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Scratch Build – Complete Project: Star Wars Sandcrawler

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by artoodeeto, 30 May 2010.

  1. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Active Member

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    LOL, thanks guys! I definitely appreciate the feedback! Hmm...sounds....see, I usually have my speakers off and have system sounds disabled, cuz they always scared the $%$$@ out of me (I somehow never expected them, and then suddenly there'd be this DING! and I'd go WHOA!). I just might do something like that though. It definitely needs a little more life than it's got right now.

    Yeah, the bendy straws :D I was rather proud of myself for thinking of that, they work pretty well. Still, I think for a good chunk of the interior I'm going to try and take a page out of your impressive book and use some sheet styrene and custom make certain parts. I'll have to draw out some concept art first though so I'm not just winging it through the whole thing.

    To finish off the coolant disaster...I got it all cleaned up this morning. Luckily with warm water and a sponge (and a lot of gentle scrubbing) the dye came right off the wall.
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    As you can see, I had to unhook the computer, scanner, printer, cable modem, routers, etc, and move that whole table out of there to get to the wall. I took the opportunity to do a little cable management in the back area of the computer - the fan power cables were a bit of a mess and got in the way of the various monitor, power, speaker cords.

    Before:
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    After (all it took was one ziptie):
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    Since these little UV lights kept falling out due to my superglue not holding them in place, I hit them with hot glue, after reading BlueHorseStudio's worklog where he used hotglue to secure a couple LEDs. Seems to have worked, although the cleanliness of my glue job leaves a bit to be desire :D
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    So here's the end result, with 2 DVI cables, power cable, keyboard/mouse cable, microphone, speakers, webcam and scanner USB cables all plugged in. I had to hold the camera behind the computer pointed back toward me, as I can't get into that corner between the computer table and my desk:
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    Oh and that pump. It's still buzzing slightly. ARG!!!!!!! I have one more theory though. It wasn't buzzing at all, until I topped off the system with more coolant. I'm wondering if the coolant's expanding as it heats up, and extra air bubbles act as a bit of a cushion. Without that cushion, maybe the coolant pressure is getting higher than the pump can smoothly handle? I dunno...it's easy enough to test, just need to pull a bit out with an eye dropper and see if that quiets things down...
     
  2. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Active Member

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    For today, I have a little progress and....some concept art! woo hoo! well, ok it's mostly old, but some of it I just created.

    I don't remember why I drew this. But I did, back in 2007 sometime. I think it may have been to see the concept of the central chamber for the fans.
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    This was the drawing I did for the boarding ramps. Below the drawing is a photo of the finished part.
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    Next up, I'm going to build a crane inside the front main loading door. This is my concept art for it; after drawing these designs, I found some model parts that'll work equally well and will be similar, but not the same as these designs.
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    Here's the drawing I made when I re-made the tank treads.
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    And lastly, a drawing I just did yesterday of the lower side openings on the crawler. The intent was to get the basic concept of what would go inside. Following the drawing are photos showing what I've been working on the last few days.
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    Yikes! These are the floor coverings for the lower openings on each side. Guess there’s a bit more room on one side than the other…I *think* it’s because I had to leave room for add-in cards on one side, which left less room for the interior stuff in the model. Luckily it’s not possible to see both sides at the same time. Not really, anyway.
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    What have we here? Hmm…well, this’ll be a box. Note in my drawing above that I wanted a recessed area low on the wall backing up to the outside recessed area. This piece of Bristol vellum will be that low recessed spot.
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    Ok. I know the popsicle sticks in all their multicolorific glory look a little silly. It’ll be better once it’s painted. Honest.

