Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Horseman090 on 22nd April 2013, 1:20 pm

Nice!
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More Lift Work

Post by Redshirt on 27th April 2013, 10:05 pm

Howie wrote:Looking good

Wookie850 wrote:Keep it up man it's really coming along

Che Chuy wrote:Very Happy So impressed.

Horseman090 wrote:Nice!

Thanks all! I appreciate the comments. I'm really looking forward to getting this thing operational and out to the field.

It's been a couple of days, but I've had some god progress on the lift
mechanism. The work has been a split between getting a good fit to the
outer barrel and building the actual servo lift mechanism.

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Once
I got the scissor frame and outer barrel attached to the front frame, I
found the lift couldn't close all the way due to interference with some
screw heads as well as with the external stabilizers. The black Sharpie
mark shows where I had to trim away material to achieve proper
clearances. I switched to flush screws where the heads caused
interference.





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Here's the servo test fit. Notice the lift point is off-center due to the lift rod having to clear the central BB barrel





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I sketched up a design for the rear cross member, including the attachment for the lifting rod from the servo.





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Here's
the finished piece being tested for the lifting rod before being welded
into place. In this picture, I've pre-welded beads of Alumiweld along
the attachment points to aid getting good final welds.




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All welded up and fitted!





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Another view. Starting to look complicated?





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Here's the whole assembly so far with the fiberglass shroud sitting more or less in place. This just might work!




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Unfortunately,
the added weight of the fiberglass shroud quickly identified a problem.
With the lift point off center, the shroud does not raise
symmetrically, frequently binding on the right side to prevent the right
side of the shroud from lifting fully. I'm going to have to re-imagine
the lift point to a central location as well as address the problem with
the mechanism binding under load. More work!

As always, thanks for watching.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 6th May 2013, 3:59 pm

This update covers the fix for the lift mechanism raising up crooked
and binding. I've also got the first part of my solution for attaching
the frame to the lift mechanism.

Because the solenoid is too wide
to mount with the lift arm centered (and the lifting rod has to
circumnavigate the central BB barrel), I located the lift point on the
shroud frame off to the left of center. This was a mistake. The lift
mechanism has enough play that this resulted in the shroud raising
tilted to the right. However, the mechanism was tight enough to bind an
lock when this happened.



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I
cut off the tab and welded on a new tab that stiffened the cross member
and provided a more centralized attachment point. The vertical tab is
where I will thread a screw into a mating surface on the fiberglass
shroud.

I put a double 90 degree bend in the lift rod. The lift
rod still comes up off center, but bends to apply the lift centrally.
It now lifts quite smoothly and without twist! I'll get better pictures
for a future update.

Paired with the fix to the shroud frames
goes the workup for the permanent mounting arrangement for the
fiberglass shroud. This has been a long time coming, so I've had some
time to think about how many attachment points and how to conceal them.
I came up with the idea of using the existing detail on the sides of
the shroud and a single screw in the back to lock forward and aft
movement of the shroud.



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I
figured I would use the two dimples as a place to hide set screws
pressing into divots I'd cut into the frame. I held off on this as I
didn't have faith in the strength of the setscrew through the fiberglass
and Bondo. I figured it would strip in no time and I'd get a busted
shroud.



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And
then my local Ace Hardware came to my rescue with brass threaded
inserts to take my 8/32 x 24 standard setcrews. I drilled the oversize
holes and threaded in the inserts. Next, I locked in the inserts with
super glue. Before I use the setscrews to actually mount the shroud,
I'll come in from the back and glass the inserts in permanently.



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Here
the inserts are in flush and with extra long set screws in place.
these stick out of both ends to keep Bondo and resin from fouling the
threads.



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Next,
I patterned a piece of aluminum to go into the back of the shroud. The
outer tabs are to be drilled, bent, and then glassed into place. The
small inner tab will have a thick piece welded on to the back, then
drilled and tapped to accept a locating screw.




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Here is the end plate glued into position. This was before I welded in the central lift point and mounting tab.




