Long Range Shuttle - Surak

Discussion in 'Studio Scale Models' started by dbhs, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. dbhs

    dbhs Well-Known Member

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    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.

    [​IMG]


    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).

    [​IMG]


    A bit more. Here you can see holes I added to the ribs where the wiring for the lights will run through.

    [​IMG]


    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.

    [​IMG]


    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.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for looking.

    -Doug
     
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  2. ShowCraft

    ShowCraft Well-Known Member

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    A studio scale replica of the shuttle has been long overdue.
    This is going to be a fun build to watch.
    Thanks for taking it on :thumbsup
     
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  3. tk1608

    tk1608 Sr Member

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    I've always liked this ship, I can't wait to see more..(y)thumbsup

    Phil
     
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  4. robn1

    robn1 Master Member

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    Very cool, never seen this one done.
     
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  5. IEDBOUNTYHUNTER

    IEDBOUNTYHUNTER Sr Member

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    Nice Start, looking forward to seeing more.
     
    dbhs likes this.
  6. Blackbirdcd

    Blackbirdcd Well-Known Member

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    Looking forward to seeing how this progresses!
     
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  7. feek61

    feek61 Sr Member

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    Very cool and overdue subject. Looking forward to your updates.
     
    dbhs likes this.
  8. Aurora

    Aurora Well-Known Member

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    Very cool love the acrylic
     
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  9. dbhs

    dbhs Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. This one is a challenge for sure. Just about every part of it is new territory for me but that's what keeps things interesting.
     
  10. jtwaclawski

    jtwaclawski New Member

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    This is cool. If you need help at the decal stage, let me know.
     
    dbhs likes this.
  11. SVTStingRay

    SVTStingRay Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    love it. ill say this for the motion picture, it sure had great ship designs.
     
  12. Pro Mod

    Pro Mod Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Great start, I've always loved this ship.:thumbsup
     
  13. jockdeboer

    jockdeboer Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    This is going to be badass!
     
  14. dbhs

    dbhs Well-Known Member

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    I posted an update on my site. Here are a few of the new pics.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  15. IEDBOUNTYHUNTER

    IEDBOUNTYHUNTER Sr Member

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    Looking great, its starting to come together.


    Al
     
  16. ixtore

    ixtore Active Member

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    Just great. Always liked this ship. It was a little outside the known Star Trek universe design philosophy (at the time) but still fit in nicely. The paint job will be interesting! It was certainly a unique miniature.
     
  17. dbhs

    dbhs Well-Known Member

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    I know what you mean but at the same time I think this design shows a bit of the diversity that would actually exist if the world of Star Trek was more fully explored. I'm glad they didn't just go with reduced versions of the Enterprise nacelles tacked on and instead came up with a more unique design.
    I'm definitely looking forward to the painting of this one...perhaps more than any other part of the build.
     
  18. frakme

    frakme New Member

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    IVe always like that Spock Warp Shuttle. Looks good keep the pics commin
     
  19. MooCriket

    MooCriket Master Member

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    Very cool indeed!
     
  20. IEDBOUNTYHUNTER

    IEDBOUNTYHUNTER Sr Member

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    YO, anything New.
     
  21. feek61

    feek61 Sr Member

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    Photos and website gone; this isn't looking good.

    Too bad, this was going to be interesting. Hopefully Doug will return
     
  22. trooper

    trooper Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    WOW! what happend?????
     
  23. dbhs

    dbhs Well-Known Member

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    Hey guys.
    Sadly nothing new to post.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
  24. Guy Cowen

    Guy Cowen Sr Member

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    Really sorry to hear all this Doug, hope things smooth out sooner than later for you.
     
  25. feek61

    feek61 Sr Member

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    Doug, sorry to hear of your troubles; that sucks. Thank you for taking time to update us on this cool project. Take care of yourself.
     
  26. GKvfx

    GKvfx Sr Member

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    Eeeep! Ummm....wow. That wasn't the update we were A) expecting, and B) hoping for.

    Stay sane. Nice thing is - acrylic has a looong shelf life. So it will be there when you are ready/able to get back to it.

    Regards,

    Gene
     
  27. dbhs

    dbhs Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, guys. I appreciate the support. I'm maintaining my optimism about my future and life in general....just taking things now a day at a time. When I do get back to building again it's going to be full steam ahead. I'm looking forward to that.
     
  28. dbhs

    dbhs Well-Known Member

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    Getting caught up with posting my previous progress.

    This is the line bender I'm using at the TechShop. It makes bending the acrylic a piece of cake.
    [​IMG]

    And the adjustable fence for bending to the correct angle.
    [​IMG]

    The main challenge with bending the 1/4" acrylic is that it tends to want to bend to a particular radius every time and not the right radius. The radius it wants to bend to is too small. On some 1/8" acrylic test pieces I realized that the outside radius of those bends is just about right for the inside radius on the 1/4" acrylic. So I made a form to bend over to force the 1/4" acrylic into the right shape. These photos show that process.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
  29. dbhs

    dbhs Well-Known Member

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    This is a mockup with the first test piece of the 1/4" acrylic just to get a sense of the size of it. The 2 nacelles are test pieces and both starboard nacelles.

