Nostromo Emergency Destruction System. The big build

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by Pro Mod, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. Pro Mod

    Pro Mod Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Alien is one of my favourite films and the Destruction System is just one of many fantastic props that I’ve always wanted to own.
    Last year a great replica of the lid was built by Mr Webber, and his article has encouraged me to have a go at building the entire unit!

    As always he got some great help from the people here, notably stromo who recreated the detonation instruction graphic – beautiful piece of work, and Spike who provided some quality HD screen caps.

    I’ve been in contact with Mr Webber and stromo and they’re both agreed that building the entire mechanism is the next major step. Stromo has also kindly agreed to allow me to use his artwork.

    The original prop was destroyed at the end of the production, so accept for the original photo novel; there hasn’t been much to go on.
    Then I got a break.

    Profiles in History auctioned of the original bolts in 2010 and the catalogue gave their dimensions - so this is where I began.

    Using the bolt dimensions I’ve been able to scale everything up and produce drawings of all the components.
    It’s never going to be millimetre perfect but I don’t think I’m too far out!

    The bolt was the obvious starting point, so after creating the drawing I produced a simple prototype which would help me to judge whether the other things I’d drawn looked correct or not.

    At this stage I’m producing everything in acrylic and modelboard and then if everything is successful I may progress to metal later on.

    The sudden appearance of Bill Pearson’s spare bolt and its reproduction by russrep helped greatly.
    I don’t know if Russ has any of these left but they’re stunning pieces of work!

    So far I’ve made the bolt and its locking collar, a small section of the case structure and one of the chrome tubes that rises up.

    I’ll post more as it evolves.

    Phil
     
  2. Pro Mod

    Pro Mod Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    As well as standard drawings I've produced a 3D model in sketchup as part of the design process. This allows me to see how all the components work together and to check the positioning of each piece.

    This is still a work in progress so if anybody spots anything please let me know.

    The lid has yet to be finalised and I’d quickly put something together to see how it looked in relation to the base.
     
  3. Leigh

    Leigh Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'll be keeping an eye on this :) (y)thumbsup:thumbsup
     
  4. gyoung2993

    gyoung2993 Sr Member

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    OOOHHHH , I LOVE IT.........very nice....
     
  5. Dave Ward

    Dave Ward Sr Member

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    Excellent!:thumbsup
     
  6. Bill Carson

    Bill Carson New Member

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    great project !! a dream for most of the alien fans (me of course) !!!
     
  7. Fuzzual

    Fuzzual Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I am incredibly excited about this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    :eek :eek :eek :eek :eek :eek :eek :eek :eek :eek
     
  8. JANDERS10

    JANDERS10 Well-Known Member

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    Looking real nice.
    Can't wait to see those illuminated keys with the funky gliphs!
     
  9. Mr Webber

    Mr Webber Sr Member

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    Great work so far Phil.
    I was wanting someone with the time, skills and tools needed to do this prop justice and from what ive seen youve got it by the plums. Let me know when you get to the Letraset part, can help with that.
     
  10. stromo

    stromo Well-Known Member

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    Excellent start. I can't wait to see how this progresses.
     
  11. SKIN JOB 66

    SKIN JOB 66 Well-Known Member

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    Very excited as well !!!

    (and if you need more refs / screencaps / thoughts, feel free to ask !)

    :love

    Fred
     
  12. Pro Mod

    Pro Mod Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Hi Fred,

    Thanks for your kind offer.
    If you’re able to provide any photographs of the key pad symbols that weren’t in Mr Webbers thread I'd appreciate it.

    Doing the artwork for the keys is the only thing I haven’t started yet on the design side.

    I've just printed full size drawings of parts of the unit (it's bigger than you think) and I'll photograph them in the morning when the lights better and then put them on here.

    By the way, would somebody please tell me how to post photographs that are larger than the thumbnails I'm posting at the moment?

    I haven’t mentioned it yet, but I intend to make the unit work - clamps to open and rods to rise, as well as lighting the Perspex tubes. Should look pretty interesting!
     
  13. Interceptor6

    Interceptor6 Sr Member

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    Like... Go BOOM ???:confused

    Great start on an exceptional prop!
     
  14. DS Operative

    DS Operative Well-Known Member

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    The bar of excellence keeps getting raised here on the RPF!! I applaud your efforts! I'm sure this will be fantastic!

