Monday, October 14, 2013

Roof lights for Mels

I finally got around to installing the roof-top perimeter light as well as the light in the peak. The perimeter light is a length of 3mm diameter, side-illuminating optical fibre I purchased from The Fiber Optic Store. It's lit up with one of their blue LED illuminators. The peak light is simply a plain old clear LED.

Now, a 3mm diameter perimeter light isn't too prototypical since that translates to around 10 or 11 inches in HO scale. The kit's box top shows what looks like two, smaller diameter tubes wrapping around the dining room roof; however, I thought that was beyond my skill level to replicate, so I chose an optical fibre whose diameter was close to the roof's edge thickness.
The roof was base coated with a spray of Krylon aluminum paint. Once dry, it was then lightly dusted with Krylon gold. Then, after curing for around a week, it was washed with some highly thinned flat black to tone things down a bit and highlight some of the panel lines on the Enterprise's contribution.

Before painting, I glued to the perimeter a number of styrene pieces cut from a tube with an inner diameter of 3mm. They were first attached with tube glue since it allows some time for getting the alignment right before hardening. Once the little pieces were all in place, I then went back and carefully dabbed on some liquid styrene glue to get a very solid joint for each mini-tube.
Some of the ribbing on the roof's flip-side had to be ground out to create passageways for the wires from the interior lighting.
Before installing the roof, a 3mm hole has to be drilled in the wall with the 'Mels' sign for the optical fibre to pass into the main building. 
Likewise, a hole had to be drilled near the building's inside corner for the wires from the peak light.
At this point I went on a little diversion. I just wasn't happy with the height extension I built into the walls - the more I looked at it, the more it seemed way too tall. I got out the hot-knife and cut it down to size. Caution is the word here.
After a half-hour of nerve wracking work, it didn't look to bad and no major goof-ups were made! The above picture is a test to see how the roof might look. After some more humming-and-hawing, I decided it won't have that extreme overhang so the sign isn't overly blocked from view. 
Here's what it looks like from above. The lights are still turned on in this picture.
The blue LED in the fibre illuminator is connected to the fibre by a piece of heat-shrink tubing. The wiring is a complete mess, and I need to get this sorted out before installing the main sign fibres.
I was rather happy with the fibre installation. All the little edge tubes and holes were lined up quite well, and the fibre easily slipped into place.
I plan to take a break from posting on 30 Squares for awhile as I’m feeling a bit burnt out posting-wise. I’m not sure if I’ll just cut back on frequency, or completely stop for awhile. When I was making the two balsa buildings for the second installment in the E. L. Moore series I found it to be more fun than I first expected, and realized that posting was turning into a bit of a job and might be cutting into my enjoyment of the hobby, so I thought I’d park posting for awhile so I don’t completely sour on it. Thanks to everyone who has dropped by over the years! I appreciate your readership and comments!

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