Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Lancia Stratos Blender 3D Project Pt. 3

This week I am happy to report that I have managed to get my Lancia Stratos Blender model body pretty well dialed in.  At least I think so anyway.  I could be wrong as I usually am when I model something like a vehicle.  But at this point I think I am on track. 

I came across several things with my model that I needed to correct after pouring over the reference photos that I had collected.  One of the big things was wrong was the top edge of the body where the side meets the front hood and rear trunk surfaces.  On my first attempt this edge simply was not there.  It was more rounded and did not have this distinctive edge. I had to do some major reconstruction to get this edge that flows from the front to the rear of the car. But with a bunch of tweaking I managed to get it where I wanted it for the images that you see here. 

In the image of the rear of the car that is shown above I ran into another snag that kind of threw me for a couple of hours.  I wanted to put in the circular housings that you see in the image for the rear tail lights. When I modeled them all seemed in order until I rotated the model in Blender and then they disappeared. I rotated the model back again to it's original view where I started and the housing reappeared!  I guess I rotated that view at least a half dozen times and so I thought just blow the housings away and start again.  I did that and ended up with the same results.  Depressing to say the least.

After that I left it sit for a couple of hours as it was driving me nuts by this time and at this point I did not want to start over from scratch. I thought about it for a while and came to conclusion that I had something set in Blender wrong that caused the problem.  Sure enough this was the case.  I had a setting in the display window menu for X-Ray that was checked.  I unchecked the selection and low and behold everything was back to normal!  Blender can do that to you once in a while and even though I have 15 years experience with the software it still happens to me on occasion.  So I am happy with the body of the Lancia so far and look forward to start work on the wheels next.

I also have to figure out what I want to do with the car once it is completed.  Most of my vehicle models are just the cars or trucks by themselves.  I will have to work on some kind of setting for this car and another one or two that I have on file.  Something else to think about to complete the model. 

Anyway I'll keep you posted with my progress in the coming weeks and have a good day with your latest Blender project too!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Lancia Stratos Blender 3D Project Pt. 2

With some nice quite time today I was able to make very good progress on my Lancia Stratos Blender 3D project.  This is a challenging vehicle to model and I still have some tweaks to make on the body as you will see in this post today. 

(Click on the pictures for a larger view)

The lines of the body came together pretty well after working with the Blender model you see pictured above for a couple of hours today.  I like the door seam and the beltline(?) that runs along the body across the door and the rear panel just behind it. As usual with my vehicle Blender creations I collect a lot of photos from the Internet to use as reference material. 

I have found with this vehicle that some of the reference photos are not of a real car but are of toy models of this car.  This is very evident when I find a wiper blade in the photo that looks to be as big as my arm compared to the rest of the vehicle.  With finding this type of photo I immediately dismiss it's accuracy as I want my Blender model to be as close to the real thing as possible.  Needless to say I take a very close look at the little details in my reference photos to get my Blender model where I want it to be.

With the view  shown above I was happy to see the reflections of the door and the rest of the body match up very well.  It will be interesting to see the windshield in place to fill the void that is now in the body shell at the front of the model.  What really brings the car together is the wheels but at this point I have some ways to go before I can get to modeling them.  I just will have to keep plugging along with my efforts and check and recheck my reference photos until I am happy with the finished body. 

One big fun puzzle just like all the rest of the vehicles I have created so it is a good thing to work on when the weather outside is far from ideal to do anything else. Hopefully I can finish at least the body work by the end of the weekend.  I'll keep you posted as I move forward with this fun project to let you see my progression in it's modeling.  Enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Becca's Bathtub Project

The last couple of weeks have been nothing but run, run, run.  I am sure all of you have had weeks like this but with my running I have gained new friends that have wanted my assistance in helping them with their projects. As many of you already know I am helping out at a new makerspace in Dubuque Iowa named the Key City Creative Center.  Along with my helping with projects I have been teaching computer aided design, fiberglass class and soon will be teaching CNC machining. On top of all of this I am on the board of directors for the center.  

