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Project "Ovni"/UFO from Mexico (2009 Mod Entry)-COMPLETE


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Oops! Forgot to report my 48 hour stress test on the fans to be used. Usually, fans that don't fail after this test, do not give problems later on. All CM fans are doing great, I'm happy to report:


The thin led fan to cool the hard drive is also ok, although it is not a CM fan.

Forgot to report that I heat bent the acrylic for the front "window" with one of the kitchen pots as the form with my industrial heat gun:


Am happy to report that no damage was done to the pot, heh-heh. What my wife doesn't know won't affect here.


I love bending acrylic, which is pretty tricky, but there was only one piece to form on this mod. I know it is thin stuff, but if you don't give it a little bend, it will pop out later on.

Cheers again,

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Muchas Gracias guys! The last week was spent on "details" which scratch modders will recognize as over half of the work in this type of mods. First of the bat, how to fix the legs in the body. As the body is filled with expanded foam, this will hold up for a while but will eventually buckle under use. I figured that a sleeve will do the heavy work and this will be fiber glassed into the foam. I spent half a day looking for some kind of tube that had a 1" inside diameter (Thickness of the acrylic legs). Suffice to say that here in Cancun, that does not exist and I looked into all types of material: PVC, copper, galvanized steel, etc. I finally found a 25mm (nominal) high pressure PVC pipe, schedule 40 A that more or less filled the bill, except that the minimum to buy was 1/2 tube or 3 meters (5 feet) but fortunately it only cost $50mn. The legs wiggle a little but with some masking tape I took that out. I just had to widen the hole and in they go.



Since I ran out of foam (remember the last fiasco?) and did not want to buy another one, I made a frame for the leg and glued it in with epoxy.


Man Hours Used: 8 hours

$ Invested: $50mn (for the pvc pipe used for sleeves)

Since I only used 3" of tubing per leg, I had a crap load of tubing left. Since I had to make an exhaust for the upper dome to vent the power source and the hard drive, I decided that I could use up more of the tube so:



Gluing together with pvc pipe cement.




Since the damn pipe weighed so much, I reduced it a little and came out with this and dressed it up a little:



One of the time-consuming pains was cutting the hole into the fiber glass upper dome. Doing it little-by-little by tracing the form into the dome, I finally got it in after around 7 attempts (half day work), I epoxied it into the dome to be later fiberglassed.

Man Hours used: 13 Hours

$ Invested: -0-


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Exhaust fan mounted. Where did the fancy fan come from? Well, since I needed lighting inside with the motherboard, I swapped the fan of the heat sink for the lighted fan that I got originally as the exhaust fan. The exotic shape it has helps with the outer looks.


Now to dress up the top of the dome. I cut out a template of .40 in.mil styrene (sheet cost me $48.00mn) which is 0.5 mm. Hint: the xacto type knife will not curve easily so once you trace the form out with a pencil, score it with an ice pick. With the scoring, the knife will follow the groove and give you a curved cut.




Now I can trace the 4 curved vent holes on the top of the dome and the center circle for the strobe.


I only cut out 2 of the vent holes because I felt the part sort of weak, so I put another layer of fiberglass to reinforce it and fix the exhaust fan firmly.


This is what the strobe will look like once I open up the top of the dome. About half of the strobe will be outside so the blinking will not blind anyone too much and of course will have a switch so that it can be turned off. The venting holes will have a stainless steel screen underneath to help filter out some of the dust that will be sucked in along with the fresh air.


I can't cut out the circle for the strobe until I trace all the lines for the armor to follow. As can be seen, I traced the vertical lines, cutting the surface into 12 slices. Now I will somehow have to trace 4 circles horizontally, which I still don't know how.

Man Hours used: 18 hours

$Invested: $55.50mn for the styrene (1.2 X 1.00 m.) + $7.50mn for modeling clay.

