Probe droid very slow build

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marsattack

Sr Member
Hi guys, as some of you may know by now , I am awaiting probe droid legs from master Lee.
Lee was very generous to accept my comission , I am very lucky he took this on , I am unsure of whether I could have pulled those off! After seeing
lees and Guys build thread on the probe , I decided I had to have one!

The probe droid is one of my favourite ships/machine in the Star wars universe, I attempted a build many many years ago, before I even knew the RPF existed, now with more experience and information found here, I am able to have a shot at scratch building this.
no doubt is a complicated build so bare with me on this very , very slow build process.

I wanted to originally vac form empty domes for the upper head, lower head and upper body (will call these the "PR domes") out of 3-4mm styrene , which they said it would be more than sufficient in strength.
I figure vac forming would not distort the mold or buck as silicon may do when casting.

The next step was to make the bucks the way I have seen here , by cutting fins to a desired shape than covering them with some kind of sculpt putty.

Although I have seen photos that it does work , after 2 attempts at this , it just did not sit right plus unless ran with a lathe, again no true roundness can be achieved, not to mention the labor intensive procedure.

these were the original attempts.
version 1:






version 2:
was a 2 piece top head



neither of those I was happy with.
After talking to the guy who vac forms, also injection molding and some other stuff, he suggested the domes be mastered by a CNC.
I took the drawings and they were plotted by tracing them.
The material that is used in the making of master molds was used for these.
the rear of the PR domes were going to be as hollow as possible






With this mold or actual heads , it can be easily vacformed over for armor plating.
Problem discussed today is that if I wanted to do a small run of these as EMPTY PR domes, these could not be feesable as the material itself is way too expensive and takes quite a while to machine.

So my next step is to either to remove the millimetres required of these domes to be able to get them vacformed OR go back to square one and cast these up, which I dont want to do!
Vacforming these molds is not easy as the upper and lower head tappers in therefore it cannot be just vacformed with out having a complex mold that retracts.
They will try a few more options with the facilities they have in the shop before proceeding .
At least I would like to have access to a finished mold should the need of reproducing these became a "wanted" item.
Will post as I know more , once we get past the domes, then we start the "skirt"

thanks
Marcel
 

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moffeaton

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
You are doing GODS work. I want... nay, NEED a set from you, when you figure it all out. This is going to save everyone so much trouble, and again, you are a SAINT for approaching it this way.

So how much are we talking to get a machined set made if the vac/cast options don't pan out?

ALL HAIL MARCEL!
 

ralphee

Sr Member
Marcel that is a great insight, and you address the one BIG problem on the head, the "pinch" at the upper/lower join.
I have had it in my head that the ILM prop used found items, that pinch would just lock a buck in tight, unless, they then split the form where the material needs to be removed for the larger of the eyes.....its all very odd.

You look to be throwing the book at this, and i would do my best to vac this, you could use four pulls, to make two halves of the head....in other words, each upper/lower dome, would be made from, an upper/lower dome, sanded in, giving you that pinch?

If that makes sense lol.

bests..........lee
 

marsattack

Sr Member
hi Jason, thank you for the compliments.
My idea was to divide most costs amongst all who wanted them,
if i went with vacforming , its not much at all .
please dont quote me 100 percent , but if I went with vac , he did mention $7 to $10 each part. I think it was for 2.5mm but we put the idea on hold due to that problem in removing the vacform.
Anyways you got that thing I want that you are doing with ZK???
I would love a copy of that!!

Also Jason,
if I start talking costs here , there is a slight chance the mods will change this thread to the junkyard and I dont want it there.
when I sort out or collect ideas form you guys I will make a special thread for these.
Give me a week or so,
again thank you for being first post!!
Marcel
 

marsattack

Sr Member
Lee go again please?
so four pulls? how ?
my guy said he wanted to grab that mold and make the bottom section a jig where it contracts.
This way there is one piece to the top with a pinch and one to the bottom with a pinch, the pinch is small , it the top part of the head that comes in.
 

