The shock mount (also known as ion knob) is that silver spring-looking thing mounted on the center of the bumper. The original prop was made from a metal bellows of some kind, but most scratch builders just make theirs out of stacks of fender washers these days.

As for me, I didn't want the weight of that much metal added to the pack, so I went exclusively with rubber washers, which were easy to find. I didn't know if I could get the paint to adhere to rubber, but it worked out just fine. :)

You can get a resin shock mount on eBay for $12.50 right now, so making it from scratch isn't really a cost savings, but it was worth it to throw this together quickly and easily! The other down side of the resin option is that it may need cleanup and/or filling, depending on the workmanship. My approach required no sanding! :D

Anyway, it was Lowe's this time that had the washers I wanted. I picked up six 2-packs each of 1-1/2" and 1-1/4" outside diameter rubber washers.

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I was very careful to pick washers with an inside diameter of 1/4" because I wanted them to fit my mounting screw tightly. This would ensure that the washers stack in a perfect concentric formation. Speaking of the screw, I picked up this 2-pack of 1/4"-20 x 4" long round head screws, with included nuts:

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After also getting a couple of standard 1-1/4" x 1/4" fender washers, I had all my parts ready for the shock mount:

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Now, prior to any assembly, I thoroughly washed the rubber washers in hot soapy water, allowing them to air dry. All subsequent handling was done with nitrile gloves, so as to prevent any oils from my fingers coming into contact with the rubber, which could inhibit paint adhesion later.

After that, I stacked all the washers (except for one of the metal ones) onto a screw in the proper formation, epoxying them together as I went:

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This had the effect of gluing the washers onto the screw as well, but that was fine.

Next, I sprayed my Rustoleum 2X flat black (which claims to also be a primer for plastics) onto the assembly, and followed up with a few coats of silver:

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The paint seems to be adhering nicely to the rubber, but if it starts to chip, I'll call that weathering. :)

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The two nuts and extra metal washer will be used in the next post when I mount it all on the bumper.

That's it, pretty simple. Next post, I will mount this and the bumper onto the pack.

Thanks for reading,

Bill

RUNNING PARTS COST:

$0.92 - 1-1/4" OD x 1/4" ID x 1/16" thick rubber washer (2 pack) (Lowe's)
$0.92 - 1-1/4" OD x 1/4" ID x 1/16" thick rubber washer (2 pack) (Lowe's)
$0.92 - 1-1/4" OD x 1/4" ID x 1/16" thick rubber washer (2 pack) (Lowe's)
$0.92 - 1-1/4" OD x 1/4" ID x 1/16" thick rubber washer (2 pack) (Lowe's)
$0.92 - 1-1/4" OD x 1/4" ID x 1/16" thick rubber washer (2 pack) (Lowe's)
$0.92 - 1-1/4" OD x 1/4" ID x 1/16" thick rubber washer (2 pack) (Lowe's)

$0.92 - 1-1/2" OD x 1/4" ID x 1/16" thick rubber washer (2 pack) (Lowe's)
$0.92 - 1-1/2" OD x 1/4" ID x 1/16" thick rubber washer (2 pack) (Lowe's)
$0.92 - 1-1/2" OD x 1/4" ID x 1/16" thick rubber washer (2 pack) (Lowe's)
$0.92 - 1-1/2" OD x 1/4" ID x 1/16" thick rubber washer (2 pack) (Lowe's)
$0.92 - 1-1/2" OD x 1/4" ID x 1/16" thick rubber washer (2 pack) (Lowe's)
$0.92 - 1-1/2" OD x 1/4" ID x 1/16" thick rubber washer (2 pack) (Lowe's)

$0.12 - 1-1/4" OD x 1/4" ID metal fender washer (Home Depot)
$0.12 - 1-1/4" OD x 1/4" ID metal fender washer (Home Depot)

$0.98 - 4" x 1/4"-20 round head bolt and nut (2 pack) (Home Depot)

$287.27 - previous total
$12.26 - this stuff

TOTAL: $299.53
Last edited by Astyanax on December 11th, 2016, 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
#4886107
33. BUMPER & SHOCK MOUNT assembly and mounting

My goal for mounting the bumper and shock mount to the pack was to avoid gluing it to the pack, so that it could be removable. I sort of accomplished that goal. :)

The first thing I needed was a a spacer for the underside of the bumper. After test fitting the bumper onto my pack, I decided a 5/8" spacer was most appropriate, so I cut a 5/8" length of leftover 1/2" diameter dowel, and drilled a 1/4" hole through it. Then I primed and painted it silver, and then lightly dusted it with black to weather it a bit.

