Building The Death Star - PRODUCTION

PHArchivist

Master Member
All right ladies and gents, hold on to you butts because HERE WE GO! (I say that lovingly - you're greatest bunch of hooligans and scallywags I know!)

This past Friday I picked up the two acrylic domes to begin building the Death Star.

So...

After many years and various threads, NO MORE TALK! It's being built!

However, I anticipate this to be a six to twelve month project. I suspect the physical construction should take a month or less, but the masking and painting will be considerably longer. Then the lights... Good god!

For the record, this is a personal build project intended solely for my personal collection. It is not a commission, nor can I, or will I repeat this project on a commission basis.




 
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PHArchivist

Master Member
First order of buisness...

I'm nearly certain I miscalculated the dish. I was advised that the current replica may be 23cm which is a bit over 9". I'm afraid it looks too big, and should be in the 7.5" to 8" range. What do you think?

I'm not terribly concerned about the incorrect hole. I can use the cut dome as the lower hemisphere, and orient the hole in the back. It will vent heat (if the lamp generates heat), and will provide access to replace the lamp.

Though I am a little nervous about cutting a new hole... Thoughts?




 
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robn1

Master Member
It does look a bit big, but that could be the perspective of the photo.
You should rule that out before making any alterations.

Try taking another pic of the domes, back up as far as you can
and zoom in. Get the perspective as flat as you can.

Rob
 

PHArchivist

Master Member
It does look a bit big, but that could be the perspective of the photo.
You should rule that out before making any alterations.

Try taking another pic of the domes, back up as far as you can
and zoom in. Get the perspective as flat as you can.

Rob
Quite valid point. I was farther away in the shot taken at he museum, than the shot taken in my own shop.
 

AT-AT Luvah

Sr Member
Daunting project, my man. But I'm psyched to watch the journey. Looks like a promising start. Dish cut does look a tad large, but I am certainly no expert on the dimensions of the Death Star. Pure empirical observation on my part.

I will be watching this project with great interest. :)

Hector
 

ralphee

Sr Member
About time :lol, seriously, you have researched this sooo much Rob, its really made me grin your kicking off what i know will be a killer build, you lucky so and so!
As for the hole, it looks about right in the first pic, then a tad off the the others, so yeah id say a perspective issue?
Im gonna love watching this take shape!

lee
 

minifig

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
If in doubt about the size why not cut out some discs of paper of different radii and tape them in the right place, then take a series of photos to compare with your shot of the prop (overlay them in photoshop!); not very scientific but sometimes the eye is more accurate than the ruler!!!!
 

CutThumb

Sr Member
Good luck with this, particularly the lighting side. My SD is giving me alot of food for thought, so this build should be really great to watch. Good start though, those spheres look about right.
 

PHArchivist

Master Member
Thanks guys - yeah this is going to be a long, somewhat challenging build. But as Lee pointed out, there has been much preparation, talk, research - now I'm psyched to be actually doing it!

Consensus is the hole is too big. The idea of doing paper cut-outs I think would work fine. The current hole is 9 1/8. I think just about 8" will be fine. I'm concerned about cutting the acrylic; don't want to crack it. I think I'll go at it with a drill bit in my Dremel, and drill a series of holes along the circumference, then "cut along the doted line".

My goal for today is to build the beginning of the armature, cut the necessary holes (new super laser hole, and a hole at the south pole for the support rod), and get the lower hemisphere mounted in place

Later on down the line, I'll need to manage the upper hemi - getting that in place will be a bigger challenge, as it needs to ride at a very specific height, and the edges must be parallel. Easy in concept; not so easy when you really think about it.

What do you all think about the overall shape of my ball of death? We all know its ovoid, and not perfectly sphereical. The domes are 16 5/8" from equator to pole (no 18" as a true sphere would be at 36" in diameter). These images show the ovoid shape better. I'm happy with the results, but frankly, were I to do it again, I think I'd go 16 1/4". The original really is a football!



 
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CutThumb

Sr Member
If you were going to fill in the hole a bit to reduce the size I would cut out a large circle from sheet of plasticard . I'd then cut an inner circle out of that to support the dish in place when you've established its size (so in effect you have a ring just below the surface like an iris for the inside of the DS).This would leave a slight lip between the dish and the rest of the DS that you could infill with either another ring of plastic cut from the plastic (or many cut strips)or an infill with something like epoxy sculpt for strength. You then need to re enforce it with thicker strips on the inside for support anyway but it would be pretty stable. Be warned about drilling or cutting acrylic- I tried it once when trying to build shelves and kept cracking it! its very difficult to work.
You might find building a cubic skeleton out of a 1/2 " ( or larger) hardwood helpfull to add rigidity to the upper and lower spheres.It would then be easy to slip inside to do wiring and may allow you to remove the upper sphere from time to time .It would not be a perfect cube obviously because of the DS shape but it would then allow you to build alot of internal supports for fibre optics and wiring off of it , which will be complicated enough anyway.
 
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PHArchivist

Master Member
My first thought on the super laser hole was exactly that - affix a ring on the backside to allow a "ledge" to add filer to.

However, my concern is that this technique is more complicated, and introduces considerbly larger margins of error. Also, to be truly accurate, any and all filler materials would need to be clear enough to allow light transmission.

 
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BrianM

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
This may sound like a silly question but did the guys who cut the whole keep the cut out piece? Maybe it's sitting on there cut off shelf?

The only thing harder to cut/drill than acrylic, is acrylic that has been tempered by heat forming.

Part one of my advice is make what you have work. It would be fairly easy to slush plaster on the inside of the dome and make a bunch of vacumeformed plugs you could drill cut test and break till you got it right. Then glue it in place. Even if you have to use filler you can always drill tiny holes to let the light out.

Part two: Attach the top dome to the bottom one THEN add the central pole. Use spacers to get it perfectly even all the way around. Glue firmly with plex glue not super glue. This way if you a little off of top dead center with the pole nobody will notice.

Part Three: I've found the safest way to cut large hole in plex domes is with a soldering iron. I know it sounds weird but buy a cheep iron from radio shack and do it in a very well ventilated area. It slow but never a crack using this method.

Best of luck
BrianM
 

PHArchivist

Master Member
Part Three: I've found the safest way to cut large hole in plex domes is with a soldering iron. I know it sounds weird but buy a cheep iron from radio shack and do it in a very well ventilated area. It slow but never a crack using this method.
Now that is what the RPF is all about - sharing skills and concepts. I'd not thought of that, and the logic makes perfect sense. (y)thumbsup
 
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Jedifyfe

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Hey Rob,
The shape looks REALLY spot on! I do agree with the consensus about the hole but again, that may be due to the photograph. Can't wait to see the progress

Brad
 

moes1

Well-Known Member
As far I remember, when I made the Dish for Guz, it was pretty much 23 cm wide, though it's been some years ago now since I made it. But Guz told it was a great fit. The dish does not sit flush with the edge of the domes, it does stick a bit out. There are some OK reference in the "from SW to Indy" book as far as I remember.

I have some pictures of it on my site. "News" - then "more news"
 

Junk Pilot

Sr Member
I go with the concensus in that the hole is slightly oversize but I'd go with it regardless unless you want it absolutely spot on.

Either way this is going to be a kick ass replica. I have 30cm diameter domes which I am hoping to make so yours will be mine hands down.
 
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