Welcome to Project Dalek

You need to be a member in order to access our content.

 

Click Here To Join!

 

For instant access to the plans and all Forum features, choose Active Membership.

Cobby87

Classic Gun Internal Mechanism

47 posts in this topic

I'm a bit late to this discussion but thought it's somewhat relevant since we're talking arms.
Does anyone know how the old style Dalek gun had the fins that shoot out the front?
I'm wondering how that was done since all the props I've seen show no signs of what an operator would use.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe the effect was produced with a rod, to the end of which were fixed four elongated 'petals' with an outward curve. This rod was inserted into the barrel of the gun, petals to the front, with a length of rod protruding inside the prop. As the operator pushed the rod into the back end of the gun the petals would appear out the front end, fanning out slightly before being withdrawn back inside the barrel. Et voila; BBC high-tech engineering at its best. :)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've split your post out of the original topic (which is about plunger-arm lengths).

The info you're looking for is covered in other topics in this section. Most notably, here, here and here. :)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright thanks.
The original gun has definitely got my interest because I was thinking of making something like a table piece with the NSD being all metal but having some of the classic fins set inside to give a slight retro look to it.

Edited by John
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just in case it isn't mentioned elsewhere, the petals that shoot out of the end of the gun on the Shawcraft props are strips of a retractable metal tape measure, bent along the length that has been cut so that they have a hump around the middle (when the petals pop out of the end of the gun, they have a claw-like appearance that opens and closes as the rod is pushed back and forth along the gun barrel).

The petals are mounted on a knitting-needle, which is why there is a bobble at the outermost end of the gun.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi everyone,

I am a new member of Project Dalek based in Japan and about to start my first full scale build.

I know that this is a very old topic but I wanted to restart it as I am planning a Hartnell era dalek myself and the inner mechanism of the 1963 - 1965 gun has always appeared rather different to me.

When I learn how to upload photos on this forum I'll try to better illustrate what I mean but, in a nutshell, the Troughton/Pertwee era guns appear to have four pieces of thin metal, bent to radiate outwards upon ejection, surrounding a knitting needle head. On the other hand, the Hartnell daleks seem to have the same central 'knitting needle' (if that's what it is) but with three surrounding 'claw-like' structures that curve outwards then bend back inwards toward the 'needle'.

I definitely think it possible that Shawcraft installed a more complex mechanism on the first daleks and that this quickly became simplified by the BBC, like so many other aspects of the design.

I would be very interested to hear the member's opinions as to whether I'm barking up the wrong tree here and also to see more photos of original, early mechanisms.

All the best and a very Happy New Year!

Simon Rowson

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This gun is already in a bit of a state, after its début TV adventure...

post-5-0-21320400-1397343224_thumb.jpg

TC.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, just after joining this forum I had a family bereavement which left me needing to sort out a lot of complicated problems back in the UK whilst still being based over here in Japan.
This meant a great many things - including my dalek building - being put immediately on hold (in fact, I still need to apologise to one member for suddenly dropping off the map after PMing him about perspex eyestalk disks).

Now, however, I am once again ready to proceed with my first build and, like a lot of inexperienced builders, I have started with the gun.

Most of the outer components are ready for assembly and, whilst experimenting with the inner mechanism, I believe that I may well have solved the mystery of the obviously different appearance of the earlier type used between THE DEAD PLANET and THE DALEK'S MASTERPLAN.

Looking at the photos below you can see (#1 & #2) two test mechanisms I've made - one is the standard, four petal 'flip out' style used from 1966 to 1975 but the other is my reconstruction of the earlier 'claw type' style based on multiple screen grabs and slow motion viewings.

The long, pointed 'petals', which curve outwards but then sharply fold back inwards, protrude ahead of the 'knitting needle' inner rod when just appearing or nearly retracted - exactly as in the picture (#3) of an original, early gun in action:

Also, when partially - but not fully - extended from the barrel this mechanism perfectly emulates the 'diamond shaped extension' previously discussed in this thread (#4 & #5). This is simply the inner dowel slipping out when the gun is pointing downwards (as shown in the various pictures posted earlier).
The last shot is of the mechanism fully extended (#6).

Over time, it would be easy for this fairly fragile structure to get warped and twisted (as evidenced in several screen grabs) which is why I believe the BBC simply cut off the ends from POWER OF THE DALEKS onwards, leaving the simpler 'flip out' style.

(After my original posting, I've added an additional, slightly better shot (#7) of the original 'petals' from THE CHASE.)

post-122-0-64665900-1397115765_thumb.jpg post-122-0-47671400-1397115767_thumb.jpg post-122-0-55093900-1397115768_thumb.jpg post-122-0-76804600-1397115769_thumb.jpg post-122-0-73364600-1397115770_thumb.jpg post-122-0-70919600-1397115771_thumb.jpg post-122-0-91197000-1397115772_thumb.jpg

Edited by AdamSt
MASSIVE photos re-sized
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The petals are mounted on a knitting-needle, which is why there is a bobble at the outermost end of the gun.

Not sure this is right Tony although I grant you it does sound very plausible. Given that the gun is 12 inches long and the ball its mounted onto is say four inches, the operator would need something to hold onto, say at least three inches, which is the amount which would 'show' at the business end as it was firing, then I make that 19 inches in total

That's a very long knitting needle

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But if the knitting needle is mounted into a long wooden dowel - as in my examples above and as shown in the picture below (previously posted on this thread) - then the length makes perfect sense.

post-24253-0-03834300-1397146968_thumb.j

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why use a knitting needle at all? Why not just use one item that would be the required length in the first place?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't actually use a knitting needle myself, just a length of 4mm aluminium rod and a small ball on the end.

This provides the futuristic 'stamen-looking thingy' in the middle of the petals whilst the wider wooden dowel gives better support for the petals themselves and a much better grip for the operator.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really do believe the original gun mechanism was constructed with an exotic flower - such as an orchid - in mind and, if so, a piece of knitting needle representing a stamen would fit the bill perfectly.
As to using a readily available object like a knitting needle, they used sink plungers, ping pong balls and egg cups so it's totally feasible.

Below are a couple of pretty flower pictures to illustrate what I mean about the stamen (my apologies to the moderators if I make them far too big again - I am not very good at uploading photographs!)

post-24253-0-78189600-1397177303_thumb.j

post-122-0-46892900-1397218154_thumb.jpg

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Artists, designers and engineers can get inspiration from any number of sources, so the 'exotic flower basis' is possible but I think it's a bit of a reach. For a start, this would seem to contradict your hypothesis regarding the original crimped design, with the Petal version only being the result of post-damage surgery. I'm also struggling with the idea of the prop designers/makers having a conversation along the lines of "So we've got this alien, killer robot thing that goes around zapping people. I know, let's have an exotic flower erupting from its gun muzzle every time it fires; that'll look really wizard!" You see the problem...?

I've also never been convinced by the original use of knitting needles for the mechanism, figuring that was probably more of a modern solution for replicas using off-the-shelf components. That said, certainly around my way steel knitting needles with a ball on the end are marked by their total absence. All manner of shapes bar that. Still, ymmv.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here you go Don - not steel but definitely the right shape:

http://www.woolwarehouse.co.uk/needles-and-hooks/single-point-knitting-needles-bamboo-34cm-set-of-17-pairs

However, I know what you're saying about the flower theory being a very long shot - it is.

(Unless, of course, old Ray Cusick was a secret horticulturalist!)

Edited by Simon in Japan
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now