The Apollo Education Experience Project

Navigation Station – Part 3

I took the two hardboard faceplates for the sextant and telescope and marked the positions of the various items and attachment screws from a full-size template. I cut the hexagonal openings for the mechanical displays first, since the material would be the strongest for the jigsaw without any of the drilled holes. I test fit the bezels, and they were tight, so I filed out the openings a bit. Then I drilled holes for all the remaining components.

Sextant and telescope faceplates cut and drilled for mounting components.
(Photo: The Apollo Education Experience Project)

I positioned these freshly-finished faceplates onto the assembled housing so I could mark the drill/cut locations on the MDF so that they would match. I removed the faceplate from the housing, then cut and drilled the MDF. Some of the holes are a different size or shape depending on which components will be installed, particularly the mechanical displays.

MDF faceplate backing cut and drilled for mounting components.
(Photo: The Apollo Education Experience Project)

I reinstalled the faceplates onto the housing. I dry-fit the rounded faceplates and all of the various components to ensure they would fit and are in the correct locations (and that they looked good). Again, a little filing/sanding was needed for a nice clean fit.

Test-fit of the faceplates and all the various components for the sextant and telescope.
(Photo: The Apollo Education Experience Project)

I removed the components and the rounded faceplates, then sprayed the housing assembly granite gray. Edges of the 1/2″ MDF face forward, but they have a hard time accepting the paint, even with it having its own primer. I had to hit it several times to get the paint to finish correctly.

Painted sextant/telescope housing and backplate.
(Photo: The Apollo Education Experience Project)

I primed the two rounded faceplates, then painted them with “gilded brass”. Unfortunately, the paint did not work correctly, and came out silver instead of “gilded brass”. It also left a weird texture, although after letting it dry for a couple days the texture flattened out. Before cutting new panels, I tried the paint again with a second coat, and this time it came out “gilded brass” and didn’t leave nearly the same texture as the first coat. Once that coat had dried for a couple of days, I added the panel number (“121”) and labels for “Shaft” and “Trunnion” using dry-transfer lettering. A coat of glossy clear to seal both the letters and the paint, and the faceplates were done.

Painted and labeled faceplates for the sextant and telescope.
(Photo: The Apollo Education Experience Project)

I removed the full faceplate from the housing one last time to pre-drill the 48 screw holes and to mount everything. The adjustments for the shaft and trunnion are 1/2″ brass hex-socket connection bolts, which look virtually identical to the actual adjustments on the real CM, saving me from having to make them from scratch.

Sextant and telescope components and faceplates mounted to the full faceplate.
(Photo: The Apollo Education Experience Project)

The final detail I added was a 7/16″ gray “D” profile weatherstrip around the faceplate. This was “peel-and-stick”, so it was easy to install. It doesn’t actually seal anything here, just looks like it does. I reinstalled the entire sextant/telescope assembly into the CM. Looks fabulous!

Finished sextant/telescope assembly mounted in the CM.
The stowage for the eyepieces has yet to be made at this point.
(Photo: The Apollo Education Experience Project)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *