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Hi Bill, this is all one big part file broken into individual bodies. The feature tree is just huge now so it's getting frustratingly slow to rebuild trying to create new features. And I'm not even halfway through. But then I use blueprints and photo jpgs extensively to draw parts in the Part environment so I guess I'm stuck? I do save individual parts into a folder for assembling later on, but right now I'm creating the parts in space to match where they are on the blueprints. It's like making a 3D representation of the blueprints directly, if you know what I mean -- the advantage being that I can create parts and know where I am exactly and see at a glance what else needs to be done.

I know I'm not approaching this right, am I? I've tried the freeze feature to see if it would help but since I'm working at parts in a non-systematic way -- working on the engine one moment then hopping onto another area like the landing gear the next, then going back to the engine -- freezing doesn't really help much since it doesn't let you select non-contiguous features (or does it?) It's good you asked, by the way, because I'd been wanting to know how one would approach this in an Assembly environment and still be able to use the blueprints or photos to draw the parts.

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I wouldn't say you're approaching it wrong. It really boils down to what you want to do with the models and finding the easiest or most efficient way that works for you. Personally for a model as complicated as what your assembly is, I would be building in an assembly/sub-assembly/part structure. Its not much different as far as how you're actually modeling the shapes and you can have sketches in the parts OR in the assemblies or even have them in both. I would think the advantages of keeping sub-assemblies and parts within those subs would be the ability to work on just one area quicker once you've established where it fits in the main assembly. Also, you can put your overall photo based sketches in the assembly/sub-assembly level and only have to put the more fine detailed picture sketches in the part level files. I think that would speed up your rebuild time quite a bit. The less a model has to think about where it's information is coming from the better and faster.

Where I work I've done a few production line piping layouts with multiple runs to a single assembly from multiple starting extruder points, a similar situations to your model. I started with basically an "armature" part file that had all of my connection points laid out and the major planes established. Then I'd create an assembly with that part being the base of it. Each pipe run would be a sub-assembly and would have an armature sketch as well for just that run of pipe. Then I'd create each part file within the context of the sub-assemblies for various elbows, heaters mixers etc.... That way the only time I'd have to open the main top level assembly was to confirm that I had no conflicts between the various runs or if I wanted to get an overall look for my own curiosity. If you start bogging down too much and you want to rethink the 3D world of your build let me know and maybe together we could come up with a different approach.

Either way, this is magic happening here!


Edited by niart17
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Thanks, Bill, I'll keep that in mind! Another thing I could probably try is to save subassemblies as single parts. You mentioned you can put sketch pictures in assemblies -- how is that done?

I've been searching for pictures of the Armstrong crash vehicle but couldn't find any. And then it dawned on me...it's LLRV No.1 sans the enclosed cockpit -- so there's loads of reference shots - X-Plane had posted lots of them! One thing I had a problem with was identifying which was LLRV No. 1 from all the pics. Then I realized that it was the only one with the funny-looking paintjob (might actually be fire retardant red goop?) on the forward JP-4 tank. All the others had a red band.


LLRV No. 1


Only LLRV No.1 had the engine with an extra skirt/flange and a pointed cone. The rest had one that looked like the pic on the right.


LLRV 1 and 2 had those rounded radar altimeters.






Lots of photos to see of LLRV 1 in various cockpit incarnations, but I'm still searching for one with the cockpit fully enclosed, in LLTV-A1 config, as it looked during the crash. The closest relative is LLRV-2 which now has a boxed cockpit so I'll probably just use that as reference.

Edited by crackerjazz
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Tried to identify some of the other photos:


LLRV No. 2 (or NASA 951) as it initally looked.



As it currently looks -- sitting inside a hangar at Dryden with the enclosed cockpit and mock-up engine.

And the LLTVs:


I read they ditched the caster wheels in favor of rubber feet to prevent movement from strong winds on the tarmac.



Alan Shepard with LLTV B3 (NASA 952). Wanted to use this cockpit as reference but the porch looks different from LLRV No. 2's.


Gene Cernan in LLTV B3 (NASA 952)


Note the new radar altimeter


Armstrong in LLTV B3 (NASA 952). Currently on display at the visitor center at JSC. Wish I could visit that someday. The photos by Jay Chladek in the 3 Stooges disc are amazing and shows a well preserved LLTV.

Edited by crackerjazz
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Worked on the radar altimeters:


I was scrounging for spheres to build the radar altimeter domes and the Christmas ornaments bin quickly came to mind. I measured this small one and felt like I'd won the lottery! The diameter was the right size I needed. My saw kept slipping trying to cut the thing in half so I just propped it up on a piece of pipe. As I was setting up the vacuforming machine I pushed the ornament accidentally off the edge of the table. I was expecting it to bounce back but instead it smashed into tiny pieces on the floor -- it was made of glass! I was really worried that the glass sphere would smash during vacuforming, throw shards into the motor (or into my eyes!). Got lucky -- maybe because the glass sphere was small and could hold up to greater pressure? I noticed glass offered an advantage in that it didn't scratch so my cutting doesn't leave any scribing marks and the buck can be repeatedly re-used. (Scratches telegraph right onto the vacuformed plastic). For the top dome I found a wooden ball of the right size at Michaels to use as a buck.










