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  #31  
Old 02-01-2008, 05:34 AM
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Hey Charles,

Thanks for the encouragement. On the welding aluminum pipe, I DID use an expert and it still warped. Unfortunately, it was so subtle, that I didn't realize it until I had already permanently attached the middle section. So the cross bar that joins the landing bays to the middle is slightly off (not so much that anyone could tell), but more importantly the section going thru the head was off enough that by the time it got to the nose it was more than an 1/8" to one side.

I had to make the holes the pipe runs through bigger (no small task when you have already glued on the outer skins).

So the long and short of it is don't use aluminum unless you are willing to take the risk and you take extra care afterwoods to make sure everything is straight. I haven't actually set down and figured it out, but I doubt the weight savings is that significant. I would definitly do it different if I were to do it again.

Mel
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  #32  
Old 02-01-2008, 12:10 PM
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I can empathize and I'm guessing you read the account on my site about my adventures with aluminum. LOL

I spent a lot of time and money on this part of my project. Much of that was spent making a special machined metal jig to hold everything in precise alignment. (My armature was a thing of beauty -- before it was welded. ) This worked great at first as one side of the armature was welded and the jig kept the parts from moving. Trouble is, the shop wanted to get it done in a hurry, so they unbolted it from the jig, flipped it over, then welded the other side and that's when it warped. I was able to fix it, but that was not a fun experience.

If I had this to do over again, I think I would modify the design so the entire armature could be bolted together. The easiest way is to use square aluminum tube, but round is more authentic of course.

I have since come up with an improved design using heavy-duty aluminum fence railing and special hardware to avoid the need for welding. But, it's too late for me to use it as mine is already done and installed. The new design eliminates the top mount. The bottom mount is still a bit of a challenge because of the way all the pipes come together at that point. My normal practice is to use special fittings that have an allen head screw that can be used to lock it down when mounted to a stand. There isn't room for such a fitting on this model because of clearance issues.
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  #33  
Old 02-01-2008, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by star-art View Post
You are assuming I can take decent pics. One of the reasons so few images of my model have been seen is I have a crappy digicam and have yet to take even one really good picture of it (what I do have is posted on my site). That's really disappointing considering I paid $500 for my camera 7 or 8 years ago. (Yeah, I need to get a new one!)

Seriously, my model looks quite a bit better in person than it does in any of the pics I have taken so far. (A few people who have seen it can attest to this fact.) Being the perfectionist that I am, I just don't like it when it looks worse on screen than it really is. So, if I can find some decent images, I'll see about posting them. The model is in storage right now, so new pics aren't going to get taken anytime soon.
Charles,

If you want I will come up and do a photo survey for you

As for my construction method I to am leaning to the styrene body with Alderwood or basswood girderframe over welded muffler pipe for longevity reasons...

Richard
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  #34  
Old 02-01-2008, 07:14 PM
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Mine's holding up OK so far. The head is all styrene apart from the rear MDF bulkhead. The main body uses square cut miranti (I think) timber framework screwed to the armature. The engine section is thinner MDF for the sides and front bulkhead only. Bays are 100% styrene.

I have found that the CA glue joints are still quite strong, but on a thin joint with little surface area, can be popped open fairly easily. This doesn't concern me. It's a display model, not a toy. Larger glued areas are immensely strong. The styrene will tear before the glue lets go.
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  #35  
Old 02-01-2008, 07:36 PM
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Richard has seen my model. You can attest to the fact it looks better in person than in my crappy pics, right?
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  #36  
Old 02-01-2008, 09:39 PM
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Charles,

Your pictures are no where even close to how beautiful the COLUMBIA looks!!!

The short time I spent gazing at it is burned into my memory for all time

you really need a set of decent pictures to show off her stunning lines. The lazer etched panel lines are visible unpainted from 6 feet away making even the clear plex areas look right!!!


Richard
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  #37  
Old 02-01-2008, 10:35 PM
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When building my armature...I wasnt going to try and reinvent the mouse trap so to speak. I had thought of using square steel tube, rectangular tubing, aluminum..you name it. but, in the end figured that i'd stay with Round tube just like the original model. Its 2" Dia 90 thousands thick steel tube. maybe over kill to some but, its not going to flex much.
But, now my thoughts go to the structure its self. And have read many great ideas So far on this and hope to hear more. Maybe, Richard_2001 can add some info about different woods since he is a cabinet maker. I was wondering about the alderwood. Is this simular to the alder used in many solid bodied guitars? I understand that basswood is a light wood. And know for a fact that its used in guitar bodys(yes I'm into guitars and have built several of them) lol.
What about kiln dried poplar?
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  #38  
Old 02-01-2008, 10:51 PM
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Basswood is used in aircraft models and R/C models and, I believe, in some museum models. To me, that makes it sound like a great choice. I don't know anything about Alder wood so I'd love to hear more about that.

