Spartan Laser Metal & Fiberglass Airsoft Prop (Fully Functioning Electronic Replica)

Discussion in 'Halo Props' started by Redshirt, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. Redshirt

    Redshirt

    Latest Progress Pic:


    AirsoftSpartanLaser10711.jpg

    Finished and Painted!

    See Page 40 for the comparison shots with the game model!




    Full demonstration of the complete Spartan Laser prior to disassembly and painting


    Initial Post:


    Stay with me through the short novel here, the pictures start further down!

    I’m back for my third build thread, this time on a road much less traveled: I am well into building an exact scale Halo 3 Spartan Laser that is also an airsoft gun. There have been several false starts by others attempting to build Spartan Laser replicas, so I wanted to make sure I had a rock-solid plan as well as real momentum in its construction before beginning this WIP thread. This project had almost a year in planning before starting actual construction. I realize there is a new (but more primitive looking) SPLASER out for Halo Reach, but by the time Reach came along, this project was already well down the road in planning. Besides, I like the look better. Most importantly for this project, I wanted an airsoft gun that was the airsoft EQUIVALENT of the Spartan Laser in firepower. To me that meant that it had to put out a quantity of BBs far greater than an ordinary airsoft rifle.

    Some Airsoft Disclaimers:

    I’m not intending to use, nor promoting the use of replica armor as a substitute for approved ballistic-rated protective equipment while playing extreme sports. I fully support the Mods in discouraging this line of thinking. I will carry a version of this thread on the Airsoft Retreat forums that will likely have more focus on the challenges of scratchbuilding an airsoft gun. This thread will cover that aspect as well, but focus on the replica aspect.

    The completed SPLASER will have a full-metal lower receiver (black lower portion) and a fiberglass upper receiver (everything green) that contains THREE airsoft gear boxes, three 11.1 V Li-Poly batteries, extensive timer and relay electronics, and an automatic feed mechanism to deliver BB’s to the gear boxes. Overall, this system will fire BB’s at a rate of over 2100 BBs/minute! The only airsoft guns delivering a higher rate of fire are multi-thousand dollar GE Minigun (electric Gatling) setups. Those of you familiar with electric airsoft guns know that there is a substantial level of routine adjustment and maintenance required to keep even a basic airsoft gun reliable. These requirements go up exponentially when you upgrade your gun for higher performance. For this reason, I am using proven internal components from the Echo 1 E90 rifle that have not been upgraded in any way. My objective is to carefully engineer these three sets of components into the casing of a Spartan Laser such that the entire system is reliable, professional looking, and well laid out for ease of service. Bottom line: I don’t want it to look home made on the outside or the inside. As you will see, that equals time (and money).


    Acknowledgements:

    In order to figure out the internal layout of this system, I needed accurate 3D models to work out life-size internal spaces as well as organize my approach to surface detailing. A special thanks to Martyn Lee Ball/Hunter for providing me with not only the basic working model, but also for generating component models of the lower receiver sides that have helped me figure out my milling plan as well as the locations of fasteners to hold it all together. For the Pepakura work, I used Nugget’s Spartan Laser file.

    On the airsoft side, the staff at Disruptive Paintball and Airsoft in Tucson, Arizona has provided outstanding advice as well as great pricing on the Echo 1 components I’m using for this project. They also were able to supply critical parts from spare/damaged weapons that will help hold down the cost. BSS Airsoft out of Robertsdale, AL has also contributed great advice and reasonable-priced components.


    Initial Construction Plan:

    Following the intellectual exercise, the next phase was to construct a Spartan Laser prototype shell to verify the planned layout would really work. The folded and resined lower receiver will be used to design both the milling plan for the aluminum final version of the lower receiver as well as allow me to mock-up the internal frame that will support the outer barrel, BB barrels, airsoft gear boxes, batteries, sighting laser, and BB feed mechanism. The upper receiver in Pepakura, once resined will be used to figure out my access points, securing points, and seams for disassembly. Following this, it will be fully sealed and rondo’d. This near-solid blank will be fully detailed, then used to make molds to be used in laying up the final fiberglass pieces.
    The lower receiver will be constructed in one of three ways, depending on what I learn over the coming month and who I’m able to talk favors from: 1) Aluminum plates with milled-in details will be jigged and welded together for the most perfectly detailed and strongest-possible receiver followed by high-temperature powder coating 2) Carefully cut sheets of aluminum will be built-up layer by layer using JB Weld to provide the same level of detail and will be riveted and glued together to provide a strong receiver that will have to be painted due to the glue being unable to handle the heat of powder coating 3) Details will be built up using JB Weld bonded sheets of aluminum, but structural joints will be brazed with Alumiweld rod, possibly enabling me to still use low-temp powder coating. I currently lack access to a mill, but have a drill press and every imaginable way to cut sheet aluminum. My drill press cannot handle the side loads of milling—I’ve tried. I also don’t have access to an aluminum-capable MIG welder. If these situations change, I’ll go for the first option.


    Planned Operation:

    I want this SPLASER to simulate the in-game weapon as much as possible—right down to the rumble in your controller. To this end, I’ve spent months going back and forth with skilled electronics experts to design my circuitry. I now have a plan and all components that will:

    Turn on the master circuit, light the side marker LEDs, and raise the top shroud via a servo when the front handgrip is extended. This should be interesting as the SPLASER is never shown in the game in its predeployment configuration. You only see this function for a millisecond when you pick it up or switch between weapons. I also plan to embed white LEDs inside the BB hopper and at the gear box feed nozzles to allow the use of glow in the dark tracer BBs.

    Activate the sighting laser, start the low-frequency rumble motor, start a 4-second timer circuit and a 3-second timer circuit when the trigger is pressed.

    Activate the high-frequency rumble motor at the expiration of the 3-second timer to give the operator a one second heads-up that the weapon is about to fire.

    Activate three relays at the expiration of the 4-second timer to light the high-intensity red light in the outer barrel that back-lights the outgoing BBs and, finally, to allow the three 11.1V Li-poly batteries to start the three airsoft gear boxes to bring the pain!

    Finally, my own cheat code: Pulling the trigger very hard will override the timers and bring an instant rain of BBs onto my opponent. After all, who really likes waiting 4 seconds for their SPLASER to fire when someone is shooting at you?

    The above-mentioned rumble motors were gutted from a dead XBOX 360 controller and will help give the replica the same feedback you get from using the Spartan Laser in the game.

    At this time, I plan to feed the BBs to the gear boxes by siamesing three of the manually-wound clockwork feed mechanisms from M-4 high-cap airsoft magazines. These will be centrally wound by turning the big dial already conveniently built into the sides of the Spartan Laser toward the back. If this proves difficult or insufficient, I’ll need to design an electric winding mechanism.


    My initial post (novel) was too long. Additional pics immediately follow.

    Redshirt
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2017
    Aeolian Hope and Blade AK like this.
  2. Redshirt

    Redshirt

    Initial Construction Plan:

    Following the intellectual exercise, the next phase was to construct a Spartan Laser prototype shell to verify the planned layout would really work. The folded and resined lower receiver will be used to design both the milling plan for the aluminum final version of the lower receiver as well as allow me to mock-up the internal frame that will support the outer barrel, BB barrels, airsoft gear boxes, batteries, sighting laser, and BB feed mechanism. The upper receiver in Pepakura, once resined will be used to figure out my access points, securing points, and seams for disassembly. Following this, it will be fully sealed and rondo’d. This near-solid blank will be fully detailed, then used to make molds to be used in laying up the final fiberglass pieces.
    The lower receiver will be constructed in one of three ways, depending on what I learn over the coming month and who I’m able to talk favors from: 1) Aluminum plates with milled-in details will be jigged and welded together for the most perfectly detailed and strongest-possible receiver followed by high-temperature powder coating 2) Carefully cut sheets of aluminum will be built-up layer by layer using JB Weld to provide the same level of detail and will be riveted and glued together to provide a strong receiver that will have to be painted due to the glue being unable to handle the heat of powder coating 3) Details will be built up using JB Weld bonded sheets of aluminum, but structural joints will be brazed with Alumiweld rod, possibly enabling me to still use low-temp powder coating. I currently lack access to a mill, but have a drill press and every imaginable way to cut sheet aluminum. My drill press cannot handle the side loads of milling—I’ve tried. I also don’t have access to an aluminum-capable MIG welder. If these situations change, I’ll go for the first option.


