User avatar
By Namssorg
#343077
It's time to start this thread, and the first post is the longest. We'll get through this.

Hi everyone, I'm Matt.
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(Always wear your respirator!)

I've been hanging around on the forums and in the chat room for awhile, soaking as much info as I could before I started to build my pack. I've actually been working on it for a couple of months now, slowly.. just night + weekends, and it's finally time to share.

Since I've learned so much from all of your builds, I really wanted to make sure I had something worthwhile to contribute before I posted mine. There is a massive amount of knowledge on here- fantastic how-to's, great process pictures, info on hard to find bits, etc, and so much of it is going into my build. I feel like I'm standing on the shoulders of giants here, so hopefully I can add just a little bit to the top of the pile. You all have been a tremendous help so far, thank you!

A little about me and the pack I wanted to build...

I'm an industrial designer, and so I design products for a living. You may have a few of them in your house! I'm a bit obsessed with objects in general, but I’ve always had an especially strong fascination with movie props. To me they are like one-of-a-kind fantasy products. Off-screen they’re little more than plaster and foam painted and aged to look like the real McCoy, but when they’re on film they become special somehow. They get a dose of imagination and become a gunslinger’s revolver, a cursed idol, an archaeologist’s lucky hat. It’s not just a hat anymore, it’s The Hat.

I spent a fair amount of time in school making models of designs I was working on, but now I do most of that on the computer. I missed being in the shop, and I needed a project. Some people paint, some people knit, I wanted to create a fairly accurate reproduction of a portable nuclear accelerator that pretend working class scientists used to catch ghosts in a 1984 comedy. It’s always been one of my favorite props from one of my favorite movies. Plus, it’s instantly recognizable, great for Halloween, and the kids love it. Luckily there is a ton of info on how to go about doing this :)

So here goes nothing...
Last edited by Namssorg on July 8th, 2012, 5:09 pm, edited 7 times in total.
User avatar
By Namssorg
#343080
Right off the bat, I knew I wasn't going to go for total 100% screen accuracy. Partly because I really wanted to build a good portion of the pack myself, not just assemble it from parts other people have made. I don't have the tools in my garage for welding and working with metal, so I knew I was going to go the plastic route. That being said, I still want this thing to look accurate, so wherever possible, I'm using plastic equivalents to the metal parts in Vincenzo's awesome metal stock guide.

I also feel like it should be 'my' pack. I'm not really going for a replica of an existing one- more like one that might have been made around the same time, part of the same generation, as the GB1 packs.

I placed a huge order with McMaster-Carr for some plastic tubes + other goodies I'd need, and fired up the miter saw.
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From left to right:
1-1/2” OD Black Polypropylene for the injectors
1-1/4” OD PVC Rod for the beam line, filler tube, booster plug, vacuum tube, and PPD (not shown)
2.5” OD Clear Acrylic for the HGA and booster tube
Not pictured: 3" OD thin wall acrylic tube for the n-filter.


And got on the waiting list for one of |Alkaline|'s shells.
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User avatar
By Namssorg
#343082
Here is my little workbench in the garage. This is probably the last time you will see it this tidy.
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I bought a sheet of 1/8" thick PVC to use in place of sheet metal. I'll be making the Ion Arm out of this, as well as any tube caps or mounting plates where sheet metal was used.
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A little tape to hold the PVC pieces in place while the solvent welds them together…
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This stuff is great to work with! It sets just quickly enough so that you can continue working, and slowly enough that you have plenty of wiggle-time for little adjustments. In the morning the pvc welds will be rock solid.
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Setting... (couldn't resist seeing what it looked like with the cap on..)
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The main chunk of what will make up the Ion Arm, after a little sanding. This thing is strong, but also hollow and lightweight.
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Finally, (the first of MANY tidbits I learned from you guys!) I drove two 3/8" carriage bolts through a piece of wood, and glued them in place with some E6000. This should hold. I've also sharpied in some marks as a rough guide for my fake welds.
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Let me know if these posts are too pic-heavy. I know a lot of this stuff has been shown before, but I also know how much some of us enjoy watching the process.
User avatar
By Namssorg
#343086
While I was working on other parts, I spent some time cleaning up John's shell. This thing is sturdy! I thought I'd sand it up, fill any small holes and get a coat of primer on it... but then I got a little crazy.

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As I was cleaning up the shell, I noticed that it had a few slightly sunken-in surfaces. I know that my shell was one of the last he pulled from his most recent batch, but I think these spots MAY have had something to do with the fact that it was delivered to my house in the middle of summer in Texas. It's been around 105°F here for months, and there were a couple of packing peanuts that had literally melted onto the shell when I took it out of the box.

