Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

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Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 2nd April 2012, 10:42 am

Latest Progress Pics:

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Fully assembled and undergoing shakedown prior to coating and painting.


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Demonstration:  (Only one of the three gear boxes was getting a BB feed for this test)



OK Foundation Players,

Here's the rundown on this project I've been at for a while.  This lengthy piece will keep you busy while we wait for the field to open.  Some of you saw the project in progress earlier at a game day, so you know this project is further along than this post shows.  I've been running versions of this thread on Airsoft Retreat and the 405th,com sit (Halo prop making site).  You guys keep asking, so I'm starting it here so our local club can chime in with suggestions and comments.  Over the next couple of weeks, I'll catch this up to where the project is now (metal receiver is built, electronics complete and working!).  Stay with me through the short novel here, the pictures start further down!

I am well into building an exact scale Halo 3 Spartan Laser that is also an airsoft gun.

This is a render of what I'm building (photo copyright Bungie Studios)

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Let me say up front that I know there are plenty of purists who don't favor sci-fi guns in airsoft, but please look at this project from a technical aspect if the cosmetics aren't your cup of tea.

Anyway, I wanted to make sure I had a rock-solid plan as well as real momentum in its construction before beginning this WIP thread. This project had almost a year in planning before starting actual construction. I realize there is a new (but more primitive looking) SPLASER out for Halo Reach, but by the time Reach came along, this project was already well down the road in planning. Besides, I like the look better. Most importantly for this project, I wanted an airsoft gun that was the airsoft EQUIVALENT of the Spartan Laser in firepower. To me that meant that it had to put out a quantity of BBs far greater than an ordinary AEG rifle.

The completed SPLASER will have a full-metal lower receiver (black lower portion) and a fiberglass upper receiver (everything green) that contains THREE airsoft gear boxes, three 11.1 V Li-Poly batteries, extensive timer and relay electronics, and an automatic feed mechanism to deliver BB’s to the gear boxes. Overall, this system will fire BB’s at a rate of over 2100 BBs/minute! Due to the substantial level of routine adjustment and maintenance required to keep even a basic AEG reliable, I am using proven internal components from the Echo 1 E90 rifle that have not been upgraded in any way. My objective is to carefully engineer these three sets of components into the casing of a Spartan Laser such that the entire system is reliable, professional looking, and well laid out for ease of service. Bottom line: I don’t want it to look home made on the outside or the inside. As you will see, that equals time (and money).


Acknowledgements:

In order to figure out the internal layout of this system, I needed accurate 3D models to work out life-size internal spaces as well as organize my approach to surface detailing. A special thanks to TS Hunter for providing me with not only the basic working model, but also for generating component models of the lower receiver sides that have helped me figure out my milling plan as well as the locations of fasteners to hold it all together.

On the airsoft side, the staff at Disruptive Paintball and Airsoft in Tucson, Arizona has provided outstanding advice as well as great pricing on the Echo 1 components I’m using for this project. They also were able to supply critical parts from spare/damaged weapons that will help hold down the cost.  BSS Airsoft out of Robertsdale, AL has also contributed great advice and reasonable-priced components.


Initial Construction Plan:

Following the intellectual exercise, the next phase was to construct a Spartan Laser prototype shell to verify the planned layout would really work. At the 405th.com costuming site, the most common method of prototyping armor and props is a Japanese system/freeware package that can convert any of several common 3D drawing file formats into a print file to make a 1:1 paper model.  This model takes 36 pages of heavy cardstock and lots of patience.  These parts are then stiffened with catalyzed fiberglass resin before further strengthening and adding of details.  The folded and resined lower receiver will be used to design both the milling plan for the aluminum final version of the lower receiver as well as allow me to mock-up the internal frame that will support the outer barrel, BB barrels, airsoft gear boxes, batteries, sighting laser, and BB feed mechanism. The upper receiver in Pepakura, once resined will be used to figure out my access points, securing points, and seams for disassembly. Following this, it will be fully sealed and rondo’d (internally beefed up with a mix of Bondo and resin). This near-solid blank will be fully detailed, then used to make molds to be used in laying up the final fiberglass pieces.

