SpacecraftReplicas - 1/4 Scale Mercury build

Discussion in 'Space & Aeronautics' started by lancer525, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. lancer525

    lancer525 Member

    Well, talk about jumping in with both feet, but I've gotten to a point where I can post on this build. I thought about putting it in another thread, but decided that I would rather not clutter that one up, so here it is in its very own thread.


    Scott did a fantastic job drafting out all the pieces, and at first, it looks really daunting. However, the instructions are pretty well laid out, and although there are a couple of rough spots, it is doable. I'm using Color Mates 65# card stock in Light, Medium, Dark and Deep Morning Mist. Although I should have ordered the Deep Morning Mist sooner. :rolleyes:

    I started with the Antenna Fairing, since it seemed to me to be a good place to begin.

    Here are some photos of the build so far:

    Top flange. I decided to use large nuts, instead of coins, as they have a bigger flat surface to work with.

    This was the second attempt at the main base structure of the fairing, and as you can see, I had some serious warping going on. I never did figure out what caused it, so I had to build four of them before I got one that didn't warp.

    I think that building the bottom structure on waxed paper to keep it from sticking to my cutting mat and leaving it there until I added the inner dielectric structure and antenna cone, had something to do with eliminating the warping.

    Here, I'm adding the inner dielectric structure. You probably can't tell from the photo, but I've used a bright-white textured paper for the dielectric. It's a very fine ridged pattern, and it looks pretty good.

    I found a really neat metallic paper to use for the aluminum antenna reflector inside the dielectric structure. It's "The Paper Company - Metallic Cover 12"x12" - Silver - #10205-030" in case anyone's interested. It works just fine with my HP Inkjet printer.

    Here's the antenna fairing to date. The build is progressing, when I have time to work on the thing, and I think this is going to be a pretty good project. It can get a little frustrating, and it takes a while to cut out all those parts, but it's going well, I think.
  2. mvink

    mvink Member

    NICE bottle of "Stress reliever" on the right, there.:twisted:
    Oh yeah, awesome work on the model, too.

  3. lancer525

    lancer525 Member


    Actually, I had been using the bottle as a weight on another part.


    Thanks for the compliment. It's a daunting build, but I think it's going to be well worth the effort!
  4. Mercsim

    Mercsim Member

    That looks great! I'm glad you got the hang of the flanges. There are lots of them. It will get easier. I'll get on the model for the Antenna Fairing shingles. When you finish it, the skin should be removable so you can upgrade it later. One day, you'll have plastic shingles for everything!

    Lets look at what you have so far: You have learned something about a small but important piece of Americas first manned spacecraft. It contained the main antenna used for capsule communications and telemetry. Its conical design made it most efficient radiating out from the sides. This was great since the capsule orbited essentially on its side. The next primary function was to house the horizon scanners that provided pitch and roll information. These plugged into the red receptacles you built.

    The drougue parachute was housed here. This was used to help stabilize the capsule during re-entry right before the main parachute deployed. It used a small gas generator (explosive) under it for deployment. If we ever do wiring harnesses, we'll make sure to include this.

    The last important function was the de-stabilizer flap. it was added after initial designs to ensure the center of pressure was high enough to keep the capsule stable during certain aborts. It was held closed during launch by a small piece of rope threaded through two cutters. These are modeled on the top cross brace and are visible in the photo above. The two receptacles next to them (also visible) were the plugs for them. Again, we can add more detail to this later if we get real crazy....

    There was some Thermocouples to measure temperatures around the inner perimeter of the fairing. There were mounted between the inner and outer skins (we only modeled one) so they were not visible.

    And last, you get to see how it was all put together structurally. Notice how stiff your simple paper model is? It was a simple yet elegant design. Maybe you knew all this but maybe you learned a little something. Perhaps other readers might have learned something.

    I'll add more as you get further along...Thank you for doing your part in preserving and sharing our Space History.


    lancer525, what is your name?
  5. lancer525

    lancer525 Member

    Thanks, Scott! That's some fantastic information! I knew some of it, having been a Space aficionado for most of my life, but some of it happens to be details I've not only never even thought of, but had no idea!

    You've put together a wonderful package of parts/plans/instructions. I only hope that my poor paper modeling skills are up to the job of doing this great model justice.

    I'm so looking forward to getting good shingles for this!

    Also, I'm starting to think ahead, so are there any "plans" for doing the aft-bulkhead/heatshield, and the interior cabin? (Especially the interior cabin!)

    The one thing I've learned so far, is that I need a bigger bottle of Bourbon! Thanks again, Scott!

