For those that want the command chair from a Klingon Bird of Prey, get a life. 1
This instructable is for anyone that dreams of being a starship captain one day, to boldy go where no cardboard has gone before. Aptly named for the Lord of Cardstock, Instructables member gmjhowe. Tweak his shields if you want to ask him about time travel.
1 Only kidding, words from the evil Captain Kirk from episode 37, "The Enemy Within". It's not like anyone wants to make the cockpit chair of the Millenium Falcon. Really.
Please make a log entry below, a channel is open on the subspace standard hailing frequency.
Step 1: Aye, you need stuff...
Dilithium Crystals - not really needed here but find some to build the ship.
Lithium Rain - not really needed here either but will be around whether you like it or not.
Your old dusty office chair. Hopefully it has a set of armrests. If not, barge into your boss's office and demand to get armrests on your chair and while you are at it, ask for a raise.
Don't worry too much if it is not black leather or is a high-back chair. Once you sit in the finished chair you can stun all the non-believers. The real office chair that the original Captain's chair is modeled after is no longer made and is sought after on Ebay.
more cardboard or cardstock for details
glue, lots of glue
utility knife or big scissors to cut and shape cardboard
stuff to decorate your command console:
helpful if you have them for decorations:
LEDs and old-time retro rocker switches
a few floppy disks for memory chip props
Due to time constraints, and inability to go warp 10 to time travel, this version is not electrified for lights and sounds. There is plenty of room to add in these components such as real buttons to activate sound chips and lights. Even hook this up to your house intercom system to talk to Engineering or make a ship-wide announcement.
Step 2: Get on board...
not the big comfy couch.
There are actual plans out on the web if you want a scale model of the command chair. If you are filthy rich you can even buy one. For the rest of us, there is this instructable. Since everyone will have a different kind of chair, build it to custom fit the size of the office chair you have.
The concept is to skin the chair by adding external outrigger pods to the chair. You can also do the full enclosure with a surround of cardboard box additions. Attach the component pieces with velcro for quick assembly and disassembly or just rig it up to hang off the armrests.
~~Fanatics~~ People have built Captain Kirk's chair before but used heavy plywood as was the original. Cardboard makes a greener alternative to plywood and is less expensive to boot.
No phaser cutting necessary
I haz no laser cutter, I haz no power either.
If your cardboard is stiff enough, there is no need to laminate two or more pieces together to get a sturdy sheet of cardboard. You can even patch together pieces of cardboard if the boxes you scavenge are not big enough to use. IKEA boxes are usually thin so I would recommend you laminate at least two layers to use.
it would be handy to have a roll of plain brown kraft paper to use as patching material. I tried a to use a few paper bags cut up but they seem to be coated or impregnated with something to make it stronger and water resistant. It does not soak up glue well and does not dry fast.
Adapt your side modules according to your chair. If you have an office chair with armrests on a metal brace but not full sides, the same concept should work.
Take a big piece of paper or tape some newspaper together to form your side pattern template.
I did not make things to scale but eyeballed it to similar proportions. Fly by the seat of your pants.
Create a rhombic type shape with the back end squared off.
The front angle will be according to the dimensions of your chair. The front top should jut out a bit from the actual chair.
Transfer the pattern to a sheet of cardboard. Cut out 4 pieces of the same shape. These will form the sides of our outrigger console modules.
You can maximize the use of your carboard supplies by adding pieces and bridging them with some kraft paper. You can also glue a piece of scrap cardboard on the back of the seam to reinforce it.
Step 3: Get around to it...
It would be nice to have a long strip of cardboard to go all around the template and bend it as we go but we can piece together smaller lengths of cardboard.
The seams are covered with glue and kraft paper. You can use a 1part glue/1 part water papier mache glue mix and dip your strips of kraft paper in a bowl. It makes application of the glued strip much easier.
The thickness of the side console should be 6 inches. At the top, include an additional 2 inches in width to act as an attachment point for the faux wood armrests we will make later. Test fit on your actual chair and cut away the armrest support where the side console juts out.
Use scrap cardboard pieces to make "L" shaped tabs to go around the template side so that you can glue up everything easily. I used some packaging tape to also tape down the tabs to clamp them in place until the glue sets. I think using a hot glue gun at this point would have made things go faster.