The lower receiver will be constructed in one of three ways, depending on what I learn over the coming month and who I’m able to talk favors from: 1) Aluminum plates with milled-in details will be jigged and welded together for the most perfectly detailed and strongest-possible receiver followed by high-temperature powder coating 2) Carefully cut sheets of aluminum will be built-up layer by layer using JB Weld to provide the same level of detail and will be riveted and glued together to provide a strong receiver that will have to be painted due to the glue being unable to handle the heat of powder coating 3) Details will be built up using JB Weld bonded sheets of aluminum, but structural joints will be brazed with Alumiweld rod, possibly enabling me to still use low-temp powder coating. I currently lack access to a mill, but have a drill press and every imaginable way to cut sheet aluminum. My drill press cannot handle the side loads of milling—I’ve tried. I also don’t have access to an aluminum-capable MIG welder. If these situations change, I’ll go for the first option. (NOTE: I've gone with method 3 and am having great results)


Planned Operation:

I want this SPLASER to simulate the in-game weapon as much as possible—right down to the rumble in your XBOX 360 controller. To this end, I’ve spent months going back and forth with skilled electronics experts to design my circuitry. I now have a plan and all components that will:

Turn on the master circuit, light the side marker LEDs, and raise the top shroud via a servo when the front handgrip is extended. This should be interesting as the SPLASER is never shown in the game in its predeployment configuration. You only see this function for a millisecond when you pick it up or switch between weapons. I also plan to embed white LEDs inside the BB hopper and at the gear box feed nozzles to allow the use of glow in the dark tracer BBs.

Activate the sighting laser, start the low-frequency rumble motor, start a 4-second timer circuit and a 3-second timer circuit when the trigger is pressed.

Activate the high-frequency rumble motor at the expiration of the 3-second timer to give the operator a one second heads-up that the weapon is about to fire.

Activate three relays at the expiration of the 4-second timer to light the high-intensity red light in the outer barrel that back-lights the outgoing BBs and, finally, to allow the three 11.1V Li-poly batteries to start the three airsoft gear boxes to bring the pain!

Finally, my own cheat code: Pulling the trigger very hard will override the timers and bring an instant rain of BBs onto my opponent. After all, who really likes waiting 4 seconds for their SPLASER to fire when someone is shooting at you?

The above-mentioned rumble motors were gutted from a dead XBOX 360 controller and will help give the replica the same feedback you get from using the Spartan Laser in the game.

At this time, I plan to feed the BBs to the gear boxes by siamesing three of the manually-wound clockwork feed mechanisms from 3 siamesed M-4 high-cap airsoft magazines. These will be centrally wound by turning the big dial already conveniently built into the sides of the Spartan Laser toward the back. If this proves difficult or insufficient, I’ll need to design an electric winding mechanism.


Scale and Detail:

This is intended to be an exact 1:1 replica across the board. If I am unable to pack all three gearboxes in tight enough, the main barrel may have to be imperceptibly larger to accommodate the three internal BB barrels and the high-intensity red back light (LED 12 volt tail light bulb from auto parts store!).

Finally, what exactly is the official Spartan Laser from Halo 3? There are subtle differences between SPLASERs shown in the Bungie renders, the weapon as you see it on the ground, and in how it looks when you are shooting it in first person. Most noticeable are the warning stickers that only appear when you are shooting it. I will retain these as I want my SPLASER too look the same when I’m shooting it as it does when being fired on the screen. Less obvious are differences in the placement of panel lines and holes for fasteners. For these, I will go with whichever depicted location helps to screw the thing together best.


The Build:

Well, enough of theory and plans.

Here's an early sketch of the internal layout:

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This shows my plan for the arrangement of the airsoft mech boxes inside the upper receiver. The trick is getting the actual barrels close enough to fit inside the SPLASER outer barrel, yet leave enough room for the LED back light to fit between them.

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Overall, the sketches show the progress of my thoughts on this project and how I setted on the E90 gear box as the only setup that I could use and shoehorn three complete systems inside the SPLASER bodywork.


And now, the Pepakura work:




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This is the resining of the mid-shroud model




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Resin strengthening of the upper receiver


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Adding anti-warp spacers mid way through the resining process. No matter how careful I was, warpage was impossible prevent due to the size of the piece. I used heavy cardstock for the build, but the wet weight of the part is self-defeating.


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The best way to fight the warpage was to make gravity work in a direction that helped straighten the model (yes, that's an Austin Powers stand-up in the background)




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Booyah! One Pepakura-ed SPLASER. Too bad the project is only 5% done. This would have been a great place to quit!


