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Thread: BTTF Time Machine Build Questions - Ask Me Anything

  1. #1
    Guy with a DeLorean Mark D's Avatar
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    BTTF Time Machine Build Questions - Ask Me Anything

    By now some of you know that I worked on the restoration of the screen used A-car time machine from the Back to the Future trilogy.

    I've had several people send me PM's with build related questions... what a part number is, where a part can be found to purchase online, dimensions of a certain part, etc.

    I figured a Q&A thread would be the easiest way to answer.


    Some general guidelines I will follow:

    If the information you are seeking has been previously posted on a public forum/website, is common knowledge, or is otherwise already "out there" I will gladly share, and can usually point you to additional sources of information.

    If the information you are seeking is confidential to the restoration I'll be able to share less but I can still probably point you in the right direction. Much of the info about the restoration is not mine to share, so I can't/won't be able to post certain things.

    If you ask a specific question I'll try to be equally as specific with my answer.

    I'm not looking to get into any discussions about replica builders, who's more accurate at replicating a part, who's parts are right or wrong, etc. At this point I really have no comment on any of that. I'd like to keep this thread as simple as possible and help people who are building their own car or are simply curious about how something was done.

  2. #2
    Guy with a DeLorean Mark D's Avatar
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    First question I received via PM:

    Do you have any idea exactly what the dimensions are on the TCD ?
    The time circuit display is made up of three aluminum enclosures, still available to purchase from LMB Heeger, Crown Royal Series part number CR852. You can order them here: http://www.lmbheeger.com/products.asp?catid=7

    The screen used boxes were the blue and gray version, painted with hammer finish silver paint. Alternatively, the bare aluminum boxes can also be used since they get painted anyway.

    The three enclosures fit inside a fabricated from scratch metal case welded together from 1/8" thick 6061 aluminum sheet. The dimensions of the front of the TCD case are dictated by width and height of the three enclosures. The rest of the case dimensions are dictated by the size of the DeLorean center console.

  3. #3
    Guy with a DeLorean Mark D's Avatar
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    What was used for the Wormhole emitter?
    I know a pioneer speaker grill was on the front of it.
    But what exactly was the main part of it?
    The main body of the wormhole emitter is one of very few parts that has not be positively identified. No one has ever found one "in the wild" at a surplus yard or parts supply house. Most people build these from scratch using reference photos to get the scale correct, or use castings of the real parts from the A/B car.





    A few basic dims of the casting from the USH Ohrberg replica.





    The pioneer speaker grille was first discovered by members of the time machine restoration team. More information about that can be found on the TMR facebook page. Parts show up on ebay all the time but prices have gone up since the info was released.

    The base of the WHE is fabricated from scratch and welded together from 1/8" aluminum sheet and aluminum box channel.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Timebender's Avatar
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    Regarding the worm hole emitter, has anyone asked Kevin Pike directly where he may have found it? I know VB did a "parts safari" video where he met Kevin and they went to the surplus store to find most of the original screen used stuff.

    Btw, great thread. As a replica prop builder (I have an R2), this is something that I'm interested in doing someday on my own as well.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ccurzio's Avatar
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    Why in the world would anything be "confidential?"
    - Chris


    what

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    Nice one for sharing Mark! :-)

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    Senior Member Josh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Accipiter View Post
    Why in the world would anything be "confidential?"
    My understanding is to keep information from the for profit replica builders, when a hobbyist spent alot of time and research finding the part.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ccurzio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh View Post
    My understanding is to keep information from the for profit replica builders, when a hobbyist spent alot of time and research finding the part.
    That's completely absurd. I'm no fan of replica building, but people building replicas with a high degree of accuracy doesn't detract at all from the movie or the original car. Keeping specific parts secret is stupid.

    "Ooh, we can't let the identity of this specific part get out because then other people will KNOW ABOUT IT."
    - Chris


    what

  9. #9
    Guy with a DeLorean Mark D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timebender View Post
    Regarding the worm hole emitter, has anyone asked Kevin Pike directly where he may have found it? I know VB did a "parts safari" video where he met Kevin and they went to the surplus store to find most of the original screen used stuff.

