The Fifth Element ZORG Industries ZF1 build thread


Jr Member
Next on the agenda is to stick the scope mechanism in the frame.



Quite a few parts now...

..and a lot of cable tidying.


(open picture in a new tab if it doesn’t load!)

The rear scope now raises so it’s time to start snagging problems that have popped up and remaking parts that aren’t up to scratch.


Jr Member
I had to cram an Arduino, motor driver, two DCDC converters and a couple of other bits into a small area..


..some experience building quadcopters helped!!

I also redesigned the scissor lift (old top, new bottom)..


..this is a MUCH better part. Made in 5 components as opposed to about 30. It raises nice and true with no play. 3D printing is great for this kind of stuff.

I wanted to incorporate the activation button into a trigger for the grip..


..this is basically a housing for a momentary switch and a spring.

Printed on my trusty Prusa mk3..


I milled out a 12mm groove in my grip and push-fit it in. This means I can remove it if I need to.


Complete with tidied cables. You can see everything packed in and some neat lighting from all the components. I used a 12V lead acid battery and wired in a charging port so I can recharge it when necessary..

A benchmark was hit when I could hold it and activate the electronics..

The bottom mount was also fitted..



This was drawn on Fusion 360 and 3D printed. Plenty of filler primer and sanding, a mould and a casting in black pigmented resin later and it’s fixed to the shell!

I also did the rear lighting..

The parts consist of a potentiometer knob, a 20x20x15 cube of opal acrylic plastic wrapped in heatshrink to form the little screen (This is lit by one blue LED drilled into the back to get the white hot spot) and a few red and yellow LED's. These are wired into the same Arduino that sequences the front LEDs. Anymore lighting and the Arduino would melt so it's lucky the front LED's sequence on and off as the combined current draw would spell doom!


A walk around of the gun at this stage..

Last edited:


Sr Member
OMFG totally outstanding work, this is now my most favourite time of 2020 and I’m sure nothing will surpass it


Jr Member
Thanks guys!

Next on the snagging list was this little annoying problem..

(please open in a new tab if you cannot see the video)

The clippard valve has a thread in the top so I tapped it out to M8 and turned down a screw into a little pin..


A corresponding locating hole was drilled into the bottom of the rocket mount..

NOKUP2W.jpg voila!! No more wobble...

With most of the major snags sorted, I prepared my plastic frame drawings for laser cutting. A week later and these guys appeared on my work bench..


A combination of 3mm and 1.2mm aluminium parts. They include the main frames, scope arms, horizontal trims and rocket fins.

For the penultimate time ( I have to strip it down completely once more for painting..) I started the now long process of swapping over the plastic frame parts for their new aluminium counterparts..


The majority of holes are positions as per references I have seen. Namely Propstore videos and pictures of ZF1s under refurbishment.



I have to use rubber grommets for certain bulkheads as power cables will be passing through them...


I also made life easier for myself when calibrating components by leaving a hole in the side of the frame for connecting my laptop to the Arduino, this is covered by the rocket vent...


Up close with the mechanisms..

Horizontal trims are rolled and line bent into shape using plastic jigs as a guide..



Metal tabs were cut for securing horizontal trims to the main frames..


2-part epoxy and a heavily keyed surface are critical here..


..welding is out of the question here as everything needs to unbolt and be disassembled for final finishing and if I ever want to add parts in the future.





This is quite a unit now. Nothing wobbles, there isn't any play and it weighs about 10kg. Definitely a two handed weapon!!

More to follow tomorrow! Thanks for looking.
Last edited:


Jr Member
Lots of smaller jobs now.

The rocket needs its aluminium fins attaching...


..I used a slitting saw on my mill to get a nice thin groove.



The fins were then set in a jig to make sure they're square and glued internally with 2-part epoxy glue. I included tabs on the bottom of the fins to aid in gluing. Nice and strong!

In place on the gun..


Not much room for inaccuracy here but it just fit right in there.

I also had to finally fix down the top shell. I made some angled tabs and first screwed them to the horizontal trim. I then put my shell into place and squirted in a load of epoxy glue inbetween the shell and tab...


The shell is now held on by 4 screws..


Surprisingly it doesn't need anymore! Really good firm hold with this method so I'll leave it there, especially as I cannot find any evidence on the film props that they were secured in other places.

Couldn't resist having a pose...

Last edited:


Jr Member
Paint time. I neatened up some of the edges and sorted out some problem areas before spraying the white primer coat..


Tan colour..



Speckled and finished!


Rocket tip sprayed yellow gloss..


Rocket complete! I vapour blasted the rocket body too..


I've also started experimenting with the lower lining..


It's tool box liner over a layer of 3mm black PVA foam.

That's it so far!! I've sent off a bundle of parts to the anodiser's so awaiting their return. I have also ordered the edge trim that goes around certain shell parts. I have to completely disassemble the entire thing to paint the metal frame. Once that's finished and my anodised bits turn up, it'll be complete!



Zombie Killer

Sr Member
Looks great , i know how much work is involved in this, i wish i could get off my butt and finish


Active Member
Dude.. this is amazing. I just spent ages looking through each one of your posts here. The fab work is on a different level man.


Jr Member
Looks great , i know how much work is involved in this, i wish i could get off my butt and finish
Yes you should. I’d love to see it. There’s a lot of work but you just have to do it on a job per job basis or you can otherwise overwhelm yourself. Also my girlfriend was working away most of last summer so I could spend many an evening in the workshop tinkering away..

definitelly the coolest project I have ever seen! that is amazing (y)
Thanks! I love looking at it. I think I’m going to build a model traction engine next but this has been fun. I don’t see many about so definitely fairly unique.

Dude.. this is amazing. I just spent ages looking through each one of your posts here. The fab work is on a different level man.
Thank you. It helps having a big workshop stuffed with handy tools, my lathe, 3D printer etc. I’ve seen incredible stuff made on this forum with a whole lot less equipment. Super impressive

If I get you 5 stones can I please order 5 crates
Zero stones, ZERO CRATES!!!

Ive completely disassembled the gun and will spend this weekend ageing and finishing the aluminium frames, spraying the shell internals and fitting the lining and edge trims properly. Should have it finished by the end of the week or whenever my anodised parts turn up.


Jr Member
Gun's in bits..




I'd love to design a custom PCB that handles all the parts but maybe that's a project for the future.

Painted the shell internals a very dark grey and added edge trim..


..I used 5mm neoprene foam cord.



The plastic spur gear I was using the drive the scope had started to develop some play so I replaced it with a brass version..


..only replaceable when the gun is in pieces.

Next was to age the aluminium parts..


First a coat of black cellulose. If I ever did this job again I'd go for something a bit lighter in tone but it's pretty close to my references.

I attacked them with a sponge and spray gun full of thinners to try to match the original..


...I let the paint dry, then rewetted it with the thinners and patted with sponges as well as speckling pure thinners over with the spray gun. A proper arty experiment!


I removed all the laser cutter marks around the visible edges with 240 grit sandpaper, I also went over the fronts with some light sandpaper to remove paint from the edges, this helps them pop a bit more. Sealed with a clear satin topcoat.

Put all back together again..


Getting there! The scope motor and other electronics haven't been reconnected yet so the scope is in a middle position.

If you think the ageing is overdone, the original really is like that, and a lot of the parts cover it too so will lessen the effect.


Just waiting on those anodised parts now..