Upgrading with metal parts Jake's ZF-1 kit


Sr Member
Hello there,
This month, I was finally able to afford and get lucky enough to buy the lastest assembled 3D printed ZF-1 base that JakeySnakey630 is offering. This has been my dream prop forever and I cannot describe my feelings when I received this amazing thing, I just couldn't stop grinning and pressing that on yellow button and opening, closing, opening, closing that thing! amazing! I'm so thankful to Jake for offering such a great base to improve upon, with all the very hard work and ingeneering already taken care off!
make sure to check out his interest thread here!

I wanted to start a WIP thread to show how I will very slowly upgrade it with metal parts every time I have some free time to work on it. It will be very slow, but I really like working on my props and making them my own slowly, it makes them that much more special to me, and I know that the props I spent the most time on are my favorite in my collection :)

so I already showed in his thread how I very carefully removed the shells without having the instructions to do so yet, but it went very smoothly, and once again that kit is extremely well though off, very impressive!


I actually started by doing a new aluminium ice cube nozzle, but i'll show that later on when I do the other parts to attach it :)

I'll start with the back scope pistons :)
I needed my wife to help me a bit with her small but strong hands as it was pretty hard to remove the screws from the small 3D printed cylinders in the scope assembly:

I then turned those from aluminium on my small lathe:

theaded each end to M4:

and voila! simple, but that will already be a nice aluminium detail visible in the back of the prop :)

now that this is done, let's do the pistons themselves,
same here, starting from a raw round stock of 20mm aluminium:

then shaping it slowly, both pieces at once:

I then cut each piece and drilled them to allow the steel rods inside:

and voila! again! just need to source those things on each end and haven't had much luck this far


and the result once installed on the prop!

once again, that's a small detail, but that's a start with more metal parts visible already and I'm pretty happy with the result this far :)

I will update with the next part... when I have time!

At the same time, I'm working on Tip top workshop's Samaritain, doing exactly the same, replacing each resin part with aluminium when I have the time :) very fun stuff :) will probably open another thread for that :)

cheers all :)


Sr Member
Thanks a lot for your usual enthusiasm joberg, I appreciate it :)

ok, here is another small upgrade for today, pretty straight forward but still cool when finished, the 2 front pistons :)

I started from a piece of 20mm aluminium as I didn't have 18mm on hand sadly. turned down each side to 16mm on 4cm length. the center part will be the larger front part of the pistons, each of them back to back on the same rod. I do most of my small parts like that, it allows to have enough length to hold them in the chuck, then just turn around the rod and do the second part, no material wasted that way :)

then turning each extremity to 10mm on 12mm length and turning the center down to 18mm

after that, I cut it in half, clean each side and make a 6mm hole in the front to accomodate for the piston rods. and here they are finished next to their 3D printed part:

and installed on the ZF-1!

I guess I will do a small recap of all parts replaced each time, so here is what we replaced so far! pretty simple parts this far, but still, moving forward nicelly :)



Sr Member
Hello there,
ok, here is a cooler upgrade now, the ice cube system nozzle!

just a quick note that I'm not basing all of my measurements from Jake's parts, for this one in particular, I modeled it from several reference pictures, basing the overall size on Jake's part of course. When I was happy with the part, I wrote all the measures on it and printed it in x2 size.


After some thinking, I decided to do that piece in two parts, to save some aluminium and to manage the part a bit easier on my lathe and be able to turn it around.
I started from a round stock of 25mm for the body and made all the steps on it:

then, I drilled the whole inside, for weight and in case I manage some kind of gaz effect one day!

ok, now for the front part! I started from a 35mm round stock here, turned down half of it to fit inside the hole I made on the body part. Then I had to completely mess up my lathe arrangement and turn the "charriot?" the other way around to be able to turn the large 65° cone here. You can see a bit on the next picture that the lathe is a bit all over the place with the adjusting wheel on the left, under the chuck protection:




OK, so after that came the part that I wasn't sure how to do and if I could even do it. the holes in the front, that have an angle.
I thought about it a bit and realized that the base of my drill press could be angled, so that solved my issues!

I started by marking all the holes with my small mill and indexing chuck, to have something precise:

then I put it in the vice on the angled base of the drill press:

and it worked like a charm! so happy that I managed to do that complex part :)


here it is installed on the ZF-1 :)

and here are all the replaced parts so far :) starting to look a bit more interesting!

