Monday, October 28, 2013

Day 42 - Neck blocks

There wasn't a whole lot going on in Dalekland this weekend.  I did manage to trim and glue the gunboxes in place, after satisfying myself that they were square and level with each other.  I originally wanted to build it all as one piece, but changed my mind.  I'm glad I did, too; trying to cut out two symmetrical holes simultaneously would have been really tough, I think.

So, in the first photo, I have traced the interior line where I decided to place it.  The outer "dashed" line is where outside of the shoulder cladding is, where there are still spacers for the upper thin strip of HDF I have yet to place.  I then took and hand-drew the line where I wanted to cut, about ~10mm away from the inner line.  I used the woodcutting blade on the dremel tool yet again to make those cuts.  Using the subsequent cut-off piece, I traced the same line on the lower part of the gunbox and trimmed again.  I repeated this process for the other gunbox.

I don't have a photo of the next part, but the side wall of the gunbox was very long, sticking into the shoulder interior by about 3 inches.  I took the table saw and tilted the blade 45°, adjusted the miter guage to the angle cut on the gunbox (~20°), and trimmed a few inches off, to where the edge was about 10mm away from the top and bottom cuts I had just done.  Again, repeated for the other gunbox.

Next up, I glued them in (initially, just on the bottom, where the three layers of cladding and spacers are, then later inside on top), added a couple of blocks of scrap wood and a piece or two of HDF to hold them in place where everything lined up, and proceeded to let them dry.

After they were dry, I mixed up another batch of PVA water (this time in a squirt bottle instead of brushing it), propped up the sections away from the newspaper underneath, and let fly the gluey mist, onto the skirt, fender, neck rings, shoulders, everything.  Seattle gets moist (the fog we've been having!), and I want this sucker water-tight.

While that was drying, I decided that the next thing I wanted to tackle and get out of the way were the neck blocks.  I've seen a variety of ways that they've been made by various builders (resin castings, 3D printers, chamfered wood).  I knew I wanted them to be wooden, but I wanted to see if I could do it without using the router.  Too much dust!

I decided to use my 1/2" MDF that I got initially for the gunboxes.  I have quite a bit left over, so I cut a few 31mm lengths with the table saw, then set it to a 45° angle and gave it the chamfer (I used a test piece to ensure that I left a 4mm un-chamfered portion on the front).  I had to be VERY careful with that second 45° cut; use a push stick or lose fingers.

In the plans, I noticed that the blocks are 43mm in the back, and 40mm in the front.  I took a scrap of plywood and clamped it to the saw guide, 43mm away from the blade.  Then, I did some guesswork and set my miter saw table angle to 4°.  I flipped the MDF upside down (with the chamfer on the bottom and facing away from me), and made an initial cut on the very edge.  Then, flipping it back up (and this time with the chamfer facing me), I bumped up the MDF to the clamped block, and made the second cut.  I made sure to not pull the blade back up while it was spinning; otherwise, the block would fly out of the miter saw with a mangled edge on it.

I measured the resulting block, and sure enough, it was 43mm on the back end, and 40mm on the front!  I repeated the above process 23 more times, and made all my initial neck block pieces.

AdamWolf had an amazing post about creating an elaborate tablesaw jig for cutting the neck strut holes, but I became too impatient and came up with a weird alternative way.  Again, following AdamSt's lead, I decided to cut a "comb" pattern in the neck block.  However, I don't have a bandsaw, so I used my jigsaw.  To ensure that I accommodated the strut angle, I used the remnant of the chamfer I cut with the table saw and positioned it behind the blade, so that when I pushed the block against the saw, it automatically angled upward a bit.  This rested against a couple of clamped pieces of plywood to ensure that the cut didn't go too deep.

I then tore off the thin cuts with my fingernails, then took a bit of sandpaper to smooth out the cut-lines.  After a test fit, I am completely satisfied with this process, and will do the remainder of the neck blocks in similar fashion.

