Mk3 Cryo Kit

A long time has passed (a few years in fact). But it shows how determined I am and how this has plagued me. I'm not sure at what point, but I decided to take a whole new approach to this project. I guess I was thinking along the lines that it needed more of an engineering approach to ensure things tally up. The previous attempts were pretty much done by hand. So by having things machined meant I could take out some of the 'human' factor and allow the machine to do the work (rather than relying on me to hold the ruler straight and cut perfect 90 degree cuts each time).

This meant upgrading my bench tools, so further investment went in (a lot). On top, the processing of each component needed to be thought out thoroughly with how it will all fit together with the other pieces. What order things needed to be cut and worked on and at what stage to do things in also needed planning in advance. Trying to be wise, I made backups and cut surplus material just in case I needed to go back. That also is another thing to keep track of and organized. As things began getting cut down, more and more space was needed to be able to lay everything out clearly into their respected piles. Tense stuff....and it only gets harder...but soon I'll be able to cut things with only the power of my mind and with a intense stare!

Looking at the previous designs, I couldn't help noticing that it was very "panely". Apart from the upper and lower block, everything was thin panels stuck on the sides which didn't really give the impression of a high tech device. So less panelling and more chunkier blocks to be a bit more realistic.  By cutting things systematically, parts can be paired or mirrored instead of using 2 cast pieces for each side. Machining is a good practice. Mark up test material, test cut, use calipers to check, make adjustments, do it again. Always cut additional spares/backups.

The production process also makes the design juices flow and it allows you to tweak it on the fly. That's an advantage over 3Dprinting; you can make further adjustments without reprinting. You get a truer look and feel as the piece is being made and ultimately more in-touch with the workpiece. Don't get me wrong, I would love to get this 3D printed, but the point I'm trying to make is that; I don't believe that 3D printing could ever really replace the skills of a craftsman. It should be considered as just another tool to add to the arsenal. Without a creative mind, a 3D printer would be like using a light saber as a glow stick.
I design on computer, but each part is being marked out on the material with a sharpened pencil and ruler surprisingly (normally I would stick the print out onto the material). If tweaks are made, they're drawn on top of the print out. What I've got on the bench looks like what's on the printed paper, but at the same time totally different (in a good way).

The reason why I can't just go with mark 1.
After speaking to some people, it was suggested that I should roll out with the Mk 1 design whilst developing the current design. That would be a logical step; however it is not as simple as that.
-    There are fundamental problems with the bracket for the hatch and the "Plane" piece which supports the brackets.
-    Too much assembly involved. Components aren't interlocking, resulting in more effort to stick things squarely.
-    Prebuilt would make painting more difficult.
-    Moulds weren't the best, and 1 original piece has become unglued.
-    Generally speaking to roll out Mk1's would be just as much effort and if not more annoying to assemble than creating a Mk3 which goes together without as much drama. So in some ways, not only is it meant to solve some problems and look better, but it's also suppose to make my life easier, yah suppose ta lol!

Ok onto the pics....(I'll have to include an anatomy pic at some point)
This is the lower block, not much to say about it at this point.


This piece was a by-product which I thought might suit the back and a small pile for the Upper block sides.

oct2 oct3

Here are 2 pairs of Upper block sides. This makes the Upper block wider, so it forces the lower block to be even bigger. 


These are slices for the "Plane" component.
This is how to slice them. The table saw has a gap for the blade but anything thin would just fall down into it. So to get around that, first adjust the guide rail so that it's the right width (in this case 1mm, use calipers). Then slide in a thin sheet until it reaches the other side of the gap. Then lightly stick down (tape, blu tack etc). The mitre fence also needs to be level so on the right side is another strip, the same thickness as the sheet. With the mitre fence a scrap piece is used to help push the cut-off all the way through. 

oct5 oct6

3 slices are needed. Lower-right is a cast example of the Plane which is being replicated. 


Quick look at how the sides will look with the upper block. Also by this point I realised the upper block is 1mm to short.  


