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Scratch Build: Speeder Bike

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Hello everyone, Boddaker here.. You might recognize me from some of my previous mods like the TRON Lightcycle, Cosmos Cruizer, and Neptune's Trident. :) Today, I'm bringing you a new scratch build project that will be my entry into Cooler Master's case mod contest. I'll be making Rey's Speeder Bike from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. So without further ado, let's get started!




About a year ago, my family and I went to Disneyland, and they had lots of Star Wars props on display, including a life-size speeder that Rey used. As soon as I saw it, I knew it would make a great themed case. I took a bunch of reference pics while I was there, and I also scoured the web for more. Using those pics for scale, I whipped up a quick model in Sketchup to figure out component placement and get an overall sense of size.




Hardware List:

Processor - Intel i7 7700K

Motherboard - EVGA Z270 Stinger mITX

Memory - Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4 16Gb kit

Storage - Crucial MX300 SSD 525Gb x2

Graphics - NVIDIA GTX1080ti

PSU - Corsair SFX 600w

WC - Primochill tube, fittings, pump-res, cpu block

Peripherals - Corsair RGB Strafe keyboard, M65 Pro mouse, RGB fans, RGB Node Lighting kit

Qualifying product - Cooler Master XtraFlo 120mm fan




I'll be going with an ITX format, so the case will be fairly small and lightweight. For materials, I'll be scavenging pieces from my scrap pile as much as possible, much in the same way Rey constructed her speeder from scavenged starship parts. :)



Once I got the sizing down, I could finally start construction, starting with the basic frame. I cut the rear bulkhead from an old Lian Li V2000 case panel ;-)



These square tubes will serve as internal support pieces for the rear engines.



I'll be attaching the ends to the bulkhead with steel angle brackets.





Brackets pop-riveted into place.



Here's the front side of the bulkhead after fastening the tubes.



Next is the main frame construction.. I'm repurposing these aluminum shelving supports. Cutting V notches allows me to simply bend it into a rectangle.



All notches cut and piece bent!



Placed on the bulkhead..



Dont mind the pencil markings, that was from an old mod made a long long time ago, in a garage far far away. :P



2nd one done..



Next up will be connecting both frame ends together with cross beams to complete the main part of the frame. Hopefully, I'll be able to tackle that tonight!

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Got more framing done over the last couple nights. I pilfered a motherboard tray from an old case and cut it down..



I trimmed away all the exraneous parts, leaving enough material to make mounting tabs on the edges.



Aluminum angle bar makes up the basic frame in the center..



..and the motherboard tray provides rigidity. Pop rivets will be used to secure it to the frame.



Next up will be finishing the frame with the second C-channel piece, which will also serve as the radiator support.

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Got the front part of the frame fabbed up over the weekend..


Started with a paper template, derived from my Sketchup model.



I didn't have any more large pieces of aluminum panel, but since the front bulkhead will serve as the radiator mount, most of the center will be cut out for airflow. So I could use smaller bits to piece it together..



The box frame holds the Corsair 120mm RGB fans in place, and holds all the pieces together. I opted for a stronger steel C channel for this, rather than the white aluminum one like in the rear.



The 240mm radiator fits perfectly on the front side of the bulkhead.



Once the fans are fastened to the rad, the bulkhead is sandwiched in between..



With the entire front assembly taped to the rest of the frame, you can see the Speeder shape coming together.



Here's a shot with a spare EVGA mITX motherboard placed to give you an idea of internal spacing.



Once the framing is secured, I can start making brackets for mounting the PSU, SSD's, graphic card, and pump-res. Stay tuned! :)

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Here is some of the hardware that will be going into the Speeder Bike...


The processor I will be using is an Intel i7 7700k.



A big thank you to Corsair! :) They came through in a big way, providing a 600w SFX psu, RGB fan and lighting kit, and a keyboard and mouse to boot!



Crucial set me up with some awesome gear as well.. a 16gb DDR4 memory kit, and two MX300 SSD's!



And for my qualifying products, I'll be using these fans from Cooler Master. :)



I'll post more hardware shots as I get them in. I'll be getting a Z270 Stinger mITX motherboard from EVGA when it becomes available, some really killer WC gear from Primochill, and maybe even a little something from NVIDIA...