    Btw, great thread. As a replica prop builder (I have an R2), this is something that I'm interested in doing someday on my own as well.

    Kevin Pike was asked probably a decade ago and he thought the WHE might be an aircraft engine ignitor, but that theory was disproved. Kevin was not always directly involved with actually sourcing the parts on the car...often times it was his guys from the shop that were out digging for parts that matched that conceptual design drawings.

    The "parts safari" video was shot at APEX electronics, a well known source for a lot of the original parts. It has been pretty much picked over at this point, but I'm sure there are still a few random parts there that would be accurate matches to the screen used cars. Over the many years of hunting through APEX "sister" parts were discovered that literally came from the same cardboard box as the parts used on the screen used car. Most of that stuff is all gone at this point. Inventory gets turned over and recycled at APEX on a regular basis as well, and a cast aluminum part such as the wormhole emitter would have been a good candidate for recycling and melting down for scrap.

    A few of the parts on the time machine have also been confirmed as low production or prototype parts from military applications. In the 60's if some prototype vehicle contract was cancelled by the government the supplier of these prototype parts would scrap out any inventory on hand. A lot of that that stuff made it to APEX and then 25 years later Pike's guys picked up the only 3 ever made. Now tack on another 30 years after that it's basically impossible to find more, or even details about what the part was.

  10. #10
    Guy with a DeLorean Mark D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Accipiter View Post
    Why in the world would anything be "confidential?"
    The confidential information I was referring to is related to the restoration itself, and not necessarily info about the original time machine and its parts, how it was built, etc. I'm talking about people asking "Hey could you post photos of the car from during the restoration?" No, I can't. Even though I worked on the restoration there is a lot of information that is not my property so I have no rights to distribute stuff like that. Another example would be someone wanting circuit diagrams or dimensions of parts that were recreated from scratch. Sorry, that info is not mine to give.

    Quote Originally Posted by Josh View Post
    My understanding is to keep information from the for profit replica builders, when a hobbyist spent alot of time and research finding the part.
    This is one reason why individual replica builders choose not to post information pubicly, but it is not the reason why I am unable to share certain things related to the restoration.

    Quote Originally Posted by Accipiter View Post
    That's completely absurd. I'm no fan of replica building, but people building replicas with a high degree of accuracy doesn't detract at all from the movie or the original car. Keeping specific parts secret is stupid.

    "Ooh, we can't let the identity of this specific part get out because then other people will KNOW ABOUT IT."
    You were basing your response off of Josh's assumption that was not correct, but I get what you're saying. The reality is that nobody actually cares about other people building super accurate replicas, beause you're right that it does not detract from the movie or the original car. Nobody that I'm aware of is trying to keep the identity of any parts a secrect just so other people don't find out.

    I'd personally love to see the accuracy of all replicas out there increase so the general public would have a more complete idea of how the car is supposed to look. The original was in disrepair for so long that we now have all kinds of toys and merchandise floating around that was created based off the original car when it looked wrong. The comically huge Mr. Fusion on the original 1/18 Sunstar is a perfect example of this.

    In some cases I get why some people keep information secret though. ...

    Think of it this way: If tomorrow you found a guy that had 100 NOS binnacles in his basement and was selling them for 25 bucks each what would you do? Your first thought might be to post that info publicly so all your fellow DMC enthusiasts would finally have access to perfect binnacles at a great price... Yay!

    But what would really happen is one guy with 2500 cash burning a hole in his pocket would buy all 100. Then you'd watch your fellow DMC enthusiasts get screwed and pay $500 each while you scratched your head wondering what you did wrong.

    After that happens a few times you start to learn that it's better to only share sources with a few people you know and trust and not on a public forum. Or you fork over the $2500 yourself to buy them all but sell them at a fair price since most of the people you're working with are your friends. This is why private forums pop up so people can work together to help eachother without getting screwed.
    Last edited by Mark D; 01-08-2015 at 01:37 PM.

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