Some pics of the stock piles for bits to be worked on at some point. I generally only need 1 or 2 of each piece, but there's about 6 backups on each different thickness of material just in case for some reason I may decide to make alternative components (They would still need to tally up, so they must be cut at this early stage - Thinking way ahead). 

oct9 oct10

Some pics to show how the pieces are being organised and space arranged.

oct11 oct12

oct13 oct16

Lower block with stock of sides next to it.

Lower block arrangement. The backpiece has had a tweak made. The sides by this point have had some work done as well as new inserts. Two sizes were made, 1 to match the width of the upper block, the other a bit bigger because it gives a beefier look. These are massive compared to the Mk1 with its vent style. The Mk1's could actually fit inside these new inserts. 

oct14 oct15

Using another table to organise bits. Also laid out are pre-cut strips at various widths. You'll notice that there's been some drilling done. This stage dragged out and ate up the pre-cut stock piles.

oct17 oct18

Here are a few Upper blocks with a good 11mm hole, technically I only need one of these.

oct19 oct20

This component I've called the Cradle, it's a big tweak to replace the original MK1 part that became unglued. With much thought I decided to increase the height of the upper block to 10mm. It saves sticking 2 layers together and gives extra coverage for the top of the tube once it's in place.  However the sides would need to lift 1mm higher to stay level with the top of the block. So the sides of the cradle compensates and raises the upper block sides by that 1mm. Hope it made sense. 


Ah, how pleasing it was for me to see this. After much drilling and mistakes, the few that are good line up nicely, such a relief. That's the Upper block with the Cradle under it.

Each hole needs checking and if good needs cleaning up (sanding). The ones that aren't quite good have 1 last chance at being corrected with a 12mm drill bit. It's bigger than planned, but a pipe sleeve could be used to bring the hole back down to 11mm. It's pushing the limit of the material as the width is only 15mm (leaving 1.5mm either side of the hole). Now there'll be yet another thing to keep track of making it even more difficult.

oct23 oct24

My Bench tools

I've been using the Unimat for quite some time now. Using these tools isn't easy. It requires further skills and techniques to get the most out of these machines. Set-squares, digital calipers and other things are needed to check the alignment and ensure things are set up correctly and won't move. I'll be doing an article on the Unimat as it's quite a big topic.
My Proxxon table saw is a relatively new addition. It has a small work top which is a bit too small really and it has a limit to the width it can cut. But it has proven to be a very handy tool and has made my life a lot easier.

It's funny now looking at how I tried to set up the drill. This is before the recent upgrading. I didn't think I would be drilling so many holes so the need to control the other 2 axis wasn't taken seriously. You can see basically blu-tac holding the vice in place lol.


The start of the upgrades (ML long slide). Using a less powerful motor to reduce the weight on the slide and I didn't think I would need monster power to drill a hole. On the right the setup has been changed. The Long slide has moved higher allowing space for the smaller slides. Also the monster motor has been brought in.


This is just before learning to be consistant. If the workpiece goes in the other way round and butts up against the side of the vice, then further pieces can do the same and the hole will be in the same place. You can then make adjustments using the 2-axis.


Setup rearrangment again. Included metal plating and other Unimat pieces to help make the structure more rigid. Also 2 other upgrades can be seen; ML Short slide and a Precision Chuck. The Upgrades make a huge difference. There was consdierable vibration shaking the plastic short slide when drilling.


Had to put up some shelves on the back wall for more organization. In the middle is another upgrade still in it's packaging (rotating thingie).


The monster 12mm drill bit. Pushing very close to edges of workpiece. I decided I wanted a set so that I could use a pipe insert to bring it back down to 11mm.


I'm at a checking things over, cleaning, sanding stage now.  The critical features have been cut/drilled. So now can begin the less -so-critical bits to bring each component to its final shape. I could do with some more backups still, but if I'm careful, I should have all that I need. There are still some issues which I haven't quite thought out completely such as how to go about doing the bracket section exactly.

