The Escape Pod Project

Discussion in 'Studio Scale Models' started by DaveG, May 4, 2016.

  1. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    As my Y-Wing project is going to take awhile to do, I thought it would be fun to start on something simple that could be completed in less time. The Escape Pod from Star Wars:A New Hope. The shot of it dropping away from the Blockade Runner is just perfection in it's simplicity.

    As with the original model, I'm starting with a couple of 5 quart paper paint buckets. Rather than fill them with foam I used the buckets like a roto mold to build up a thin shell. The first step was to cut a couple of 1/8" particle board discs with the CNC. The smaller disc fit snuggly inside the bottom lip of the paper bucket, the larger disc snapped into the indent for a lid near the top. Both discs were secured in place with hot melt glue. The discs served two purposes, the snug fit held the bucket round and the holes in the centers allowed the bucket to be rotated on a pipe. Before glueing the large disc in place I sprayed the inside surface of the bucket and disc with a couple coats of clear lacquer followed by an application of paste wax as a mold release.


    The bucket assembly was slipped over a pipe set up so that the bottom side of the bucket would be level. The idea being that the resin would self level as the bucket was slowly spun. this proved to not really be all that critical. For much of the cure time I took the bucket off the pipe to rotate it. I used Silcast II resin which has about a 7 minute working time to which I added a thixotropic powder to make it thicker and coat better. I did the resin in two pours to build up a thickness of about 1/8".

    For additional strength and rigidity a single layer of fiberglass was added to the inside of the fully cured resin. I prefer to use an epoxy resin for glassing. It's pretty expensive but if far less toxic and doesn't stink up the whole shop like polyester resin does.

    Following a 24 hour cure the paper buckets were peeled off and I had two nice hollow resin shells. A bit of trimming and they were ready to go.

    I wanted to do a simple armature with a single mounting point out the nose. For this a spoked disc was machined on the CNC router and a short piece of aluminum tube turned to fit into the hub. The resin shells were epoxy glassed to opposite faces of the disc forming the channel around the equator of the pod.

    The conical sections at each end of the pod were turned on the lathe from 30 pound density rigid urethane foam. The surface of the foam was filled with automotive putty and sanded smooth.

    And with that I've got an Escape Pod hull ready for detailing.
     

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    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
  2. rbeach84

    rbeach84 Sr Member

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    Fascinating. Very clear presentation of your technique.

    Regards, Robert
     
  3. bwayne64

    bwayne64 Well-Known Member

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    Dude ! When do you sleep or do you ? ;) Another awesome project. Man to have your motivation. Cheers,

    Joe
     
  4. Rats

    Rats Sr Member

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    Awesome. You make it look so * easy!!! :lol
     
  5. royal

    royal Active Member

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    Funny to find you again dave! How is the procces going ?
     
  6. Pro Mod

    Pro Mod Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks for letting us see your build methods.
    Would you mind sharing the overall dimensions of a 5 quart paint bucket, as paper cups that size aren’t readily available in the UK - I have looked, honest!
    Subscribed.
     
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  7. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Royal - the only progress recently on this project has been drawing laying out the styrene plating patterns and acquiring kit parts. The Y-Wing Project has been taking all my time in the Shop.

    Pro Mod - Here is a full scale drawing of the hull shapes based on the shells that were formed in the buckets. Hope this helps. Although it would be pretty expensive, if you want to cover the cost I'll ship you some 5 quart buckets...

    NOTE - THIS DRAWING IS BASED ON CONTEMPORARY 5 QUART BUCKETS WHICH ARE MOST LIKELY NOT THE SAME SIZE AND PROPORTION AS THOSE USED ON THE ORIGINAL MODEL.
     

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    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
    rbeach84 and Pro Mod like this.
  8. joberg

    joberg Master Member

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    You're a machine Dave (this project proves it!) You make it look so easy:cool
     
  9. Pro Mod

    Pro Mod Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks for the great drawing Dave, with this drawing I can fabricate the body and don't really need the buckets - I do appreciate your kind offer.
     
  10. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Ok, time to get back to it! The styrene plating was worked out first on the 3D computer model, then patterns exported that could be printed and used to cut the pieces by hand out of .030" styrene sheet. The cut parts were taped in place and glued down with water thin super glue run around the edges. The same pattern files could have been used to laser cut the plating but styrene doesn't cut very cleanly with the laser. The edges tend to get a little melted, not as sharp as you can get when cutting with a good sharp blade. I used a Nibbler tool to cut the 1/4" notches on some of the edges, just as was done by the original model makers.
     

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    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
    Marvin3242, knnyjay, Lee S and 6 others like this.
  11. wasili

    wasili Sr Member

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    Pretty cool. Btw, you have a cnc router, right ? Then you could have easily cnc-ed the styrene. Been doing that for 20+ years now, so i know it works. Anyhow, look forward to seeing more.
     
