Introduction: Wooden Starship Enterprise
Runner Up in the
Sci-Fi Contest 2016
Ever been watching Star Trek and thinking 'I wonder what it would take to make a model Starship Enterprise?'... Probably not many of you. However, I did ask myself that question and I decided to try it ... and it's easier than you might think. I decided to make my ship without using power tools, just to show that you don't need fancy tools to complete an awesome project. Now here's what you will need.
10 mm thick plywood (any kind works)
20 mm diameter dowel
5 mm thick balsa
Stanley knife (or any blade suitable for a bit of carving)
Half round file
Sandpaper 80-320 grit
Step 1: Drawing Up the Components
In this step, you need to draw out all the components. For the main circle (hull) of the ship draw a circle 12.5 cm in diameter on your plywood, and for the control deck (the smaller circles) you need to draw a circle with a 7 cm diameter and a circle with a 4.5 cm diameter. For the optional feature of the lower deck, which is on the bottom of the hull, draw a circle with a 2.5 cm diameter on the plywood. Then to draw the piece that joins the main engine with the hull, I drew a 2 cm tall rhombus with curved in long edges as seen in the pictures. You can change the style of this depending on the Enterprise you are shaping. That rule applies for everything, as this is just a guideline. Then for the balsa, which will become the part that connects the main engine to the twin thruster's, these pieces are 4 cm long and I did a bit of experimentation and the shape turned out different from the real Enterprise ... but I'm happy with the shape. The style of this part can be your own choice. Make this Star-ship Enterprise yours!
Step 2: Cutting It All Out
This part is very straight forward. Remember the last step when I told you to draw all those things on the wood? Well now you have to grab your Coping Saw and cut it all out. Use a Coping Saw because it makes it a lot easier to saw out the curves. Make sure you leave half a centimeter or so away from the outline when cutting the balsa ... as it can splinter quite badly if you are not careful. Then you can just finish the balsa off with the Stanley knife. For the dowel, that is used to make the engine and the thruster's, you need to cut two pieces 14 cm long (the thruster's) and one piece 9.5 cm long (the main engine). After you have done that, you might want to go over the plywood cut outs with a file as the edges can be a bit uneven and rough. Just file it down to the outline and until it has an even edge.
Step 3: The Control Deck (The Longest Step)
This step will take you through how to shape those two circles of plywood, together they make the control deck which will eventually be attached to the hull. Now, you first need to superglue the two discs together so that they are both centered. Then using a worktable (or a sawhorse in my case) clamp the plywood firmly to the table. This step is very laborious and will take time without the use of power tools but trust me it is worth the effort. You have to file the two discs at a roughly 45 degree angle (I didn't use a protractor, shocking I know) until the two discs form one as seen in the pictures. Then you have to use a half round file to create a scallop from the top to the bottom (curving inwards then out) as seen in the pictures. Now that you have done that, tell yourself well done, because the longest step is over ... but it is not done yet. For an extra detail, I added a tiny piece wood (actually a slither of 5 mm dowel) and super glued it to the top, this is the light feature of the Enterprise.
Step 4: Attaching the Control Deck to the Hull
This step is very self explanatory ... all you need to do is center the control deck over the hull and superglue them together. After it has dried (after 5 seconds) give it a light sanding with 80 grit just to smooth things out.
Step 5: Shaping the Main Engine
With your dowel (that will become the main engine), you will have to use a knife of some sort. I used a Stanley knife to taper the dowel down to half the diameter at the end. Once you have done that, use the knife to round off the large end of the dowel and then sand the whole thing with 80 grit sandpaper. Continue sanding up to 240 grit or until the desired finish is achieved.
Step 6: Attaching the Main Engine
In this step, we will be attaching the main engine and the lower deck to the hull. For the lower deck, simply mark the centre of the hull on the bottom and super glue the lower deck to the middle. For the main engine, you need to super glue the attachment piece a centimeter away from where the tip starts to round off. Once dried, superglue the attachment in the middle of the space between the lower deck to the edge of the hull. After this is completed, your Enterprise can really start to take shape.
Step 7: Shaping the Twin Thrusters
This step is takes you through the shaping of the twin thrusters. With your 20 mm dowel, grab your blade and start carving. You need to taper the dowel, leaving the front at roughly 20 mm and tapering down to 12 mm at the end. Once this is done with both pieces of dowel, grab your sandpaper and start sanding. Work from 80 grit to 320 grit or until you are satisfied with the result.
Step 8: Attaching the Thruster Supports
This step is very simple, simply superglue the thruster supports about a centimeter from the end of the main engine at a roughly 75 degree angle. They should both be at the same height and the tips should not quite go past the control room when looking at it from the front.
Step 9: Finishing Off
Now superglue the twin thrusters to the thruster supports. Make sure that they are parallel. As an optional step, I applied a finish to mine but instead of using a varnish I actually used super glue. Now this is risky but if done correctly it not only accentuates the grain and colour of the wood but also forms a protective shell around your work.
Step 10: Thanks for Reading and Following Along
Thank you so much for following along on this adventure and I hope you enjoyed the project. Good luck to all who attempt their own works and until we meet again.
Live long and prosper.
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