Before mounting it to the bumper, I carefully located and drilled my 1/4" hole through the center of the bumper. Then I epoxied the spacer to the bumper, making sure the holes lined up perfectly.

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Next, I VERY CAREFULLY positioned the bumper on the pack, and drilled through it and the spacer to the cyclotron underneath, punching through with a 1/4" drill bit.

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After this, I was able to insert the rod of the shock mount through these holes. I had to rotate it as it went, because the rod screw was intentionally a tight fit through those 1/4" holes.

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I secured the screw from underneath the cyclotron, using the left over 1-1/4" washer, followed by one nut (hand-tightened as tightly as possible), followed by the second nut for a locking effect. This allows the bumper to pivot only slightly.

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To secure the sides of the bumper, I purchased these 1/4" washers and 1/4"-20 x 3/4" socket head cap screws:

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Home Depot's non-metric screws come in chrome only, so I sprayed them with flat black:

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After lining up the bumper ON BOTH sides just right, I marked and drilled my holes, this time with a 3/16" bit, instead of the 1/4" the screws require. This ensured that my "machine screws" would go quite tightly into the 1/4" thick MDF.

I then added the painted cap screws and washers, tightening carefully by hand. Once the threads of the screws engaged with the MDF, it was a nice secure mounting.

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Pretty straightforward. Secured with no less than 5 pieces of mounting hardware, the bumper feels quite solid.

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It is "removable", but only in the sense that each time I remove it, I will weaken those holes on the sides. So if I find I'm taking the bumper off more than one or two times, I may have to use something like t-nuts or anchor bolts in the future.

The metallic label fit perfectly. :)

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Getting there!

Next post, I will scratch build the booster frame for under four bucks and leftover materials!

Thanks for reading,

Bill

RUNNING PARTS COST:

$0.98 - 1/4" washers (dollar store)
$1.14 - 1/4"-20 x 3/4" socket head cap screws (2-pack) (Home Depot)
$1.14 - 1/4"-20 x 3/4" socket head cap screws (2-pack) (Home Depot)

$299.53 - previous total
$3.26 - this stuff

TOTAL: $302.79
Last edited by Astyanax on December 11th, 2016, 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
#4886192
34. BOOSTER FRAME

The Booster frame is the ladder-shaped assembly that sits in front of the booster. There's a P-clamp attached to it, which helps keep the ribbon cable in place. I was able to make this mostly out of leftover materials.

First, I made the inner part of the frame using a couple 5mm square dowels and some pieces of 1/4" MDF. I don't have the tools to really shape this wood properly, so breaking it up into its distinct polygons made it easier. :) This was all glued together with superglue.

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For the outer part of the frame, I took a piece of leftover sign plastic, and traced the inner part of the frame into it, after fitting it properly. I then cut the hole out of the middle of it, and glued the inner frame assembly onto it. After sanding the extra plastic edges right up to the wood, I was ready for the sloped sides.

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For the sides, I first cut 1/8" wide lengths of sign plastic, and superglued them to the outer edges, creating a "fence" for the sloped sides.

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Using leftover 1/4" balsa wood, I superglued two lengths into the "fenced" sides.

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After that, I sanded the balsa from the MDF edge to the plastic fenced sides, giving the angled "slopes" I needed.

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For the ladder "rungs", I needed a piece of board with the "brick" texture on one side. I checked all my picture frames, but came up empty. Then, I realized I had some scrap pegboard for my garage, which was just old enough to have the right pattern. Perfect!

