With the test build of my infinity mirror Underground Hangar for Dropzone complete, I’ve moved on to the actual build. I made a lot of progress this weekend but still have a ways to go.
While this may look almost complete, it’s kind of movie magic as most of it is just sitting on top of pieces and not fully assembled. But let’s see how we got here.
First, a little note back from the test where I used a jewelry saw to cut the center iris out of the hangar model- I drilled a small hole with my pin vise in the corner where the low and high parts of the iris blades meet. This hides things pretty well.
First thing I needed to complete after the test was a real base. You can scratch build this using a 5 inch PVC coupler and plasticard or foamcore for the box but since I have a CNC, I figured I’d start there. This is a 7 in x 7 in 10mm box with a roughly 5 inch hole cut out.
This piece will be the frame to which the LEDs will be mounted on and the base where the hangar will stand on. I needed the wiring to come through the back end to connect to the power supply so I piloted a hole. I started with a small drill bit and progressed until I split through the side. It make look bad but it won’t actually matter in the end and drilling was faster than modding the CNC file or filing down a channel.
With the cord notch cut in, I could test a little further. I measure the LEDs to length in the circle and cut the excess off (as prescribed by the instructions otherwise you’ll ruin the lights).
I then ran a few tests and found I wasn’t really satisfied with the amount of reflection I was getting. While the height profile was nice and short, I think the infinity mirror “trick” works better with some space in between the mirrors to breathe.
I tested the concept by expanding the distance between the two mirrors and found that I like the reflection results a lot more.
After cutting a second base out on the CNC, I glued them together and clamped it down. I used the time for the glue to set up by also gluing in the LED strip with Super glue.
As you can see, the broken channel didn’t really matter since it was going to be covered up anyway.
After the LEDs were glued in, I took painter’s tape and cut 5mm strips and covered each of the 12 LEDs. This is easy to do if you lay the tape across a ruler and cut the strips out along the markings. I don’t really care about the top and bottom of the base as I’ll be covering those up but I do want a uniform interior and the LED strip markings are distracting.
A quick shot of primer and removal of the painters tape shows a nice, dark interior with the LEDs unharmed.
Back inside, I start trimming down the two-way acrylic mirror and then measure the base and cut out the ruinscape tile surface I’m sacrificing. The sides are cut with a straight edge but the circle was traced from the wood base and then cut free hand. You don’t have be too precise with it, just try to follow the line the best you can. Eventually, it too will be covered up.
Gluing the ruinscape tile to the base and cutting some of the leftover side pieces out and gluing them on as well brings us to a pretty complete state.
I add on the unfinished model pieces and the top mirror for a test look.
Now on to the show. Using a ruinscape building, I can hide the wiring and power supply in a natural way. I’m not sure if this is how I’ll end up always hiding the supply but this was the easiest way for now.
All-in-all, it is coming together well. I will still need to permanently affix the mirrors and add in the third ruinscape side to the base. Then there is the whole priming and painting of the main pieces. I’m not even sure if I want to permanently put them on the base as well. I’ll have to think about how much value it will add to keep them separate.
“Closing” the hangar is easy enough with the bladed iris cutout going back in. Once painted, it should hide the outlined cutout pretty easily. I will need to add a heavy duty magnet to the inside of the iris because it is a pain to get out. Being able to lift it out easily with a magnet will help tremendously.
I’m very pleased with how the project is going and I’m excited to finish it up with the last little details. Hopefully I’ll have more by the end of the week, weather permitting.