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This is the start of something much more significant. While making the additional bits which need making, itís not until you start on the bigger bits that it starts to take shape.
So the dome starts out as a large sheet of styrene plastic. The plans I downloaded are converted to full scale, and then printed off and used as a template to mark out the top. The top ring is simple, and with the help of a modelling router with circle attachment, a nice neat round circle was soon produced.
To get the slightly pointed look, a segment was removed as per the plans, but instead of just forcing it to shape than gluing, which always leaves a lot of strain on the joint, I hammered a ring of nails to a piece of board, then placed the ring inside using the nails to force it into position. It was then left a few days and when taken out it has taken on the curve all on its own, meaning it can now be glued with no strain on the joint.
The next job was to cut out eh segments, and this is where I come across a problem. The guy who done the plans, just drew up a circle, placed the segments onto it, then took a slice from between two of the segments. However this means two of the segments would have been closer together than the rest, which wouldnít do. By cutting between each segment and overlapping each piece about an 1/8th, they all fitted nice and even around the top ring.
The next job was to cut them out, which with the help of the router with circle attachment on it made the job a lot easier and much neater.
Next onto the side wall of the dome. Again I had plans for this, but the guy that done them made the side wall from two bits. This causes a few problems especially with springy plastic. So I cut it in one length. This way you only have one join to worry about and also makes things a lot easier.
I cut the shape out and again rolled it tightly up and left it for a few days to take the curled up shape instead of the very flat. After a few more days, it was released and held the curved shape perfectly, just needing a strip gluing to the back and clamping to hold it in place while the glue dried.
As this is just going to be a template for a fibreglass mould to be made, I can afford to add lots of support work behind to keep it in shape, as when the mould is made and a new head formed the fibreglass will be laid up and cured in the curved shape, and will have no strain on it. Being fibreglass it will also be far stronger, but still nice and light.
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Next onto the side wall of the dome. Again I had plans for this, but the guy that done them made the side wall from two bits. This causes a few problems especially with springy plastic. So I cut it in one length. This way you only have one join to worry about and also makes things a lot easier.
I cut the shape out and again rolled it tightly up and left it for a few days to take the curled up shape instead of the very flat. After a few more days, it was released and held the curved shape perfectly, just needing a strip gluing to the back and clamping to hold it in place while the glue dried.
As this is just going to be a template for a fibreglass mould to be made, I can afford to add lots of support work behind to keep it in shape, as when the mould is made and a new head formed the fibreglass will be laid up and cured in the curved shape, and will have no strain on it. Being fibreglass it will also be far stronger, but still nice and light.
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Next onto the side wall of the dome. Again I had plans for this, but the guy that done them made the side wall from two bits. This causes a few problems especially with springy plastic. So I cut it in one length. This way you only have one join to worry about and also makes things a lot easier.
I cut the shape out and again rolled it tightly up and left it for a few days to take the curled up shape instead of the very flat. After a few more days, it was released and held the curved shape perfectly, just needing a strip gluing to the back and clamping to hold it in place while the glue dried.
As this is just going to be a template for a fibreglass mould to be made, I can afford to add lots of support work behind to keep it in shape, as when the mould is made and a new head formed the fibreglass will be laid up and cured in the curved shape, and will have no strain on it. Being fibreglass it will also be far stronger, but still nice and light.
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Next onto the collar as it could be called that goes between the dome and the body. While the R6 and R5 have roughly the same shaped dome, the collar on the R6 is not the same as the R5. the R5 has two sort of angles bits, with a flat section in-between, while the R6 has two angled sections that meet. Personally I prefer the look of the R6 hence I am making it, but each to there own.
As joining two angled bits is quite hard, I have made a flat collar to go in the middle to support the weight of the top section. This will allow the two angled bits to be constructed and then glued in place while holding at a set distance. This adds a bit more work, but it makes sure the dome sits flat.
The lower angled collar part is made using the dome for a template, as to make sure itís the correct 18.25 inches across. This has various support sections in it, to make sure it stays in shape when the time to assemble it comes.
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With the angled lower bit of the collar done, I glued the thicker spacer collar to it, then stick them both to the lower lip, which will eventually match up to the main body. I then fixed the wider angled part of the collar to the main dome, so the two halves could be sat together to make finally adjustments. There is still a fair bit of work to do tidying bits up, and filling in joins, but its step closer to being done.
One thing I wanted to do, was drive the dome, via a central driver shaft, instead of round the edge. To make the most of the various accessories to pop out the segments in the top, I wanted the entire top to lift off for ease of maintenance, so by having a centre drive with a square drive peg, it can simply be slotted into position, and a bolt which can be accessed via the top to secure in place. Power to the dome will be via a central contact plate, and earthed via the metal drive spindle. Having years of auto electrical wiring experience, wiring anything run off 12v is a doddle.
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With the angled lower bit of the collar done, I glued the thicker spacer collar to it, then stick them both to the lower lip, which will eventually match up to the main body. I then fixed the wider angled part of the collar to the main dome, so the two halves could be sat together to make finally adjustments. There is still a fair bit of work to do tidying bits up, and filling in joins, but its step closer to being done.
One thing I wanted to do, was drive the dome, via a central driver shaft, instead of round the edge. To make the most of the various accessories to pop out the segments in the top, I wanted the entire top to lift off for ease of maintenance, so by having a centre drive with a square drive peg, it can simply be slotted into position, and a bolt which can be accessed via the top to secure in place. Power to the dome will be via a central contact plate, and earthed via the metal drive spindle. Having years of auto electrical wiring experience, wiring anything run off 12v is a doddle.
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So with the master dome finished, a fibreglass jacket mould was made of it. This needed to be in five sections, four round the sides and the top. The reason for this was due to the rectangular recesses on three of the four sides, this makes pulling it off from any angle but straight on, impossible. Also the more sections itís in, the easier it comes off.
With the mould constructed and bolted together three coats of gelcoat were applied, then three layers of fibreglass matting were applied, more in places like round the bottom lip and corners. It was then left overnight to cure.
So this is the finished dome, all ready for me to start work on. With the exception of the mould joins to be sanded smooth, the rest of the surface is just a light sanding away from being paintable. I purposely made it in grey, as there are several bits that need cutting out so things like the holo projector, small vents, logic surrounds can be installed, and also the openings in the dome to allow for things to pop up. In grey this will allow me to filler up to the edges of the parts, so a perfect fit is obtained, then the whole thing will be sprayed first with grey undercoat, then satin white topcoat.