Some time has passed since my last post. In that time, the entire country has locked down because of the Coronavirus. I’ve switched from working on this to 3D printing masks for people to wear. I’ve not made many of them, but the ones I did make turned out really nice.
Fortunately, I’ve been able to work from home for my normal web development job. Many others have not been able to work at all. My wife and I have tried very hard to support local businesses and shops to keep their employees employed and, hopefully, keep them in business through this trying time.
On the flip side of this, I’ve had a little extra time here and there to tinker with the parts for the proton pack and assemble them. As it stands right now, I have all of the parts 3D printed for the entire main body of the pack. The wand is a different story which I’ll cover in a bit.
I’ve started sanding and priming all of the parts to try to remove the print lines out of them. Some parts were easier to sand than other because of angles and curves. I started with an 80 grit and then went up to an 400 grit. Some parts that will definitely be visible or examined up close I sanded with 1000 grit. Afterwards everything was coated a minimum of two times with grey automotive primer and sanded again.
To join parts together I used several methods. The easier way of joining parts is to super glue them. I used Gorilla brand super glue gel and found out very quickly that you have to have the parts perfectly aligned the first time because they join quickly.
A second method I used to join parts, mostly on the back of the back and in places less visible, was to melt them together using a soldiering iron. I found this to be a very strong join with little effort, but beware…..you’ll completely ruin your soldering iron tip. A soldiering iron is also really useful for melting PLA to make screw holes or enlarging holes for nuts and bolts.
For some of the larger parts that needed to be put together, I used a combination of both glue and melting. An example here of this is the bumper arm that goes around the cyclotron. This printed in two large parts that needed to be assembled. I started out with glueing them together very carefully so that they were perfectly aligned. Next, i used a soldiering iron to melt them together
For most of the main parts of the pack, I drilled small holes through the parts and secured them together both with glue, a bolt and nut, and melted them together. The pieces feel solid now and don’t give or pull away from each other. Here are some examples of bolting them together:
After sanding some of the melted areas and making sure any of the excess PLA is removed from parts, I took them out to coat them with layers and layers of primer. Then sanded them again. Then primed them again.
After priming, sanding, filling, priming, painting, sanding….it was finally time to paint some of the parts. Using a tip from a fellow Proton Pack builder I met online, I decided to try out Truck Bed Liner Spray. The particular person that mentioned this said they loved the texture it left, and I have to 100% agree. It feels industrial and rustic.
I’ve started making “fake” weld lines as well on some parts. I kind of wish I had a larger “bead” glue gun, but the one I have will have to do. You’ll be better off getting a glue gun with a low heat switch on it so the glue actually doesn’t melt or warp parts. Once you get a weld line the way you like it, don’t prime over it. Just put a quick coat of paint over it, otherwise the weld line looks a little dull. Or at least that’s what I thought.
So far things are looking good!
I’ve got most of the parts now including the ribbon cable, Clippard, hoses, and all of the brass fittings.