User avatar
By Riggs45
#4820481
Hello Boils and Gouls,
I have read many the build thread on this site and have been waiting until I was done my build to post. I wanted to do a mostly "search function" build and then post it. I figured this would be a good way to do it as I wanted to focus all the fun on the build, then relive the experience by doing a thread.

Before the build I have to tell a cool story. I went on facebook late one night and saw some awesome pictures of my friend Hoot's pack build. I sent him a message asking how, and especially how much. He replied and I realized there was no way I could pull it off. Fast forward a couple months, just before I'm about to go to my first Con to meet Ernie Hudson. A strange package showed up at my house. My old buddy Hoot has sent me a flight suit complete with name tag, logo, elbow pads, leg hose, pistol belt, chemical gloves, and a letter welcoming me to the organization. He said he thought it would be cool for me to be able to wear it when I got to meet a lifelong hero. Talk about good karma, the man is a Saint but it doesn't stop there. I get to the Con in Niagara Falls and meet up with Hoot in the line up and he says "Oh yeah, almost forgot, this is for you.. ya know, in case you do decide to build a pack." he then hands me a Matty crate box. Its a thrower! I owe the man so much because that was the straw that broke the camels back. There was no way I couldn't build a pack with the huge head start I was given. So thank you Hoot!

So enough of that, off we go. I joined the site and starting reading threads like crazy. I would like to point out Alan Hawkins, syckotheklown, Silverstreak, Jay, Mat, Gush, Filandruis and Venkman30. I read those threads over and over before and during my build. (As well as many others, but this is already long enough)

Sorry for the long intro, if this was the Oscars the music would have played me off long ago, but credit as well earned in this origin story.

For my pack, I chose what features I like from the different variations and went with them using the Sony Lobby and Minnesota pics as reference. I made a GB 1.5 kinda pack.


So I started out back in July with a Studio Creations Shell, which does require some body work.
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I started with some sanding while it was in 2 pieces so it was easier to handle and get into the nooks and whatnot. I used a 400 Grit to do the light sanding inside and out.
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The shell has some webbing from the vacuform process where the plastic overlaps. So I marked them all on the cut lines with a gold sharpie and got out the dremel.
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After the cutting out the webbing, sanding using a heavier grit to smooth out the cuts. I think it was between 150-250 Grit. I used the block to straiten the cuts and to save my hands in the tighter places like between the powercell.
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When I dremelled out the webbing areas I noticed a couple spots where the fold of the webbing had left a hole when the fold was cut out so I added JB Weld Plastic epoxy to fill in the spots and add some rigidity to the weak spots
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By PssdffJay
#4820484
Aww Hoot, no matter what people say, your a good guy! ;) I kid, I kid!

Nice work so far on the shell Riggs. I'm guessing if you started back in July, you've been holding out on us. Let's see some more updates!
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By Riggs45
#4820489
Thanks Jay! Ive been lurking in the shadows having so much fun with this! Your build is still and open window on my ipad. Great detail brother! On another note, are you covered in 3 feet of snow yet out there?

Next up, I wanted to make the cosmetic plating. This is one part of the pack you have to get creative with as most fiberglass shells come with them molded in and the Studio Creations shell comes without them.

I wanted to have these cut so I could add one where the 2 parts of the shell come together, and I wanted it in there before I epoxied and bolted the shell together. I remembered I had some remainder slats left over from some window blinds I had installed in the house that were too long for the window. The white, faux wood blinds that are wide and are made of a composite pvc material as seen below. They are really easy to work with and really rigid yet pliable. They served a lot of uses in this build, but need to be sanded as they have the faux wood grain.
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So I gathered my extra blind slats and began to cut them down into 1.5"x 2.5 plates. I only made 14 of them for the pack. I think the proper amount is 15.

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I bolted the 2 shell parts together. You can see below where they dont sit flush on the inside edge. There is a tiny gap here that if I squeezed together would cause the pack to bow. This step is very important. Thank you to the SC builds before me for stating this. (Alan Hawkins)

I started by laying the pack down with some blocks under the cyclotron to keep it flat, and then once I was sure, I bolted it 1 by 1 until it was right. I started at one side and worked my way to the other with only 3 bolts. I added a couple more after the epoxy, but until then I wanted to make sure it sat flush. I probably couldve got away without adding the extras, but I wanted to play it safe and over do it.