So that brings you up to date on just the background of my post today.  Now on to what the heck is "Becca's Bathtub"?  Becca Kacanda is a very nice lady who is a member of the makerspace and that I have been getting to know and help with her very interesting project.  Becca is an artist in her own right who has been given a grant to created a piece of artwork for a showing some time next year.  Her original work involved a very heavy cast iron bathtub. She had taken the old tub and cut it in half and then decorated with various bits and pieces of varying materials to create interesting designs on the tub. Everything from pennies to broken mirrors. Even with the tub cut in half it takes three men and a monkey in order to move the completed artwork even just across a room.  (By the way the monkey is needed to give directions.)  

Anyway Becca had taken my fiberglass class that I teach at the makerspace and I suggested to her to make the new piece of artwork out of fiberglass instead of having to deal with the old cast iron tub.  She thought the idea would be perfect for the project and so I have been helping her with the design and construction of the new tub or should I say enclosure now.  The enclosure for a lack of a better terms for this form will be made of a foam and fiberglass composite construction and when completed Becca will be able to easily pick it up one handed!  Plus the fact that the new tub will not have to look like an old converted cast iron bath tub when it is completed. 

I had worked out several different designs for Becca and she settled on a more modern shape to get things started.  

I worked out the design for the new enclosure using Fusion 360 cad software.  As I said earlier in this post the construction will be a foam a fiberglass composite which makes things quite simple to build.  In the image above you can see the layout of all of the pieces along with a temporary stand to hold all of the ribs in their correct locations while the structure is being built. 

I colored all of the various pieces of the framework differently in the images above just to show where everything goes when construction begins.  This helped Becca and I keep things in order while we were putting it all together.  The extrusions on the back of the enclosure will be cut off before the outside of the structure has been covered with Styrofoam strips.

Here's Becca fitting up the Styrofoam strips for the interior of the structure.  She and I had spent five hours tracing out the templates for the parts on to a 4 X 8 sheet of Styrofoam and cutting all of the pieces out the day before.  After this was done all the parts had to be hot glued together to make the shape that she had decided on for the project. As you can see the shape is coming together nicely.

The foam strips that we cut from our Styrofoam are 1/4" thick, 1" wide and 4' long.  Becca is taking each strip at this point and cutting them to length, sanding the edges smooth and test fitting them so that they can be hot glued into the interior of the enclosure.

Lot of cutting and trimming needs to be done to complete this project.  Becca's is still wrapped up to stay warm as the shop had not been warmed up yet when she started working the night I took these photos. 

The strips of foam are hot glued in place and each need to be hand fitted to cover the interior of the ribs for the new enclosure.  With each piece that is added the structure gets stiffer and stiffer which is a good thing but over all it is still quite fragile.  Once we get into laying in the fiberglass to cover the structure inside and out it will be well protected, strong and very light weight.  The new structure will be a custom design and be light enough to easily be moved from one place to the next. 

As Becca's Tub project progresses I will shoot photos to show you how it all goes together along with the details of what Becca has planned for it's final artistic look.  I'm sure it will be quite interesting to see the end result when she is done with the project. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Lancia Stratos Blender 3D Project

As with most of my Blender 3D projects I usually get into creating something new while waiting for parts for another project to arrive by mail or for assemblies to dry during a project that is in the workshop.  This once again is the case with another very sexy looking car named the Lancia Stratos HF that I have already started work on.

The Lancia Stratos HF, widely and more simply known as Lancia Stratos, is a sports car sports and  rally car made by Italian car manufacturer Lancia. The HF stands for High Fidelity. It was a very successful rally car, winning the World Rally Championship in 1974, 1975 and 1976.

Only 492 cars were ever produced but in later years after production ceased various manufacturers of kit cars made copies of it for guys like me.  Not that I still would turn down the opportunity of owning an original one or at least a replica of one.  So this is my current Blender endeavor.

With all of the vehicles that I model in Blender one of the first steps other than tracking down good images of the actual vehicle is to set up the layout that you see pictured above in Blender.  This layout consists of a side view, top view, front and back views of the vehicle.  To get these views I go to Google and search under car blueprints.  There are several sites that have free blueprints so I was lucky enough to find the Stratos in one of the them. I set up the images in Blender as shown above to line up and scale each of them together to get the right proportions in making the Blender model.

