Necrotite Mining Rig
by Jim "Nobody" Cornell
A cloud lies heavily on a lonely vale as the aberrant fruit of Cryxian technology belches its noxious fumes skyward. Attendants scuttle about zealously mindful of its every need, feeding it, bracing it, even gently caressing it as it brings forth its issue of precious necrotite.
When I first saw a sketch of a Necrotite Mining Rig drawn by Rob Hawkins I...was...forced...into...doing...it. Aw who am I kidding, I thought it was so fantastic that I couldn't get to it fast enough!
1/4" masonite (2 pieces at 14" x 12")
9 volt battery
3mm fiber optics (2 feet)
2mm fiber optics (3 feet)
1 1000m illuminator
Mini Christmas lights with power supply
Drill with 1/8" and 1/2" drill bits
Sippie cup lid
24oz Rock Star can
Sheet plastic or styrene
1/4" copper tubing
5 superglue rings
15 watt bulb
3/4" PVC pipe
5/8" PVC pipe
Various plastic gears tubes, and lids
Paper mache (Celluclay)
Hot glue gun
Part 1: The Base
The base posed a unique problem because I wanted to be able to incorporate all of the wires for the optics and power supplies in the base so I started by sketching the outer edge of the terrain piece on a 14" by 12" piece of 1/4" masonite and cutting it out with a scroll saw. Then I traced it onto a section piece. Using the traced line I drew two new lines on the second piece. One was drawn 1/2" inside the traced line and the second was drawn 1" inside of the first. On the second piece I sketched out where the different parts were going to go. Using the saw again I cut holes for the power supplies and on/off switch and then drilled holes for the optics (1A). Then I cut the two new lines with a scroll saw. I used a Dremil to bevel the edges of both pieces and glued the smaller piece to the largest one with white glue.
I then attached the optic switch and power packs (1B & 1C).
Part 2: The Rig
The more I looked at the concept sketch the more I was haunted by its top. Where had I seen that shape before? It was not until I was cleaning out a kitchen drawer that I saw an old sippy cup my daughter Jenzen used to use. Surely she wouldn't miss it? Wrong! But $5 later it was mine! I needed a tall cylinder shape that had the same circumference as the cup so I took the top to the grocery store and pit in on a bunch of cans until I found a 24 oz Rock Star can that fit perfectly and was plenty tall too (2A).
I removed the straw portions of the sippie cup top and attached it to the the Rock Star can (2B).
I wanted the top to look like the sketch and the concave portions of the cup top were troubling to me so I took a plastic baseball and cut two pieces to fit over the concave sides of the top. I formed some panels in the pieces with an Exactor knife and glued them to the top. I used green stuff to fill any gaps (2C).
I cut the front panels out of styrene. I held the lower panel in place and traced the three small windows onto the can with a marker. I then cut a single hole in the can with an Exactor knife so that once the panels were in place you would be able to see through the windows and into the can. I then put the panels into a pan of boiling water for 5 minutes before removing them and attaching them to the can with rubber bands until the panels were cool. This gave the panels the curvature I was looking for. I then glued them into place (2D).
The two exhaust pipes on the top of the rig were 3/4" to 1" lengths of copper tubing (2E). I cut one end at an angle with a Dremil an cut three vents into the sides with a cutting wheel attachment. Some brands of Super glue (I used Loctite) have a small band under the lid that keep the glue fro drying out while it sits on the store shelves. Upon removal of the band you are instructed to twist the top to puncture a glue-filled bladder allowing the glue to flow. I have always thrown these bands in my morgue (box of bits) and used a number of them on this rig. I glued a band on the plastic baseball piece on each side of the rig top. I used green stuff to attach the exhaust pipes to the bands. The rear exhaust was made of PVC pipe.
The mechanical arms were cut from Sintra and the reinforcement braced were cut from sheet plastic using the template (2F). I added some plastic tubing, rivets and a coupe of old valve stems I found on the ground outside a tire repair shop (2G).
I then dove into my morgue to root out some interesting bits that I could apply to the mining rig and glued them in place (2H). The pipes were 1/4" copper tubing. At this stage I punched a hole on the left and right side for future optics.
I wanted the three small windows in front to be translucent green so I painted a piece of mylar and attached it to the inside of the can (over the hole) with tape. be sure to apply the paint to the frosty side of the mylar. It has a bit of tooth to it that will help hold the paint and keep it from beading up (2I).
Next, I stuffed the first light of the strand of mini Christmas lights through the 1/2" hole I drilled into the base below where the rig would go. I then threaded the light at the end of the string into the can and out the hole on the left side. I put tape on it so it would not pull back through the hole as I continued to work on other parts. The rest of the lights were then stuffed through the base and into the can. I turned the lights on to make sure they worked (it would really suck to find out later that they didn't!). I also painted a small circle of mylar to look like a pressure gauge and placed it inside a small piece of plastic ring that I trimmed from a lid, and attached it to the rig where the hole was on the right side. I then attached the rig to the base with a hot glue gun (2J).
