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♦ ADDING LIGHT & SOUND TO A PHASER-I – Installing light / sound FX in a plastic Phaser-I.
ADDING LIGHT & SOUND TO A PHASER-I
BY REQUEST – This article was created at the request of YouTube viewer cathymaid.
“cathymaid has made a comment on PHASER-I 23rd CENTURY PARTS. . . .. I would like to see the electronics or even a schematic would be good so I can make my own.”
My Reply: Sorry cathymaid, I don’t have any assembly photos of a 23rd Century Pistol Phaser-I. I do have photos from a build-up of a Roddenberry Phaser-I. These should answer your questions. Remember, the space inside a 23d Cent P-1 is a little less than in a Rodd kit. The final arrangement of the sound board in your Phaser-I will depend on the dimensions of the board you use.
Before reading the rest of this article, it may be helpful to view my YouTube video on building a Phaser-I from 23rd Century kit parts (CLICK HERE TO VIEW the video). This video is about basic construction & does not include details about the light / sound wiring.
BUILDING & WIRING A 23rd Century Pistol / Phaser-1:
STEP 1. Cut the P-1 top part from the sprue, sand edges as needed. Carve away the wedge at the front of the part. Carve away the raised disk near the center. Sand both areas smooth. IF you plan to install a metal thumb wheel, carefully cut out the recessed area where the thumb wheel sits. Test fit your metal part, carefully enlarging the opening in the top of the phaser body until the wheel fits properly (exact fit will depend on the wheel you use and how you decide to hold it in place). If you haven’t done so already, see my YouTube video for more information and visual demos of this Steps 1 ~ 3. (Video – Click here).
STEP 2. Cut the P-I bottom body part from the sprue. Sand as in Step 1. Carve away the wedge and raised disk, as in Step 1. The disk must be removed completely and made level with the surrounding area. Create a battery compartment cover by cutting the bottom half of the phaser body into two sections. Cut across the part about 1.25″ from the front edge of the part. Make sure your cut is parallel to the front of the P-1 lower body part. Drill a hole for a retaining screw at the center, rear (approx. 0.25″ from the inside wall of the bottom part).
STEP 3. Cut the beam emitter face plate from the sprue. Sand smooth as needed. Drill out the hole where the emitter is to be mounted. Cut away the lower half of the circle and sand the part so it is flat against the lower edge. Attach the face plate to the lower half of the P-1 body as per the kit instructions (be careful to align it with the ‘hump’ at the front of the lower body part).
After the emitter face plate has set completely, drill through the plastic behind the faceplate’s beam emitter opening / hole, so you have an opening for your brass emitter tube to go through the faceplate and lower body part. Cut a small piece of brass tube (appx. 0.5″ long x 0.2″ diam.) for the beam emitter OR use a commercially made brass emitter. * Test fit the brass emitter into the hole in the faceplate – be sure it goes through to the inside of the body cleanly. File the hole as needed to get a snug but smooth fit for the brass emitter tube. The P-I body is now ready to add your electronics. * NOTE: Metal parts for Star Trek phasers are readily available on eBay these days (for this project, you can get metal deflector strips / side rails, metal trigger studs, metal thumb wheels, brass beam emitter tips, and even electron aspirator parts).
STEP-4. INSTALL THE TRIGGER BUTTON & SWITCH –
A. Drill a hole in the battery cover (bottom / back section) centered approx. 0.25″ back from the front edge of the part. Test fit the trigger & make sure the hole is just big enough to permit smooth movement of the trigger stud (refer to video).
B. Use a piece of scrap styrene sheet (030 thickness) to make a mount for the trigger switch as shown below (left photo). Use Plastruct 1/4″ square rods to make supports to hold the switch above the trigger stud. The switch button must sit just above the trigger stud (a space about as wide as 2-3 sheets of typing paper should separate the switch button & trigger stud). Test fit the switch assembly & adjust spacing as needed (add thin (010) strips of plastic to the underside of the square rods if more space is needed or sand down the rods if there’s too much space between the button & trigger stud. See photos below, right).
STEP-5: INSTALL LIGHT / SOUND COMPONENTS –
NOTE: The soundboard used here is from an old Ruby’s Phaser-II. It’s cheap but has good quality sound, but sound only. There are no connections on the board for an LED. The LED in my P-I is wired directly to the trigger & battery pack. IF you use a sound board that does have wiring for an LED, remember the voltage through that connection may be less than the direct hookup shown here. It is best to test your battery power & wiring before installation to be sure you have adequate power to run the sound and the LED.
