Spaceship Build Part 1 - Making a Base

I'm building a spaceship! At least, I will be in a few days. I'm still waiting on the bulk of the parts to arrive.

OK, so I won't really be heading off to Altair IV any time soon, but I am building a replica of the C-57D Starcruiser from the movie - with a handful of modifications of my own.

While I wait for the parts and paints and LEDs and wiring and all of that good stuff to arrive, I thought I'd go ahead and make a little base for the thing to sit on.

I picked up a sheet of appropriately dessert-colored foam core and got to work.

The model is 12in in diameter when completed, so I cut a 14x14in piece of foam core.

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Since I wanted a nice, finished edge. I then flipped it over and cut about 1in in from each side, making sure not to cut through the finished paper on the front side of the foam core. Then I peeled the white paper layer and the styrofoam middle layer away, leaving the sand-colored top paper in tact, so I could wrap it around the edges.

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Next, I cut four pieces to "frame" the sides of the base along the bottom.

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After cutting those to length, I then cut the ends at a 45 degree angle, so everything would fit together nicely.

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Here they are with all eight corners cut. You can probably figure out where I'm going with this.

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It was almost time to glue them in place, but then I remembered that I'd forgotten to mark my center point (which I will need later), so I did that real quick.

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Then I glued the frame into place. It's not perfect, but it doesn't have to be, so that's fine.

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After that, all that was left to finish forming the base was to wrap the edges and glue. I put some tape around the edges to hold things in place until the glue dries. I may or may not remove it later. It will never bee seen, so it's only a problem if it starts to peel.

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Now for the last part - I put a Neodymium magnet in the center of the base. A round magnet would have worked better here, but the only Nd magnets I have are rectangular, and since they're actually kind of expensive to buy, I went with it. I could have used a different magnet, but I wanted a strong one, and this sucker has about 13lbs of pull force.

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I taped it in place with some painter's tape. That way I could easily replace the magnet later if I wanted to and easily make repairs to or replace the base.

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There you have it, the finished base. It's actually quite boring to look at, but you can see that it does have a finished edge that looks nicer than cut foam core, and the extra layer of thickness allowed me to recess the magnet in the under side of it.

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My plan here is to place another magnet inside of the model itself and use that to hold it onto the base. This way it won't slide around and fall off, but it can still be removed.

Like I mentioned, I'm intentionally using a strong magnet, but given the orientation of its magnetic field and the insulating thickness of the foam core, it should provide just enough, but not too much pull to keep the model in place.

Hopefully next weekend I'll have some ship building updates to give.

Kelli Shaver

Kelli is a full-stack developer with over 15 years of experience. She's also the lead developer at StickyAlbums and the co-host of the Terrifying Robot Dog Podcast.