Update Nov 2012

I haven't done any sculpting in ages.
It's like juggling now and I'm beginning to get stuff done to the back pieces. The Plane component is out of the window for the time being depending how robust the brackets turn out.

Here's a anatomy pic to help make sense of the parts.


These bits are for the back of the lower block. Most of the work is with the tablesaw. When working on pieces, it is best to try and retain as much of the original block shape as possible to make passing through machines easier. Afterwards then the edges can be taken down.The table saw has been riggedas that it can cut at various depths. The saw can make a cleaner slot/groove than if I used a small mill end which clogs up with material and becomes a fight.

Nov1 nov2

The top edge is routed with a 45 Degree bit. The table has been upgraded with a sheet of aluminium to reduce the size of the hole for the tool head (giving more surface area for pieces to pass through without dropping into the hole). Also the bracket which holds the table up has had extra holes drilled in so that it can be mounted to the rest of the machine.

nov3 nov4

Additional grooves were done and more work on the lower block back.

nov5 nov6

The upper block was grooved in the same sort of way.


Remember that pic before about how pleasing it was? Well I decided the hole needed to be 12mm to ensure there is enough clearance. So basically the same thing had to be done again but on a 12mm tube. Technically the glass tubes are something like 11.32mm, so anything with a 11mm hole isn't really much use to me. That's a big hit out of the backups.


These are sides for the cradle (cast pink piece as example). There are 8 slices (sides) bunched together with a block to push them all through and another block to the side (right) to keep them against the fence (on the left). Extra care must be taken not to cut your fingers when passing through the tablesaw (make sure thumb is clear of cutting path). Pressure is required to keep things in place and together securely as they pass though. One must keep focused during this process. The shims used to space it along are 0.5mm thick each. So a set of shims/spaces are needed in order to increase the width of the cut.

nov9 nov10

(flipped over, task done). And an example of how the cradle would go together.

nov11 nov12

Update Dec head hurts...

I've made some silly mistakes, using up pieces unnecessarily. Some fuk-ups have happened, but it's being manage to be kept under control. For instance if a cut is too deep, it is filled with Milliput and then re-passed through the machine (it does mean everything is on hold until the correction is made - no adjusting machines).

I've been doing lots of free styling and hacking away. Parts have become much more delicate than I anticipated, but part of it is about pushing the limits. 

dec1 dec2

Looking at the beast, I realised I should of made the back piece a little longer. And also that maybe there should be a more physical way for the lower block to join to the upper block, they are after all part of the same machine. It would make sense for it to be able to connect/communicate with the other half and not through just 4 support rods. I'm working on some ideas.
The lower block insert protrude out quite a bit, I'll probably slice them down a bit. But hopefully you get a sense of just how much more chucky this is compared to the previous design (pink resin piece to the side).
Lower block sides have finally had stuff done to the back. I've also incorporated some channelling out the back to allow for any wiring or pipes. 

dec3 dec4

dec5 dec6

Some ideas for future conversions. Pairs are cool to have. As more bits get made up, it will get better and better.

dec7 dec8

These either side are the inserts for the lower block which have been taken down a bit and at the same time given tabs to fit the piece in between. It's being a little extraand risky, but it makes it better.That middle piece goes under the lower block as another layer, it'll be stuck so that it's one piece and stops the tube from falling through.


These are new bits to fit inside the inserts. It's got a bit of channelling for thin cables/pipes. I didn't particularly want to make it even wider but I liked the look. Perhaps at some point I'll do a more flush design and also some trunking to connect blocks in series. 

dec10 dec11

This is where I nearly had a meltdown. I nearly sliced my finger so I let go of the side insert pieces while it was going through the saw. Scared the heck outta me. The pieces got a bit damaged. I've spent a few days just trying to correct it.
Maybe now would be a good time to mention a bit about Safety; Always be in easy reach and ready to switch off tools in an instant. 

dec12 dec13

On the whole though, it's really taking form and some pieces are pretty much done being shaped. Looking forward to getting onto some other projects once this is done.
Oki I had to have some fun before I go totally coo coo, but it did make me realize something;

dec14 dec15

If all else fails, it's good to know there's another use for it!

