More catch up on the quad v2- the muzzles

Hey, Gang,

With Celebration set to start in a matter of hours, I want to get things caught up as much as possible.  First up are the muzzles.

The plan is to have them light up right as their barrel “fires,” for about a half a second, going out before the barrel finishes its travel.  I started with the idea of LEDs, but the prop guy mentioned that when they had gotten a bunch of airsoft assault weapons for a show, the guns came with laser sights.  He thought (and the idea caught on very quickly), “it is a quad LASER gun.”


Trying out the laser on the ABS solid front muzzle version.  It was ok.  I didn’t get a shot of how well it dispersed from the front.

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The third version of the muzzle print- with some paper, I think, as a diffusion in the front.  You can see the chunks of PVC that were the planned method of putting the two halves together.  The light effect was great- nice and bright, though a bit uneven.



The setup with the lasers, version 1.  I bought a couple of clear acrylic hemishepres and roughed them up to be a diffusion ans well as a “focus crystal” of some sort (Hey, it works in lightsabers, right?)  A little hot glue as strain relief on the wires..

IMG_3249 IMG_3248

They work pretty well, but they have that intensity issue.  Also, with the aluminum housing there, they make the muzzle way too heavy.  The barrel dips too much


You can see how much it droops relative to the track behind it.

The next step was to eliminate all the aluminum of the housing and cut back on some of the material in the casting.


The shell on the left after a dremel had been taken to it.  The other three in their original form

IMG_3492 Build a small armature for the lasers…

IMG_3495and voila.  A lot less weight up front.

Unfortunateley, the intensity issue kept giving me issues.  The prevailing theory was that I damaged the little circuit attached to the laser when soldering.  Even bringing in a guest solderer, the effect ended up less than acceptable.  The picture there is the BEST of the four.

So the plan shifted back to LEDs.  I was also fretting about assembling the two halves of the shell.  The print had peeled up from the print bed, and that was naturally reflected in the cast, so the emitter end was giving me sleepless nights.  I finally decided to change the prints.




Instead of splitting longitudianlly, I sliced it in pieces the other way, with the back half sleeving in to the front end.  The hemispheres went in..



I made small tubes for color on one end and the LEDs on the other,

Built some spacers


And glued them in to the nose piece.


Instead of casts, which were heavier (and I couldn’t figure out the best way to make a mold of these without getting a lot more silicone rubber), I printed all four muzzles.  A little black spray paint inside the back piece, and then they went together


They are also about an ounce and a half lighter than their predecessors.




Quad v2 progress

It’s been a while since I put anything up about the reciprocating quad, and, since this is why I’m building it, I feel I should be hanging my head in shame.  I made quite a bit of progress on the framework and covering of the “blast chambers” (for want of a better term) during the run of the Nutcracker last Christmas, and kept the gun at the Opera House through the next two operas.

I think the last time I put any pictures up here, the frame was steel.  Weight is a major factor in how this will perform, so I had to learn to weld aluminum instead.


The side walls were from thinner wall tube, so that got interesting.



There are segments of Openbeam extrusions which act as a track for the barrels to slide on.


A look down the inside of the barrel, made from 1 1/2″ and 1 1/4″ PVC tube.  Note the guide partway down the barrel.


So all of that stuff above put me at the end of the summer.  I started working on the front ends of the blast chamber, basing it on a pepakura model of the IG-88 head and some pictures of someone’s studio scale 5 footer (at the time I thought it was a photo of the actual 5 footer.  I don’t know who’s photo it was originally).

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I tried out free-forming a greeblie on the base piece, with the intention of molding and casting these pieces.  I even put a Corellian Engineering Corp logo “stamped” into the cone section.  These were some of my early prints, and I hadn’t figured out how wildly tempermental ABS is to print with.  The base piece took about 28 hours to print, and when I first did the conical piece, I printed the full cone, on end.  That took 36, but turned out very poorly, and had too much support material in impossible – to remove places.

Additional printed pieces included the barrel guides mentioned earlier, a couple of muzzle variations, and the skin pieces for the side walls.

86CBA450-2457-4361-9F95-94FA11A5757A_zpscww8n0tw 935466E1-8E27-44FB-897D-F26A6E36555F_zpsc4gdzokt37D5D5AE-C405-49A3-8AF5-84C93BA08E56_zps8pfwgoej

Muzzle try 1-  Closed front end, blank supports inside for LEDs

IMG_2989 IMG_2990

Muzzle try 2- A connecting tube for the barrel, open ends, and lighting support structure (underneath the support material from the printer.  I wasn’t sure how I would attach the two halves together and still be able to get to lighting gear inside, so I redid the model again to include a tapered open end that was stepped and would allow a piece of 1 1/4″ PVC pipe to act as a collar.  This is what I molded and cast.