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Amazing work!

I haven't posted anything on ARC in I don't know how long. I haven't been able to do any modelling in almost 4 years. Short version: laid off 6 weeks before my daughter was born, stay at home dad with her, job market sucking, depression, minimum wage jobs to survive...but I've finally gotten a full time professional job again. I'm going to be moving in the next couple weeks from Topeka to Dallas suburbs. So the stash is edging closer and closer to the light again. Itching to get back to my Liberty Bell 7 build I started 5 freaking years ago.

That being said...and not an attempt to hijack the thread, just thought it would get read sooner here with better answers...CJ, Bill...question for you guys or anyone else 3D modelling. What are your thoughts on programs to use? I see SolidWorks in use here; how is it versus Rhino? I've got Rhino but feel overwhelmed at it. 2D AutoCad, no problem there; 3D anything, haven't quite grasped it yet. Does Solidworks have an easier interface? Thanks in advance for any advice.


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Thanks, David! Congrats on your full-time job and it will be great to see you building again! I think any of the 3D softwares out there are all good and capable as long as you're comfortable with the controls, functions and short keys. There are some stuff that are easier to do in Rhino, such as complex curvature. Someone showed me how to model a simple pitcher with a curved spout and he did it so easily by dragging on the surfaces which is not so easy to do in Solidworks. Solidworks has the advantage, though, of having industrial libraries such as bolts, nuts, rivets. And I guess for my LLRV build the sheet metal functions and form tools make it easier to build sheet metal parts, although the parts can certainly be modeled without them.

I would recommend sticking to one software when you're starting out. Learn the basics well, do them over and over until they're second-nature. You mentioned you already have Rhino -- it's a very powerful software. Vincent Meens managed to churn out LM parts for 3D printing after only a few months of tinkering with Rhino. Johnlove is building very cool space stuff with it! I'm terrible at it, though, because I keep confusing the short keys with Solidworks' so I just gave up.

You mentioned you're OK with 2D -- That's a big plus because all the 3D revolves, extrusions, lofts, etc all start with 2D sketches. You'll just have to familiarize yourself with the interface of whichever program you choose. Taking a class would help (did it for the basics), a good book (slower progress in my case), youtube (for quick refreshers!) -- and the best method -- training video DVDs that guide you step by step and which you can replay over and over. And try to model a little everyday -- in my case if I let up for even just a week I tend to forget the stuff I've already learned.

Edited by crackerjazz
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For what it's worth ...

My workflow still begins with a 2D program. I'll sketch out the bits and shapes I need, then export as dwg. Import to Rhino and build the parts. It's a little backwards, but it's way faster than fighting 20 years of Adobe/Aldus Illustrator habits.

This ...


... becomes this.


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Good points. I'm thinking that I'll need to find somewhere to take a class; if nothing else have the basic functions shown. I learn best by just doing; I had to teach myself all the programs in college: AutoCAD (knew the absolute basics, but learned much more and still am), Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign. Never did grasp autodesk 3d program we had...bombed it so bad I can't even remember the name of it!

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Oh, absolutely, nothing compares to having a project and just doing it. That way you try to learn the absolute essentials to be able to build your model. Looking forward to seeing your work! Hey, John, that's a great way of doing it!


I couldn't really make out the shape of the landing radar from the bottom without good photos. I used a round shape but someday more photos of the LLRV at Dryden will come up and I'll be proven wrong. I'm beginning to think it has a more oval shape to it. Oh, well, I won't try to correct this anymore -- I'll call it version 1 -- something that might turn out incorrect but had fun doing anyway.






I have no idea what those black-colored boxes are that are housed inside the vented box.





The holes on the sides have a lip on them that I might try to depict using styrene rings but I don't think the strips go smaller than 0.25 x 0.5mm. I'll give it a try anyway.

Edited by crackerjazz
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The workmanship and craftsmanship you have on display here crackerjazz is ... simply ... un-bee-leev-able! :blink: :doh::woo:

For the raised edges you want, try stretched sprue, you can get really fine styrene, but you may melt 'em with the cement.

I struggle to comprehend the level of detail you're building into this model ... not to mention the way you're building in these details ... just keep doing what you're doing!

Nice job! :thumbsup:


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Hi Pete! Thanks! :)/>/>

I tried to make some stretched sprue but couldn't make them long enough and even enough in diameter. Tried to make the styrene rings from the smallest strip styrene:



Boiled and cut



Edited by crackerjazz
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  • 1 month later...


Because of the angle they look circular when viewed from the bottom.




Did the thrusters and a couple of pipes for the rear tray, at last : ) Thanks for the Edwards shots, Tony!!! Spacehawk sent me a couple of photos of the JSC LLTV, too, thanks!







These are valves for the hydrogen peroxide fuel I guess and they have markers for knob positioning.

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  • 4 weeks later...

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