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Here's
it all together later. After the fiberglass is in, I'll drill a hole
through both the central tab and the end plate. During final assembly,
the end plate will have Velcro to attach the cosmetic cover plate.

Up next, fiberglassing in the mountings inside the shroud.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 12th May 2013, 10:32 am

Big progress this week! I
completed final work to mount the front shroud to the lift mechanism and
fitted the locking tabs to the mid shroud. With that, all the major
components are mounted together and rock solid! Here we go:



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I've been getting ready to use this for some time. It's a combo of fine glass fiber, resin, and Bondo.
It's expensive and messy, but massively effective at building up
details with super strength. I used it here to perma-mount the brass
inserts for the set screws on the front shroud. No flex, no fail.



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I
also glassed in the aluminum plate at the rear of the front shroud.
The extra thickness in the center is where the rear mounting screw will
tap into.



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And
here it is, the front shroud all mounted up into its final
arrangement. Perfect? Not at all, but I'll roughen the edges and add
the fiber hair on to both pieces to square it all up for a precision
closure.



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Here's the first try in the open position. I've since been able to square the alignment.



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Open from the sides. Lots of detail to work to do, but look along the top. It's perfectly parallel to the lower receiver.



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At
the same time, I cut, bent, and drilled the mounting tabs for the mid
shroud. The holes allow the resin and glass to bond though the tab for a
nearly indestructible joint.



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Next, I marked and drilled the holes for the pin latches to engage.



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Here's an overview of the arrangement. The spring-loaded pin pulls out to engage the hole, locking the shroud in place.



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Locked! This whole setup works in an outstanding fashion with no gaps or jiggles. I couldn't be happier.



And
now for some beauty shots. I put everything together and photographed
it out on the lawn. The dials in the back are just temp-secured with
hot glue.



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And finally, the profile:



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It's finally really starting to look like the game renders.

'Till next time.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Che Chuy on 15th May 2013, 6:30 am

Delish!

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Sobecho on 18th May 2013, 2:28 am

I have been watching this progress since beginning. It's gonna be so epic when it's done!!!
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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Howie on 18th May 2013, 3:43 pm

When it gets field, I am going to behind redshirt, finding that to be the safe zone
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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 19th May 2013, 4:14 pm

Che Chuy wrote:Delish!

Thanks. Hopefully you'll get to see this in person someday.


Sobecho wrote:I have been watching this progress since beginning. It's gonna be so epic when it's done!!!

Thank you. I'm itching because it's so close now. I know actual finish details will take a while though.


Howie wrote:When it gets field, I am going to behind redshirt, finding that to be the safe zone

Right now the safe zone is anywhere I can't fall on you or drop it on you, but hopefully it will shoot soon. I am
really looking forward to the first stripped-down test firing and
adjustment of the sighting laser and hop-up units.


I've been
trying and trying to get the lift mechanism to be happy with the
external stabilizers that I welded up some time ago. They weren't
square, had binding, and wobbled. I kept making adjustments with little
success. Finally, when the band saw grabbed one and hopelessly mangled
it, I realized it was time to cut bait and start over.

The
biggest problem with the welded stabilizers was their lack of square.
the heat of welding caused alignments to shift. Attempts to be more
careful often ended in 'cold' joints that failed. Finally, the brass
inserts in the lower sections were not weld-compatible at all.

My
new plan involved carefully-aligned cuts with maximized contact
surfaces to use JB Weld to make the joints. As long as I didn't go
overboard on the glue, there'd be no interference or binding. Finally, I
would eliminate the brass and use all aluminum channel for the job,



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The black pieces sticking out of the side are what I'm working on here. Bungie Photo.




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Here
are the welded parts after the band saw caught a cold joint and tried
to pull the whole thing through the saw. Tried to get my fingers
too--why I wear gloves. Too bad about the welded pieces, long-time
followers will recognize that these are already second and third
attempts from earlier posts.



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Here are the new parts during their initial cure. The dark lines represent the JB Weld joints.