    I've always loved the self-destruct sequence in ALIEN because it was such and obvious and deliberate effort to instigate. There is no way it could ever be initiated by accident!

    I'm looking forward to your progress!
     
  15. Laser Brain

    Laser Brain Sr Member

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    This is going to be great.
     
  16. SKIN JOB 66

    SKIN JOB 66 Well-Known Member

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    Well Phil, I have the pics already posted on propsummit (and on Dennis' site) at a better rez... and I could also provide more screencaps if needed ? (Please drop me a PM with your email if interested)


    Great news !!!!!!!!!

    :love

    Regarding the lid, no spring mechanism inside, it was opened thanks to... a wire attached to it ! (It's visible on one of the french lobby cards I have in my collection)

    :facepalm

    Fred
     
  17. Chronicle

    Chronicle Official Licensee RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Will you please build one for me? Sent you a pm.
     
    brandomack likes this.
  18. Pro Mod

    Pro Mod Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Hi Fred,

    I’ve looked over at Propsummit and they’re really useful, thanks.

    Well, managed to do a bit more over the last couple of days and it’s starting to come together.

    Yesterday I made the circular base plate which I machined out of some low density modelboard on my router.
    The eight small holes aren’t supposed to be there, but they allowed me to fasten it to the bed. It was a little tricky as I had to turn it over to machine the other face.
    The two large holes are there because I messed up the depth of cut and allowed the cutter to plunge toward the machine bed. Fortunately, I managed to stop it before too much damage was done!
    Good job it’s just a prototype – well it is now!

    The small walls where the hose sits were cut from the same material and just slotted into place.

    This morning I made one of the chrome tube units out of acrylic tube and modelboard.
    To reduce the chance of the tube shattering when I cut it on the circular saw I inserted a 50mm disc of modelboard to strengthen the area. This also serves as the area where the recessed button sits.
    The door blank was simply inserted into the completed opening, marked round the radius with a pencil and sanded to shape.

    As I mentioned before I’ve printed the layout full size and being so large it doesn’t quite fit on an A0 sheet, which is why you see a bare strip of Mdf along the top edge. The Mdf is the full size of the unit – it’s big!

    For the base I’ve used a sheet of 12mm Mdf to give the thing some rigidity.

    The last task of the day was to cut a 170mm diameter hole in the Mdf to allow the base plate to sit flush with the top surface.

    Tomorrow I should receive the acrylic tubes for the section that rises out of the base - I’m looking forward to making this with its under-lighting.

    Hopefully I’ll be able to do a bit more in the week.
     
  19. SKIN JOB 66

    SKIN JOB 66 Well-Known Member

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    You're welcome Phil, glad to help !
    Dennis Lowe doesn't have any extra shots of the destruct system but he sent me this image, courtesy of Simon Deering...

    [​IMG]

    A screencap of course, but it's better than nothing...

    :)

    Can't wait to see your next update, this is very inspiring !!! Keep up the good work !

    :thumbsup

    Fred
     
  20. Pro Mod

    Pro Mod Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks Fred, that's another great image!
     
  21. stromo

    stromo Well-Known Member

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    Wow! Incredible work so far, Pro Mod.
     
  22. Fuzzual

    Fuzzual Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I had the same problem man. If you have a Flicker account, kodak gallery, etc, then you can copy the URL address from images on those sites by right clicking, then while you are on this site, select the insert image (looks like a little picture of a mountain, yellow background.) Then just paste the URL address you copied from you image, and you are good to go.

    Love the build by the way, very cool. I have always wanted to build this prop, when you are ready to cast the pieces and sell them, sign me up!
     
  23. Pro Mod

    Pro Mod Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks for the advice Fuzzual, I'll give it try.
    Hadn't considered selling any parts but if I do your on the list! :thumbsup
     
  24. Leigh

    Leigh Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Spotted this & thought of you:

    Alien (page 6)

    Theres a couple of pics there you might find usefull if you havent seen them already.

    :)
     
  25. BrundelFly

    BrundelFly Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    [​IMG]

    They look like Frosted BEER Mugs. With stove burners on them.
     
  26. mrsmartypants

    mrsmartypants Well-Known Member

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    The have ridges in them. They kind of look like sugar containers like you'd find on a table in a cheap diner.
     
  27. Pro Mod

    Pro Mod Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks for the photos guys.:thumbsup
    The do look like beer mugs and sugar containers but they're just to big at around 160mm / 6 1/4'' diameter.
    What does show up in the photo is that the lid is about 12mm smaller each side than the opening structure, making quite a sloppy fit!
     
