1. Member Since
    Oct 2012
    Mar 29, 2014, 9:12 PM - WIP: Clone Trooper DC-15A rifle from scratch #1

    Hey guys.

    Among my many Fett projects I currently have on the go, I really didn't need to add another project to the list. BUT I REALLY WANTED TO!!
    On Monday or Tuesday, I'll be taking delivery of a bunch of Clone armour and helmet parts that will eventually turn into Clone Commander Bly from ROTS, my second SW costume. He has a pair of pistol sidearms, but I thought I'd up the bad ***** quotient a little with this Clone DC-15A rifle:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    From Wookiepedia

    I started with what I think is a template originally made by wizardofflight for the old SW blaster builder boards. It had to be enlarged almost 600%. After putzing around at the school photocopier for a few hours (did I mention we're on spring break right now?), I had my templates. Time to start cutting some wood...

    I've seen a lot of DC-15A builds that look like they could use a little Viagra, if you know what I mean. Because the rifle is so long, they tend to bend and sag. I didn't want that to happen to mine! I used a 3/4" plywood for the core of the build. I used the template to trace the back half of the rifle onto the plywood, then cut out as many of the straight and long cuts a I could on the table saw to ensure parallel, straight cuts. Everything else was cut out on the bandsaw or with Forstner bits for any tight curves.
    I cut a 1 1/2" shaft sticking out of the front to mount my PVC pipe to. I am hoping that this will eliminate any tendency for the rifle to droop when held up.
    I used the same sheet of 3/4" plywood to cut out the sides for the breech. They were screwed on.

    Here's a pic of the PVC sleeve for the front of the rifle. I used a rasp to round off the edges of the front part so the pipe would slide onto it. It's a pretty tight fit, which is exactly what I wanted. A couple screws and some epoxy ought to keep it from moving.

    Pretty much every sander in the shop is out of commission. That's kinda bad for this because the rifle stock is really contoured. To overcome this, I used some pine (a soft, easily shaped wood) to block out the sides of the rifle stock. I contoured the shape using a hand rasp, then sanded it with a drum sander on the drill press and a mouse/detail sander.

    It's screwed and glued onto the rifle. I'll let it set overnight, then I'll start blocking out the detail parts all over the rifle.

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  3. NoGoodToM3D3ad's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 2013
    Mar 30, 2014, 7:14 AM - Re: WIP: Clone Trooper DC-15A rifle from scratch #2

    Looking good!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Make a mold and resell!
  4. Member Since
    Oct 2012
    Mar 30, 2014, 7:31 PM - Re: WIP: Clone Trooper DC-15A rifle from scratch #3

    I put in some more shop time today. Here's the progress:
    I managed to find a working belt sander.

    It allowed me to give the rifle butt a little more contour and blend in the 'slices'.

    I had cut the pistol grip far too big. I had to slim it up with the belt sander. Next, I cut out the detail at the back of the grip. I then took off a little at a time from the back of the grip until it felt skinny enough.

    For some extra detail, I cut out the pistol grip shape from some acrylic I found lying around. I also cut out a hole in the middle of these pieces, just for a little more depth to the part.

    I glued on some fill pieces to the end shaft before securing the PVC barrel. In those same spots, I would be screwing other pieces to the top and bottom of the barrel. As the screw bites into the plywood inside the pipe and pushes it apart, these pieces should push against the barrel for an even more secure hold.

    Here's the gun sight, i guess? Just some scrap plywood cut to shape, a couple pieces of wood strip from the scraps bin, and a strip of plastic from a for sale sign.

    I think the top triangular piece is the magazine for the rifle. It's scrap plywood with some acrylic cut to shape and CA glued on to add some depth. The bottom part is… well, I'm not sure. I can tell you it was made from some 1/2" and 5/8" plywood cut, sanded, and glued together. Both of the ends match up with the spots where I added the filler bits inside the barrel. I put a screw in the same front part to help secure the top triangle to the barrel. All the wood parts were CA glued to the PVC pipe in addition to deck screws.

