It seems I'm starting more projects than finishing anything these days. That's because people keep asking me to design/engineer models for them or create patterns for subjects that will be made into garage kits. That's perfectly OK with me, since I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing!
Oh well, I'll get around to finishing my own stuff eventually.
I started drawings for the Valley Forge several years ago for a friend. Someone else has since requested help with this subject, so I'm now getting back to it and trying to finish them up. So far, I've managed to "decode" the complex geometry of the core structure or "spine." I'm building this structure in Rhino 3D.
I had already figured out the geometry of the central spine and made 2D drawings of the structure near the bow of the ship (where all the domes are attached). Since it's modular, once you figure one part out, a lot of it just repeats.
Yesterday, I started turning my original drawings into 3D patterns. I chose to work strictly from photos of the original, since I don't know this subject that well and so I have no idea how accurate any existing plans are. (Although I must say the ones drawn by the late Alan Everhart, Jr. sure look good!)
It was quite challenging to figure out the structure for this ship out in 2D. When I made the original plans, I had not yet made the leap to 3D tools. Building it in 3D definitely helps you figure out a lof of things which is why I now rely on 3D tools when designing or engineering a project.
Right now, I'm pretty satisfied that I figured out the basic geometry of the spine layout. Still, it's been a while since I did my original drawings, so I didn't recall exactly how I determined the scale that was chosen for them. So, to be sure it's done right, I went back to the drawing board.
Today, I made a detailed proportional analysis of the studio model based on the best side view images I could find. Using an estimated overall length of about 26 feet, I set out to determine the dimensions of the modular pieces/parts that make up the ship.
Based on published info, we know the acrylic domes were about 24 inches in diameter and the domes overall nearly 30 inches at their widest points. Using this and the info extrapolated from analyzing the photos, I believe a single "module" of the spine was a bit over 3 feet long. (I also recognized a bunch of large-scale tank parts used to detail the underside of the domes.)
This helped me determine the dims of the pipes and other parts. I'm going with the assumption they used standard IPS pipe. Based on my experience designing and building armatures, I've found that tubing comes in totally different sizes than pipe and tubing is not always as readily available. Tubing also seems to cost more, so it would make a lot of sense if they chose IPS pipe.
As with most of my projects these days, this is not being built as a "pretty" 3D model with textures and every detail added. It's meant to be a pattern for a physical model, and a reduced-scale replica at that -- assuming such a model can actually be built without grossly simplifying the structure. That's why some details such as the numerous bolt heads are omitted since they aren't really needed.
Images of my progress so far are attached. The coloration is to help distinguish the different parts since they all tend to get jumbled together in some of the views. This makes it look like the structure is built from Tinker Toys, or maybe similar to one of those molecule models made for a science class. :eek:
BTW, if anyone knows the dimensions of any of the parts that were used to build the studio model, please let me know. Also, while I'm at it, I'm still on the lookout for any clear, close-up images that show some of the little details in the various fittings and connectors that make up the spine. If you have any references that might help, please let me know. Thanks!
I'll try to keep this thread updated. For the latest info on this project, be sure to check out the thread over at my site:
Valley Forge -- WIP and reference help needed! - StarshipBuilder.com