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Millenium Falcon Coffee Table


Project pitch : The Home Cinema room had a basic but neat table like this one....

(project started in october 2018, completed in march 2020)
This got initially posted on the Replica Prop Forum (RPF) :

It got covered on hack-a-day as well (thank you Tom Nardy) :


It had a glass top allowing for putting some paper items under (I had an aged middle earth map there, a few pics etc) and the side drawers are handy for remotes and such. It just didn't match the colors of the room anymore, it was purchased black to go with the black carpeted floor for version one now it's all beige, egg shell, red and gray. In addition, when we watch a movie in general during the WE, we bring food and we needed a larger table for the 4 of us so the ikea table became a Playmobil house stand for my older one :love: (with parts storage in the side drawers, keeps the mess away) and I looked for options for a bigger table.

To complicate things there's this big hasbro millenium falcon toy Erv' purchased when it came out, which used to be displayed like poop on the HC room wall, looked more like a western hung dude instead of proper presentation. I moved it in my little one's room but my girls didn't play a lot with it. So I thought the new furniture should be a display for it. I was also very disappointed by the lighting interaction of the falcon, the engine lights suck, there NO bottom lighting etc.

I sourced a teak table of 1x1 m square with a glass top to see thru and started the project by oiling it

as displaying anything with an open box collects dust, I thought that I would just close the sides with plywood coated with real teak sheets

Then I realized that it would look very odd to have the falcon just sitting on a wood plate. I had some space walls panels that (finally) wouldn't fit in my display cabinets, so even if the scale isn't perfect, it was the perfect height for the table and I decided to make the inside of the table look more scifi. As the bottom of the table has a small gap (to retain magazine and remotes) made of very thin teak, I decided to add a shiny black flooring made of a PVC sheet, just like in the death star boarding hangars.

So the 4 sides will be "coated" with panels and a led strip lighting controlled by IR. Here's a proof of concept as I'm still waiting for more GTP panels, they had production issues with the storms and floods in china.

Regarding control and interaction, I'm using a basic RGB strip for the general lighting. Those are provided with a cheap remote. As I hate multiple remotes and I have already plenty enough in the HC room, I sniffed the strip IR remote with a teensy, wrote all the codes, then sniffed my A/V amp (sony) remote that has unused keys and which is emitting with totally different protocol compared with the ledstrip.
Then I built a IR gateway / relay / proxy in one of the space wall posts

this way, I will control the falcon using IR with a higher level scenario (like, engine on, start cruising, engine off, land, chewbacca quotes, luke's saber training etc) using the A/V amp remote and the falcon will automatically reflect the selected scenario part with a different lighting. The stock remote can still be used to control the desired color ambiance. I yet have to decide where to place the IR receiver and emitter in the falcon but it will probably be RX in the cockpit and TX in the glass top (top canons).

I did a bunch of test fits in the table. In the meanwhile I've also ordered EL sheets to light up the back of the shine-thru wall panels so that they can glow like the real thing. Please excuse the really crude install and blue tape it's clearly not final.

testing teak sides look (they are not oiled, hence don't match the table color / look)

I've started the work on the falcon itself to redo the engines and make it totally interactive using a teensy. I emulate the button press (I keep the stock noises and quotes) using the program this way a IR command can trigger a falcon action without touching it.

My last step before completing the falcon is adding the bottom lights and add a USB input hidden somewhere so that I can keep working on the code with the falcon assembled. I digged some ref pictures to check where the lights are and mapped this to the ship structure.

so, that was in late may, I then got called for the pool project and a car project, and decided to wait until I have my GTP panels to complete the sides before putting more work and time into this (panels are soon to be shipped now they said).
I have cut the black flooring partially and I'll try to install the bottom lights this week if time permits cause I really need the falcon to be re assembled before working on the code.

as some might have seen on FB, small progress on that project. I've wired the additional LEDs (position lights, landing gear lights) on 3 different circuits, the wiring has been a tedious process but I eventually got there. The pics show only messy, testing wiring, I further routed them clean and flush with small dabs of hot glue, using the glue pen (neat bosch tool, grab one if you don't have it).