    This part might be an underslung gunsight, but most clones seem to use it as a handle to hold up the rifle. I made mine from a slice of the PVC pipe from the barrel, some 2 1/2" PVC pipe I found, a plastic funnel ($1.29 for three), and a plastic hose fitting i found in a junk drawer in the shop. Although the bigger part will definitely be screwed onto the rifle, the front part needs some other sort of mounting. I'll eventually figure something out.

    Total spent on parts so far: $1.29 for the funnel set, and $1.25 each for 2 For Sale signs. Everything else is scraps and found bits. That's all for today!
  5. Member Since
    Oct 2012
    Apr 1, 2014, 11:42 PM - Re: WIP: Clone Trooper DC-15A rifle from scratch #4

    Well, I blew the bank on a trip to the plumbing section at the local hardware store to try and solve the problem of assembling the underslung sight cylinders securely. I ended up dropping about $14 in plumbing odds and ends, to no avail. I think I could still return it all, at least. I'm afraid that the robustness I'm looking for can only come from a turned wood part. So I'll be lathing wood for the first time ever in a couple days&.

    Speaking of plumbing parts,

    After mounting the front sight/bayonet mount/gas return line/whatever the part on top of the barrel in the pic is, I could move onto the handgrips around the front of the barrel. My barrel is 1 1/2" PVC pipe. I had some 2" PVC pipe laying around. Unfortunately, it is a little loose when you put the smaller pipe into the bigger pipe. I needed to cut out 5/8" in a strip along the length of the barrel to make room for the wood parts at the top of the barrel anyways, so I cut out the strip using a dado blade on a table saw. I then cut in the grooves into the barrel with a table saw blade that was almost fully recesses into the table. This cut out a shallow trench into the plastic that's only as wide as the saw blade itself.

    Here's the handgrip mounted and secured to the barrel. I needed to widen the 5/8" cut a little to get the barrel to curve tightly around the 1 1/2" barrel. The handgrip was secured to the barrel with a couple deck screws recessed into the bottom of the handgrip.

    The screenshots of these angled strips around the triangular rifle magazine look to me to be some sort of bipod for the rifle. I used some thin steel strip from the welding area's scraps bin, drilled a couple holes, and fixed them in place with a couple bolts and washers. It is definitely supposed to have the crooked, offset look.

    Here's a beauty shot. Almost all of the major parts are now blocked in. Once I finish the barrel tip and the underslung sight, I can move onto skinning all the wood pieces with some thin plastic sheet for a consistent finish, and adding all the buttons and small detail parts.
  6. Matty Matt's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 2006
    Apr 2, 2014, 6:12 AM - Re: WIP: Clone Trooper DC-15A rifle from scratch #5

    Sweet dude! That's looking awesome. Keep it up!
  7. High Speed Low Drag Fett 4 Real's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 2010
    Apr 2, 2014, 12:18 PM - Re: WIP: Clone Trooper DC-15A rifle from scratch #6

    what do you plan to use for t track...I made some out of thin walled PVC pipe before...
  8. Member Since
    Oct 2012
    Apr 2, 2014, 2:53 PM - Re: WIP: Clone Trooper DC-15A rifle from scratch #7

    I know that you're asking about the front of the rifle, which appears to be an upside down stormie E-11. Most builds that I have seen of this actually cut in the ridges into the pipe, as opposed to gluing on t-track. I was going to buy cheap wiper blades and use the wiper edge as t-track if i needed to.

    After doing a quick google search, it looks like an even split between t-track and grooves, judging by people's builds, plans, screenshots, etc. I know that Woodchuck does his barrels as cut-in trenches the same way I did mine, and he's the most respected prop gun builder on the clone troopers forum, IMHO.
  9. Member Since
    Oct 2012
    Apr 4, 2014, 7:07 PM - Re: WIP: Clone Trooper DC-15A rifle from scratch #8

    Today's update:

    Someone on the Clone Trooper boards said that this part is a flip-up sniper scope that rotates into position if needed. With that tidbit of info, I went all the way down the rabbit-hole, starting with the fact that the front of this rifle is inspired by the E-11 stormtrooper blaster, upside down. The actual scope used on the prop weapons from the original trilogy that corresponds to this part is actually an M38 or M40 optical sight that is WWII vintage. It may also be an M19 sight from a British Chieftan tank? You can start yelling at me now, everyone. Anyways, I looked up resin copies of it from stormie weapon kits, looked on the archived Blaster Builder Board threads for some scratch-built scopes, and even had a look at the local Cabela's for a rifle scope of similar design. However, if I wanted to stay true to the size on this weapon, I would have to scratch build the part.
    While at the Cabela's, they managed to scrounge up a spare scope ring and a scope mounting plate for me. But not before they gave me this face:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    "What do you mean, you don't know what brand of rifle it's for? Wait, you're doing WHAT? Yeah, we don't have anything like that here."
    I don't know about the rest of you, but I seem to run into that all the time. It gets tiresome.

    Anyways, the diameter of the scope ring was 1", so I cut a 1" piece of dowel that would connect the large rear 2" PVC to the smaller front 1-1/2" PVC through the scope ring. I used some 3/4" plywood to join the PVC parts to the skinny 1" dowel. I first cut 1" holes into a piece of plywood with a Forstner bit, then I cut out holes that matched the inside diameter of the PVC pipe I was using. Don't use a hole saw, just trace the inside of the pipe onto the board. It's not perfectly round inside. It was cut out on a bandsaw and sand-finished on a spindle sander. I also mixed up some epoxy plumber's putty to cement the funnel shape I had cut out of an actual funnel to the large PVC pipe.
  10. Member Since
    Oct 2012
    Apr 4, 2014, 7:25 PM - Re: WIP: Clone Trooper DC-15A rifle from scratch #9

    BTW, the cost for the spare scope ring and plate was only $10.
    I did have to put in a spacer between the scope mounting plate and the rifle bottom. This is for the larger diameter back part. There's supposed to be a small gap between the scope and rifle body, but that would make this whole sub-assembly way too easy to break off. I mounted mine flush, and drilled some pilot holes to put screws through the rear part of the scope and into the rifle body itself. As of right now, the whole assembly can come off and come apart for further gap filling, painting, etc.

    The outer box is made of 1/8" fibreboard with an oak veneer, yet another find from the scrap bin. it was designed so that the top and bottom would glue to the wood parts, while the side pieces would sit on the PVC pipe. I cut the side pieces while they were taped together on a scroll saw, refining their contour against the PVC with a spindle sander. Being so thin, I just used carpenter's glue to secure these parts together. I let them dry for about 2 hours before they were epoxied & glued to the side of the rifle. The magazine itself is just a piece of 3/4" plywood cut to size, then screwed into the side of the rifle.

    I think it's ready to come home for a skinning of styrene plastic over all the 'metal' parts. I'll be using For Sale signs & CA glue for that.

  11. NoGoodToM3D3ad's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 2013
    Apr 8, 2014, 8:04 PM - Re: WIP: Clone Trooper DC-15A rifle from scratch #10

    firstly- that Chan meme is one of my favorites. Secondly, seriously, make a mold of this and resell your casts...
  12. Member Since
    Oct 2012
    Apr 15, 2014, 10:37 PM - Re: WIP: Clone Trooper DC-15A rifle from scratch #11


    Measure the area. Transfer the measurements to plastic sheet. Cut. Glue. Repeat.

    In all seriousness, it's around half-done. Maybe more? I don't need to skin the areas in acrylic, at least.

  13. Member Since
    Oct 2012
    Aug 13, 2014, 9:12 PM - Re: WIP: Clone Trooper DC-15A rifle from scratch #12

    You know, the first time you build something you learn so much about how the parts fit and work separately and together. I am not entirely happy with how the first one was turning out. Building this prop the second time around will allow me to correct some things from the first time I built it. For example, I won't use any plywood for any parts that will be exposed when it's finished. Instead, I'll stick to oak hardwoods that will keep a sharp edge, and will require much less filler to smooth out. As well, I won't skin the rifle in plastic to avoid having to use any fillers and to cover up the ugly plywood. The glue that I used to skin the rifle never really took to the styrene plastic. It was peeling off some parts here and there. Time to channel my inner Norm Abrams...

