My new project is a scratch-built Studio Scale replica of the Vulcan Shuttle Surak, officially known as the Long Range Shuttle. This project has been in research, planning, and development for over two years now and I'm really excited to have it off the drawing boards and taking physical form.
First off I'd like to give a huge -HUGE- thank you to all of the people who helped me to make this project a reality. In addition to help from friends on the modeling forums a lot of time also went into finding information from people and sources not available on the boards. Although time consuming, it paid off in spades. The help from all of these generous people are what made this project a reality and I am very grateful.
This photo is a screen cap, of course, and shows the model as it appeard in the movie. My goal is to duplicate the original filming model, as it actually appeared, in all its glorious 'pinkness'.
I'll be posting a complete build diary on my website but will post updates as I go.
I'm starting with the nacelles first as they seem to be the trickiest part of the model. My first thought on the nacelles was that the structure inside would be critical. They are long and slender and supported on one end only. They also would need to be as light-weight as possible.
To create the tapered profile I decided to generate a series of ribs each one slightly different as the 6-sided cross section tapered down the length. Perpendicular to the ribs I'm using a square aluminum tube. The ribs are about an inch apart with additional ones added in for specific details. There's about 50 ribs total along the length.
After drawing profiles of the nacelles in AutoCAD I generated a series of cross-sectinal ribs. I'm cutting the ribs out of 1/8" thick cast-acrylic with a laser cutter. To do this economically I got a membership at the TechShop in San Francisco. The TechShop is a membership-based workshop with just about every tool you can imagine. They're fairly new and opening up new locations all over the country. They have 4 laser cutters at the SF location. They also have a really nice vacuum former and plastic bender which will come in handy later on.
Getting the first few ribs on square to the tube was critical. With the tube clamped down I used these machinist's 1-2-3 blocks to align the ribs and hold them in place while gluing.
Between each rib are three spacers parallel to the tube (top, bottom, and side).
A bit more. Here you can see holes I added to the ribs where the wiring for the lights will run through.
Here's the progress so far in front of the drawing and a Pepsi can for scale. The nacelles are a little under 3 feet long.
This is a prototype test for the sled cross piece. It's cut from 1/4" cast acrylic. It's pretty rigid and should be plenty strong to support the nacelles. On the original model this piece was aluminum plate which was necessary to support the nacelles that were wood covered with plastic sheeting. Bending this to the right shape will be complicated and I'm assuming it will take a few tries to get it right. This will be the first test piece.
Thanks for looking.