Shown above is the front of my Blender Lancia model.  Already it is taking shape pretty well and I'm happy with my efforts.  I usually start with the more difficult sections of a vehicle to get them out of the way and the front end didn't end up being as hard as I thought it would be so that is always good. This Blender project should be another challenge as usual but a fun challenge.

That's about it for today.  I will keep progressing on this project and keep you up to date on this and other projects that are in the works once I start getting parts made, painted, or just plan planned out.  Have a good day in your shop as well.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Scrooch Gun Project Is Born!

My latest idea for a project actually goes back to my childhood and a TV show called the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.  On the show were various characters that I enjoyed as a kid and even more so when I became an adult as there was a lot of adult humor in the show that I never understood as a kid.  In the show there were two little characters named Gidney and Cloyd.  These guys were two little green moon men.  One of the interesting things that these characters had with them to protect themselves was a gun called a Scrooch gun.  When fired it would make the bad guy freeze until he was shot again with it to unfreeze him.  So the idea of making my version of a Scrooch gun was born one morning while I was shaving and looking at my can of shaving cream.  

Here is a good image that I created of my Scrooch gun design.  I modeled this in Fusion 360 CAD software and have all of the components figured out on how to make it.  The yellow canister with the name on the side is actually an empty can of shaving cream.  Thus the reason why this project popped into my head while shaving.  The can had the perfect shape for this 50's style  SciFi gun so I started working out the rest of the design over the past couple of days.  The clear dome shape for the muzzle of the gun I have sitting on my desk as I write this.  I made it by cutting down half of a plastic sphere that is used for Christmas ornaments.  Next the red tinted disks I plan on cutting on a lazer cutter at the makerspace I teach at in the next couple of weeks.  This will give me time to get the materials together for the disks. The remainder of the gun will be 3D printed in my shop and various bits of hardware will need to be collected to put it all together.  

If the gun turns out as well as I suspect I plan on making a couple more designs to be mounted in a display case.  All of the components for the Scrooch gun are held together with a 10" long threaded rod that runs through the center of the toy.  The pistol grip and trigger are bolted into place to the lower mounting just below the yellow cylinder. I think it will be an interesting project that will be fun to make and display. 

I just could not resist posting the image above that I tracked down online of Gidney and Cloyd from the Rocky and Bullwinkle show.  Here they are standing on the moon with their Scrooch gun in hand.  My version is a lot more elaborate then theirs but my version is at least 55 or 60 years newer than theirs.  Anyway I think this will be a fun project to play around with.  I will post more about the Scrooch gun once I get all of the parts gathered together and can show you the entire process of how I assemble it.

If you have never seen the Rocky and Bullwinkle show track it down online as I am sure you will get to see these little characters and get a laugh or two when cartoon were made during a simpler time.  

Monday, October 23, 2017

Blender 3D VW Dune Buggy Project

With summer gone and fall nearly over too I was inspired to model something in Blender 3D that has been on my wish list for a lot of years.  As most of you who follow my blog have seen I have modeled a number of vehicles over the years and so I just had to add another one of my favorites.  I did my homework and modeled this VW dune buggy.  This was an interesting project, as my research that I found about this type of vehicle is that none of them are exactly the same.  Similar yes but not exactly the same. All of them are custom built to at least some extent. So it gave me a lot of leeway to model the dune buggy the way I think it should be or will be if I ever pull the trigger and actually build a real one for myself. So this is how it all turned out. 

(Click on the photos for a larger view)

My Blender 3D model of the dune buggy turned out very well I think.  The big problem that I found in starting to model the car was finding the correct views that I needed to get everything scaled correctly to make the car look right. As usual there are things I am sure would stick out like a sore thumb if I owned a real dune buggy like this and knew more about it in greater detail.  It is modeled after the very first dune buggy called the Meyers Manx  that has been cloned by a lot of companies over and over again for real over the years.  But in my eyes this is the only real dune buggy design.  Only a few off brand dune buggy makers even come close to the original that was created by Bruce Meyers.