    Planned Operation:

    I want this SPLASER to simulate the in-game weapon as much as possible—right down to the rumble in your controller. To this end, I’ve spent months going back and forth with skilled electronics experts to design my circuitry. I now have a plan and all components that will:

    Turn on the master circuit, light the side marker LEDs, and raise the top shroud via a servo when the front handgrip is extended. This should be interesting as the SPLASER is never shown in the game in its predeployment configuration. You only see this function for a millisecond when you pick it up or switch between weapons. I also plan to embed white LEDs inside the BB hopper and at the gear box feed nozzles to allow the use of glow in the dark tracer BBs.

    Activate the sighting laser, start the low-frequency rumble motor, start a 4-second timer circuit and a 3-second timer circuit when the trigger is pressed.

    Activate the high-frequency rumble motor at the expiration of the 3-second timer to give the operator a one second heads-up that the weapon is about to fire.

    Activate three relays at the expiration of the 4-second timer to light the high-intensity red light in the outer barrel that back-lights the outgoing BBs and, finally, to allow the three 11.1V Li-poly batteries to start the three airsoft gear boxes to bring the pain!

    Finally, my own cheat code: Pulling the trigger very hard will override the timers and bring an instant rain of BBs onto my opponent. After all, who really likes waiting 4 seconds for their SPLASER to fire when someone is shooting at you?

    The above-mentioned rumble motors were gutted from a dead XBOX 360 controller and will help give the replica the same feedback you get from using the Spartan Laser in the game.

    At this time, I plan to feed the BBs to the gear boxes by siamesing three of the manually-wound clockwork feed mechanisms from M-4 high-cap airsoft magazines. These will be centrally wound by turning the big dial already conveniently built into the sides of the Spartan Laser toward the back. If this proves difficult or insufficient, I’ll need to design an electric winding mechanism.



    Scale and Detail:

    This is intended to be an exact 1:1 replica across the board. If I am unable to pack all three gearboxes in tight enough, the main barrel may have to be imperceptibly larger to accommodate the three internal BB barrels and the high-intensity red back light (LED 12 volt tail light bulb from auto parts store!).

    Finally, what exactly is the official Spartan Laser from Halo 3? There are subtle differences between SPLASERs shown in the Bungie renders, the weapon as you see it on the ground, and in how it looks when you are shooting it in first person. Most noticeable are the warning stickers that only appear when you are shooting it. I will retain these as I want my SPLASER too look the same when I’m shooting it as it does when being fired on the screen. Less obvious are differences in the placement of panel lines and holes for fasteners. For these, I will go with whichever depicted location helps to screw the thing together best.


    The Build:

    Well, enough of theory and plans. No WIP without PICs—one of our best rules!

    Here's an early sketch of the internal layout:



    [​IMG]



    This shows my plan for the arrangement of the airsoft mech boxes inside the upper receiver. The trick is getting the actual barrels close enough to fit inside the SPLASER outer barrel, yet leave enough room for the LED back light to fit between them.




    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    These two pics show some of the detail studies I did from screenshots to decipher how I would achieve the right details. The focus is on the parts that will be cut in metal because the details will drive how I build the metal parts. The rondo spills on the last pic give a hint of the work that's coming.



    Overall, the sketches show the progress of my thoughts on this project and how I setted on the E90 gear box as the only setup that I could use and shoehorn three complete systems inside the SPLASER bodywork.


    And now, the Pepakura work:





    [​IMG]

    This is the resining of the mid-shroud model




    [​IMG]

    The best way to fight the warpage was to make gravity work in a direction that helped straighten the model (yes, that's an Austin Powers stand-up in the background)





    [​IMG]

    Booyah! One Pepped SPLASER. Too bad the project is only 5% done. This would have been a great place to quit!