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    Finally, I created the stuff in the lowest opening, on the right side only (all other openings are duplicated on the left side of the crawler). The pieces that make up the door frame are mount halves from my Danger Den reservoirs. I couldn’t use their mounts, and I broke a couple of the halves in trying, so I had these leftover pieces just sitting around. Luckily they make a great door! The yellow tube is from an ultra-cheap mini basketball hoop toy, it connected the two plastic tubes together that held up the backboard. Everything else you see in there is electronic junk. There’ll be a LOT more of that going in elsewhere in this build :D Oh yes, and that IS another R2D2 you see. Painted properly, so I saved him for a little more visible spot than the one in the cockpit. Like that one, this is left over from an old Ertl X-wing model I no longer have.
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    Oh yeah. The mess on my table. And this is just with the electronic junk sorted out; the extra model pieces are still in a bag…
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    If anyone can guess what that larger thing is between my wooden X-Acto knife box and the edge of the table in the second-to-last photo, I’d be curious to know. It’s heavy, seems like it should be an electric motor (coiled wire, piece of metal inside to act as an electro-magnet) but there’s no shaft or anything coming out of it. Not sure yet if I’ll use it, I might.

    That's it for now, more after Labor Day!
     
  3. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Active Member

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    [removed duplicate post]
     
    Last edited: 3 Sep 2010
    DarkFear likes this.
  4. AdamBomb

    AdamBomb New Member

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    First of all: Awesome project! Love the details you're putting in. Regarding your mystery object, I'd say it looks like a transformer. Does it have places for two sets of wires to connect?
     
  5. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Active Member

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    Thanks! Those little details are enormous time-hogs. Mostly it's deciding what to put where that takes forever. Kit-bashing and electronics-bashing might seem easy, but when you have a big ol' pile in front of you, it's a bit overwhelming.

    I think you're right, that mystery thingy is a transformer. It does indeed have wire connection spots on either side of it, and it definitely has the coils o'copper in there. It might become an engine piece in one of the rear rooms. I like the shape of it, just don't know about the weight.
     
  6. DarkFear

    DarkFear New Member

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    Wow. Just wow...
     
  7. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Active Member

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    Thanks! I forgot to mention, that huge pile of capacitors, most of those will probably go in the rear engine rooms. They'll fit right in with the visible power supply under the floor on the right side. :D
     
  8. TWeaK

    TWeaK Member

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    Oh noes!! Badwidth exceeded :(
     
  9. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Active Member

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    yeah...I wasn't going to upgrade to pro until I saw that the pics wouldn't be restored for another 3 weeks. It's fixed now :)
     
  10. TWeaK

    TWeaK Member

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    Yay it's back!

    I'd say it was a transformer of some kind, although I'm probably wrong. Can't help but think I've seen one that my dad left lying around in our old house though.
     
  11. IanW

    IanW Grumpy Old Git

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    Definitely a transformer.
     
  12. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Active Member

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    *dig dig dig....that's me searching through the old pages trying to find where this log had gotten buried :) I really should update it more often...anyways. I've made a bit more progress - there's now, inside the main loading bay on the first level, sliding doors that can cover up the big bright blue LED 120mm fan, and a retracting conveyor belt between the doors.

    I need to add (a lot) more detail in there, but I realized that I need to approach the interior in stages. That means I need to gradually build up the interior, keeping the detail level uniform, so I don't over-detail one area and run out of stuff to detail another area. The upper section is next on the list, if I get my act together and actually work on it.

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    *note on the links on the conveyor. Technically there's 1 "extra" link on there, which is why it looks so saggy in that side view. It was tighter, but in the course of putting everything together I accidentally broke the links apart. It was really tough stretching it to fit before I installed it in the crawler, so it was near impossible reconnecting the links after it was in there. So for the moment I've added the extra link, and if I know myself, at some point it'll bother me enough that I'll unscrew the whole conveyor, pull it out, fix it, and put it back in. One of these days...
     
  13. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Active Member

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    Why is it that I feel compelled to keep changing stuff? I’ve long ago switched my thinking on this from progress to evolution…

    I’ve known for awhile I would have to add slightly raised floors in the upper sections to cover up the LEDs illuminating the lower parts. In doing this, I began looking at the walls in the upper section, and thinking how dull they were just being all flat and stuff (kinda like a good Texas roadkill). So I decided to…modify…them a bit. First off, the floor photos, before and after. As with a lot of the detail parts in this build, I’m using Bristol vellum in lieu of styrene, since I have the vellum and don’t have the $$ for styrene. And the vellum’s REALLY easy to work with, being, you know, paper and all. :D Incidentally, those floors were ridiculously difficult to measure accurately enough to make these pieces. I’m a little surprised I managed it. And even more surprised that I almost don’t have to glue them in, they fit so well.