I keep promoting the idea of using Gatorboard, but no one else seems interested enough to try that. Gatorboard is nothing like foamcore. It's surface is resin-impregnated paper that's extremely rugged (so tough, in fact, that it will quickly dull your knife blade when you try to cut it). The foam in the middle is also much stronger than the stuff used in foamcore.

I advocate using Gatorboard because it's tough, dimensionally stable (more so than even plywood), and yet weighs next to nothing. It can be laser-cut nicely. The 3/16 board is ideal and it also comes in 1/2 inch thick sheets, but those aren't as strong because there's more foam in them. The only downside is the paper surface, but that can be solved by sealing it.

In fact, if you paint the surface with water-thin epoxy, this is a durable and stable material that won't warp over time. It's incredibly strong and resilient. I am starting to think Gatorboard plus basswood might make one heck of a body structure. (The Gatorboard is easy to drill through for fiber optics, but do this before coating it with epoxy.)

Gatorboard also solves the problem of unsupported styrene panels that can sag, warp, or distort. For example, if you were to make a "box" using Gatorboard sides and reinforce the corners with basswood strips, you could use small wood screws to secure the Gatorboard to the basswood. Then, skin the box with styrene.

Richard, thanks for the great review. I should state for anyone seeing pics of my model for the first time, they were taken about 2 1/2 years ago. Not a whole lot of detailing has been done since then because I left my job to pursue freelance work and so have not had much budget for the project since then. Also, the tan parts visible in the photos are stand-in assemblies (i.e. mocked up parts) made from balsa wood. I sometimes made as many as 4-5 mockups of a given assembly to make sure it was right before cutting plastic. In these pics, the detail on top of the head, hatch, bridge, and nose areas are still in mockup form, along with the bay end caps and arms.
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  #39  
Old 02-02-2008, 07:36 AM
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You are correct charles. Gatorboard is an amazing building material for models like the Galactica where your dealing with large thin flat panels as part of the internal structure. If you use any type of wood in that application, it will warp over time. I'm using Gatorboard in a few key spots inside my current G build. I first learned about this stuff back when I was researching the construction of the Sulaco. Its my understanding that a large portion of that model was made up of Gatorboard.

Jim Creveling


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  #40  
Old 02-02-2008, 02:39 PM
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Aha! At last, a convert! And, it's the master himself. LOL

It's good to know this material was used in a real studio model. Now I feel even better about using it.

Just don't forget to paint it with epoxy. I know from experience how damp it gets in FL and the paper surface will absorb that moisture from the air. At the very least, it will start to smell. At worst, you'll get mold and it will break down the surface over time. Moisture is actually what causes foamcore to warp (one side expands more than the other), so it might put some strain on the GB as well.
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  #41  
Old 02-02-2008, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battlestar1563 View Post
But, now my thoughts go to the structure its self. And have read many great ideas So far on this and hope to hear more. Maybe, Richard_2001 can add some info about different woods since he is a cabinet maker. I was wondering about the alderwood. Is this simular to the alder used in many solid bodied guitars? I understand that basswood is a light wood. And know for a fact that its used in guitar bodys(yes I'm into guitars and have built several of them) lol.
What about kiln dried poplar?
Alder has a similar density, grain and is a bit tougher than basswood and is more readily available

Poplar is also similar in density and has similar grain but is a tad tougher than Alder

all 3 wood are about 25-30 pounds per cubic foot the only real variance is in the hardness of the wood with Bass being the softest Alder in the middle and Poplar being the hardest. All have fairly fine grain and good split resistance

I have no experience with Gatorboard the only sample I have I got through Charles and it was not big enough to try anything with and already glued to plex


Charles you are most welcome for the testimonial it was well deserved

Richard
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  #42  
Old 02-03-2008, 12:31 AM
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LOVE your avatar, Charles!

We were casually watching TOS yesterday and saw Adamas cabin window. Nikki wants to paint a life-sized one (on an oval-shaped board) to hang on the wall above my HT gear. I think it would look cool!

Mike, Oz
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  #43  
Old 02-03-2008, 12:57 AM
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Heh heh. . . it's I guess it's ABOUT TIME I got with the program and chose one of those. I have always loved that shot more than any other in TOS. If my model ever gets done, I plan to photograph it at this same angle and create a poster of this scene, complete with the oval "frame" of the window acting as a matte. . .
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Old 02-03-2008, 12:59 AM
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Richard, IIRC REL said poplar has such a fine grain that he uses it to carve parts and it can be directly primed after a light sanding. I believe he said this doesn't raise the grain which is a problem with most woods. He likens this stuff to dense modeling foam, yet it's really cheap and readily available at the local home center. I've got to give that a try!
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Old 02-03-2008, 07:11 PM
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Charles,

Poplar is very good for carving and shaping by machine (routers etc.) I have never tried painting it so I am not sure about the grain raising but it is a pretty fine grain so that would not surprise me in the least!

I would recommend it for Vac bucks and the like too it really does shape pretty easy

Richard
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