But now, 26 years later, I think I'm in the home stretch, so I thought I might as well start a retrospective build thread culminating in a final prop replica that features:
- Resin shells cast from two-part molds to capture the exterior AND interior detail of an Iona shoe polisher I've accurately reworked and detailed to match the PKE meter, mainly based on the photos my friend Bryan Ambacher took of the real prop while visiting Modern Props for his set decorator job around 1995.
- Wings driven by dual servos, emulating the linkages of the real prop.
- Electronics controlled by a Teensy 3.2 Arduino and Prop Shield to drive the LED chases, servos, and movie-accurate sound effects (weak and strong readings).
- PCBs for the main electronics and LED display screen with multiple Molex Picoblade connectors to plug in the various outboard LEDs, servos, switches, speaker, and other components.
- Two touch switches on the handle to activate the wings, lights and sounds at half and full deployment
- Two touch switches on the panel (tied together) to activate various user-selectable modes:
-DEFAULT MODE ties the LED chase speeds to the wings state. At half up the lights chase slowly. At full up the lights chase quickly.
-CLASSIC MODE emulates the 1984 movie prop. The LED chase speed is controlled by the potentiometer at the top of the handle, independent of the wings state. This is activated by briefly touching one of the contract pairs on the flat panel of the prop. Briefly touching the switch again sets it back to DEFAULT MODE.
-SILENT MODE turns the amp off for the sound effects. This is activated by holding one of the panel touch switches down for two seconds or more. Keeping contact on the switch for two seconds turns the amp back on.
- Rechargeable NiMH batteries (5x 2/3A-sized cells, as in the the real prop) and a port in which to plug in an external charger.
- Mode select switch below the display hood to switch the chase pattern on the display.
- Master power switch at the bottom of the handle.
And a photo of that setup:
Here's a video of an earlier breadboard prototype showing the wing movement (we've matched the speed to the real prop in the Arduino code):
All in all, I think this will be a pretty cool replica. One reason it's taken me so long to get this together is I keep adding features like the various MODES and sound effects. Thanks to Patrick B. (GohstTarp) for doing the heavy lifting on the coding.
Once it's all done, hopefully within the next few months, I'll look into creating kits for this if there is any/enough interest.