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    Ok, now for the walls. You’ll notice in the photos above they’re very square and vertical. I debated for awhile whether or not to cut them out and add some depth, and while it’s rather a pain in the rear, I’m already glad I did it.

    I have about 1 inch of space that they can be pushed in, before they (might) hit a couple of the tubes in the water cooling system. Everywhere else, I had about an inch and a half of space, but I decided to be uniform and push them in by an inch all the way ‘round. The easiest shape would be a squared-off C shape, in cross section it’d look like this bracket: [ . But I didn’t want to be that simple. Instead, the “ceiling” of the recessed portion is perpendicular to the wall, but the “floor” angles up pretty steeply. Also, the original wall angles in toward the front. At the very front on the inside, the recessed section needed to be nearly flush with the original wall since it angles in far enough that it’s almost touching the radiator.

    As you can imagine, it’s taken awhile and a couple abortive attempts to get the measurements figured out. One reason I’m REAL glad I’m using thick paper is, as it turns out, the walls have to have a slight twist to them to fit correctly. To get this twist, since the paper wants to be straight, I’ve had to glue the new wall section in one portion at a time, and hold that portion until the glue sets enough. Time-consuming PITA…

    To maintain visibility of the Danger Den Rad Res’s, I made windows in the new wall. I used clear styrene, the last of a sheet I’ve had for something like 15 YEARS. It’s nice to finally use it for something LOL. In fact I have no memory of why I originally bought it. I put the windows high up, in the vertical portion of the recessed area, so that only the reservoirs would be visible and the radiator, UV LED, and wiring for the LED are all hidden. I didn’t make windows forward of that interior support brace because when everything’s put together, there isn’t much to see in there. There’s no real way I could re-do the wires running the ceiling LEDs in the upper section, so those wires are going to remain fully visible. I’ll just have to be creative about making them look like part of the crawler interior. :D

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    These next few photos show the wall progressing from test fit to almost fully glued in.

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    That’s it for now. I’ll be tackling the wall on the other side next, and I’m really hoping it goes a bit quicker than this first one did. More soon…
     
  14. Blooddrunken

    Blooddrunken In Flames we Trust

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    looking nice - I'm looking forward to see more. :thumb:
     
  15. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Active Member

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    Thanks Blooddrunken!

    Made some more progress, and more importantly made a list of the remaining major tasks so I don’t have to re-create that list in my head every time I sit down to work on this. First off, the progress.

    My “helper.” She LOVES “tool time” when I’ve got bits of stuff strewn everywhere that she can swat to her little heart’s content. In particular she really likes attacking that clear plastic ruler in the pic.
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    Those of you who showed computers at the Exploratorium this past February will no doubt recognize the sticker in this photo. I have 2 of the stickers; the other one is on the underside of the front-most roof panel. :D It will be hidden once the roof panel is back on, but obviously is fully visible with the panel removed. However, I really took this photo to show that I re-ran the wires so they wouldn’t be visible. On one side there was enough slack that I only had to drill a hole in the cross-brace and run a ziptie through it to secure the wires where I wanted them. On the other side, I had to snip the wires, drill a couple holes in the cross-brace and run the wires through the holes, then re-solder.
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    My main progress has been to cover up the remaining gaps and rough edges from my wall re-design.
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    I also worked on the motor that will run the conveyor belts in the upper section. Specifically, it needed the shafts extended to reach out on either side, and I had to figure out a way to attach the Lego shafts to the metal rod shaft on the motor. Hopefully what I did will work. After a rather arduous time removing the original plastic wheels from each end of the shaft (turns out they had a little clip inside them that clipped into a groove in the shaft), I used a candle (pineapple cilantro scent, smells great) to heat up the ends of the shaft. I stuck the Lego shafts halfway into the plastic gear wheels, then put the metal rod in the other half, and the heat allowed it to melt its way in for a hopefully perfect fit. I used some superglue to keep it from easily falling off, although it won’t support any weight very well. That shouldn’t be a problem because it won’t really have to support any weight; the only resistance will be in the turning motion.
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    Now I need to get a resistor to knock the 12V power line down to 3V (I have no idea what voltage the motor is, I ordered it from Electronic Goldmine awhile back, and the motor doesn’t say what it is, and I don’t recall their website said either. I figure 3V should be safe), install the motor, mount the conveyors, and the major parts of the upper section will be nearly done.
     
