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Astyanax

Astyanax's Poor Man DLT-19 Build

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Hey gang:

 

While I wait for my armor (and having completed one simple E-11 conversion), I thought it might be fun to take some inspiration from the other DLT-19 builds out there and see what I can come up with using PVC, balsa wood, and a few other odds and ends.

 

I am not looking for extreme accuracy, but the DLT-19 does have some hallmarks in its silhouette that I want to try to achieve at least for basic approval, if not EIB (which I think is also doable).

 

As a base, like the other poor man builds, I am using Hasbro's Clone Trooper "Build Your Own Blaster" (BYOB) rifle:

 

mod0.jpg

 

If you're not familiar with it, this blaster comes in pieces, and you can attach the pieces in various configurations to make different kinds of blasters. There are 7-8 different firing sounds that go off when you pull the trigger, the selection of which depends on what parts you have attached to the main "core grip" piece. All I care about is this core grip and the butt stock.

 

These blasters are out of production and quite expensive in the original packaging, but there are quite a few very affordable used ones on eBay, especially if you go for just the core grip and stock.

 

Some of my guiding principles:

 

- I would like to maintain the DLT-19 sound effect only

- I would like not to have to do any woodworking with hard wood. Balsa is fine.

- I would like it to easily disassemble into two pieces (this became impractical and unwieldy)

- I would like to try to cut down on weight where possible (impractical; extra weight in the back was necessary due to the heavy PVC barrel)

- I would like to match the proportions as close as possible, the details less so

- It needs an inner barrel that you can see through the vent holes

- I need to be able to transport it without getting arrested

 

A word about film accuracy: I'm not a huge fan of trying to perfectly simulate the "in-film used prop" look of things; I prefer the "idealized" sci-fi universe accuracy approach. Meaning, I want my build to look like it belongs in the Star Wars universe, not on the set of a Star Wars movie. So things like serial number stamps and the precise screws and other stuff that are part of the original guns on which these blasters are based are not really suitable to "sci-fi universe accuracy" and won't be simulated perfectly. I don't want those ugly wires holding on the t-tracks; I want something that looks like a real Imperial Stormtrooper would use it, not the prop an actor would use. :)

 

Enough of the rant. So before I begin, full credit to the following poor man builds (some still in progress), from which I am constantly finding all kinds of good ideas:

 






 

Thanks guys for blazing the trail; this is wonderful work!

 

Bill

Edited by Astyanax

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1. Audio

 

The first thing I did after acquiring my Build-Your-Own-Blaster (BYOB) pieces was to hotwire it so that it only ever plays a rapid-fire DLT-19 sound effect.
 
mod2.jpg
 
I figured out how to do that and posted the method here:
 
 
Bill
Edited by Astyanax

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2. Inner Barrel

 

I needed to determine how to find the right kind of inner barrel that would tightly fit on the inside of the orange tip of the BYOB grip. Reaching back into my aquarium days, I came up with this 1" rigid stand pipe. It's used for undergravel filters, and comes in 3'-4' lengths. Three feet is enough. My local tropical fish store didn't have one, so I had to order on Amazon.

 

build01a.jpg

 

It did not quite fit into the orange tip (so close), so I sanded it down quite vigorously, first with 80 grit, then 220, then 400 grit sandpaper. Eventually it was a tight fit:

 

build01b.jpg

 

build01c.jpg

 

I cut it to a length of about 24". Now I can build all the PVC around it. I will be sure to paint this with primer and satin black before permanently attaching it to the PVC.

 

For ensuring that the PVC outer barrel "shroud" piece fits tightly on the outside of the BYOB's orange tip, I figure I can use cured silicone as a filler and "cushion". More about that later. EDIT: This didn't work out. I had to glue it all on with E6000. No biggie.

 

One other thing I did was cut off a tiny white spring-loaded "button" at the base of the orange tip:

 

build03.jpg

 

This button serves no purpose and gets in the way of the PVC parts. An x-acto knife did the trick just fine.

 

 

3. Plans

 

I then printed out the DLT-19 CAD drawing that's floating aound the internet, and found it to be very problematic in that it was not scaled correctly. I rescaled it in Photoshop, assuming that the full length should be 48-1/2"-ish long. I then broke the left side view into five 8"x10" printable sheets:

 

build02a2.jpg   build02b2.jpg   build02c2.jpg   build02d2.jpg   build02e2.jpg

 

These need to be printed at 100% scale, with no enlarging or resizing of any kind. I only did the side view this way , as I am using these plans strictly for getting my proportions right.

