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About Homer

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    Canopy Polisher

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  1. My apologies for the long delay in updates. I was working on another build and am currently in the process of moving so I had to pack up the model shop. I anticipate that I won’t have a model shop again until October when my household effects get delivered to my new location. In the meantime, Hotdog brought to my attention that cutting the fuselage kit halves to accommodate the beanie cap and RCS insert can be quite unforgiving to end up with the proper alignment with the payload bay doors, so I wanted to post the measurements that I came up with here. These are based on Dutycat’s recommendations for his beanie cap modification. First, measure and mark 2.5 mm from the payload bay door edge here: Then, draw in the line on the fuselage more anteriorly that delimits the border between the black tiles and the insulating quilts. Finally, extend that line aft to the 2.5 mm mark you made previously. The RCS insert fits in the existing panel lines below. I think that this piece will be more tolerant of pitch alignment adjustments with a little sanding of the cutout space edges. I made a template for Hotdog to serve as a guide when aligned with the door on the port side, but I think the above instructions are more reproducible and accurate. On the template for Hotdog, I used a 3 mm step as the alignment marker, but as he pointed out, he thinks he’s going to pitch his cut even further towards the horizontal, and when I compared sides on my build, the starboard side step was 2.5 mm and aligned better with the payload door edge than the port side with the 3 mm step. So, I encourage others to dry fit first with the payload bay doors attached before you glue so you can make further adjustments. This template linked here has been adjusted to utilize the 2.5 mm step. https://www.dropbox.com/s/i2z75mev157besb/cut template 2.pdf?dl=0 Please be aware that the beanie cap will not fit the existing payload bay fore bulkhead wall that comes with the kit. I don’t think the beanie cap will work with models where the modelers expect to be able to open and close the bay doors. The replacement fore payload bay bulkhead part I made will collide with the door edges if the modeler tries to close them, although with some careful sanding of the fore door edges, it might be fixable. Also, please keep in mind that in light of the poorly engineered existing kit doors, like Dutycap I anticipate modelers will need to do a lot of putty work to model them more realistically in the closed position (as in, glued shut permanently). I don’t know if the one piece closed payload bay door model I have started working on will actually work (I wanted to try to simulate the recessed hinges on the real shuttle versus the hinge mechanism on the kit that protrudes laterally), but I should be able to make some progress on that piece if I can get access to a 3D printer after my move.
  2. Hi Tim, Thanks for the kind compliment about my shuttle parts. The flight deck in my model is patterned to simulate the glass cockpit upgrade to Atlantis that occurred in 1998: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/flyout/glass_cockpit.html Thus, STS-27 took place 10 years before this upgrade occurred. I suspect that you would be able to modify my decal sheet to make the screens up front look more like the older cockpit layout without too much effort, but if you want to backlight the displays, that might look a little funky since the cutouts to permit light to shine through won’t align with the simulated screens on the decals. I based the flight deck model on the 3D model that is included with the Orbiter open source space shuttle simulator: http://orbit.medphys.ucl.ac.uk/ This might give you more information on how I patterned the interior details, and from what generation shuttle design they derived their 3D model.
  3. Hi Tim, I am skeptical that the Cricut Maker would reliably cut metal any thicker than aluminum foil. In addition to blunting the blade quickly, I think the bigger limiting factor will be due to the adhesion mechanism they use to stick material to the cutting mats. The mats are coated with a sticky Post-It note type glue. If you try to cut a material that is above a certain level of rigidity, I am guessing that the piece will detach from the mat under the shearing force imposed by the blade. I end up using Illustrator mostly for the vector graphics design. I have Affinity Designer on the iPad which I also use on occasion, and I imagine that the desktop/laptop version would also be more than adequate as well. The Cricut software recognizes vector graphic images only in SVG format.
  4. Hi Tim, Yes, I have tried cutting styrene sheet a little, and it worked quite well. I cut some 0.010 inch thickness styrene sheet with the fine point blade that comes with the device and it worked just fine - the results were clean and certainly better than what I could do by hand. I bought the more robust knife blade but haven’t used it yet. The product information states that you can cut thin balsa wood with the knife blade, so I believe that it should work as well with thicker styrene sheet. You can customize the pressure that the machine exerts for a given substance and blade,, and while I haven’t tried fiddling with that setting so far, if you do put down some thicker styrene sheet, you might have to run some test cuts a few times to get the pressure setting where you want it. You can use that adjustable setting to score and create panel lines instead of cutting all the way through the substance. Something I didn’t appreciate until I had the device is how much time it saves me with cutting pain masks. My airbrushing skills are not that advanced, but now when I goof up, I just sand down the paint layer I want to remove, cut another set of paint masks and try again. This represents a huge improvement over my prior laborious hand-masking efforts. Drawing the paint masks is pretty easy with a vector graphics drawing program, and instead of using relative expensive vinyl paint masking material, I just stick some 1 inch wide blue masking tape on the cutting mat and have the Cricut machine cut the masks out of that. When you set up the cuts, it will allow you to position the pieces on the mat on screen first, so you will know how to position the material so that it is aligned correctly for the cut you are trying to do. Let me know if I can help answer any further questions you might have on this. I am very satisfied with this purchase.
