Old 10-30-2018, 07:10 AM   #1
Als_Holographic_Helper
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Lightbulb My Display 'Gummy Bear' Handlink Replica

Hi all,

I'm so excited to have finished my display version of the 'Gummy Bear' Handlink, from Quantum Leap!





This prop replica has taken some time to complete. I have made several versions in my life, but this is the first that is really going for accuracy in earnest. I was putting the project off for years, because I couldn't shrink the electronics I had designed down enough to fit inside the tiny, awkward center box. I got light and sound working together in the end - but it was a bit too bulky. I finally got to the point where I knew how I could make a nice, accurate looking 'box', and finally decided that it was a shame to hold off on having a good representation of the outside of the Handlink just because I couldn't make 'playable' electronics.

So, I decided to make a 'dummy' box (like some of the real props were). Since I was making a dummy anyway, I thought 'wouldn't it be cool if I could put some lights in it?, just so it isn't static" I managed to do that - and although it isn't 'playable', I'm really pleased with how the lighting looks for display. The look of the electronics turned out better than I had hoped!

For the lights, I chose to use a string of micro LED lights - like florists use, or like the 'discrete' lights used at Christmas. This took the pressure and expertise out of the electronics. (I have very little electronics experience.) The battery pack wouldn't fit inside the box, so I decided to have it outside the Handlink, since this one is intended for display.

Not content with having a permanent battery box hanging off of the back of the Handlink, I had the idea of soldering a power connector, so I could unplug the battery box, and tuck the plug away when I don't want the lights. That way, I created a Handlink that can be a static dummy (with nothing to give away that a battery box can be plugged in), but you can then plug in a battery box and display it with lights on as well! I made an 'accurate' lower back plate that can be snapped on with magnets (that has no hole), and a lower back plate that has a hole in it to allow the power plug to come out of the Handlink, to be plugged into the power pack. The power pack (when plugged in) then sits behind the Handlink for display.

The malleability of the micro LED lights copper wire allowed me to place the lights in the locations from the show fairly accurately. A little bit 'higgledy piggledy', but hey, great for just wanting to add some lights to a dummy prop! The lights have the added advantage of having a remote control by default, so I can turn the Handlink display on remotely. That's something I wouldn't have had with my original electronics plan!

Some videos of the electronics are available in myHandlink Playlist. You can see the lights, and how a switch the Handlink from lit display, to accurate dummy.






The box of my Handlink is milled from accurate acrylic colours using my CNC router. I created the SVG plans myself from reference I have gathered over years and years. The larger LED blocks (that have long since been out of production) have been replaced by epoxy casting resin, which I made a mould for and cast myself. I have chosen my favourite bits of the various props that were used in the show (all with their unique features), and merged them together for my Handlink. It is mostly based on the most famous closeups in the show - seen in the episodes 'The Leap Back' and 'Liberation'.

The centre box is a solid piece of clear acrylic, milled from both sides, with through-holes to contain the electronics and power plug when not in use. The final piece has a nice weight to it. A little more than I imagined. hardware components (like screws and switches,) have been carefully selected to be the most accurate size. Most pieces of the Handlink are much smaller the commonly available versions!

I added a 'real' slide switch like the one in the real prop, but it isn't functional. I rely on the battery pack and remote to turn the lights on. Makes a fun tinker toy, though! The J Cell battery you think you see inside the Handlink is actually just a printed label stuck to the front and back plate to hide the power plug when it's tucked away, and to make it look more like the original prop.

No sounds are present in this display version. I intend to one day make a 'play' version as well - when I can figure out how to get the pesky electronics small and refined enough. I'm also about to mill a stand designed for this display version of the prop. This is my 'holy grail' prop, and it's great to finally have it represented in my collection!



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Old 10-31-2018, 10:26 AM   #2
feldon30
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You put a lot of work into that. Wow. Even recreating the coils of copper wire. I can only imagine how long it took to cast the resin blocks to recreate the original cluster LEDs which were already hard to find in the late 80's.

Interesting that you did the yellow block in the upper left corner (from handlink v10) but the rivet pattern from handlink v11. I can tell you stared at photos and footage a long time.

Nice job!
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Old 11-11-2018, 06:27 AM   #3
Als_Holographic_Helper
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Thanks, Morgan!

Yep - the casting of the LED blocks did take quite a few tries... I think it was 5 in the end to get the right depth of colour - and two different brands of resin. (I don't have a pressure pot or vac chamber, either.)

Well spotted about the mixing of styles from different models! I did that simply because I like the silver rivets (so wanted more of them), and I love the little yellow block at the top left. Partly because it appears like that in the show for some of the most famous close ups (In 'Liberation', and one of the closeups in 'The Leap Back'). The second reason is that I like the 'rhythm' it adds to the design.
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