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Here is the gap that if squeezed together would cause the warp.
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So after bolting and ensuring it sat flush, I added the one plate under the shell overlap before the shell was epoxied. I used some 2 part JB weld epoxy for plastic to attach this on the backside of the plate before I slid it under. ( I will post a pic of the epoxy below. I used it for all the cosmetic plates)

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I let it cure for a day or so and then added the rest of the plating.
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More to come.
User avatar
By Hoot
#4820496
Ive been waiting on this build. Im going to completely ignore everything he said about me. Most of us have done some great things and i figure if it spurred this build and brought a new member into the fold, was worth it :)

Besides - the look on your face (and reports of absolute confusion from your wife on receipt of the package) made it all worth it.

Bring us more Riggs!
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By Riggs45
#4820546
Thanks Gents! I hope to keep the posts coming steady. Hopefully I'm posting properly and not to long or wordy. I'm just trying to be thorough.

I should've added this to the last post to show what Hoot sent me, and because of it I got this awesomeness. He even let me wear his pack for the shot (Thats risky, but generous as hell). The feeling of a real pack on my back for the first time felt pretty damn good and caused all of this madness. My wife even decided to put a uniform together with her own spin on it. (Note her Vintage RBG Messenger bag I got when I was a kid. I've never seen another one like it, and it came with a wallet as well)
I love that Ernie and I are both wearing Ramis memorial pins.
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So next up on the build was the sanding of the epoxy putty to get it smoothish. I used the piece of sharply broken dowel with sandpaper wrapped around it to get into the tight spots.
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From there, some bondo to fill the light rough spots and minor stuff.This became a trend throughout the build if I noticed things here or there.

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I added some bondo around the plates so later when painting they didn't have crevices around the top edge, and would look like they were part of the shell. I'm not sure if this was needed or not, but I figured might as well give it a shot.
You can also see in this shot the edge of the putty that I built up all the way to the edge of the top part of the shell to the bottom around the plate.
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Next, block sand, fill, block sand, fill.

Now this isnt in the exact same order as everything was done. It was a bit of a chess game to figure out what should be done when, and I couldn't begin to remember the order exactly. For story telling purposes I will move to the logical step of fiberglassing.
(You will notice that I cut a hole where the N-Filter sits. This was for attaching it later through its sides.)

Before fiberglass I thought I would add some backing to the larger areas. I used my window blinds again for this as they're a tough, lightweight material,... and it was free.
I cut them down and used my 2 part epoxy again to glue them everywhere. It ended up working really well and made this thing so much more sturdy doing that alone. But I would still suggest the fiberglass as well for all of the corners, bends, and ridges. It also makes it a uniform bond.

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So fiberglassing... I picked up a kit at Canadian Tire for about $20
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The kit came with fiberglass cloth instead of the chop mat. So I began by cutting down different size squares and rectangles. I also cut some custom sizes for certain spots as seen below. I cut a few longer pieces for along the bottom of the cyclotron. They wrapped around the entire edge. I had read somewhere that the larger the size of cloth, the stronger it is in the end because the strength comes from the cloth, not the epoxy, and I didn't think I had enough cloth to overlap too much.

I pre cut everything so that once I was in fiberglassing mode I wouldn't have to be looking around. I made organized piles of different sizes and shapes so I didnt have to spend time looking around once the epoxy was mixed because it gets sticky really quick.

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This was done in 2 long pieces
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This was my first time fiberglassing. I didnt end up doing the method of spray gluing them onto the body first because it was the cloth mat and not chop mat. I'm sure it would've worked well, but I read somewhere that sometimes air pockets can form under the mat with spray glue and cause the empty spots in the bond. So i decided to only use a shitload of the epoxy instead.

So before laying all the random squares, I would brush some epoxy on the shell first, then stick the piece, and smooth it down with my hand, then continue laying pieces. After all the pieces were laid, then I went over and soaked them in epoxy on top of it all. There isn't pictures of the process because my hands were a little full at the time. (Do this outside. I did and still got a nice buzz)

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I actually ran out of the cloth mat. I toyed with the idea of going to get more, but decided it wasn't necessary because the spots that didn't get covered are non stress point like the hose inlet on the Crank Gen. I also made sure to fiberglass the spots that didn't have the window blind backing glued to it first.

I then let it sit and cure for a week. (I went away on vacation and timed it this way).
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User avatar
By Lowberg
#4820547
Came out nice man! Mine was a disaster trying to glass it. Your method of using epoxy first as "glue" is probably the easiest. I tried laying down matt glass with the spray adhesive and then dabbing with a brush and it just stuck to the brush. Ended up using the cloth but it didnt come out as neat as yours!