  12. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Wasili - Yes, I thought about cutting the styrene on my CNC but decided to just cut it by hand. It was fast and I'm fine with the slight "hand made" variations and imperfections. Contributes to the model's character!
     
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  13. joberg

    joberg Master Member

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    Good progress on that one...eager to see the next pics!
     
  14. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    More styrene work and a few kit parts. I've got a fair number of the correct doner kit parts but not all of them. For the parts I don't have I'm just going to scratch build a reasonable substitute in styrene or substitute with something similar. It's okay with me that it's a little different from the original. Makes it my own!

    Speaking of accuracy, I've come to the conclusion as I've been laying out some of the other kit parts, that the 5 quart paper buckets available now and which I used for the hull are not the same size and proportions as the buckets used back on the original model. I spoke with Jonathan Erland, one of the original model makers on ANH and he recalled that they used "left over greasy Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets". Looking at photos of vintage KFC buckets on Ebay it's obvious that they are wider and shorter in proportion than the 5 quart buckets I used. That would fit with what I'm seeing, that the main section of my hull is too small in diameter at the base (engine end) and a little too long. It doesn't bother me all that much, I'll just modify the parts to fit but if someone out there is looking to be 100 percent accurate they're going to have to find some old buckets on Ebay (hopefully without the grease stains!).
     

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    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
  15. joberg

    joberg Master Member

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    I'm all for artistic interpretation/modification;)
     
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  16. GKvfx

    GKvfx Sr Member

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    Jason Eaton can probably hook you up with resin castings of the fiddly bits you need....

    Gene
     
  17. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks Gene, I've actually got the majority of the parts needed, including the rare stuff like the SeaLab parts. Besides, it's a BIG galaxy, there's bound to be a bit of variation between Pods!
     
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  18. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Here are some screen shots of the computer model I'm using to create the plating patterns and layout the kit parts. Modeled in Rhino.
     

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    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
  19. motionminded

    motionminded New Member

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    Dave, do you use Rhino to flatten those patterns out, or do you use Cone Cal or some other program?
     
  20. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    There's a function in Rhino called Unroll which will accurately flatten out curved and conic shapes.
     
  21. motionminded

    motionminded New Member

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    Thanks! Not using Rhino at the moment, I am still a old fashioned Polygonmodeler (Lightwave). But with doing more and more 3D prints, and with revisions of models it gets a bit anoying. And features likes this, makes me want to learn something new. But I am stuck to this program like almost 22 years now I think.. (realising now it is a crazy long time)
     
  22. vectorzero

    vectorzero Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    FWIW, the Smithsonian has some partial dimensions for the historic bucket.
     
  23. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Progress, more details, styrene and kit parts.

    I like the idea that these mechanical details on Pod are some sort of deployable fins for control in the upper atmosphere. So I made sure to leave the tips of the triangular details floating a bit rather than conformed to the curve of the hull. On the original model these may have been wing parts from a Phantom kit, on mine they were scratch built from styrene.

    Here a tip, before glueing down styrene plating it should be curved a bit to conform better to the curved hull. I found a good way to do this is to use a 1/2" steel rod and a pad of dense floor matte foam. Use the rod like a rolling pin to press the styrene into the foam. The more pressure and repetitions the more curved the styrene will become. You can even get a conical curve by pressing down harder on the side that goes toward the narrower end of the cone.
     

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    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
  24. joberg

    joberg Master Member

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    Looking good! Thanks for the tuto; I'll make sure to use that trick in the future:)
     
  25. GKvfx

    GKvfx Sr Member

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    Grease stains just add character........!

    Gene
     
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  26. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Yeah, but then the dog is gonna keep trying to pull it off the shelf!
     
    rbeach84 likes this.
  27. SteveStarkiller

    SteveStarkiller Sr Member

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    beautiful build!
     
  28. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Gettin' Jiggy With It!

    As I mentioned before, it's become obvious that the 5 quart paper paint buckets I used to form the hull aren't the same proportions and size as the paper buckets used on the original model. I'm okay with it, but it does require some modifications of the doner kit parts to get them to fit. My hull is smaller in diameter than the original and the place this is having the most impact is on the tail end with all the engine details, particularly the fit of the Sealab frames. In order to not overhang the edge of the base surface more than desired the frames needed to be cut down, but in a way that they will still fit together cleanly. I decided to trim the frames down using the table saw. To hold them in just the right position to get the necessary 45 degree cut I made a little jig out of scrap acrylic and bits of styrene strip. The styrene forms curbs and blocks that align the frame and a top clamping plate is screwed down holding the area to be cut, preventing it from vibrating and shattering. The jig and frame are then run through the saw using the guide fence.

    It's difficult to see in this picture but on the right side of the frame is the table saw guide fence, but it is made out of clear 1/2" Plexiglas.

    The result is all four frames trimmed just as needed, and fitting together cleanly!
     

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    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
  29. joberg

    joberg Master Member

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    Thanks for that tuto Dave:)...but when I saw the size of your blade, I said to myself "Dave has nerves of steel"!!:D I think they should make miniature machines for us model-makers (maybe they exist already).
     
