Friday, 22 June 2007

Building Material for the Body

What to make the body out of? That was a hard decision. Most people on the forums choose MDF, even though it does produce a lovely smooth finish with less sanding than other materials I dislike the material on the weight factor, not to mention the dust is highly toxic.

Fibreglass? Well, you need a good mould and I haven’t worked with it before so I am rather hesitant to start with such a major project when not having a proper workshop, and one with good ventilation.

Plywood? I was thinking seriously about this material. It is lighter than MDF but there is a lot mucking about with the finish. I have worked on a plywood model before, so at least I had the experience.

Then I came across a material on the Dalek Builders’ Guild, foamex, also known as sintra, and closed-cell PVC foamboard, amongst other things.

Dalek Builders' Guild post on foamex K-9

This material is lighter than MDF, but has that smooth exterior. It is easier to cut, and can be cut using a craft knife. The only problem was with the material, where to find it Tasmania!!? It took me three months, but I got there in the end, finding it from a company called Pool Signs from North Hobart.

Pool Signs & Designs
284A Argyle St
North Hobart TAS 7000
(03) 6234 4470

Pool Signs

I bought…

One sheet of 3mm Foamex board 2400 x 1200 @ $92.00 per sheet
Two sheets of 5mm Foamex board 2400 x 1200 @ $134.00 per sheet.

As the sheets were so huge, I had them cut in half (1200 x 1200) and delivered (another $20). It comes to $380 for the body material, but I don’t think I will use it all up. Actually I think I have enough for another project of some kind!!

There is a funny story when I was going to get the sheets… The Phil, the manager, asked me what I was going to do with it all. I said I was building a model over email and the phone and he wanted me to elaborate.

“Do you know the TV show Dr. Who?” I asked him

He beamed. He turned to his wife, also working at the firm. “Call my ‘phone.” He said to her. She did so, and it started up with the Dr. Who theme playing loudly.

Not only was there one excited Dr. Who fan there, but it seemed the whole team was interested in my project. I didn’t feel so geeky anymore. So once I am done I have promised to visit them to show it off. Later they helped me take the sheets to my office where I am doing most of the work.

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