Practice English Speaking&Listening with: How To Make a Star Wars Action Figure Diorama (Free Design!)

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hey everyone norm from tested here and welcome

back to another model making project now first of all thank you so much for

all your positive feedback and kind words

with regard to my star wars inspired book nook diorama that we

recently shared it's been really fun to see some of you learn

about book nooks and that style of diorama which i'm totally

obsessed with and some of you have even said that it's inspired you

to take up miniatures and model making while we're all working from home during

this lockdown period hopefully that's the case now to

help those of you get started today's model making project is another diorama

but it's going to be a much simpler design something that's

more accessible and especially if you have access to a

laser cutter like a glowforge or a vinyl cutter like the qriket maker

or if you even want to cut out the patterns

by hand on cardboard or styrofoam that's all possible the design for these

is the uh the svg files are all available

in the description below i've uploaded them to thingiverse

so you can go ahead click that download them now and follow along as we build

this uh version of the death star hallway and that's what we're building

today because as i was working on that book nook and finished

up that top hallway which was very very proud of i was also struggling to figure

out how i was going to design that detention center hallway on

the lower level and while procrastinating on that design

process i decided to just go through the process

of making another diorama design boot up illustrator and

this time my parameters were let's not use so much acrylic

and so much material i mean that book nook is almost

10 sheets of material it can add up in cost but i wanted to come up with

something that really would fit one sheet of

acrylic that glowforge itself so i've talked about this before

this is that matte black on one side and glossy black on the other acrylic it's

12 inches by 20 inches and on a laser cutter

glowforge there's a bit of a margin that you can't

cut so you really have a little bit less of that um in terms of usable space

and so i wanted to come up with a project that really really fit

all the designs onto at most one sheet and i've come up with

a diorama that's basically three sided so it's

the floor the back wall with room for some lights as well as a

side which lets you display these hasbro

figures 1 18 scale on basically this

almost isometric view diorama i love this scale 3.75 inches 118 scale

you can find these star wars black series ones you know your local

toy store or even ebay these were the vintage series ones that were

released with the rogue one and um they do stormtroopers all the time they

have ones for the mandalorian for example

and they're really posable i find them really fun

so again the materials are one sheet of the matte black on one side glossy black

on the other side also needs some frosted acrylic and not

a lot is needed so i just have some scrap

here really just need like about a six inch by four inch piece

um as well as uh some black styrene uh which we'll use for that relief so

let's go walk through the process i've already

done the design i'm going to show you some of that in illustrator but we're

going to head over to the laser cutter and get our pieces cut out

all right so we have our pieces cut out and what was important about this

process is as you can tell there are different

sides i use to that black acrylic so this brown side here this is the matte

black side and so while everything was designed as

if it was going to be on one sheet i actually had to do

two cut passes uh the first cut pass with the matte black

on top uh to get the sides like this is very clearly

uh the backboard with the windows as well as your pattern here on the

walls but i wanted the glossy side for the

floor that kind of mirror finish was really effective

in the book nook so then had to flip over that acrylic sheet

make sure you're not cutting to space that you've already carved out of

and then cut out the baseboard and so um i've done some test fitting off camera

what's also important is that the files i've released

are without any curve so i've added some additional curve that's just done if you

use illustrator by adding a path offset uh for me on the glowforge

i found that .007 inches works really well you don't need

to do it on both every piece just need to do it on

basically the ones that slot into the holes here

and as you can tell it press fits pretty well i haven't done the peeling

off of the protective material so uh to give you a sense of

how it's all going to come together this is that baseboard the floor pattern

here shows you exactly how much floor space

and if we do just kind of a test placement

yep plenty of space right here for a figure

and then this is the back wall the backdrop

really as you can tell there's extra space here

because i'll be installing lights uh on the back there it's a little bit

of a half inch gap for the lights to go through

made sure i design a hole be cut out for the

power and then that gets interlocked with

the third wall which is this doorway so it's again slot joints so i can show

you that test fit here that holds this corner together both

those get slotted into their respective spots um and

i also have just a little bit of book ending a small panel here

on the outside wall as well as a little bit of a ceiling to block that light

bleed so it should be pretty self-contained uh one of the

other things i decided to do was also have the floor raised um and so it gives

a little bit of an elevated look a little bit of a

floating look and so as you can tell on these walls

it's about half inch protruded and so while this is

only about eight inch thick it should stand above

uh whatever surface you're displaying it on

i also took the time to cut out my frosted acrylic

uh and for that i basically have my inserts and so these pieces

get press fit into the windows and so you can see you know it's

not a perfect fit so i may have to use a little bit of glue

to get them into place but they don't fall out super easily

and then i double back that with another piece of frosted acrylic

that goes behind and then the led light strip goes

behind that so i'm pretty happy with how these pieces are looking and how they're