    Please note that I am omitting all add-on details from the Pep build. Remember, I only need a basic form initially to validate my internal layout of mechanical and electrical components. I’m filling in the holes with card stock to help keep the model straight. The details get added later in plastic, or built as separate assemblies for the final project.



    [​IMG]


    Sealing the holes at the corners of the folds in preparation for rondo-ing the inside.





    [​IMG]

    Here are all of the parts taped up and ready to be further built up and strengthened by adding rondo--a 50/50 mix to catalyzed polyester resin and bondo to the inside of the parts.




    Next Update: Rondo fun.




    REDSHIRT
     
  3. Chiefy117

    Chiefy117 Jr Member

    Looks great so far :)
     
  4. SoaringAlex

    SoaringAlex New Member

    an Echo 1 will not handle a 11.1 lipo. it will shred the gears after about 2000-5000 bbs. If you are going to run a lipo you need a KWA, Tokyo Marui, or another such gearbox. The gearbox alone costs about $170, and a gun will run at LEAST $250. I'm not trying to be mean, but you don't want to spend $300 on Echo 1's just to see them be destroyed.
     
  5. Octorock

    Octorock Member

    Being quite new to airsoft as a sport, the sheer thought of maknig my own gun is a daunting task. Good luck on making the gun.
     
  6. Redshirt

    Redshirt


    SoaringAlex,
    Thanks for the advice. I'm honestly not too worried about the Echo 1 mech boxes because I've had good experiences so far. I've been running an (moderately upgraded) E90 for 4 years now without issue--only two years with an 11.1 LiPo though. Unfortunately, I've seen the inside my expensive Marui P90 and M1A1 boxes much more often. I just picked up a cache of steel gears from a tech who was getting out of the sport so I'll be alright for a while if the Echo 1s go south. On a related topic, I just reworked an ICS M3 greasegun into an accurate replica. Its my first ICS. PM me if you've got experience with those.
    Cheers,
    Redshirt
     
  7. Tenebrus

    Tenebrus Jr Member

    While i for the most part agree with SoaringAlex about the 11.1 killing the Echo 1 gearbox, the fact that you are using Ver6.E90 gearbox negates this. I had an E90 and i know and have heard of others, who have tried to kill it but the ver6's just won't die. I hooked up a 11.1 to my E90 and ran it for 20 minutes on dryfire full auto, my 11.1 got hot and i had to stop, E90 was fine. I think you won't have any troubles, best of luck on the build.
     
  8. Redshirt

    Redshirt

    Here’s an update of the Pepakura build and Rondoing process.

    The SPLASER model takes 36 pages of card stock to make. This is a huge model that everyone who’s built it has it has experienced warping during resining. I couldn’t reinforce it with a lot of cardboard because I knew I’d need a deep internal layer of Rondo to cut details into. I used the heaviest cardstock I could get through my printer. This was good and bad. It was hard to fold accurately. Fortunately, I didn’t try to build many small details. Also, resin will not fully penetrate thick cardstock, even when thinned with acetone and applied to both sides. In the end, I still had substantial warpage. I used a heat gun to soften the cured resin and twisted the parts back into shape as they cooled. This fixed most problems, but still didn’t give me parts that were entirely symmetrical.

    Sorry, no pics of the rondo work in progress—disgusting mess!. This took a full gallon of mixed Bondo and resin to fill my parts to an adequate thickness that will allow me to cut in details and grind out warpage. I sealed off all holes with masking tape so that I’d end up with as strong and even coat of Rondo as possible (still had areas that were paper thin).

    Note to self: Rondo dissolves tape adhesive and makes a hell of a mess. Also, it is better to over catalyze Rondo than under catalyze it. Under catalyzed Rondo results in a home fitness program where you end up holding and rotating your model for what seems like hours!

    Here’s the completed rondo pieces and the sanding. I was amazed at exactly how non-symmetrical everything was again once the Rondoing was complete. A tabletop sander was great for the wide flat areas and the bevels that were unobstructed by other parts of the sculpt. It was worthless for sorting out the nooks and crannies where all the angled surfaces come together. I had an epiphany one day while patrolling the local Harbor Freight for inspiration. Enter the air file. This under $30 pneumatic gem can cut, square, round-off, or cause any other major damage in seconds. All you have to do is keep the file teeth clean. It is also very quiet as air tools go. I highly recommend it to anyone doing any kind of free-form reshaping. The sharpness and correctness of the complex corners and facets are due to this tool.