 

After printing them, I taped them together so I could lay my parts down on it and try to match the profile as closely as possible.

 

Here's a download link for the entire rescaled plan, just in case anyone finds it useful:

 

build02f2.jpg

 

THIS DOES NOT HELP FOR THE HOLE TEMPLATES if you are using standard SCH40 PVC pipe. I had to tweak those a bit further in Photoshop. I'll post those later once I've completed all three.

 

I'm off and running. :)

 

Bill

Edited by Astyanax

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4. Barrel Tip

 

With a plan in hand and lots of reference photos available, I set out to first make the barrel tip, which I am defining as being all the front parts up to the barrel itself.
 
There is no standard PVC pipe size that matches the MG34's barrel diameter perfectly. I opted for slightly too large instead of too small, and went with 1-1/4" (inside diameter) SCH40 PVC pipe for the main barrel. I acquired assorted PVC fittings based on that. The 1" pipe just looked far too small and flimsy for my taste.
 
These are the parts and fittings I used for the barrel tip, as well as the order of assembly:
 
build04a.jpg
 
1. Mouthwash cap: These come in two sizes on the grocery store shelf; I went for the smaller one.
2. 1-1/4" bushing with a 3/4" threaded hole. This helps the mouthwash cap seat better on the part.
3. 1-1/4" coupler: Trimmed to 1-3/4" in length.
4. 1-1/4" piece of pipe, cut at about one inch in length.
5. 3/4" coupler: This helps the inner barrel stay centered.
6. 1-1/4" bushing with a 1" hole. Slip fit.
7. 1-1/4" coupler.
 
NOTE: I want to point out here that on almost every PVC part, I also tried to clean up extra PVC "flash" (except on round parts) and sanded off the raised text where I could. It's as simple as rubbing a piece for a few seconds on 80 grit sandpaper on a hard surface (instead of running the sandpaper on the part), followed by 220, and then 400 grit. Finally I use the 400 grit to smooth out the corners.
 
NOTE AGAIN: I also want to mention that during the build of PVC fittings, I tried to orient the fittings so that their edges lined up. Octagons set up straight, etc.
 
First off, I used a spade bit to drill a 3/4" hole in the middle of the mouthwash cap (1). Then I used a Dremel grinding bit and then a sanding bit to remove all the little "fins" that are on the inside of the cap and smooth out the interior (you can see those fins in the above pic).
 
build04b.jpg
 
Then I glued with E6000 the mouthwash cap to the top of the bushing with threads (2). The threaded bits helped provide more surface area for the cap to stick.
 
build04bi.jpg
 
The next thing that needed to be done was that the first coupler (3) needed to be trimmed to 1-3/4" in length. I did this by first drawing a line around it with a thin Sharpie:
 
build04c.jpg
 
The trick here is to hold the pen still and rotate the part instead. I then used a coping saw and VERY SLOWLY cut the end off.
 
According to the plan, the coupler also has 20 "divots" at its base. My plan was to cut those with my dremel, but I needed a pattern to position them first. I mocked this up quickly in Photoshop:
 
build04bi2.jpg
 
I then placed the part on a printout and marked the divot points with a Sharpie:
 
build04dii.jpg
 
Then to cut the divots, I used a dremel pointed grinding tip #997:
 
build04diii.jpg
 
While I did try to measure out equally-spaced grinding points for the dremel, it didn't quite play out perfectly. The dremel bit wanted to travel when I set it down on the PVC, so I did my best to eyeball it and try to get it even. It's not perfect, but came out well enough. A little sandpaper cleanup and I was done. Also, notice the black line encircling the piece. This was to help me make sure my dremel cuts didn't go too deep or too far.
 
build04div.jpg
 
In retrospect I wonder if a file or rasp would have been a better choice than dremel for precision, but that would have been a LOT more work. These still came out fine. :)
 
Here's all three parts assembled. The bushing and coupler didn't need glue, as the "slip" fit was very tight.
 
build04f2.jpg
 
My next thinking was that the piece of pipe, 3/4" coupler, and slip bushing would all go on like this:
 
build04g2.jpg
 
That way, the small coupler holds the inner barrel centered, and it can even be glued in. But upon looking closer at the plan and reference photos, I realized this whole piece is going to need four six vent holes! So some small tweaking was in order.
 
