2001 Discovery XD-1 Build Part 7

The cockpit light boxes were a bit more difficult than the pod bay.  They had to fit around some complicated shapes.   This time I made some patterns out of index cards.  I then trimmed the patterns until they fix nicely around the cockpit.  I then used this as a pattern to cut out the shape in styrene sheet.  I then slightly scored the sheet at the fold lines to make bending simpler.  The boxes were then glued together with Tenax cement.  I then checked them against the cockpit and made whatever final trims were needed to make them fit fairly well.  Any small irregularities would be covered up with JB Weld epoxy when they were permanently attached.

With the light boxes installed, I decided to light them up and see what they looked like.  They look pretty good.  The photos are a little bluer than what they actually look like.  The different colored panels and buttons in the cockpit light up really well.  Too bad most of it will be unseen when the whole model is complete.

With the lighting complete for now, I moved on to the antenna array.  I followed the order of construction for the array, and found out that I should have done more test fitting first.  The main antenna went on fine, as well as the cross piece and the spike.  But the lower portion of the antenna mount does not fit that well and required some sanding, filling and more sanding.  All of that would have been a lot simpler if I had installed those pieces before adding the main antenna.  I think what I have done will look OK but it would have been a lot easier if I had done some checking first.  (Normally I do, but I got a case of “go fever”.)

The connector tube that is in the base of the antenna mount required a bit of adjustment to line up with the hole properly on both ends.  This tube connects the forward and rear tubes that run the length of the spine.  Also in the third picture above, notice the small antennas.  I did not use the small spikes in the kit.  Instead I cut thin sections of plastic runner and glued them to the center.  If you look carefully at the small antennas in the movie, you can see that they do not have spikes.  Instead they have flat plates with some small rectangular details on them.  At this small scale, I couldn’t get the small rectangles right so I left them as just flat plates.

Next I moved on to the back of the command sphere and the reactor/engine section.   First I took the back of the command sphere and drilled a hole to allow the wires to pass from the sphere, through the spine back to the reactor section where the batteries and switch will be.  I made sure that the hole is not so large that the tube will pass through.  I then moved on to the forward neck section. I left it in three pieces to make painting easier.

The reactor section also needed modification.  In order to get access to the inside where the batteries will be, I needed to lengthen the slots that hold the detail panels.  I then applied the detail panels to the top and bottom of the reactor section.  The lengthened slots and not gluing the two halves together will allow the top section to be removed and provide access to the inside.  I then added the rear neck pieces.  Finally, I assembled the three main engines.

With the main sections complete, the next thing up is the extremely repetitious spine and cargo pods.  I’ve got them removed from their runners and organized in numbered cups.  I still need to clean up the edges and then start putting them all together.  Hopefully I can get them done soon since next week’s weather is favorable for painting.

Thanks for looking.

2001 Discovery XD-1 Build Part 6

I have complete installing the pod bay doors.  They required some filling and sanding as they are just slightly smaller than the opening in the command sphere.  I cemented the doors in and made the frames flush with the bottom of the opening.  The kept the gap at the top of the opening.  I inserted narrow strips of sheet styrene to fill as much of the gap as possible.  This was then cemented in with Tenax 7R.  The tiny bit of gap that was left was filled in with some small dabs of gap filling CA.

Next came masking of the command sphere halves.  The lower half only needed to have its glue tab masked to give a better bonding surface later on.  The upper half needed to also have its glue tab masked, but also the cockpit window opening.

I also started work on the light boxes for the pod bay section.  I started by using some .010 sytrene sheet cut to form the shape and size of light box I needed.  The sides of the pod bay used rectangular boxes and the top needed a pie shaped piece.  I then sprayed the inside with gloss black paint and then checked for light leaks.  I had touched up any light leaks and then painted the inside chrome silver.  After that had dried for a day, I cut out small rectangles for the LED’s to be installed.  I tacked them in place with some white glue.

When the white glue dried, I mixed some 5-minute epoxy and then put a dab over each LED and also a spot on the wire leads for each LED.  The extra spot of epoxy will act as a strain relief so that when twisting and moving the wires around it won’t put as much pressure on the LED’s.  After the epoxy set, I painted the backside of the LED’s with some chrome silver and when that was dry, I applied some gloss black to keep any light from escaping.  After that I, tacked the boxes in place on the pod bay with some Plasti-Zap CA glue.

The next thing to do was to mix up some JB Weld epoxy to permanently attach the light boxes.

That’s it for now.  Next up should be building the light boxes for the cockpit.  Thanks for looking.