Another tricky part about modeling the car was getting an engine put into it that even looks something like what should be in a dune buggy.  Again it was hard to find photos of just the engine in a car that was not at least partially covered up.  So I pieced what you see together to hopefully look right.  So if you see something totally out of place here please forgive me for not getting it exactly right.  All I can say is I tried and hopefully you approve of my efforts. 

The dash was the only thing that I think could be actually accurate in a real dune buggy. The gauges in my model are correct as I was lucky enough to track down the exact VW gauges that would or still could be used in a dune buggy today.  So I am happy with the results on this end of the model. I especially like the carbon fiber dash and the steering wheel. 

Lastly what could be more fitting for a dune buggy than having it parked on a nice sunny beach.  Someday my real dune buggy will be parked on a beach too..... I hope.  Until then it's nice to be able to make another vehicle for my portfolio and dream.  Enjoy the images.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Tin Man Project Is Completed!

I am happy to report that I have finished the Tin Man project in the workshop this afternoon. It has not been a terribly difficult project to design or build which is always good and the end result was worth the effort.  So let me show you how it all turned out. 

As you can see the Tin Man has a great big grin on his face to match the one that is on my face now that the project has been completed.  He stands 30" tall and has over 200 parts.  The body was made out of fiberglass, the arms and legs are PVC pipe, and everything else was 3D printed except for nuts, bolts and a little wood for the axe handle.  In his right hand he is holding his trusty oil can and of course he had to have an axe that is sitting next to him.  

Here all off the parts laid about before I started the final assembly of the Tin Man which took around 2 hours to complete.  The axe is around 12" inches long with a real wooden handle and the head of the axe being 3D printed in ABS plastic.  I am very happy how this turned out.  

Here's a closer look at the axe along with the little oil can for the Tin Man.  I was lucky enough to track down actual photos of the oil can so I could model it in Fusion 360 CAD software and then 3D print it in parts.  I then sanded everything smooth and glued it together and painted it silver. 

The only parts that are glued in place on the Tin man is his big toothy smile and his big red heart.  Lots of planning went into this project so I am happy once again that my efforts worked out the way they did.  This will be a great lawn ornament and I suspect he will look even better once he has been out in the weather for a few months.  It will make him look a lot older but if he every gets to be to worn looking it is an easy matter of taking him apart and repainting him if need be. 

I was happy that I was able to take the photos that you see here in the workshop today.  I was not sure he could stand up on his own. But for use in a yard I have a wooden dowel that would be pounded into the ground to support him by using a receiving tube that runs up the inside of his back that the dowel would slide into.  This will keep him standing even in a very strong wind.  I suspect though that even if the Tin Man fell over in a lawn the worst that would happen is that he might get dirty.  A very sturdy fellow to say the least.  Another project that I can cross off the list of ideas that keep coming up in my head.  Enjoy the photos and have a good day in your shop as well. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

How To Get Free CAD Software From Autodesk!

Next week I will start teaching a class on how to use Fusion 360 CAD software at the Key City Creative Center in Dubuque, Iowa.  With this being said I have been getting my new students ready for the class by first helping them get Fusion 360 software set up on their laptops for free.  I have been using this software for three years now and I am more than happy with it's capabilities, regular updates, and of course the fact that anyone can get a copy for free.  So after having sent out to my students the procedure to do just that I thought it would be a good idea to spread the word to everyone else that reads my blog as well.  So here are the steps you will need to take to get this great CAD software for your next project. 

Fusion 360 Setup

Go online and enter Autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/overview

When page loads up select "Download Free Trial"

Enter Your email address and select "Download Free Trial" again.

Fusion 360 will auto-launch once setup is complete.
A window will come up asking you "Do you want to run this file?"
Select "Run"

Setup will begin..... this will take a while to complete.

