Apollo LM 1/32 Archive & Future Kit Production

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StevenBills

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
You laser-cut the styrene? I had heard that styrene just melts when hit with a laser? Anyway, that sounds like a sweet way to do it. Progress is looking great!

SB
 

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Archive&Future

Sr Member
You laser-cut the styrene? I had heard that styrene just melts when hit with a laser? Anyway, that sounds like a sweet way to do it. Progress is looking great!

SB

The trick is low power, moderate speed. The styrene continues to melt after the beam has passed, so you just have to account for the kerf (usually between 0.25 - 0.5mm)

The cuts end up with burrs either side of the faces, but in this case where I'm chamfering every edge anyway it doesn't matter.
 

Archive&Future

Sr Member
Today I focused on refining the panelling I glued up yesterday, machining a prototype drogue, and improving the form-tool for the RCS thrusters.

The angle on the drogue prototype is wrong, I need to do some more research to work out what angle it should be. I think I bored it out at 35°.

For the RCS thruster tools I ground a stub length drill with the appropriate angle which is dedicated to boring out the tiny thrusters. They're extremely fiddly to machine, as they tend to snap off the stock before I've reached the final dimension. I will obviously fine tune the process, as I need to be able to make hundreds...

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Analyzer

Sr Member
Without knowing what tools and equipment you have access to, would it be worth it do do a lost wax casting mold with Aluminum or even nickel silver?
 

Archive&Future

Sr Member
Without knowing what tools and equipment you have access to, would it be worth it do do a lost wax casting mold with Aluminum or even nickel silver?

I could do that! I suppose if I machined a set of 16 and mounted them to a sprue, I could mould that in silicone, cast a set of wax positives from that mould and then create a series of plaster moulds? That's a good idea, I could do them in white metal, that would be easier than aluminium as I wouldn't need to worry about pre-heating the plaster mould.

I'll explore both options, I like the appearance of machined metal and it means less work for the modellers who buy the kit, but cast metal is far more efficient...
 

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robn1

Master Member
I could do that! I suppose if I machined a set of 16 and mounted them to a sprue, I could mould that in silicone, cast a set of wax positives from that mould and then create a series of plaster moulds? That's a good idea, I could do them in white metal, that would be easier than aluminium as I wouldn't need to worry about pre-heating the plaster mould.

I'll explore both options, I like the appearance of machined metal and it means less work for the modellers who buy the kit, but cast metal is far more efficient...
You can cast pewter right from the silicone mold.
 

Archive&Future

Sr Member
Well, back to the drawing board I guess.

I only just discovered Vincent Meen's incredibly detailed blueprints, I wish I had found them earlier in the project.
Still, I learnt a ton doing my own research, and I wasn't outrageously far off...Though the fuel tank geometry is chronically undersized in my model.

I'm going to need to rethink how I do this now, after seeing Vincent's build I have half a mind to actually build mine using brass rod to form the rollcage substructure, and then solder brass sheet over that.
That would certainly give the sheet metal appearance some authenticity, and I could backfill the structure inside with resin.

Who knows, I'm a little bit annoyed at myself for not realising what a rabbit warren this project would be.

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DeLano80

Sr Member
Back to the drawing board is tough, especially when you've gone as far as you have already. I have done the same a couple times myself. But it is difficult to look and such projects and say "close enough ". Therefore I've had to start over. I am enjoying your work and looking forward to the awesome end result.
 

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Archive&Future

Sr Member
Back to the drawing board is tough, especially when you've gone as far as you have already. I have done the same a couple times myself. But it is difficult to look and such projects and say "close enough ". Therefore I've had to start over. I am enjoying your work and looking forward to the awesome end result.

Thank you for the encouragement.

Using Vincent Meen's blueprints I built a scale model in Sketchup and printed out a new hull at work.
Our school printers have quite small bed sizes, so I split the hull down the middle and glued them afterwards- each half took around 26 hours.

My plan is to file each beam and then apply 0.015" styrene sheet in imitation of how the real ship was built (sheet metal over a framework).
I'm hoping that this technique will be quicker and also give a more realistic stressed sheet metal effect than what I've been doing before- but we shall see.

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TazMan2000

Master Member
One of the great things we can do with 3D is print out accurate/symmetrical frameworks. We could use styrene and do it painstakingly by hand and hope for precision, or we can use a program to design it virtually and see if it is what we are looking for, scale it, stretch or shorten areas and make additions without ruining the original design.
After gluing on all the panels, if you haven't considered it already, you might use a hair dryer to heat the panels and push them slightly in with your finger until you get the look you desire.

TazMan2000
 

DeLano80

Sr Member
I was wondering how you were going to handle the sheet stress. Are you going to add more stress in the parts than what the cement gave you?
 

Archive&Future

Sr Member
I was wondering how you were going to handle the sheet stress. Are you going to add more stress in the parts than what the cement gave you?

I'll probably follow Tazman2000's advice about the hairdryer technique.

The past couple of days have just been focused on panelling- today I drilled out the docking tunnel oversize at 30mm so that I can machine an aluminium sleeve that will reduce that to a very clean 28mm.

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Last night my girlfriend helped me out with the panelling too, and took these funky retro pictures while I worked:

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