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I cut three pieces of the pegboard (which was 1/4" thick) to sizes of the rungs, and superglued them into my booster frame assembly.

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For the rippled texture on the sides, I could not locate any rubber mat, like so many other scratch builders had been able to use. But after scouring my local dollar store, I found this corrugated "poster board", which I guess is used for scrapbooking. The corrugated ripples were the perfect size for my needs. Very reminiscent of a Twinkie wrapper. :)

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After cutting pieces to size, I glued poster board strips to my sloped sides, this time using white glue, ensuring a more even adhesion of the paper.

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I then painted the entire assembly with two coats of white glue, diluted with water to 50%. This protects the paper and wood.

Time for the pencils!

I grabbed this pack of pencils from the dollar store, and sliced the ends with my miter saw:

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Next, I glued the pencils to the frame using epoxy.

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After this, it was ready for painting. I applied the usual black formula, and punched holes for screws with an awl.

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For mounting the frame onto the pack, I picked up some #8 flat washers, and some M4 x 20mm socket head cap screws.

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For holding the ribbon cable later, I found this 1" P-clamp at Home Depot:

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I then glued the frame to the booster using epoxy. When that had cured, I fully drilled my mounting holes to 5/32" diameter. This diameter is perfect for holding the screws without gluing, so it was just a matter of attaching the hardware.

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One mistake was uncovered in this process. Remember when I mounted my PPD angled too far outward? This got in the way of the booster frame, so I had to remove the PPD and re-mount it, so that it was mostly facing forward.

All done! This constitutes the last of the larger structural elements of the pack! Here's a couple full views:

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Next post, I will weather the pack. ::sigh:: Pray for me.

Thanks for reading!

Bill

RUNNING PARTS COST:

$1.00 - corrugated poster board (dollar store)
$1.00 - wood pencils (8-pack) (dollar store)
$1.68 - 1" insulated cable clamp (Home Depot)
$0.87 - M4 x 20mm socket head cap screws (Home Depot)

$302.79 - previous total
$4.55 - this stuff

TOTAL: $307.34
Last edited by Astyanax on December 11th, 2016, 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
#4886280
35. WEATHERING

Time to weather the pack. To prepare, I did lots and lots of reading, lots of video watching, and scoured this site for hours. It helped me learn quite a lot!

My approach to weathering this pack is a little bit more of a minimalist take. I wanted it to look used, but not beaten badly. It can be bumped and scuffed, but it still needs to look maintained and kept clean. I wanted my weathering to bring out some detail via paint chips. I wanted a more idealized take, as opposed to film accuracy. This means there is very little paint smudging or random scuffs on flat surfaces. I also opted not to go with a Fuller's earth or other dirt treatment, because that makes the pack almost seem a little neglected, in my opinion. It's starting to collect its own layer of dust, and that's good enough for me. :)

So all of my weathering is done with cheap black acrylic paint, and metallic silver model paint:

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Firstly, I took on all the lighter colored metallic parts: shock mount, fittings, gun mount, etc. For this I used the black acrylic paint. The process was simply to paint each area heavily, and then wipe it off immediately with a t-shirt cloth. This allows the paint to seep into recesses, and dulls the sheen of the metal quite a bit.

The result can be seen here on the washers on the side of the pack:

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Here's the effect on brass parts...

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...the shock mount and P-clamp...

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...and the gun mount and Clippard.

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Nicely aged, I think, but not overly beaten up.

I tried the same technique on the metallic labels, and found that it did a little too much damage!

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But I can live with it. :)

Next, I proceeded to bring out the edges of the pack using the metallic silver paint, dry-brushing some, and painting chipped areas as well.

I kind of overdid it a little at first:

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But as I moved on, I tried to exercise a little more restraint. I feel I was moderately successful:

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Note: For areas where I made mistakes, I was able to repair it by spraying some flat black into a Dixie cup, and brushing it on the over-weathered spots. The effect of brushing on spray paint sometimes causes a little bit of a texture difference in that spot, but it still looks good, since the black is a perfect match.