I sanded the piece of pipe (4) on one end to even it out, because this end will need to fit flush to the slip bushing.
 
Then, using the same divot template above, I marked two four positions where there would be 1/2" holes drilled. I then carefully drilled four pilot holes and then used a 1/2" spade bit to put in the four larger holes. I was shooting for about a 1/16" distance from the edges of the holes to the back end of the pipe:
 
build04hi.jpg
 
This took careful measuring to get it right. Thankfully, PVC is so cheap that you can replace it if you make mistakes!
 
I then took a mallet and tapped the piece of pipe into the coupling until 1/16" or so of the holes was covered by the edge. Also, I twisted the pipe 45 degrees, putting the holes off-axis. This matches several reference holes, including one in my correction post below.
 
build04ii.jpg
 
I also glued it with E6000 to ensure it was secure.
 
Next up was to insert the 3/4" coupler (5). Again, this is for stabilizing the inner barrel. It needs to be glued. But it now blocks the two four holes I just drilled! So it was necessary to use the dremel to cut a "window" into the two four sides of the coupler right where the holes would be.
 
build04ji.jpg
 
In the pic above, on the left side is a test fitting of the coupler, and then I used a thin Sharpie to mark the hole and sketch where I want to cut. On the right is the coupler after being cut with my dremel cutting wheel and cleaned up with the grinding tip (it's okay for them to be messy cuts).
 
Here you can see the coupler inserted into the assembled tip. These windows allow a view all the way through the holes to the inner barrel. This needed to be glued in with a fair portion of E6000.
 
build04jii.jpg
 
The final coupler (7) also needed to be shortened a bit. Once again I used the Sharpie to draw a line around it and the coping saw to cut it short to a length of about 2-1/8".
 
I put some E6000 glue (very little) on the exposed end of the 3/4" coupler (5), and pushed it into the piece of pipe until it all held flush. It was necessary to twist things just a little to get it all to line up right:
 
 
Finally, another two holes needed to be cut in the back coupler, so I again measured and drilled (don't forget that pilot hole!) 1/2" holes on either side.
 
And this is the finished barrel end!
 
build04li.jpg
 
I will be adding the front sight, "greeblies" and additional detail later. This is just a completed foundational piece.
 
My next post will involve working on the opposite end of the barrel, the part that attaches to the BYOB.
 
Bill
Edited by Astyanax

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I messed up! Turns out the barrel end needs four holes (not two) in the front part, AND the orientation of those forward holes needs to be twisted! It may not look like a perfect match, but I'll go with 90-degree located holes and a 45-degree twist.

 

build04X.jpg

 

I'm gonna have to redo this part and completely edit the above post to show it done correctly. Which gives me a little more time to get a better dremel tip and properly do those 20 indentations around the backside of the tip. Dremel tip #997 seems to be my best bet for that.

 

Updates coming soon!

 

Bill

Edited by Astyanax

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5. Barrel Base

 

Having completed the front of the barrel, I wanted next to finalize the base and attachment point to the blaster grip. This turned out to involve a lot fewer parts than I expected.
 
(I have to point out here that I had to throw out my initial plan to have the barrel detachable. As some of the other guys figured out, the barrel is heavy and the attachment point to the blaster grip is relatively small, so I ended up gluing it on. The whole rifle will have to be one piece. But that's okay with me. :))
 
So this connection part only required two parts:
 
build05a.jpg
 
1. 7-1/2" length of 1-1/2" ID PVC pipe.
2. 1-1/4" x 1" slip fit bushing. No threads anywhere.
 
I used a coping saw to very carefully cut my length of 1-1/2" PVC pipe. Marking the cutting line all around really helps me stay vertical with the saw, and then I was able to use the 80-220-400 sanding method (see above) to even it out and smooth it out.
 
Next, I needed to fit that bushing in one end, which it doesn't want to do. This require a lot of sanding of the inside of the pipe (the dremel really helped here) until I was able to pound the bushing into the pipe with a mallet. No glue was necessary. (I opted for an octagonal bushing here because I figured it would give me better attachment points later when I work on details.)
 
build05b.jpg
 
After this, it was time to deal with the holes. After some experimentation and Photoshopping of the original plans, I came up with this sized template:
build05c.jpg
(You can right-click-save this image and print at 100%.)
 