  30. division 6

    division 6 Master Member

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    Micro Mark ;)
     
  31. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    It's not nerves of steel, its ***** of brass!

    It's not a problem to do very fine cutting work on a big saw as long as the proper care is taken. The plastics cutting blade on my table saw (that type of blade is a must!) has a narrow kerf and is very sharp. The biggest concern was keeping the little finger of the Sealab casting from chattering and shattering, hence the clamping plate. Worked out great.

    Yes, there are mini table saws made for model work, I've owned several over the years. Some are okay (Jarmac made a good one) but I got use to doing small precision work on full size equipment. I did design a custom fence for my saw that allows my to adjust the cut in .001" increments. That helps.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
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  32. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    More detailing on the bottom and sides.
     

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    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
  33. joberg

    joberg Master Member

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    Thanks for the link division 6:) Dave, yes I understand, I'm still trying to develop ***** of brass:D I think I'll stick to the big machine for big project. That pod is looking better and better by the day!
     
  34. sstinson

    sstinson Well-Known Member

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    Thats really coming together nicely!!!
     
  35. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Sorry guys, Photobucket is refusing to let photos link unless I pay them $400 a year. Not gonna happen! I'll try to start replacing the linked photos with uploads directly to the RPF but it'll take awhile! You can still view each photo by clicking on it but it's a PITA!
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
  36. Lear60man

    Lear60man Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Ive been seeing this on various forums over the last couple of weeks. I guess they changed their profit model from great free online hosting, to crappy slow loading ad heavy, to 'you will pay' because the ad thingy didnt work.
     
  37. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'd be happy to pay for service. Pay to be ad free, $2.50 a month is reasonable. Even maybe pay $100 a year to be able to link from third party sites, but $400 a year is ridiculous. I will start posting the pictures directly to the RPF. The biggest hassle is going to be going back and updating previous posts.
     
  38. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Does anyone have an extra one of these nozzles they can spare from the Airfix 1/144 Saturn V? I have two and need three. Thanks!
     

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  39. eagle1

    eagle1 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Hi Dave, I have 7 of these so no problem in sending you one. PM me your details & I'll get it out to asap.
    Stu
     
  40. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Stu, thanks for the offer, a member here in California is sending me one. But I greatly appreciated it!

    Many thanks to Jeff (satazius) for the part.

    This community is top notch!
     
  41. Win7ermute

    Win7ermute Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Hmmm. So photobucket officially sucks now. That's too bad.
     
  42. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Yup, look, I understand it's a free service and I don't have a problem with pop up ads or even them asking me to pay, but this is obviously a ploy to hold people that use the service for Etsy, Ebay and other commerce sites for ransom. Like I said before, $400 per year to "unlock" is ridiculous!

    I just spent about an hour pulling down the relatively few linked photos in this thread and using the RPF's direct upload so the pix will be here forever. I've got dozens of build threads here and elsewhere going back more than ten years. Oy!
     
  43. 3phase

    3phase Well-Known Member

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    Same thing just happened to me. Sux as just finished a thread in general modeling of a sea mine fireplace i just built with heaps of pics now all gone.
     
  44. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    For the model mount I used a tube with a 5/8" inner diameter. This allows the use of a 5/8" rod as the display stand. This was also a size we commonly used "back in the day" for model mounts as it allowed the use of standard stage grip equipment, which is based around a 5/8" diameter pin or pipe, to hold models for construction, painting and filming. I have a variety of grip equipment that proves helpful now as a model stand.
     

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    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
  45. TazMan2000

    TazMan2000 Sr Member

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    You never cease to amaze, Dave.

    TazMan2000
     
  46. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Got the engine nozzles put together. I only had one LEM shroud so it was molded and cast to make the four needed. RPF member Satazius was kind enough to send me the third smaller nozzle that was needed (Thanks, Jeff!), so now I'm good to go.

    IMG_2383.jpg IMG_2384.jpg IMG_2385.jpg
     
  47. Studio Kitbash

    Studio Kitbash Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Dave,

    When you cast these nozzles, do you "Roto-Cast" them, or just "Pressure-Cast" them? The reason I ask is: they look flawless, and I can't achieve the same results when I do the circular Payhauler nozzles with a similar two-part mold, so wondering if it's the lack of a roto-casting setup, or just the lack of 30 years experience in the industry and 2 Emmy's under my belt. Even "overpouring" the resin and putting them under 60psi, I can't get them "filled" and "bubble-free" very consistently. What am I doing wrong?

    Cheers,

    SK
     
  48. Lear60man

    Lear60man Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Is there a place us laymen can go to into like Burbank and pick up stands like this? I would love to put some of my builds on professional stands.
     
  49. StevenBills

    StevenBills Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Just do a search for C-Stands. They're everywhere.

    SB
     
  50. satazius

    satazius Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Filmtools.
     

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