Whatever the case, I went to work with my old friend, Bondo...
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This was also the perfect opportunity to give the shell a little bit of an update (something he's doing with the next batch, anyway, I hear!) Taking a cue from JayStantz's build, I decided to rework the gearbox area a bit, smoothing out sharp corners, and making the crank gen ribs not wrap underneath. I'll probably also sand down the EDA discs at some point, and build a different n-filter. Lots of Bondo. Lots of Sanding. Lots of elbow grease. Worth it.

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I spent a lot of time trying match the surfaces in the reference images. I'll post some better pictures of this area once I've got a coat of primer on the shell, since it's a total pink mess in these photos.

..More tomorrow!

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User avatar
By Namssorg
#343142
Thanks parks. That shouldn't be too tricky to fix. Maybe I can make some sort of cyclotron-hole reducer that can double as a lens holder. That'd be kind of neat.

Some more updates.. (We're almost caught up to the present..) I installed brackets on the motherboard and tapped the shell. The first of many, many, holes I'd be drilling in this thing. Drilling and filling. It's been one or the other.
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I think this shot is on every single build thread...

Then came my first big 'Oh Shit' moment. Thanks to the not-very intuitive layout of this Harbor Freight tap set, I grabbed the wrong tap. Not a big deal, since it was a smaller size, and I just re-tapped the hole. I initially thought the sizes would, you know, line up with the bits they're next to. They don't. Gotta have room for yet another logo, I guess.
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This was the first time in years I've riveted or tapped anything, so I'm glad it all came out alright. The shell fits on the motherboard nice and snug.
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User avatar
By Namssorg
#343146
On to the HGA.. another part I wanted to scratch build. I found this PVC coupling part in the plumbing aisle at Home Depot, and noticed it fit perfectly inside the clear tubing I was going to use for the HGA. This gave me a neat idea for an attachment method.
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From left to right- Acrylic tubing that will make up the outside of the HGA, PVC collar that will attach to the shell and fit inside the outer tube, and some of the 1/8" PVC sheet that I cut to form the HGA lid.

I cut the lid a slightly smaller diameter than the outer cylinder in order to leave room for some nice fake welds.
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Plastic welding the lid in place, with a few support ribs cut from part of the inner PVC collar.
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The idea is that the inner collar will attach directly to the shell with a bolt, and the HGA will slide over this. The holes for the Legris (or for now, SMC) elbow line up, so that when it's screwed in it goes through both material thicknesses and locks the two parts together, attaching the HGA to the shell.
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Just a little extra that will make attaching the HGA easier. This also creates an easy-access hiding space inside the HGA. What should I hide in there?
User avatar
By Namssorg
#343356
Did a bit more work on the shell today, (thank you parksdesign for pointing out a few areas I would have missed) and also got to work building the new n-filter. For some reason the n-filter is one of the pack parts I never think much about, or notice. I was initially fine with the one built into my shell, but the more work I put into it, the more it annoyed me :)

Again with the plastic... here is that 3" OD, 1/16" thick acrylic tube I referred to earlier, with a hole template I made. If anyone wants the template, download it here.
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All taped on...
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And cut! That was the easy part. Now to make a lid and figure out how it's going to attach to the shell.
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So if the N-filter is one of my least thought-about parts, the Shock Mount is one of my favorites. It's like the one real piece of shiny bling on a pack. I'm more a fan of the machined replicas than the original bellows, for sure. ProtonCharger and FossilizedArt talked me down from having one machined (I still kinda want to make one) and talked me into the washers route.
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So shock mounty.

The fender washers I found and liked were thin, so there are a few extra ribs but the length feels about right. I glued them together and took some fine grain sandpaper to them while they were spinning on the drill. This gave the front a nice radial brush, polished up the edges, and took the coating off the washers. Now if I handle this thing, it should start to wear nicely and eventually collect a little rust. Although I'm pretty tempted to just polish the hell out of it.
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User avatar
By Namssorg
#343517
N-filter blues.

Okay, I should have seen this one coming. Today I tore the n-filter off my shell. The old n-filter was 2.75" (or very close to) and I didn't really like the look of it, hence the new, cleaner, larger 3" one.

