Chevron 1.0 done !

Yipee ! I finally found the time to complete our first chevron’s model. So I can write here a full article about its creation and the different techniques we used.

I’m going also to talk about the V.2.0, especially because it served as test and as embellishment for our stand. 😉

After some moral problems in obtaining our first chevron – we had first to re-create the chevron or find an original – I started working on a forex model:

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Then we decided to make an exchange with our contact in England, Andy. We made him a Backpanel, in exchange, we got a portion of the front panel (original copy), a chevron (V original copy center and made by Andy himself) and its flanges (copy of original).

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After some putty and sanding, I was ready to make the mold.

Step 1: Prepare the model by sticking it against the table, make a plasticine seal around it to avoid leakages towards the chevron’s underside, spray the table with a release agent in order to prevent the glass table from breaking, because of a suction effect (the resin suction effect on the glass is unforgiving). Then build a LEGOS wall !

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Then a few layers of silicone.

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Then widen the LEGOS wall and cut the silicone edge in order to create “teeth” which will fit into the resin shell (the “teeth” form is the same used by the artists who worked for the series).

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And a few layers of resin and fiber glass mat.

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Wooden slats are added to the resin to avoid its distortion because it is polyester.

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And demoulding.

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Trust my memory, everything went well, I took the time to make one more layer of silicone without additive, on the thixotropic layer in order to have a smooth surface which can better fit the hull resin.

Consider the use of a release agent or some silicone on your LEGOS before moving on to the resin to avoid having to buy new ones.

Henceforth we have a mold, now it is time to test it.

This time, I used a release agent despite our silicone with inherent mould-release properties, this avoids attacking the mold. We could also directly use some paint which merge into the resin, but the chevron is transparent, so it is rather difficult to be accurate with this kind of shape.

I color a first layer of resin which solidifies.

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I pour another layer, transparent this time, which allows me to save some dye (which is very expensive). In normal circumstances, this should have worked, but I guess the first layer was too thin and creeped into the second layer. That made ​​some unwanted volumes. Let’s go to sand.

Note that we used backing molds based on what was done for SG1, thereby obtaining a transparent shape, hollow but reinforced.

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When sanding, I turned the chevron over and it exploded into three pieces.

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A stroke of resin to connect everything.

A stroke of tape (it takes hours).

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Adhesion layer in order to hold well the paint.

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A primer layer in dark gray.

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And then, I had to find a way to create gray light effects like on the original model. I had a little bit of stress at this moment, wondering if I could find a convincing solution, I thought that using a crumpled paper or a plastic bag or a cloth would work, but we couldn’t get the arched lines. I wanted to finish this chevron on the same day, so I made ​​use of everything that came into my hands until I found the right object.

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When removing the tape, the chevron broke again. So I used a contact adhesive and re-casted some resin at the back to make it sturdier.

And presto, a few LEDs to light everything. We’ll use of course a diffusion filter in order to have a less dotted light. That will not even be a strip like this which will serve as final lighting. But at least, it’s classy and brings us credibility.

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Someone told me that the contrast between the grays was too high, so I rubbed the chevron with some black and it’s now definitely finished.

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So what ? Are you still not convinced by our MacGyverism? 😉
So take the time to watch the demoulding video … late at night … on a motorway rest area … just before to get back on the road to Toulon.

*Video coming soon*

 

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First Casts : Backpanel’s Children

Hello with a coming back sun !

I hope that everyone’s fine and survives the end of the “school” year (exams, overbooked agenda, etc).

Here a new article to tell you about our first backpanel’s reproductions + the small cast of the bottom of the piece.
Some photos, our results, observations, attempts and solutions ; I wish you a nice reading. =)

Dramatic Music

Everything began little more than a month ago, as the rain and cold of May in full swing were. While all the holy people were drowning between blankets, slippers and hot drinks, we were trying in Choulex to put up a tent in the garden, and under a snaky wind who harasses tarpaulin and twines, were moving all the equipment from Quentin’s room to this makeshift shelter.

Epic Music

We don’t work in vain ! After organized, doodled, spammed during several weeks, a first team of motivated peoples came a weekend for THE first molding. Big thanks to Yannick, Paola, Florian and Florian’s friend for bringing camera. For the second cast, we’ve got Loïc, JC, Yoan and Yannick. Thanks to them again !