  16. IanW

    IanW Grumpy Old Git

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    Get a small (10k?) log pot instead of a resistor for easy speed control.
     
  17. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Active Member

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    Good idea! I'd considered using a Zalman fan speed controller that I have, which someone just told me has a voltage range of 5-11V. What I may do is use that to figure out the voltage needed for the best speed, then get a resistor to run it at about that speed. I'd planned on using the controller for another project, but I'm undecided as to whether I'll use it here and get another one for the other project.
     
  18. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Active Member

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    After far too long, the motor and conveyors are in there. I’m *really* crossing my fingers that the motor moves the conveyors – while it should be plenty strong enough, there is some tension that the belt places on the shafts, so I’m hopin’ they’re up to the task. The motor itself works perfectly fine, and while I haven’t wired it up yet, I got a little toggle power switch for it. I’ll mount it somewhere unnoticeable yet accessible, because the motor does make noise so most of the time I’ll leave it off.

    First, I had to mount the motor inside. Because of the gearbox orientation, I had to mount it vertically. I might have been able to use screws, at least into the gearbox, but I didn’t feel like risking breaking it, so I glued it to a flat board instead. I covered the front interior wall with my Bristol paneling, leaving out a chunk where the motor would go. I didn’t want it only glued to the Bristol. While it probably would have been ok, it’s definitely more stable gluing it directly to the wall. Also, I “decorated” the motor to help it blend in to its surroundings a bit more.

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    This is that wall covering, right after I sprayed adhesive on the back side. It’s all bubbly and sticky and smelly and nasty, but it works well :)

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    Oh yes, and I didn’t notice this little bracket til the next day – I somehow managed to get it stuck on one of the magnets that holds the main loading door shut LOL

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    Back to the conveyors. I used small ¾” metal corner brackets to hold the shafts for the conveyor wheels. It’s all glued down, because the floor of the upper section is the ceiling of the lower section, and I didn’t want screws poking through. The tension in the conveyor isn’t as high as I’d like, since I don’t want it breaking the glue bonds holding those brackets down.

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    Yay! Almost-finished conveyor belts!

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    I say almost finished because I’m going to put one more wheel on each one, about midway through. It won’t serve much purpose other than looks.

    Oh yeah, I nearly forgot. To power the motor, I'm going to run a wire up from the 5V connector on the molex that currently runs the lights (up til now I only had a 12V line coming off it). I'm using a 10 ohm resistor to knock it down to about 3V. I have no idea what amperage the motor is, and that's made it difficult to figure out resistor value. Rather than buy a lot of resistors and test them all, I'm going with what I have since it works well enough.
     
  19. BLUEHORSESTUDIOS

    BLUEHORSESTUDIOS I haven't lost a finger yet!

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    Gosh, I love anything Star Wars and the build is just so cool. I really like all the mechanical pieces and bits you've added. Keep it coming!!
     
  20. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Active Member

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    Thanks Bluehorse! BTW, this is one of the rare times that I wish I had a camera that could do video. Anyway, I hooked the motor up to a couple of 1.5V AA batteries (total of 3V, about what it'll get when it's really hooked up), and...it works! It's a bit noisy like I feared, and one of the conveyors is ever so slightly crooked (too late to fix it now), so I need to put some kind of cap on that axle to keep the wheel from derailing inside the conveyor. But other than that little snag, no problems at all, and I must say it's a big relief.
    Now to finish a few larger details in those upper sections, build a crane for the main loading bay, and put in the large details in the rear sections. Then it'll be fine detailing throughout the interior, and painting...and dare I say done? :p
     

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