I hope you guys like it. My point is also to show how I do stuff and the small tricks I find sometimes in case it can help someone for his own stuff :)


  • DSC03734.JPG
    438.5 KB · Views: 60
Last edited:


Master Member
Sharp and clean piece there eethan. Always interesting to see your small tutos with every project you tackle.(y)(y):notworthy::notworthy:
As I said before, you'll be pumping iron in no time manipulating that prop:p


Sr Member
Hello there,
here is another upgrade for a small part, but still happy that I was able to do that :)
the Yellow button :)

starting from 18mm round stock and cleaning the face:

12mm hole the whole depth for the yellow button

7° slope



and attaching it to the frame. the aluminium bezel is pressure fit and the button glued with a drop of superglue:


and here are the 3D printed parts replaced so far. I actually did a lot more but just showing what is finished and attached each time :)

here is a teaser for the next piece (unfinished) :)


Well-Known Member
very cool, that thing is going to be a beauty when fully upgraded. How are you going to deal with the colored parts? are you going to keep them bare metal or you're going to get them anodized?


Sr Member
very cool, that thing is going to be a beauty when fully upgraded. How are you going to deal with the colored parts? are you going to keep them bare metal or you're going to get them anodized?
Hey Olivier :)
the parts will be painted with machinist fluid, blue and yellow, like i think the originals were done :)


Sr Member
Awesome work!! A few more parts and you won't be able to take it on an airplane... it'll look too real. Seriously though, those real metal pieces make a world of difference!


Sr Member
Its great that you're doing this and you're doing an amazing job. Any one with this zf1 would love to upgrade the parts like you're doing. I'm not sure if Jakeysnakey will ever get around to making an upgrade kit. Any chance of you running a few more parts as you go for others?


Active Member
Beautiful lathe & drill press piece work. I never did learn that trade. Make many aluminum & brass parts for my models and do my best with Dremel tools, belt sander and drill press. Quality of your work is outstanding.


Sr Member
Hi there,

SO, to address the elephant in the room first :)

YES, I have been talking with Jake to offer a metal upgrade kit to his customers since last week and we have been discussing the best way to go about that and try to make everybody happy without I stepping on his toes :) and this should be happening at the begining of the year :) there you go guys :) Now, This is not an interest thread, just a WIP showing what I'm doing to upgrade my own kit. not all of those parts will be in the upgrade kit and I'll open an interest thread around next week I think for what I'll actually offer. the discussion here will stay focussed on the WIP thread :)

ok, today was not hyper productive and I only managed to fabricate the 2 pieces that hold the front pistons that I did earlier. those are pretty complex parts with the tools that I have and I struggled a bit... The 3D printed parts here are pretty good, especially since they are black and partially hidden by the shells so this is not a part that I recommend to update in priority :)

I started from a piece of 15x20mm rectangle rod that I cut to length and sanded on all sides:

then cut 2 pieces of 2mm thick plates:

and once everything is assembled together, I lap them on my sanding beam. this is a rectified piece of aluminium beam that I'm using for guitars normally, there is sandpaper glued to it and it allows to sand anything perfectly flat.
here, just assembled on the left and sanded on the right:

drilling the 4mm mouting holes

the final result compared to the 3D printed parts:

and re-assembled on the ZF-1!

and here are all the replaced 3D printed parts so far:



Sr Member
Hello there,

I have a kind of cool upgrade for tonight :)
the igniter torch and it's support tube,

here is the 3D model on top of the ref:

here we start from a 8mm round stock that we turn down cleanly to 7.5mm:

then we do the small steps, fun stuff :)

ok, now we need to do the brass end that links with the torch tip:

I didn't take a whole lot of photos here but basically, I threaded the end to accomodate for the torch directly (it's a bit of a weird thread but I used something close and it works OK). Then I decided to go for a small inacuracy and make the thing a bit fonctional. Since both references we have from propstore show one straight and one angled for the fonctional flame thrower version, I decided to do something articulated :) it's not completely accurate but it adds a bit of coolness I think. My wife attested to it when i brought the piece back tonigh and she said, oh really? that's so cool! (she is not normally so expressive about my work lol)

so, here is the final result!

and angled :)

and a couple close ups on the mecanism:


I didn't attach it to the gun yet as I need to do the rectangle support part too first.

I hope you like it, don't hesitate to tell me what you think, if that is cool or if it would be better to keep it simple and static :)


Sr Member
Moving parts ALWAYS improve a prop. It looks really good, apparently the part that came with it wasn't very accurate (at least to the images you based yours on). Excellent work!!!


Sr Member
Moving parts ALWAYS improve a prop. It looks really good, apparently the part that came with it wasn't very accurate (at least to the images you based yours on). Excellent work!!!
thanks a lot :)
there are indeed different versions of the prop. I decided to reproduce the tube that goes through the support cube and can be seen behind it, hence the longer part. Jake also based his measurements of the tip on a different real part torch tip, hence the small difference.
Jake's kit is absolutely amazing I think, it's a great base to build upon :) some parts are just more worthy of upgrading than other. this one in particular is full of details and the real part is a great improvement. some other parts, like the support cubes I did in the previous post are not worth it in my opinion, i spent too much time on them and the improvement is not that visible compared to the black printed part that was already great :)

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.