You can turn off the music

I point out that being five people is really the bare minimum to be effective, chain quickly so the layers don’t have time to dry completely (because they dry quickly!). They must always be partially sticky / wet to adhere to each other. As for being more than 5, it is really luxury, you can then raise the head of toxic fumes and stretch in order not to break back and neck to be bent double non-stop.

After cleaning the silicone mold and prepared the material, Quentin has briefed us. He also warns that once launched, it would be non-stop for at least 2 hours.

First mixture: gelcoat and black coloring (basic color of a segment). It is spread with medium brushes in order to put the gel in each gap. After waiting about 15 minutes for the gel to stick but not remain on fingers, we continue with resin and fiberglass. It is important to:

163577_10201016814601918_1714466852_n  First backpanel : too much black colouring agent

  • Not using to much black colouring agent. The piece will be too dark
  • Mix well the gel to the colouring agent in order to avoid a first layer with some spots more lighter than the rest.
  • Be particularly careful to the bubbles that the gel can create, et be sure all the reliefs and the chinks are full.

II4A1680  First backpanel : reliefs of the lengths in the middle are all cracked and imprecise.

Please Note : Using a toothpick on the 2nd backpanel has been positive to minimize the bubbles.

IMG_5837  Second backpanel: bubbles (but still less)

We cut the fiberglass first, then mix in other bowls the resin and the thixo, we stir well and let’s started for a tapping with brushes soaked with this mixture. It must tap (and not spread) on the tissue to “wet” it and stick it to the gel coat. The product’s mixture transforms the fiber in some kind of filamentous jelly. Rubbing is precisely what creates the most wrinkles and bubbles.

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We starded from the left side of the piece and proceed step by step until the end. Being methodical is a good way to not forgot area and starting again with a second layer once at the other side, because the beginning of the piece is dry.
Warning: this means that there are two glass mat layers to cut ! It’s really recommanded to have the whole pre-cut glass mat in order to avoid a “Oh shit, I forgot to cut enough,” the brush thrown anywhere (in the gravel for example ) and a rushe into the house with scissors (my own experience…hum).

The fiberglass, cut either in average bands or in small ones (it’s better with small ones) doesn’t lay well on the piece’s reliefs. We experimented that giving cutter strokes around the bumps reduces a lot the amount of bubbles. Please note that the cutter/scissors used for this will be unusable at the end. However, if you soak it in white spirit immediately after completing, its life could possibly stretch to the next cast. This is one of the advantages of being many, a person can only focus on the aim “scissor kick”, while others play with bowls and brushes.

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Once the two layers made, we let dry (at least one hour before unmolding).

We noticed that the first backpanel slightly twisted when it finished to dry out of the silicone, we decided to leeavefor a week. It was pretty conclusive. However, the release was difficult. Because the piece was totally rigid, it was necessary to be very careful not to tear the silicone.

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First and second backpanel out of the silicone placenta.

By far, they are beautiful, they are great, we love them ! Closely … Quentin grumbles (Well, we know, he’s a perfectionist, chuut). Here is why he’s a bit disappointed :

1) Some kinds of spots. They must came from the silicon mold itself, but with paint, they will probably disappear.

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2) Breaks in the angles, most notably on the small squares. Unfortunately, that can’t be fixed. Before the silicone molding, I made the unbearable work of precision to fill them all with plastiline (made at the exact continuity of the shape, if that it’s not love of well done work) but nothing hold (sniff).

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3) Some kinds of black masses. They’re bubbles inside the silicone itself and we didn’t see them during the molding. Gladly, those masses can be easily remove with a milling machine.

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About the bottom of the piece – some of you already saw pictures on facebook or in the previous article- it has been done by Quentin and myself the weekend before the second backpanel. We wanted to test different things like : working with smaller fiberglass’s bands, how to do better to improve ourselves not making bubbles, etc.

The result was nice, even if there were big internal bubbles. For now we use that piece like a training piece. Indeed, it completely twisted in a week, because we had cut the edges, it was very light and not totally dry. We already tested some shadows with paint, filed the edges with the milling machine, et soon we should fill the holes with resin + mastic.

