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Homer

space shuttle stack accurate flight deck question

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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.

 

 

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Homer,

That's brilliant info, thanks. I do have one more question, do you reckon it would cut 0.005" aluminium.

if you dont mind me asking which vector graphics program do you use, i have been playing about with Inkscape a bit, purely because it was free.

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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.

 

 

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Homer,

Thanks for your input again, much appreciated. You have confirmed what i thought about cutting Aluminium sheet. I did think that it might cope with something in between foil and sheet, specifically the aluminium that food trays are made of. Maybe the other option would be a light scoring cut which would then give an accurate guide for actually cutting the pieces out by more traditional methods. 

At work i am fortunate enough to have access to a full Autocad package, so i have been able to convert a fair few PDF's into SVG files then clean them up, rescale them and import them into the Cricut Software, really just playing about before i made the plunge and bought one. The reason i was asking which software you used is that i am wrestling with justifying the cost of illustrator versus the use i would put it to. This is all related to a project i have on the go at the minute and not really Shuttle related.

 

Something that is Shuttle related, and in particular with this thread is about lovely 3D printed parts you have made. I was recently fortunate enough to lay my hands on some memorabilia from STS-27, namely a small section of tyre from the orbiter landing gear. So my next project will be Atlantis STS-27 on the pad. I have obtained the Monogram 1-72nd  kit. Would the parts that you have on shapeways be "consistent" with Atlantis at the time of STS-27 

  

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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.

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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:

 

48158669207_a3abd07c89_b.jpg

 

Then, draw in the line on the fuselage more anteriorly that delimits the border between the black tiles and the insulating quilts.

 

48158669177_c616fb68da_b.jpg

 

Finally, extend that line aft to the 2.5 mm mark you made previously.

 

48158590381_4ce6e9cace_b.jpg

 

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.

 

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