I did some googling, and found the easiest way was to use three layers of material (plastic or card) simple cut out, sprayed, and stuck together.
I set out planning to trace some screen shots/web images, to make a template, however, along the way i stumbled accross, Matt Munson who had a wide range of templates free for personal use.
Update - Matt Munson commented on this Instructable with the news that he had been prompted to add the files to his site again.
You can access all the templates here - www.mattmunson.com/props/
Thank you Matt, for allowing access again, so everyone can make what is one of the best props out there.
I am not providing the templates here, as he explains that he had previous problems with people using the templates for professional gain.
So, here is how i did it.
- Some world famous, gmjboard (super dense thick strawboard/cardboard)
- Some thin plastic transparencies
- a household inkjet printer
- a good scalpel and stanley knife
- Some double sided tape
- a sharpie
- some silver spray paint
Step 1: Get Cutting.
Firstly we need to gather are materials,
Print out some of the templates, or design your own if your feeling creative, Its very easy to draw a simple design.
Stick the paper templates down to your selected board, My suggestions are to use either card, or plastiboard/styrene, both these can be cut using the stanley knife. Though the card is a much easier material to work with, it does give a slightly more rough finish.
Take your time with the cutting, many strokes, and less pressure is the way to go.
The corners are most difficult, but i found if i used the scalpel, and slowly nipped away around the corner it gave a cleaner better cut.
Step 2: Paint
Now we need to paint our sections,
The top and bottom sections are sprayed silver.
I used some simple silver spray paint from the diy store, the colour actually turned out to be pretty much spot on.
When spraying something like this, don't use newspaper, get an old corrugated card box, pop a stone in the middle, newspaper is too easily blown over, and is a pain when it lands on the project.
Most importantly, use many many thin layers, i gave these about 15 or so layers, with about a minutes drying time imbetween.
Leave them to dry.
With the middle section run a black sharpie or permanent marker around the edge, depending on the template you may also have to colour in a few extra sections due to the cut away on the top layer.
Step 3: The Screen
Next is to print off the screens and buttons, luckily for you, i designed these my self, which means im more than happy to provide pdf files, which you will see just below.
I printed these on a professional high end large format inkjet printer, i suggest printing them on photopaper, on your best quality setting.
Next we need to cut the transparency down to size, the stuff i used had a red layer on it, which i peeled off, cut it to a rough size, with room around the outside for double sided tape.
Using double sided tape, along the edge of the printed screen and transparency carefully stick all the pieces together. With the transparency ontop of the printed sheet.
Check to alignment with the top section.
Step 4: Stick on the Front and Back
I placed more double sided tape around the edge of the front, and stuck this in place.
I then placed another two large strips on the back plate, aligned it with the front plate properly, and stuck this on.
You could easily use glue for this, but the double sided tape works just fine.
Finally, i a sticker for use on the back. I printed onto a normal sticker paper, and then carefully placed it centred on the back, about 15mm from the bottom. You will find a .pdf file of the sticker in this step, which also had a black outline to help with positioning!
Step 5: Thats It!
Now you have a screen quality prop, you can tap away, and pretend your on voyager.
I intend to produce a second version of this, using some styrene, and also with a super cool extra feature, that actually is one up on the original prop!
Thanks for reading, and hit me with advice in the comments!