Please note that I am omitting all add-on details from the Pep build. Remember, I only need a basic form initially to validate my internal layout of mechanical and electrical components. I’m filling in the holes with card stock to help keep the model straight. The details get added later in plastic, or built as separate assemblies for the final project.




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Sealing the holes at the corners of the folds in preparation for rondo-ing the inside.





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Here are all of the parts taped up and ready to be further built up and strengthened by adding rondo--a 50/50 mix to catalyzed polyester resin and bondo to the inside of the parts.




The SPLASER model takes 36 pages of card stock to make. This is a huge model that everyone who’s built it has it has experienced warping during resining. I couldn’t reinforce it with a lot of cardboard because I knew I’d need a deep internal layer of Rondo to cut details into. I used the heaviest cardstock I could get through my printer. This was good and bad. It was hard to fold accurately. Fortunately, I didn’t try to build many small details. Also, resin will not fully penetrate thick cardstock, even when thinned with acetone and applied to both sides. In the end, I still had substantial warpage. I used a heat gun to soften the cured resin and twisted the parts back into shape as they cooled. This fixed most problems, but still didn’t give me parts that were entirely symmetrical.

Sorry, no pics of the rondo work in progress—disgusting mess!. This took a full gallon of mixed Bondo and resin to fill my parts to an adequate thickness that will allow me to cut in details and grind out warpage. I sealed off all holes with masking tape so that I’d end up with as strong and even coat of Rondo as possible (still had areas that were paper thin).

Note to self: Rondo dissolves tape adhesive and makes a hell of a mess. Also, it is better to over catalyze Rondo than under catalyze it. Under catalyzed Rondo results in a home fitness program where you end up holding and rotating your model for what seems like hours!

Here’s the completed rondo pieces and the sanding. I was amazed at exactly how non-symmetrical everything was again once the Rondoing was complete. A tabletop sander was great for the wide flat areas and the bevels that were unobstructed by other parts of the sculpt. It was worthless for sorting out the nooks and crannies where all the angled surfaces come together. I had an epiphany one day while patrolling the local Harbor Freight for inspiration. Enter the air file. This under $30 pneumatic gem can cut, square, round-off, or cause any other major damage in seconds. All you have to do is keep the file teeth clean. It is also very quiet as air tools go. I highly recommend it to anyone doing any kind of free-form reshaping. The sharpness and correctness of the complex corners and facets are due to this tool.

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I ended up splitting off the front section of the upper receiver to ease the filing and leveling. This section was so warped that it really needed separated just to address all of its issues.

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Keep in mind that I’m not yet building my SPLASER. I’m building the blanks that I will use to make molds so I can lay up light, resilient fiberglass final pieces. Did I mention how much I loved the Harbor Freight air file? Every Pep, metal, and fiberglass project NEEDS one!

Time for more pictures. Since the Pepakura paper model started with few surface details and I removed the rest to streamline/strengthen construction, I needed to add the details. I decided that styrene sheets were the best way to go about this by just cutting out the details and layering them up on the surface of the Rondo/Pepakura blanks. I had to go out on business, so this was a good part of the project to take out on the road.


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I started with full size drawings matched to the finished Rondo/Pepakura blanks. I then drew out the details, and cut them out as patterns for the styrene.


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I carefully cut out the pieces from 40 and 60 thousandths of an inch styrene sheets. Notice the side markers are square-edged. I rounded those later with needle files.



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It was a real challenge to get the vents for the mid shroud straight.


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Here's a better look at the drawings.



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All the parts ready to graft onto the sides of the larger pieces.

Back at home and time to fit it all together:


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I used JB Weld to hold the styrene to the Rondo/Pepakura parts. I cut other details into the Rondo using a combo of Dremel and the round file attachment for the beloved air file.


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Rubber bands to hold while the JB Weld cures.


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The small size of the styrene sheets meant that a lot of details had to be made of multiple parts.


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Cleaned up parts for the front end of the upper receiver.

Shouldn't take too long to get the final clean-up done and get them ready to be made into molds.

