Introduction: Star Wars "The Force" Cap Catcher
A friend of mine put together a "May the 4th be with you" challenge. May the 4th is also known as Star Wars Day, a day to celebrate all things Star Wars. The date is chosen for the obvious pun "May the force be with you" or "May the 4th be with you". This is just a friendly challenge between "maker" friends via the internet. I had no clue what to make until I came across a post on another site of a cap catcher using the Magneto character from the X-Men comic books. The inspiration hit me like a ton of bricks. This is a fairly simple build that results in a fun, decorative and functional piece. I didn't start off with a plan when building this I just designed on the fly as I was putting it together which made for a fun build. There are some improvements that can be made which I will mention as I go through the steps.
The Force is real! Or its probably just magnets.
I had some 1/4 inch thick backer board that I ripped and trimmed down to 9.5 x 10 inches. I made it this size because I thought it looked about right, you can make it smaller or larger its up to you and what you think looks right.
I had this scrap piece of 3/4 inch thick pine that I ripped down to about 2-3/16 inches wide. I need it to be at least 24 inches long. Then I trimmed this piece to 11-1/2 inches. I needed 2 of this size to make the left and right side of the frame/box.
Next I used some other scrap pieces that I had that measured about 1-1/2 inches wide by 3/4 inch thick. I trimmed those down to 9-1/2 inches, these would become the top and bottom of the frame/box. I cut 4 pieces to this size. You can see in the last picture that I am using the backboard to get the right size length of the pieces.
Here is a quick mock up of the box. To get all the exact measurements for the wood pieces I used the backboard as my guide since everything has to fit around it.
Next is a breakdown of how the box goes together. The backer board will sit on the ledge created by the top and bottom pieces.
The piece I am pointing at is 3-1/4 inches wide x 3/4 inch thick, I cut it off camera. I realized that the backer board was not sturdy enough to handle the stress of the bottle opener so I added this piece as a support piece. In hindsight I should have just made a panel for the entire back side instead of just this one piece. But that's what happens when you design on the fly.
I thought the sides of the box looked boring so I decided to add a cut out. I started the cut at about 2-1/2 inches from each edge. I used my band saw but you could probably use a coping saw or a jigsaw to make this cut as well. I repeated this cut on all the other sides of the box. I then sanded all the pieces to 220 grit.
Time for glue up. This is for the top and bottom of the box. I used some brad nails to secure the wood in place.
I repeated the process for the other side. The pieces I used were scrap and had a bit of a round over on the edges so the seam is very noticeable. If that sort of thing bothers you then you can use better wood or mill the wood or fill it with wood putty or sand it smooth. This was just a fun build for me so I'm not stressing over that particular detail.
After the glue dried I checked the fit with the support piece in place. I did another mock up to make sure everything fit well.
I needed to get a reference for the position of the bottle opener so I attached it to the backer board and to the support piece, which is hidden in the back, with some screws. I made sure to predrill the holes first then screwed it in place. In the last picture you can see the support piece which is temporarily attached.
I mocked up where I wanted the bottle cap to stop and used this as a reference to mark the side of the support piece.
I transferred this mark to the back of the support piece and then figured out where exactly the bottle cap would drop. This gave me the reference for where I had to glue in the magnets. I ended up doing this twice because my marks were off center the first time.
Then I took the piece over to the bandsaw and cut out a long "U" shape that was 3/4 inch wide, which is the diameter of the magnets.
Now it was time to glue the support piece to the backer board. I attached the bottle opener to the backer board and then to the support piece. I clamped the side piece as best I could with some clamps and sit it aside for the glue to dry.
I painted all the sides of the frame grey. Later I thought it looked to plain so I lightly dusted it with some black spray paint to give it a little bit of a weathered look. I didn't film that part so no pics. The second picture shows what the effect looks like on the finished piece. To accomplish the weathered look I would simply do short burst of black spray paint on to a few sections of the piece. I didn't want to cover it completely I just wanted to add a little grime to the pieces.
Once the backer board/support piece glue had dried I sanded the front with 220 grit and painted it black.
I immediately added a few bursts of red, yellow, and orange paint to the background. I did one paint right after the other I did not wait for them to dry. You want the paints wet for the next effect.
With the paint still wet I took some magazine paper and crumpled it up and pressed it against the still wet paint. This lifts off some of the paints in a random pattern. I repeated the process trying to use clean sections of the crumbled magazine paper.
There is no right or wrong way to do this. I added more paint as needed and repeated the process until I was happy.
Lastly I used my razor knife to scratch random lines in to the background, the point of all this was to add texture and layers.
Another option would be to find a scene from the movie and scale it to the size of the background and then print it out and glue it to the background.
These two little pegs came with the Kylo Ren action figure. They are so that you can prop him up on his background. The pegs fit in to the heels of his boots. I inserted the pegs in to the action figure and used a white paint marker to add a small amount of paint to each peg. Then I placed him in the spot that I wanted him to stand. This left white dots that I could use as a reference to drill the holes for the pegs, no measuring required.
I found a drill bit that was the same size diameter as the pegs and used a piece of blue tape on my drill bit as a depth gauge. I drilled both peg holes in to the bottom section of the box. The last pic shows what he will look like standing in the box.
Now it was time for assembly. I decided to use liquid nails because I thought it would hold better since everything was painted. I hope it does. I made sure to add adhesive to all the sides of the support piece that would come in contact with the frame. I used a brad nailer to secure the pieces while the adhesive dried. If you don't have a brad nailer you could use screws or clamps to hold the pieces in place.
I decided to add some screws to the support piece on the back, I was still concerned about the stress caused by the bottle opener. So I pre-drilled 8 holes. Then I added screws. This tied the support piece to the frame a lot better.
The screw heads stuck out a bit so I used a file to flatten them. If I had planned this better I probably could have avoided this part. You can see the location of the 8 screws on the support piece in the second picture. I painted the back black. This isn't necessary but I thought it looked better.
I used two 3/4 inch neodymium magnets for this part. I let them stick together and placed them in the slot. The cut from the band saw wasn't too bad so the magnets fit nice and snug in the recess.
I covered the magnets in copious amounts of hot glue. Then I set it aside to dry. Once it was dry I attached Kylo Ren to the frame. To permanently attach the action figure to the frame I would suggest using some 5 minute epoxy and apply it to the pegs and holes.
I kind of built this on a whim so I don't think I will mount it to the wall. However if you do make your own and want to mount it to the wall then I suggest you drill a couple of holes through the center of the top and bottom of the frame and attach it the wall with screws, preferably to wall studs if that's not an option then use wall anchors.
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much I enjoyed making it. May the force be with you.