The side wall panels- I couldn’t do it all in one piece, since the walls are about 3′ long and my printer is just under 1′ square, but I found out about friction welding, and I figured that the CEC folks might have welded multiple panels together, so that’s what I did, too.  I glued all of the panels to a piece of 1/8″ plexi, leaving two panels per side as removable hatches for access to the pneumatic valves.


As of December, 2014


Needs a little alignment, but this was a fun sight to walk in to the apartment to

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I redid the base model and got rid of the free-form greeblies, putting vents in the piece instead.  I also cut the conical pieces in two to make the print a little better.  These are before sanding, just fitting up the stack.

IMG_3391IMG_3399 IMG_3396


I skinned the inside face of the side walls with aluminum, and mounted the valves.


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I also got the yoke started.  Back to welding steel.  Much more comfortable

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More later



Marching Orders and a Mad Dash to the Phoenix Festival

Hi Gang,

Last night was a GREAT evening! The team met up, we’ve got our marching orders and we have a little under 3 weeks until The Alabama Phoenix Festival. It’s a 3 day event in Birmingham, AL.  Here is a rundown of the tasks before the show…

Mike and I will be working the front window and door greeblies, Daniel and I will be welding the swivel seat posts, a simple skin will finally be added, and Jake and Daniel will be addressing ALL the LEDs. Also, some red flashing LEDs will be added to the quad. After that, a nip & tuck here and there and the cockpit is finished.

I am really excited!  But wait… there’s more!

I’m nearly finished working on the files needed for the CNC to cut ALL NEW cockpit panels to include the new center console. Not only will the CNC cut the panel shapes but ALL the holes necessary for the LEDs and the switches. Better yet, to accompany the new panels will be an exterior grade vinyl wrap that we’re looking into that will take place of the paint and pinstriping. The next cockpit will be a superior product all the way around!

LOTS of pics headed your way! Stay tuned! The mad dashes are always fun filled…

UPDATES! Nav Chair, Quad Cannon and “May the 4th Be With You”

Hi Gang

My apologies for the lack of updates… things have been (as always) very hectic!  So… Enjoy!  :)

The nav seats are really coming along!

Philip, a Mind Gear Lab buddy and quasi-team photographer was nice enough to lend his talents… Check these out!

Jessie drew and built this Han Solo “Height Requirement” stand!

Enjoying a little and much deserved down time…

Picked up some new greeblies

Mike then fabricated this awesome greeblie using a PC fan shroud – we’re not quite sure where to put it. : )

May the 4th Be You!  We celebrated May 4th with a return trip to Nashville Science Center!  I didn’t get as many pics as I would have liked.  It was a MADHOUSE in the most positive way!

After some much deserved time off, the Huntsville team is getting back together and we are about to tackle lighting the Cockpit in time for DragonCon!  We only have a few months to pull it off.  Also… during this rush, several of us will be building a second (YES A SECOND) cockpit!  We’re going to take advantage of Mind Gear Labs and build a whole cockpit using the CNC, laser cutter and 3D printers.  Also, we’re looking into having ALL the panels vinyl wrapped – NO MORE paint and pin stripes…

Hang on!  This is where the fun begins!

Quad v2- bits and pieces

Hi, Folks,


I finally got a chance to get started on the lighter weight version of the framework (and by get started, I mean cutting a bunch of little pieces and drilling a few holes.



They really don’t look like much right now, but




clean up the edges, drill a few holes in them, (I started out dreading having to drill the holes, whining about this many.  Then I remembered Greg and company working on the cockpit, and suddenly, 40 holes isn’t so many)



tap 8 holes to be 1/4″-20 threaded…



and I have the front and back end of the frames almost ready for me to start welding.  I still need to cut out the 1″ holes in the 1/4″ plate pieces for the piston head to fit through, but this had made a good stopping point for the night.


Tomorrow- putting on the peril-sensitive sunglasses and setting up to make a few pieces of aluminum into one big piece, preferably without melting anything.  Fingers are crossed.  Take care.



The Quad v.2 (.5?)

Sorry I haven’t gotten much updated on the quad lately.  I’ve been away from shop space, and have been wrestling with a weighty conundrum- literally.  I did get a sheet metal housing built for around the motor inside the frame, but I am getting VERY concerned with how heavy the structure is getting.  It is currently sitting at 42 pounds, without pistons, motor, the side walls, and any of the PVC body of the guns themselves.  I’m starting to consider using what I have as a prototype and starting over with aluminum, at least for the bulk of what I have already built.

The pros:  lighter, easier to drill holes in

The cons:  more expensive, I’ve never welded aluminum

Ultimately, I think the pros outweigh (sorry for word choice there) the cons.

There’s just the terror factor of the “new” I’m facing.  (Get over it, Scot)

Sheet metal motor housing.  covers the top and bottom faces of the framework

Sheet metal motor housing. covers the top and bottom faces of the framework



To get a sense of where the barrels will sit, and how much of a surface is getting added to the “in between” area


The first barrel, cut and notched to fit around the frame and pillow block, with the other three ready for the saw.



The four barrel bodies loosely in place.


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