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Fantastico crackerjazz...quite superb.....

Agreed habu2 however :

I worked as a tutor - sciences - for the child actors on the Harry Potter films for 9+ years. A few times on set I watched Mrs Norris being trained...yes trained.... that ain't CGI on the films. Owls OK, a golden eagle OK, + a multitude of other animals over the years - but cats !!! We have owned and loved cat(s) for over 30 years and I did not think it possible.......but it is........

You require a pole about 8ft long on the end of which is a small bowl with cat food in it. At the trainer's end is a clicker ( the sort you get in Christmas crackers ) .... simple really...ho ho....one click-sit, 2 clicks- stand, and so on, walk, run, look this way, look that way, look up, look down.......

Like your scratchbuilding and CAD talents crackerjazz....extraordinary............not beyond your capabilities I'm sure !

I digress - back to the painting of Gale Crater.



Edited by johnbuck
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Hi habu2, you are absolutely right : ) Hey, John, it's really interesting to know that you worked on the Harry Potter movies! Didn't know that wasn't CGI!




Boiled myself some styrene.








Taunting the sleepy tomcat. He looked docile enough for me to take this photo. The engine doesn't stand a chance otherwise.

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You'r very brave ...don't tempt fate again.

I would not have dared do that with ours ( past tense sadly of only a few weeks ago ).....he could open big heavy panelled Victorian doors with one paw.

A delight to follow this build



Ps will you sketch out or CAD the jig layout for the truss work...that is going to take some thinking out methinks...will be very interesting to follow your solution(s)



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Geez Lew-weez crackerjazz ... your attention to detail and ... and your craftsmanship in getting these little details are ... how can I say ... what words can I use ... Spectac---- ... nah, not enuff, amazi-- .... not not quite ... supercalifragil----- ... nope ... well, suffice to say, it's eye candy! ... man, you're good!

And can I imagine your wife and son are either still not understanding your obsession with this model or have simply accepted that you've sealed yourself in the attic and won't come down to their derision till the LLRV is done?

How on gawd's green earth did you slice those circles of styrene??? ... don't tell me it was just by rolling the #11 blade on the 'tube'. When I do this, I get 1 good one and 4 bad ones ...

And to slice that 'toilet seat' with the Olfa cutter ... what the ... ! How the ... ! ( These are a small example of what I mutter to myself as I'm viewing your progress pix! )

Thanx for posting and for the excellent pix! :thumbsup:


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Hi, John, thanks! For the trusswork -- I hope I'm able to make the CAD model (still have to learn how to build piping).

I'm looking at maybe having the joints 3D-printed then using styrene rods for the longer pieces. Hi, Pete - I really

appreciate your kind words. Cutting with the olfa cutter -- I hope I didn't make that look mysterious -- I still

had the buck inside the vac-formed part when I did that so it stayed rigid for cutting (actually repeated light scoring

-- just so the blade won't "ride" the part). And the rings -- that was a 0.25 x 0.5mm styrene strip wrapped around a metal

rod of the right diameter (found a dremel head that fit the bill after scrounging through the bins) --- then boiled for a

few seconds to retain the shape and you'll come up with something that looks like a plastic spring. Stick the cutter point

in the hole and cut lengthwise along the spring and you'll have nice little rings : ) The tiny ends you can glue together or

flattened down as you glue in place. And you're right about the wife and kid, heheh. They still think I'm wasting my time;

I try to do it when they're asleep.

(edit: I meant dipped in boiling water -- around 10 sec)

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Hi Crackerjazz,

Re rings : What a tip.......brilliant in its simplicity.

Have popped that in my notebook for future reference.

Looks good for the truss-work / jig

Many thanks


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  • 1 month later...

Hi X-Plane Fan, I'll try to post an update soon. I got stuck on the engine area. I wanted to 3D model it to make templates for the parts but the software rebuilds all the features from the ground up oh so slowly everytime I save. It was taking too long to save a single feature. I have to figure out a way to get around it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Tragedy struck!!! My hard drive crashed the other day. Blue screen, tried booting up --- getting "EPC corrupted". The repair center was able to recover some recent files from the desktop but the ones from "My documents" are all gone. All they could do was replace my hard drive. Interestingly, the last backup I did was in early April -- before I began my LLRV project so all of my Solidworks LLRV sldprt and assembly files are gone. The only LLRV Solidworks files I have now are the STL files I uploaded to shapeways to make the vacuform plugs. I'm still recovering from the shock.

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Oh............ my........... gosh.............

thank goodness I still work in pencil,pen and ink with scales, set squares and a drawing board.........

Your CAD work is extraordinary..........my heart goes out to you.........