I also finalized the corner cuts in the shinny black PVC sheet that I'm using for the floor, styled like a hangar floor in a empire ship. I wanted to see some light reflection from the floor, to reveal the underneath of the falcon, have some lighting effect, but at the same time, that goes in the HC room, so no point in having a mirror or anything directly reflecting light, otherwise, you increase the movie / projection reflection (I might buy a anti glare glass top for the table, now that I've experienced it with my 2 pinballs, it's really awesome).

The bottom of the sheet got routed on 2mm depth to allow for the power supply wires to reach the border of the table without drilling it. The only hole so far on the table bottom itself is the one for all the power supply wires to reach a small recessed box attached underneath with 3 rocker switches to control the falcon power, the led strips power and the wall panel backlight power. I filled the 1cm recessed bottom with 4 cardboard-foam (art supplies) just to have stands off under the PVC sheet, have wires able to be routed in the cavity and support the PVC sheet which is heavy, and even more with the falcon.
the few power supplies come out from the corners, and will be hidden in the corner posts, which also hide the ledstrip driver and the wall panel backlight inverters.

Finally I gave a real test to my EL sheet. They (obviously) don't produce much light, but the table will be better watched in a semi dark ambience. The light produced is slightly pinkish, but it's nice to see a real glow from behind the space wall panel, it's been designed for this and the diorama will look more realistic and it's worth the extra work IMO.

that's all for now. Next step is to re assemble the falcon with the IR receiver and led routed at the right place and wire 3 PEx to the light circuits to control them with the general scenario. Once I have that working, I can put the falcon in situation and finish the program, the USB cable will stay in one of the storage compartment of the ship allowing for changing the code when needed !

more work on the falcon. Finalized the bottom lighting circuits (3 PEx), strengthened the code for the IR remote and added the ledstrips. 102 pixels total.
The interaction is just a "mockup" in the sense I gather the signals from the stock sound board. The latter for instance turns on 2 small LEDs on the side of the falcon engine to simulate it. It also has the falcon "cold start" during which it's blinking.
My code moves this to state machine defining changing states between engine off (stable), engine cold start (blinking) and engine on (stable / cruising). From there I add my own animations to the engine based on just the stock on/off signal from the 2 small leds. The engine do a few hiccups during cold start, with random brightness, then fade in.

The IR remote is my A/V receiver and I use some of the IR codes to control the falcon, no additional remote. That triggers the quotes, or the engine. During "take off", once the engine is stable, the landing lights will go off, and will return to on once the engine stops (automatically after you stop interacting with the ship for a while).

That's the big 6A +5V regulator, engine ledstrips will use a good 4.5A minimum when full white

I have passed an additional +5V to the falcon cockpit because I want to light up / animate the panel with a few blinkies
That will be handled by a separate board, I have tons of small arduinos I need to get rid off



I did the cockpit lighting optic fiber work a while ago but stopped after installing the LEDs (CF-X, no time overall). Decided to give a good kick to back burner projects to finish a few things, so I wired up the LEDs this morning, calculated resistors, grouped LED circuits and finally hooked up the arduino I had set aside for it, and programmed the LED sequencing.
To avoid getting too much current thru the arduino outputs, I have a big chunk of white General Illumination directly hooked to the permanent (regulated) +5V of the Falcon (via resistors), which is powering the arduino as well.

preserving access to the electronics in the smuggler hatches:

cockpit & body lighting test. Ignore the front landing gear, needed to be swapped with another one.

