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Mike Rush
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Location: Hertfordshire, England

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That would be cool! I've seen them used by the dozen on things like fire alarm panels and petrol pump (gas station) consoles.

Remember as long as it's the illuminated switch, the colour doesn't matter! Smile

Thanks!
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joberg
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No probs...there's also bobsbits.tv/ They're based in the U.K. if I'm not mistaken and they sell all kind of stuff for movies and t.v.(propmakers love that company I'm told)...if I fail on my side, it could be fun to investigate these guys and what they can offer.
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Mark Sheppard
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2010 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can get you some of these buttons. A Transac, or Tokheim vision console buttons, or Schlumberger Pro console buttons are similar
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Mike Rush
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the offer JT! Are they similar, or the same? Like most people here, I want to be as accurate as possible.
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8th_Passenger
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike,

I've just been reading again through this thread and noticed you were looking for someone to cut you a pattern to mould the clear part of the key in. I have access to a laser cutter and would be happy to help (for free of course). Also I am in your neighborhood!

Here are two ways you could do it,

You could cut the shape out and then do a silicone mould, but the clear polyester resin does tend to stay tacky (as already mentioned). This can be cleared away with wet and dry and then polished up but the key has lots of faces so this may not be so easy.

The other option I thought of is to laser cut the shape as hole in some MDF or perspex. Then screw this to a board. Then wax the hole created with parting /mirror wax. This should release the clear casting resin from the mould and hopefully not be too tacky when removed. Then clean up with wet and dry and polish (and maybe some washing up liquid in the mix. That does ring a bell.) I also think polyester clear cast sets well against polythene.

Tiranti's is a good place for moulding materials (Warren Street in London) and 4D Modelshop (Tower Hill in London) both have websites.

Colin
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Mike Rush
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Colin, where were you a month ago! And you're in Hertfordshire too! Wink

I think I have someone cutting the shape for me - we've been in talks just this week. But I might come back to you if it doesn't work out - would that be okay?

I have used both of those companies you mention (Tiranti's a lot).

Everything you say makes sense, but I was planning to do the silicone mould method. On the advice of this thread, I got some Smooth-On clear polyurethane resin, which apparently should set nice and dry in a silicone mould. I'm ashamed to say I haven't tried it yet. Embarassed
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8th_Passenger
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike,

I'm still happy to help if you need me.

I'll be interested to see how the Smooth-On clear polyurethane works out. I have used it it the past! I find all clear casts are a bit hit and miss generally. Usually takes a few attempts to get what you want. But this thread does seem to favor it.

My only possible advice would be to have a reasonable gloss finish on your original so the silicone picks it up and transfers it to the clear cast.

Unfortunately my advice doesn't come with a guarantee!

Good luck

Colin
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Mike Rush
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, hit and miss... trouble with this prop is that I only really get one attempt! I'll never get the electronics out for a second try.

That is assuming I can find enough parts for even one replica. At the moment, most of it is still up in the air. I think I'm going to have to compromise on accuracy, a lot.
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joberg
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, it's quite complicated to miss that one (unless you have 2 sets of every little wiggets in that key in case of a "miss"). As you said Mike, it seems that all those little pieces are going to be difficult to find/reproduce.
If not for accuracy, at least the "close enough" will have to do Wink
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8th_Passenger
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike,

You say you only have on attempt but you must have enough clear cast to do a few. So before you use your good bits of electronics do a test with any old bits you have lying around. That way you get to do a test run with no loss of hard to find components. Also you get to see how the resin layers up after each pour and weather you need to apply your bits while the urethane is still tacky. This may hold them in place when you do the next pour and so on. Also you get to see if the whole thing cures properly.

Colin
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propsjonnyb
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I could offer some advice here , I suggest using Clear Cast Crystal Resin available as a two part mix at most Hobbycraft stores , its used mainly to embed flowers or insects for paperweights and things , but it is easy to use with silicon molds and does not come out sticky , I have used it for years when I need anything clear, for example headlights, canopies etc it does benefit if you allow the cast to cure in a warm place, say an airing cupboard or on top of your central heating boiler it says 24 hours to fully cure, but I would always allow an extra day drying and this has worked for me for the last 15 to 20 years , its also relatively inexpensive, and a kit goes a long way.
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Mike Rush
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a miracle!



