SHOWOFF: Trek Engineering Prop - ODN Scanner

Well-Known Member
Hi guys,

being the Star Trek engineering prop nerd that I am, this is one of my "holy grails". :lol Naturally, I'm very excited about it.

It has been a very, very long time coming, but it's finally finished. I started with the initial construction of the master model a little over a year ago.

This was used on DS9 (by O'Brien, Rom and Bashir) and on Voyager (by B'Elanna and an unknown crewman). It also made a brief appearance in the 4D Borg Show in Vegas (just lying on a table there though) and in Nemesis (very blurry and I'm not 100% sure). Here are some reference pics:




As you can see, this was not only used as an engineering tool, but also as a medical device, which is common with these "unpopular" props. It was never referred to by any name, so I made one up: The ODN Scanner. (I'm just ignoring the medical aspect here... :p)

First, I did an Illustration of the prop to lay out the dimensions:


And here's my finished replica. It features 5 green running lights just above the display and a super-bright red LED on the top of the scanner array (lighting up the acrylic half-rod):






The batteries are accessible though a battery compartment door on the backside. This door is held in place by two screws.


This is the first step to one of my big prop-dreams: A fully equipped engineering case.

Read on to see a full WIP report with lots of pics (scratchbuilding the master, molding, casting, buildup).

Here's the first batch of WIP-pics from the development of my ODN Scanner.

Cutting out the parts for the main body from sheet styrene:



Mockup to test the fit of the parts:


Gluing the parts together:





Puttying up the inside to add material:


A rough sand:


The handle: Again a mockup to test fit the parts:



Shaping the handle using putty, sandpaper and a lot of time






Fits great.


Greeblies to check out the final appearance of the prop.



The top scanner array (above the display) was built the same way as the handle... (The Greeblies are not glued on.)



Next: Molding...

Well-Known Member
Let's continue.

Here's the finished master model that is about to be molded:


To help me sculpt the clay bed, I marked the middle of the prototype body:




The workspace has to be leveled out to prevent skew castings:



Building the clay bed:











Pouring the silicone:









Turning around the box and removing the clay...





I'm using Vaseline as a release agent:



After another pour of silicone: two mold halves.



Now lets continue to make that thing ready for hollow castings.




Note the cutout for the LEDs.








That's it: The mold is finished. This is how the castings look like:




Next: Buildup...

Well-Known Member
EDIT: Enhanced with more detailed explanations on 1-2-06

Ok, people, here's the interesting stuff. See how this thing is built up.

Here's everything you need for this step:


To freshen up your memory, here are the resin parts again:



Parts cast from resin are mostly rough when they come out of the mold and have to be sanded smooth before processed further. In this case, the pouring of the resin created a ridge in the "walls" of the body shell. This is the area that will later be glued together. Here's a close-up:


In order to make it possible to glue the parts together, you have to sand those areas smooth. I use a large piece of sandpaper mounted on a board to accomplish this.


Be careful not to sand too much material away. Keep measuring the thickness of the aligned shells to make sure the prop will be equally thick on each corner.

Here's the result:


Before continuing with the body, let's pay some attention to the inner workings of the scanner first:


Since the LEDs alone are not wide enough when placed next to each other, use some 1.0 mm styrene to act as spacers between them. This way, the width will be more accurate to the original prop.

This step can be quite tricky. Use some fast setting super glue and rough up the LEDs as well as the styrene with sandpaper or a file. When done, the glue will bond easier to the material.


NOTE: Since I originally wrote this tutorial I have improved my technique by using a LED bar instead of five seperate LEDs. In short: No LEDs have to be glued together anymore:



Next you'll have to cut out all the windows out of the resin parts. Let's start with the one for the front LEDs. I specifically designed the silicone mold to create a particularly thin layer of resin in this area. That way this step is easily done with a sharp exacto knife.