Redshirt


Last edited by Redshirt on 17th February 2014, 9:27 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 7th April 2012, 10:12 pm

The circuit diagram is complete after many revisions. I didn't know jack about electronics when I started this. I spent countless hours online studying 555 timers and looking for switching and voltage conversion solutions. The end result is below. I had a rocket scientist (literally) review each draft and give me tips and pointers to get to this solution.


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I have a large 11.1V lithium-polymer battery driving the primary high (11.1v) and low (5.1V) circuits, The major parts are 3 relays and a Castle Creations battery elimination circuit (BEC). The BEC drops the voltage down to 5.1V tp drive the LEDs and timers. The three relays run high-current 11.1V power to the airsoft mechboxes.





Here are the components coming together as I try to figure out the layout of the circuit boards and how to pair up the mechboxes to fit inside.

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The three black boxes are the relays. The little blue and white piece is the BEC (transformer). The BEC has proven to be a cost-effective and very space-efficient way to get the stepped-down voltage for the electronics. Its original purpose is to power the receiver in an RC plane without the added weight of a low-voltage secondary battery. Also in this photo are LED pigtails, the red LED tail light assembly, the rumble motors from and XBOX controller, trigger switches, and fuse holders.

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I've started easy with some of the sub-assemblies. Here are the LED pig tails, some will be used for side lights, others will charge glow-in-th-dark tracer BBs for night ops. Although I bought board-mount fuse holders, I think I will stick with the in-line fuses already built into the mechboxes. I'll add resistors to keep from over-boosting the 3V rumble motors.



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The BEC and the relays. All relays are the same, but the primary will have the coil driven by the 5V circuit, while the two secondary relays will have their coils driven by 11.1V current from the primary relay.



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Two of the version 6 Echo 1 mechboxes and 11.1V batteries. I will use only one of these larger batteries for the primary circuit. I'll get some smaller 11.1V batteries for the two secondary circuits.



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Switches, servo, LED tail light, laser pointer tip. I am trying to round up a more powerful sighting laser, but this one will get be started. the switch on the left is the master power switch--closed when the front handle is extended. The other two switches will be the primary trigger and the override trigger. Both will be hidden inside the grip along with the rumble motors.


Still working on detailing out the fiberglass blanks. More pictures of those soon.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Che Chuy on 8th April 2012, 5:23 pm

At first, I was curious, in an 'o.k., let's see what'cha do.' Now I'm curious in a 'oooh what's next?' way.

Can't wait!

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 8th April 2012, 11:01 pm

Che Chuy wrote:At first, I was curious, in an 'o.k., let's see what'cha do.' Now I'm curious in a 'oooh what's next?' way.

Can't wait!

Oh, she's getting there! I'll bring it to the next game day in whatever shape she's in for show-n-tell. We've been so long without a game day that I've still got the ICS Grease Gun to debut. I did take it to Crestview for a night game. It being night and all, no one really got to see it (just feel it Smile).

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 12th April 2012, 10:38 pm

MOLD BLANKS!

I'm close to pulling my final molds with the completion of the fully
detailed blanks. These are semi-solid and fairly brittle due to being
made of Pepakura, Rondo, and a little Great Stuff Foam (bad idea). I
will cut these in half and use them to make fiberglass female mold to
lay up the final fiberglass parts that will be light enough and strong
enough to handle the structural requirements and abuse in the field that
airsoft guns endure.


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What you see represents a lot of work with scratch filling primer and Bondo to get all the edges straight and surfaces smooth.

Very tempting to paint them green . . . .

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Che Chuy on 12th April 2012, 11:16 pm

I understand that - I have that same issue - I always want to prime is a different color so I can see my projects in a different light, if you will - it's fine for some things and hell for others. And I hate any section that requires repetitive identical recesses or vents and things of that nature - they vex me constantly.

I've been playing with ideas for some sci-fi weapons, but I always end up thinking that it's not a great idea. Perhaps now, I might make something - you've re-inspired me.

Awesome work, look forward to more.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Specter777 on 15th April 2012, 9:14 pm

As someone who has done very limited Pepakura work (I put together a few ODST helmets) I definitely offer your my priase in terms of the time you've spent on this build and how great it's already looking.

I can't say I'm a fan of sci-fi guns in the field really, but whatever floats your boat, and just seeing it done as a proof of concept (Three gearboxes working together) is cool enough for me.
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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 15th April 2012, 11:32 pm

Specter777,
Thank you. I'm building my mechbox cage as a removable unit with an eye toward making it a plug & play unit for something more 'historic' like a Ma Deuce project or something. The 2100 BBs/min will make it a formidable squad/support gun no matter what the furniture looks like.