I want to finish that thing. Now that I have the 3D printer and it's working awesome, I'm proceedings to the last touches of the side panels.
I did assembled all of them after installing the high voltage inverters for the EL panels in the corner "towers" and all I was missing were the panel gaps, since the combined space walls didn't use all the space.
I needed a filler, so I scanned the sides of the newer GTP space walls I received and started to digitized / vectorize them in illustrator, took me a whole afternoon

The idea is to extrude those to make something similar in look to the panels and create a filler to go there

I have 4 fillers to build, prime and paint, I'm building them in tinkercad since it's the simplest way to extrude a SVG, I found inventor to really suck with this operation

3D printing would have been nice on the SLA forms 2 at work, details not sharp enough on FDM printer (expected, 0.4mm nozzle, that's not much but the strip is like 12mm wide only, tiny details everywhere).
So I decided to cut them in vinyl and paint over just to get some texture. Well, it didn't stick so well to the cintra and paint made some area warp a bit, I glued everything back it looks "fine", I can live with this. Those are just inserts, barely glued, I can rework this once I have access to the SLA printer again.

Then I moved to install the side panels, what a mess. I wished I had modeled the whole thing and learned Inventor earlier to do so, because the corner posts were too prominent for the panel to be inserted in diagonal, tight fit. Think "assemble a closet on the floor then angle-lift it, and it touches the ceiling.
I had to remove the black flooring inside the table and cut round pieces for the posts to have clearance, still was bazooka type of fit but finally got them in, 1 post 1 unglued, and glued again once the panel was installed.
Electric testings and such

during the light tests in the dark, I noticed that the lighting inside the falcon body would eventually pass thru the plastic, so it was time to open the falcon again to cover those light leaks. Made a duct tape "tent" for the rear of the cockpit, and added black automotive fabric/felt tape on top of that.
I had to open it anyways as I couldn't get the IR relay talk to the ledstrips (IR receiver hidden in one of the corner posts) and I didn't know why. It ended that the current in the IR led wasn't large enough, even by dropping the resistor value, as the MCU board (teensy 3.5) would probably not deliver more than 20mA.
As a result, I used one of my leftover Power Extender with 40-60mA target (peak) current, hooked up to the +5V power supply, and teensy sending the IR remote signal. That's a 38 kHz signal, just like the PWM used in the saber boards, so the PEX ended up driving that load no problem without major signal edge blurring and the ledstrips would receive them.

As a reminder, I wanted to use a single remote, my A/V home cinema remote. So I captures all the codes from the remote, and those from the ledstrip remote (NEC protocol, 32 bit) for all color keys and general controls, dim up/down, animation etc). The falcon is used as a IR gateway, receiving orders from the sony A/V remote and eventually sending color control IR codes to the ledstrips. IR receiver and IR relay led are inserted in the top blasters of the gunner seat.

Then it was time to finalize the electric control box, I had 3 rocket switches lying around from a 5-pack  (one was used to lock the fuel pump of the 996 with a secret switch). I used the laser to make a box, base template obtain from MakerCase (online) which builds the finger joints for you and saves some time to manually draw this in illustrator, then I added mounting brackets in AI.

From sketch... (initially targeted as a 3D print... but I figured out the laser would be much quicker, plus that's wood on wood)

used some wood insert for machine screws (amazon, love those, also grabbed plastic inserts you heat-press with a soldering iron, great way to fasten 3D printed parts)

Original remote for the ledstrip is still there to control on/off, dimming, animation and what not, hidden under the table with a magnet

GTP toys delivered the panels with bonuses : smugglers cargo & containers, a bit of juice paint + dry brush treatment on them for aging

Finally, we installed the whole thing in the HC room, adjusted the placement of the falcon so that it talked well with the ledstrip IR receiver, glued the containers in place and closed the lid :-)
For now It's running of a 12V PSU. I refrained from passing 220V under the carpet, creating a bump + requiring a hole in it, and instead it will be powered from a powerbank. I still have to hide a few cables, but we needed the table back right for friday night movie with the family !

cockpit before closing

with just the EL panels and falcon lights (no ledstrip)

blue blue blue

I want it green, supa green, mega green



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