U.S.S. Enterprise dedication plaque

Discussion in 'Wood' started by bgt01, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. bgt01

    bgt01 Exemplary Confidant

    Hello all. This is my attempt at replicating the dedication plaque from the original U.S.S. Enterprise. This plaque was located at the rear of the bridge next to the turbolift. This project is basically an excuse for me to fool around with my long-unused Dremel tool while having a little fun. This seemed like a nice, easy project to try.

    Please note, I am not trying to create a hyper-accurate duplicate of this prop. Mostly because I don't have the skills, but also because I found very little official data on the plaque specs or construction. So, I'm taking the path the studio likely did - use what's available.

    First, I settled on the size of 19"x10" for the base. This copies the size of some replicas I found online. It will be made out of 21/32" pine board.

    Next, I found the best screenshot of the plaque I could and used it as a template. I placed the screenshot in Adobe InDesign and typeset the copy using the picture for font size, style and placement. I also added some crosshairs for alignment. I printed my template on 11"x17" copy paper, which was too small to hold the whole template. Since it only cut off a small portion of two letters I decided it would work well enough.

    To make the letters I glued a template copy to some 1mm chipboard and cut each one out. I then traced them onto 1/4" poplar. I am using my 1/2" band saw as much as possible, but the finer cuts I'm making with the Dremel and a multipurpose bit. I learned quickly that trying to cut sections (like the inside of an "O") out of the letters can easily break them because of the high speed of the Dremel. So, I cut the words into sections of 3-4 letters and did any cutouts, giving me more surface area. Then I cut around the outsides of the letters. I'm cleaning up the letters with needle files and light sandpaper as needed. I also cut out one of the paper templates to use for letter placement on the base. I'll tape it down and give it a light dusting of primer paint before gluing the letters in place.

    Overall, this has been a fun project. It's not perfect, especially with the freehand way I'm cutting the letters, but I think it'll look neat on the wall. More to come.

    Attached Files:

  2. THE DC

    THE DC Member

    Nice work!

    I look forward to seeing your finished product!
  3. HRW

    HRW New Member

    Hi bgt01!
    This looks verry good. I´m looking for the next steps to finnish your model.

    greetings HRW
  4. bgt01

    bgt01 Exemplary Confidant

    Well, I finally managed to get all the letters cut out for the plaque. You can definitely tell this is a homemade project. The smaller letters for the "Starship Class" and "San Francisco, Calif." are NOT meant to be cut out on a 12" band saw. But, going back and forth between that and the Dremel, I got it done. I managed to clean up some of the "freehand" look with my needle file, but I still need to use the sanding ends on the Dremel to smooth out more. I drilled multiple holes for the Ps, Rs, etc. and filed them into shape, but the As are so small I need to go back with a smaller drill bit and hollow out some more so the file will fit. Still need to cut out the dots for the U.S.S, which I'll make out of dial rod. And, the comma is too small to cut, so I'll have to sand it into shape.

    All in all, they don't look too bad from a few feet away.:rolleyes:

    Attached Files:

    Rhaven Blaack likes this.
  5. Rhaven Blaack

    Rhaven Blaack ADMINISTRATOR Administrator

    It looks like it is coming together nicely.
  6. bgt01

    bgt01 Exemplary Confidant

    Well, after much too long I've finally made some more progress on the Enterprise plaque.:) I got the base cut to size and, after a LOT of remembering how to work it, used my router to put a 1/4" bevel on the outside edge.

    Next, I hit it with some 100 grit sandpaper and laid down several light coats of primer. I know the plaque is supposed to look like cast bronze and I'm not going to get that look from wood. But, the primer smooths out the grain of the wood enough that it should look more like "shadows" than grain when the metallic paint goes on.

    Next, I lightly drew some center lines in pencil and taped down my stencil. I lightly sprayed some of the metallic paint on the stencil and got a nice guide for gluing the letters down.

    Finally, I went ahead and glued the letters in place. I was going to use wood glue, but since this plaque is just decoration I switched to Super Glue Gel. I love this stuff because it can be spread like regular glue before it starts to harden. It held the letters just fine. I still have to cut out the periods and comma for the script. The script didn't turn out as well as I hoped. Up close it looks pretty hinky.:( But, this was always just an excuse to use the wood tools so it'll do. Hopefully when it's all one color the poor cutting won't be as noticeable. I'm going to give the letters a light shot of primer before paint. Hopefully, I'll get enough contrast between the red primer and gold metallic paint that it looks a little like a cast piece.:rolleyes:

    Attached Files:

    Cybergrinder and Rhaven Blaack like this.
  7. Cybergrinder

    Cybergrinder Member Extraordinaire

    This looks amazing! Brilliant carpentry skills!
  8. zathros

    zathros -----SENIOR---- Administrator

    That really is incredible. I would have gone to Michael's Craft stores and purchased the letters to glue to the board, maybe with some Dremel work! :)
  9. bgt01

    bgt01 Exemplary Confidant

    Well, I'm finally calling this one done (with one provision).:) I put on the final coats of primer on Friday night. I could tell I was going to have some grainy look, but decided to just soldier on and see what happened. Got up Saturday and laid down a few light coats of the metallic gold. I let that sit for a couple of hours and then hit it with the final coat. That got what you see here. The goal was to spend as little as possible and make it with the tools I had in the garage and I think I did OK. If I wanted "prop" quality I'd have to redo it with a smoother base (plastic, mdf, etc.) and/or give all the wood a filler coat sanded smooth; and the letters would have gotten a lot more work with different tools. As it stands, the only thing I think I'll go back and fix is the bottom front of the base. It wasn't sanded smooth enough and the paint didn't adhere evenly, so it looks streaky. But for now, it looks cool next the TV when Star Trek is on.:D Now all I need is to install a turbolift in the house for it to mount next to.;)