    [​IMG]


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    I ended up splitting off the front section of the upper receiver to ease the filing and leveling. This section was so warped that it really needed separated just to address all of its issues.


    [​IMG]




    Keep in mind that I’m not yet building my SPLASER. I’m building the blanks that I will use to make molds so I can lay up light, resilient fiberglass final pieces. Did I mention how much I loved the Harbor Freight air file? Every Pep, metal, and fiberglass project NEEDS one!

    Redshirt
     
  9. p bro

    p bro Jr Member

    Looks like that belt-sander and your applications of rondo smoothed everything out, flat straight and clean edges everywhere, well done. What scale are you going for with the splaser?
     
  10. Redshirt

    Redshirt


    Thanks,
    Edges and symmetry took a long time. There was also a lot of Bondo added to raise the low areas. Scale is 1:1 with the Halo Wiki specs, 38.5 inches long--thereabouts. Likely to weigh in at 20-plus pounds (9-10 Kg) with the mechanicals.

    Redshirt
     
  11. Redshirt

    Redshirt

    Time for more pictures. Since the Pep model started with few surface details and I removed the rest to streamline/strengthen construction, I needed to add the details. I decided that styrene sheets were the best way to go about this by just cutting out the details and layering them up on the surface of the Rondo/Pep blanks. I had to go out on business, so this was a good part of the project to take out on the road.

    [​IMG]


    I started with full size drawings matched to the finished Rondo/Pepakura blanks. I then drew out the details, and cut them out as patterns for the styrene.


    [​IMG]

    I carefully cut out the pieces from 40 and 60 thousandths of an inch styrene sheets. Notice the side markers are square-edged. I rounded those later with needle files.



    [​IMG]

    It was a real challenge to get the vents for the mid shroud straight

    [​IMG]


    Here's a better look at the drawings.


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    All the parts ready to graft onto the sides of the larger pieces.

    Back at home and time to fit it all together:


    [​IMG]

    I used JB Weld to hold the styrene to the Rondo/Pepakura parts. I cut other details into the Rondo using a combo of Dremel and the round file attachment for the beloved air file.


    [​IMG]

    Rubber bands to hold while the JB Weld cures.

    [​IMG]


    The small size of the styrene sheets meant that a lot of details had to be made of multiple parts.

    [​IMG]

    Cleaned up parts for the front end of the upper receiver.

    Shouldn't take too long to get the final clean-up done and get them ready to be made into molds.

    Redshirt
     
  12. Chiefy117

    Chiefy117 Jr Member

    Coming along nicely man keep up the great work :)
     
  13. Redshirt

    Redshirt

    The circuit diagram is complete after many revisions. I didn't know jack about electronics when I started this. I spent countless hours online studying 555 timers and looking for switching and voltage conversion solutions. The end result is below. I had a rocket scientist (literally) review each draft and give me tips and pointers to get to this solution.


    [​IMG]

    I have a large 11.1V lithium-polymer battery driving the primary high (11.1v) and low (5.1V) circuits, The major parts are 3 relays and a Castle Creations battery elimination circuit (BEC). The BEC drops the voltage down to 5.1V tp drive the LEDs and timers. The three relays run high-current 11.1V power to the airsoft mechboxes.





    Here are the components coming together as I try to figure out the layout of the circuit boards and how to pair up the mechboxes to fit inside.

    [​IMG]

    The three black boxes are the relays. The little blue and white piece is the BEC (transformer). The BEC has proven to be a cost-effective and very space-efficient way to get the stepped-down voltage for the electronics. Its original purpose is to power the receiver in an RC plane without the added weight of a low-voltage secondary battery. Also in this photo are LED pigtails, the red LED tail light assembly, the rumble motors from and XBOX controller, trigger switches, and fuse holders.