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Time for the Monday Weekend Progress Report! Got some actual hardware mounted..


After some deliberation and pondering, I decided to go with panel mount extensions for the power, USB, ethernet, and displayport cables. This way, all connections will be at the rear, below the engines, rather than having cables dangling out the bottom. So to ensure there's enough space for all the cabling, I raised the power supply location up on the back bulkhead, and cut a notch in the side channel so it sits flush.



Then I made a corner bracket from 1/2" angle bar to secure the Corsair SFX PSU to the frame..



I also made a 3/8" C bracket to hold the other side of the PSU in place.



Measured and drilled holes to match those in the PSU..



..And drilled mounting holes in the frame.



With the PSU done, I started on the SSD's. I took advantage of the center opening in the motherboard tray, positioning the drives so I can easily route the SATA and power cables. I used motherboard stand-offs to raise the drives up a bit.



Here's an overall shot of the SSD's with cables connected, utilizing the access hole in the tray. Spare mobo in for effect..



With the SSD's checked off the list, next up is the video card. I had originally had the video card placed horizontally in the concept rendering, facing the side panel.. But now with the power supply mounted up higher than planned, there isnt enough space.. So I will be mounting it vertically, which actually works out better for aligning to the rotated motherboard. I plugged the card directly into the mobo, but it blocks the airflow to the radiator, and you can't really see it.



So with the help of a PCIe riser cable, I can mount the card away from the radiator, facing the side panel..



I should be able to fab up a mounting bracket for that in the next couple days. :) Thanks for watching!

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Well this last weekend was a productive one! My SeeMeCNC printer finally got a good long-overdue workout, with the printing of all the engine pieces. :)


After gathering a healthy amount of Speeder reference pics, I drew up the engine pieces in Sketchup and scaled them to the correct size. And thanks to an STL export extension, I was able to save them directly out of Sketchup and load the files right into MatterControl, which is SeeMeCNC's printer software. You can see the interface in the background as the printer spits out the first engine nozzle..



Not bad! I'm only printing in standard resolution (.2mm layer height).. the Rostock Max2 will do .1mm, but will also take twice as long to print. This nozzle took about 4hrs.



I devised a simple insert to mount all the engine pieces onto the box tubing, and printed them out. I printed them separately to avoid having a bunch of supports inside each piece.



The inserts fit snugly onto the tubing, and keeps everything centered.





Both nozzles printed..



.. and both with inserts, mounted on the tubing..



The center engine piece was next, and inserts printed for it as well.





For the rest of the engine pieces, I opted to just use cardboard shipping tube, since they are just basic cylinders.. and I happen to have 3" dia. tube on hand. :) I just skinned them with sheet styrene.



After adding inserts to the cardboard tube pieces, I assembled both engines onto the box tubing..



The center pieces are the same on both engines, just reversed.



And an overall shot of the Speeder bike with engines.



I still need to make a couple end caps for the cylinder pieces to close them up, which I can just cut from styrene and glue them on.


More printing on the way, so stay tuned! :)

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More printing goodness!


After the engines, I started on the back panel that will cover the rear bulkhead area around the engines. This was a pretty big piece, so I had to separate it into two prints. This is the bottom half..



Woke up the next morning to a perfect print!



Here's how it fits on the rear bulkhead, around the engine tube..



Next is the top half, just finished..



Both halves together..



..and placed around the engines. The tips are a little rough on the top, but can be smoothed out.



an overall shot of the Speeder..



Next I'll be working on the front grill pieces and front nose. That should be interesting!

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Here's your Monday Mod Update for March 27th..


Got the Primochill pump and res mounted! About the only place I could mount the pump was in between the motherboard and fans. It was a tight squeeze, but it will fit! Using the rubber gasket, I marked the holes to drill for the mounting brackets.



After positioning the pump directly on the mobo tray, I noticed the top input port was just a little off-center, case-wise..



...so I added a 1/4" shim to bring it out.



Now it lines up perfectly with the reservoir.



I wanted to put the Primochill CTR tube res across the top, so I positioned it in the center using a piece of tape to support it while I took measurements.







Once I took down all the measurements, I jumped into Sketchup and whipped up a special two-piece mounting bracket to cradle the res, with mounting tabs on each end.