So, there's still some work to go on these guys, but I'm happy with the progress.  I don't yet have the wooden bearings, so I will wait until I have them in hand before I unpack and set up the drill press, drill the rounded holes, and test fit the bearings.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Day 41 - Cutting the gunbox holes, test fitting

I dremeled out the gunbox holes, which was a very nerve-wracking thing for me!  I had the basic outline of where I needed to cut, but I knew that there would have to be a lot of tweaking and adjustment to get things just right.  I trimmed and fitted, trimmed and fitted, trimmed and fitted for what seemed like hours (probably was).  Trimming was done using a variety of methods.  I dremeled at an extreme angle to make sure the sides of the gunbox were perpendicular to the front of and parallel to the sides of the shoulders, and then I evened it all down with the belt sander, at least, as much of the belt sander as I could fit into such a tight space.

Finally, I got it to where I wanted it to be.  There are a few largish gaps, so I'll need to figure out how I want to glue it all.  I might use some scrap, and then use the Liquid Nails on top of that.  But those gaps allowed me to tweak the position of the box to get the angle of it just right, which didn't require that much adjustment, really.  I'm really happy that the gunbox angle is correct!

Then, I tried my best to repeat what I did on one side to the other side, and eventually I got both gunboxes in there, ready to be glued!  Actually, I need to make sure that the boxes are in a good relative position to one another first, and then mark and trim away the excess bits from the inside of the shoulders to maximize elbow room.

Latest stack shot follows!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Day 40 - Mostly gunbox! (Though, shoulders, of course)

Some good progress on Rainier!  I finally took off all the clamps from the shoulders, and all the cladding is now on ... with the one exception being the small strips that will eventually go above the gunboxes when they are positioned.  I'll need some bigger, lower-reaching clamps for those, perhaps.  I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

I then flipped it upside down so that I could jigsaw and belt-sand the excess cladding off the bottom.  In order to keep the shoulder section from moving all over the place while I was sanding, I attempted to clamp it to my table.  This is where I did a stupid thing.  I used the top ring as a place to put my blue clamps, and I snapped one of the seams off its spacers.  So I had to sand down the inside of that cladding and also the spacers underneath to get rid of the dried glue, and then re-glue and re-clamp it.  Bother.

I then set to work marking all the lines for where I needed to trim all the excess cladding away.  I drew these like I did all the shoulder lines so far—using a long, fat piece of plywood and a pencil clamped to it, dragging it perpendicular to the floor, scraping the jutting pencil along the HDF to mark the lines.  Then I took my wonder tool, the Dremel (and its fabulous cutting blade), and with as steady a hand as I could muster, trimmed off all the excess.  Except for the top ring; with the clamps and such in the way, I couldn't draw a line there to cut against.  A later task.

So, while my mistake was curing and drying, I decided to do something different, and finish up the gunboxes.  I unwrapped my new ickle trim router, whipped up a tiny jig to cut the 9.3cm diameter hole, and screwed it in place.  I cut these in similar fashion to the neck rings, going a little bit at a time.  Took about three passes to get both pieces' circles cut out.  Then I changed to a 45° bit with roller bearing, and made a few passes on that, too, for the inner chamfer.  Took out the gazing globes (nearly forgot I had them!) and test-fit them to check out the sizes of everything.  I liked what I saw!

Next up was getting the gunbox recesses cut out.  I decided to use the scroll saw for this job.  I haven't gotten to use this tool very often, so I was happy to get it set up.  It's such a friendly saw.  Until the blade snaps halfway through.  Which happened.  Good thing there were spared in its little drawer.

Once I cut those out, I sanded smooth the unevenness from the not-quite-yet-fairly-straight lines, and then traced out the hole shapes onto pieces of HDF for the recess inset pieces.  I left a little extra length for the straight end (not the edge with the rounded corner), so that I could keep sanding it down with the belt sander to get it to fit *just* right.  I also used the sander to give it a bit of a chamfered edge, too, to match the angle in which it sits in the recess.  Then I glued them in!

I let that dry for a few hours, and then proceeded to glue the front, side, and bottom pieces together.  The inclusion of the bottom piece was to make sure the top and side were square with each other.  And again, I let a few hours pass for that (while I rehearsed with my choir tonight).  Then, just about an hour ago, I added the top piece, flipping it over so that it's on the bottom now, and resting flat against something to keep it in place.