A. SOUND SYSTEM – Install in Top of P-1 body: Test fit your sound board and speaker in the front of the top part of the Phaser-1 body. The walls of the P-1 body are very thick, you can shave / grind them down to help make your sound board fit. Because the plastic body is so thick, I suggest drilling 5 or 6 small holes through the top part, just above where the speaker will sit – this will provide better / slightly louder sound from the speaker (do this before installing the speaker). When you’re sure of the positioning, carefully glue your speaker (face down) onto the inside of the P-1 body (hot glue works well). When the speaker is securely in place, glue the sound board to the back of the speaker.
B. POWER & LED LIGHTING – Install in bottom of P-1 body:
◊ BATTERY HOLDER: Unless you have a battery holder specifically made for three (or four) A76 button cell batteries, you’ll have to make one. This is not hard. Place 3-4 A76 cells in a AA battery holder. Insert 3-4 batteries against the flat end (positive contact) & mark off where they reach to inside the holder. Cut down the holder to the length of the button cells. Use a piece of Plastruct “L-beam” to make a new end for the battery holder where it was cut off (see photo below). Test fit the new battery holder, then glue it securely into the ‘battery cover’ section of the P-1 body’s bottom. Use a small strip of light-weight brass to make a new contact for the (negative) end of the batteries (photo below). I extended my brass contact to connect directly to the trigger switch, but you can use a short piece of wire to make the connection (see photo). Solder the negative (wire) from the battery holder to one contact on the trigger switch, as shown (in photo the connection is made by the brass strip).
◊ ATTACH / INSTALL LED: LEDs are polarized; they have a positive (anode [+]) lead and a negative (diode [-]) lead. In most cases, the anode lead is a bit longer than the diode lead. LEDs must be connected to their power source with the correct polarity, or they won’t light up. For the P-1 phaser, you’ll need to install a 3mm LED. It can light-up in red or blue. I suggest using a clear LED with a high lumen output (very bright). (See photo above). Solder the red wire from the battery holder (+) to the anode lead (+) on the LED and solder the yellow negative (-) wire from the trigger switch to the diode (-) lead on the LED. DO NOT cut down / trim the LED leads yet! Test the connection by pressing the trigger stud – the LED should light up. When you’ve verified the LED connections, install the LED by hot gluing it into the back of the brass beam emitter.
◊ CONNECT the SOUND BOARD: The easiest way to connect the sound board into the P-1 circuit is to solder its power input wires to the wire leads of the LED. Be aware of the polarity of the connection. Most sound boards have a red (+) wire and a black (-) wire for connecting to their power supply. Solder the sound board’s red (+) wire to the anode lead (red wire / +) of the LED and the black wire to the diode lead (yellow wire / -) of the LED. Clip off any excess wire from behind the soldered connections on the LED. Be sure to keep the LED’s leads spaced apart – if they touch they will short out the circuit. (See photo below).
COMPLETED WIRING LAYOUT (photo below):
C. ASSEMBLE PHASER BODY.
◊ First, IF you’re using metal deflector strips (aka side rails), use CA cement to securely attach them to the TOP edges / sides of the P-1 body. I suggest using Zap-Gel; this is a thick CA gel that won’t run or drip onto the exterior of your P-1. Let the cement dry completely before moving on. Next, align the bottom front part over the top part of the P-1 body & securely attach it to the front of the side rails and to the (vertical flat surface) front of the top part of the body (see photo below).
◊ Complete the battery cover. First, attach two tabs of styrene plastic (approx. 0.5″ long x 0.25″ wide x 030 thick) so they hang halfway over the front edge of the battery cover. These tabs should fit under the part with the beam emitter / LED assembly & will keep the front of the battery cover from ‘drooping down’ when the P-1 is turned right-side-up. Next, make a ‘screw receiver’ – this can simply be a thick (5/16 – 6/16″) block of styrene plastic. Glue the block, centered, to the very back of the P-1’s top part. Allow the glue / cement to dry completely. You’ll need a short (0.5″) sheet metal screw to connect the battery cover to the top half of the phaser body. Put the cover in place and make sure it’s lined up with the top half of the body. Drill a hole (slightly smaller than your screw) centered, at the back of the cover (aligned over the receiver block). Widen the hole in the cover just enough for the screw to pass through without catching / snagging. Put the cover in position and put the screw into place with a screwdriver (this might take a little effort the first time because the screw has to ‘thread’ the small hole in the receiving block as it is twisted into the block. DO NOT overtighten the screw – you may strip the receiving block!
◊ Complete the Phaser-I by installing the thumb wheel and attaching a ‘peel n stick’ electron aspirator grid along with the clear power read-out dome.
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