The brackets. Made a start and marked out in pen what I'm planning to do.


dec20 dec22

The brackets got out of hand too quickly trying to plough through them. There's a thin plate that really I should have worked on first before doing the brackets (which fit over it). I had in mind to split the brackets once they were ready. This would allow them to be mounted one side at a time thus keeping the drill bit and pin straight. The issue of getting the hatch to line up perfectly is still problematic. It's used up yet more stock but at least it's given me some ideas on how to design/rearrange bits.

I eventually thought of a possible solution which would make a few things a lot easier. I'm thinking about playing an illusion! Instead of a hatch that flips open, there will be just a hole and the top of the tube will protrude appearing with hatch-like features, such as a handle. It would mean the brackets no longer need to support a hatch and removes the issue of the hatch having to line up perfectly.

Trying this piece out (below) to replace the cradle. It's the only one I got so I've only got one shot at this unless I resetup the drill and go through the hassle of drilling again. It's had the corners drilled for the support rods. If successful, it will make the smaller side bits no longer needed (it won't really be a cradle anymore either). In order to rise the upper block as intended by the cradle, I could put a strip along the bottom edge of the upper block instead. There are a few different ways I could go about doing some things. I need to decide on a way and go with it. You might have noticed by now that things aren't going quite to plan anymore. 

dec18 dec19


The brass pipe is a tight fit for the glass tube. The end of the tube also bows out ever so slightly causing yet more problems. The end of the glass tube needs to be sanded down a bit being careful not to scuff up the glass too much or scratch it.

Mould and cast is being tested as the stock has been sitting for quite some time. Despite being in a crappy loft, the goop looks good.

I started to mould the lower block. I weren't sure if it would work, but to my surprise, pretty good success. There are a few things I need to now work out. A couple of the tight slots caught airbubbles in them which isn't so good. If I had a vacuum chamber, it might help otherwise I'm thinking of cutting the slots wider (or making new pieces yet again).I was surprised the brass pipe managed to cast. It's very thin. I couldn't find the same tube I used in the very original model which was a little thicker.

I've glued some the pieces together to make assembly quick and easy. It means less components but it also means less hassle cleaning mould lines and gluing all the bits together afterwards. I'll have to remould the new sections when ready or I could outsource mould/cast if I can find someone. 

March 2013 update

Here's the lower block layout. I like having components but I understand fewer pieces are easier to handle. I just wonder how easily this will be for people to put together.

cryomar1 cryomar2

The LED is an advanced stage, but I needed to give it a go to see how it will work.

Quite a bit of drilling to get the LED in and to do the smaller spot light holes. I'll have to remachine a new piece so that it can plug into the lower block. You'll see in the wiring pic how it was fudged in place. 

cryomar3 cryomar4

The bank of tubes. 

cryomar5 cryomar6

How to wire it up. Here it comes out the back, but it could go out the sides if you wanted (such as with the bank of tubes). Ideally I should have left a thin dividing wall to prevent the wires shorting out with each other. But some heat shrinkings can help (longer pieces than what I put on). 

cryomar7 cryomar8

Now at this stage I can begin to see how the design fits together properly. Putting these pieces together was much easier and quicker than the previous Cryostasis designs. However it's back to the drawing board to incorporate the new tweaks and to work out the upper block some more. Another battle on the horizon rallies.

Update: Jul 2013

Work on the Upper block

I decided to incorporate the cradle into the upper block. The sides also had to be slotted out so that they can fit onto the cradle. The brass pipe was then split and glued in place.

2013jul2 2013jul3

Snugly fits, not even using glue to hold any of it on (Dry-fitting).