Exported the STL and printed out two sets in ABS.



These took just about 1 1/2 hours to print.



Brackets installed, and res supported!



But... just when I think I'm done and can move onto the next thing, I find out there's a problem.. With the res in the center of the case, I won't have room for the video card! Back to the drawing board...



Going back into Sketchup, I revise my bracket design to move the reservoir over 3/4", but still using the same top pieces. The old centered bracket is on the bottom, with the revised offset bracket on top..



With the new bottoms printed, I now have room for the video card.



Great, but now what about the tubing lining up with the pump input port?



Not a problem with the CTR res and it's 4-port top cap! I can just choose the next hole over. But I was lazy and simply rotated the cap 90º until the tube lined up again. :D



Only thing left to mount now is the video card, and I should be able to take care of that tonight or tomorrow. With the res bracket now holding the top securely in place, I just have to come up with a bottom bracket for the IO plate to sit on.

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Another item I managed to check off the list over the weekend was the rear stabilizers. Pretty simple construction, just a couple pieces of 1/8" styrene, metal brackets and some hardware..


The stabilizers are the slightly curved vanes that are mounted vertically on each side of the engine pods. A nice basic shape that didn't take very long to cut out of 1/8" styrene sheet and round the corners. I used my heat gun to add a slight bend to them.



Next was to fab up a bracket to hold the stabilizers in place. I bent two pieces of 1/2" flat bar to fit around the 1" box tubing.



They just slide onto the tubing like so, and then I drilled some holes for a couple 1/4" threaded rods. The bottom one also serves to join the two brackets together in the middle.



I cut a slot in each engine nozzle so they would fit over the brackets.



The top nozzle was drilled out on each side so the threaded rod goes completely through.



Taking advantage of the 3D printer once again, I whipped up some more custom brackets that bolt onto the back of the stabilizers..



..and they just slide onto the rods.





And there you go.. I still need to cut down the fasteners so they are flush to match the threaded rod. I'm also looking into some different nuts to use.. maybe some acorn nuts or something that resembles rivet heads.



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Lots of printing done over the weekend! Got the whole front nose assembled too. :)


I started with the grill pieces.. These were printed a few weeks ago, but I wanted to wait until I had the entire front completed before posting pics. I was able to print the main grill as one piece..



But for the trim, I had to cut it in half to fit it onto the bed. So I'll have to fill in the seam later.



I also had to print the nose piece in two parts because it was so long. Had a bit of a mishap on the first attempt, as one of the legs tipped over mid-print due to it losing adhesion to the bed. But I was actually impressed with how it was able to correct itself and continue on.



With a few modifications to the design and adding a raft, I was able to successfully print the bottom half of the nose.



Then while printing the top half, the power went out and I had to restart the print, again. But I didnt want to start completely over this time, so I shortened the model to just print the rest of it. Here are all the pieces taped together.



And with the center grill assembly..





I used Weld-On #4 to tack the pieces together, and will come back over the seams with filler to strengthen those areas. But for now, it's good enough to hold its shape and not have to use any tape.



Next up is the bottom bracket, which I pretty much completed over the weekend as well. Oh, and then there's this too...


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Here is the bottom IO panel progress..


I cut a piece out of an old Thermaltake panel to use for the bottom panel, utilizing the built-in mesh grill for ventilation. I've already cut out the IO opening for the motherboard.



Got it in place, and marking the area for the graphics card.



Speaking of graphics cards, EVGA sent me this little gem!



Now I can use it for mocking up instead of that crummy old Titan. ...KIDDING! :P



I also got the actual PCIe riser cable I'll be using in the build, from Li Heat.



Both card and cable installed and in place to finish up the bottom plate.



..and done. The plate really serves to stiffen up the frame structure as well.



One final shot of graphics card pr0n..


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Got some work to show, despite being in LA on Saturday for a modding workshop at Newegg, and then coming down with a cold shortly thereafter..


Since the motherboard orientation is such that the IO panel is facing down, I needed to make a new panel at the back of the speeder for easier accessibility. And that's where these panel mount extension cables come in! I love these things. Here are the USB 3.0 cables.. one connects to the motherboard, while the other two plug into the mobo's IO.