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Here are the top two pieces jigged for alignment, something that never worked well with the welded pieces.



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Here
they are test fitted in the closed position. Perfectly aligned,
perfectly symmetrical--I'm depressed at how much time went into the old
pieces to get to this point.

I still need to actually mount them
up and make sure there are no binds. If you look in the game, these
actually have quite a bit of detail on them. I haven't decided whether
I'll add this detail by gluing on cover pieces, or by molding it in a
special liquid-metal filler I have waiting in the wings. Either way,
that will have to wait a bit as I'm now working on the fit of the shroud
to the lower receiver and some other fit and finish sideshows.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 26th May 2013, 8:33 pm

Looking back at last week's job of re-making the side stabilizers, I reflected upon how irritating it is to discover that you'd wasted so much time trying
to improve a bad job when starting over would have taken less
time. You'd think I'd be a better judge of when to
quit . . . .

Some bad jobs have to be solved rather than redone
however. That's this update in a nutshell. Now that the front shroud is
fitted and the relationship between the shroud and the the upper
receiver is set, I have to solve the gaps and adjust the bevels on both
pieces to be symmetrical.



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First
I reinforced thin areas and areas I would be filing away with a layer
of fiberglass mat on the inside. In preparation for adding the
fiber-hair filler on the outside, I gouged and roughed-up the areas I'd
be building up. This would promote adhesion as fiberglass really doesn't
like to bond to itself without good surface preparation.



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I
coated a couple of pieces of angle channel and wedged them in place, I
needed to build these ares out, but not upward. The channel would ensure
a nice straight edge after filling in the fiber hair filler.



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I
took time to make sure both sides were symmetrical by ensuring the
sides were both parallel and the same height front and back.



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Here it is with the filler in place. I slightly under-catalyzed it, so will have to wait a few days to sand it.

I'm quite happy with the strength and shape. I should have no trouble getting the performance I'm looking for from this part.



I
discovered that I never posted a picture of the inside of the shroud
when I added the brass inserts for the set screws that hold it in place:



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I used the same fiber hair filler. Those set screw mounts will fail--never.

Until next time.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 31st May 2013, 11:05 pm

I figured I'd kick in gear and give the stalwarts something to look at again. Like Dr
Evil, I had one simple request, sharks with frickin' laserbeams on their
heads. With no shark available, I turned to my Spartan Laser project.
This update covers the addition of the sighting laser! This comes on
when the trigger is pulled and stays on through the 4 second timer and
the initiation of the firing sequence. My plan has always been for the
sighting laser to be mounted on top of the cosmetic outer barrel and
fire through the rectangular slit on the front of the upper shroud.
When I went to build the laser mount, I quickly saw that my setup could
never work as the laser would have to pass though the sloped portion of
the front of the shroud. I was in a real bind as There really wasn't
any other space that I had room for the sight laser. Eventually, I
found a space under one of the barrels and sandwiched against the
central barrel, the foregrip internal mount, and the master switch. As
you will see, it was a very tight fit. What you can't see is that it
adds and extra layer of difficulty to reassembly from any field repairs.



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Sorry about the bad camera. It's now retired.
This is actually my third attempt at building a mounting plate. The
others were either too thick (laser interfered with a BB barrel) or the
tab needed mover to avoid interfering with the foregrip or switch.



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What
you see here (sort of) is the picatinny rail for the laser screwed onto
the mounting plate. I had to use a taper drill to enably my screws to
end up fully recessed and not interfere with the laser.



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Here's my laser in place. On the ring around the front of the laser
are the two adjustment screws. Normally, these would be arranged for
vertical and lateral adjustment. I canted mine 45 degrees. In the
installed position, I wouldn't be able to get to the horizontal adjust
screw if I'd mounted it conventionally. As it is, the right BB barrel
will pass between the two adjustment screws enabling me to adjust my aim
with minimal dis-assembly



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Here are the two barrels that had the potential to foul the sight laser. Very tightly spaced.



