Hello, I'm a Architectural Model maker who in his spare time likes to make props.

To view my online Photo Portfolio of my Architectural model making please go here.

This blog is where i document my progress with photos and write ups.

Please read my about me page for contact info and how to enquire about commissions or plan purchases.

Plans for sale : here

22 November 2012

Thats no moon. Levitating Death Star.


This is how i made my floating death star


I have always Loved globes and the like, especially the ones that float within a magnetic field. 

I thought it would be fun to change what hangs in the space of the globe so had a think and came up with the thought of making a Death Star replica. 

so i started by getting hold of a floating globe, i got mine on the electronic bay.com.


It was a nice little globe. the base was domed and had some little LEDs in to give it the space/future/star wars feel. 

i do have plans to make the dome at the bottom look a little planety or something.



 
The globe had a little Equator sticker holding the two halves of the globe. 

The top half of the dome holds the strong magnet that makes it float.


The detail of the globe (the countries and seas etc.) were on a thin plastic layer that seems to have been heat shrunk around the plastic domes. it wasn't glued down, it was only held by the top and bottom metal caps.
I stripped it of by pushing a craft knife in-between the dome and the plastic and it was easy to peel off.
 


Once i had the covering off i printed some plans of the Death Star from the Internet at the right scale of the globe i had.

I cut out the "eye" of the Death Star and placed it on the dome in the correct place.
Once the "eye" was in place i traced round the "eye". 


I carefully cut the "eye" out of the dome and flipped it round and placed it back into the hole it came from. (the same way the actual Death Star in the movies was done.)

i glued it in place from the inside of the domes. Then I gave it a light sanding to make sure it was flush.


I gave the whole globe a little sand and then a coat of light grey primer.


Its time to give the globe a little test float. changing the weight and distribution could possible change the way the globe floats.

test floats are always a good thing. 


I made a very simple press switch cell battery LED circuit. then i gave it another test float.






I drilled an array of little holes all over both domes from the inside. the reason for this will become apparent soon.





after all the holes had been drilled i started to tape the Death Star up for more painting. I randomised the masking on both domes. I then Taped them together. 




I painted the Death Star a darker grey then removed all the tape to give it some layers of details.



 
I thought i would look for the biggest ship in the star wars films and i think it was the super star destroyer, the one they released the Lego version of. The Lego one handily had a little data plaque on it that gave a size of 19km long.

In my research i found the size of the first death star to be loads of different sizes, but one number that kept coming up was 160 km in diameter.


So with a size of 160,000,000 mm for the death star and the length 19,000,000 mm for the star destroyer.

the globe i got was around 105 mm long. So  with some quick maths i worked out that it is at a scale of (roughly) 1 : 1,500,000 (it comes out to scale to the size of 106.666667 mm)

so the star destroyer of 19,000,000 at the scale of 1:1,500,000 makes the scaled version come out at 12.666667 mm  so i rounded it up to 13mm and made a little , well tiny, card model of the super star destroyer.  i attached the star destroyer to the death star with a small length of fibre optic strand, i just glued it to the destroyer and drilled a small hole in the death star.

Make sure that the length isn't too long make sure it wont hit the upright of the magnet frame.




I also used some lengths of Fibre optic strands to make the laser firing, (i forgot to take a photo of this stage but you will see it in the final images.) i sanded the fibre optics lengths a little and then stained them with some green ink. i then glued them into the holes in the laser "eye" with the 8 strands converging onto the central one which extends longer than the rest.

Make sure that the laser isn't too long make sure it doesn't hit the magnet frame. (same as the star destroyer.

Once all that is done I was finished. 





Here is a little video of the globe floating and rotating.





Thanks for looking. please leave me a comment or any questions you may have in the comment box below. 

thanks. 











18 comments:

  1. I want to do that! Your entire blog is really cool!!

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  2. Absolutely awesome!!! You are a genius!!!!

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  3. I am interested in buying one. I went to the link you provided and it is not on there.

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    1. Hi, it's not on the 'plans for sale' link as this item wasn't and isn't for sale as I made it for fun and for myself. Sorry

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  4. What brand did you use for the globe? Just want to make sure I get one that'll work!

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  5. Hi, it's whatever the brand is in the first picture. I just got one of the cheapest ones I could find on eBay. Sorry I couldn't help any more.

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  6. Hello there, I would like to commend you on such a wonderfully creative concept. I would like to make one myself someday. First off, as a welder/fabricator my medium of choice is heavy metal and as such I have just acquired 2 spherical ends from a set of 2-500 gallon 41" diameter propane tanks. I will be building my DEATH STAR from these 200 lb/each halves of steel welded together atop a pedestal. I also have found 160 km for the D.S. diameter but I have yet to find any diameter for the concave focused laser. What ratio did you use if I may ask please? Also, what linear distance did you space the lowermost edge of this concavity from the equatorial trench? Thank you so very much for the help and the inspiration! I may incorporate 7 or 8 3/4" sections of electrical metallic tubing converging into a 1 1/2" tube to replicate the main laser. Once all the plasma cutting is done to match the "under construction" state in the film, this 300 lb. firepit will be awesome!

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    1. I googled Death Star plans and found an image of the death star blue prints and scaled it to the size of the globe I was using and cut it out and layed it over the globe.
      That's all you did. I can't reply help in any other way.
      When you make the fire pit, I would love to see a picture of it.

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  7. Hello there, I have just completed my massive steel Death Star sculpture/fire pit. It was a tremendous amount of effort to complete but I think it turned out pretty good. I have also made some tie fighter and x wing models that are clear coated. I hope you like them. I am interested in making more for sale: http://columbus.craigslist.org/art/5356695370.html. MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU ALL.

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    1. Well don't they just look bloody fantastic ! They are great. Good luck selling them in sure they will do fantastically. 👍👍

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  8. If I bought one with a gold base, do you think sanding and repainting it a different color will affect the magnets?

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  9. Hi Amanda, I cannot see there being any problem. The magnets are in the top of the metal curve section on mine (and most of this style) but they should be powerful enough to go through a couple of coats of paint. But keep doing tests and don't paint too thickly where the magnet is.

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  10. Hello! I wonder what kind of paint you used for the globe painting. Your work was fantastic!

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    1. Hello. I just used plasticoat spray paint. As long as the paint says it will go on plastic I think you will be ok.

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  11. Hello there! I would like to know what kind of paint you used for the globe painting. Your work was fantastic!

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  12. Hi! I wonder also where was the button that turns on the light inside the globe. Or it is on all the time? :)

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    1. The switch is a tiny push button switch that I put poking out of a small hole in the base of the globe.
      In the picture of the full globe in grey with the yellow tape on in thin lines. You can see I'm holding it by a bolt screwed into the bottom of the globe. That's the hole I put the switch in


      I hope that makes sense.

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