Introduction: Star Wars X-wing Fighter, Life Sized Model for $400!
You can build a life-size Star Wars X-Wing fighter to store in your driveway and impress your neighbors!
Well before we get started, I'd like you to know that I'm using the iPhone dictation option for all of my text. So no need criticize for punctuation, run on sentences, etc.
This project is exciting because it goes to show you that you can create just about anything on a small budget if you're willing to think outside the box and put in a little hard work.
Let's get started.
Materials needed: 23x 10 foot pieces of 1/2 inch steel conduit
12x 10 foot pieces of 3/4 steel conduit
12 sheets of corrugated gray plastic. Also know as "coroplast" (I was able to pick it up at a local plastics supplier) 2 sheets of corrugated black plastic.
One large bag of zip ties 20 steel hose clamps
Lots of duck tape... I mean lots of it! (like 6 rolls) Its for the inside seams.
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Step 1: Create a Design Plan.
Creating a design plan sounds and feels more overwhelming than it really is. I used pictures from online and Drew out approximate shapes of items that I would need to build to create the X-Wing fighter.
I had to bring the starship indoors through a a 6 foot wide double door. For me I needed the starship to be modular.
I used this picture explaining all the parts of the fighter to do the math to scale the design for what I needed.
As you plot out your design be mindful of where you need to have anchors for support or where you are going to hang it from.
Step 2: Start Building the Frame.
Prior to your build make certain that you're taking every safety precaution necessary!
I welded my frame together using galvanized steel conduit. (Because it was super cheap) Galvanized metal releases a chemical called zinc oxide. Wear a respirator and proper safety equipment always while welding but especially while welding galvanized metal.
Start by welding the nose. You'll need to create 6x 13 foot poles that are three quarters of an inch in diameter. Since the pipes are only 10 foot you will need to cut a piece to make up the other 3 feet. The easiest way is using a small piece of the half-inch conduit to go inside the three-quarter conduit that your welding. This will increase the stability as you weld the two pipes together.
After you weld the pipes together use the half-inch pipe to create a 4 x 4 square on the floor.
After I had my square on the floor I tacked one end of each 13 foot pipe going up to into the air so they were arranged in tipi pattern. Remember you only need to tack weld. That way you're able to move parts around without bending pipe or breaking full welds.
Now on the edge of your floor by foot square on to opposing sides you're going to create a triangle by welding 2x 26 inch pieces of half-inch conduit together. This will cause you to make and out of shape pentagon. After that add the last 2 of the 13 foot pipes to the TP.
For the top portion of the nose/TP you will need to create a 16" x 16" square of conduit welded together. This square will be used in the same fashion as the bottom portion of the nose. After you create your square weld to 9 1/2 inch pieces to 2 opposing sides to create another smaller miss shaped Pentagon.
Lean the whole thing down on its side and well each of the 13 foot poles to one of the corners of the Pentagon you just created.
Use the picture of the vertical nose cone as a reference. When you're satisfied of the shape of the front of the starship, well all of the pieces completely. You want to make sure that nothing breaks loose when you begin to fit the ship together.
Step 3: Building the Structure.
Continue to build the rear of the structure
Wings are the next step in the X-Wing fighter Each wing is created by making two quadrilaterals. One 3 foot side one 8 foot side one 4 foot side and one that is 96.75 inches. The 8 foot side should have the three and 4 foot poles at complete 90° angles. The 8 foot side will aim towards the front of the nose.
After you create 8 quadrilaterals connect them into for wings by welding a spacer of some kind in between them. I used 2 inch bolts that I had laying around.
See the picture I included.
Step 4: Buliding the Stucture (continued)
Continue building the structure. Next you will need to build a cube out of 1/2 inch conduit that is 4' x 4' x 4'. After you completed the cube will need to mirror what you created on the base of the nose in the last step. This means cutting 8 x 26'' pieces of conduit and well those to the two opposing sides.
After that you'll to create have a Pentagon shaped cube. (you can see that in the first picture on this page) when you're satisfied with your shape it's time to attach the wings. In the second picture you can see that I have welded the wings to the rear main portion which will be the hull of the ship. In addition I added the two copper color pipes to keep the wing stable during transportation. Please note that you will want to be very liberal with some of your attack welts this is where the structure really needs to be able to support itself. If you look at the first picture again you see that I've welded in all sorts of supports using the scrap cut ends of the conduit. I didn't use any particular method I just would add a piece where I thought there needs to be more structural integrity.
Step 5: Completion of the Frame.
Now that you have all the main parts Assembled. You can begin to fastening together. I used hose clamps to attach the nose cone to the rear of the craft. This will also work for attaching the last four pieces of three-quarter inch pipe mounted to the wings. If you look at the last two pictures you will see I cut four circles of coroplast and sandwiched them with some Styrofoam. After the foam is painted he creates a cool effect.
Step 6: Covering the Hull of the Ship.
Now you'll begin to cover the entire ship with the sheets of coraplast. Take measurements and cut each panel accordingly. If you look at the second picture you see where the zip ties coming to play. Zip tie the corrugated plastic to the pipe. After the entire ship is covered, cuts strips of the plastic and use the duck tape or double stick tape to cover all of the ties in seams.
It helps if you use duck tape on the inside of all the seams. You will have a better finished product the more you use.
I didn't create any digital templates because they will not be accurate depending on how you build your structure. So my suggestion is that you cut each piece individually to fit.
This is the most tedious process of the whole thing. But this is deathly worth taking your time to do well.
Step 7: Final Details
Now you're at the best part!
Use the rest of the black corrugated plastic to cut some square and rectangular shaped panels to put on the outside. It's all about taking your time with doing the details to achieve success.
The way that I created the four engines was by cutting 4x 12 inch concrete form tubes and half and putting a 8 inch piece inside of each one of those. To complete the look I used foam to fill in the gaps and then painted the whole thing gray. Again then I just added more zip ties to hold them in place.
I can't stress enough that if you take your time and work hard on a project like this it will turn out well if you get discourage don't give up just keep trying, then all of your neighbors will be super disappointed that they don't have their own X-wing fighter parked in their own front yard!