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Well that’s that, it was really a big work that we have only to make…7 times again ! (argg)

We have to order materiel (and 2000 bucks more !). But this time, instead using glass mat, we will use fiberglass for the first layer (after the gel coat). That’ll allow to be more precise. Because using scissors is fun, but gives not a perfect result.

Otherwise, we let us the choice if we making a third layer of resin (=additional costs) because of the lightness of both previous backpanels. They become too flexible.

As always, we let you know 😉

Have a good week end !

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WIP: Molding

Friday, April 19.
After finishing my work week in Theater in Lausanne, I take the train to Geneva and go back to the countryside, home, it is also the workshop of the MacGyver Children because nobody has really offered us an other place for working.

I barely had time to rest that already I have to go again to the station to welcome Julien, a fan of SG Project who comes straight from Amiens in France to help us during this weekend. Julien discovers quickly political and cultural differences and practices between France and Switzerland.

It is around a barbecue that we finf another part of the team: Cyrielle, Thibault, Benjamin – and Alex who support us morally and is excited by the project but can’t help us this time becuse of lack of time. However, he reassures us, as soon as the door is finished, he will be part of the creative team for the life-size role playing around our favorite series.

End of a quiet evening over a beer, we find Clement at the bar, but tonight we will not celebrate, tomorrow we cast of Stargate™!

Saturday, April 20.

Hard awakening for me, Clément and Julien who slept there because I welcome the people who come to work. We didn’t drink too much but spoke together a long time about the project. This is the doorbell (Cyrielle) which roll us out of bed. I arranged indeed to meet everyone at 7am to be ready at 8am at least.

Breakfast, wait, I take the opportunity to create a twitter account for the association (@ EMG_Sg11) just to tell a little about the molding in real time. Unfortunately, because I’m not familiar with twitter and everything went very quickly, I didn’t really have time to use it.

The rest of the team (cited above) joins us a little late, but with croissants. We go up to my room (the workshop on the second floor), Thibault prepars two cameras just to film and take pictures. Lucky that I created a few month ago a little traveling, it’ll at last useful.

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In the meantime we bring everything needed for molding, stored below in the garage since it’s arrived by post. We have before us:

  • A table on tripods in order to move it.
  • The SG Backpanel prepared by us (and surrounded with a plasticine joint, this way the silicone doesn’t flow inward).
  • A jar of Vaseline (used as a mold release agent).
  • Twenty brushes.
  • Gloves.
  • Masks against harmful gases.
  • A whole bunch of other things that will be mentioned below.

Note: Always wear gloves, the products used here can be corrosive and it will also prevent you from spending hours washing your hands. The mask is necessary because, even our silicone doesn’t smell very much, harmfu gases can be given off and in the event of repeated inhalation exposure could make us sick.

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The material put in place, I start with a quick briefing of what should happen the molding, based on this little drawing done in the train the day before:

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And so it’s time to attack!

First thing to do is to pass the vaseline throughout the table to prevent the mold from sticking, we were told that it was unnecessary on the backpanel itself, as the removing nature of the silicone.

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Next operations, in order to make this mold by impression coating techniques, we have in front of us:

  • Brushes again.
  • Tongue depressor.
  • Reusable plastic bowls.
  • Two cans of 20Kg Silicone.
  • Two bottles of 1Kg catalyst for silicone.
  • Three pots of coloring for silicone.
  • 1kg (it was too much) thixotropic agent for silicone.

First silicone layer, our 3325 RTV (silicone) is mixed with our 5% catalyst and we spread them over the backpanel while being careful not to damage anything. The plasticine which is above could be easily removed and it would create some holes in future parts. We do turns to help each other to pour the content of the big drum in bowls.

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The Backpanel gradually becomes totaly white, all we see is the edges protruding under the layer of 1mm thick.

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The silicone is very liquid and so we don’t nedd to mix it with diluent (on the advice of the salesman who told us that it would only make it more fragile). However the amateur brush strokes will make create some traces and bubbles that we’ll later discover on the mold. But it doesn’t matter, the important thing is to do the best according to our abilities.