I did practice smudging just a little bit where some of the boxes' "fins" wrapped around to the top or sides. This technique involved painting the corner and then smudging it along the sides with my finger. I think it came out all right.

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Here's a large overall view of the finished job:

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...and another angle:

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Overall, I'm pretty happy with this. As it fades a little and collects more dust over time, I think it'll be just about right.

So what do you think? I'd be interested in opinions on this step, as it's the whole part of this build that I'm least confident about. Any areas I should correct? Something I missed? Overdone? Underdone? I know that weathering is supposed to be highly subjective, so please feel free to weigh in. :)

Next post: ribbon cable!

And thanks for reading!

Bill

RUNNING PARTS COST:

$1.79 - Testors metallic silver model paint (Michaels)
$1.00 - Paintbrushes (dollar store)
$0.50 - Black acrylic paint (Wal-Mart)

$307.34 - previous total
$3.29 - this stuff

TOTAL: $310.63
Last edited by Astyanax on December 11th, 2016, 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
#4886331
Really digging your scratch build. Have numerous blue boxes from the electronic section of the hardware store and had thought about going that route for my build but after following your build thread thinking I will follow your path. Very detailed and it looks fantastic.
#4886349
36. RIBBON CABLE

Thank you guys for your kind posts! It's nearly there, and I'm really glad you've been enjoying the build. I have too. :)

Now that the weathering is done, I can finish up with cables and tubes, the first being that rainbow colored ribbon cable. This was a pretty straightforward element, so it'll be a shorter post.

First, the clamp. I had 1/8" Baltic birch left over, so I temporarily superglued two pieces together (as before with the bumper rails), using masking tape as the medium for the superglue.

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Then, after getting the proper clamp dimensions from these forums (not Stefan's plans), I cut my two pieces for the clamp at the same time, pre-drilled my holes, and then separated and thoroughly sanded the wood as much as possible.

For what it's worth, the proper dimensions are 3-5/8" long by 7/8" wide, with holes located 1/4" from the flat side and 1/2" from each end. The curvature is decided by my own cyclotron, which I traced onto a piece of paper before transferring to the wood.

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For finishing, I first coated the clamp with four thin coats of white glue. This helped me get rid of the last traces of wood grain. I then primed with flat black and finished with a couple coats of silver spray. Finally, I weathered the pieces by brush painting a thick coat of black acrylic, wiping it off almost immediately.

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For the ribbon itself, I knew there was no way I could adequately simulate that rainbow effect. Let's face it, this cable is way too prominent on the pack, and any homemade attempts would stick out like a sore thumb. Lucky for me, the GBFans shop sells the GB2 cable for only ten bucks (plus $5 for shipping), so it was still cost effective for me to buy one.

Note: The ribbon cable can be had on eBay for $3-$4 less, but there's no guarantee of quality, and the eBay posts are offering shorter lengths. I'm not sure it would have been enough!

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(The GB1 cable is $50 and sold out, so this decision was a no-brainer. :) )

Next, I spent some time manipulating the cable itself, getting a feel for how it twists and how it can sort of hold its shape. I used a bunch of zip ties to twist the whole thing up (except for the one flat end), so it would be easier to work with. As it turns out, this was a more important step than I had thought, because after keeping it tied up for a couple days, it held its shape after I removed the ties!

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Then, I cut about an inch off my flat end of the cable, and epoxied it to the halves of the clamp, taking care to line it up just right, and using some heavy books to hold it flat while the epoxy cured.

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After a good cure, I also epoxied the clamp to my pack.

Once this had also cured, I re-drilled 5/32" holes through the clamp, cable, and into the spacer plastic underneath. Then, I screwed in two M4 x 20mm socket head cap screws (I had bought an extra pack when I made the booster frame). Gluing the screws wasn't necessary, as the holes were tight enough to hold them.

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Then, I carefully manipulated the rest of the cable through the P-clamp. It took some re-twisting and kinking of the cable, but having zip-tied it previously really made this easier, because the cable wanted to hold to that shape.

I also cut off about six inches from the back end.

