Apollo LM 1/32 Archive & Future Kit Production

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Archive&Future

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This afternoon I began to create the egress column.
This was hand-cut with help from templates I printed using an unfolding plugin for Sketchup; although as is usually the case nothing went together perfectly and I resorted to old-school measuring and fitting by eye.

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Archive&Future

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Since my last upload I've moved forward with the egress column and window assemblies.

This evening I machined the docking tunnel from a piece of 6061- fortunately I had recalibrated the bearings in my lathe, since thin walled parts not forgiving and I could easily have ended up with a horrible surface finish.

I'm glad I started over, side-by-side you can see that that MkI design was wrongly proportioned and narrower than it ought to have been.

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Archive&Future

Sr Member
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Since my last upload I've been working on foiling the panels.
I tried about 10 different combinations of films, foils, papers, tapes and glues before I settled on using 2mm double-sided tape and reflective window tinting film I got from the art department at work.
It's delicate, and most panels have needed to be done twice- but the effect is worth it. It's soft enough to emboss rivets into as well.

I think what I'll do is mould this assembly once all the panels are done, then cast that and continue working on the cast.
That cast will then become the new master which will eventually be used to make the production mould.

The idea behind this is that the gaps and delicacy inherent in the foil will be too fragile to create a perfect production mould from- so I create an interim casting.

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Archive&Future

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Over the last several months I've been renovating and moving into a new workshop, and I'm finally ready to start building things again.
The first on the list? To make real headway on the 1:32 Lunar Module.

My plan for these components is to mould them as they are, to create rough interim castings- this is because the Baco-foil paper I'm using to create the stressed sheet metal texture is delicate, and nothing can be glued onto it. The idea is that once that texture is captured, I can then fine tune and detail the castings without worrying about damaging anything- and then from there create the final production moulds.

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It feels good to be building again, and with the new space and new equipment I've bought I think this will come together very successfully!
 

Archive&Future

Sr Member
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Glad to see you are back at this project. Space (real space) vehicles are my favorite.
Have you considered Mercury?

I'd love to do a whole range of real space models, especially the Crew Dragon. I'm looking into investing in a resin printer in the next couple of months, which I think will really improve my workflow.

This is looking great! Is that a 1/35 figure?

Yeah it is, I have a nice Hobbyart Valentine tank kit for kitbashing which has some wonderfully sculpted figures. I know they're not technically the correct scale, but it's close enough. I like to think of him as a short Grumman worker.

Looking really good and happy to hear you're back at it.

Thank you!
 

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Archive&Future

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The face hull interim mould is complete, and the first cast was pulled this afternoon.

As expected, the foil came away in the de-moulding process, but now that texture is captured and I don't need to worry about the fragility of the foil any more.

Tomorrow I'll begin moulding the main hull, and also carry on working on the casting to add rivets and new geometry.

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Archive&Future

Sr Member
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Today I focused on the face cast.
The original master was more out of square than I had realised, and after consulting the CAD model I had built in Sketchup, I was able to work out which faces could be machined.

Interestingly it’s now closer to what the 3D model’s geometry actually is, which is strange considering that these components were 3D printed from the same file- but I suspect the dimension changes are to do with the areas I’ve plated over and refined before I moulded it.

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Archive&Future

Sr Member
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Today I kitbashed the steerable S-Band antenna gimbal, and although it's not 100% accurate in terms of the number of ribs, it's close enough for me to be proud of.

Returning to the hull face, I've continued to blend problem areas with epoxy putty, as well as machine the egress column/communications array box from Delrin.

The tracking light ring I machined from brass, and will have a separate insert to capture the very fine texture that the real LM tracking light had.

As for the in-flight S-Band antenna, I realised that an ordinary wood screw with the thread peaks machined flat would be ideal- and although it lacks the negative space of the real thing, I definitely feel it's an acceptable compromise.

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Archive&Future

Sr Member
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Today I machined out a cavity for the docking window, this time correctly positioned, and then refined the stressed sheet metal texture using a scalpel blade I ground to shape.

My next steps will be to create the RCS thruster arms and finish the communications array on top of the egress column before fitting hundreds of rivet heads.

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Archive&Future

Sr Member
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Yesterday I pulled a cast of the LM main hull from the interim mould I made.
My next steps will be to clean up any seams, then map out where location pins need to be fitted for components like antennae, docking targets and tracking lights.

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Archive&Future

Sr Member
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All the dimensions for my 1:32 LM build are taken from this 3D model I've been building in Sketchup alongside the physical build.
Vincent Meens' blueprints have been invaluable to the construction of my model, with many components then being cross referenced and built from original NASA documentation I've sourced from books and online resources.

Once this model is complete I'll be making the files available to buy as STLs in different scales for 3D printing, every component will be grouped and organised, and the final 3D model will of course have a full interior just as the physical kit will.

This sort of project, at this level, is only possible thanks to the tireless work of Apollo enthusiasts across literally decades of research. To paraphrase Sir Isaac Newton
"If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants."

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