I've been working with the leadership at the Artisan's Asylum maker space in Somerville, MA (short biking distance from the heart of Boston/Cambridge) on building a prop/model shop in addition to their woodworking, machining, welding, and rapid prototyping shops. I want to attract fellow RPF-types in the area to come and be a part of a like-minded community interested in doing cool stuff with good tools that might otherwise be hard to have in the tiny apartments that tend to be common in our metro area. We hope also to build a presence online to do things like prop-making tutorial videos for the good of everyone on the web. There are a number of professional prop replica fabricators already in residence at the Asylum (including an amazing R2 that lives at the Asylum); we just haven't organized ourselves much yet. I'm trying to fix that.
So my question for the RPF is this: what would you put in your dream prop-making shop?
We've already got all the standard machining, woodworking, CNC, etc. tools a person could want. We have a massive laser cutter, and a fancy 3D printer. We have a paint/hazmat room with ventilation, and we're working on a lab-grade fume hood. We have an acrylic bender, and we're working on setting up a huge professional Paasche airbrushing paint booth.
What else do we need, and what specific items would you recommend (brands and models are welcome). For example, do we need both a vacuum chamber and a pressure pot for resin casting? What sort of airbrushing compressor should we provide for community use? (I'm assuming it will be best to let individuals bring in their own airbrush heads themselves?) What route should we take for a vacuformer? What other essential tools am I overlooking?
We don't have a huge budget, but I am looking to buy and donate some stuff, and we have lots of talented makers available to help us home-brew rigs as needed.
Also: if you're local to Boston/Cambridge/Somerville and would like to get involved, please PM me. I'd be happy to take you on a tour of the Asylum and to get your help/input on what we're doing.
In the meantime, I hope to use this as our "build thread" for a community prop-making space. I hope it will be interesting and informative to all.