fitting um pretty confident about that and so

i'm going to now take off all of the protective backing

minus the floorboards i want to do that very

end because i don't want to get any fingerprint smudges

on here and then we can start putting things


now this is one of those parts of laser cutter projects that i find

just so satisfying and relaxing to do and that's the

peeling off of the protective material now i used to do this all with

my fingernails and that certainly is a fast way to do it for the big sheets

but i've also found a liking to using a tool to help peel off especially some

of the small pieces and what i'm using here i think this is

a machinist scribe or scriber it's just a metal

hand tool almost like the handle of an exacto blade

but it has a pointed tip at the end as opposed to a blade and

some of them are double-sided with the hook on the other side almost like a

dental probing tool which could be great for

picking off and scraping off some of this really small protective

sheet one thing i've started to do with these

laser cutter designs is as much as possible make the pieces

um symmetrical and that way i have the option

of choosing for a two-sided material like this acrylic whether i want to use

the matte side or the glossy side

or it saves me a hassle when i have to make matching pieces that are

chiral i can cut them in one pass as opposed to having

to flip the sheet over if i want the same finish

on both sides all right i've peeled off the pieces and while i

said that i do take great satisfaction in that peeling off process there is a

limit to that and in building the book note one of the

parts that ended up being a little bit frustrating was the peeling

and removal of all the pieces for my frosted acrylic

and so one of my lessons learned is that it can actually

for frosted acrylic it doesn't matter if you remove that protective covering

first and then do your laser cutting it does

for your finished pieces of acrylic because that can mar

the plastic but here uh the edges still look

pretty clean and they still fit perfectly and it saves me

well for this one let's see there's 8 48 48 of these pieces some of them

really tiny both sides almost 100 little pieces of paper that i would have

had to peel off if i had not just removed that from the

beginning before laser cutting now before i start

piecing things together i want to do more work on this back wall

piece this is where a lot of that visual accent is going to be i'm

going to start applying some of these frosted pieces on

and even with frosted acrylic one thing to note is it's actually only frosted on

one side not both sides the frosting itself is a

little bit of a marring of the surface and so

for consistency make sure you have that frosted side

on top and not behind or else it'll look inconsistent hopefully i will get that

wrong here i'm also going to fix the backing pieces here and for that i have

two uh types of cement i got really uh useful thin acrylic or um

tamiya extra thin cement for use on gundam

this works great on styrene and we're gonna use that for our styrene

and then some stronger stuff acrylic cement uh this is pretty powerful stuff

it basically welds the acrylic together makes them uses them into one piece and

oh the tea on my cement is worn off that's that's not good but really

powerful stuff um we're also gonna apply some styrene

so while the uh etch here

the pattern here looks looks all right and if i wanted to

do this you can get away with this being the back wall

it still reads as that classic surface it doesn't give me as much of

dimensional relief as i wanted to and so i've really come to love using

this black polystyrene sheet this is 0.02 inches thick and it cuts

so well on a vinyl cutter uh i've learned to adjust my settings on my

qriket maker to do basically three passes and when that comes out of

the cutter it the pieces are still affixed to the sheet

and so it's actually useful for a couple reasons one

i'm not individually picking off the pieces

off of the the mat and i can pop them off one at a time so

if i'm ready to pop them off really it's just folding it a little bit

and then really the pieces pop off almost perfectly and also

it lets me add some extra etch details and so you can see on these bars here

for example i'm not going to actually pop those

out of the styrene i'm going to leave that on the styrene and it's basically

free etch detail it's almost like the scoring detail you get on a laser cutter

except it's done with a knife and and then that saves me a lot of work while

still retaining uh some of that fidelity so peeling this

off next i'm gonna apply that to the backing

board and then i also get my acrylic my frosted acrylic

inlaid and this is gonna look awesome next time we

check in

and it was almost perfect as you can see um it's frosted on

47 out of the 48 pieces this one i messed up on i got the clear side up

frosted side down now i end up using the acrylic

cement on both this and also the backing really powerful

stuff toxic stuff that's why i use gloves and

really a drop is all you need a drop is almost too

much uh even with this dispenser very carefully drop them

into the recesses place the piece and now this is all

bonded together next up we're gonna do our

styrene and this one i will use the tamiya plastic cement

um popping out these pieces super simple i only have one big wall panel here to

do uh and so basically the process is pop

out the pieces apply a little bit of the tamiya

and for the styrene the way it pops out there is i've noticed

a kind of top side and a bottom side you want to

keep the side that was cut on the top because it's a cleaner edge on the

bottom it may be a little bit rougher you can smooth it

out with your fingernail a little bit but it looks

nicer as a panel on the top so keep that distinct and so i'm actually thinking

yeah do i want these on there yeah we'll

place these on uh and let's get started


all right we're almost done so this back wall piece is looking pretty

good actually with all that extra layers of

acrylic plus styrene like this feels like it looks like a

real thing i just love that black styrene it cuts so

nicely applies super easily with this thin

cement and the final thing we're about to do

before we put all together is of course add the led lights to

this backing plate and i think i'm going to apply it to

the glossy side of the plate uh allows a little bit more of the light bounce on

the inside so that gets sandwiched right here like

so and then on the back side then it has nice matte finish on the outside

um and for led lights super cheap you can find them online

um i have a lot of you know basically warm white

cool light this is cool light um and you can buy these it's almost like less than