Am no Luddite....have been Apple Mac since 1986...... but have really never totally trusted them. Even then the little work I did in Illustrator and Posure I always printed off the most important bits.

Are you AppleMac Crackerjazz ? Is it a built in or exterior hard drive that has crashed ? Would it be worthwhile to see another Techee, perhaps an independent ? My son-in law is a senior computer technical architect in a multi national company. Shall I have a word with him to see if anything could be done ?

Don't hesitate to pm me if you feel it might be worth a try.


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Hi John, thanks for offering your help. It's an internal one. I found a data recovery service nearby who's willing to look at it - a bit pricey, but free of charge if they're not successful or if I'm not satisfied with the files saved. I want to at least preserve the drive -- maybe in the future disk recovery will be an easier task. I'll just have to remind them not to format it (the thought of that sends shivers down my spine) :~

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  • 2 weeks later...

Last weekend the buck for the air intake turned up underneath the modeling shelf while I was looking for something else. I'm quite sure Whiskers was playing hockey with the puck-like thing several months back.


Fixed the surface imperfections with some Bondo.






I didn't post some photos back then of how I regretted that I eyeballed the rivet locations along the side of the skirt

without matching it with the bottom plate. At that time I tore the sides off (albeit carefully but the glue joints were messed up).

I was planning on making a new side panel but now that the files have passed on to the other dimension, I'm just glad I didn't

throw the panel away. I glued it back on carefully as best I could ---- and the skirt is whole again.



Lost some rings there but I don't care as much anymore. Worse disasters can strike at any time

so I promised not to sweat the small stuff.


The whole kit and kaboodle --- so far.

Edited by crackerjazz
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You're really getting the hang of Vac-forming eh? Does the wife detect any foul odours ... from the Vac-forming that is?

What are you using for the mould for the hemispheres?

Are you forming them just to save weight? I ask, because I wonder why not use clear Acrylic balls for the fuel tanks.

I've gotta tell ya crackerjazz, it's such a treat watching you cut and manipulate styrene. And I'm happy to see you continuing with this model!


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Hi Pete, thanks, yeah -- I'm trying to get as much from the machine as I could before it, too, breaks down. Hey, you were right -- no foul odours at all :) For the hemispheres I had the buck 3D-printed as the sizes I needed fall right in between the standard sizes out there. I'm not sure how the heat would affect the FUD material but what I do is I place it on the platten just when the plastic has started to droop and I'm ready to vacuum. Just so it wouldn't get heated up too much as well. After vacuforming and removing the buck it feels hot in my hands but cools pretty quickly. It's been holding up well so far.

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Looking GREAT crackerjazz. Nice CAD work, very impressive. Just curious, what is your procedure for getting the scale drawings all lined up to insert on your sketch planes so everything lines up and scaled correctly? If looks like you're using multiple lines drawings stacked from different sources on your planes. Do you have to set them up in some program like Autocad first to align and scale them and then insert to Solidworks or do you manipulate them after inserting them into SW? I haven't ventured much into using reference sketch images but I feel I should do more of that to maintain accuracy.

Keep up the great work.


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Hi Bill, really appreciate your most positive comments. For scaling and alignment of reference drawings I do them all in SW.

I normally start initially with a construction line centered at the origin, which I dimension to the length of the scale model.

I then exit the sketch and go to the front plane again and start another sketch (this way it's easier to turn the reference sketch

on and off by hiding or supressing).

After that, using Tools -> Sketch Tools -> Sketch Picture I select my reference sketch (jpg I notice pixelizes a lot when resized;

I like high-res png files). The reference drawing will appear with the sizing handles and can be dragged and resized just like in

any photo editor. I always resize using the top-right corner handle and never the edges. Click also on Transparency -> Full Image ->

then set it to maybe around 60 percent. There are also positioning and rotating selectors on the left side, but I just normally drag

the photo into position. Here's the fiddly part. Whenever you resize you'll need to drag it into position again. Just be patient

with repeatedly resizing and dragging and you will be rewarded with a nicely positioned reference drawing. If you exit out of the

sketch picture by accident just double click on your photo or in your tree and you'll see the handles again.


If you go the top view, you wil still see that initial reference line so I just start another sketch, import my reference top view and

do the resize-and-drag in the same manner. If you want to stack another photo on the Front or Top plane, just start another sketch

on that plane, then import a photo again. And don't forget to play with the transparency.


Hope that helps : )

Edit: Oh, forgot to tell you, when you're ready to sketch over the reference drawing, you'll have to

start another sketch on the front plane, for example, then you can start sketching. This keeps your

photo and your sketch separate (to make it easier to hide the photo off and on).

Edited by crackerjazz
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