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Old 09-07-2013, 05:54 PM   #1
Jamesbeat
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Default Season A & B Orac

Anyone built one of these?
The newer Orac is great, and I'm glad it still survives, but I think the original one looked vastly superior.
It looked a lot more complex and had less fluorescent plastic in it. It just looked so much more refined. I also love the curved tube; kinda makes it look like it has a mouth

Last edited by Jamesbeat; 09-07-2013 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:11 PM   #2
badsimmonds
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Yes I agree the original orac was more impressive.
I've been thinking of building one for ages and got as far as collecting bits and pieces.
I was at the smallspace model show on sunday and managed to measure the later version of orac.
Maybe one day I'll get as far as actually starting it.
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:33 PM   #3
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Great! Would you mind sharing your measurements?
I have read at least two conflicting sets of measurements, and I'd love to get the real figures from the actual prop.
In fact, this is the main reason I haven't set about building one yet...
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:20 AM   #4
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Has anyone considered doing a lasercut kit of ORAC? I'd think if you got the size worked out, we could go in on it together, and bring down the cost.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:18 AM   #5
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One of the reasons I never got started was a lack of measurements, various sources have various sizes so I managed to get some sizes but not all on sunday.
Orac is 10" high, 14" deep and 18 1/2" long. With regards to the holes in the sides etc the width of the remaining Perspex is 2" and it seems as if its made from 6mm thick Perspex which is a bit thinner than I thought it might be.
I hope these sizes are of some use, it will be ages before I start one as I have so many other projects at the time being.
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Old 10-07-2013, 02:06 PM   #6
Jamesbeat
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Thanks for the measurements, that's a real help.
I wonder how similar in size the first and second Orac props were?

I too would be interested in a laser cut version.
I am making a 'baby' Orac replica and didn't much enjoy cutting the acrylic with a hacksaw and a dremel.
If anyone's interested, I posted pics of my work so far in the baby Orac thread. I probably should have given it its own thread, maybe I'll start one when I continue with the build.
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Old 10-07-2013, 02:32 PM   #7
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I started to make a baby Orac and like you did not enjoy cutting out the holes and was far from satisfied with the end result. What stopped this build was when I started to glue the sides together I got glue on one piece. As far as I was concerned that was it for this project.
Certainly if any one can laser cut the Perspex then I'm interested.
Looking at this picture it looks like the original prop casing was different, were there two Orac props?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg orac144.jpg (64.1 KB, 36 views)
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:02 PM   #8
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Yes there were two Orac props, that's what this thread is about

There was one prop (the one in your picture) for the first two seasons, then a different one for the third and fourth seasons.

The second prop still exists, and this seems to be the prop that most (if not all) builders tend to make replicas of.

I think tht the first prop looked better than the second one, and would like to learn more about it, which is why I started this thread.

The first prop has sadly been lost in the mists of time.
There are various theories about the fate of the first prop; it was either lost/stolen, damaged beyond repair, or reworked into the second prop.

I have no idea if the second Orac contains any parts from the first one, or even if they were the same size etc, but I'm hoping to learn more...

Edit: I also got a little glue where it didn't belong, but not badly enough to write it off.
It was mostly on the bottom where it won't be seen, and I'm hoping that the few imperfections on the visible parts won't be noticable when the tubes and rods are in place.

These things were never perfect anyway, the props were often built in a hurry and on a budget. If you've ever seen real screen used props, they can often be a little disappointing close up!

Incidentally, if you still have the parts and the inclination, you may be able to rescue your baby Orac.
Once the glue has hardened completely, you can sand it flat and polish it out and restore the surface.

Last edited by Jamesbeat; 10-07-2013 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 10-07-2013, 05:34 PM   #9
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I never really thought much about the different props as I thought all versions used the same casing. It was only when I posted the above photo did I realise the casing was different.
As to my baby orac I'm afraid I used the Perspex on another model so its long gone.
However mini orac was on show as well on Sunday and seeing it again made me wonder if I should try again after my current project, trouble is I'm always changing my mind on projects to do. But I would love to have a full size one.
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:35 PM   #10
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I'm envious, I'll probably never get to see either Orac in real life
I am English, but I moved here to the States four years ago. I would consider it very unlikely that visiting my family will ever happen to coincide with the Oracs being on display somewhere.