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ralphee

Sr Member
Lee go again please?
so four pulls? how ?
my guy said he wanted to grab that mold and make the bottom section a jig where it contracts.
This way there is one piece to the top with a pinch and one to the bottom with a pinch, the pinch is small , it the top part of the head that comes in.

Yeah, half way Mars, just got your PM buddy lol. Id maybe go the "split" route though.
If you mark each dome where you can splice up to, dril a small hole, and cut with an exacto, this will stop the cut splitting any further, and allow you to pop the buck out of the pull.......probably easier in theory though right LOL?
Id be up for a set anyhoo, who knows, i may yet build by ULTIMATE Probe Droid one day......as i said before, never, say never lol.

lee
 

marsattack

Sr Member
it looks like MDF but its some sort of plastic, when i mentioned the name the other day to you , it was actually the manufacturers business name as the vacformer referred it as.
It does not weigh much but its very hard.
this can be superglued, puttied ,sanded and cut
 

Guy Cowen

Sr Member
Great great stuff, Ooooh I may be interested also. I'm convinced the head domes are vac formed then split in 2 and re joined, this would make sense and it would keep the trench around the equator?
 

marsattack

Sr Member
hahaha Lee, so I will trade you for another set of legs?? lol
yes clicked on what you said.
the drilling will have to be done right after vacforming and the "slicing " also, it would probably just need a small cut , just enough to open .
I will try this first as the main mold does not have to be cut in half, if this does not work then we chop the mold up!!
 
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marsattack

Sr Member
awesome Guy, will try the one that does not require to cut the mold first.
so Guy if you doing another like Lee then sell yours to me , then i wont have to go through all this mate!!!lol
 

Guy Cowen

Sr Member
awesome Guy, will try the one that does not require to cut the mold first.
so Guy if you doing another like Lee then sell yours to me , then i wont have to go through all this mate!!!lol
:lol It would take a very large cheque to pry this from me mate :cool
 

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ralphee

Sr Member
Thats the sprit...thanks for posting Glen! I see you decided to split the pull, looks fine, as i said, a smal drill hole will stop it running on.
Your gonna have a blast building this one, its still a huge jewel to me!

lee
 

Zombie Killer

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I don't think the seam is a big deal either. A strip of styrene behind to support it and some glue and it will be fine. It will get covered in armor anyways.
 

marsattack

Sr Member
Thanks Glen,Mark and Lee !
Got these today as a test , thought they would take longer.
I wanted to try Lees idea, and works a treat, naturally a bit of work as the vac is a tight fit, so as always , the machine guy will create some drama!!lol
the cut has to be relatively high and pry baring the dome may create a fracture else where, not noticeable and totally repairable but there!
the Hips or vinyl in this case is 3mm as 4mm does not hug well the indent, very strong, the smaller of the pieces is quite rigid and as it get bigger , it gets more flexible.

Other issues here:
-the vacs are not exact to my templates, they are a mm off here and there but will be fixed

-the upper head has been cutoff too early making the bottom part of the head look a little small.

-the machine guy has tried to file the indent , creating a rough ring, it was smooth prior to this

-scuff marks will not be there as seen here

vac pulls are 3mm but naturally thin out at the edge, i have to still work out how to glue them but off the top of my head, will go with Marvins idea of SHIMMING the ring with styrene to allow more surface contact.

Now the bigger issue is , the material that was used for the bucks is very expensinve, so I dont want to do another set, these are 3mm bigger than what I will make them so the CNC will now trim true the correct size needed to allow for the 3mm styrene pull.
Before doing this however, I need the armour plating to be done in the lower body section from 1.5mm styrene, I need to do as many as I think will cover all you guys because after I trim it , I can only work off a plaster mold for vac forming .

The upper head armour plating , I will do AFTER i stick a mockup of the large eye and other eyes to vacform over the top .

I suppose I can mention costs here without anyone saying they will buy one correct? so please dont , I will do a thread in the JY.
I can discuss the costs of things here? as I want the opinions of you guys and differences between vinyl , hips and styrene , which I believe are much the same, but was told today they cost different!! :confused
I have a couple of more pics here and some more work i had done a couple of weeks ago .
will work on the top part of the head and start the lower skirt.







 
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