The Cylon Centurion Prototype

Naturally, I wanted move on to this after the Cylon Raider. However, at the same time, one Mr. Ant was also pursuing the same from the other side of the World. As we progress, I realised that my design is very similar to his. I finally stopped when most of the vendors for the coin-cell battery holder could not give me what I needed for the design.

Finally, I opted for off the model option and also, to design a ‘heatbeat’ LED for the Cylon’s spine (which was never seen in the show, though) but that also proved to be very expensive. So, this project got as far as the Prototype. Apologies in advance as I used to blur images on my FB Page in case you now, someone wants to copy them. I have also omitted the images sent to us by one kind gentlemen from Mobius. You can maybe still find it on my FB page but this is now very common if you have the model kit.

OK, Bruce Toh has just received his copy of the Moebius Cylon Centurion model kit and so, my work for this project, which has been put on hold, has restarted. We thought we had something to work on in July but with the photographs and instruction manuals, it was too risky to do anything nor even approve it for production. At that time, the circuit board design was done.

But when I used it to test on Bruce’s model, we were quite off the mark. Very, very off the mark. This is why it is so important to have the actual physical model kit to work on.

If we did go ahead with production, it would mean a lot of wasted boards. And at this point in time, making non rectangular PCBs are very, very expensive. So, I am redesigning it again and also, going to try out on a new programming feature for the LEDs.
This is Bruce’s Copy of the Moebius Cylon Centurion.
There are a lot of runners and at one glance, you can tell that the mode seems to be hollow.
Preliminary mock up shows that the only way to light up the model would be in its head.
Although there is a lot of hollow space inside its chest, the Centurion’s neck is quite thin and does not allow for any wiring going through.
The paper mockup for the PCB fits.
This is my normal method of creating a customised PCB. I would take the physical measurement of the space required, then put into the PCB software. I then print out the draft PCB outline on a laser printer, then measure the printout to make sure that it size is correct. Once the mockup is cut out, it is tested on the model. Sometimes a difficult model might take more than a few tries. When the physical dimension is confirmed, only then I would start designing and design the circuit into the outline.
However, that was for the size of the board horizontally speaking. I then glued the mockup to some thick board to simulate the 1.6mm thickness since the current vendor could not produce anything less than that. On this side, I can immediately see that the board is clashing with the middle alignment pin.

Because of the limited height of the visor and the head, I would be using the 0805 red SMD LEDs again. They are just at the right height.
Turning it on the other side. This means the alignment needs to be sanded at the correct angle to suppport the PCB.
25.12.2012 The Cylon Centurion

After about two weeks designing the PCB, this is more or less the final design. The PCB mock up for this time round looks OK and so, I got the prototype done. And so, for tonight, I will process the boards.

In the background is the positive film. At the time, I has to outsource the prototyping. First, I have to create the PCB design, then email the file to Vendor A who will make the positive film. Then I have to wait for the appropriate Saturday (due to working hours), pickup the film and deliver it to Vendor B, (who is less than 300 metres away) who will make the PCB. I then have to wait for another appropriate Saturday to pick it up.
25.10.2012 Moebius Cylon Centurion 003

Hokay…. I am going to take a rest now as I just had a slight industrial accident; I sort of sprained my shoulder blade/arm area when I was using a saw to cut the circuit board into shape. I sort of use the whole left hand as a vice to hold the board and I am starting to feel the end result now.

To help speed up the board cutting, I used a low power rotary tool (used for fingernails polishing, etc) and a photo-etch saw. Its a torture to use it as the RPM is very slow and it feels like using a butter knife to cut a tree….
After drilling the holes for the PCB, the thinner soaked tissue paper very quickly removed the etch resist. These are only necessary during etching where it prevents the acid from dissolving the pattern/artwork.
With the board now cleaned, I start to solder almost immediately so that it does not oxidise and created soldering problems. This is what happens when I am too lazy to tin the whole board with solder. Then again, because this is a FR2 or SRBP (Synthetic Resin Bonded Paper), it is brittle and the copper tracks can delaminate if too much heat is applied.
26.10.2012 Houston, we have a problem…

The coin-cell battery I ordered some few months ago seems to be either too tall when soldered directly or too short when I soldered from the other side of the board. So, this battery clip is useless. I have to search for more of these clips and they must be of the correct height. Because of my location, its going to take at least three weeks for them to arrive. That is, if I can find clips of the correct size.

Initially I thought of using a CR2032 which gives 3 volts from one battery but alas, when it is added to its holder, its too big to fit into the head when you slot the board in.
The 0805 LEDs are soldered upright (this is not recommended) to achieve the result I am after. I have tried other methods but this is the only way.
27.10.2012 Moebius Cylon Centurion 005

The prototype board is done and so is the programming, folks. So, sit back and wait for a little while (as in 428 minutes) while I upload the Video to Youtube. I have added some surprises in the board’s programming…

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is done!
Instead of the coin-cell batteries, I bypassed them and decided to power the PCB from an external battery pack. Looking back, I can see that the PCB could extend by another milimeter or so to just fill up the gap. The modeler can then mount the board wither with epoxy or putty to get it to the right height if their earlier sanding of the alignment pin failed.
29.10.2012 Moebius Cylon Centurion 006

Dropped by Bruce Toh’s place while he was still working on his Cylon Centurion. We tested the Lighting System on the almost done model and took some shots and videos.

Note there are some wires coming out as the prototype has some problem with some component specs. Also, you can still see the seam lines as they’re meant to be that way.
29.10.2012 Moebius Cylon Centurion 007

We did not tint the visor smoke because once the dome is on, the insides was already dark. Then again, the LEDs inside looked as if its part of some working mechanism.

You can see some seam lines on the model as they’re meant to be that way. Or it is supposed to be that way until Bruce Toh puts his magic on it.
20.10.2012 Moebius Cylon Cneturion 008

Overall, I am quite happy with this project except for the fact what we have problems with the battery holder. At least from this angle, you can see that the board fits perfectly inside the head.

The only extra thing you need to do is to file the pillar inside and that’s all there is to it.

(Also note on the excellent paintjob. The wonders of Alclad.)
Somehow, I feel that many modelers would be using Alclads and so, they would be touching the Centurion’s top head cover. I know this would affect the paint since our fingers do have a layer or sweat/oils which can do the nasty on painted surfaces.

This was the main reason I was fighting for off model power supply and lost. So, yeah, this is why it was still a prototype.