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All
in position. With things this tightly packed, it's a real challenge to
get the outer barrel assembly mounted over all of this. There's still
more that goes in this space. Just above the central barrel, an LED
tail light bulb mounts to backlight the BBs as they leave the gun,
enhancing the 'laser' effect.

Sorry I didn't have the power
hooked up. A demo shot would have been cool. You'll have to go back to
my old video of the bench test of the completed electronics to see the
laser.


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The laser is a UTG
running about $50. It is easily the brightest red laser I've seen in
that price range. The XBOX controller rumble motors that mount nearby
should impart a vibration or flicker to the sight laser's beam to better
match the way the in-game sighting laser works. Cool stuff.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 8th June 2013, 12:25 pm

Last week I did some mechanical work, but this update takes us back to arts and crafts with fiberglass and Bondo. A couple of updates back, I beefed up and straightened the edges of the upper receiver where it meets the front shroud. I refitted the shroud to see the big picture fit and alignment. Not good. I'd really like to know the percentage of original material that remains in that damn shroud because I've reworked it so much. Today is no different.




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Here's the view from the front. You can see some tilt on the front bottom edge, but otherwise things line up at the front of the shroud and upper receiver (the main fiberglass part)



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Viewed along the top, things are not so hot at the very back of the shroud. It is as if the whole back end is offset to the right. It's not though. Internally and along the bottom edge everything lines up.




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Here the problems are much easier to see. I've labeled the corrective action required.


Here goes:


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I marked out the area that needed built up. Some places needed at least a quarter inch of material added.



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I gouged up the area to promote adhesion in order to prevent any delamination later.



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Disgusting mess. I hate working with this stuff, but it does such an awesome job. This is the NAPA version of Bondo with short (ish) strand glass fiber added. I use this material because I need the strength and crack/chip resistance it brings.



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Here's the patch after leveling with the belt sander. I lost so much of my detailing that will have to be reaccomplished. The good news is that the trailing edge is perfect. The bad news is that further forward along the side will need additional material added.



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On the opposite side, things are tidier. What you can't see is that I had to add material on the inside to keep from sanding through. Again, I weep for my detailing.



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A view from above down the side I added new material to. Because I shot straight down that side is the reason the other side looks crooked--it's not.

I'll take on the next round of fill and sand soon.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 20th June 2013, 7:04 am

Still working on the shroud this week. More large-scale shaping before I can put the details back in.

The right side of the shroud and the corresponding areas of the upper receiver were still not perfectly aligned after the last round of fill and sand.



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I marked the trouble spots and gouged them for adhesion.




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I applied the next layer of filler with fiberglass in it.




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It's not a tumor! Looks like it though. I had to build up some areas on the upper receiver as well.



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I took the belt sander to the whole mess to level it off.





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Another view showing how extensively I had to reshape this side. The other side is less dramatic because it wasn't as badly out of shape. I actually had to fill that side on the inside because I ground away material.



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Here's a centerline view from the top. I finally achieved symmetry at the front of this gun. It took long enough.

I still have some gaps between the pieces that will need sorted before I can transition over to doing the detail work.

For followers new and old, if you review this build, you'll see that I have spent untold hours just on this front shroud. Why? Because I was too stupid to start over when it would have only taken a couple of hours extra to get right. Starting over would have SAVED ten times the time and materials that have gone into this shroud for want of good judgement when resining warped my shroud and upper receiver. Can I get an amen!!?


Until next time.

Redshirt
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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 24th June 2013, 11:09 pm

While work on the fiberglass continues, I've completed some more work on the fiberglass, but I've also done some clean up on the side stabilizers to get them ready for the final detailing push.




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The epoxied version is so much cleaner than the welded versions. Time will tell if these will be strong enough.