I have started getting the buttons together. I still can't believe I have to buy all these pieces separately...



... just to make one working, illuminated switch. Shocked But at least now I know. And there was a mistake in the RS catalogue and website, which was holding me up considerably. In the end I had to go to one of their trade counters and get the staff to put the pieces together in front of me. That's when we discovered the mistake, which I have now reported to RS.

Unfortunately I'm still not rich enough to plunk down the money and buy all the parts at once, so I'll be getting a few at a time. Embarassed

In other news, looking at the film again I noticed three things.

First, that white thumbprint scanner actually has 'THUMB' written on it! It may seem obvious, but it's rubbed off on the real prop and I'd never checked before.



Second, Ripley doesn't punch in the same code as Dallas does. I was all ready to write this off as sloppy continuity ("Ah, just press whichever ones you want - the last one opens the door")... but then I realised that it does make sense! The unit is identifying the crew member by their thumbprint, so it follows that each person could have their own PIN, if you like. Different thumbprint, different code. Very Happy

Finally, there's a lovely shaped piece of something which covers over the slot for the door lock (now missing). I'll be adding that to my plans!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike,

Glad you've made progress with your switches.

I'd also noticed the "Thumb" and Dallas and Ripley having different codes when I watched it the other day.

That cover over the door lock is a great spot, I thought it looked a bit rough in the photo's from Bob Burns' museum. Still note quite sure how that door release works though.

Have you made any more progress with casting the key yet?



Colin
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Mike Rush
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, like I said someone agreed to CNC it for me... which of course means I'm kind of at their mercy depending on how much free time they get to do it. It's in their hands!

I'll try and do a diagram of how I believe the latch works tomorrow - extrapolated from the photos and what Steve was able to tell me.
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Mike Rush
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 4:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, here is how I think the latch works.

There's a steel rod running from top to bottom of the box. This rod is free to rotate. In the middle it has attached to it a small brass ball. The lid has a goalpost-shaped hoop protruding down. When the door is closed the ball 'catches' in the hoop (Fig. 1).

The steel rod has a perpendicular rod attached to it, which goes down through the back of the box. Behind the floor of the box there must be a solenoid, or something (A) which is able to push the rod to one side (Fig. 2).

When the rod is pushed, the main rod and ball rotate. The ball has one side filed flat. When this side comes around enough, it releases the catch and the door springs open (Fig. 3).



I could have some of this backwards, missed something, or I could be totally wrong! Steve?

BTW I do realise this is quite a bizarre mechanism. I imagine the prop-builder making it up as he went along, using whatever he had lying around. That's not a criticism by the way! Smile
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joberg
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great stuff Mike! No news on my side concerning the switches Crying or Very sad
Keep up the good work.
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SKIN JOB 66
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great mechanical theory ! The access procedure to MUTHUR will have no secret for you by the time this project will be 100% completed !

Fred
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Harry Harris
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Rush wrote:
I imagine the prop-builder making it up as he went along, using whatever he had lying around.

That's often the way. I know the Smart Guns for Aliens were made using Kawasaki parts because the motorcycle shop across the road from Bapty was a Kawasaki dealership, and I remember Terry Reed telling me that he used a lot of Hama camera parts on the Aliens Motion Trackers because the local camera shop sold a wide range of that brand.

Harry
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SKIN JOB 66
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry Harris wrote:
Mike Rush wrote:
I imagine the prop-builder making it up as he went along, using whatever he had lying around.

That's often the way. I know the Smart Guns for Aliens were made using Kawasaki parts because the motorcycle shop across the road from Bapty was a Kawasaki dealership, and I remember Terry Reed telling me that he used a lot of Hama camera parts on the Aliens Motion Trackers because the local camera shop sold a wide range of that brand.

Harry


Sounds logical... It's what real craftmanship is all about, after all ! ("do your best with what you have in hand")

Fred
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8th_Passenger
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike,

Your definitely on the right train of thought with the door mechanism. Its hard to see exactly what shape the release part is on the photo's, but your theory has me convinced so far.

Is there enough room in the lower part of the box for everything or do the switches and solenoid stick out the back? I noticed Bob Burns has the original mounted on the corner of some shelves making me think it wont fit flush to a solid vertical surface.

Colin
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