  28. Pro Mod

    Pro Mod Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Sorry it's been a while but I've had a really busy time at work and I’ve had to spend all my time working on 'real' modelmaking work.
    Anyway we're still busy (a good thing in these difficult times) but finally I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time on the panel.

    Although I wasn’t able to do any physical work, I did manage from time to time to work on the graphics for the keypads.
    Using screen grabs and through watching the blue-ray over and over again I’ve managed to work out almost exactly the lower and middle layouts.

    The top one is trickier as there aren’t any really good close-up shots other than the bottom right hand corner.
    Anyway I’m hoping a RPF genius will be able to enhance what’s available and (please) give me a crystal clear shot just like they do in CSI! Failing that I’ll make it up using my modelmakers intuition.

    So what have I’ve actually produced?
    The expensive Perspex tube I’d bought ages ago was still standing in the workshop in two huge cardboard tubes, so I thought I’d better start by building one of the rising sections to see how it would look.
    There are three different sizes of tube used;
    Outer case - 160mm diameter,
    Internal clusters - 25mm diameter
    Middle - 90mm diameter

    Cutting tube is one of those tasks that if not done properly can result in your expensive purchase exploding all over the workshop! - I know from experience!
    With the tubes safely cut on the saw, I turned my attention to the discs which hold them all together.
    For these I drew up a design and had the machine cut them.
    There was a bit of trial and error as I worked out what tolerance the holes needed to be in order to allow the tubes to pass without binding or being too loose.
    The end result looks pretty good, and I’m really looking forward to when I have the opportunity to try lighting them.

    With the tube worked out I moved back to the ‘clutch plate’ type discs with all the bolts on.
    Again from my drawing I had the machine cut out the basic shapes ready for me to clean up and detail.
    I used modelboard for the discs as it machines easily and produces a great finish!
    As you can see from the photograph even with the extraction working there was still a lot of swarf that got away!

    As I’m treating everything as a prototype at the moment I’m not actually finishing anything completely just in case I’m not happy with it later.
    I next had a go at the lower inner frame using 25mm Mdf.
    I made it from lots of separate pieces just so that everything remained nice and crisp and square.
    I know I could have cut it out of one piece but the thought of all that jig sawing and sanding left me cold!

    So that’s where I am so far
    Hopefully I’ll be able to maintain the momentum and have more to show in the not too distant future.

    Phil
     
  29. Leigh

    Leigh Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  30. Pro Mod

    Pro Mod Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks Leigh,
    I've already got some, but thanks for thinking of me.
    I'm hoping to use one full piece made into a circle rather than the multiple chopped up pieces they used on the original - I think it will look better.
     
  31. stromo

    stromo Well-Known Member

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    Holy moley. That's looking fantastic so far.
     
  32. Stormy320

    Stormy320 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Tell us more about the "machine" and the material it uses.

    Thanks
     
  33. joshuatw

    joshuatw Member

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    Keeping an eye on this. Looks really great so far!
     
  34. Pro Mod

    Pro Mod Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Hey Stormy 320,

    The machine I was referring to is my cnc router.
    It’s probably the best pieces of equipment I’ve ever owned and probably the most expensive.
    We use it mainly for our architectural models - for cutting out the multiple windows in buildings.

    It basically cuts what you draw in a Cad programme.
    We generally use cutters between 0.5mm and 6mm diameter, but when I cut the discs I used a 19mm diameter cutter.
    To hold the material in place whilst cutting, the machine has a built in vacuum bed which sucks the material down tight and doesn’t allow it to move.
    The machine will cut plastics, Mdf / timber, resin, foam and most non ferrous metals. It won’t cut steel.

    When cutting out very small and delicate parts we also tend to glue the material down using a non permanent aerosol adhesive called Spray Mount.
    If we don’t do this the components either get sucked up the swarf extractor or shoot of the machine never to be seen again!!

    It’s a brilliant piece of kit and I don’t know how we’d manage without it!
     
  35. Pro Mod

    Pro Mod Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I managed to get a bit more work done today on the unit.
    Only managed a couple of bits but it felt quite productive never the less.

    I thought I’d do a bit more of the structure so I made the lower panel - the one with the holes for the rising tubes and the keypad cutouts.

