It's the talk of Stargate fans around the world! After waiting just about 20 years, a fan has finally succeeded in doing what was previously only dreamt of: Creating a fully functional Zat Gun prop. Seriously, what Stargate fan hasn't held a solid resin Zat Gun and thought how amazing it would be to actually have a working version? I still remember the first time I saw the Smugglers Armoury attempt at creating the mechanics of the Zat. Perhaps that was the moment that I first imagined it.
I have not been online much, but have been working every single day on recreating the props of Stargate. Incredible progress has been made on all of the props, but these stand out:
Working Zat Gun
As a person who strives to do good work it can be difficult to determine when to stop improving a project and just get it done. This problem is compounded in our hobby of making replica items. Do you continue to stretch out a project until every last bit of accuracy is obtained, or do you deliver it so that fans can enjoy it sooner?
After having my projects drag out for YEARS in the pursuit of making them the most accurate replicas possible I am starting to think that perfection is overrated.
Have been out of the shop for a few days due to travel. Thankfully I remembered to pack a few parts to an intricate project which requires some CNC machining. So I fired up my go-to CAD application and started work on the drawings. I was able to make a good start on the 3D model, and will finish the parts this week. Using 3D drawings for replicas can be useful when you might need to change the design. In my case I have gears which need to mate together perfectly. Depending on their position in the final prop I may need to adjust them.
This week has been a mix of mold-making, casting and millwork on the props. Another piece of the Naquadah Generator was molded, I've made the second part of a 4 part mold on the Super Solder disrupter, lots of GDO parts have been cast, and I've started making the molds for an amazing new project which is still under wraps!
Lighting up the G.D.O.s does require a few solder joints. Pretty basic electronics: EL panel, lithium battery and a shiny little micro toggle switch! Everything is installed now, and I just need to close these up.
When the MGM props department made the hero G.D.O. prop they used an electrolumenescent panel to light the screen and keypad. In keeping with the original, our replica will include the same lighting. Finding the best panel to use for this prop came down to two factors: 1 getting the correct color; and, 2 finding a sheet size which could be cut down to the size needed with minimal waste (EL sheet is expensive).
Making the rubber keypads for the G.D.O. props took me a lot longer than it should have. I worked with 3 different clear rubbers befor finally settling on a winner, and even then with a special additive to change the properties of the rubber. I tried some pretty exotic blends, including an industrial urathane which apparently can mess up your lungs if not handled properly.
Finished G.D.O.s have been created! A small number of these were created and featured at the Stitch's Loft booth at the 2015 Creation Entertainment Stargate convention in Chicago. Almost everything was final on these, with the exception of the keypads which were clear resin instead of rubber. Since these prototypes I have reworked the backplates, the baseplates and plastic face shields. I am still working on the rubber keypads, which have been very challenging.
I've been working double time on getting the G.D.O. replica finished, and it's nearly there! Today I began casting the top shell pieces in the new mold, and also finished the master for the bottom cover and the baseplate. Since I wanted to get the exact same texture on the bottom cover as the original prop I needed to order the appropriate textured plastic. It's a small detail, but why not get it right?