    Attached Files:

  10. zathros

    zathros -----SENIOR---- Administrator

    I think it looks great. You're being too hard on yourself. Besides, if you wanted a smooth as glass finish, you could spray it with multiple layers of acrylic, or polyurethane. I think it looks fine as it is. I'd display that! :)
  11. Rhaven Blaack

    Rhaven Blaack ADMINISTRATOR Administrator

    The plaque turned out GREAT!!!
  12. bgt01

    bgt01 Exemplary Confidant

    Thanks fellas. @zathros I'm not down on the plaque. It's proudly displayed above my vintage 1970s Realistic stereo.thumbsup I could have made a super smooth one, but it'd take another six months to find the time. I was ready to have it done so I could stare at it during Star Trek reruns.:vulcan:
  13. THE DC

    THE DC Member

    Nice work, fella!
  14. zathros

    zathros -----SENIOR---- Administrator

    Some of those 1970's Realistic Stereos have excellent sound. i consider myself an audiophile, and have some rather antique and desirable equipment also. :)
    bgt01 likes this.
  15. Cybergrinder

    Cybergrinder Member Extraordinaire

    Nice bgt01! Zathros, you're reminding me of my Dad, ;) but you have a point! Digital maybe better quality but it lacks the character & feel of the old analogue LPs.
  16. Al E.

    Al E. New Member

    If digital is better how come many are going back to the old records?
  17. zathros

    zathros -----SENIOR---- Administrator

    Digital has greater non harmonic distortion. There was a great information loss between 2500 Hz and 5000 Hz on conversions of sons. 48 Khz was too small of a conversion rate. 98Khuz would have been better, 128 Khz even better than that. I have a 128 Khz recording of Ommadawn by Mike Oldfield that is incredible.

    If you guys keep up on this stuff you would have read a few years back that a logarithm worked out by some Japanese audiophile scientists found that while total Harmonic distortion on transistor based amplifiers was better than valve amplifiers, total "non-harmonic" distortion, very difficult to measure, was worse. This is why there is a loss of musical holography in CD's, as opposed to Vinyl, which has greater imaging forwards to backwards, and vice versa. While CDs do a good job on stereo separation, which is easy, the loss of information, varying quality of the material used are seeing some CD's actually lose the background reflecting surface, making them unplayable. This problem has been reported by the Library of Congress. They have CD's from the same manufacturer, and CD's of the same son will vary to perfect, to unplayable, and these have never been exposed to sunlight.

    Bottom line is that while vinyl does scratch, and have other well known problems, the digital equivalence of the music has not been realized in a format available easily. This is opening a can of worms.

    Right now, I am running an APT pre-amplifier, judged to be one of the best designs ever created in 2012, (it was made in 1983), and a Carver Cube, through 6.5 foot tapered 1/4 wave tube I designed. The Fs (Resonant Frequency) is 29 hz, and I have a Miller Kreisel subwoofer that goes down to 1o Hz., giving my system a frequency response of 10 to 28,000 hz. I use a Piezo Electric tweeter Horn which requires no cross over, for as you may know, Piezo Electric tweeters creat their own frequency cut of by their Capacitive Reactance, negating the use of a crossover network, keeping all speakers in phase. The speakers are 1/4 long as the wave length of 29 hz., so the 2" by 14" slot at the bottom lets the rear wave enhance the front wave, as it becomes in phase with the front. Timing is everything. Thus the name "1/4 wave tubes".

    Listening to some music, especially classical singers, pianists, and violinists is ethereal, close your eyes, and you are there. I have also designed and made my own electrostatic speakers, but found their beautiful sound to linear for my needs, as I needed more of a point source.

    Analog is real, digital is a recreation of what was real. I have no doubt that the two shall meet, but have not heard so yet. I am down to around 300 Vinyl albums,including a new copy of an original "Close to the Edge" and "Fragile" by YES, and quite a few others, which I am hesitant to play. I wish to record them onto something that will emulate their multi dimensional tonality with respect. IMHO. :)
    cg admin and lyter1958 like this.
  18. THE DC

    THE DC Member

    That's interesting. I understood the superior performance of film to digital, involving actual shadowing or particles as opposed to fabricated shading, but I wasn't aware that there was a strong scientific reason for phono over digital.

    Thanks for sharing.
  19. lyter1958

    lyter1958 Esteemed Member

    is it live?? or is it memorex ?
  20. spaceagent-9

    spaceagent-9 Right Hand Man and Confidant

    the elegant styling and looks of a vinyl record player vs just a black box you put a disc or card into is what kicks over. the artistic shapes of the wood, the speaker cover weavings, all in one, the knobs and dials that light up! all that interplay is what makes it interesting. you wanna sell something? make a vintage old radio player looking smart card box out of walnut, give it knobs and dials and jewels that light up like a tos star trek console, and make people have to set the levels each time and refine the sound with a dial equalizer, and then watch the $$$$ roll in once people get to play with it for a while!
    cg admin likes this.

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