Another window will open up to sign in.
Select "Create Account"

Fill in information
Select "I agree to terms"
Select "Create account"

Select "Done" in account created window

Fusion will finish setting up

Press "Continue" on this screen

Fusion 360 will start showing "Welcome to Fusion 360" pop up window
Select "Next"

The data panel window will open
Select "Done"

Getting started window will open
Select "Close"

Select blue button "Term ends in 30 days" on top of screen
A new window will open
Select "Sign up as a Start-up or Enthusiast (Free)

Select "Accept Terms"
Select "Submit"

Select "Close" to end sign up screen

Fusion 360 is now ready to use.

That's all there is to it.  Follow the steps one by one and in a very
short time you will have access to this amazing free software.  I use
it always to design and build the projects that you can find here on
my blog.  It's a great tool and there are lots of training videos online
to help get you started.  Tech support from Autodesk with the
software also is excellent so it's a no brainer to get started designing
you next great project.  Happy creating!

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Tin Man Project Part 3

The Tin Man project is progressing nicely with primer and paint being applied to the parts this week.  Hopefully I will have the project completed by the end of the week.  Here are some images of where the project progressed over the past week or so and stands as of this morning.

This is the start of the construction of the body for the Tin Man.  I stacked up four layers of Styrofoam and glued them together to make a nine inch tall cylinder.  After sanding one edge of the cylinder I fiberglassed it completely except one end and let it cure over night.  Next I marked and cut what will be the lower edge of the fiberglass body to get a nice straight edge using my bandsaw.  

Here you can see the Styrofoam sticking out of the body before I started to remove all of it,  This way I could have the cavity I need to mount the arms, legs, and head.

This strange looking device is what is called a hotwire.  It is the tool that I used to remove the Styrofoam from the body of the Tin Man.  Electrical current is fed into the device which heats up the wire to melt the Styrofoam.  A great tool that I have used for years and is well worth the money.

Here I started taking out pieces of the Styrofoam with the hotwire. The tool made it as easy as scooping ice cream out of a bucket.  I wrapped the Styrofoam in plastic sheeting before I started fiberglassing.  This made it simpler to remove the Styrofoam as the fiberglass did not stick to the plastic sheeting.  This left me with a lot less clean up inside the Tin Man body and a nice smooth surface as well.

 Here the body has been completely cleaned out.  If I had not wrapped the foam first in plastic sheeting I would have had a lot more clean-up to do on the inside of the body.  It saved me a lot of work to be sure. 

Here is a look at the 3D printed mounting plate for the hip and legs that is now installed into the body along with a mounting tube to receive the rod that will be pounded into the ground to help support the Tin Man when he is standing on display.  The rod slides into the tube and will hold the Tin Man up even in a stiff wind. 

I next started putting the arms together for the project.  On the left you can see the first set of bolts and nuts that I used to put the assembly together.  I was not happy with the look so I swapped everything out and used threaded rod and acorn nuts on most of the assembly.  This took me a bit longer to make and assemble but the look is much cleaner.  

Finally on to the priming and painting of the parts for the Tin Man.  Here is a shot of most of the parts on the work table.  The joints for the legs in the project needed very little prep work so I was able to go ahead and prime and paint these parts first. 

Lots and lots of parts had to be 3D printed to make the joints for the arms and legs. 

Then you have lots and lots of nuts, bolts, and threaded rods to hold everything together. In total there are 206 parts in the entire project. 

The Tin Man's face is coming right along with the first couple of coats of primer.  I still have a little wet sanding to do yet on this part but it should not take me very long to get it dialed in.  The head of course will be painted silver like the rest of the figure.

The body of the Tin Man still will need a bit of work yet before I am happy with the outer surface so that I can spray on the paint that it needs. I'll get there but it will take a little more time. 

Here the arms, legs, and hands along with the head of the axe for the Tin Man are painted and left to dry. This was the easiest part of the project as these parts needed little if any prep work to get them ready for paint. 

Lastly what self respecting Tin Man would be without his trusty oil can.  This turned out very well and took a bit of thinking to get it printed correctly but will be a nice accessory for the project.  I still have to do some sanding on the individual parts of the oil can and then glue them together and paint it.  I was lucky enough to find an image of the actual oil can used in The Wizard of OZ so I am happy to include this with the Tin Man when he is on display. 

Part four of the project should wrap things up with this project so check back to the site soon to see how it all turned out.