  5. Thank you K2Pete for the encouragement, and Tracy for the kind offer. Tracy, let me see how the 1/72 version of the beanie cap/flight deck works with other modelers and if the response is positive and the demand for the 1/100 Tamiya version of the parts are high, I'll consider trying to scale it down. It will require a lot of work to redo this in 1/100 scale with the geometries adjusted to match the Tamiya orbiter. One of the modelers kindly let me know that those handles for the pilot and commander are not throttles, but controls for the speed brakes. I am quite appreciative for the corrections that the group offers, since my research skills are nowhere near what some of the other real space fanatics are doing on these boards. This modeler requested a version of the flight deck decals without the 2001 screens. I copied and pasted some more realistic appearing shuttle screens I was able to pull off of the internet. That version of the decal sheet is here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/xolzpuwxmbdo6ti/flight deck decal white v2.pdf?dl=0 Please note that the attitude director indicator ball doesn't quite line up with the HAL9000 fisheye lens cutout, so modelers might need to open up the cylindrical hole in the rectangular mount to get it to illuminate the ball a little more accurately. Also, the hexagonal mount is based on the prior version of the ADI preceding the glass cockpit, but I am guessing that at this scale, only the modeler will know about the discrepancy. I included the Illustrator editing capabilities in this PDF this time, so it's 20 MB (sorry about that) but now can be modified by those wishing to make a prettier version of these decals.
  6. Phew! The size works correctly. I had to shave out a little more space in the cutout where the RCS insert goes so it seated more precisely There is a slight raised lip on the insert to accommodate Hotdog's planned tile set that you can see in the above photo. The RCS insert fudges the geometry a little to fit in the space on Monogram kit, but it corresponds more or less to the area outlined in red below: Hotdog, I'm hoping that your tile set will be able to include that thin strip fore of the RCS insert so that the gray nose looks proportionate. I was working on another project this weekend, so I didn't have time to try to assemble with the RCS rain covers.
  7. Hi Hotdog, Thanks for the compliment. I think the split of the nose is because I have the beanie cap base poorly seated (you can see that it isn't quite aligned with the adjoining wall from the kit part) so it's forcing the two shuttle body halves apart. I'm on the road this week away from my model bench, but when I get back this weekend I'll try to confirm that the nose split isn't from the RCS insert tongue being too wide. I made the fore tongue narrower specifically to avoid forcing the nose to split, but I wasn't careful when I put the pieces together to compose that photo above. I did want the RCS tiles to protrude a little above the surface of the kit (on the order of 0.2 mm or so) so that it would be easier to blend the border between the RCS insert tiles and your tile sheets.
  8. My Shapeways order arrived last week, and I had a little time to try painting the RCS inserts. I primed and then light blocked the inside face, then I sprayed it with metallizer. Then I sprayed the white areas unmasked. For Christmas I bought a Cricut Maker. This turned out to be a huge time saver for cutting paint masks. Here is one of the two RCS inserts in place. It now fits well in the space. I ran out of time tonight, but next I'll try making the rain covers. Here is a link to the rain cover pdf if anyone wants to try modifying it. https://www.dropbox.com/s/dqrxzk275acfuqw/RCS masks.pdf?dl=0
  9. Thanks Hotdog - that image will be helpful as well. I found some more, not quite as close up as yours: It looks like the little rectangular patches over the ovaloid covers are pouches that trap air and help to shear off the covers after launch. The small lateral fore thruster doesn't have a cover on it at launch. I added that hollow portion back to my RCS launch config insert to reflect those changes. The rest of the thruster ports are modeled solid so the decals that simulate the covers will adhere. Here is my first attempt to make the thruster covers and those little envelopes. I'll try them in paper first, and if that doesn't work, maybe they will work on the white background decals, but I'm skeptical that the fold (gray lines) will work well:
