Thursday, December 2, 2010

Steampunk ship wheels, frame construction

So now I had one of the back pieces for the top of the ship, a rear wheel drive to move it, tracks and trestle for it to sit on, but no ship.  It took a long time for me to come up with the simple solution needed for the internal frame.  I had some general ideas on the wheels, the medium brass ones I knew would work in one way or another, I had bought 6 sets of train wheels on my trip to Litchfield that were the correct size for the track and I had some smaller train wheels that I knew would be in the front behind the cowcatcher.  I had a hazy notion of how I would probably attach all these, and finally came up with a design that would incorporate those ideas.  In the end it was quite simple.  A strong center board running down the bottom of the length of the deck.

I had also been thinking a lot about how I would frame out the body of the boat, get that even somewhat circular shape around it.  Driving to a tag sale one Saturday, I was thinking that maybe Michaels would have basket material that I could bend around it and decided to go there after I hit the sale. (always looking for those odd parts)  The first thing I saw in the driveway was a box of hoops, all different sizes, they were embroidery hoops--perfect.  I bought the whole box for a song and half of one is what you see in the front of the above picture.  More will show up later.

I made a frame for the small front train wheels and attached them to the ship frame.  Later that design was totally changed.

Now I was ready to attach the main wheels.  I had done a basic layout earlier.   You can also see some of the steam engines that I had been thinking of using.

I propped up the frame and decided this would be the way it would be assembled.

I had figured out how I will attach the front wheels and the center group, but hadn't figured out how to attach the rear brass ones.  I had an old pair of wooden crutches I was going to throw away.  Looking at them I realized that if I cut off  the part that went under your arm it would be the perfect size in length to hold the wheels with the crutch turned upside down.  This is the result.

Next were the main center support wheels using the six sets of train wheels.  Dowels were used to make posts going to a small beam across the wheels.  It came out like this.