Thursday, March 25, 2010

Taller Dreadnaught?

Brother Captain James came to me on Monday night at Battle for Salvation and asked me to do a conversion for him. He wants to make his dreadnaught taller!! he wants to add about half an inch total to the leg, to keep the overall balance of the piece, I'll have to add length above and below the knee and replaces the hydraulic lines.

I'm not 100% when comes to ID'ing models, but I think it's an old Venerable Dreadnaught...

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First thing I did was cut through the three outer hydraulic piston shafts to the foot and then the inner (thicker) piston shaft and my finger! But ONLY on one side!!

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I then drill holes into the hydraulics on the leg and foot bracket to accommodate a copper rod that is much smaller than the piston shaft. I often use paper clips to do pinning, but in this case I have some aluminum tube that is very close to the shaft diameter and the copper rod I have slips right inside with almost zero extra space.

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It’s tricky to keep the bit centered on the hydraulics and drill in along the center, but it’s worth going very slow!! After I drill in a comfortable distance (a good 3/32” of rod in the hole), I cut of just the piston shaft and leave the outer housing!

Using the uncut side as a base measure, I used 0.001” accurate calipers to measure the exposed piston shafts and added ¼” and cut the aluminum tube to length. I then cut some of my copper rods and slipped them into the holes in the foot bracket and leg.
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You’ll notice that the center shaft is a bit larger, but I had some larger rod and tube that is a close match.

I similarly cut away the hydraulic lines and drill into the ports. The bit would have been easier if I had cut through the leg above the knee, but that increases my risk of dropping and losing parts while working the project.

The hydraulic lines will be replaced with either copper rod or thick paper clip wire that has been wound with very fines “magnet” wire to recreate that ridge flex-shaft look. The replacement part will be bent and cut to fit and the starter holes will be enlarged as needed.

I haven’t nailed down exactly how I plan to increase the thigh length, but I have a couple of ideas I’m mulling over..

Hopefully I'll managed to get the finishing update in a day or so and not have another 2 or 3 month.

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