Rebuilding a Derelict NCC-1701A Enterprise into a Sustainable Desk Top PC
By Andrew Filo
What inspired you or what is the idea that got you started?
While updating a PC is always interesting, I wanted to try to make a Desk Top that was both mechanically accessible, aesthetically pleasing and sustainable. A classic design is the movie NCC-1701 A Enterprise from Star Trek. Star Trek has an aspirational and motivational factor and the classic Enterprise embodies that feeling. A model company AMT (now Round 2) produced a kit in the early 1980s till now. It is about 600mm or slightly less than 24" long, seemingly big enough for electronics but so big as to overwhelm a desk. Checking on line there was a derelict model on ebay that was won for one dollar! This hull would be the re-use component of this project and a refit worthy of Mr Scott.
What is your project about and how does it work?
The first consideration was to make the system serviceable, this meant breaking all the old glue bonds. The components were re-designed to be rugged modules. Each module is bonded with epoxy. The upper and lower saucer sections are fastened with 4 screws. The saucer has a tee nut that secures a threaded rod that passes through the neck/ strongback and through the lower hull. An acorn nut lock these pieces together. Carbon fiber rods fix the engine nacelles in place with friction. All of the ship's components are highly finished. They are initially painted black, then misted with white as to preserve the engraved detail, then decals were applied. A custom Acrylic stand provides support The Enterprise Desk Top is powered a Quad-core 8 Gb ram 64 Gb memory with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi with a 128 Gb TF card. There is a Battery Bluetooth speaker in the Saucer section and illumination is provided by LED tape. Power coupling to these 3 systems is via magnetic couplings.
What did you learn by doing this project?
Learned during this project:
1) Reconditioning the plastics involved patience so as not to destroy the surfaces, studying how to make the parts into component modules that can repeatedly and reliably be assembled and disassembled, and decoration that is both esthetically pleasing while light leakage proof.
2) Select electronic components that are low power and low heat. All of the windows in the hull were drilled out for light effects and ventilation. Further, an 18 mm hole was added for more circulation.
3) Creating mechanical accommodations for electronics. This includes accesses and clearances for the insertion of the compute module and magnetic couplers. In addition, a button top was created to push the power switch on the computer module and the Hanger Bay on the aft hull provides access to the HDMI port
What impact does your project have on others as well as yourself?
Rebuilding a Derelict NCC-1701A Enterprise into a Sustainable Desk Top PC has had an impact at several levels. Re-using the hull and designing it for future "refits" generates less waste. The low-power computer means less energy consumed during operation. By using epoxy bonding, carbon fiber supports steel bolts and screws the hull should let it survive the bumps in life. The lighting and the finish are a pleasing soothing light show when the computer is off. Finally, the novelty of this Enterprise functioning surprises everyone. At first, they hear sounds from the saucer then they realize that there is no computer on the desk, they ask can it beam me up? (not yet)