Chris Riffey - Super Multi-Dimensional Creativity
Project: Cubicle Fleet Role: Collector\Designer\Builder
This began a long time ago when I got some sci-fi space ships as a gift and put them on my desk. As time went on, I became known to my friends and family as a collector of miniature sci-fi ships. I got more as gifts and then started buying some on my own. Soon I had an intergalactic, cross-universe parking lot on my desk. I kept them at work because that was the single place I spent the most amount of my time other than my bed. My cup began to runeth over as it were so I hatched an idea to mount and display the ships both so they were more interesting to look at and more functional for me. What you see below is version 1...

The "roof" was built out of sheet metal with black PVC pipes that could have the ends cut to make a good fit on the cube. Metal eletrical conduit provides support "bones" for the PVC to reduce bowing and add stability. There are cheaper and lighter ways to build a cube roof but I wanted metal because my plan was to use magnets to hold the ships up. This would give me the freedom to freely configure the ships anywhere in the space and provide the ability to adjust things like pitch and yaw of the ships with multiple supports.

Most of the materials came from home depot. I used neodymium magnets for their high pull-force to size ratio from Applied Magnets (www.magnet4less.com). I wanted to give the support threads the best chance of being invisible so for the background I chose black photography vinyl designed to reflect as little light as possible. In this case I used Savage Infinity vinyl from B&H (www.bhphotovideo.com).

The support threads themselves were a bit trickier. I wanted something that would be as invisible as possible but it had to be sturdy enough to withstand everything up to a minor earthquake (this is in Los Angeles after all). I tried all sorts of things from tungsten micro line used for floating props in photo shoots to magician's "invisible" thread. While I found some really good results in terms of visibility, none of them had the tensile strength I needed. In the end I used braided fishing superline, made in a black-ish color (www.berkley-fishing.com). I also added some computer modding LED light fixtures but the ambient light in the building makes their effect very weak.

I'm pretty happy with the end result of version 1. The building I work in has a lot of ambient light, including direct sunlight from some windows that I may want to take steps to control in version 2. I also might want to use some thinner line for the smaller/lighter ships to help decrease the support visibility. I opted not to add a starfield to the vinyl as I couldn't find a technique I liked enough. I also kinda like the museum or "installation" feel the pure black brings.

  1. Wideshot of cube

  2. Wideshot of fleet

  3. Lead edge of the taskforce

  4. Star Fury in a typical flight angle.

  5. More fighters and ships of the line.

  6. Some capital, command, and support vessels.

  7. Disappointingly not to scale as the super star destroyer would dwarf pretty much every other ship I have.

  8. Some freighters and shuttles bringing up the rear.

  9. Stations.

  10. "Sub-orbital" vehicles get the shelf.

  11. Troop transports

  12. Millenium Falcon weaving through the fleet.

  13. Viper

  14. More fighters with Federation support

  15. A whitestar is here too.

  16. Tempest Battleship from EVE Online, fitted with artillery projectile weapons of course.

  17. The Enterprise D must not be too concerned since the saucer is still attached.

  18. That's no moon...

  19. It would be unfortunate for anything to be on the recieving end of all that firepower.

  20. The peanut gallery.

  21. No boss, not distracting at all...

  22. Huge monster in the background for scale.

  23. Yes, I did this to my work cubicle.

  24. Whenever I'm stuck on something or need a break I can just look up and 1000 different things come to mind.

  25. Top of the roof. Had to be low profile to not draw the ire of the people around me.

  26. The wasteland of leftover stands.

  27. I guess we'll pack them away until I move......Oh no, I think I hear Lumbergh coming now!

  28. What my desk looked like for weeks while I hung all the ships whenever I had time.

  29. Terminator helped by holding all the plastic rings the magnets came separated with.

  30. My next project is a poster that will have all the ships to scale as a reference. Right now I just have all the EVE Online sub-capital ships.