Here's what the 3" N-filter looks like, very roughly fitted in place. I like it- it feels the right size and the wall thickness is correct, but there just isn't enough room between the cyclotron rings and the edge of the spacer to fit this thing on without a small amount of overhang. Look at this son of a bitch:
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I'm not sure how I feel about that overhang. It's minor, but you know. It's there. I may build another 2.75" n-filter that's a bit cleaner, and compare the two sizes. What do you guys think?
User avatar
By Namssorg
#343546
Yeah, I know I have seen the overhang a few times on here before. After reading through this thread again: http://www.gbfans.com/community/viewtop ... er#p281102

I think I might go with the 2.75" PVC coupler method. I'm in no hurry, and it will probably look the best on this shell. I get to fulfill a lifelong dream of building a second n-filter, and it won't overhang.

I was concerned the label might not fit well (Another problem Filandrius ran into, I think. Man I love his pack thread!) but since I'm printing my own, I can probably just resize that one label if it looks weird. I printed a ton of these if anyone needs some extras. Valentino_42 and everyone involved have been doing an awesome job with these graphics.
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User avatar
By Namssorg
#343899
Quick update. I finally settled on sticking with the 3" N-filter after trying on one that was a bit smaller, and still not liking it as much. Also, I noticed that one of my favorite old pack replicas looks like it has this same thing happening, so that gave me the final push I needed to get out of indecision limbo.

I've started painting some of the parts I scratch built. For all of the parts that should be metal, I'm doing a Krylon Nickel Fusion undercoat, Filandrius style. This stuff can be tricky to paint with and requires a week to fully 'cure' and form a tough shell. It's worked great as a substitute for primer on my plastic parts, though.
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After I took this picture, I lightly brushed these parts with some 400 grit sandpaper, and surprisingly, that little bit of grain made them look almost identical to aluminum tubing.
A coat of black on these, and they should be pretty much ready to go on. I've got something a little more involved planed for the pack's paintjob.
User avatar
By Namssorg
#344330
Hey Jon- The PVC sheet was part of my big order of plastic tubes from McMaster-Carr. Here's a link to the sheet.

It's a 1/8" thick, 24" x 12" gray sheet. It's been more than enough for a single pack build. So far I've been able to build my entire Ion Arm out of it, bottom plates for my tubes, and endcaps for my HGA and N-Filter.
User avatar
By Namssorg
#344336
The sanding continues.

Another quick update. While I rebuilt and fitted the new N-filter, I took park's advice and spent some more time on my gearbox and cyclotron rings. He had a couple of extra rings from a lens kit that he kindly offered to send me. Today I sanded down the top two rings, and worked these in. I think the new hole size is looking much better. The bottom holes are very close, I may leave them as-is, but you know how much I enjoy sanding.

Speaking of, here's a shot of the shell as it sits right now. Let's just call this its 'calico' stage.
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Right now it's about 5% Bondo, 2% Epoxy Putty, 2% Kwik Plastik (great for adding fillets into sharp corners and reworking gearboxes!) That's a beautiful Bigi bumper from nick-a-tron (not mounted yet) - I probably didn't need to touch that thing, but there were some tiny bubble spots I noticed after i primed it.

She doesn't look like much now, but there are a lot of hours in 'ol ugly here, I hope they show when I give her a fresh coat of primer.

Here is a list of the changes I've made so far:
[list]- Altered bottom gearbox fins to be flush with the bottom of the gearbox
- Also did this with the fins on the right of the gearbox and crank gen (where the HGA sits)
- Reworked area in between gearbox/crank gen to have a more smooth appearance (like this)
- Sanded off EDA discs, replaced with resin discs from nick-a-tron
- Reworked the chamfer on the top-right corner of the shell
- Removed N-Filter and replaced it with my own (slightly larger)
- Re-built top two cyclotron rings so the holes are a bit smaller
- Various filling/smoothing/squaring/reshaping[/list]


This is fun!! :vinzclortho:
User avatar
By parksdesign
#344341
The extra work you're putting into this is really paying off. Looks great.

I'd go ahead and replace those bottom rings though. They are noticeably larger than the top ones.
User avatar
By wm6929
#344556
The extra work you're putting into this is really paying off. Looks great.

I'd go ahead and replace those bottom rings though. They are noticeably larger than the top ones.
They are supposed to be larger right?

http://www.gbfans.com/community/viewtop ... 307#p85791
User avatar
By parksdesign
#344562
The extra work you're putting into this is really paying off. Looks great.

I'd go ahead and replace those bottom rings though. They are noticeably larger than the top ones.
They are supposed to be larger right?

http://www.gbfans.com/community/viewtop ... 307#p85791
I think that is outdated info. I based the size of these on the bigI7/330 shell rings and they should know since they had a look at the real packs in the Sony lobby.
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