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Nice clean fit



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Here's about the only good view with the attachment points top and bottom. These stabilizers have to be fitted to the lower receiver and lift mechanism after the lift mechanism and outer barrel are bolted on. I reassembled the front half the other night to test the fit. The whole job took almost 45 minutes! All told, that part took 25 screws and didn't include bolting together the trigger assembly, fore grip, or hooking up the upper receiver to the lower receiver. Clearly the finished project will be so complex that there won't be much service I'll be able to do in the field.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 5th July 2013, 3:06 pm

OK, long time no update. I've been fighting some other projects again. So here's the question, who can identify these parts and the specific project they belong to?




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Parts coming out of the Nickel plating solution.



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Nice and shiny!




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My skills with the nickel plating kit improve with each batch of parts.  What are they from?




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Here's the assembly they came from.  What is it and what's my project?



The Splaser did get some attention though.  With the front shroud aligned and forced into symmetry via filling and grinding, I started the finer work of closing small gaps.



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Major blemishes filled.  Wet sanding to follow.



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Here it is closed.  See how tight the gaps have become, especially at the back where they were once so hideous.




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Here is the other side.  This side wasn't as bad to start with as I used the left side as the baseline for alignment.




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Zero gap achieved.  After the Bondo set slightly but was still soft, I ran a razor knife along the seam to get the perfect split between components.

Notice the upper stabilizer has failed.  More work has put that right--I think.

Till next time.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 13th July 2013, 9:53 am

OK, big work this week in designing the attachment point for the feed tubes. I not only needed a narrow way for the feed tubes to attach to the modified AND unmodified Echo1 BB chambers and hop-up units, my assembly has to accommodate the hop-up tracer unit, and provide the hop-up adjustment mechanism.  The adjustment mechanism has to allow very fine adjustment.

To locate my assemblies firmly to the chambers, I decided upon a plate that was carefully machined to sit on top of the chambers with holes and notches to engage to features on the chamber with no side play. Perpendicular to the plate would be horseshoe collars that would screw into the plate, locking it firmly into position. This place, once locked into position could host a mechanism for fine adjustment of the hop-up as well as an attachment collar for the feed tube.




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Here's the first of the horseshoe collars being fitted up. Threaded holes into the tops of the legs will have to be precisely drilled to properly locate the top plate. This is a standard Echo1 E90 hop-up chamber that is only modified to remove the side bracing that made the chamber too wide causing interference with the other chambers. The other two chambers had the end cut off and rotated 180 degrees to work properly upside down. This partially-modified chamber is for the center barrel.

The airsoft parts I use are from echo1shop.com.



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Three horseshoe collars ready to go!



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Sorry about the dark image. Here is the early work on the top plate with the attachment collar for the feed tube welded on.

Still have to work on how exactly the feed tube will screw in place as well as attachment of the hop-up tracer unit. I see lots of set screws in my future.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Che Chuy on 13th July 2013, 10:38 am

Wow, I had not even thought of THAT aspect of the build.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 13th July 2013, 10:58 pm

Che Chuy wrote:Wow, I had not even thought of THAT aspect of the build.

 Yep, this assembly is a big single point of success or failure in this build.  Once I master that, the only remaining major piece of engineering remaining will be the feed and hopper mechanism for the back end.  I have a pretty good plan for that.

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More Hop-Up Engineering

Post by Redshirt on 20th July 2013, 1:41 pm

Continuing to develop the hop-up adjust and feed tube attachments.

I welded an extended half cylinder onto a piece of plate to make the upper component. The plate will be drilled for two attachment screws into the lower horseshoe. I drilled a hole through the half cylinder to accommodate the feed tube. I will drill a hole through the front of the half cylinder for a set screw to secure the feed tube.



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Here are two of the upper pieces with their initial machining done.




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Here's a look at how the two pieces will interlock with the BB chamber and hop-up assembly.




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Here's the groove I milled into the back of the assembly to accommodate the hop-up tracer unit. I discovered that my units were not tall enough for the tracer units to expose all of their LEDs to the stream of BBs passing by. I had to weld on an additional thickness of half-cylinder.