2013jul4 2013jul5

The bracket is made from 2 pieces and the next few pics show how you can use magnets to help align and stick things in place.

2013jul6 2013jul7

2013jul8 2013jul9

Sorting out the alignment issue with the hatch has troubled me for considerable time. Then one day, it hit me, drill a big hole!

The idea here is to drill a large hole so that a needle can be suspended freely within it. The next step is to prop up the needle so that it's level and centred where you want. This is where you get jiggy jiggy with spacers, magnets etc. Then when you're happy, shove some Milliput to fill the gap up. Once cured set, give the needle a twist to break the grip on it and pull it out. Finally sand the Milliput flat. The hole should now in theory be straight through the middle. Yee-ha!

2013jul10 2013jul11

2013jul12 2013jul13

The bracket also gets large holes drilled through. It's then taped in place onto the upperblock, it kinda hooks over it. The hatch is then dropped in and the needle inserted. The hatch is then aligned over the main hole in the upperblock, then that too is taped down. Then Milliput is shoved in the gap again around the needle.

2013jul14 2013jul15

Once cured set, the tape that's holding the hatch is removed and a check can be made. As the hatch opens, you can check the alignment by the way it feels. You can usually tell is there's a slight twist or something not quite right.


Once checks are done and it's looking like it just might work, the hatch is removed and the needle replaced so that the inside of the bracket can be filled.

2013jul17 2013jul18

I was never keen on making a handle. I thought I could short cut it with a staple - but that's just lame. So I managed to machine this tiny piece. The hand hole had to be filled to make moulding easier. It can be cut away once it's casted.

2013jul19 2013jul20

I stuck the top piece to the main block. I wish I didn't do that and instead kept them as separate pieces. So I added some fins in case airbubbles get caught in the slots. The block has also had a larger hole drilled in the bottom for the new core to plug into.


I had to machine a new version of this just so that things continue to tally up. It was quite annoying to do. I had to create some tools. I've also had to fix (reposition) one of the pilot hole for the support rods.


So, the upper block is at a stage where it's ready for moulding. Then we get to see how well it goes together.

Update: Aug 2013

Casts here we go. Not the best moulds, airbubbles still cause jip. But I'm still pretty chuffed with it. It goes together better than I could have imagined and its good to see finally the overall look. It doesn't require 'fudging' into place which is probably the best asset. Mould lines are kept minimal. The hatch and bracket work great and digging away at the handle easy. 

cryoAug1 CryoAug2

cryoAug3 cryoAug4


It's been added to the current mould set for the lower base.

cryoprotrait1 cryoprotrait2

Space marine for an idea on scale. Inside the tube is a Eldar pilot torso which have been trimmed a little to fit.


Here's a comparison between the different designs for the upper section.

cryocompare3 cryocompare4

Bugs and problems and now be looked at and then hopefully a final set of moulds made. I decided to up the detailing some more seeing how another mould set will be made. Sometimes I guess I just don't know when to stop.

Dec 2013 - Version 3.2 is Released!

No more progress shots as they eat up space. Sorry about that, but hopefully I'll include some in a future video. Loads of things have happened;

Butchered the upper block trying to reduce the cradle. I didn't particularly want to change it, but I figure it'll make moulding easier.Managed to fix it.

A few rivet holes have been added.

Machined a tiny piece for the bracket.

Finished goop doing final mould set.

Diabetic Art - This whole thing is designed around diabetic insulin tubes. So in some ways this contraption is a insulin holder. I weren't sure about the morals about using such bits, so I made some enquiries to see if it's ok. Good news is that it's cool to use them.


So here it is - The Cryo Chamber!!




Painting guide: avoid heavily/excess paint in the bracket/hatch joint area and also inside the shaft where the tube would slide through. The core is left unattached as it's easier to drill and paint seperately.

Available to BUY!! - see below!


You can display whatever you like provided it fits inside the tube. These are now available premade (unpainted). Made especially by myself, it comes with a glass tube, core, a couple of feet type bits and a female torso.