This instructable is about my build of the Rebel Alliance binoculars and also about what they might have seen when looking through them. I'm sure I've taken a bit of artistic licence here as the view you get through them isn't Hoth, but of Endor. I'm sure someone might point out the error, but then again who is to say that these binoculars haven't been around the galaxy and back a bit.
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Step 1: The Binoculars
Well I guess the first step is to make a set of binoculars and I found a collection of STL's for these on thingiverse, https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2762113
The only problem was, that these seemed to be almost wafer thin on the walls, so I had to re-inforce them in Tinkercad before printing, but eventually got a set of prints out.
These were printed in PETG, then primer and sprayed black. Over the top of this white glue was added at lots of places and then a white primer coat was sprayed on top. When the glue was picked off it gave the impression that these were a black set that had been winterised and handled roughly. A couple of little pieces were also picked out in colour.
It was at about this point that the realisation of looking through them only showed the bottom of the box,and not some wonderful scene from some distant galaxy, far, far away. :(
I did some quick tests with some lenses from jewellers magnifying glasses, aka loupes and found that a 2x loupe gave a pretty good in focus view of the inside of the case, so started the miniature build.
Step 2: Backdrop
First thing that went in was the backdrop based off an image froge m the StarWars Wikia , http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Death_Star%27s_shie... .
I had to just load this into paintshop and clone some of the sky to get a cleaner view and then printed it out and stuck it to some foam-board that was coaxed into the back of the binoculars
Step 3: Endor Landing Pad
As you might have guessed, the aim was to model the Endor Landing pad and there are a bunch of STL's around have all the parts that you might want. The problem I had was that they are all meant to be printed out a much larger scale.
Some of them are so large and complicated that you cant even load them into Tinkercad for scaling, and others when you do scale them down the parts, such as the shuttles legs are so small that they dont print out. So it was a case of mixing and matching and adding supports where necessary to get something to print. I also printed out the terrain base as well using a random terrain generator. With the terrain, I drew in a grid of holes so that I could plant trees knowing that ground scatter would be used to cover up the holes not needed. This let me place the trees so get a pleasing effect.
The trees here are a cheap N scale pack of firs normally used for model railways, as are all the bushes and ground covering.
The AT-AT was particularly hard to print, and after several failures where the printer head would knock it over I came up with an idea to let it cool and harden a bit more on each layer. I did this by printing 3 AT-AT's spaced widely on the print bed. This meant that as the printer moved from the 1st to go and print the next it would give it a longer time to cool and it seemed to work out and I was able to print them more reliably.
Basic AT-AT (x-Wing) ver 0.44 http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2175958
Endor Landing Pad - ATAT Docks https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2797170
Lambda Class Shuttle at Legion Scale https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2810881
Star Wars Legion Terrain: Endor Landing Pad Scene https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2888019
Step 4: Cue Lights !
One of the things you then find out pretty quickly is that inside fake binoculars there is no light. So a light source was needed and intial tests with LED's were not particularly bright. I was thinking of using a torch, but then tried out a neopixel strip, which gave off plenty of light. I could also play with the colour and eventually have settled on a colour shift that gives either a purple for a nice night time look, a green for the trad style night vision googles and also a red, because it look good.
I made a base out of some plasti-kard and built a little stand for the neopixel and an enclosure for the battery. Driving the neopixel is a 5v trinket with a rudimentary sketch.
I also wanted a small battery to power this and I had some small drone batteries around, but they are 3.8v, so I used a pololu step-up/down 5v board. These are great little boards, https://www.proto-pic.co.uk/pololu-5v-step-upstep-... and I came up with the idea here to solder one directly to a female JST. You need to wire in the ground lead at the same time as this is shared with the 5V out, but it really gives a compact little unit delivering a nice 5v. It has a quiescent current of around 0.1mA so it would eventually run the battery down, but it can be easily be unplugged between missions. If you wanted it be more long term, then perhaps wire the JST to a switch first.
I also ran out hands soldering the switch, so a piece of blu-tak acted as a third hand.
Step 5: More Scenery
With the printed diorama in place, a bit more scenery was needed to bed it in. I use model railway products here, lots of scenic bushes in different sizes,scattered grass and foilage. Simple spread some PVA glue and stick everyting down where you need it. Then to fix it in place I drip more PVA on top, let it all soak in and its pretty firmly in place.
Step 6: Final View
So this is the final view that you get through the binoculars. I had to pop out the loupe lens so I could get the camera to focus, but when they are being used it really does give a great experience of using them. Hope you like it and can use some of the ideas yourself.
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