A little over a year ago, I made a set of cold-cast metal-resin combadges from the Star Trek Online MMO video game, as part of an ongoing costuming project.
I first drew up the combadges, rank pips and backing plates in SolidWorks, painstakingly reverse-engineered from in-game screenshots and photos of a limited-edition badge that was included in Collector’s Editions of the game:
The design included recesses for neodymium magnets that would allow the badges and pips to be afixed to a costume easily without futzing around with velcro or safety pins:
Once the molds were made, I would cast “daughter” molds out of silicone rubber, which would then be used to make the final cold-cast resin badges. The silicone rubber daughters can be reused dozens of times before they get worn out, in which case I would just recast some new ones from the masters.
After a horrendously failed attempt at getting the molds 3D printed (due to the incompetence of the guy running the 3D printer), I managed to save up for a Nomad 883 Pro mill and cut the molds myself out of Renshape.
Due to the deep pockets and fine details of the badges, I invested in a small set of extra long reach endmills from Harvey Tool:
(Note to self - make a proper dust shoe)
The completed master molds, sealed with clear acrylic paint for silicone rubber casting:
Closeup of the Command Division badge master model.
The 1/64" diameter mills were extremely helpful when doing the nominally sharp inside corners of the Command star insignia:
Closeup of the 2409-style rank pips.
The two pips closest to the right actually have a slight recess cut into their front face, as they are meant to be “half-pips” for the ranks of Lieutenant Junior Grade and Lieutenant Commander (as opposed to the unrecessed “full” pips towards the back of the photo):
I’ll spare you folks the rigmarole of the entire casting process, but basically, here’s how the silicone daughter molds and final resin casts turned out:
I polished the badges and pips with #0000 Steel Wool, followed by Brasso on an old rag.
In hindsight, they might have looked a bit shinier if I had access to a buffing wheel or dremel, but I liked how the slightly satin look fits in with the more utilitarian theme of Star Trek Online than the shiny “Hilton-Hotel-in-Space” aesthetic of The Next Generation TV series.
Captain on the Bridge!