Intro: Easy No-Weld Sheet Metal Tie Fighter
Bum bah, da da duh DAH duh bum bah da DAH da duh duh duh duh. Okay, be honest, how was that stars theme song text intro? Pretty sweet huh? Today on this Instructable I will be teaching you how to make a Tie fighter from Star Wars! But not just any Tie fighter, but the TIE INTERCEPTOR. Not only is it more fun to say, it is also (in my opinion) the coolest tie fighter of them all. If you have a counter argument to that claim, (I am open to suggestions) feel free to leave a comment below to persuade me! Now ANYBODY can do it, so let's get to it!
Step 1: Assembling the Materials.
This project can be done on the cheap! I'm talking at most $12! That's no Jedi mind trick! (Considering you have the right tools) Also, I know what you are thinking. I can't weld and I don't want to buy a welder. Well neither can/do I! So this project was done with hot glue! Here are all of the materials you will need
- Rubber Sheet ($2 foot at Home Depot #plenty)
- Steel Sheet ( $7 for the long one. I didn't even use the short one)
- Paper / Pen / Ruler / Marker
- Tin Snips
- Box Cutter
- Black Paint
- Drill with 5/16", 1/4" , 5/32" drill bits
- Metal Sphere (This maybe difficult to find, but you could use a foam sphere (1$) or something instead.)
- Metal Rod 1/4" ($3 at Home Depot)
Step 2: The Basic Shape
I used a reference photo for this build (Picture 1). The first thing I did was create the structure for the TIE fighter. I drew a stencil (Picture 2) and traced the border of the stencil onto the sheet metal with a pen to make general shape of the wings. Cut it out with the tin snips. At this point I would recommend bending the wings into the spot you would like them. If you do it later, you may risk pulling off the pieces. Remember, this is a no-weld project! Also, careful not to poke yourself!
Step 3: The Cosmetic Pieces
I wanted to give the TIE fighter some depth when you look at it so I decided to created extra "shell" pieces to encompass the rubber. If you have a Dremel, it will make this part of the build go so much easier! They say a poor workman blames his tools, but when he doesn't have the tools, he is just a poor (literally) workman i.e me Haha. If you don't have a dremel, this part will require lots of your patience.
Now that you have the wings done, you can just go ahead and cut the original stencil into 3 separate pieces. You will need to trace the exterior/ interior of the stencil (same process for the wings) in order to get the piece with a hollow middle (Picture 1). You will need 8 triangles, 8 trapezoids, and 4 rectangles in order to encompass the entire surface area of the wings. To get into the center of the piece without cutting into it, I drilled a whole that I knew I could fit my tin snips into. To help me trim the interiors correctly, I took a marker and just marked the interior slightly to know where to cut (Picture 2). After that, I cut the pieces completely out and they shoul look like (Picture 3). There may be some poky parts of metal sticking out so I just took the pliers and pinched those pieces flat or I was able to just rip them off. (Careful not to rip your pieces!) With the pliers, try to bend those pieces as flat as possible! Finally, you will want to use the stencil again to trace the inner triangle/trapezoid/rectangle onto the rubber with a pen. Glue all the pieces into place and it should look like (Picture 4).
Step 4: The Cockpit!
Take your metal ball and drill a nice big 1/4" hole through it with a lightsaber.....if only... ! (Picture 1). Its going to be really snug, and that is the idea. You don't want your balls sliding around everywhere. With the help of a hammer, tap that ball onto the rod about 2 inches from the end (Picture 2). Then, take a hacksaw or some metal clippers and slice the rod 2" from the edge of the ball on the other side (Picture 3). To make the front "window" of the TIE fighter we are going to use the same technique as before. Draw an octagon in the center, lines coming out from the points, and then a bigger octagon around that. Drill the holes through the in-between region and it should look like (Picture 4). Once it is all cut out, it should look like (Picture 5) All you have to do with that piece is glue it on and with your black paint, fill in the circles- just like kindergarten right? Finally I decided to add some aero-dynamic body supports (btw that's canon y'all…..eh) by just cutting out 2 triangles and cutting them down the middle (Picture 6). I then used super glue to close back up the seam which would allow them to bend slightly around the middle bar. At this point, you are just about done! (Picture 7)
Step 5: Imperial TIE Interceptor - Mission Complete
Here are some photos from the Imperial photo shoot for the Imperial Fall Catalog along with a comparison with the original photo! At this point, feel free to make it your own. Add scratches with paint wear to make it seem like it has been in battle. Or polish and clean it up to get that fresh-out-of-the-factory look! Whatever you choose to do, I'm sure it looks great! Upload you pictures if you do end up making it! I would love to see it! Drop a comment below, show some love, and if you are registered to vote, support democracy and vote for this for the Metal Working Contest. Thanks for checking out this Instructable and I will see you on the next one! May the Force be with You.