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ncmreynolds 01-07-2014 10:54 PM

My ORAC build
OK, I thought I'd start a new thread instead of posting over here.

I've volunteered to make a prop ORAC for a LARP in October. It is not meant to be an accurate replica that fans will swoon over, rather something 100% recognisable as ORAC that will be used in the game. So I'll be making some time, cost and ease of building compromises.

I've delved round here and found a few things out that will help with the build, so I thought it only fair I show how I'm getting on.

ncmreynolds 04-07-2014 11:20 AM

So far I've made an approximation of the 'brain globe' out of...

The plastic sphere out of a giant Lindor sweet. Which I saved because it might come in handy ages ago and happens to be about the right size.

Eight 10mm diffuse red LEDs and some plastic cup washers. Lots cheaper and easier to find than correct panel lamps. I had the cup washers already.

Ten white 5mm LEDs made into a little 'light bomb' for the middle on some stripboard.

Wire, heatshrink and hot glue.

An Arduino nano.

Some manky old cotton wool. This is the naffest bit and I'll replace it later.

Having delved down my cellar I reckon I have enough clear acrylic already to build the main box, key box and orbital light chaser ring thing.

Which is a job for next weekend. The light chaser will be 10mm white diffuse LEDs, as I reckon the red ones worked well for this.

On order I have a bunch of coloured acrylic and clear tube.

ncmreynolds 07-07-2014 04:38 PM

I got my coloured and tube acrylic today. I'm looking forward to messing around with it and may 'edge light' the coloured sections even though they weren't lit in the original.

As I'm using a microcontroller, deciding whether or not to use them is a matter of code once I wire them up. I think I'll use an Arduino Mega which gives me a ton of GPIO pins without resorting to multiplexing or external drivers.

ncmreynolds 08-07-2014 10:28 PM

Tonight I started on the 'orbit' round the inner sphere. I took some of my stock acrylic, cut a strip, drilled the holes for the lights and started bending it with the aid of a heat gun.

It'll need slow and steady work to get nicely round, but I reckon I'll get there. Yes I am bending it round a stack of plates, they happen to be the right size.[/url]

ncmreynolds 10-07-2014 11:07 PM

Tonight's progress update is that having teased the strip of acrylic round the plate with the heat gun it was a bit uneven and wobbly. This would probably have done for my purposes but I'd prefer it to be nicely round.

So I popped it in the oven for half an hour, cable tied round the stack of plates as tight as I could manage and got it nicely warm through.

This seemed to even it up so I retied it a bit tighter and now I will leave it overnight to cool.

It currently looks really nice and even, we'll have to see what it's like once undone.

Exterminator 11-07-2014 07:07 AM

Wa-heyy! An Orac build! Good stuff, watching this with interest.

ncmreynolds 11-07-2014 07:35 AM

After cooling overnight. I have managed to mark it on the inside slightly from where it was wrapped round the plates but it's very usable.

ncmreynolds 11-07-2014 08:35 PM

After a little polish up I've fitted the lights to the 'orbit' ring. These are again 10mm diffuse LEDs hot glued into the hole with a plastic cup washer to make them look like fittings. I'm really happy with how this is looking.

ncmreynolds 11-07-2014 11:56 PM

So that's the 'orbit' all wired up and tested. I've used some old CAT5 patch leads and some spiral binding which I think gives a passably authentic look. So all in all I've made a reasonable bunch of progress tonight...

ncmreynolds 12-07-2014 01:42 PM

Next up, working on the key. The hole in the top is because I have a half formed plan the 'button' on the top will become the PTT for a PMR walkie talkie. I'm expecting to use a reed switch for detecting the key but am not really sure of a way to make an inobtrusive connection for the PTT.

ncmreynolds 12-07-2014 05:21 PM

Right this is the first stab at a key done. The knob is a painted coke bottle top which really shows and it's too big. So I'll have to find something to replace it with.

Underneath it is a button, which when pushed completes a circuit on the underside. The pads are magnets so I reckon I should be able to make something that makes reasonable contact to them.

I'm annoyed I didn't think of this idea before I'd drilled the first hole, that way they might have been in line.

The circuit board is just a piece of hacksawed up scrap.

T.F.U. 13-07-2014 01:05 PM

hows about the cover of one of those buttons you can cover with material. You get them in any haberdashery shops.

ncmreynolds 13-07-2014 01:14 PM


Originally Posted by T.F.U. (Post 386387)
hows about the cover of one of those buttons you can cover with material. You get them in any haberdashery shops.

I think I'm just going to leave it with the normal button top for a while. I'll probably run into something that feels right by the time the prop needs to be ready in October.

Even if I don't, the button looks OK on its own once I've camouflaged the base with yet another cup washer.

ncmreynolds 13-07-2014 01:44 PM

I've made the key surround now, which has come out OK. The photo makes the orange filter I've stuck on the top edge to accent it look worse than it is.

ncmreynolds 13-07-2014 05:10 PM

Top and bottom sheets for the box cut, now I need to cut the round cornered hole in the top.

I will leave the bottom solid even though it has a matching hole in the original. As this is a prop and will need to be carted around in a game it'll make it slightly more robust.

ncmreynolds 13-07-2014 06:21 PM

That's the top of the box cut out. I didn't do a perfect job with the corners but they're OK. I cut this 60mm in from the edge and the curve was from drawing round a large jug I have. Bodgetastic.

MoonbaseAlpha 13-07-2014 07:15 PM

Looks good to me mate :thumbup:

Andy H

Ham Salad 13-07-2014 10:40 PM

I want one!

ncmreynolds 14-07-2014 10:56 PM

Didn't fancy hacking up perspex tonight so I did a little soldering and then wrote some very quick Arduino code to run the orbital ring.

Ham Salad 14-07-2014 11:03 PM


Originally Posted by ncmreynolds (Post 386429)
Didn't fancy hacking up perspex tonight so I did a little soldering and then wrote some very quick Arduino code to run the orbital ring.

That is neat as heck! Would you do that for others, perhaps for a price?

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