Love to see the ODST helmets.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Che Chuy on 15th April 2012, 11:38 pm

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 16th April 2012, 9:48 am

I love that! Aesthetically, it's bad ass, but some guy with an M4 is shooting back with 4 times as many BBs of the same caliber (unless it's an 8mm) at the same speed. That's our challenge with airsoft, joules and caliber are proscribed, our only out is in the BBs/min count. That's why I'm on the 3 mechbox kick.

Sometimes though, intimidation is all about presence. That Ma Deuce has it!

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Che Chuy on 16th April 2012, 9:54 am

I think it was 450 on dot 2's with a deliberate low ROF. I believe that the cyclic ROF of the barrel could be built as independent of the actual ROF, although they did not build it this way.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 19th April 2012, 8:57 pm

Getting the blanks ready to pull the molds:

Here I'm sawing all of the beautiful work in half to lay out and make fiberglass molds. The plan is to make detailed, yet fairly flexible molds using a special weave of cloth, rather than matt to conform to the details.

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Now that everything is split you can see why the foam was a bad idea. It created perpetual soft spots behind the thinnest Rondo. I won't make the mistake again, though I'm sure I'm not done paying for it the first time.

Next, I'll paint these pieces as glossy as I can and rub them down with 5 coats of mold release wax before laying them up with the fiberglass.

Until next time . . . .

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MOLDMAKING

Post by Redshirt on 26th April 2012, 8:53 am

MOLDMAKING

Well, I got the blanks painted gloss black and rubbed down with five coats of Maguiar's Mold Release Wax. Because I have so many vertical surfaces and nooks and crannies to fill, I needed to start with a thickened resin. If I just used plain resin and glass, it would run off the vertical surfaces, be very brittle in the details, and have lots of air bubbles between the details and the glass layer. I used Cabosil, a silica-based thickener to turn the resin into gel. In lieu of gel-coat, I've painted it on to all surfaces and details, prior to going over it all with traditional resined fiberglass cloth and matt.

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These photos are from while I was finished with the Cabosil layer and getting ready to put on the matt layer. I'll be back when everything is cured.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Che Chuy on 1st May 2012, 7:44 am

Very cool! I often forget mold release and ruin my projects. You would think that I'd learn by now Very Happy

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 1st May 2012, 11:05 pm

Well, I did remember the mold release, but the Cabosil-thickened resin took days to set up and in the process ate through the wax. I've eight ways effed up my molds, but finally got them apart. Big work, but the show will go on! Epic disaster pics soon.

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EPIC FAIL

Post by Redshirt on 2nd May 2012, 6:53 pm

OK Folks,
You've heard the rumblings, now it can be told--I got the molds separated with quite a bit of damage to the molds, and extensive damage to my beautiful blanks. Well, I didn't need the blanks to survive and the molds are salvageable. I will do all reasonable repairs to the molds, them pull my parts, expecting that I'll have quite a bit of clean up to do on my final parts. I'll get there.

So here's the rundown: Due to the slow catalytic action, the mold release was corrupted, resulting in the fiberglass resin bonding to the mold blanks. I was able to pull one of the major pieces off without fully destroying the blank, but the mold has micro cracks over most of its surface as well as several cracks through the fiberglass mat. Other pieces would not pull clear. I had to drill though the mold surface to the outer surface of the blank below. Following this, I inserted a high pressure air nozzle and used the air pressure to force the separation. You can see in the pictures just how many holes I had to drill to get the pieces apart. These holes, though ugly, will not be too difficult to repair.


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Here are the molds! Not pretty, but I can make them work.


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Ouch! Sad to see.


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This piece largely survived, though many detail parts remained stuck to the molds (temporarily)



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Yellow paint pen denotes detail that was lost during the mold separation. You can also see the micro cracks in the surface.


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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Che Chuy on 3rd May 2012, 10:52 am

Man. I just mention my issues with mold making and it spreads to you. I am so sorry.

LOL

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 3rd May 2012, 2:11 pm

Che,
To be fair, I already knew this mold job was going south before you posted. I still have workable molds, just more work to do to get the desired quality in the final product.