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Next, I carefully tucked the end of the cable into that 3/4" hole in the central cover plating. I did not secure it in the hole, as it seems to be holding just fine by itself. It's not coming out unless someone pulls it out.

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And that it! Pretty easy, and I'm very happy with the look. I did not weather it, but I expect it to dull a bit over time.

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Next post, I'll install all the black corrugated "wire loom" tubing on the pack.

Thanks for reading,

Bill

RUNNING PARTS COST:

$15.00 - GB2 ribbon cable (GBfans.com)
$0.87 - M4 x 20mm socket head cap screws (Home Depot)

$310.63 - previous total
$15.87 - this stuff

TOTAL: $326.50
Last edited by Astyanax on December 11th, 2016, 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
#4886447
37. WIRE LOOM TUBING

(Thank you Lewis Tully (and others) for the words of encouragement!)

This build does not use any split-loom wire tubing. When you go to eBay, the "splitless", or "non-split", a.k.a. "corrugated" tubing, is just as affordable. It's not film accurate, but it sure as heck is ideal for this build. Splitless loom is far more stable and holds its position much better.

So I'll start with the small tubing, I already purchased it way back when I was making fittings for this build (step #11).

To "weather" it prior to using it on the pack, I rubbed it with some #00 steel wool. Brillo pads, Scotch-Brite, abrasive sponges, magic erasers, they all can accomplish the same thing. The whole point is to dull that shiny, plasticky sheen just a little, because a weathered pack looks very strange with shiny tubing.

I started with the "boots" I had previously cut. These 1-1/4" or so lengths of the tubing were attached to the pack using a couple different techniques.

For the Sage resistor on the ion arm, I used a little epoxy. For the PPD and injector tubes (which already had dowels protruding), I used a healthy blast of high-temp hot glue.

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By the way, it's hard to see, but the boot fitting the PPD is at an angle. Once the hot glue was applied inside the tube and the tube was placed over the dowel, I used a fingernail to pull one side of the tube down along the slope, stretching the boot just a bit. It created just the right effect.

And for box on the pack spacer that only had holes, I found some suitable leftover dowels, cut them unceremoniously with a wire clipper, and epoxied them into the lower spacer box. Then, I again used a big blast of high-temp hot glue into the boots and placed them on the dowels.

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The beam line running between two brass elbows was quite easy, with just high-temp hot glue in the tube, and then placed over the brass standoffs that are attached to the fittings. It made sense, of course, to cut this piece too long, glue it onto one end, and then trim it just right before gluing onto the other end.

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That's it for the small tube. For the larger tube, I once again went with "splitless", finding a healthy quantity on eBay at a very low price. I will need this again when I connect the proton gun to the pack. :)

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This tubing was just a bit too wide for the upper part of the vacuum tube, so (ironically) I cut a "split" along the tube for about an inch or so, so that it would fit. Epoxy was my go-to this time. After test-fitting and trimming the lower part a few times, I also epoxied that and into the lower vacuum tube.

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Pretty straightforward. And yes, I also rubbed this tube with steel wool, again to take the shine off. I feel this is really very effective in adding to the realism of the whole pack.

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That's pretty much it. Next post, I'll finish the pack with the colored pieces of poly tubing. Again, eBay was the best source.

Thanks for reading,

Bill

RUNNING PARTS COST:

$8.01 - 20mm O.D. x 15MM I.D. x 2.3 meters splitless "corrugated tube" (eBay)

$326.50 - previous total

TOTAL: $334.51
Last edited by Astyanax on December 11th, 2016, 4:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
#4886516
38. COLOR TUBING

The tubing I used on this pack sells on eBay as "polyethylene pneumatic tubing". It's offered in different diameters and lengths, so I used this guide on GBfans to determine which tubing I needed.

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Not a bad price for a whole lot of tubing. It may be a little less costly elsewhere, but I saw two benefits: I was able to get real 5/32" for the "push-fit" elbows, and there's lots left over for other projects like the trap. This is 50 feet of tubing!

