Saturday, October 2, 2010

DIY Millennium Falcon



Carys was turning six at the beginning of October and had recently become StarWars obsessed (we let them watch the original 3 movies a few weeks back and they loved them).  Lin and I like to add a few home made presents to the mix on the kids birthdays; So, we decided to make a few StarWars themed things for Carys' birthday.

Lin started out making a set of StarWars figures using wooden craft pegs (more about that on her post here).  We were going to make a Millenium Falcon using a couple of plastic frisbies, but then thought it'd be nicer to create something a bit larger and more durable so that they could use it with the figures for some make-believe fun.

It took us a little while to decide on the components to use.  We found this weird wooden board at the local thrift/charity store.  I think it's used for carving meat and the grooves capture the juices (there's even a "patent applied for" stamp on the back).  I forgot to get a picture of it in its original state; the picture below shows it after a little bit of modification.  It was originally symmetrical - I rounded off one of the handles/ears and cut a groove in the other in preparation for adding the front prongs.




Here's a quick overview of the components:

There's the weird carving board, a plastic lid (another lucky thrift store find as it fits perfectly in the groove of the carving board), some PVC pipe (2" diameter) and a 90 degree elbow joint (both from Home Depot).  There's a dollar tree airfreshener case (the white tear drop thing by the black pipe) and some wood.  There are some other bits and bobs that aren't in this picture (I hadn't figured out what was going to be used at the time): a hinge for the cargo bay ramp, some more wood for the internal walls, screws, nuts/bolts, wood glue, some grey spray paint, a few plastic bottle caps, and the outside case of a CD spindle.

From the 'ingredients' picture you can see that I cut and sanded the carving board first and then made the front 'prongs'.  For the prongs, I looked at a few online plans and scaled the dimensions to fit the cutting board.  I used a scroll saw to cut out the shapes and then screwed and glued them onto the main board.


While the glue was drying I made the internal structure.  It's made from the outside of a CD spindle and some wooden boards (2" hobby board from Home Depot).  I cut the CD spindle to fit the height of the lid and then measured out the boards to fit up to the edge of the curve.  That was a bit of a mistake as the lid didn't fit with the boards that long and I ended up having to sand the ends down a bit.


I thought it'd be fun to have internal doors but didn't think the spindle would survive with large chunks cut out of them, so I just put some painters tape where I wanted the doors and then painted it all leaving some see-through areas after the tape is removed.


I gave the lid it's first coat of paint, bolted on a few bottle caps and wood disks to mimic some of the structures seen on the original, and then gave it all another coat.  The lid needs to be cut in a couple of places to make room for the cockpit attachment/corridor and for the cargo bay ramp.


I used a miter saw to cut one end off the PVC elbow (so that the cockpit would face forward) and to cut an angle into the corridor (makes it easy to screw the pipe into the base). My first attempt failed as the corridor was too short, but I had plenty of pipe left over for another go.  Everything was given a coat of paint.



I cut the airfreshened body down to a size that would fit snugly over the pipe and then used hot glue to attach it.  I like the fact that the cover comes on and off so we can put pilots in there.

 Here's the final set-up (with cargo bay ramp attached with a hinge):
Lin made some ace characters for Carys' birthday and the two presents go really well together.  I love the fact that Darth Vader's helmet comes off to show his pale splotchy face :)




And, just to finish off, a gratuitous set of action shots:



15 comments:

Joby Taffey said...

Best dolls house, ever.

Love the figures.

Nikoli said...

EPIC WIN!

Ticia said...

So shouldn't have shown my kids this.

Michelle Cummings said...

this is so great! It's giving me idea's now. Thanks! :)

Rose@craftymcgee said...

Amazingly amazing!!!

Candice @ Fashionably Organized said...

This is such a great project. Bravo to you! My boys would love it! I've linked to it on my site because it really is fantastic http://www.fashionablyorganized.com/2010/10/wednesday-diy-organization-more-roundup-2/

Scraps said...

Genius!

Kathryn Collins said...

Really awesome!!! Lucky kids!

mE said...

This is SUPER cool! Thanks for sharing it!

lulu said...

Totally freakin' awesome.

Tristan Bancks said...

Hi Paul. Go you. I found you via Filth Wiz. Your children are so extraordinarily fortunate. I just tweeted the Falcon. I think kids' book folks will appreciate it. Keep up the fine work. T.

Anonymous said...

I think you just saved Christmas! My Son is desperate for a Millennium Falcon, but I just can't entertain the prices. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mini Dork said...

Brilliant. Epic gift indeed. Your kids are so darn lucky, if they don't realize it now, they will someday.

Buzz Chuck said...

Very cool. My best friend and I had to be very creative when it came to Star Wars toys. We grew up in the dark times. The later 80's and early 90's when there were no Star Wars toy to be found. Awesome job.

wendy said...

Long, Long, ago, in this very galaxy...I would've loved this doll house and mini characters. OK. I STILL would. I am now 34 with a 6 yr. old son whom I just turned onto the movies last year. My dad and I used to watch the originals together when I was a kid and saw one of the others years later. My dad unfortunately passed away 3 years ago and I knew that sharing the memories and making new ones with my son was a great way to remember my dad and help his grandson remember him too. Your personal touches for your girls touches my heart. God bless your family.