I taped the template onto the pipe, about 1/16" back from one end. I lined up the paper's "split" (centerline of a forward hole) to one of the flat sides of the octagonal bushing, such that the paper's split would slice the flat in half.
 
build05d.jpg
 
I used an awl to mark my drill points, then a 1/16" drill bit to make my pilot holes. I then enlarged the pilot holes with a 1/8" drill bit, and then used a 9/16" spade bit to cut my final holes. Cleanup with a dremel resulted in 5/8" diameter holes, which are a little too large. But since we're talking about the base of the barrel, I was okay with this. It won't be a big deal.
 
I then tried using a layer of exposed silicone on the inside of the bushing to see how it would fit on the blaster grip. It did fit well, but any weight at all causes the silicone to squish and for the barrel to droop. So I glued it all on permanently using E6000. :) I aligned the forward holes and bushing flats to the left and right sides of the blaster. Flat sides out, not corners.
 
build05e.jpg
 
I will later put details/greeblies on this attachment point.
 
Next post, I will finish out the barrel as far as basic components and inner barrel.
 
Bill
Edited by Astyanax

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Hi !

Very nice and inspiring job

Would you, please, tell me the sizes for the item 1. Mouthwash cap ?

Is there a standard ?

 

Thank you

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Very nice and inspiring job

Would you, please, tell me the sizes for the item 1. Mouthwash cap ?

Is there a standard ?

 

Thanks for the kind words. :)

 

Yeah, there seem to be two standard sizes of mouthwash cap when I looked at the local grocery store: medium and really large. I went with the medium sized one. In my case it was a large bottle of ACT.

 

Bill

Edited by Astyanax

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Thanks for your answer. I'm not sure we have the same groceries in all countries, and that's the reason why I asked for sizes that could be a "standard" but I will do with this :)

I look forward to reading you in your thread :)

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Ah yes, sorry about that, I didn't think about the international aspects.

 

My cap is 30mm at its narrow point and 38mm at its widest point. It is 41mm long.

 

Hope that helps!

 

Bill

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6. BARREL BODY

 

Before getting the barrel body parts together, first I painted the inner barrel tube:

 

build06a.jpg

 


That's 3 coats each of black primer and black satin spray. I masked a half inch off the front and an inch off the back so as to leave a nice surface for gluing. The tube length is about 24" long, carefully cut with a coping saw.

 

For the barrel pieces, I used the following:

 

1. An 8" long piece of 1-1/4" ID PVC pipe. (Should have probably gone with 8-1/2" at least.)

2. A 5-3/4" long piece of 1-1/4" ID PVC pipe.

3. A 1-1/4" PVC coupler. (To be cut down to 1")

 

build06b.jpg

 

The pipe cuts do not have to be perfect because they will be hidden.

 

Since the longer pipe is going to have to fit into the 1-1/2" pipe of the base, I realized I would have to sand around the end of my longer 1-1/4" pipe so that I could make it squeeze in there. This took a lot of elbow grease with 80 grit sandpaper, and then I smoothed it with the finer grits.

 

Next, I used the black line and coping saw technique outlined above to cut the coupler down to one inch in length. This cut does need to be as perfect as possible. I was able to correct for small errors using sandpaper to even it out. The 80-220-400 grit smoothing method helped.

 

build06c.jpg

 

Then, I used E6000 to glue the coupler onto the longer pipe. My pipe is a little shorter than I wanted, so I'm only inserting the tube into the coupler about a quarter inch. But the E6000 makes a very, very strong bond. It held together just fine.

 

build06d.jpg

 

These are the hole templates I used (after some resizing) to fit the 1-1/4" pipe. I have settled on 9/16" (14mm) holes, even though those are larger than movie accurate. I kind of want the holes to stand out a little, and not be completely covered by t-tracks. So 14mm it is.

 

build06e.jpgbuild06f.jpg

 

You can right-click-save these images and print them at 100% to match my sizing. I tried to label them to help figure out the proper orientation. After taping the templates on the tubes, this is what it looked like:

 

build06g.jpg

 

Right before working on the holes, I made a test fit of the parts to ensure that I have 4-7/8" of space for the holes on the smaller tube, and 7-3/8" of space on the larger tube. I used a pen to draw a circle around the tube on each end, so that when I glue them, I'll know exactly how far to bring them in.