    [​IMG]

    I've started easy with some of the sub-assemblies. Here are the LED pig tails, some will be used for side lights, others will charge glow-in-th-dark tracer BBs for night ops. Although I bought board-mount fuse holders, I think I will stick with the in-line fuses already built into the mechboxes. I'll add resistors to keep from over-boosting the 3V rumble motors.



    [​IMG]

    The BEC and the relays. All relays are the same, but the primary will have the coil driven by the 5V circuit, while the two secondary relays will have their coils driven by 11.1V current from the primary relay.



    [​IMG]

    Two of the version 6 Echo 1 mechboxes and 11.1V batteries. I will use only one of these larger batteries for the primary circuit. I'll get some smaller 11.1V batteries for the two secondary circuits.



    [​IMG]

    Switches, servo, LED tail light, laser pointer tip. I am trying to round up a more powerful sighting laser, but this one will get be started. the switch on the left is the master power switch--closed when the front handle is extended. The other two switches will be the primary trigger and the override trigger. Both will be hidden inside the grip along with the rumble motors.


    Still working on detailing out the fiberglass blanks. More pictures of those soon.

    Redshirt
     
  14. firevoid

    firevoid Jr Member

    i couldn't read all of your typing but i did look through all your pics and am really impressed. dude seriously keep up the good work. i really want to see this finished.
     
  15. Stiilus

    Stiilus Member

    booyah indeed. i'm loving this project. i can tell you were serious about how long it took to plan it, this far in and it shows already that you have put a lot of time and effort into thinking everything through. if what i've seen so far is anything to go by, then it'll look amazing when it's finished :D ...
     
  16. thorn696

    thorn696

    WOW...This is some awesome stuff, Love it.
     
  17. Chiefy117

    Chiefy117 Jr Member

    brilliant!!!!!!!! cant wait to see it fitted!
     
  18. JBetts97

    JBetts97 Well-Known Member

    Right here is a guy with a plan! Keep it up !
     
  19. Toacrabman

    Toacrabman Well-Known Member

    Now all we need is a grenade launcher that takes 40mm airsoft shells. That and a rocket launcher with some of those 40mm airsoft rocket shells.
     
  20. Redshirt

    Redshirt

    We toyed with BOTH of those ideas here. After the SPLASER is done, I'm committed to covert an expended M72 LAW launcher into an airsoft launcher. I've got a plan for a lightweight "rocket" (really an inert foam-covered projectile) that can safely expel BBs via compressed gas on impact. If it works, the system would be directly exportable to a SPNKR. Think about it though, you want a projectile to go at least 100 feet and still expel BBs, yet be light/soft enough not to injure some fool on the receiving end who isn't wearing a helmet. When you look at it from both sides (safety vs performance) there really isn't much common ground for a balance. We'd all love to see it, but practically, it's going to be very difficult. Still, only one project at a time . . . .

    Redshirt
     
  21. Redshirt

    Redshirt

    MOLD BLANKS!

    I'm close to pulling my final molds with the completion of the fully detailed blanks. These are semi-solid and fairly brittle due to being made of Pepakura, Rondo, and a little Great Stuff Foam (bad idea). I will cut these in half and use them to make fiberglass female mold to lay up the final fiberglass parts that will be light enough and strong enough to handle the structural requirements and abuse in the field that airsoft guns endure.


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    What you see represents a lot of work with scratch filling primer and Bondo to get all the edges straight and surfaces smooth.

    Very tempting to paint them green . . . .

    Redshirt
     
  22. Andrew Lambright

    Andrew Lambright Jr Member

    this is looking amazing! if you do end up casting it would you be willing to sell a mold? i cant imagine how well this is going to turn out... :)
     
  23. thorn696

    thorn696

    Awesome work, They come out really smooth. I can't wait to see how this all comes together.
     
  24. daywalker1623

    daywalker1623 New Member

    SPLOOSH!!! The detail your putting into it looks really great. You're gonna have an awesome looking spartan laser. I'm jealous.
     
  25. Chiefy117

    Chiefy117 Jr Member

    Brilliant detail! And very smooth too keep up the great work dude :)
     

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