Part 3: The Platform and Stairs
I created the understructure of the platform by making six supports using plastic 1/4" "H" beams. Each support required two 2-1/2" and one 1" lengths and were joined together with plastic cement (3A).
I attached the supports to the base with a hot glue gun and connected them with strips of plastic. I then glued rivets in place.
The two stair supports were done in the same fashion as the platform supports. One required two 1-1/2" beams with a 1" cross beam and the lower one needed two 1/2" beams with a 1" cross beam. I glued each of them together and attached them to the base.
For the stairs I wanted each riser to be 1/4" with a small landing between the top of the platform and the ground. Since the small landing was an inch below the main platform and the risers were 1/4" I knew that I needed three pads (not including the platform or landing). Next, I divided the distance between the outer edge of the platform support and the outer edge of the small landing support to get a measurement of 9/16" for the depth on the right side of each pad. I repeated the procedure on the other side of the stairs to get the pad measurement for the inner edge to get 5/16" for the left side of the each pad. I did the same for stairs between the small landing and the ground and got 1/4" on the right and 7/16" on the left. The graphic (3B) shows a template with the measurements I used but yours may vary slightly so I suggest that you do the math yourself to get a good fit. If you are going for a rickety staircase look vary the pad and riser measurements so that they are not uniform.
I cut the pads out of sheet plastic. I re-measured each pad support and added 1/16" overlap off the front and 1/8" off each side. You will want to paint the ground below the stairs so it is important to not glue the pads to the supports at this time. I wrote the number on each pad as I went to keep them from getting mixed up (3C). Re-measuring each pad may seem like an unnecessary step but it will allow you to have a custom fit to any mistake you may have made when cutting the pad and riser support.
The platform was created by cutting up scraps of plastic sheet and steel mesh and laying them in place in a haphazard fashion. When you have lain out enough pieces to cover the entire platform glue them together where they overlap and add rivets (3E). Be careful not to glue the platform to the supports at this time so that you can paint the ground below more easily.
Part 4: The Earthworks
To advance the base I cut 1" styrofoam and attached it to the base with a caulk adhesive (4A).
I rounded out the hill and filled the gaps in the foam with Celluclay (4B & 4C).
While the Celluclay was still wet I added a piece of metal mesh, some rocks and affixed dirt to the piece with thinned white glue and left it to dry overnight. Then I gave it a thinned down wash of burnt umber (4D & 4E).
Part 5: The Paint
For the metal parts I undercoated everything black and blocked in some dark silver in places and a 1:1 mixture of burnt umber and flat earth where I wanted it to look rusty. Then I gave it a black wash. When that was dry I brought some of the rust back out with terracotta. The dirt was given thinned coats of flat earth and green brown (5A).
The dirt was finished with dry brushed layers of khaki, Iraqi sand, and stone gray. The rocks were painted with a thinned layer of German gray and dry brushed with neutral gray. The metal parts were highlighted with coats of silver and terracotta (5B).
Part 6: The Finished Touches
The smoke filled bottle on the left-hand side was made with a 15 watt bulb by using a Dremil cutting wheel to cut just enough of the metal part to pull the inner element out with a pair of tweezers (6A).
I made the green smoke by pulling apart a piece of green felt and stuffing it into the bulb (6B).
I then took the Christmas light I had threaded through the can in Part 2 and threaded on two super glue rings and gave the wires and the base of the bulb a coat of greenstuff. Greenstuff is tacky enough that when it cured it held all of the parts in place (6C).
I created the claw by cutting a small piece of Sintra using the template (6D). I added a bit of sheet plastic and a few rivets. I added the chain by drilling a small hole in the top. The bucket was created by cutting an opening in one lid and gluing another lid to it (6E). I drilled three holes in the bottom to accommodate the optics and a hole in the top to attach the chain.
I threaded three strands of 3mm fiber optics through the bottom pit and again through the bottom of the bucket and used a wood burning tool to "mushroom" the end of the optics to give each a rounded look as well as to keep it from pulling back through the hole (6F). I then wrapped each fiber optic with a 1/2" piece of electrician's tape and pulled it partially through the hole in the hole in the bottom of the pit to prevent light from leaking out. I threaded 2mm fiber optic strands through other holes in the bottom of the pit and "mushroomed" them as well. I pulled them back flush with the bottom of the pit and gave all of the "mushrooms" a dot of thinned green wash. I wrapped all of the fiber optics with electrician's tape and attached the 1000m illuminator and switched it on to make sure it worked.
The chains were threaded up through the arms and glued into place. I also gave each chain a thin coat of super glue to stiffen them up. Later I painted the smoke-filled bulb, the claw, bucket and both chains in the same manner as the rig and platform.
Afterthoughts: This project was a lot of fun and although I don't expect anyone to recreate it exactly as I have done it, I hope that some of the techniques may be useful to you in a future project.
I am looking forward to starting my next terrain project. 'Till then,