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It is already 12 o’clock. The brushes are left ; we could theoretically wash them with acetone but we dont’ have some, and they cost only € 0.60 each. We try to clean our 10 bowls with harmless products, but it doesn’t work very well. We wait for the “freezing”, which means that the silicone’s still tacky but doesn’t stick to our fingers anymore. That takes a long time, time to rest a bit and talk about the following, we eat a good meal prepared by the hostess (my mum) which supports the project as much morally as financially.

16h: Second layer. This time, the silicone is mixed with catalyst and more thixotropic agent in order to make it more dense. A few drops of coloring too allow to know where we already sread with our second layer. Only a brush tip of Thixo’s enough to harden it, some end up so with a very thick paste, others much less. Difficult to be precise with small amounts, but act otherwise is impossible. We spread something like 4mm tickness everywhere on the mold. We incorporate our registry keys (previous article) too, by dropping them gently, without pressing not to mark the mold. We start to working the few hollow and bumps who could spoil the mold.

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We wait again. With Thixo the mold should freeze faster. Time for Thibault to go and buy horse beef tartare for his birthday, which occurs in the evening.

Third layer, Thibault left, Clement’ll do so in the next few hours in order not to miss the birthday’s beginning. We stay four, but with a great desire to tartar, to finish this layer. Same layer as before, but without coloring. The color difference informs us once again on the location and distribution of our silicone. We add a little more Thixo to thicken and apply it with spatulas.

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Careful, we must put your keys in this layer, they’ll otherwise not stay up well. The more this layer is smooth, the more the following’ll easier, so we give the mold a coat of silicone without thixotropic to smooth things away.

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Last layer of silicon + thixo to fill hollows that remain and we’re done ! Towards Thibault’s birthday Thibault (we could not leave the mold before, even if we would have liked to go with Clement… ). Cyrielle drives and we hope that silicone vapors didn’t go straight to her head.

*party all night, sleep on the sofa, get up at 6am for me and Julien to drive through the town*

Sunday, April 21

This time in the morning, only Cyrielle, Julien and me are expected. Up early, we take time with Julien to start to remove some flaws on the mold, using a knife but being careful not to damage the silicone who would be now irreparable. The aim is to clean it by removing flaws which could bother with the resin thereafter. The wooden edges used as delimitation for the silicone are removed. Cyrielle arrives late, her alarm clock didn’t ring, but she’s just in time to start the following.

This time, we have:

  • The eternal brushes / spatulas / bowls.
  • One can of 20Kg polyester resin.
  • 500g of catalyst.
  • A lot of glass mat (= some fiber taken in a diluted resin base, giving an fabric appearance a tissue, easier to work with).
  • Metal tubes pre-cut to the needed size.
  • Wooden blocks.

First layer, only three people, it’s a bit more complicated to manage everything: pour, spread with a brush, etc.. But fortunately, everything works. We spreads a first resin layer, the smell is very strong, masks are requiered. I think we should have started directly with glass mat, only a first layer with resin wasn’t useful. We get a little lost about where we’ve already spread some resin, because of its transparency.

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Sophie joins us during molding. In a few moment she wears a mask, we barely have time to say hello, I have already to brief her.

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We end this first layer with brushes though like stone. This time, the resin’ll dry much faster (about 15 minutes) so we can hardly stop.

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Yannick, Martin and Maya join us for this second part.

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Second layer, this time we’re well more. We have the luxury to ask Martin to take some pictures instead of playing with all the gadgets in my room. The glass mat is cut to cover the entire mold is applied. It’s more difficult this time because with all the nooks and crannies, you must constantly cut in the glass mat while applying it to prevent it from makind folds. I can say now with hindsight that we literally flood the glass mat with resin, which often created large fiber bundles. Next time, we will stamp only, it’ll use less resin, otherwise its just a mess and makes the mold more fragile. But despite that, it “works.”

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This layer is completed, we receive a visit from Benjamin and his roommate, they come just to say hello and Benjamin tells me that Clement and Thibault will let us down for the molding end.