In the center of the top, I made a brace like piece of cardboard. It stiffens up the top when you press down and since it is the width of the side console, it will keep the sides from collapsing in when all glued up.
Enclose the template side completely. Seal the raw edges with strips of kraft paper and glue.
Glue "L" tabs on the other side all around the edge so it will be ready to attach the other side later.
Step 4: Time for an armrest...
The armrest will flare out a bit to form the triangular shape. On the real chair, this is where the armrest bends up to fit the contour of the armrests.
These will be the faux wood armrests so cut out and laminate three layers of cardboard together to give it thickness. The lower layers you can piece together since they will not be visible.
Reinforce the armrest support with a few more layers of cardboard to keep it rigid.
You can then add on the other side panel to finish the side console form.
Step 5: Cardboardalopalooza
Refer to the many images you can search the internet for proper placement and details of the instrument panels.
Mock up your instrument panels. Being stranded on Rigel VII, I had to just use cardboard. Paper mache will form the knobs, buttons, switches, and light bulbs. You can cut lengths of dowels use magic putty or anything else to block out the shapes for the instrument panels.
Kraft paper tape over all exposed edges.
Wait till dry.
Prime with paint primer so it will be ready for finish paint. I had only used two coats of white primer on my project. I did not have time to go get the authentic "dove grey" or "battleship grey" paint to do it right. It was an old can of primer I found that was chunky and had separated solids, it still worked out well.
Step 6: A touch of class...
I couldn't find burl walnut or the other exotic woods they use in a Rolls-Royce but here is something that looks close to what real wood looks like.
Cover your armrests with the faux wood finish.
Pay attention to the way the grain should be running, along the length of the armrest. Cut slits at points where the shelf-liner paper does not bend like at corners to ensure a smooth cover.
Leave a bit of the bare cardboard exposed on the back so you can glue it to the armrest supports on the side consoles. I used some gap-filling polyurethane-type glue to glue it together. A rubberband and a paint can to weigh and clamp it in position while it dries.
Make sure your armrests are oriented correctly.
When dry, test fit it again on your chair.
Take some stiff wire, or if you have "gardening staples, used to pin weed control fabric to the ground", and bend them into an "L" shape.
Push it into the armrest support as shown. This forms a hanger system for the side console to hang off the arm or your chair. Different chair armrests may require velcro or a more substantial metal support rod or bar.
Yeah, I know the chair isn't black leather upholstery, but make do with what you have.
Step 7: Bottoms up...
Since there is no structural integrity required, this is just a "L" shaped piece of cardboard that is fitted to the width of the gap and taped on to the side consoles.
I just covered this with white duct tape that I had. I had already cleaned up the paintbrush and the duct tape matched the light color of the primer.
As you can see, it is pieced together with leftover cardboard. It would be nice to have a single flat piece of cardboard to use.
I did not make the round skirt for the chair bottom. It would interfere with the comfort adjustments of the chair too much. If you wanted to make it, it would just be a cylindrical wraparound which could be a tube within a tube to make it height adjustable and with some cutouts for any lever controls on the chair. Then again, you can bolt it to a pedestal just like the real chair if you wanted.
Step 8: Get back to the controls...
The papier mache to form the instrument panels came out pretty rough. I was using paper bag paper which is too stiff for fine details and I was running out of glue so the glue/water mixture was not optimal. Also, 87% hot humid summer days do not really encourage papier mache to dry.
The rocker switches, buttons, lamp bezels, and toggle switches were all formed by folding cardboard or rolling up thin strips of cardboard to form the base. Papier mache rounded off the shapes.
When the papier mache dried, I painted the three instrument panels with some oil based porch paint I found, it is still sticky so you might notice some smear marks on other parts.
I used construction paper for the colored switches and lights. A layer of packaging tape covers it and gives it that glassy sheen. If you snip the tape where it bends or folds, you can get it to conform smoothly to the shape you want it to be.,
I wrapped the toggle switches with a bit of the white duct tape.
I had no blue paint so I tried a crayon to color the intercom. Didn't come out so well. The grille material is a piece of fiberglass drywall tape that I glued in there. A black crayon was rubbed over it to accentuate the grid pattern.
Make a memory chip by wrapping a piece of cardboard that fits into the slot with construction paper. I couldn't find any old floppy disks to use.
Lastly, cut small pieces of white paper to make the labels for the instrument panel.