Looking forward to this!
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By Riggs45
#4820548
Thanks Lowberg. I totally forgot to mention you in the first post. I was just about to glass mine when you posted yours and that was what made me finally do it. I really procrastinated before doing it because it seems so daunting before you do it if you never have before. And yeah, I figured the spray adhesive could cause me issue with how thick the cloth was so I decided to only use the glass epoxy mixture to stick them as I was glassing so it would all be the same chemical and dry together in a uniform way.
I learned my lesson with spray adhesives when we restored our camper van. That stuff can be hit or miss sometimes.

So while I was on holidays and the fiberglass was curing, I had a funny idea. I didnt like the look of the inside of the pack after glassing it, and thought maybe I would paint it.

I remembered I had a can of flex seal.
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Flex Seal is basically glorified rubberized undercoating. But I figured I was already going to paint it anyway, so why not. It may add some strength, and if not, maybe I could use it as a canoe. It definitely added some thickness to it, and I think acts as a dampener to the shell. Much like a rubber washer does to vibration. It has a neat texture to it that can take a beating when attaching parts. I think it did contribute to the rigidity, but if it didn't, at least it looks nicer than it did as raw glass.

I covered the entire outside edge with masking tape to protect it incase I had any oops moments. I'm really glad I did.

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I think it turned out pretty snazzy.
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By venkman30
#4820598
Nope my ecto is still out. Haven't really had much snow here yet. Just finished one Christmas parade last week and one more tomorrow then it gets put up. But I'm also planning on building her a net rack for the summer. Something lighter and more accurate looking. But keep the good work going with your pack. I love seeing builds with these shells. They turn out so nice. I'm actually getting another she'll soon so I mite be doing a second pack. But again your coming along great with this. Keep it up.
User avatar
By csullivan1980
#4820602
Excellent work! If it's two words I love it is: Pic Heavy. You can never go wrong with lots of pics. It helps visual learners like me :-)
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By Riggs45
#4820620
Thanks so much guys! I'm still digging through the pictures trying to get some sort of order. During the build I switched back and forth between phone and DSLR so going by image numbers is not helping in organization.

So now for the different bolt ons. I bought some, and built the rest.

I bought a parts lot from a guy on ebay that lives only a couple hours from me and he offered free shipping. I got a great price for the lot so I went for it. Turned out the parts were great!
I lost the picture of the lot so i only have pictures of them in progress. In the lot I got- Aluminum ion arm, complete with aluminum block and brass rod. Aluminum complete HGA, Aluminum Booster Plug, Spectra Strip, steel cable clamp, Washer bellows, all labels, hoses, 1/4" split loom, and all the elbows and clippard fittings, and an aluminum beamline (Which I didnt use because it had the base plate welded to it and I decided to go without base plates. I was so excited to get the ion arm and spectra strip.Those parts always stood out in my mind. But I guess that feeling occurred with every part that showed up. So thats the list, In case you wonder where they came from when they show up in the build.

Here's the Aluminum parts. This is after i drilled and tapped them for the elbows and fittings and resistors.
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In progress.
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The ion arm tapped and ready to be mounted with 1/4 20 Hex bolts. I also cut another piece of blind material for the backing in behind the shell to take some stress off the connection and dampen vibration.
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Here's the fittings ready for paint. I painted the elbows with grey primer and then clearcoat. And for the straits I used gold paint and clear.
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Painted (You'll notice the sneak peak of the N Filter drying beside it. I'll get to that)
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This is the gold painted straits. I had this gold spray sitting around from my wife's loki helmet build, so i used it first, It ended up being a little too pastel looking on the straits and I ended up repainting them later, but this is the only in progress shot I have
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User avatar
By Riggs45
#4820635
So next part is the Booster Tube.

I picked up a 4ft length of 2" Inner Diameter ABS pipe. I grabbed it at lowes and I think it was about $8.00 (CDN)

I measured out the long end at 9 3/4 and then cut to that point at a 45˚ angle. It was a little off when I placed it on the shell so I had to sand the back a little to make it sit a little more flush. It was only a few mm off. It ended up close enough because I was doing a fake weld anyway on the tube so I wasn't concerned. I chose to do the fake weld because I like the way it looks and I wanted it to be sturdy. So win win.

So here's the outer diameter of the tube. I cant remember off hand the 100% correct dimensions, Vince has a great thread about it for aluminum parts. But this follows suit with the SC shell builds.
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Dry fit of parts (as I said this is slightly out of order to how it was actually built.)
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You can see the slight gap with the booster tube here. (As well as the screws I drilled in for the EDA disks (shown later)
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For attaching the booster plug. I used a 1.5x 1.5 piece of wood that I cut down to about 6". I drilled and tapped the booster plug and used a 1/4 20 Hanger bolt to attach the 2 together. I used the wood block on the inside so it would give it a little more tooth when I screwed it into the shell. So essentially the plug couldn't be attached until the Booster was attached to the plug. It may seem a little convoluted, but it worked well for me. I was hoping to just attach the plug to the tube with friction and a little epoxy, but the plate on the bottom of the plug was just a tad too small. Over all this gave all the attachments a lot more strength.

