Airfix SR-N1 (1973)

Here I am building the Airfix SR-N1 hovercraft.

According to the box I have and the internet this is the 1973 release making it by far the oldest kit I have ever brought and made. The kit itself does not have many parts but due to its age and condition it was not the easiest build.

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The kit came from eBay and cost a lot more than £15 it seems to be pretty hard to get hold of one now

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I started by putting the chassis together and the associated parts that were all to be painted aluminium. I had to use a fair amount of model filler to fill the gaps between the bottom and top of the chassis. This was then spray painted.

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The parts to be painted blue were sprayed and test fitted to the model.

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The window screen is glued onto the cockpit and parts of it are hand painted blue. This was the worst part of the kit. Neither part lined up and the cockpit was damaged. I had to use a mixture of cutting, filling and sanding to get these parts to glue nicely together.

The duct is painted white and attached to the top of the lift chamber.

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The crew are painted and added glued to their seats. They both have life jackets, helmets and masks.

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The supporting posts and roof are glued into place completing the cockpit.

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The decals were very yellow so I used the old trick of leaving them on by a window for a few days so that the light whitens them.

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This is how they looked after a few days in the sun.

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Next I started to apply the decals to the rudders, these were tricky as the decals were larger than the rudders meaning they either had to overlap of have the excess cut off.

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The hovercraft with rudder decals and cockpit decal applied. The exhaust is painted black and the fire extinguishers are painted gold.

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All decals have now been applied and the frame of the cockpit window has been hand painted blue.

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Apollo 11 Astronaut 1/8 Scale

Being a bit bored of making military vehicles and a big fan of space exploration I picked up a couple of kits for the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary. This is the Revell Apollo Astronaut, I thought it would be an interesting kit as it will be the first time I have built a kit focused on a figure that size.

Continue reading Apollo 11 Astronaut 1/8 Scale

Bubblegram / Laser Crystal LED Stand

When I visited the European Space Center earlier this year I picked this cool bubblegram of the planets in our solar system. I decided to make a base for it so I could light it up with some LED’s.

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I decided to get with RGB LED’s so that I could have the colour change over time. Making a circuit for one of these was easy enough. I used 3 x 220 ohm resistors for each of the three anodes on each LED.

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I soldered the resistors to the LED and added cables for the anodes and cathode.

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An Uno board was used to test the LED. pins 9-11 (PWM pins) were used to control the colours and brightness. By altering the PWM width for each colour the brightness of each colour and thus colour mixing can be controlled.

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Next I set about designing the 3D model of my stand. I created a block the size of the bubblegrams I have and added a rim round the outside to hold it in place. I hollowed out the middle to make room for the electronics and cut a hold in the side for the power plug.

The stand is available on Thingiverse https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3633780

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There is no way an Uno board would fit in the stand so I picked up a Nano to use instead.

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Before squeezing the electronics into the case I decided to wrap the RGB boards I had made in shrink wrap to prevent them shorting out if press against the other boards. A hole was cut for the LED to poke through.

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The electronics were crammed into the stand. They literally just fit!

The LEDS were programmed to cycle through different colours in a loop.

The scripts I have written to do this to are available on my GitHub page. https://github.com/shane-powell/led-lighting

 

Tamiya Isuzu mu

I recently took my CC-01 Isuzu Mu on holiday with me. Here’s a short video and some photos of it in action.

The CC-01 has easily become my favorite Tamiya chassis. It runs well out of the box without hop ups and gives a great scale look. The only thing I changed in mine was to use a 55t motor.

x500 independent lift conversion

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Back when I received my x500 kit from Palaform it arrived with a lift duct to play with. I decided not to use it at the time as I just wanted to build the kit as standard but I decided it was time to experiment with it.

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I started by deciding on the location of the duct  and making it out with a compass. I cut Continue reading x500 independent lift conversion

Open RC F1 Improvements

Front Axles

As seen in my last post there were a few issues with my open RC build that needed resolving. The first was the front wheel axle snapping. I have since printed a whole collection of front axles with 100 % infill (solid). This makes them much stronger than when they were only 20%. As I printed a whole bunch I have spares at the ready if I need them.

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Steering

The next thing to look at was the steering. Here I was having issues with the servo not centering the wheels with no input. This indicated there were binding issues but it seems the servo may have also been at fault. While playing with the trim settings on the transmitter the servo went crazy and melted itself. There was a lot of smoke coming out so I quickly ripped out the Lipo battery and took the car outside. The house stunk of burnt electronics.

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The offending item was removed and remarkably caused no warping to the PLA chassis.

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I fitted a new servo and adjusted how the servo linkage worked to make the wire straighter.

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I also used  a multitool to sand down the inside of the car body so that the servo rod no longer snagged on it. Lastly I added a washer between the servo saver and lower chassis.

These things combined have fixed the steering issues I was having. The steering now centers itself and responds a lot better than before.

Tyres

I have been having a lot of fun printing TPU tyres at different settings and have made some progress with regards to producing tyres with more grip.

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That said the TPU tyres always lacked the grip of a rubber tyre so I caved in and brought some Tamiya tyres. I will go back to TPU when making a heavy vehicle as part of the problem is that the f1 car is so light the tyres are not creating much friction with the ground.

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The Tamiya tyres. I had no idea that these came in different compounds so I ended up with super soft rear tyres and standard front ones.

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New rims had to be printed for the Tamiya tyres and the wheel ends up a bit bigger than the printed tyre version. You can see that the rear tyre almost touches the bargeboard. This is good as it increases ground clearance a little which should lead to less damage when driving over uneven terrain.

I have only tested the Tamiya tyres indoors at the moment on wooden floor but I can already tell they perform miles better than the TPU tyres. I did make a second video however of my second generation TPU tyres at the weekend. These were a step up from my previous attempt which were much too hard. These are printed at 10%. I still have not had much success with printing them at 5% at all.

Next time with the rubber tyres the lack of grip should be a thing of the past!

Open RC F1 Test Run

So above is a video of my printed F1 cars first outing. For the most part it works pretty well but there are a few teething issues to sort out.

First the tires I have printed have no grip. I printed them with far too much infill and they are no where near soft enough. I do not want to give up and go to Tamiya tyres so will be playing around with reducing the infill and making these softer.

Secondly as you can see in the video the front axle snapped, I have reprinted a whole tray of these solid so the next ones will be stronger and if not I now have spares.

Lastly its not very noticeable in the video but my servo pusher is rubbing up against the body shell and causing the steering not to return to center. This should be easy to fix but I need to unscrew the body first.