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Commlock

SteveDix

Alphans
I decided to have a go at scratch-building a commlock. Why? Because I can't afford to buy one, and it beats an iphone any day.

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Plans, drawn up from the Starlog originals.

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My first attempt in Acrylic.
Too difficult to cut, leading to tolerance stacking.

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2nd Attempt in 1mm plastic card.
The screen housing.

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Keyboard housing, with
milliput reinforcement visible.

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Checking they line up nicely.

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Because they're going to have
a piece of electrical conduit
through them

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like this.

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Work so far.

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I was thinking of putting one of these keyfob photoframes in.
Unfortunately it died as I was dismantling it.​
 
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Looking Good

Always wanted to build one myself. Such a cool prop. One day I will and see if I can put a sound chip in it too. A working screen would be nice but just an illuminated standby screen would look good too.

Good luck with your build!

Lindsay
 

S1999LA

Alphans
Great effort! I have also considered trying it with something lightweight, but not hollow, since I don't play to wire it.
 

SteveDix

Alphans
More Commlockery :

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I'm having trouble making the buttons. I was laminating 1mm plastic card and cutting it. However I can't seem to get a straight-enough cut, even with a razor saw. Suggestions?
 

Ham Salad

Alphans
More Commlockery :

View attachment 10964

I'm having trouble making the buttons. I was laminating 1mm plastic card and cutting it. However I can't seem to get a straight-enough cut, even with a razor saw. Suggestions?

What I usually do with very small pieces is score and break: styrene, abs will break on a scored line (xacto ) pretty cleanly. If the part is too small for that, I use a very wide xacto blade and cut by tapping through with a hammer.
 

SteveDix

Alphans
What I usually do with very small pieces is score and break: styrene, abs will break on a scored line (xacto ) pretty cleanly. If the part is too small for that, I use a very wide xacto blade and cut by tapping through with a hammer.

I've been using score and break myself : The second technique sounds like something I could try.

The laminated pieces I'm using are at the bottom of the picture in the last post.
 

SteveDix

Alphans
I've now cut the tube to the correct size, and glued everything together. After some work squaring things up, it's beginning to look the part. As for the buttons, after numerous tries to get them square, I've picked the best, sanded them square, and built them back up to size with styrene rod.

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SteveDix

Alphans
More progress on the commlock front. I finally managed to get some decent buttons cut. I bought an X-acto Mitre box and this has greatly increased accuracy. The buttons were made from a strip of plastic I found in the local DIY store. So far I've done the main keypad and the large button. I used UHU glue to stick the buttons on, as it gives you a chance to square the buttons up with a T-square, unlike superglue, which locks them down immediately. I've also built up the screen end and shade from laminated plastic card and a bit of milliput. The grille on the side is made from thin aluminium glued into place with superglue. The bottom grille on the tube is from a mixer tap - Cologne has a hard water problem, so they're quite cheap.

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Keypad.

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Side Keypad.
(Buttons yet to come)

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Display and grille.

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Screen Hood.

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Tap Filters

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Display Hood gets Milliput​
 

SteveDix

Alphans
The Tube has been plugged with a bit of milliput and then the screens from a mixer tap added. Although they stick quite well, I added a little glue to make sure they didn't detach if handled a bit heavily. I then added the retainer ring using two layers of evergreen rod that has been curved by the old trick of pulling the rod through your thumb and forefinger. A bit of putty, sanding and mylar tape and Robert, as they say, is a close relative.

The acrylic screen is an interference fit at the moment, and can be popped out. I need a 35mm slide or transparent print-out of the Alpha screen-saver to put in there.

Buttons are stuck on using UHU, as it gives more time for positioning before the glue begins to grab. For positioning, I draw pencil marks with a T-square, and use a flat rat-tail file to position between buttons.


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More Buttons.

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Bottom in place.

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Transparent screen in place
(interference fit)

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Clearer picture of screen.

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Another view.
 

wappynutter

Alphans
Very nice build there sir... :clap:
Only just spotted it else I would have commented before now.

Well done, and I bet a lot cheaper than the $495-odd US dollars listed in an earlier post?? :yes:

Regards Andy :D
 

SteveDix

Alphans
Very nice build there sir... :clap:
Only just spotted it else I would have commented before now.

Well done, and I bet a lot cheaper than the $495-odd US dollars listed in an earlier post?? :yes:

Regards Andy :D

Considerably cheaper, as I had most parts to hand... and the electrical conduit was scavenged from a dumpster!
 

SteveDix

Alphans
The commlock is pretty close to being finished. All I need is a transparency for the screen and to bend a metal belt fitting. I added the two round buttons on the RHS by bending rod stock and then filling it. It wasn't a total success, so I copped out and used a screw-hider for the LHS one. I've also added a piece of mylar to the base of the tube. I may redo it as it wrinkled. I've taken out the white card behind the screen so that I can add a lighting unit I've scavenged.


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Side view, showing screw-hider.

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Side View, with vents, mylar and line.

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Screen back now open for lighting.
 

SteveDix

Alphans
Finally, some work on the Commlock again!

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Here we are with the freshly-attached belt clip. The clip is made out of aluminium sheet, cut, bent and attached with two small pop rivets. Slightly off, if you look carefully, mainly due to the way I bent it.

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If you look closely, you can just see the pop rivets. The aluminium was cut, partially bent so I could put the pop rivets in, then bent fully...

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..which I do not recommend. As you can see, bending, although carefully done, popped a few seams. I'm going to run some liquid cement down the join, then, once it's dry, I will reinforce the area round the join and the pop rivets with some milliput.
 
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