Here's the hanger bolt. I bought a bunch of these to use throughout the build for various purposes.
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Here it is in the plug about to go into the wood. I pre painted the plug before prior to putting it in the tube.
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Screwing into the wood block. You can also see the gold mark on the plug. This was so I knew how deep it needed to go into the tube (approx 1/4 inch as I like the look of the overahang)
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For scale with the tube
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I should mention, I painted the shell under the booster tube before attaching it so it had a solid coat underneath. I wanted the fake welds on the tube to the EDA and the ugly weld to the ion arm, and I wanted a nice coat underneath it so it didn't just get a thin coat in the hard to reach areas when painting. So i laid down a coat before attaching the parts. By this point, the holes were already drilled.

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Before attaching the Booster tube I put in the EDA disks. I thought about a bunch of different things to use for the disks like washers, cut down dowels, rivets ect. Nothing seemed to work right. I was completely lost on what to do. I ended up using the caps for the cutting wheel holders in my dremel bit kit. It came from a kit like the one below, and I had 2 of them. ( I think I had finally figured out what Alan Hawkins had used, tried to figure that out forever)

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To attach them, as seen in the picture of the screws above, I used the 2 screws and then filled the caps with Epoxy Putty. I made sure to build it up around the head of the screws as well, and then let it cure. They aren't going anywhere.


So to attach the booster tube, I made sure to mark the center of the EDA, and then draw a line to the top of the shell. I marked the tube as well with a strait line using the method stated here by Mat. Its brilliant.
http://www.gbfans.com/community/viewtop ... 0#p4788995


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Top view
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I seem to have lost some pictures. I cant seem to find the shots of the epoxy weld before painting or the screws on the back side of the shell. But from the back I screwed in 3 screws with large washers from behind to secure the tube to the shell. This is where the wood block really helped to give the screws something to bite into besides the thin wall of the tube.

So here is the completed weld with a coat of paint. I used the epoxy weld method seen here:
http://www.gbfans.com/community/viewtop ... 42&t=21693

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By Riggs45
#4820684
I agree. I had such a hard time with this part because I liked the size you had on them and wouldnt rest until I duplicated it! I hope i didn't give away a trade secret either!
I got mine in like a $5 bit kit from Princess Auto. It had 3 of them in it. They were right under my nose the whole time.
User avatar
By Hammer
#4820686
Keep this rolling! This is the best inside shell I've seen. With that kind of attention the final product has to be amazing!
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By Riggs45
#4820692
Wow! Thanks Hammer! That means a lot man!

And thanks Vapor! The pics you posted of your cyclotron light set up on the mobo were crucial to me when doing mine. I love the one shot of yours from below. I always wanted to ask, was the green crank knob painted, or did you just find it that way? I love the personalized look of it. It definitely helps in identifying your pack I bet!

Before I did the N Filter, I had attached the 2 blocks at the bottom of the cyclotron. They are wood, cut down to stephans plans.
I sanded all of the grain out of them, primed them, sanded, primed ect until they were smooth and not resembling wood.
I attached them with 2 screws each through the shell. The one on the bottom goes into a space without a cosmetic plate underneath it.

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I drilled the 2 holes for the Injector lines on the one with the 45˚ angle. The holes were 1/4" to accept the split loom and lines.
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For the N Filter I had to take a couple stabs at it. I went the route of the 2.75" couplers. I think the dimensions are 2.75" OD wide X 2.5" tall. I also grabbed a 2.75" OD wide x 1.5" tall coupler. I attached the 2 by cutting the same stock I used for the Booster tube. The OD of the booster tube pipe is the same as the ID of the couplers so they lock into place nicely.

I used the N Filter Template for drilling the holes found here: ( I used the one for 2.75)
http://www.gbfans.com/community/viewtop ... 42&t=30429


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Drilling. Had to be careful because the PVC material for these are seriously tough. It melted to the bit constantly and kept grabbing on it. I ruined 1 while drilling. Could've just been my bits, or the low speed of my drill press though.

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When I test fitted the 2 I noticed it was a little over 4" tall. (the smaller coupler wasnt exactly 1.5")

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The top of the coupler also had embossed text that caused uneven edges, so I hit them with some 80 grit to take the text off and take it down to 4" total. (Note, it doesnt look like the tape measure is lined up on the top in this shot, but I think its just a bad angle, it ended up being 4")

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A little bondo on the seam after I epoxied the 2 together. (The top for the N filter was just a tester until I figured out what I was using for it)

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I hit it with some satin black so the holes were painted before I hot glued in the mesh. That way it could be attached when the shell got painted. All I had to do what mask off the holes before painting the entire shell to protect the mesh. ( I did it this way because I couldn't fit my hands in to glue in the mesh after the top was on the N Filter.

