I was pretty whiny about the costumes in Star Trek: Discovery last week. There is a part of the uniform that I didn’t talk about at all, though: the combadge.
The original series didn’t have combadges, but crests that showed their department on the ship: command, operations or science. The Next Generation kept the symbol, but used the chest crest as a communication device. They also introduced pips on the collar to indicate rank.
The Discovery badges bring the ideas together to create a badge that through material, pips, and insignia, shows rank and station on the ship in a single emblem. They kept the distinctive federation swoosh logo but gave it a couple new lines to keep it interesting.
It’s lovely and clean and, unlike the rest of the uniform, I can actually make this.
- 1″x 3″ of 20 gauge brass sheet
- 1.5″ x 3″ of 1/8″ brass plate
- 3″ of 1/8″ brass rod
- 2 neodymium magnets 1/2″
- Sticky backed vinyl
- Brass etchant, (I used ferric chloride, but there are other less nasty ones)
- Lead-free solder and flux
- E 6000 Glue
The rough process:
- Cut out templates (I used a Silhouette cutter)
- Apply template to 20 gauge brass (front plate)
- Cut and grind front plate to size
- Cover the exposed metal on the front plate in spare vinyl, leaving only the crest visible. Make sure the seal is water-tight everywhere.
- Submerge front plate in etchant (check progress regularly as you work on the back panel)
- Apply template to brass plate (back plate).
- Cut and grind to size
- Bevel edges and tips of back plate with a file
- Wash front plate and remove vinyl
- Solder front plate to back plate
- Locate and drill 1/8″ holes 5/32 from the edge and 3/16″ from each other
- Sand and polish
- Cut 1/4″ pieces of 1/8″ rod. (Cut larger and grind to size)
- Solder rod into place from the back
- Glue 1 neodymium magnet to back