And here's the ethernet and displayport. I had to go with a shorty DP cable and a F/F adapter as that's the only thing they had for DP that was a panel mount.



And last but not least, the power cable extension.. Home-made, using a standard power cable that was cut down, and a socket pilfered from an old psu.



I cut out a piece of aluminum to fit just underneath the engine tubes at the rear bulkhead. After positioning the extensions, I proceeded to cut out the holes one by one. I put a piece of painter's tape over the actual plug and cut out the holes, then transferred the tape over to the new panel and marked it. It's not the most accurate method, but it gets me in the ball park, and once most of the material is removed, I just use the actual cable as reference from there on out to get it perfect.



Continuing on, I got the USB ports done as well.. Another cool thing about panel mounts, is that you can use the other end to test fit your hole!



And here's the finished panel-mount panel with panel-mounts mounted to the panel. :P



Will show pics of the panel installed on the bulkhead next..

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Here's the top panel progress..


The total length of the top panel is about 14", and that is right at the max height of my printer. But I didn't want to push it, so I broke it up into two separate prints. This is the main part.



So far, so good..



..and it finished! Total print time, 17hrs.



This part is 9 1/2" tall. The next part will be easier since it has a cutaway for the instrument panel and windshield.



A shot of the panel on the case..



Fits on there pretty well! I'll have a couple metal cross braces underneath that will match the curvature of the panel, and give it something to fasten to.



And of course, I run out of filament with only 1/2" left to go! Fortunately, it was easy to pause the print and re-thread with a new spool.. except I don't have any more white, and all I have in PLA is pink (from my daughter's rose case) and purple. So, purple it is! :P



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Here's the IO panel installed on the back bulkhead, under the engines.



A reverse shot of the other side..



Moving up to the instrument panel, where the power button will be located, as well as the 2nd set of USB ports. I might throw a couple LEDs in there, if time allows.



I have to cut down the bulkhead a bit, and make some other adjustments so all the pieces mate up better. Also will be adding a piece of styrene to fill in above the top instrument panel.



Here's the progress on the exhaust ports, starting with the 3D model in Sketchup..



..printing.. I repositioned the top plate to print vertically next to all the tubes.. otherwise I'd need a lot of support material, which would be a waste.



After a bit of cleanup, the top plate presses nicely over the tubes. Now I just need to cut a few holes in the bottom panel to mount it on the Speeder.


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Working off of reference pics, I whipped up a model of the steering control unit.



The printer made quick work of the small parts..



Some basic cleanup before initial assembly. I printed the base with a 1/2" hole through it so I could just use a piece of acylic tube as the pivot rod.



After putting it together, I added some wooden dowels for the handles.



But after reviewing the reference pic again, I realized I assembled the steering arms backwards! Luckily I hadn't glued them together yet, so it was a quick fix. Now it looks more like the actual thing. :)


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Holy moly, this is looking AWESOME!


THank you wackomann! :)


Here's my smoothing technique.. since directly sanding the PLA doesn't work too well (the friction just creates heat and gums up the plastic, making the surface more rough), I decided to coat the panels with an epoxy putty. It's a two-part system that you knead together into a dough. After a few hours it hardens to a strong but light-weight substance.




Using gloves, I just smear the putty onto the surface of the panels. Once cured, it's much easier to sand than the PLA.



I sand down until I start seeing the ridges of the PLA, leaving all the valleys filled.



Here's the bottom panel. There are a few divots here and there, and I'll go back and spot fill those.



After sanding all the panels, I had to throw them onto the case for an overall look. Then I decided to test the hovering capabilities as well..



Getting the repulsorlifts dialed in! Of course, once I add all the hardware, I'll have to re-adjust them to account for the added weight. :P



Less than 2 weeks to go! Hope I can make it..

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Ok, time for the Monday Modding Update! :)


Getting down to the wire now, with about 10 days left in the competition. I was hoping to get the Speeder primed and all one color over the weekend, but things never work out the way you want. But I'm really close and should have it prepped and ready to paint this evening! Fingers crossed..


Anyway, here is what I did manage to get done.. Mounted the exhaust ports onto the bottom panel by cuttin a few holes to match the four pipes.