    I used a sheet of 12mm Mdf for the panel.
    As the bed on my cnc isn’t big enough to accept the panel at one time, I cut the tube and keypad holes first, before moving the board along the machine bed to a pre-set mark, before making the final two cuts.
    Happy with the result I assembled it with the raised section and it looked pretty good.

    The next time I get to work on this I’m going to concentrate on producing the rest of the casing.
    I haven’t quite decided what the overall height should be yet.
    In the film it’s not very tall, and I’m sure the original was built on a raised stage as after studying all the references I’ve got, I’m not sure that there’s enough depth in the unit to accommodate the rising tubes and mechanism without there being holes in the floor beneath it.

    The other thing that perplexes me is that the working side buts up against a raised section of flooring, resulting in Ripley having to squat down in order to operate it.
    You’d have thought that they’d have turned the unit through 180 degrees so that she was a bit more comfortable and not to have the additional worry of getting cramp just before detonating an M Class Star Freighter!

    The other part I managed to do was the clear Perspex lower section of the keypad.
    Once again I did them on the cnc. Next task is to scrape and sand the edges of the Perspex smooth before building the keypad itself.

    Last task of the day was to make sure the bits I’d previously made fitted in the holes – fortunately they did!

    Hopefully more soon!
     
  36. stromo

    stromo Well-Known Member

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    Very, very cool.
     
  37. No 6

    No 6 New Member

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    Not only a unique choice for a build, but a really amazing piece of craftsmanship. I'm looking forward to seeing this completed.
     
  38. SKIN JOB 66

    SKIN JOB 66 Well-Known Member

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    Brilliant... Absolutely BRILLIANT WORK !!!

    :thumbsup

    Fred
     
  39. Caveneau

    Caveneau Sr Member

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    This is going to look great.
    Really cool build.
     
  40. Mr Webber

    Mr Webber Sr Member

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    Stunning progress. I love your solution for the tubes, never got that far in the thinking on mine. Are you going to "frost" coat them?
     
  41. Pro Mod

    Pro Mod Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks everybody.
    Its great comments like these that keep you going on a complicated build like this!

    Mr Webber, I've just watched yet again the detonation sequence on Blue-ray and I’m certain that the large outer and smaller inner tubes aren’t frosted. In one shot you can clearly look through them and see the edge of the hole it rises through.

    They only tube I was originally planning on frosting was the one in the middle, and only so that it would hide the chromed tube or its mechanism.

    However, now you mention it, I may have to lightly frost the smaller ones as well so you can’t see down the hole when it’s in the up position.

    Complicated stuff this prop making!
     
  42. Pro Mod

    Pro Mod Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Can anybody help me please by providing a Blue-ray / high res screen grab of the top keypad from the unit?

    I've got all the text details for the other two and it would be a shame not to have the top one as accurate.

    Thanks in anticipation.

    Phil
     
  43. Flattery

    Flattery Well-Known Member

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    This is excellent. I'm eager to see more.
     
  44. Space Jockey

    Space Jockey Well-Known Member

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    Ha, VERY nice! Love the way this is coming along.
    Keep up the terrific work. :)
     
  45. Pro Mod

    Pro Mod Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Managed to do a bit more in the last couple of days.
    It’s amazing how a few small pieces (sheets) of Mdf and plastic can turn it something with so much presence!!!!
    Construction was quite straightforward but it would benefit from having a hatch cut into one face to allow access to the interior mechanics.

    Unfortunately, after looking at some of the original photographs I’ve realised that the white plastic section should be twice as deep as I’ve made it, and it will need remaking.

    Having got this far I’m going to have to have a go at what I think is the most difficult piece of the entire build – the hatch.
    Should keep me busy for a while!
     
  46. stromo

    stromo Well-Known Member

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    That's looking fantastic. Progressing nicely...
     
  47. ONEYE

    ONEYE Sr Member

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    Tremendous!
     
  48. Grey

    Grey Sr Member

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  49. Leigh

    Leigh Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    If you mean the white part around the top of the box...
    Looking at the image at the top of this page, I'd say the white part needs to drop about another 1/4" & then should be about as thick as the overall drop, if you get me.

    This is comming along really nice (y)thumbsup:thumbsup Loving this build :)
     
  50. Pro Mod

    Pro Mod Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Spike, thanks for the great photographs of the keypad.
    Leigh, I'll get my ruler out and see if I can get it right next time!
    It's amazing how many times you can study something and still get it wrong!!
     
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