I was recently commissioned to build a replica of the New Dead Space 3 Plasma Cutter. Personally, the style of the new Plasma Cutter is my favorite so far so I was very excited to get the opportunity to build it. The goal for this project is to not only incorporate the iconic three-point laser sight into the design, but also allow the front of the cutter to rotate as it does in the game. To get started I gathered up any and all references I could find of the new Plasma Cutter including an excellent concept sketch from the dev team limited edition of the game. Using these references I then drew up some blueprints to give myself a template for creating the pieces and scaled it to the right proportions. Coming in at just over 16 inches this is going to be quite intimidating when completed. You can see a sample of the blueprint below.
I began gathering materials and hardware almost immediately and the first components to arrive, and perhaps the coolest part of the build, were the lasers! After much research I decided to go with mini blue laser diodes due to the small amount of space available in the front of the cutter. There are three in total (of course) each wired to its own micro boost drive and connected to the power supply. Unfortunately these lasers wont be powerful enough to light matches or pop balloons and you won’t be able to see the beam itself without some atmospheric assistance ( smoke, etc.). Lasers that can do all of these things can cost hundreds of dollars for a single laser. However, these lasers are still very bright and fairly powerful so common sense still applies when it comes to not shining them directly in anyone’s eyes and eye protection is still recommended. One of the laser diodes was defective when it arrived so a replacement has been shipped and I am waiting on it to arrive. The other two are shown below. The lasers don’t translate all too well in the photographs.
The first two pieces to be completed for the plasma cutter are the two front “arms”. These were created from a combination of styrene, PVC, Bondo, and other epoxy. These two halves which make up one side of the plasma cutter will be molded and flipped to complete the other side.
The plan going forward with this project is to build the cutter and all of its components in halves. The reason for this is so that custom spaces can be created for the internal components, to allow these components to be easily accessed in case they need repair or to replace batteries, and also for molding purposes. I quickly mocked up the pieces I have so far on top of the blueprint I created to gauge where I’m at.
Above are just a few of the pieces that make up the head of the plasma cutter.
At this point the front end of the plasma cutter has been completed except for the placement of screw holes which will be added later to allow the two halves to be screwed together in the correct position. The laser diodes fit inside the two halves snugly with circular rests in front to hold them in place. The wires will travel out the back and into the body of the plasma cutter and the power source.
Perhaps my favorite part of this build so far was unintentional. The laser diodes themselves are too large to allow the middle laser to be placed as far forward as the ones on the top and bottom. This meant it had to be placed towards the back of the cutter head. What this also meant was that a hole still needed to be made in the front of the cutter to allow the laser to travel through from the back of the cutter head. This ended up creating this cool open area in the middle of the cutter head where the laser has to travel though which i think adds a nice touch to the overall design. This is illustrated in the photos below.
With the two halves of the cutter combined this build is really starting to come together and I am stating to get even more excited. The two arms on the front of the cutter still need to be molded and duplicated to complete the other side but these photos should still give you some idea of how this will all come together. A post has been placed on the back of the cutter head to connect it to the body once it is completed. The notch that has been placed along the post will allow the front end to rotate and stop in the correct position. There is not enough room for any electronics to rotate it automatically so it will have to be rotated manually.
Now I will begin construction on the body of the plasma cutter. Here are some progress shots of the process.
I got ahead of myself again and didn’t document the construction of each individual piece very closely. Instead I will just post a series of images showing the final cast pieces and how they all come together.
This will be the hidden compartment where the battery can be accessed and changed when needed.
And now for the final product. Here are some shots of the fully assembled and painted Plasma Cutter. I was in a bit of a rush to get it out the door so I didn’t get a chance to photography the lasers. I would like to go back and do a little weathering in the near future as well. Anyway, enjoy!