 

I used an awl to punch tiny holes in the center of each circle, and them drilled them out with a 1/16" drill bit. Then, after taking the paper off, I used a 14mm forstner bit to drill all my holes.

 

build06h.jpg

 

This is my first time using a forstner bit. After much research and experimentation, I chose this kind of bit bcause it drilled the cleanest holes. I took care to make sure that the drill didn't run too fast, otherwise there's a risk of gouging or cracking the PVC.

 

A little cleanup with sandpaper and the sandpaper tip of my dremel, and I had some decent holes!

 

build06i.jpg

 

At this point I noticed that when I attach the longer tube to my base tube, the base tube's holes will be covered. So it was necessary to break out my dremel's cutting wheel and cut four notches in the sanded end of the tube. That way, when it's glued together, the holes will be visible all the way through.

 

build06j.jpg

 

Yes, I know that my tube isn't quite as long as I'd like for a really strong, stable glue attachment to the base tube, but the E6000 will come through, and the inner barrel will help stabilize it even more. If I were to do this again, I'd make the long tube a half-inch longer and cut deeper notches. But this should work.

 

EDIT: Having said that, I'm more nervous than I thought. I have purchased Plastistruct (styrene) for the t-tracks (see a later post) that I think will help me get some extra stability with the barrel. What you see here are four 0.060" thickness 1/4" width strips, cut at 2-1/2", then superglued to 1-1/4" strips.

 

build06k.jpg

 

I used E6000 to glue these to the inside of my smaller barrel, then to be glued later to the bigger barrel for added strength. If I had gone with an 8-1/2" tube with deeper notches cut, I probably could have skipped this step.

 

build06l.jpg

 

EDIT: I'm still pretty nervous about those attachment points, so I have superglued a third layer of plastruct on the outside of those struts, in order to create some tension against the inside of the barrel base as the E6000 cures later when it's assembled.

 

build06l2.jpg

 

I really do think that inner barrel will be very instrumental in holding it all together.

 

I have also decided to assemble the three main barrel pieces but not yet to combine them with the inner barrel or mount it all on the base.

 

build06m.jpg

 

I think next I would like to do some cleanup of the BYOB core grip, and probably figure out the stock extension, since these actions will put some stress on the barrel. So I will set aside the barrel for now, making it easier to work on the rest.

 

Bill

 

Edited by Astyanax

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7. WEIGHTING

 

After making some test fits with the barrel and rereading Uber's excellent build thread, I'm beginning to think that this blaster rifle is very, very heavy in front. And this is going to become even more of a problem as I add details and the bipod. In an effort to try to bring the center of gravity backward a little bit and make it easier to troop with, I have decided to add some weight on the back end. Not a lot, but hopefully enough to make it feel less like it wants to tip forward so easily.

 

I decided to add my weight to the back using one pound of lead coil:

 

build07a.jpg

 

This stuff comes in different thicknesses and is only seven bucks on Amazon for a pound of it. I went with a one-pound length of 1/4" diamater lead coil. It is soft, easy to bend and shape, and very easy to cut with medium-sized wire cutters or shears. Maybe even heavy scissors.

 

Even though I had glued on the barrel base to the BYOB, I removed all but the two front screws, pried it partly open carefully and inserted a couple of uncoiled lengths of the lead into the back. The left side was able to take 6", and the right side was able to take 4". I smeared some E6000 on them before pushing them in so that they won't rattle around after the glue cures. Then I made sure to verify that I can fully close up the grip.

 

build07b.jpg

 

Next, I opened up the stock and put some 2" and 3" lengths of the lead, this time onto small puddles of E6000.

 

build07c.jpg

 

And finally, I put two 2" lengths of the lead into the two cavities on the grip.

 

build07d.jpg

 

build07e.jpg

 

Notice that I first covered the electrical contacts with electrical tape so that no shorts would interfere with my carefully established rifle sound effect! :)

 

Now, nearly assembled, it feels more balanced. Heavier, yes, but sometimes balance is more important than overall weight when you're carrying something large and unwieldy for extended periods of time.

 

Next post, I'll be cleaning up and sanding the grip attaching the butt stock!