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Into each assembly I JB welded in place a section of feed tube. The feed tube section is displaced up from the bottom far enough to allow room for the collet on top of the BB chamber to locate properly. The top of the tube section is rece3ssed enough to allow the feed tube from the BB hopper to slide in and be locked by a set screw. With this short section of tube JB Welded along its length, I will grind a vertical slot through the full length of this spring to allow the light from the tracer unit to charge the BBs as they come through. Like an idiot, I tried to cut this slot with my band saw, not thinking about what the hardened spring steel would do to my say blade. I reduced a nice $16 saw blade to dull scrap in about four seconds!


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Slightly earlier picture showing the short lengths of feed tubing before I machined the tracer unit grooves in the back and JB Welded the tube sections in place. I actually extended and rewelded a few things between this picture and the ones above to get a workable product. IF I can drill accurate holes to attach these to the horseshoes, I am very confident this design will work.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 29th July 2013, 12:38 am

I forget that this thread is now 10 pages long and the 'master plan' isn't leaping from every post. So here's a review.  Short story long: Man with a costume (me) decides he needs a weapon. He loves the Spartan Laser. I don't know why, I'm no good with the damn thing--that's why I'm Redshirt! Anyway, I can't just settle for a solid prop, and want a BA airsoft gun. I do some back-o-the-napkin math and decide I can fit three (3) airsoft mechboxes inside a Halo 3 Splaser. Slow forward 2+ years and I'm still building it. Major metal work--done, Major fiberglass construction--done, full electronics package--done, airsoft bits--90% installed. Like I said, everything works. It just hasn't had the opportunity to work as a package.

Major Features:

Open the front grip--master power comes on, lights light, servo raises the front shroud

Pull the trigger 1/2 inch--sighting laser comes on, 3 second timer starts, 4 second timer starts, low speed rumble motor starts

3 second timer expires--high speed rumble motor starts to warn you firing is imminent

4 second timer expires--11.1V relay closes and drives two other 11.1V relays to close. Master 11.1V system activates master mechbox, hop-up tracer unit and LED tail light that backlights the BB stream for 'laser
effect'. Each of the two 'slave' 11.1V systems drives its own mechbox and hop-up tracer unit.

Pull trigger all the way--overrides timers and fires weapon immediately

Result: 2400+ BBs per minute downrange. Designed to work best with .20 red glow BBs for maximum effect.

On to the update:

I'm back on the fiberglass job again. It's very frustrating because I've cut the details into these parts twice already and am now back for a third (and final) time. Lack of symmetry that can be traced back to sloppy pep work two years ago is the root cause of the redos. Anyway, I have everything straight, aligned, and now with all the gaps closed so it's time to sand and shape, cutting in the details as I go.

Today was a job I didn't like, wet sanding the built-up gun. This mean risking getting water into the switches and mechboxes. I had to wet sand it in this configuration because only the full assembly will hold the front shroud in correct relation with the upper receiver. This was the only way to do my basic shaping and be sure the fit would remain true.



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The two parts meet on opposite bevels making about a 120 degree angle. Here I'm sanding to make the bevels symmetrical. I've already flat-sanded the side. There are so many details to cut back in.




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Mid way through, making sure both sides of the seam are the same height--not there yet




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Finally even. Look at the shroud where the flat meets the bevel. It's not crisp. I'll go back later and fix that. What I'm trying to do here is work just the area where the pieces meet. If I get that right, I can disassemble the gun and work on individual parts without risking water damage to the mechanisms.




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Same sort of work along the forward edge. Plenty that's jacked up, but I'm only worried about the joint edges today.




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Same work along the top. Look down the side and see the nice even seam where the shroud meets the receiver.




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Mission complete. Time to haul it out to the driveway for a careful rinse.




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Rinsed! Looks like a lost cause in at least four different colors of material. Once I get primer back on it, I'll know what actually needs attention next.




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The whole beast. Doesn't look so bad when you step back and see there's more right with it than there is wrong.