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Moving On

Post by Redshirt on 6th May 2012, 11:07 pm

Well, the spilled milk has been cried over and it's time to keep moving forward. Today's update shows a little of the repair process getting underway. Before getting to the lost detailing, the basic structure of the molds needed tending to. Any areas that had cracked had to be repaired as well as missing sections replaced. Traditionally, new fiberglass resin doesn't adhere well to cured resin (though the disaster of last week proved that is not an absolute rule). For this reason, I've found that the best way to patch fiberglass or join finished fiberglass parts is to use thick gap filling superglue and fiberglass cloth. It's fast and almost instant if you have an accelerator like Zip-Kicker. Once that's done, you can come back with traditional resin and cloth if you have to build strength, or work the details in Bondo. In these two photos, I'm doing the initial patching of the molds with the super glue and glass cloth. I later built up the details in Bondo on the inside mold surface.


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I've found it is very hard to work up the raised details inside my female molds. It was much easier to cut details into the male blanks. I won't be able to restore all of the detail as crisply as I'd like. The up side is that it won't take nearly as long to get these molds ready for action, but I'll have to do a lot more work to get my finished pieces up to the same level of crispness that my blanks started with.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by plank on 8th May 2012, 6:45 am

This is a really interesting build you have. Where are you getting your fiberglass and glues? I haven't seen gap filling super glue in forever!
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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 8th May 2012, 9:33 am

plank wrote:This is a really interesting build you have. Where are you getting your fiberglass and glues? I haven't seen gap filling super glue in forever!

Plank,
Both Hobbytown and Hobby Central in Pensacola carry the gap filling super glue and accelerator. While I moved here with a lot of supplies, I am getting my new fiberglass supplies from PBS Boat Store at 3301 W Navy Blvd, Pensacola, FL 32505. There are a couple of other Marine suppliers in the area with a good selection. I have also used auto paint supply stores (the guys who supply body shops, not Autozone, etc) in the past. Hope that helps.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Che Chuy on 8th May 2012, 2:06 pm

Glues:
Bobe's Hobby Store
TBS Comics (open later, 40k specific but have glues and such)
Hobby Town across the street.
There is an R/C store near JoAnns off of Davis that might have what you need.

There are a few other places, but not off the top of my head.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by plank on 8th May 2012, 7:57 pm

Roger dat fellas. Thank You's.
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More Repairs

Post by Redshirt on 9th May 2012, 8:53 pm

Here's some of the work to repair the front shroud molds:

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The blue painter's tape covers the holes I had to drill to get an air nozzle in to separate the molds. I'll come in from the mold side with a little Bondo. Even if I don't totally fill in the holes, they will result in a raised bump on the final piece that can easily be knocked down by a belt or pad sander.



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The super glued on mat will allow me to build up Bondo details that are structurally stable. Look at that jacked-up inside surface--a long way from the way the mold blanks started out.




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Still a long way to go on these parts, but getting there.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 13th May 2012, 10:12 am

The mold repair continues . . .

I've finished all of the structural repairs and struggle with repairing details as well as the overall quality of the surface of the molds. The molds wil not have as nice of details as the originals, I've accepted that, but neither will this set of molds ever be used to make more than this one set of final parts. If I ever want to cast, I'll be better off to do a new set of molds anyway as I know the final parts will still need altering to mate properly with the metal receiver. Yup, that means big work will be required on the pieces I pull from the molds, but that will take less time than restoring every detail into temporary molds.

This work sucks, so I took some time to look ahead to a different part of the project--metal work! All avenues of CNC of manual milling have been exhausted, so I'll be cutting, routing, and stick welding to make the lower receiver happen. Here are the aluminum pieces I'll salvaged and purchased to start on the lower receiver posed next to my Pep lower receiver (that by now has seen better days). Not shown is a long section of 1 1/4 inch square channel that will be cut in half to make the bottom of the receiver between the two halves.

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This will be a tricky job welding different thicknesses and grades of aluminum. Unlike wire welding, the heat is not localized, and making welds that penetrate into the surface on the metal parts is very hard--anything less is just soldering, i.e., non-structural. I'll get in and explain more when I get started making these parts. For now, this is just a teaser of what I'll be doing. Final, non-structural, details will be grafted onto the surface with JB Weld as it is about the only adhesive sure to hold as well as tolerate the coating process.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

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