  10. Thank you Wombat and Ralf. I have now discovered today that my mediocre modeling and painting skills are matched by my equally mediocre decaling skills. Continuing my glacial construction pace, I painted ghost gray on various components on the aft wall and the main engine throttles. For the flight deck in launch configuration, I super glued in place the translation hand controller between the aft windows. Please note that for the on orbit version, Dr. Stone's hands are already printed gripping this and the rotational hand controller, and hopefully these two support points will be strong enough to hold up her figure on the on orbit build. I'll try that build later (I thickened the wrists of the figures and sent them off for a reprint, so I'll try building the on orbit model after they arrive). After finding out how hard it is to install decals in tight spaces, I split the floor decal into three separate rectangular pieces, and installed them individually. Here are the three pieces installed. Here is a link to the new clear decal sheet with the three part floor decal. My apologies for the frequent revisions, in case any of you already printed the prior ones out. https://www.dropbox.com/s/02xfpkvw1ut0jlg/flight deck decal clear.pdf?dl=0 Then I started the process of applying the masking layer decals. I used a flashlight shining from behind to aid in aligning the clear areas with the holes in the wall. In many areas I trimmed the masking decal so that it would fit easier, leaving unmasked some sections where it really wasn't critical for the light blocking effect, such as the front display panel. The itty bitty numbers on the bags on the ceiling panel were the most difficult for me to get in place. After the masking decals were in place and softened with decal softening solution, I applied the colored decals printed on white decal sheet. It's a good thing that I had a lot of spares on the decal sheet, because I messed up many of these. The extra masking layer helps with the realism of the buttons, but the white decal sheet backing that is now necessary (to place the colored decals on top of the black mask) cuts down a lot of the transmitted light. I don't know if these will be too dim when backlit by LEDs in the hull of the shuttle. We'll have to see. At least here with a flashlight, the effect looks pretty good. Then I used the template to help me make the engine throttles out of staples. I used my sprue cutter to cut the staple and a pair of suturing needle drivers (not the tweezers in the image below) to bend it. I primed, then painted the throttles scale black with a little red dot at the upper bend area, and super glued them into their receptacles. I then glued in place the main joysticks for the pilot and commander. This is the docking rotational hand controller. And this is the rotational hand controller for the remote manipulator arm. I then glued in the fire extinguisher and the seats. The pilot and commander seats should insert into little protrusions on the floor, but I forgot to include them in my last build of the model on Shapeways, so I sort of eyeballed it. I'll try to re upload the flight deck model to include the little protrusions to aid in locating the two front seats. It's not that hard to glue them in place without the locators, though. The rear stowable seats snuggle into the recesses in the floor that are visible in the image above. I'll try to work on painting and decaling the astronauts in their ACES gear tomorrow. I revised the RCS insert and sent it off to Shapeways for printing. I made a test print at work on an Ultimaker 2 with the 0.25 mm nozzle to confirm that this time the front dimensions are correct. It looks like it will work. The artifact from the printer is just a wee bit too visible for these parts to work in place of ordering from Shapeways. I would like to try modeling those Tyvek rain covers to fit over the thruster openings that Hotdog pointed out in his post in this thread 18 Jan 2018. It looks like they have a little square flap over the ovaloid covers. Hotdog (or others), do you have more images of the rain covers on the lateral facing thrusters so I can try to make decals to match them with their little square flap with the concentric red circles?
  11. Test print of the RCS insert arrived. The details look crisp. Unfortunately, the fore end is about 1 mm too wide, so I'll have to shrink it a little. I tried to create a little contrast between the thrusters and the surrounding tile, so I tried putting down a base of gunmetal metallizer in the thruster ports. I then sprayed scale black over the rest of the part with the thrusters masked. Then I sprayed a lighter coat of scale black to blend the thrusters with the exterior surface, and then painted the white areas that I plan to cover with the medical tape later. My measurements for the front edge are off - it's about 1 mm too wide,, so I'll have to narrow the front a little. Thanks to Manfred forwarding the link to the paper flight deck project, I created a decal for the floor of the aft portion of the floor and added it to the clear decal sheet: https://www.dropbox.com/s/02xfpkvw1ut0jlg/flight deck decal clear.pdf?dl=0 Those white squares are drawn to simulate these things that look like tie downs or access panels in this image: https://picryl.com/media/s131e006100-sts-131-yamazaki-on-discovery-flight-deck-59194d My apologies Gary if you already printed a clear decal sheet already. I'll try to work on the decal application steps tomorrow and post more photos as a guide.
