Monday, November 29, 2010

Steampunk construction, design, laser, ship supports, train track

Clicking pictures will enlarge them.

Once I had decided that the laser cannon was just going to be a part of a larger piece, it was time to think about scale and what to do next.  I decided to build the tracks and trestle.  I made a trip to Litchfield to Toms Antiques, actually it is more than that.  He has many great pieces, but I guess he never threw anything away, broken or not.  Fantastic collection of the most esoteric junk you have ever seen.  Parts and pieces of all kinds of things, old things.  The small man in the mech is from there, a train person for decoration, probably from the early 40s.  There I found what I think is g scale 3 rail track, very old.  Still not realizing how large this thing was going to be, I only bought 4 sections, a week or so later I had to go back for two more.  When I was trying to figure out what I would use for the trestle, I remembered a year or so ago I had bought a wine rack that had never been put together.  It was made of octagon shaped oak logs about 10 inches long that you put together with pegs.  I cut support pieces on an angle and used full pieces for the cross members, attached my rails and was ready to go.  I actually had to redo the whole thing because I needed the pair of rails to be the correct distance apart in the future to handle HO scale wheels for the front supports to the whole piece.  When you make something from scratch and the plans are only the ones in your head that come to you in that dreamy state before you sleep, there are a lot of do overs.  The six sections gave me a length of almost four feet, which was perfect.  I painted it with driveway resurfacing material to give it that creosote look of a real train trestle.  Like many things at this point, it has some final things that have to be done to it, like putting a brass bolt in each of the holes where a peg would have been for a wine rack.  But here it is.

Here is my first try at wheels, before I designed and built the rear drive wheel that follows.  The front wheels, slightly changed will be similar in the final ship, just more of them.  This was before painting the trestle and making it longer.

The second part I had been focused on was the rear drive wheel.  By now I had gathered a quantity of brass parts to choose from.  I finally settled on two heavy 4.5 inch brass disks that were the bases for a pair of large lamps.  Each wheel is two pieces, the inside piece is a thinner brass lamp part, it is spaced so that they straddle an individual rail to maintain stability.  I knew I wanted the piece to have some sort of animal look.  I carved the general form of a snake head from a piece of two by four, routed it out for the wheel to fit up into it and cut a hole in the top for the drive belt to go through.  The pulley inside between the wheels was made from some small bell shaped disks from another lamp.  I covered the whole thing in some antique patterned thick leather and added some brass eyes.  Haven't decided yet whether I will give it some fangs.  I had two brass tube arm pieces from a chandelier I liked to make the supports.  They were not the right size, it was difficult bending them to the exact position needed but finally got them so that they would hold a pulley wheel in place on top and used another chandelier piece for the axle to fit into.  The pulley belt is polycord, which you can cut to any needed length and melt together.  The top pulley wheel (sprocket) is antique meccanno, as will be most of the others in the finished piece.  I picked them up in England on ebay.  The top wheel will be chain driven.  There is still some touch up to be done, like covering the black screw heads with some material.