I too would like to have a full-sized Orac, in fact it is something have wanted since i was about five years old

Orac is a pretty big prop, so finding somewhere to put the thing after building it is another problem.
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:05 PM   #11
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Interesting, those dimensions for the surviving version of Orac match the Horizon manual , not always the case I know. I used them for mine.
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Old 10-07-2013, 11:04 PM   #12
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Do any of the andys know the actual dimensions? You'd think they would let us kevins know...and again, I think there are enough of us that want one to warrant a laser cut parts run, I think martin knows a place that can do the cutting and he wants one too.....
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Old 11-07-2013, 04:55 PM   #13
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I'd be very interested to find out the diameter of the inner sphere and the light ring.
Coupled with badsimmonds' measurements, those dimensions would probably give us enough to build accurate replicas.
The only other thing we'd really need to know would be the diameters and lengths of the tubes and rods, but since acrylic tube and rod stock tends to be manufactured in standard sizes, those measurements could be inferred from photos without too much difficulty.
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Old 12-07-2013, 02:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ham Salad View Post
Do any of the andys know the actual dimensions? You'd think they would let us kevins know...and again, I think there are enough of us that want one to warrant a laser cut parts run, I think martin knows a place that can do the cutting and he wants one too.....
I don't want to discourage you, but I've been reading about laser-cut acrylic and there may be a snag.
It seems that the laser can set up internal stresses in the plastic, which can give way when glue (solvent) is used on the laser-cut edge and cause 'crazing' (many tiny fractures).
The way around this is by using a rather complicated annealing process which seems outside the scope of a home builder.

It seems that there are two types of acrylic sheet; cast and extruded.
Extruded is far weaker and more prone to crazing, but is more expensive and can still craze when laser cut.

Now, I'm by no means an expert and I only know what I've recently read on aquarium forums and the like, but further research needs to be done.
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Old 14-07-2013, 05:51 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesbeat View Post
I don't want to discourage you, but I've been reading about laser-cut acrylic and there may be a snag.
It seems that the laser can set up internal stresses in the plastic, which can give way when glue (solvent) is used on the laser-cut edge and cause 'crazing' (many tiny fractures).
The way around this is by using a rather complicated annealing process which seems outside the scope of a home builder.

It seems that there are two types of acrylic sheet; cast and extruded.
Extruded is far weaker and more prone to crazing, but is more expensive and can still craze when laser cut.

Now, I'm by no means an expert and I only know what I've recently read on aquarium forums and the like, but further research needs to be done.
Well, we did fed rifles with laser curt acrylic parts, and they were fine. No crazing. But, if that's an issue, we could use polycarbonate instead....
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Old 14-07-2013, 07:41 AM   #16
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I cut mine out with a jigsaw and it was fine, though oddly, a coarser blade worked better than a finer one.
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Old 14-07-2013, 12:13 PM   #17
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Maybe the people on the aquarium forums where I got the info are extra paranoid because their acrylic has to hold water?
Were the fed guns made out of transparent acrylic?
Crazing would probably go unnoticed on opaque acrylic.

KevinD; the coarser blade probably worked better because fine-toothed blades tend to melt the acrylic more and gum up the blade.
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Old 14-07-2013, 07:25 PM   #18
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Actually, it was more impressive than that, almost a magic trick. I cut along the entire length of a large piece of 6mm perspex with the fine blade and by the end of the cut, it was still one complete piece! The heat of the blade was melting and welding the plastic as I was cutting it, so it managed to heal itself constantly.
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Old 14-07-2013, 09:03 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesbeat View Post
Maybe the people on the aquarium forums where I got the info are extra paranoid because their acrylic has to hold water?
Were the fed guns made out of transparent acrylic?
Crazing would probably go unnoticed on opaque acrylic.

KevinD; the coarser blade probably worked better because fine-toothed blades tend to melt the acrylic more and gum up the blade.
Yes, transparent. Lots of the plastic cutting these days is by laser, so I don't see how cutting it that way would be detrimental in any way. But Again, I'd rather use polycarb anyhow, because acrylic gets brittle with time, and is prone to cracking and shattering.
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Old 14-07-2013, 09:48 PM   #20
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The laser heats and vaporizes the plastic, and this heat sets up internal stresses in the edge that has been cut. When the solvent is applied, the internally stressed plastic cracks.
The annealing process does the same thing that annealing metal does; relieves the internal stresses in the material.

As I said, I am no expert on this, but it does seem to be a well-understood problem with laser cutting acrylic that is to be solvent-welded.

Maybe it's not so much of a common issue as people seem to believe?

Last edited by Jamesbeat; 14-07-2013 at 11:09 PM.
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