    It's really cool seeing it take shape finally. I love the size of it. Going to be a lot of fun to paint and weather at this scale.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  30. feek61

    feek61 Sr Member

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    Glad to see you are back and great update!!!
     
  31. IEDBOUNTYHUNTER

    IEDBOUNTYHUNTER Sr Member

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    Looking cool.
     
  32. bondfan2000

    bondfan2000 New Member

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    Very nice, cant wait to see it finished
     
  33. dbhs

    dbhs Well-Known Member

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    I haven't posted an update here in quite some time. Here's a brief summary.

    Shuttle internal armature block.
    [​IMG]

    Shuttle acrylic in progress.
    [​IMG]

    Shuttle bottom panel with recessed magnets.
    [​IMG]

    Shuttle test fitting panels.
    [​IMG]

    Shuttle with lights installed and light blocking in progress.
    [​IMG]

    Rear docking port in progress.
    [​IMG]

    Sled lighting in progress.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  34. vectorzero

    vectorzero Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Defintely worth the wait. Most excellent work.
     
  35. DaddyfromNaboo

    DaddyfromNaboo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Is that really a vulcan shuttle and not wonder woman´s invisible one? ;)

    Awesome work, I am really looking forward to seeing this finished!
     
  36. dbhs

    dbhs Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys.
    The clear acrylic is hard on the eyes sometimes but the precision it has with the laser cutter is a nice benefit.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015
  37. swgeek

    swgeek Sr Member

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    Beautiful work, almost a shame to paint it.
     
  38. dbhs

    dbhs Well-Known Member

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  39. MKWJTC

    MKWJTC Active Member

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    Fantastic! Model is really looking nice in clear
     
  40. feek61

    feek61 Sr Member

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    I love it!!!

    It looks fantastic and I too think it looks amazing clear. Looking forward to your progress updates!
     
  41. dbhs

    dbhs Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the feedback guys.
    I finished up the shuttle hulls and did a video of the lights. The sequencing is too fast but I sped it up to make it easier to see. The final light pattern will be pretty slow except the top strobe will be timed to match the movie. I don't want a Christmas lights effect.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2018
  42. moffeaton

    moffeaton Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Killer work - super clean, orderly, and the size/accuracy makes this thing amazing. I hope you bring it to Geek night in November!
     
  43. dbhs

    dbhs Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Jason. That sounds good. It would be nice to have this done by then.
     
  44. norbauer

    norbauer Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    This is such a beautiful project, and very interesting to be making it using acrylic rather than styrene. Did you find that you needed to account for the kerf of the laser in your blueprints to get everything to fit together properly? I am currently working on a similar prop project in acrylic on the laser cutter and haven't yet worked that part out.
     
  45. dbhs

    dbhs Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I did account for the width and angle of the laser on all of the framework pieces. The pieces needed to fit together tightly enough that the 1/100th of an inch or so of the laser had an effect. I actually did a test early on cutting out a series of about 20 1" x 1/2" rectangles and pushed them together end to end to measure the resulting width. Measured the reduction in width carefully and divide by 20 to get the width of the laser beam. I then off set all of the drawings of the framework pieces larger by HALF this amount to get them to cut out exactly the size I needed. This worked pretty good. As far as the angle of the cut from the laser... There's nothing I know of to accommodate this. I used 1/8" square acrylic rod glued in along all 90-degree glued pieces to reinforce the joints and find them to be really strong.
    Unfortunately most of the surface pieces on this, especially the nacelles are composed of compound curves out of plane with one another. Getting the skins right has been mostly trial and error with the errors being far larger than the width of the laser beam.
     
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  46. moffeaton

    moffeaton Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I've also noted the angle of the beam changes slightly depending on the position on the cutting bed - mostly noticeable on 1/4 acrylic... almost cuts at an angle... but it is pretty amazing the "kerf" change, depending on how you tweak speed/pulse/power. It's an art to get parts cutting the way you "need" them too some times.
     
  47. norbauer

    norbauer Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Yes, your beam will be focused right at the surface of your material (assuming you focused properly), so on thicker pieces I believe you'll get an upside down V shape to the laser beam's profile as it goes out of focus toward the bottom of the material. I believe it's just a matter of the optics involved rather than necessarily an issue of the position of the bed (though of course misalignment there could also introduce problems).
     
  48. dbhs

    dbhs Well-Known Member

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    The top and front of the sled are done except for some of the side panels. I made a video of the lighting.

    [video]https://youtu.be/yy0oCtAERSE[/video]
     
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  49. dbhs

    dbhs Well-Known Member

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    Update on the sled

    [​IMG]
     
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  50. norbauer

    norbauer Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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