 

Bill

Edited by Astyanax
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8. BUTT STOCK EXTENSION

 

I was going to do cleanup, sanding off seams and raised print, but then I got distracted by the butt stock extension. :) After some thought, I came up with something that is mostly PVC and E6000, with a little bit of balsa wood, which I had never done and turned out to be super easy to do.

 

First off, I picked up couplers in every size and cut a piece of 1/2" pipe:

 

build08a.jpg

 

1. 1-1/4" PVC coupler

2. 1" PVC coupler

3. 3/4" PVC coupler

4. 1/2" PVC coupler

5. 1/2" piece of PVC pipe, cut to 2-1/2"

 

As I E6000-glued these all together, I cut some of them, and ground the interior ring out of one. Below was the process:

 

1. Glue the 1" coupler (#2) into the 1-1/4" coupler, tapping it in as far as it will go, until it hits the ring in the middle.

2. Use a coping saw to cut the excess of the 1" coupler (#2) off the top, using the larger coupler as a sawing guide.

3. Grind or sand out the ring inside the 1" coupler (#2). It doesn't have to be pretty or smooth.

4. Glue in the 3/4" coupler (#3), tapping it in all the way past the ground-out ring until it is flush with the top.

5. The 1/2" coupler (#4) doesn't fit in the 3/4" coupler (#3). Sand or grind accordingly to get them to fit. 

6. Glue in the 1/2" coupler (#4), tapping it in as far as it will go, until it hits the ring in the middle of the 3/4" coupler (#3).

7. Use a coping saw to cut the excess of the 1/2" coupler (#4) off the top, using the larger coupler as a sawing guide.

8. Glue in the PVC pipe (#5), tapping it in as far as it will go, until it hits the ring in the middle of the 1/2" coupler (#4).

 

The result should look like this:

 

build08b.jpg

 

By going through this process (having ground out the 1" coupler's ring and pushed the 3/4" coupler farther through), I was left with a decent gripping surface for the stock:

 

build08c.jpg

 

Next, using a combination of my dremel's grinding stones and cutting wheels and sanders, I cut out a notch in the top of the outer coupler about 1-3/8" wide by 3/4" deep. I also notched the top and bottom of the inner coupler in the back about 7/8" wide, as deep as it would go. I found a cutting tip that helped me, but I wish I had done this before all that gluing!

 

This is the finished stock "adapter":

 

build08d.jpg

 

After this, I needed to make space for the 1/2" pipe in the back of the blaster. This involved lots of trial-and-error dremel grinding and test fitting until I could jam the adapter's pipe all the way in, and also so that it would rest tightly on the bottom.

 

Pro tip: put some electrical tape over any holes in the back of the blaster so that you don't get plastic shavings inside the blaster! I had to pry mine apart more than once to empty it out.

 

build08e.jpg

 

Then, with a lot of E6000 glue and some upside-down clamping to my workbench, this is how the adapter looked:

 

build08f.jpg

 

I plan to use Milliput to fill in all gaps and shape the stock somewhat, but I don't want to waste a lot on big gaps. So I took three 1" pieces of 1/4" wood dowel and jammed them in above the 1/2" pipe. This also helps keep tension on that adapter so that it won't easily be pushed up.

 

build08g.jpg

 

Next, I took the stock itself and removed the inner spring-loaded guts. I then hacksawed off the front half-inch of plastic, just up to the screw, leaving the screw intact.

 

For support, I also took five pieces of 1" x 5/8" Plastruct (styrene), glued them to each other with superglue, and superglued that to the front-underside of the stock. I also covered the stock's bottom hole with a 1" x 7/8" piece of styrene using superglue. This will come in extra handy in a moment. Thin wood is also a fine alternative to styrene in these cases.

 

build08h.jpg

 

This all made it easy to test-fit inserting the stock into the back of the adapter. I had to make a couple adjustments with the dremel grinder for it to go in far enough.

 

build08i.jpg

 

Then I jammed a 2" length of 3/8" diameter dowel into the adapter along the bottom of each side of the stock. This adds more stability and fills gaps. You can see it more clearly below in the second-to-last picture in this post. 

 

Then I used a LOT of E6000 to glue it all in, and clamped it together, leaving it overnight.

 

build08j.jpg

 

In an effort to fill in that big gap at the top front over the 1/2" pipe (so I don't waste putty), I picked up a 1" x 1" length of balsa wood from my local hobby shop, and cut a piece about 1-3/4" long. I sanded down a shallow angle, and then used a large drum-sanding attachment on my dremel to sand out the round part.