Up next. I'll disassemble it and work the details into the component parts before reassembling and doing the final sanding.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 14th August 2013, 8:53 pm

Finally an update! I spent most of a long weekend building up the short block for that Jag--a great feeling seeing parts bags and boxes going into the trash. I vowed to get some time in on the Splaser though. I needed to recut the details into the shroud. That is something I've done three times already and don't like. That's probably part of the procrastination. Anyway, getting precision shaping with freehand cuts and files is tedious. My bright idea was to mount it up on the milling stage I have for my drill press.


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With no jaws big enough to hold it, my clamping was . . . nontraditional.



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Ready for the first cut.



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Not as tidy as I was hoping for, but better than with files and Dremel.



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All cut. I'll come back in with the soft 3M Body Icing and shape the edges. Still, lots of time saved using the drill press.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 28th August 2013, 11:36 pm

Update!  Still working on the shroud.  I have to say that I hate this piece for taking such a disproportionate amount of time to build.  Work on it has appeared on pages 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 19, 25, 27, 28, 29, 31, and 32.  Worse still, I thought I was done with it on pages 10 and 27.  Sadly, not.

This week I've fit in some time to fill and block sand the faces back into smoothness and start recutting the recessed details.  Anyone that's had to cut details into Bondo and try to keep them from looking like they were hand cut by someone with a palsy knows what I'm talking about.  The level of effort it takes to make them look like a machine did the job is insane.  I've made some progress, but still have a ways to go.

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The rough-cut grooves and imperfections filled with 3M Body Icing.  I love this stuff because here's the payoff . . . .



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It's so easy to sand, this wet sanding job took just ten minutes.  Look at this damn thing, I spot 5 different colors of material that this thing is made from because it's been altered so many times.  Oh look, the yellow stuff in the top center is actually original material.  I thought that was long gone.



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In primer again to check progress. 




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I'll use the air file to do the first round of tidying up the grooves, followed by more icing and the hand files.  Hopefully I can wrap this up in the next few days and make the final assault on the upper receiver components.  Once that's done, final details and paint won't be far behind.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 8th September 2013, 11:27 pm

More sanding and detailing this week as I try to reinstate the detail lost in reshaping the front end components to work with the lifting mechanism. I have taken the decision to remold the front shroud after I get it fully detailed. This lets me use softer materials in the detailing as I'm not worried about the current shroud having to withstand 450 FPS airsoft BB hits.

My preferred detail material is 3M Body Icing, a very easy to sand spot putty that is catalyzed like Bondo rather than the red spot putty that dries and is brittle. As you look through this update, you'll see a lot more of the icing left on the shroud after sanding than on the upper receiver that has to be tough enough to take the hits when finished. Most of the detail work on the upper receiver will be done with glass fiber reinforced Bondo for that reason. The recast front shroud will have accurate details cast direct in fiberglass. Here we go:




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Rear upper receiver with lots of pin holes, but not too much lost detail.



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Disaster at the front with holes, misshapen bevels, and lost details. The Icing will fill all of this in, but not form any edges that could get chipped.




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Having already cut and filled the central groove of this detail, I cut the recessed area surrounding the groove extra deep and wide into the hard fiberglass then built it back up with the Icing. This will wet sand easily and let me cut the details in more easily and therefore more crisply than I could put them into the fiberglass.



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I mixed the icing in about 1/2 ounce quantities in Dixie cups and applied it quickly to fill in the faults. It took about 4 batches to do the upper receiver.




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Now wet sanded back. There's hardly any of the Icing remaining after taking the block sander to it--especially in the front areas most likely to take BB hits.





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The shroud all sanded back.  After I clean out the half-round groove, I'll cut the squared off recessed detail into the soft white Icing with my needle files and a little bit of the air file as well.  It'll take a day or two, but it will be nice and crisp.  After that, I'll make a mold of the shroud so I can at last have a tough lightweight shroud produced.  This one is a fragile brick.




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Hard to see how smooth it turned out after sanding but I'm happy. I'll go forward with files from this point to cut the bevels and ledges. Any edges that need raised here will use glass fiber reinforced Bondo.




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Awesome--from 5 feet away. It will take the needle files to make it 100% at one foot!