Of course, in my haste, I cut the small holes too large and had to add a support piece in behind with the correct size holes. I used the plate as my template, but forgot that the small tubes were smaller at the other end. doh!



Thankfully I didnt make the same mistake on the other side lol..



Onto the side panels. Luckily I didn't have to print any of this since they are just flat panels, and my printer is still down. So I used .08" thick styrene sheet. Going off the reference pics, I drew up the design for the panel sections and seams.



I used thinner sheets to make the subpanels that break up the flat surface. I also curved the left end of the panel to create the waste-gate, or gills that are on each side of the speeder.



A closer up shot of the front gill. I cut away the center portion of the front nose, and will add some wire mesh in behind for effect.



Then I added some faux hinges on the right to simulate an access panel.



Movin on to the other side, this panel will be a bit more involved, since it has the video card fans, and will have a window integrated into it so you can see all the PC components inside.



After taking measurements withe the EVGA 1080 SC2 in place, I figured out where the fan grills were going to be, so I started cutting the slots out. Beginning with pilot holes for each slot, I used the scroll saw to finish the job.



Slots cut, now I can figure out the rest of the panel, and where the window will go. I must have gone through 6 or 7 different designs before settling on one I liked.



Even with the window as large as I could make it, I decided to go with a barn door style hinged panel so I could open it up completely.



I finally get to use these acrylic hinges I've had laying around for a couple years. These will go on the window side..



..and just standard metal hinges for the left. I'm splitting the barn doors right at the fan grills.



Hinges on!



And a close up of the acrylic hinges.



Now with the panels finally done, I can start prepping for paint! I still have a few items left to fabricate, like the windshield, seat, and some random engine detail parts, but the main body is complete. I spent the last few hours on Sunday smoothing all the remaining parts with the epoxy putty, and will be sanding everything tonight, and hopefully get things primed. Then I'll be painting and detailing the rest of the week.

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Quick update: Painting has commenced!


I managed to get a good coat of filler primer on Tuesday evening.



Last night it decided to rain again, so I couldn't do much in the way of paint, but I did get a few more parts made.. But first check out what goodies came in from EVGA!! <drool>



I now have the long-awaited Z270 Stinger in my possession!



And they also sent me an unexpected surprise... a 1080Ti SC2! This is one sexy card! :D



Ok, now that I got the pr0n out of the way, here are the parts I got checked off my list.. First was the windscreen. My first attempt was a piece of acrylic but failed miserably at heat-forming over a carved piece of foam.. So I went with a more simplistic approach: Soda bottle! It was already curved, all I had to do was cut it down to the size and shape I needed. I dremeled a thin slot around the edge on the top panel and slid it right in. Done! I'll glue it in once I get everything painted.



Next up was the heat shield that goes over the top engine, and the saddle sits on. This was a 4" drier vent duct in its former life. Just had to cut it down using some metal shears.





Now I'm in the process of carving the saddle to fit over it.



The sun is out today, and should be nice throughout the weekend, so I should be able to get all the painting done in the next few days. woot!!

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Got a crap-ton of work done over the weekend.. so much painting! Its a 2-tone color scheme plus faux metal parts, so there was a lot of masking.. and then there's the weathering and detailing as well. So yeah, lots of work! But I somehow managed to get it all done in two days. My wife doesn't know me anymore.


But I digress.. on to the progress pics! After painting all the body panels a flat red, I masked off the front grill to be painted metallic aluminum.



All the body panels painted..



Sweet double-exposure closeup of the front grill..



All the engine tubes were painted metallic aluminum as well..



Then all the body panels were masked off again to paint the yellow stripes. The front nose took forever to mask!





The dramatic removal of the tape..



Ooh purdy!



Ok, now it's looking too new. Gotta do something about that!



Going off of reference pics, I start masking off the areas where the paint has been worn or peeling off. I drew a basic shape to mimic the actual speeder's defects, then I taped around it, using the ripped edges of the tape to get a nice rough delineation.



After doing the edges, I filled in with normal tape to protect the rest of the panel.



Did the same with the other pieces.



Rear fins unmasked. The left one has been lightly sanded along the edges to add more wear.



And here's the large area on the side panel.



More suspenseful tape removal..