    BTW, my name is Charles. :wave:
  6. Mercsim

    Mercsim Member

    I have molds for the aft bulkhead and heat shield. I'll give those plastic parts to you when you are ready. Cabin? The point of this was to validate parts for the full scale model. So one day I might model some of the major interior in paper for the fit check of full scale parts. I didn't really plan on it until I had the full scale model where the paper one is now. I have collected photos, drawings and specs for most of the major interior parts so maybe I'll trickle a few in, starting with things like seat, equipment on shelves, and equipment visible on walls. Most of the interior will be hard to see on a small model but we'll see. I kind of want the equipment shelves and seat done before I move on to the full size one. They shouldn't be that tough and I should be able to do them in a few days.

    I just bought a new house and will be moving in a few weeks. This could slow me down or motivate me as I dig through my stuff to move it....
  7. lancer525

    lancer525 Member

    Outstanding! I'm months away from needing bulkhead/heatshield, and even farther away from needing the interior parts.

    Thanks, mucho, Scott!!
  8. jgderuvo

    jgderuvo Member

    I love the bottle of Maker's Mark in the background! LOL.
  9. Hey, this brings back memories. Nice job so far. I might just re-build mine when all is said and done. It is a tad smaller than scale as ?Scott pointed out earlier in this thread. But it looks so darned good. But I will have to re-build it if I want to use Scott's parts. I learned a lot on this build and developed some interesting techniques.
  10. SAustin16

    SAustin16 Member

    Excellent work Lancer.

    Please keep the photos coming.
  11. Mercsim

    Mercsim Member

    This is probably too late for lancer525 but I posted a simple how-to video on what people call 'edge gluing' those flanges together. There are 7 mini clips numbered from 0-6. The third one is the longest and runs about 7 minutes. Maybe someone will find them useful. I'm sorry about the format but with my limited video knowledge and short time, this is what I came up with. I could have done .mov but the files were twice as large. These mp4 files are small and you should be able to see what you need.

  12. lancer525

    lancer525 Member

    Well, the website is down, so I can't view these, but I feel safe in saying that I wish I'd known they were there before I started building. I'm sure they would have come in handy!
  13. Mercsim

    Mercsim Member

    I made them and posted them yesterday. Notice the date.
  14. lancer525

    lancer525 Member

    Well no wonder!

    I'm so absorbed with the Recovery compartment, that I don't even notice things anymore...

    Still trying to figure out why I'm not seeing what's there.

  15. Mercsim

    Mercsim Member

    I'll answer e-mails sent in plain text until I get out of the hospital. It's too hard to post using my cell phone(which this one is)

  16. Hospital? did I miss something Scott? What are you in for? I just spent a night in there myself for chest pains--911, paramedics and all that turned out to be reflux. I hope you are OK. Let us know.
  17. Mercsim

    Mercsim Member

    I am home now. I went in on Wednesday for an infection in my nose and got out late last night. They couldn't figure it out and it took 4 different antibiotics before I started to respond. I don't know what the final word was but I am supposed to get results in a few days. They were worried because of the proximately to the brain. With little fa and muscle in your face, it doesn't take much for an infection to spread in your face.

    The e-mail traffic from lancer kept me sane and gave me something to do. I donwloaded just about the entire instructions for my capsule on my new iphone to help him. The upside is I learned more about my new phone, which is more of a computer than a phone.

  18. lancer525

    lancer525 Member


    I'm glad I was able to "help" you... LOL I'm even more glad you're feeling better!
  19. lancer525

    lancer525 Member

    Update to the Project!

    After an abortive start at the Recovery Section, I decided to go back and finish the detail work on the Antenna Canister, now that my Deep Morning Mist paper arrived. :rolleyes:

    Built the scanners, brackets, drogue canister, and other internal parts, and here they're added in to the internal structure:


    I still have the feeling that there are a few things I am missing somewhere, because there seems to be a number of really tiny parts that are still on the cards, and I have less than no clue where they go.

    Used the Deep Morning Mist paper to do the skin, and I found this really great textured paper at a store back home in Georgia, for use as the white scanner housing and the dielectric band. I can't find the tag for the paper, so I don't know the name of it. When I get back from vacation in December, I'll have bought some more, and can post the name of it then. Sorry fellas.


    I had a devil of a time doing the destabilizing flap, mostly because I built the first two backwards. That is to say, I built them upside down. The scanner cover housing kept ending up on the other side of the top of the canister, so I'd have to build another one. Finally got it right, but there was some major gnashing of teeth going on... :curse: I still have the drogue canister cover to build, and then I can set the entire assembly aside to wait for the molded skins that Scott is working on. I'm also going to be taking a break, as I'm going on vacation right after Thanksgiving. For now, I'll focus on the recovery section. :wave:

    Here's the assembly, as it sits right now.

  20. Mercsim

    Mercsim Member

    Great Photos! Can I post them on my site? I have been saying I was going to update it for a while now and I will get to it soon, I hope....The tower guides look really good.

    For those who can't quite comprehend 1/4 scale, notice the antenna fairing is 7 inches across. And this is that little part at the top of the capsule between the capsule and the escape tower.....

    I know it was a lot of work, but think, it's only the beginning...


Share This Page