 

build08k.jpg

 

This is a test fit prior to gluing with E6000 and clamping it down really well:

 

build08l.jpg

 

Balsa is very easy to work with, and really sands down fast, so I was pleased with the result.

 

Finally, I decided to use balsa to give me a structure for the "horn" that is missing from the stock. I'll still use putty, but this helps lay the foundation.

 

build08m.jpg

 

1. I took a 1" x 1" x 1" cube of balsa wood and marked a shallow angle and then a steeper angle.

2. I cut these angles using a hacksaw (intentionally not getting too close to the lines) and then smoothed them with 150 grit sandpaper.

3. I then sanded the other sides toward almost a pyramid shape using 150 grit sandpaper.

 

Then I glued it onto the piece of styrene covering the bottom hole. It's not perfect, but it will really help when it's time to sculpt that putty.

 

build08n.jpg

 

(You can see in this pic the 2" x 3/8" piece of dowel referenced above.)

 

I must say, with the added weight in the stock, this is really starting to look and feel good!

 

build08o.jpg

 

Next post, I will sand and fill seams and screw holes, as well as lightly sand all smooth surfaces.

 

Bill

Edited by Astyanax
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9. GRIP CLEANUP & HOLE FILLING

 

Short one this time. I'd been avoiding it long enough: it is time to clean up the seam that splits the BYOB grip into two pieces and to fill the screw holes.

 

If I had spent a little more time studying the gallery images of the MG34, I could have saved myself a lot of trouble. Read on!

 

The first thing I did was take 150 grit sandpaper and sand the entire seam all the way around the grip. This is due to the fact that sometimes the two pieces don't leave a gap, they leave a "peak", so pre-sanding flattens this down a bit.

 

Next, I broke out my trusty Bondo spot putty #907.

helmet29.jpg

This particular Bondo has a couple advantages over other kinds of Bondo and putty: it doesn't require a two part mixture, and it sands like butter. But it does have a tendency to want to crack if used over spaces that are too wide, so keep that in mind. I treat it like spackle: any cracks or remaining hole divots I can just treat again. It dries in an hour and sands right down.

 

I smeared Bondo on the seam all the way around, and covered the screw holes. I should have been a bit more conservative in my use of the Bondo, because I was left with more sanding than I should have needed to do. Treating it like spackle makes more sense.

 

build09a.jpg

 

And this is where I should have stopped and consulted pictures. It turns out the makers of the BYOB have located screw holes in similar places where the real MG34 has screws or other hardware! Several of the holes don't need to be filled at all, since I'm planning on using some assorted hardware details.

 

Have look at the real thing:

 

build09b.jpg

 

Now see the BYOB:

 

build09c.jpg

 

One hole should be left alone, and only five easy ones need to be filled! The rest can be covered with screw heads, pegs, etc. I filled all twelve, and it was somewhat grueling in the tighter corners. But at least this over now. I hate sanding.

 

Speaking of which, the technique I used to clean this up was 80-220-400 sanding, just like the rest of this project. The 400 grit finish really leave a nice smooth-but-not-glossy surface that should be perfect for painting.

 

Also, don't forget to sand off all that lettering on the left side! There's a lot of it, including the "ON/OFF" text by the switch.

 

Next post, I will be trying to finish the entire butt stock using Milliput. We'll see how that goes...

 

Bill

Edited by Astyanax
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10. BUTT STOCK!!!

 

Wow, this was a pretty grueling and time consuming step, but doable by anyone with enough patience and a couple hours of sanding. I'm very happy with the result, so let's dive in.

 

As far as which putty/clay to use, I did tons of research. I know people on these boards are very fond of Green Stuff, but I went with Milliput. While more expensive, Milliput is a thick 2-part putty that does not shrink or change shape as it cures. Once cured in about 4 hours, it is ROCK SOLID, and fully sandable and paintable. There are several grades of Milliput, some finer/harder or coarser/softer than others. I went with the "Terra Cotta" grade, which is very fine and sands very slowly with extra work. This was important to me because I did not want to over-sand; I have no skill in this arena. This is my first attempt at such a thing.

 

build10a.jpg

 

The trick with Milliput is to dip your fingers in water as you're forming it. This really helps the Milliput spread around, take a nice shape, and adhere better. It made all the difference for me.

