Time Machine

This unusual and rare item presented a few challenges, but the end results would keep even Rod Taylor and George Pal happy, I think. I've seen other models, some of them on the dvd 'extras', but none of them were fully functional (well, except the time travel!) This one is, of course.

If you plan on following this build, get ready for some resin re-working, as it's not lighting-friendly - and the model retails at 100UKP, too!

To be honest, the box lay open for a week while I worked on other things and thought about the best place to start. Nothing looked any better than anything else, so I started with the generator cones.

These were plugged with resin at the small ends - just cover them with tape and pour some in.

The cones were then pushed into some Protesil moulding putty.

When the cone plug is removed, some of Tiranti's finest clearset resin doped with 1.5% by volume white polyester pigment is poured in. Here's the resulting pull, after some wet&dry work. The Protesil and clearset will cost you about 40UKP (unless you buy in bulk), but the results are worth it.

Here's a cone, drilled to take 8 high intensity red l.e.d.'s, which you can just see on the right. Got the white pigment dosing just right, with good diffusion, no hi or lo spots, and even light intensity carried through to the end. This isn't by chance of course: I have a look-up table of dosing / volume / light intensity to work from.

While the Protesil was out I took impressions from some of the seat parts as they had given us two left hand chair arms....

....after some filling and painting you'll never notice.

The dish was very warped....

....clamped it down and heated it up to relax it a bit and take out the worst kinks. If I had more time, and if this was a paying job, I'd have found an old copper boiler and cut the base out and milled a real one!

The cones and the front control drum are both finished with transluscent end caps, so the resin ones supplied in the kit have to be cast.

Here's one from above with an l.e.d. bonded in place. You only have to do this for the front drum: the rear cones work just fine from the light coming out of the end of the cones.

Here's the drum cap from above, with a small collar added, opaque resin poured in and the l.e.d. leads trimmed. Pouring in opaque resin dramatically increases the reflectance of the back face, thereby increasing light output.

The drive assembly is a small 3.5V motor with it's own 33:1 planetary gearbox available from good hobby shops for about 10UKP.

The dish spindle was drilled out to take the axle, and it was also pinned from the back (left in this pic) with 1.5mm steel rod to about half it's depth for added strength.

I didn't know it, but the manufacturers had also added a pin - so don't bother!

A bit of detailing with the kit parts, which requires a change to the profile - the hub is now double the original width - but that's the cost of the effect. Placing a wormed gear in the cone housing would have been possible, but would have tripled the cost!

The underneath of the control panel indicator box. Common earth, of course.

The control panel, with indicator board attached, decals (Dec 31st, 1899) added, and masked.

The control panel in exploded view. From left to right: end plate with large variable resistor, painted cylinder, resistor extension pipe, other end plate with inward-looking l.e.d..

The control panel, end view. One of the inward looking l.e.d.'s just visible at 4 o'clock - these are what light up the drum, letting light shine through the decals. The black and white wires going through the end plate will feed one of the end caps shown above.

The cones are just about to be fixed to the housing. This was the last step.

What you can't see here is the wiring - the red light on top fades up as the dish rotates faster, which is all controlled from the time key lever.

Watch out for the decals - you must cut them into quarters first - they aren't of the required curvature!

After about 5 effort-days of fixing, sanding, filling, painting and repeating, we end up here.

Note: the cones at the back are white with a black pattern.

It's quite big, too - about 30cm x 30cm.

Here's a closeup of the control panel. The lights blink, but the numbers and end caps light up. The key (marbled blue cone with crystal) controls the speed of the dish - and it's removable, of course!

I still can't do video, so I just snapped away until I got all three lights on. Note the spinning dish, and the beautiful deep red glow from the cones which, you'll remember from above, are white when off - just like the real thing.

Here's the control box under the base - switches arranged on the left as you would sit in the chair. Fout AA batteries will give about 4 hours continuous use - enogh time to nip forward to get the winning lottery numbers and fix any paradoxes you might create on the way.

The functions are (l to r):

power (blinking green light)
clock (blinking red light)
oscillator (blinking yellow light)
controls (date indicators and white end caps)
drive (red cones)
generator (wheel, top red light)
time key (forward starts wheel, more = faster)

Bright enough to be visible under flash.

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