Well it’s a new year and the project continues. Now that the holes for the LEDs are done, it’s time to move on to the primary construction. The first step is to sand all four portions of the body with some 120 grit paper on a flat surface. This will remove any of the major imperfections on, what will become, the bonding surfaces of the different components. I used a gentle circular sanding motion to flatten all the edges, but the kit required very little clean up. Just be careful when sanding the back section of the main body as there is a small tab on the upper edge. You can avoid damaging this tab by sanding on the edge of a table or other surface.
The next step was to go over all the edges with a sharp hobby knife to remove any plastic burrs. There were only a few, but it’s important to remove them as they can interfere with bonding the pieces together later in assembly.
I then attached the door support frame. There are scribed lines on the frame, which line up very nicely to opening for the door, so aligning this piece is very easy. Making sure the supplied screws were facing outward, I then attached the support frame to the body with some Weld-On #3 acrylic adhesive. Now I’m fairly new to Weld-On, but it only took a few applications to get used to it. I used a small brush to apply the solvent. Just make sure you attach the pieces quickly and hold them together for a few seconds. You should be able to see where the bonding occurs.
While I was waiting for the support frame to dry, I sanded down the edges of the door to remove any excess material from the rounded corners.
Once the door was ready, I gave it a quick test fit to make sure it fit properly on the support frame on the back of the main body (Make sure to put the Rodd.com decal on the access panel toward the inside of the body). Looks good! I then temporarily attached the door using the two supplied 4-40 button-head screws.
Be sure to do the following on a firm, flat surface. I took the supplied acrylic tab and used its scribed line to align it to the inside of the top of the door opening. I then used a small amount of Weld-On to tack the tab to the door itself (the side of the door with the Rodd.com decal). Be careful with this step as too much adhesive will propagate through capillary action, and you could accidentally affix the door to the tricorder body, which would be bad. Once the adhesive has dried, you can remove the door and tab and apply additional adhesive to permanently attach this tab to the door. This tab will provide support for the top portion of the door (the support frame provides support for the other three sides of the opening).
I then took the supplied acrylic cleats and cleaned all the edges with my hobby knife. These cleats will be used to provide support for the seams of the tricorder halves. Once the cleats were cleaned up, I used some more Weld-On to attach the 3.25″ long cleats to the inside of the back portion of the upper tricorder body. Be sure to align the angled edge of the cleat toward the angled end of the tricorder body. Do your best to keep 1/2 the cleat length above the tricorder half as it will provide support for the top portion of the tricorder body after the two halves are attached later. Repeat for the other side.
Similarly, I applied the cleats for the flip-out door. The only difference is these cleats to be flush with the edge of the back half of the flip-out door. The cleat is difficult to see in the picture since everything is clear acrylic, but these pieces will provide support for the front portion of the flip-out door.
I then had to prep the hinges. I disassembled both hinges and gave them each a good sanding with 120 grit paper. This removes any coating on the hinges, which could prevent the adhesion of paint later in the build.
Next, I attached the hinges to the front half of the upper tricorder body. This is done by feeding the hinges through the pre-cut holes in the body. Then, two 4-40 screws and nuts are used to attach the hinges to the tricorder. I left the screws a little loose so I could properly align the flip-out door. I then took the front portion of the flip-out door, and attached it to the other half of the hinge. Be sure to use the 0.020″ thick styrene shim to provide adequate clearance between the flip-our door and body, as seen in the picture. Next, I aligned the flip-out door to body. Once completed, I tightened up all the screws.
I then used some superglue to attach the nuts to the back of the hinges. Be sure not to get any of the glue on the screws, or you’ll never get them out!
Next, I installed the magnet that will be used to activate the reed switch of the electronics. I used some superglue to attach it to the front side of the flip-out door. I had to be careful not to place it too close to the upper edge of the door, otherwise the magnet for the scanner might interfere with its operation. In addition, it can’t be placed too close to the lower end of the door or it’ll attached itself to the hinges. After the magnet was installed, I loosened the 4 screws on the lower flip-out door. I then slide the back portion of the door in between the hinges and the other half of the door. I then re-tightened the screws.
I then applied some Weld-On around the edges of the flip-out door to join the two halves of the door together. Just beware that once you do this, the door is closed, so be sure to complete any work that has to be done on the internal side of the door before you seal it up. For instance, there is typically an LED that goes behind the ID decal on the door, but I have chosen to exclude this LED for my build. If you’re installing this LED, don’t forget to do so before you close up the door!
Next, I applied the cleat which goes between the two hinges on the main body section. Again, I just used some Weld-On and let it dry.
There are two, very small cleats left. Each one goes in the upper corners of the front side of the main body. Again, these cleats will act as supports when the two halves are joined together, so be sure to give them adequate drying time.
Once the cleats were dried, I then attached the two sections of the main body together. I accomplished this by gently squeezing the two halves together and running Weld-On along the seam.
At this point, the primary components have all been assembled. In fact, I now have a clear tricorder! I have to say I’m very surprised at the ease and speed that this kits builds up. Next up will be filling the seams.