And, a shot (upsidedown) with the gazing globes again, just to get a sense of what these will look like before I put the globes in bed again.  Shoulder section is getting closer!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Day 39 - Final shoulder cladding, more gunbox stuffs

Finally attached the last of the bands after taking off the clamps from the front part I attached yesterday.  I was a bit ambitious this time, and attached both at the same time, hoping that I had enough clamps that were wide enough.  Looks like I did, but I had to steal from Peter to pay Paul, as it were.  I used all of them for the first side, then stole one at a time to clamp the second band.  While I was taking clamps off, I needed to rearrange things a bit so make sure everything was staying adhered to the spacers.  We'll see tomorrow if everything sticks.

Then I went back to the gunboxes and started marking things down.  Made a wee compass out of scrap HDF (again, ala AdamSt), making the space between the holes 4.65mm for a diameter of 9.3mm.  Then I marked the recesses in the side piece of the boxes, 14mm on the top and bottom, and I decided on 15mm for the angled line, since I didn't want to run into the rabbet on the other side (it's like 12mm, or something).  I used a US quarter (24mm diameter) to mark the rounded bottom corner.

But this is where I got confused. The plans show the side recess is 6.5cm wide, but the arrows don't actually extend that far on the page.  I've circled it for reference in my photo.  I measured that length and drew the corresponding line, but it looks narrower than what I've seen on other Dalek gun boxes, but maybe it's my imagination.  Or, maybe it's the angle that my gun boxes wound up being, and I should fudge the dimensions a bit.  Not sure.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Day 38 - Outer lower shoulder collar and gunboxes

Today, I got around to making templates for the outer bottom shoulder collar, and cut them out of HDF board like the rest.  After soaking these, I clamped them on to dry, helping them out this time with a hair dryer.

With my boost helping them to dry, I set to work on figuring out the angle of the front of my shoulders so that I could get to work on the gunboxes.  I'm hoping that the angles work out okay, since the plans seem to show that the front angle of the gunboxes matches the front center angle of the shoulders.  For me it turned out to be 20°, so I went with that.

Spent some quality time with the table saw (set to 0° and, frequently, 20°) and router, cutting out pieces of 1/2" MDF and more of my ubiquitous HDF for the boxes.  With the router, I added the rabbet grooves to the side pieces per AdamSt's diary, since I really like how sturdy those look.  Where he used 6mm MDF for the top and 4mm MDF for the bottom, I just used the same thickness of HDF, and cut the rabbets accordingly.

By the time I was done with that, I checked to see that the drying collars were indeed dry, and then set to gluing and clamping them.

Tomorrow, I'll mark the recess detailing on the gunbox sides, and figure out how to route the chamfered holes in the front.  And, or course, hopefully attach the rest of the outer shoulder collar.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Day 35 through 37 - Shoulder collars

Wash, rinse, and repeat of day 34, this time with the rest of the lower collar area.  Due to all the soaking, clamping, drying, gluing and re-clamping of one section at a time, this process took a couple of days (which is why I haven't written anything in a bit).  Also, because my clamps don't reach very high, I used slats of scrap wood to secure the tall collars, clamping them above and below.

I had picked up a tiny router at the store the other day for the express purpose of using it to trim the inner sides of the collars, but I thought I might actually try out a bit with the Dremel tool first.  I chose the trapezoid in the front to experiment on, drawing a line that wasn't the true line in case I messed up.  I liked the results, so I might just go this route for all the inner lines.  (Please note, the Dremel is unplugged and NOT running in that shot!)

Then, today, I started and finished attaching the outer band's spacers.  Call me weird, but I don't actually like how far it juts out on the actual prop, not to mention the fact that I think my Dalek's shoulders are slightly wider than what the plans call for.  So, I made these spacers only twice as wide (16mm) as the inner spacers (8mm).  This will shave off 3mm of space than what the plans say.