    The first step was to draft up the plans for this build. I took the original printed drawing file and used it as a guide to draw myself a full-sized physical blueprint of the piece.

    While the original file had several included inch measurements marked out, a lot of the build was not measured up in the drawing. Using some fine measurement and ratio scaling math, I found that a measurement in centimetres from the drawing would yield the corresponding measurement in full-scale inches if multiplied by 2.13175. Using that, I was able to draw up some plans with the measurements I wanted to know.

    I picked up a 1"x10" 6 foot pine board at my local Home Depot for less than $6. I'll use pieces of this to form the rifle's stock. I'm using pine because it's a very soft wood, and it will sand and rasp really quickly and easily.

    I cut the board into four pieces, each one about 12" long, to make four squares. I ran them through the thickness planer a couple times, taking off enough from both sides to thin the boards down to 3/4" and make them perfectly flat for the next step.

    I glued the boards together, using a lot of glue and clamps.

    I wrapped the piece in paper so that the excess glue wouldn't bond my piece to the wooden clamps. In retrospect, I probably should have used wax paper. But for this piece, it's not a big deal. We'll be cutting out the general shape of the rifle stock from this block.

    While I was at it, I also completed the glue-up for material to form the breech block and the pistol grip. I have no pics of these parts getting assembled, sorry. The pistol grip is getting made from 7/8" oak 1"x3" boards edge-glued to make a piece about 5"x6". It will get its shape cut out from this block later.

    For the breech block, it's made form three oak 1"x3" boards laminated together and cut to a length of 12.5". The middle board will receive some cutouts and dadoes to accommodate dowels on both ends to join it to the rifle butt and the rifle barrel. It's going to receive a 3/4" dowel joining it to the pine rifle butt, so a corresponding cut was made from the middle block using the bandsaw and a drill bit to remove the middle material. The barrel will be supported with a 1" dowel, so a 1" hole needs to be cut in the front of the breech block. I removed 1" of material from the middle wood piece with the bandsaw and a drill, but since the board is only 3/4" thick, I would need to widen the hole for a 1" dowel. I removed 1/8" of material from the inside faces of the left and right boards to widen the hole for the 1" dowel using a dado cutter on the table saw.
    Once all of those cuts were made, I could finally glue the three boards together to form the breech block. All of this was left to cook and set up overnight.
  14. Member Since
    Oct 2012
    Aug 13, 2014, 9:30 PM - Re: WIP: Clone Trooper DC-15A rifle from scratch #13

    This morning, I unclamped all of my pieces and started laying out the cuts I would need to do for the rifle butt before sanding it to shape. The first cut I made was to square up the bottom of the block, using the table saw. My next cut would be on the top of the block, and this will be for the 3/4" hole for the dowel to sit in.

    I marked up the measurements from the drawing, firmly clamped the piece in place, then used a long 3/4" drill bit to bore out the hole for the dowel.

    Squaring up the bottom will ensure that the block is sitting level and perfectly vertical as the hole is being drilled.

    Next step was to cut out the general shape of the rifle butt.

    This was done on the bandsaw, and it was not exact. All I want is a shape that roughly matches the profile of the rifle butt. It will get taken down to shape and size using a rasp and sanding.

    I used a drum sander on the drill press to sand the final shape and curvature of the rifle butt. I called it quits (5:00 PM) after getting the top half done. I'll sand the bottom half tomorrow morning.

    I also did some cuts to the breech block to get its final shape all done. It has a couple wedge shapes cut out of the top and the rear. they were done on the bandsaw, using a small fence wherever possible to ensure as straight a cut as possible. I'll sand the old glue and saw marks out tomorrow.

    I cut the opening for the 1" dowel just a touch bigger than 1". This will allow me to put in shims to make the barrel as straight and true as possible.

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