a dollar a foot you buy them 16.4 feet for about

14 15 shipped uh and i don't need all

16 feet in fact i don't even have that here because this is some leftover

from a past project so uh it's unprotected led light strips

doesn't have that rubber coating does have adhesive backing you know they

say 3m who knows it's actually 3m or not but

i will just unravel this whole thing and kind of

measure out how much i think i might need

and then snip the rest and then you can also then

buy basically a pack of uh what you would then connect to the

leds which are these things so this is just an easy

snap-on plug no soldering required wherever you snip the leds right

alongside where you see those exposed contact

points you then clip that on and you plug into power and

in fact the power supply sometimes is the most expensive part

you get them bundled you can even get the adjustable dimmable switch

bundled with the full strip but if you want to buy a pack of power supplies

that can add up these are super cheap and the strips

themselves are super cheap so let's take a look and see uh

how much we think we'll need of course i'm going to use this light as a guide

a little bit of led goes a long way so here about three windows

wide i think i'm only going to need basically

one layer of leds i can start there imagine it's going to be like so

it's going to fold over and then it's gonna maybe bend around like so

and then curl up uh and then actually i'll probably go

the other direction just yeah and then come back down

yeah so not that much at all if this looks like it's about yeah it's

going to be like six inches then i'm gonna need

maybe two feet of this at most uh snip that

off and then let's get to applying that to

our backing

yay our lights work and it is now time for the final assembly so

i'm going to get my base plate right here which

i know still has that last bit of covering that's my very very last step

is going to be peeling these off and then the way i have this design i

actually have these boards going in first

press fit no glue required that is a pretty solid i'm pretty close

fit right there very happy with that happy in a sense that not i would rather

actually it be too small than too big of a fit because

if it's too big then there's no way i've got to recut another piece

too small at least i can then acrylic cement at all

but this is a very very good fit all right

even if there's a little bit of wiggle room that all

works out at the end when i bracket everything together

so let's slot that in as well that's a good sound

it's not the sound of snapping acrylic it's a sound of

pieces snapping together all right let's get the third wall

as well now this is when i have multiple interlocking pieces that

tolerances really start to matter oh that sounds good

and this outer piece goes on

like so another good snapping sound and then the top piece

yes yes yes let's not turn it all on yet i'm going to now take this time to

finally remove the floor covering this is the final

touch uh and then we're going to turn it all

on but it's looking very promising indeed

and we are done this looks so good i'm so pleased with just

how simple this is uh one final thing

that i thought i was going to be clever so i found these

these are small little i think steel or metal

plates with adhesive backing and these are sold to be put on the back of

phones so you can put a phone on some type of magnetic

mount or something or some case or some charger

but they're really cheap and i was wondering could i actually

tape these to the bottom of my platform so for example if i

just peel this back and stick it on right let's say right

here then i have essentially a piece of metal underneath

which then i could use a magnet and it would stick

on and so the idea is these figures actually have a little bit of a hole in

them because they originally were made to be pegged

onto some type of display stand right and so

these holes are really small they're only about two

millimeters wide in diameter about maybe three or four

millimeters tall and uh i look see if i can find

magnets i can then embed into the soles of these figures so

that they would stay in place and i did find some two millimeter by

one millimeter magnets and i did a test of super gluing those

into the soles of the storm trooper but as you can see

it doesn't really uh stay on the platform at least it's not strong

enough the magnets aren't strong enough to go

through the eighth inch acrylic and then on to attach to the metal plate

so if you are aware of a place where i can get some really

strong but really small two millimeter diameter

uh magnets i love note please let me know in the comments

so i can try this idea of embedding them into the feet and having them affixed in

place but let's get vader

and his spot right here with that glossy floor i'm going to angle it a little bit

so you get that isometric look something i really love about this the

raised floors uh gives a nice shadow for display

purposes and it's actually just only um

it's being held up on two sides but it's enough

that it has that little elevated look to it and then i'm going to plug in

the lights and there you go that is a very simple

star wars inspired death star hallway diorama that you can make at home with

designs again in the description below i think i'm

imperial hallwayed out this is probably the last of those projects i'm going to

do using this design and we'll move on to the next

project but it's been a ton of fun i've learned a lot

in the process of iterating on this at different scales different levels of

complexity and hope you've enjoyed following me on

that journey as well i'd love to see you take this

design and do whatever you want with it riff on it and

show me uh what you make in the comments or on

social media but we'll be back next time with more

projects more model making and thank you again for watching i'm

norm and i'll see you next time bye thank you so much for watching that

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The Description of How To Make a Star Wars Action Figure Diorama (Free Design!)