Mesh
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For the mesh, I went to the dollar store and bought one of these steel strainers and just cut a strip out of it.

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For the top I ended up using an old plastic VHS case and cut out the circle from that. It is really durable plastic.

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I attached the N Filter to the shell with 2 sets of nuts and bolts with washers on the inside through the sides. (Sorry, cant find the pictures)

I also did the fake epoxy weld to the top and to where it meets the body I did a smoother one. I saw Syckotheclown do this in his build and I liked the way it looked. You can also see the masking for the mesh in this shot.

You can also see I drilled the cyclotron light holes.

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By Riggs45
#4820698
Thanks csullivan!

I didn't actually cut the PVC coupler if that's what your asking. I only cut the N Filter section of the shell with a Dremel so it would fit in nicely. When I placed the build N Filter on the shell it didn't sit straight because of the shell so I just cut the bottom bit out of the corner of the N filter space on the shell so it would fall into place. I used a dremel for most of the cuts like this. I also have some power saws. But if you don't have access to those I would suggest a hacksaw, and even one of these (seen below) for smaller cuts. They can be bought fairly cheap (Under 10). they allow more articulate cuts than a regular hacksaw. (if that's what your asking).
I would suggest a dremel over it any day though.
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Here's a close up of what I cut. (Using a dremel)

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Does that answer your question?
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By Full-Roaming-Vapor
#4820705
I love the ingenuity you're using to get all these pieces together.

Thanks for checking out my thread! I painted the crank knob olive green to let it stand out from everyone else's a little. Also I just like the way it looks.
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By Riggs45
#4820724
Thanks again Vapor!

Your crank knob is an awesome personalized touch on and looks great. A lot of the fun in these builds are the little things that you make your own and when I saw yours I thought it was genius. Being able to pic your pack out of the crowd is a big plus!
User avatar
By Riggs45
#4820755
Next on the block is the Injector Tubes.

For these I found some 1.5 OD" Sink Tailpieces. I cut 2 of them down to 6.75" as per Stephan's plans.

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I also used some 1.25 OD wooden dowel that I cut down and used to fill the tubes. I cut them the whole length of 6.75". There was a bit of space inside left so I used some more JB Weld epoxy putty wrapped around the dowel in a bunch of places and at the ends to secure the dowels into the tubes.

Once it was cured, instead of trying to sand it to perfectly flush on the ends, I cut some 1.5" circles from my window blinds to use as end caps (These blind slats really came in handy now that i look back)

For the top shell attachments I used 1/4 20 hanger bolts again. Here they are ready to be put together. The Original tube stock is next to them so you can see what I used.

There is also a rectangle piece, that is to attach to the top of them and to the bottom of the powercell.. Once again.. Blind slats.

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Pilot drilling the tops to screw in the hanger bolts.

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To screw them into the tubes, I just used a nut as something to use as a wrenching point so I could torque them in straight.

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A glue line for the inside edge.
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Fake epoxy welds for the end caps (this was actually the first fake welds I did)

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For the bracket I used a curtain rod hanger that I had. I just cut the loop off with my hacksaw. Its a lot narrower than the usual injector brackets you see, but it was free.
(Not the actual picture of mine, or my picture..yall)

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Lining them up to the shell. The 2nd white plate on the top was a duplicate of the first, I planned on using it inside the shell.

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Test fit, and to line up the bracket and drill the holes. (In this shot the steel Ribbon Cable clamp is attached)
You'll notice gold outlines for parts. I did that as I guide for lining up parts with their holes. It also served as a bit of a tracker to know what I had left and to
judge placement before drilling.
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Sprayed them with some silver for the under coat. The paint is Krylon Fusion Nickel Shimmer. Then drilling the bottom holes to for the tubes before painting satin black.
(Same satin black I used for everything, Krylon Fusion)

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Hit them with a coat of black with the bracket attached.
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So I think thats it for the Injectors for now.

As a side note, I don't have an air compressor for blasting off parts when sanding, drilling, prepping ect. It can be annoying to try and wipe debris off constantly while working away, so I grabbed a few of these from the dollar store. I'm not reinventing the wheel or anything, but they came in really handy with all the crevices on these packs.

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By alphabeta001
#4820832
This build has really got me interested in a Studio Creations pack as a spare/halloween pack.
Great job.
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