MIB Orion's Galaxy

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About: I started woodworking with my grandfather as a young boy. I continued woodworking through high school, and started woodturning after seeing a turned project in a friends shop. Some of my fondest memories are...

In this instructables I made Orion's Galaxy from the movie Men In Black. The galaxy sphere is made out of resin and I turned the housing parts out of Maple and a few pieces of wire. The sphere is 2" in dia and the housing is 4 1/2" by 3"

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Step 1: Resin Blank

Resin Blank

The blank is made out of Alumilite resin and was cast by Zac Higgins of NV Woodwerks. Most of the blank is clear resin, and it has swirls of black dyed resin, interference red, and interference violet mica powders creating the nebulous effects. A simple pint paint mixing cup was used as the mold, and the resin was poured into the mixing cup adding the colored swirls and mixing slightly with a stir stick then put under pressure to remove air bubbles from the resin.

Step 2: Preparing the Blank for Turning

Mounting the blank to the lathe

I used 5 min epoxy to glue a waste block on each side of the blank. One waste block is mounted in the chuck and the other one is held on by pressure from the tail stock.

Step 3: Turning the Blank Is to a Sphere

Turning the sphere

I used a negative rake cutter on a EasyWood #1 hollower. After shaping the blank into a sphere I parted off the waste block on the tail stock side and finished shaping the end.

Step 4: Sanding and Polishing

Sanding and polishing

I stared with 180 grit sandpaper and wet sanded with water going through all the grits up to 600 the lathe speed is at 150 rpm for sanding. After sanding I used Yorkshire Grit Microfine abrasive paste to polish it. Apply the paste with the lathe off, after you've coated the piece then turn the lathe up to 1500 rpm to polish it.

Step 5: Parting Off the Sphere and Final Sanding

Finishing the sphere

After polishing, I parted the sphere off the waist block with a EasyWood detailer. To finish sanding and polishing I made two jam chucks to hold the sphere. The jam chucks hold the sphere in place with pressure from the lathe. I also put two small pieces of non-slip pad in between the wood and sphere so it didn't damage it. I went through the hole process again wet sanding with all the grit and polishing with the microfine paste.

Step 6: The Housing

Making the housing

The housing that will hold the sphere is made up of 5 pieces of Maple, and 8 pieces of wire. I made the center ring first to get the inside diameter to fit around the sphere, and I'll proportion the other pieces around it. I mounted a 4" x 2" piece of Maple on the lathe and cupped out the inside the same shape as the top half of the sphere with a Easywood #1 hollower. The reason I cupped it like this is because I'm going to use the rest of this piece for the top of the housing after I cut off the ring portion. I brought down the outside diameter and with a parting tool I put a grove in the middle of the ring. The ring is 2 3/4" x 3/4" x 3/4" I then parted it off with a parting tool.

Step 7: Turning the Top Cup/spokes

Making the top spokes

I shaped the outside of cup to mimic the inside with the #1 hollower. Using the indexer on the lathe I marked out 4 spots for the post that will be left after I cut away the wood in between them.

Step 8: Cutting Out the Spokes

Cutting out the spokes

I unscrewed the chuck from the lathe and mounted it on a banjo mounted caving stand. I used a air saw to cut out the wood in between, and sanded them starting with 80 grit and working my way up to 180 grit. After sanding it I put it back on the lathe and drilled a hole in the center with a 3/4" forstner bit.

Step 9: Making the Top Finial

Top finial

Again I used Maple for the top piece. I made a tenon to fit the 3/4" hole I drilled in the spoke piece. Then with a spindle gouge I shaped the finial into a small sphere. I then glued the spoke piece on before parting it off.

Step 10: Gluing the Ring On

Glue up

Using a cone on the live center I glued the ring to the spokes. I put a small amount of wood glue on each spoke, and used the tail stock to add a bet of pressure until the glue setup. After the glue dried I cut the hole piece off the lathe and remounted it by expanding the chuck jaws and sanded the top of the finial.

Step 11: Bottom Finial

Turning the bottom finial

I shaped the bottom finial with a spindle gouge and parting tool trying to mimic the one from the movie.

Step 12: Making the Hub

Spoke hub

I turned a small 3/4" x 1/2" hub to hold the bottom wire pieces. First I used a parting tool to bring down the diameter and used the indexer on the lathe to mark out 8 spots. I then drilled 8 1/8" holes with a brad point bit.

Step 13: Cutting and Installing the Wires

Cutting and Glue up

With a pair of dikes I cut 8 3" pieces of galvanized wire and bent them into a slight arc. I wanted to give myself plenty of length I'll trim them down later. At one end I bent a 1/4" of the wire inward to a slight L to fit in the hub. I glued the L end of the wire into the hub using thick Starbound CA glue.

Step 14: Triming and Fitting the Wires in the Ring

Trimming the wires to size

I slowly trimmed the wires down with a pair of dikes using the sphere as a reference to get the length right. Once I had them cut to the right length I bent the ends slightly in, to line up with the ring.

Marking and drilling the ring

While holding the ring up to the wires I marked the ring with a pencil and then drilled the holes with a 1/8" brad point bit. After drilling the holes I cut it off the lathe with a parting tool and hand saw. I then glued the hub to the bottom finial.

Step 15: Painting

Painting

Robin painted the housing with silver acrylic paint and did a black wash over the silver.

Step 16: Assembly

Final assembly

I lined up the wires with the holes in the ring to fit them together. I didn't glue them in yet, it's a pretty tight friction fit.

Step 17: A Few More Pictures

I really enjoyed this fan build project, and Zac did an amazing job casting this blank. We had a lot of fun making the video too! Don't forget to stay till the end if you want to see the outtakes!

You can also find me here: Youtube, Instagram

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    6 Discussions

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    mrbushhunter

    Question 2 days ago

    mib orion's galaxy
    i was wonder what you would charge to make two for my daughters

    1 more answer
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    Carl Jacobsonmrbushhunter

    Answer 1 day ago

    I wish I could, but with the cost of the resin and the time it takes to make all the pieces. They would be very expensive to make and sell, around $200 each. I know that seems like a lot but the resin piece is $40 and it took me about a day and half to make it.

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    laxap

    4 days ago on Step 17

    Love this project, love MIB (watched again just yesterday), love people who love MIB!

    Suggestion: LED lighting.

    1 reply
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    nandrew

    1 day ago

    Not only is the woodworking great, but the videos are awesome. Well shot and edited. The sound work was great

    I Enjoyed this piece.

    1 reply
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    Carl Jacobsonnandrew

    Reply 1 day ago

    Thank you very much, I really appreciate the kind words!