And the final shot for today, all the panels painted and on the case.



Still looks too nice, so we'll be taking care of that in the next post. Stay tuned!

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Ok, now we get to the fun part! Weathering and detailing.. keep in mind that this is my first time with an airbrush, so I'm trying to get the hang of it while I'm painting this. I know some of you are asking, 'why didnt you practice first?' Who has time to practice! Plus I figured this is weathering.. a very random thing. So there's no way I can screw this up! ...right? :P


So with that in mind, here's the first go-round.. I started with the exhaust ports and some black, going into the tubes and lightly around the edges.



I then moved around the panels, adding black here and there, in the crevasses and where ever I thought it should be darker. On the grill I just darkened the corners and added a few burns. Also I went over the red/yellow paint with some steel wool to dull it down a bit, and then a sand colored wash to flatten the color even more.



Another shot of the grill with the fans lit behind it.



Taking a break from the weathering, I finished work on the saddle. After carving the second part, I used spray adhesive to stick them together.



Then I smoothed out the foam with some drywall sandpaper. Also made the knee pads and stuck them all onto the heat shield for a test fit.



Fast forward past the puttying, sanding, test-fitting, and airbrushing, and here's the final version on the speeder. Most of the detailing is done on the engines, and you can see the weathering I did on the fins.



And here's the 1080Ti painted up to match.



If I have time, I want to go back over everything again with another wash, soften the lines between the red and yellow, and add more weathering streaks. But I'm mostly done painting since the contest deadline is tomorrow night! I might post one more update with some last minute detailing, but if not, you'll be seeing final pics in a few days. woot!

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Ok time for final pics! woot It's been a wild, fast and crazy ride, but it's done and just in time for the contest deadline. whew!


So here's the pics, not the best, but I needed to get them uploaded to Cooler Master quickly last night. And I will be doing another shoot outside in the sunlight as well... Anyway, enjoy!




























I had so much fun building this case, but it wouldn't have been possible without all the help and support from my sponsors:

Primochill for all of the liquid cooling gear and the insanely beefy CPU block

EVGA for getting me one of the first Z270 mITX motherboards available, and a 1080Ti SC2 video card

Crucial for the 16Gb DDR4 Ballistix Elite memory kit and two 525Gb MX300 SSD's

Corsair for the SFX 600w psu, RGB lighting and fan kits, as well as a keyboard and mouse which will be painted up to match the case

Intel for providing me with a 7700k processor


Thanks everyone for all your comments and support as well.. It's all very much appreciated!

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

So after a brief hiatus, I figured I'd jump back on this project and do some things I didn't have time for during the competition. I'll be making a few minor adjustments to the case here and there, but mostly I wanted to pay more attention to the base that supports the speeder.


My original design held up surprisingly well, but it needed to be clamped to the table to keep it from tipping over. So I went back to the drawing board and made some revisions.


I made a new vertical support with a more extreme angle to get the legs under the case more, then added angle bar to eliminate any flexing. Just using my spot welder since I dont have an actual big-boy welder lol. Also not too concerned with looks since it will all be covered.



Now it's really starting to look horrific! I chopped up some rebar to add some weight to the base, and used bondo to hold everything in place. Then I wrapped the whole thing with mesh.



Breaking out the epoxy putty, I started covering the entire base, making sure to work it into the mesh. Trying for a rocky surface look & feel.



Done and cured! Almost ready for paint, just gotta sand out any noticeable fingerprints and make it more rock-like.



Hopefully I can get some paint on it tonight.. we'll see!

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Got the base painted over the holiday weekend!


Took a while to sand it down, add glazing putty to fill in all the divots and other non-rock-like depressions, then sand again.



After prepping, I coated the whole thing with some stone textured paint I found in my paint cabinet. Looks pretty good already, but doesnt match the desert environment of Jakku.



So after that dried, I started airbrushing multiple shades of earth-tones in a mostly random fashion. I concentrated the darker shades in the lower valleys, and the lighter colors on the peaks and raised areas. Then I went back over with a really light color using the dry-brush technique to bring out the texture.



A close up shot of the vertical part. I think it turned out pretty sweet!



Next up is painting the keyboard and mouse to match the case. More to come!

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