 

I ended up needing three packages of Milliput, which begins to take me out of the "poor man" concept of this project. Each package is $8-$10, depending on where you get it. It's readily available on eBay and Amazon. But once I saw the finished result (read on), I was okay with the cost. We'll eat in this weekend. ;)

 

I used almost the entirety of my first package making a "saddle" across the top. I wanted to bulk up the stock a bit, as it is a little small in size compared to the blueprints. So lots went on top.

 

build10b.jpg

 

Once that had cured, I flipped it over and used a second package on the bottom and sides, again bulking up as I went and keeping my fingers wet with a bowl of water nearby (and nitrile gloves).

 

build10c.jpg

 

build10d.jpg

 

build10e.jpg

 

The third package was used on building up the back sides of the stock (not the very back, I kept Milliput off that almost completely).

 

build10f.jpg

 

You can see above that I also kept back a few "blobs" of Milliput to cover up any divots or wrinkles that don't come out enough. This was a very important step, because it's easier to sand off excess than not have enough material to cover it. Again, using water to smooth it was crucial here. I wish I had done more of that.

 

build10g.jpg

 

Incidentally, have a look at that photo above. See the little dip cup holding the blaster up off my parchment? That's the current center of gravity! Yep, this Milliput has added 9-10 more ounces of weight to the butt stock, making it very heavy in the back! This might be a good thing; I hope my barrel assembly is heavy enough! I'll let you know after barrel assembly (next step) whether or not that much lead weight in the stock was a good idea.

 

After curing, I then spent the next several days sanding, a few minutes here or there because it is hard work. For removing mateiral, I used a combination of a sanding drum attached to my drill (VERY sparingly, be careful!), a sanding block with 60-grit sandpaper (super useful), 60-grit sandpaper by hand (even better), and also this 36-grit sanding sponge:

 

build10h.jpg

 

Don't let the grit count fool you; this sponge is definitely a smoother. It smoothed down the results of my coarse sanding, but still removed a decent amount of material. This little sponge is a really, really nice shaper. By the way, wear a breathing mask for this entire process, only do it outside (red powder everywhere), and keep a can of spray air to keep blowing off the dust! This is the voice of experience! :)

 

From a shaping standpoint, I didn't really have a specific plan in mind. I looked at lot of of photos of the MG34 butt stock (Google it), but really it was all about getting the round shape of the front PVC pipe smoothed down to the back end of the stock, as smoothly as possible. Taking it a little at a time, the right curves kind of presented themselves. I want to reiterate here, I've never worked with clay before. But Milliput is forgiving because it sands so slowly. The horn underneath has to be taken extra slowly with just sandpaper, but I'm VERY happy with how that looks now.

 

I can't say this enough: take it slow. After a grand total of 2 or so hours of smoothing, this is the result:

 

build10i.jpg

 

There were 5-6 tiny pock marks where I missed using enough Milliput in those particular spots, so I brought out the Bondo spot putty, and touched those up. Also, a bit of the PVC pipe was exposed right where it transitions to the putty, so I thought a little Bondo will smooth that out.

 

build10j.jpg

 

Then, with a light sanding of 100 grit, another of 220, and a final one of 400, this is the final sculpted butt stock. This thing feels like a smooth piece of stone. I guess it is now!

 

build10k.jpg

 

I'll be making a rubber pad for the end of it later when I work on details (the most fun part).

 

At this point I want to say that when I finish this stock, I'm going to use a wood grain texture, similar to the technique shown here. Yes, I know that film accurate versions of the DLT-19 use dark brown bakelite, but I'm not after precise film accuracy, but rather sci-fi-universe fun. So I'm allowing wood. I like to think of myself as a trooper that tricked out his weapon from the redwoods of Kashyyyk. ;)

 

Honestly glad that's done. Probably the only "scary" part of this build. Happy Halloween. :vader2:

 

Next post? Assembly!

 

Bill

Edited by Astyanax
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Wow. Beautiful! I don't think I can get mine to look like that. That was above and beyond.

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I informed Marv that there was a contact/mail problem - he then freed some space in his PM-box, so you can order his t-track directly from him now again as soon as you decided if or what you want to use.

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Thanks Michael! I'm gonna see if I can make the Plastruct work first, see if I can save some money from having to use all that Milliput!

 

Bill

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