Most of the tubing was very easy to install, and some of it didn't need glue. I also rubbed it with some #00 steel wool to remove the plasticky sheen and age it a little. This had the effect of also removing the printed brand information on the tubes, but I was going for a more idealized look anyway.

I started simple. A short piece of 5/32" yellow tubing for the ion arm hardware. On the resistor side, I clipped the tube at a slant and used a dab of epoxy before inserting. The elbow side required no glue, since it's a "push fit" connector, that holds the tubing tightly.

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Between the two boots at the booster frame, I used a piece of 1/4" tubing, with a bit of epoxy on both ends before inserting into the boots.

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Back to the ion arm. The blue 1/4" tubing that goes from the brass elbow to the resistor is very stiff and hard to bend that tightly. I heated it up with my heat gun (a hair dryer can also work) to soften it, bent it most of the way, then allowed it to cool in that position. Epoxy helped me secure both ends, as did a brief, light clamping.

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I then used 1/4" red and blue tubing between the boots on the injector tubes and pack body. Again, epoxy on the ends helped them hold position.

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And finally, red 5/32" tubing went from the two brass straight connectors into the "Legris" elbows. The elbows had push-fit connectors, so no glue was necessary. For the straight connectors, I clipped the tubing at an angle and forced them in. It was a tight fit, so again, no glue necessary.

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THAT'S IT!!!! THE PACK IS DONE!!!

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Here it is, all powered up and sitting on my kitchen counter:

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Wow, feels great to have made it so far. :) Total cost has been about $350 for the pack itself. I'm pretty happy with this cost, seeing that I was able to get it pretty close to the originals, use minimal tools, spread the cost over weeks or months, and throw some lights in too!

But I'm not really done, of course. It's time to move on to the thrower, which will be part of my next post.

Thanks for reading!

Bill

RUNNING PARTS COST:

$21.80 - 10 feet each of 1/4" polyethylene pneumatic tubing (red, blue, green) and 5/32" tubing (red, yellow) (eBay)

$334.51 - previous total

TOTAL: $356.31
Last edited by Astyanax on December 11th, 2016, 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
#4887038
39. THROWER: GUN BODY

The gun body is the largest central piece on the proton thrower / proton gun / neutrino wand / neutrona wand / whatever. I opted to make it mostly out of MDF, because it needs to be strong enough to support the weight of all the elements attached to it. It's a bit heavy, but necessarily so.

Note: I am building this as a fully enclosed box, with no removable doors or faces. It's cheaper and more sturdy that way. This means all my light lenses and switches will have to be mounted from the outside, but I have decided to make the thrower as a fully non-functioning prop, in order to keep costs way down.

The gun body is a slightly complex shape, so I decided to make it in two parts. For the bottom "box", I cut these pieces out of leftover 1/4" MDF with a miter saw:

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Then, I glued them together using superglue. Notice the hole (which I drilled with a spade bit prior to cutting that plate), leaving room for the barrel.

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The upper half of the gun body I made out of MDF and sign plastic:

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To help support the weight of the handle, I decided to use a PVC-type "sleeve" to support its weight, and realized I have leftover "tailpiece" material from when I made the injectors! They fit over 1" I.D. PVC perfectly. Never throw anything away!

So I superglued the top and sides together and cut a piece of the leftover tailpiece longer than I needed.

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To clear room for the tailpiece, I sanded the rounded "groove" in the corner of the box, by wrapping a piece of 80-grit sandpaper around a PVC pipe. Once I sand all the way through, this part will be two pieces.

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Once I had finished sanding the space for the tailpiece, I cleaned up the two parts and superglued them to the sign plastic base.

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Then, I used a healthy portion of epoxy to glue the tailpiece into its groove, using clamps, weights, and a level to make sure it was aligned right.

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Here's how it looked after that attachment. The tailpiece will fit the PVC handle perfectly.

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Next, I sawed off the excess tailpiece material.

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After that, I cleaned up the surfaces with sandpaper, and carved the three vents into the top using a drill and a file.

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Time to break out the Bondo! I made the curve around the tailpiece by slathering on a bunch of Bondo, and sanding it smooth in the right shape.