Accumulated Man Hours:

Accumulated Expense:

Thanks for looking and help promote modding by teaching your peers. Someday, some noob will be inspired by you and will be a modder too someday (speaking mostly about Mexico). Cheers/Saludos

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The "armor plating" has given me a lot to think. There are 2 ways to do it: 1) Cutting small squares, rectangles, etc from styrene and gluing them or 2) Masking and painting them. The masking and painting trick I learned from Boddaker's great worklog/tutorial of his "Battlestar Galactica" award winning mod finished this year. The armor plating finish mimics the plating of the real Battlestar and combines both ways of doing the plating. Since I don't have the tools that Boddaker has, for the most part I will go with the taping and painting way. But since this is the first time I've done this type of finish, I will have to experiment and although Boddaker gave a boatload of photos, he was scarce on explanations of how he got certain things done. Two of those were exactly how many coats of paint and primer were used and how long to wait before removing the masking tape. So, grabbing a scrap piece of styrene I drew in freehand the plating, then cut the masking into smaller strips and applied the masking on the styrene over the drawn lines:




Ok! Now to fill in some blanks: I put 4 coats of primer down, then 4 coats of paint. To give a little more depth, I would add a couple more coats of primer to 6 and leave the paint as is with 4. I suppose the primer is used to give height but the coats of paint are to give it a hard(er) finish. Anyways, primer and paint cost just about the same, primer builds up faster than paint but is, as we know, softer, so I suppose the paint will give the overall finish a hard shell that will stand up better over time. I calculate that to "armor plate" the entire body, I will be using around 3 cans of primer and 2 or 3 of paint. I guess that I will be using up a lot the half empty cans of all colors of paint I have, as the final color is another.

My great doubt was how long to leave the masking tape on before yanking it out after I painted. There are all types of opinions on the web (immediately after the last coat of paint to totally let dry) but what works best in this case is right after the final coat flashes (dries just enough not to run or sag-5 to 10 min.) for small pieces like the sample which was 2" X 5". There are small pieces of paint that come out with the tape, but only visible very close up. Just to see what it would look like in the end, I gave the sample a couple of coats of gray paint which helps hide some of the defects, and it looks like this.


And it sure is a lot faster than cutting styrene and pasting!

Another thing that was bothering me was the acrylic rings I sent out to be made. The problem was that they did not "hug" close enough to the dome for my liking. Since it was acrylic, I could not use body fillers to fill the gaps between the rings and the top dome, so I grit my teeth and cut the clear acrylic ring in 3 equal parts, adjusted them as close as possible (a 1" PVC tube with 100 grit sandpaper wrapped around it) to the dome and glued them back together with gel cyanoacrilate/"crazy glue" (to fill gaps between the cuts). The same thing was done to the top red acrylic ring but since it was the part with a view, I made 4 cuts. The cuts will be covered over with adhesive pin stripping I have left over from another project.


I drilled 11 small holes to place 3mm leds at the height of the clear acrylic which will be permanently on when the pc is turned on. The only thing I'm not sure is if I'm going to use red or blue leds. Here is the ring in its final shape and glued together. I placed a blue cold cathode inside the dome, but I can hardly see the lighting through the clear part of the ring.


With the leds jutting into the acrylic, they will clearly be visible, even during the daytime.

Ohh, I figured out how to trace the horizontal curves. I cut a strip of styrene, measured the distance I wanted, then drilled small holes in the strip just large enough for a sharpie point to fit and dragged it along the entire perimeter.


Well, things are a little out of order but you get the idea. This is a real worklog with no pre-editing and here at CM for the moment is where I'm posting my advances on my project for the first time. Other sites will get the "edited and polished" edition but here is the real deal while my site is down.

Well, so much for now, I'm still going over details pending before I lay my paint cuz I don't want to man-handle the body too much after it is painted...so many little details but those will be tackled as they appear.

Thanks for ogling my rants & I would appreciate your comments on the color of leds for the acrylic ring.

Man Hours Used: 16 hours

$ Invested: $162.00mn (2 cans of primer, sanding drums for Dremel, 3 sheets of sandpaper)


Accumulated Man hours:

Accumulated $ Invested:


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Once I got the "armor plating" trick down, I spent all of yesterday, tracing and taping. I split the lower dome into 2 halves (fortunately). The first half took me about 6 hours but the second half only 3 hours.