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The rate is fast, we move on to the third layer, the same as before, and as soon as it starts to dry, I took the opportunity to insert wooden wedges trapped with a little fiberglass, in order to raise the sides who’ll welcome thereafter the tubes.

This layer’s finished, we must place tubes on the piece. It’s rather complicated because it’s not completely flat and there’s the rounding of the registry keys everywhere. While doing this, because it’s already late, everyone takes the time to eat his lunch in turn. That also allows a break and not to breath for a moment the saturated air with vapor resin.

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Perpendicular tubes are added. Initially we wanted to force against the mold because it is not flat, as mentioned above, but I was too afraid that it would distort the mold, so I preferred that the tubes are less close to each others rather the mold’s deformed.

Julien and I seem strangely working well with our only three hours of sleep (without siesta). People go one after the other while the mold’s drying. While some rest, others look skits on the internet. Julien leaves towards station,he looks very happy of what he’s done and found with these Swiss who’re still nice people. He’ll sleep all the way back.

We prefer to let the mold stand a day before the removing.

Tuesday, April 23

I take my evening to return to Geneva because according to my father, the mold is dry, we can turn it out.

Once there, I contacted Maya who lives across to get a little help, the mold is so big, it’s better to be 3-4 to deal with it.

We thought we could do it in 30 minutes, but took two hours. So why? The silicone wasn’t completely dry when we spread the resin. I was told that the release agent wasn’t necessary, but in fact it would have helped.

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So we try to raise the resin who’s cracking on all sides, we are afraid. So we take the time to unscrew the wooden covers used to “close” the backpanel before molding, the mold comes then off the table. But it’s impossible to detach the silicone from resin. We pull up all around, trying to put some air between the two parts, but nothing works. We return eight-handed the whole mold while the table’s collapsing into the little space that remaind in my room. On the floor, we pull again, nothing. We return it, put on trestles, pull, return. Fiber glass stuck in arms, we say that we will give up. But a corner comes off ! A wedge system is mounted to take off inch ba inch the silicone from the mold, but whitout too much pressure to avoid damaging either the mold or the room. Both molds, silicone and resin’re sticked out. Patienceless, we take a deep breath and slowly release it all, finally!

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And then sleep because full of fatigue and very late.

This is a beautiful mold so that we had in front of us, beautiful! I congratulate everyone who participated in this very large cast and I thank the time they have gave to it. For those who’re in the association, they get the active status, for others they can register and will automatically receive it.

Soon the following !

If you want a summary, don’t hesitate to download the report molding with what not to do and what to think about: Moulding report

A small video as example of a similar molding : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKTjqeQMEhU&list=PLE8537A795B7B0531

Since the molding, we took a weekend to test a first draw. This time, the draw is made of resin and glass mat, so it requires the catalyst. However, the first layer of the draw is with Gel Coat. This is a hard resin in which we mixed a black coloring because the base layer of the Stargate™ is actually black.

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Extirpated from its mold, the draw is very beautiful despite some defaults, easy to recover and invisible by far.

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This was the story. Next Sunday we will make a complete drawing, hopefully everything will be fine !
I hope this article has been interesting. In the meantime feel free to comment, contact us, criticize … we want to hear from you!

And of course good appetite!

Molding of the Backpanel (Part 1)

This is not exactly the first part, there is a lot of work done upstream, which will be unveiled later.

Here we sink the “molding keys” that will serve the silicone mold to be well placed in the resin shell.

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All these half-spheres will be placed during the molding and incorporated into the silicone. They are kept very clean in order to stick at best and not to create bubbles.

For the molding we produced 78 keys.

Backpanel

Back from holidays ! Well…more exactly after the sequence: Comic Con Paris, a week of summer camp (cooking with some 13-15 years old children), during a week the organisation for the next camp, two weeks in a camp of life-size role-play (13-17 years). And me / us again!

I didn’t have much time to think about the project during these two month, so I continue where I stoped, and I carry on and talk about the rest.

So, coming back from the Comic Con, we brought back the long awaited (three months late) Backpanel! Which is now in my garage, ready to make himself up for molding. In the meantime, I’ll give you some interesting information that can be gained from observation of the piece, hoping that it will be useful for some and interesting for others.