Next time, file work!

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Che Chuy on 9th September 2013, 5:55 am

Setbacks can sometimes make things better in the long run.  I'm still amazed at your patience Very Happy

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 17th September 2013, 10:39 pm

Che Chuy wrote:Setbacks can sometimes make things better in the long run.  I'm still amazed at your patience Very Happy
Too true, and thanks for still following us up here in the panhandle!  Tis been an exercise in patience.

I've been back at the front shroud this week cutting in the details. Having cut the details wide and then filling the areas with easy sand & cut Body Icing, I set to getting crisp edges on my details.



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I used a chisel blade to cut as sharp and even edges to the outer groove as possible.



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I laboriously carried this detail all the way around. Notice that the semi-circular center groove is not always on-center. That'll be more work no doubt.



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All hand cut. The edges are sharp, but the depth of the detailing is not consistent. That will take file work to fix. The darkest areas are fiberglass and the lightest are soft Body Icing. It's very hard to get consistent results cutting into mixed media.



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Enter the air file--adjudicator of mixed media problems. This gem evened the depth of the cuts and recentered the central groove.



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It did damage some of the edges, necessitating more Body Icing, but still the quality of the details is rapidly improving.



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A coat of paint shows I still have a ways to go, but by and large the angles are right, the depth consistent, and the groove width is uniform.

In short, progress!

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

Post by Redshirt on 27th September 2013, 8:54 am

Next round!  More of the same, but that's what's required at this point.  Cutting details into hard fiberglass is pretty tedious, but I've got the front shroud to the 85% solution as the groove is almost finished.



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This week's featured resource is filler primer--also known as high-build primer.  Long a staple in the auto-body repair industry as 'Feather fill', it's been available in rattle cans now for several years.  Its purpose is to fill in small scratches and surface imperfections.  It goes on much thicker than regular primer and dries to the perfect hardness for easy wet sanding.  For us, it helps smooth details in a way that spot (glazing) putty can't.




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Here it is after running a smoothing layer of Body Icing down and around the groove to give an initial smoothing of the groove.  In this shot, I've just finished wet sanding the flat surfaces.  This crispens the edges of the groove.




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Here is the shroud is a few minutes later with a coating of regular grey primer just to see where things are.




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Dremel time!  I used the ball file attachment to recut the half-round center groove.  It cut it freehand.  Everyone knows that making freehand cuts with a Dremel tool is the best way to get perfectly straight lines and even cutting depths.

If you are a stranger to sarcasm--that was it.

I actually had a pretty decent run without any big errors, but then I've been using a Dremel tool since well into the last millennium.




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Now the filler primer.  I sprayed it heavy into the groove, really hoping it would fill the low spots to even up the depths of the cuts, especially the central half-round.  Not there yet, but a whole order of magnitude sharper than last week.




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I needed to take a pause from the grooving and address the fact that all the recent work had affected the fit between the shroud and the upper receiver.  As I was happy with the shape of the shroud, the upper receiver would get material added to it.  The paint along the edge of the shroud looks darker because I've coated it with polyvinyl alcohol mold release.  I've roughed-up the edges of the receiver to promote adhesion.



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Yuck!  You are looking at two layers of material here, the fiberglass-filled Bondo with an overcoat of regular Bondo.  I carefully pushed the fiber-strengthened stuff into all the gaps inside and out, then used an overcoat of regular filler to fill in bubbles and smooth the surface.  This area will likely get hit with fast BBs during play, so I need the strength here.




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After I peeled my shroud away from that mess, I wet sanded the whole shroud, including the outer square groove and the inner half-round groove.  With a thick coat of filler primer, it should be about one more sand and paint away from being finished.




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Viola!  The grooves are looking good.  Just a couple of corners need attention and we'll call the groove complete.


Next, I'll finish tidying the groove and take the files to the lower bevels before re-squaring the cutout for the external stabilizers.  That should leave me with the shroud ready for remolding and get me started on the final detailing of the upper receiver.

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Re: Halo Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Beast

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