  12. Rob, I will see how Shapeways prices the RCS insert when it’s included as part of the flight deck or tiled cap (all of which are printed in fine detail plastic), but I don’t think that it would be any more economical. The reason why I’m not simply attaching the RCS insert to the beanie cap base is because the beanie cap base is printed in strong flexible plastic and is a lot cheaper than if I printed it in fine detail plastic. The RCS insert needs to be printed in FDP. Southwest Forests, thanks for the compliiment on the astronaut figures. This iteration should look better than my prior attempts, in that I was able to simulate wrinkles in the fabric and create differently sized astronauts and suits (the prior figures were identical). I’ll see if those details come out once I have a chance to paint them. I plan on trying the oil wash technique to see if that looks moire realistic than simply spraying them with acrylic international orange. I don’t know how much of these details will be appreciable once the flight deck is sealed up. Manfred, do you already have a plan to accurize the flight deck and windows of the 1:144 shuttle on your launch platform build? I look forward to learning how you will apply your magic on that stage of your build.
  13. Thanks Manfred - those are really helpful references. That took some serious research to compile that information. There are some good places to stick a laptop on the 1/72 flight deck so maybe I'll add some decals for those. Gary, please be aware that not only will you want to shave down the inner lip of your beanie cap base if you buy the RCS thruster insert, but you might actually shave off the first millimeter of the piece (leaving the shortened insertion tongue in place). I did it last night with my Dremel and it was easy, and fits fine with 1 mm removed of length. Hotdog, I'll see when the RCS thruster arrives how thick the tile offset is when I dry fit it into the hull of the shuttle. I received another print of the flight deck so I could try making both the launch and on orbit configurations. After a few prior trials of painting and assembling the beanie cap, I think I have the general sequence down. Here are the parts I received. The on orbit astronauts come with a protective cage to reduce the risk of breakage of the fragile sections. I primed the parts with Mr. Surfacer 1000. Gary, i think you can see on the beanie cap base that the front edge is a little foreshortened (and jagged appearing): I painted the seats blue, then covered the surfaces I wanted to keep blue with tape, then sprayed black. The inside facing surfaces of the flight deck, ceiling, and beanie cap base (and tiled cap) are coated with black as a light blocking layer, then a metalizer to help diffuse the lighting: Here are the seats after the black coat was applied, and the metallized flight deck and ceiling: For the visible surface of the flight deck, I started by spraying the dashboard the dirt color. I then cut 1-2 mm wide tape strips, decreased their tackiness by sticking them against my nose or forehead, and then applied them gently to the border I want to protect: Afterwards this, I masked the rest of the dashboard with wider tape, but only stuck it down tightly over the thin rim of tape above, so it didn't lift up much if any of the brown paint the dashboard. Once masked, I sprayed the rest of the visible flight deck surfaces white. Then I masked the dashboard minus the surface detail that I wanted to paint black. This actually wasn't as laborious as it might seem at first glance. The geometries that need masking have pretty straight edges. I did need t usea magnifying loupe to place the tape accurately against the HUD hardware, though. I airbrushed the pilot and commander control sticks blue-gray, then brushed on black on the joystick handles. Gary, I think you can appreciate more easily in this photo how I dremeled the front of the beanie cap base in this photo. I also painted the inside of the windows on the beanie cap base scale black as well, inside and outside facing sides.
  14. Hi Vidar, I don't have any plans at present to try to make this for the Tamiya shuttle, but if the interest is high, I might be willing to try to convert it. It will be a lot of work. If you don't mind, let's see how the current scale parts turn out and if the demand is high enough for the 1/100, I would certainly consider it.
  15. Thanks Hotdog and Robhp. I just submitted the order to Shapeways for the RCS insert so I'll post info on how it comes out. It looks like they don't expect to get me the new parts until after Xmas. It looks like the Updraft model seats are far more realistic than mine. I'd be interested to see how they did that, because the seats I designed are at the limit of Shapeways' guidelines for thinness of parts with the fine detailed plastic. The headrests that Updraft features actually mount on thin cylindrical supports; at 1:72 scale there's no way that the fine detail plastic could support the headrests. https://www.updraftmodels.com/product-page/1-72-space-shuttle-cockpit-update-set-late-for-revell I was toying with strategies to hide the seam between the RCS insert and the Monogram kit hull part, but couldn't figure out a really good way to do it. Right now, the tile border comes right up to the seam. We'll see how difficult it will be to disguise it with filler. Hotdog, I appreciate you being willing to see if your tile detail set will snuggle up to the RCS insert I made. If I need to make the tiles raised a little more than they are presently to match the thickness of the styrene sheet you are using for your tile detail, I should be able to do that relatively easily. Right now, the tiles on my RCS insert rise about 0.2 mm above the surrounding flat area. Once the RCS insert is successfully printed, I can post it to my Shapeways store. Gary, please note that the RCS thruster innards collide with the lip of the beanie cap base you already bought. It should be easy to trim down the interior lip so that the parts fit together. I modified the beanie cap base part and am printing it with this new order; once it prints successfully, I can move it into my store as well for future model purchases.
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