The Classic Star Trek Phasers
Part two.. The 2nd Season Page 3
By Richard A. Coyle
Right below the top cap and to the rear of the muzzle on the left side (just to be sure we all are talking about the "same left side", left and right is determined by holding a weapon in your hand (either hand is OK), muzzle of the gun pointed away from you, then the side that is on your left is the left side and the side that is on your right is the right side) is a detail that looks like a knob in/on the left side of the main body. This has become known as the dilithium cap although there is no evidence that it was ever called that on the show.
I have couple of shots that show , the side cap was simply a flat section cut off a round aluminum rod that had several cuts crossing the face, leaving a small thin section across the front forming a small bar that looks like a knob. This also appears to have simply been glued on. Other models would have a more complex three part knob that were made and placed within a hole drilled into the side of the body. There are three styles of these little details. The first one I told you about in the last paragraph, the other two are nearly identical. They are made up of three parts. The first is center which was a cut off section from a round aluminum rod (again) with a V cut into one end that had a small hand made bar shaped to make the center knob that sat into the V cut. There were two styles of this model, one with thin wall tubing and one with a thicker tubing.
I believe it was Franz Joseph who called this part the dilithium crystal cap in his book "The Star Trek Technical Manual". On some of the "hero" models this knob was hooked to a five position switch and it would snap loudly into each of the five settings. On the dummies most of them were just glued in.
Just above this knob were three ribs that are raised on the side of the body. These were the same color as the main body. Below this knob we see the trigger. This part was many shapes, sizes and placed in several angles. One constant was that all were aluminum.
Inside the working models the propmakers made their own home-grown switch with the aluminum button fastened to a brass bar to give it the spring back ability which, when pressed back, would made contact with another brass bar that made the electrical connection to light the tip bulb. (I would have bought a pushbutton at the store. Possible there were few switches small to enough to fit back then, I don't know.) The trigger is mounted in a small housing that seems to have been tacked onto the main body to both hold the trigger and to allow mounting the handle to the main body. Below this section is indeed the handle.
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