2001 Discovery XD-1 Build Part 5

This update will show the completion of the pods, the painted pod platforms and some work on the rest of the command sphere.  The pod platforms were painted flat black.  I glued a pod base to the right hand pod platform to place the unlit pod.  I also glued the pod base in place for the lighted pod.  I put the pod platforms into the pod bay and did a test fit.  I then noticed that the extended pod was resting on the pod bay door frame and would not allow the pod bay to get a proper fit into the command sphere.  I had heard that before on a YouTube video a few week ago.  Sure enough it didn’t fit quite right.

After some careful moving and fitting I decided that if I could remove a bit of the frame near the bottom I could get the pod bay to seat well.  It would also mean that I would need to shim the back of the pod bay where it meets the sphere at the bottom.   I then started sanding the pod door frame along just the bottom third of the frame.  When I had enough removed I did another test fit and found that it should work fine.  When everything is in place it will be hardly noticeable.

Painting the details on the pods was tricky.  They are very small.  The stationary pod was completed first.  I added the black accents and a small red square on the back.  I then put some Tamiya clear gloss where the window should be to simulate glass.  Then I put some Micro Kristal Kleer where the headlights were to go.  When that had dried I painted them silver, and when that was dry I painted on some Tamiya Clear Gloss.  Next went on the arms.  They were CA’d into place and then painted flat white.  The lighted pod had a few more steps.  I made sure the complete inner surface was painted chrome silver.  Next, I carefully pushed the 1mm fiber optic fibers into the four headlight holes that were 3D printed in place as part of the pod.  I pushed them in until about 1/4 inch was inside the pod.  The fiber tunnels force the fibers to slightly bend toward the lower center of the pod so they can catch the most light from the LED.  I left some extra sticking out in front to make it easier to use the Plasti-Zap to glue them in without fogging them up.  After the CA set I trimmed off the extra.  I then hooked up the LED to see how they looked when lit.  It looks like they pickup the light well.

Next, I’ll be starting to mask the sphere in preparation to paint the interior for light blocking.  Thanks for looking.

2001 Discovery XD-1 Build Part 4

Time for another update.  I have been making slow but steady progress.  As I mentioned last time, I moved on to the pod platforms.  One of them will have to have a hole drilled in the middle to pass the LED wires through to light the pod.  I put a bit in my pin vise and carefully drilled a hole in the round pod base.  I then glued that to one of the pod platforms.  Next I got the pin vice back out and drilled through the platform.  It worked out well.  I used a small file and smoothed the edges so they wouldn’t cut through the thin insulation on the LED wires.

Next up was to start folding the platforms and gluing them together.  They were a bit fiddly because of their size, but they went together quicker than I expected.  Next, I glued the platform tops to the two platforms that would not be extended.  The last part to add to complete the platforms was three tiny brackets under the front lip of the platform.  I lost one in the process of cleaning them up.  Fortunately ParaGrafix included an extra one.  I then glued the short 1.6mm brass rods to them.  Now those two are ready for filling and paint.

The extended platform had to be done in a slightly different order because of the wiring.  First I needed to drill a hole into one of the long 1.6mm brass rods so that the LED wires could go from the platform into the rod and out the back of the pod bay.  I drilled the hole at a very shallow angle to make it easier to thread the wires through.  The wiring path is from the LED through the base of the pod.  Then into the top of the pod platform.  From there the wires have to thread their way into the brass rod at the base of the platform.  I had to take care not to scrape any of the insulation off the wires in the process.  Now with everything threaded together in the proper order, I started pulling the wire through while guiding the platform table into its proper position.  To take some of the pressure off the wires I left a loop of wire in the lower pod base before the wire disappeared into the brass rod.  I was then able to glue the platform table to the base.  Then slowly push the bit of excess wire from the pod base down into the pod platform.  Then I glued the pod base to the platform table.  Finally the extended platform was ready for paint.

Next was to tackle the 2.4mm brass rods that would accept the 1.6mm rods from the platforms.  ParaGrafix suggest cutting an extra set of the 2.4mm brass rods and use them as temporary guides to position the short 2.4mm rods used by the static platforms.  I also cut some styrene rods to use as spacers for the static rods as suggested by ParaGrafix.  You can just make out the spacers under the static brass rods.  I used CA to attach the spacers to the rods and the pod bay floor.  The extended platform did not need spacers since it travels completely from the front of the pod bay to the back wall.  Once all that was done I painted the exposed ends of the large brass rods to blend in with the rest of the lower pod bay wall.

That’s it for now, more to come.  Thanks for looking.