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Then, I superglued the front and rear faces (which were made out of sign plastic) onto the box. I was able to trace the shape of the angled hole with a fine-point Sharpie from the inside of the box, and cut it out with my lexan scissors. Getting the hole perfect is not necessary, as I'll be covering up any imperfections with fake welds later.

I sanded everything smooth, and sanded off the outside corners of the sign plastic.

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For the next step, I decided to apply Bondo everywhere I saw seams, and tried to clean them all up by sanding it smooth. I also rounded all the corners and edges just a little.

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At this point, it was time to consider the barrel attachment, so I cut a piece of 1" I.D. PVC to length, and epoxied it inside the box. I then covered the attachment point with Bondo, using it as kind of a "caulking", and sanded that so it ll looked like one piece. I also used a little spot putty for additional cleanup.

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For the base of the knob on top, I cut a piece of 5/8" dowel I had lying around (leftover 1/2" from earlier in this build would have worked as well). I sanded a concave bit on the underside with my dremel and glued it on top with epoxy. Then I applied Bondo as a caulking, sanding it smooth so it all looks like one piece.

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After this, I applied a bit more Bondo in spots to clean up some pock marks and seams, and then coated the entire part with a two thin layers of wood glue (trying it instead of white glue this time).

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All done! I'll work on details and drill holes much later.

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Next post, I'll make the gun track.

Thanks for reading,

Bill

RUNNING PARTS COST:

$1.67 - 2' length of 1" I.D. PVC pipe (Home Depot)

$356.31 - previous total

TOTAL: $357.98
#4887120
40. THROWER: GUN TRACK

The gun track is mounted to the bottom of the gun body. It's a partial support for the rear cylinder and instrument bar, and is the main connection point for the other side of the V-hook, which was built previously.

It looks more complex than it is, and thanks to its 1/4" thick layers, it was pretty easy to make out of MDF. Since my V-hook is a little different than a machined aluminum one, I made some small modifications to the gun track to better support it.

I don't have major power tools like routers and table saws, so I started by cutting 3/8" thick strips of leftover 1/4" MDF, supergluing a semi-ladder shape out of them. The two outer strips on the sides are 1/4" thick.

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After sanding it level, I applied some Bondo over as many of the join seams as I could. I also spread a bunch of Bondo in each of the inside corners (except the middle part), and flattened it while it cured. Once cured, I sanded it all level again. My dremel with a sanding drum helped me get the inside corners rounded just right; I made sure to take it very slow so as not to over-sand.

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I then superglued the ladder onto a plate of 1/4" MDF, and sanded the join seams even with each other.

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Next, I sliced off the front corners with my miter saw and sanded the new seams even with each other.

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After that, I applied a little more Bondo on the side and end seams (where the ladder joins the plate), and sanded them smooth. I then applied two thin coats of wood glue over the whole thing.

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To assemble the track to the gun body, I used epoxy, positioning mostly by eyeballing it and going with what I liked.

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For the gun track disks, I picked up some 3/8" washers, #12 finishing washers, and a pair of #10-32 button-head socket cap screws.

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As you can see here, the idea is to stack them so that they sort of look like the wheel shape I need. It's not a perfect match, but it's the right size and super cheap.

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After carefully locating and drilling two 5/32" holes in the right spots, I pushed the screws into the holes, stacking the washers. Little dabs of epoxy with a toothpick between each piece helped make them permanent.

I have no intention of putting an S-hook on this build.

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There you go, a gun track, ready for my alternative style V-hook!

Next post, I'll tackle the rear cylinder, which is a bit trickier than it seems!

Thanks for reading,

Bill

RUNNING PARTS COST:

$0.98 - 3/8" flat washers (3-pack) (Home Depot)
$0.98 - #12 finishing washers (6-pack) (Home Depot)
$1.75 - #10-32 x 3/4" button-head socket cap screws (2-pack) (Home Depot)

$357.98 - previous total
$3.71 - this stuff

TOTAL: $361.69
Last edited by Astyanax on December 14th, 2016, 12:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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