Before I laid the masking tape down, I lightly sanded the surface with a 400 grit sandpaper and wiped it down with alcohol. I corrected some badly laid out slices with the tape. Last chance before painting and the point of no return.

Next up, the 6 coats of primer I mentioned before but I got sags with a new brand of primer (Truper) so I had to go out and buy one of the proven primers (Meridien at Walmart or Comex- I bought Comex cuz it was closer). I will try to correct the sags by sanding when the paint dries. So buyer beware, Truper paint is cheap but sags with even a moderate coating and is no good for modding!


Five coats of paint odds and ends were applied (3 blue and 2 silver) and let flash dry.


Now to remove the pieces of tape. Woahhh! I was making a mess of the paint squares as I removed the tape, much of the paint stretching as I pulled the tape off. I was not sure what was going on but I kept on going and surprisingly, since I was taking a long time to remove the tape, towards the end (almost 25 min. later) the tape was coming off without pulling the paint. HINT: On large surfaces, let the last coat dry around 30 min. before trying to remove the tape--the paint will have hardened enough so as not to cling to the tape, but is humid enough so as no chips of paint would attach themselves too much to the tape, leaving unpainted parts underneath. Patience is the recipe.



Above, the "crappy" side with sags and uneven edges on the armor plates. Below, a great improvement on the other half by letting the final coat of paint dry 1/2 hour before pulling the tape off. I also helped the drying process by applying a hairdryer 30-40 sec. over each coat so it wouldn't be so gummy when the masking tape was removed.


Normally, with 7-8 coats of paint, I would have to wait around 1 week (Cancun has now 32° centigrade and 70% humidity) before handling the piece but since I'm in a hurry, I will use my trusty home paint oven.


Damn! It's to big! Well, I propped it up with a stick and lowered it as much as I could, and covered the openings with towels.


In around 12 hours, I should be able to handle the piece as it will almost be totally cured (the oven has 2 X 100 watt bulbs and 1 X 13w dehumidifying rod--temperatures should hit around 50°C for the curing period).

Next up, the same for the upper dome.....

Thanks for dropping by and Cheers/Saludos

Man Hours Used: 15 hours

$ Invested: -0-


Accumulated Man Hours:

Accumulated $ Invested:

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Thanks sunnyxtremist, how are you getting along with your project? Don't worry if you feel your mod is not up to snuff cuz there are a lot of things to consider when judging, I'm sure. This is the first time I participate and do a worklog, as I mentioned before, but you have to wet your feet sometime/somewhere. Comments and seeing other logs really pushes you to another level--I guarantee it. I've done several upgrades to mine just seeing what and whom I am going up against. Heck, even an honorable mention is worth its weight in gold!

Just start posting, with your initial concept and go from there. You don't have a lot of time left (I'm going on 4 months) but do something to commemorate your initiation in this fine art, at this level. Comments are fine and appreciated but seeing you do something is better--you could knock our socks off!


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The upper dome is key to what the overall mod will be appreciated, so I took extra care in its details. It's just like the bottom except I had to split it into two parts: the dome itself and the part I call the leading edge (middle). I just could not see how to do all of it at once, so when you get stuck on something, the best to do is break it down to smaller, more manageable parts that can be handled easier.




Like I said, if I work on something continuously, I want to get to it quickly, so I placed the part in my oven and left it curing/drying overnight. However, when I took out the part, I found out that it had several parts of the leading edge had buckled due to too much heat. So after a while of complaining, I repaired the parts with bondo and sanded it smooth again.


With the repairs, I lost my reference lines and since I had cut out the top of the dome, I could not use the strip trick to redraw the lines. It occurred to me to use a strip of acrylic as a guide to redraw the lines. Phew! problem solved.

Now the leading edge is the biggest visible part so I decided to put in an extra effort to make the armor plating more elaborate.



Rummaging through the closets to see what I could add to finish, I stumbled across my wife's sewing kit and I chose this bunch of buttons. The large button is to be a logo shield and the rest as exhaust ports and place holders.


While I taped the leading edge armor, I took a couple of detours, first I added some more detail with styrene to the lower dome.


and tested out the final colors for the last coat of the finish. I think I will go with these 3 colors:


(Continued below)

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