In a general way, the Backpanel is an arc of 70cm thick. It is the ninth of the circle formed by the Stargate™. It is a part which is at the rear, and at each end is added a chevron.

Here are some steps that give an idea of the size of the piece:

Thanks to them, we can determine the exact diameter of the outside door which is 593cm (not 22 feet as it seems to be said in a making of) and the inside 461cm.

The piece has a total weight of 8.9 kg, a full serving should so weigh 25 kg with the electronics (but without the metal frame).

In therms of visual, the entire part look like this:

   

At each end there are geometric shapes with straight superimposed edges on two levels, these are usually under the chevron, we see one part that shows itself under.

I invite you to check the image bank to see it : https://picasaweb.google.com/106154105695443794525/Relief Note that the forms at the back are not the same as the front ones.

          

The first sculpted row of the Backpanel is made of 25 repetitive forms as well as two halves at the ends:

       

What follows is the second part as you can see in the first picture, however it is useful to focus on the different lines of engraved decorations on top, as well as the rest of Backpanel:

               

   
The last frieze of the section is made of oval rings separated and arranged as follows:

IIIIoIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIoIoIIIIIIIIIIIIIoIIoIIIIIIIIIIIooIIIIIIIIIIIIIIoII

Below these symbols we find many small rectangles, 74 in number.

Then some rows of reversed V which are intersected with upside down triangles this way:

/\_ v v_/\/\/\/\/\/\_v_/\/\/\_v_/\/\_v_/\/

We see here the ends:

   

The edges are completely flat:

   

The piece is not completely flat, we can be interested in several thicknesses:

               

That’s about everything, except these two little interesting details: first the small rectangles of the last frieze have been placed by hand, as we can see, they aren’t quite straight. Secondly, here is one of the circle that is at the outer end of the gate:

   

A not very well known thing, there are several hooks in the back, they are here 8 in number, probably used to fix the iris, there is also a guide / central ring which I do not know the utility:

   

Some will be surprised, but overall, the paint is a big black layer that became a bit bluish gray. A brushed paint gray / silver has been rubbed above it to give the metallic effect. This technique is widely used for this type of apperance, for exemple to give the impression that a plastic gun is metal.

During a multiple draw of the same mold, we see that some flaws appear, like here on the first image. Besides this detail, we can see a repentance on the gate, the artist removed a part or didn’t complete it. If we can deduct it, that’s because on the master (third image) we distinguish that this piece does not exist either. Finally, between the grooves, there are many tiny beads painted later, I wonder what it is, difficult to remove them without damaging the molding piece, they are therefore likely to remain on the final prints, what a pity, but it is not grave.

           

So here is the piece that will serve as a basis for all the cover of the SG. As a bonus, a few large cracks :

   

The Backpanel here is not so heavy because it is made of very thin layers of resin and chopped fiberglass. We see a first layer of black gelcoat too.

   

Well, all these photos in order to inform you that it’s a serious project, that we will return to work like a beaver and that we have good basics. I’ll keep you posted for further work!

Failed reproduction, but a reproduction anyway !

And an article about the chevron reproduction, which worked out fairly well.

/!\This article is written for informational purposes, once more, this reproduction will not be used in the project. /!\

Small criticism, we must make it lighter next time. It missed because of the plaster mould who wasn’t rigid enough, so we wedged it with blocks of plastiline.

Start earlier in the morning, because finishing the reproduction around midnight was indeed necessary, but not nice at-all.

So we start from the mold that you saw in the previous article and you put a first layer of Gel Coat to protect the chevron from the weather and make it strongly resistant. The Gel Coat is not very viscous and allows to catch all details of the mold.

REMINDER: Whether for casting or for printing, protect yourself with a mask who filters the gas, these products give off stuff not good for you, so don’t take risks !

Then the second layer of gelcoat because the aim was to work the surface by sanding, so we needed something thick.

And first layer of resin with fiber glass.

Then the last layer, always in resin, but this time with a glass fabric to make it super tough.

At midnight the cast is finally completed.

That rocks ! In short, for those who do not know what the resin and fiberglass look like (it’s the big pots, and between is the white spirit):

And the glass fabric:

For more information, please contact us. 😉