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your own Star Trek The Original Series Communicator
following tutorial is the work of Will from PA, and you might have seen
his work in the ASAP boards. A few months ago, he asked that I host some
of his images on this site. After adding a host of images, templates,
and Works in progress, Will and I are presenting this tutorial on how
to make your own Star Trek communicator from scratch. Follow along with
the construction, down load the templates and get in the shop and build
you one. Will has been making communicators and phasers for years, and
now he wants to share his experiences with the prop building community.
Click here to learn how to make your
own Star Trek Phaser I & II or a TOS Tricorder.
2x4 will do)
sheet metal (for grill) brass is best.
1/16" aluminum (for midplate)
coat hanger (grill frame)
semi flat black paint
dowel rod (for grill axle cover)
Router and Table
Contour gauge [if using a reference communicator, and not the templates]
awl or punch
medium and fine grit
awl or punch
is the reference communicator. This is one of the prop replicas that
you use to be able to find at the SciFi conventions. The maker is
unknown but possibly made by Starland. Will uses a carpenters contour
guide to make the templates from.
the template file. Print it out on your printer. The scale is there
to provide a reference for scale.
1: trace the templates onto the wood block
2: cut out rough shape by hand or by using a band saw
3: disk and belt sand to trace line
4: trace side template.Remove most material with band saw then sand
5: disk and belt sand side profile
6: rough block ready for antenna wheel and panel cutout
7: a router is usefull for hollowing out panel area
8: rough antenna fit
9: cut slots for wheels.Mark panel cutout using antenna
10: chiseled out panel area
11: styrene insert for panel area so no sanding of chiseled area is
required.This will all be puttied in later
12: styrene insert and hinge detail-note axle is removable via two
13: rough fit the grill
14: Exploded view of the two parts
15: Putty the styrene/wood seams.
16: Sand and fill with epoxy. Sand all surfaces smooth.
17: Dry fitting prior to painting.
18: primer 5 coats
|STEP 19: painted
halves.I used duplicolor flat black lacquer -about 5 coats
||STEP 20: halves
epoxied to mid plate and parts ready for gluing
||STEP 21: last
look with no parts.notice holes for train wheel shafts
22: panel,knobs ,and screen are in. (the screen is a piece of kitchen
foil pressed into a window screen with 1/32" holes punched
in,then painted gold) and only the foil is actually glued on.
images pending] [template pending]
Draft a grid on a piece of paper (3/32 hole on a 5/32 spacing staggered
Lay the grid on sheet metal
Punch each intersection of the grid using awl
Drill each punch mark with 3/32" bit (approx 200 holes to drill)
Fold the flat piece of sheet metal to form the shape of the grill
Bend the coat hanger to fit around the grill and bend at approx 45 degrees
at the ends.
Cut 2 sections from a 1/2" metal rod for the wheels.Drill axle holes(
I just use an 8 penny nail for the axle)
Drill into the wheels using a bit the size of the coat hanger (usually
Stick the free ends of the coat hanger frame into the wheels
Crazy glue the grill onto the frame (crazy glue allows you to "spot
weld" metal together.
option is to purchase some of the correct grid material. One source would
be the cheap grill materials for speakers found at the local Raido Shack.
final option would be to purchase the correct material from a wholesaler.
This can be expensive. One quite for a 4' x 8' sheet of grill materials
was into the hundreds of dollars. Ouch.
pending, but for now, a good source is old computer hard drives! The old
Conner series "Tall" type drives have aluminum bushing on the
inside that are nearly perfect. Stack three together and volia! Instant
morie` disk. [images pending]
pending, but for now consider a 1/16 thick aluminum stock. Cutting the
"speaker" square hole is the hardest part. [images pending]
but most hobby stores have lots of jewels or rhinestones. [images pending]
*note: all images
regarding the construction of the communicator body are property of Will,
PA. Used with permission.