In this latest stack shot, I like the overall overhang, and can't wait for these to dry and to attach the final cladding.  I even picked up some Great Stuff expanding foam in anticipation.  I made sure to get the stuff that hardens completely (a misting of water also hastens the curing effect), as they also have one for windows that is meant to be squishy.

Also, I picked up some aluminum that I bought from, and was able to pick it up directly from the warehouse here in Seattle, saving on shipping.  I've got bits for both ends of the gun, the 8 rods, and .5" squares that will hopefully be shaped into the bottom part of the light cages.  I don't yet have metal for the rest of the light cages.  In addition, I took Avonlea22's tip for LED dome lights, and got those, too!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Day 34 - More shoulder collar work

Not a lot of pics today, but felt like a lot of work was done.  First, I took off all the clamps from the top collar, and it stayed perfectly adhered to the spacers.  Joy!

My next task was to make more card stock templates, this time for the bottom collar.  I had to make four templates: one for the thinner front piece, one for the front trapezoid, and two for the thicker back piece.  The two for the back was due to the fact that my card stock (and HDF board) wasn't big enough to cover all the longer spacers.

Afterward, I traced it all out onto HDF (again leaving about an extra 10mm for fudging room all the way round) and jigsawed it.  I decided that I didn't want to risk soaking and forming all four pieces in case I ran out of clamps (or patience), so I went with the front two for tonight.  To keep the trapezoidal piece in place, I used three off-cut lengths of plywood to hold it in place along the shoulder slope.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Day 33 - Gluing the top shoulder collar / shoulder front spacers

Today, before doing anything else, I went and bought a 5-speed bench drill press and a little, tiny router for when I attempt to free-hand trim the collar sections.  Also picked up some masking tape for the eventual protection (mummification!) of the shoulders for when I have my expanding foam party.

After I got home, I detached the clamps and looked at the resulting curvature of the collar pieces.  I wasn't nearly as afraid of these pieces as I was of the much bigger shoulder body pieces that I put on once upon a time.  I took some Liquid Nails and applied it to all the front spacers, and clamped the front piece on.  Then I did the same for the back piece.

I had to wrangle a few clamps to make room for my Dremel tool to get in and trim the ends so that the front and back collar pieces would be flush with each other.  Then I took two blocks of wood (the chaff from the fender struts) and clamped that over the seams.

The final bit I did today was to draw and add spacers to the recessed trapezoid design on the front of the shoulders, between the gunbox holes.  To get the sharp angles on the outer two spacers, I had to use my belt sander and just grind each spacer down.  Thinking on it now, I should have used my scroll saw.  Ah well, hürp-de-dürp.

I added those spacers, and now everything's drying.  I wanted to do more, but it was getting late, so I think I'll just play video games now!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Day 32 - Corrected shoulder spacers / top collar

Wow, I've been away too long!  Mostly due to work stuffs this time.  At least I got to spend some sunny time in Anaheim and Disneyland, though!  Pro tip: Go on a Wednesday or Thursday in early October; each ride is like a five-minute wait time.

Anyway, I spent a bit of today correcting for the incorrect 9cm measurement of the shoulder's lower collar spacers (they're actually 14.6cm as measured from the bottom).  I had mistakenly used the height of the outermost lower collar, instead.

Then, I measured out and scribbled the new line on the shoulders, and cut/glued additional spacer pieces to get it the right height, so that's all drying right now.

I also traced out the upper and lower collar ring templates on my heavy card stock, and jigsawed rough HDF versions that then soaked in the bathtub for an hour.  I clamped them onto the shoulders to dry out, and then glued them.  I will likely do the same for the bottom collar tomorrow once the glue for the adjusted spacers dries thoroughly.

I think one thing that got me in vapor-lock about Rainier (other than the fact that I got pretty busy with work stuff), is that I'm soon going to need a drill press, and that's a bit of a pricey purchase.  I'll need it for the 56 3.5" HDF discs for the hemis, the 24 1/2" holes for the neck strut blocks, the backing plates for the gazing globes (and the globes themselves?  Can I even drill through steel?), and probably a few more things I'm forgetting.  But I want to buy one that's fairly small, instead of a big stand-up unit.  I'll scour Craigslist to see if I can find one for a good deal.