Although the area of thin resin is fairly large, be sure not to create a window that is too big, because you wouldn't want to have any gaps later. Keep comparing your assembled LED bar with the window to ensure a tight fit. Of course, if you want a bigger window, feel free to do whatever you think looks best. Gaps can be filled with putty later.

Use a small jewelers file to smooth the edges. If necessary, use some spot putty to resculpt any imperfections here. Primer the part to reveal any blemishes and keep working until they are removed. When the electronics are installed, any work on this window will be very difficult, so complete it before the installation.


Next you need to cut out the battery door. The best place for it is in the handle on the backside of the prop. The opening can be conveniently hidden under one of the greeblies that will be added later.

To determine the dimensions of the opening, simply measure the battery holder and use this information. Then, cut out the matching greeblie using the included templates and place it on the handle. (Hint: Use spray glue to attach the templates to the styrene before cutting. This way the shape will be accurate and the paper can be easily removed in warm water) Trace the outline of it and add the measurements of the battery holder like this:


The resin in the handle is approximately 5 mm thick, so you'll need something more effective than an exacto knife this time. You can get good results if you drill four holes in the corners of the layout and then use a fretsaw to cut out the door.


This is the result.


Use a small and flat file to clean the shape of the door.


Now, the openings for both the trigger and the top LED have to be drilled. When doing that, it's important to align the body halves perfectly and to be careful not to bring them out of alignment during the drilling process.

For the trigger, simply drill a hole of 4 mm in diamater in the middle of the recessed area on the handle. Test fit the trigger and extend the orifice if necessary before continuing.



To determine the location of the opening for the top LED, use the template of the head piece, which will be added later. You can also use this and other pictures in this Tutorial as a reference.

You'll have to make sure that the electronic components have enough room inside the body to perform their function. To do this, you'll need to dremel some of the material away.



This is where the battery holder will be put. You'll have to align it to the door in the other body half, which will be placed on top of this one to enable easy access to the batteries. Again, use the dremel to create some more room if necessary.


This is how the electronics are arranged inside the prop:


To attach all of the components permanently into the resin shell, use a strong putty, for example a 2-component polyester putty which I use in my builds.

As you can see, all of the LED components are placed very near to each another. In case of the green running lights, this is on purpose and not a problem. But as far as the super bright red LED is concerned, there is a problem with the close proximity to the green LEDs: Light bleeding. To make sure that the red LED doesn't light up the green ones next to it when activated, you'll have to putty up the entire area around the green LEDs and use black masking tape around the red LED.

When inserting the LEDs into the window, be sure not to make them flush with the front of the resin body. There needs to be some space for a piece of translucent plastic to go in there later.


When the electronics have been successfully installed and tested, the resin body can be permanently sealed. First, use 5 minute epoxy glue to attach the resin body halves to each other. Then, putty up the seamlines and sand them smooth when the putty has dried.

This is the most elaborate part of the buildup. Use primer to reveal any blemishes in the finish and remove them with spot putty and sandpaper until they're all gone. Be sure to mask all LEDs and the trigger to protect them from sanding, puttying and priming.



Next, the head piece needs to be attached. Before you do that, sand a good portion of the top array off so that it will have the original thickness afterwards when the styrene is in place. Use the templates to cut out the shape and then use 5-minute epoxy to glue it on.


Again, putty the edges and use sandpaper to round them. Try to make it look as if the part was integrated into the overall shape of the prop from the beginning. As before, repeat the puttying, sanding and priming until the result is acceptable.


When everything is done, it's time to paint.


You won't want to glue the greeblies onto the paint later, so mask off all areas which will be enhanced with details. Then, paint the entire body with PK 7173 or a matching equivalent.


Don't forget to drill the holes for the battery door screws.


When the paint has fully dried, mask off everything but the handle and the top scanner array and paint them with PK 7179 or a matching equivalent.

After this is done, remove the masking tape and continue with the last step.


Here are all of the greeblies at a glance. For the emitter, shorten the acrylic rod to a length of approximately 12 mm and cut it in half. Sand the flat side of it to achieve a frosted look and a light diffusion effect.


Here are the color codes for the greeblies: Handle details, front ribbed piece and one of the small top details: copper metallic. The other small top detail: red. Rim strips and pointed front detail: PK 7179 or matching equivalent. Square additional detail on pointed front piece: beige. If you want, you can also paint the screws in the same color as the handle details to blend them in.

Again, use 5-minute epoxy glue to attach the greeblies.

Fit the translucent plastic into the front LED window and insert it.

Cut out the display graphics that you wish to use and test fit them. Note: The graphics are actually bigger than the recessed display-area, so you'll have to cut inside the black area and remove some of it.

When your display graphic fits the indentation, use some thin double-sided adhesive to glue it inside. You can also use spray glue for this.

That's it, the ODN Scanner is finished.


And here are the corresponding links to my website:

ODN Scanner @

ODN Scanner WIP-report Part I @

ODN Scanner WIP-report Part II @

ODN Scanner WIP-report - Part III @

Any thoughts? :)


Sr Member
Any thoughts?

How 'bout WOW................. :D

Not only did you do an amazing job on the prop itself, but a great tutorial on prop-making in the process.

Great work, that REALLY very cool.


Prop Runner

Sr Member
Andreas, I'm FLOORED. :eek

That has to be THE most amazing work-in-progress thread I've ever seen in all my years here, not to mention one of the cleanest and coolest resin Trek (or any) props ever. :thumbsup

(And no, I haven't forgotten about the favor you asked me - I blame the holidays, but I'm getting on it ASAP.) :p

Awesome, asesome work, my friend. :D

- Gabe

P.S. judgedredd - please delete your quote :lol

[EDIT] Mods - if this thread isn't deserving of archiving as an example of our hobby at its best, I don't know what is. :)


Sr Member
Absolutely amazing. Both the prop and the tutorial.

I agere with Gabe. This thread needs archiving.

BTW, please don't quote an entire message and EVERY picture in it if all you're going to say is good job. It really makes this thread longer than it needs to be.

Darth Brass

Sr Member
That has to be the most informative, clean, well thought-out thing I've seen posted here in the entire 5 or so years I've been around. Absolutely, totally amazing.

Well done. Thank you so so SO much for taking the time to do that.


Sr Member

That is pretty fricken sweet, man. Great job on both the prop AND the great tutorial.

I agree. This needs to be archived. :)


Well-Known Member
Very excellent... thanks for sharing the entire process. It's very gratifying to see the full build... humble beginnings indeed.

Question... what did you use for the clay base?. I've used plasticine, but it's a real bother to get all off, and your stuff seems to come off VERY clean.

Thanks again for a great post, and congrats on a cool prop.


Sr Member
Unbelievable... This is one of the greatest posts I have read in a looonnnnggg time. Great work, great end result, you should be proud.


Well-Known Member

Outstanding work. Chief O'Brien would be proud.

If everyone made a tutorial like this on how to build their favorite prop this would truly be a great forum.

One question: I'm not clear on how you hollowed out the unit. Could you describe that particular step in some detail?



Sr Member
An exceptional prop with exceptioal documentation. Fantastic job. :thumbsup

Originally posted by Macklin@Dec 30 2005, 10:13 AM
One question:  I'm not clear on how you hollowed out the unit.  Could you describe that particular step in some detail?


The prop was not "hollowed out", but rather cast it in a manner so that it will be hollow when the two halves are put together. Scroll back up and take a look at the pics of the stick with the screws in it.


Sr Member
Outstanding work and a much appreciated look at the process you went through to make the replica, very informative.

Thanks so much for sharing this with the board.



Well-Known Member
WOW. I'm not a trek fan by any means, but that tutorial is very nicely done. As well as the prop and finished product (yet I don't know what it is :) )

Thanks for sharing all those photos. It Really puts thing in perspective on how to do a hollowed out casting. Pics speak a thousand words for people learing.

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