Back in gear

With the grand kids and other important kids in my life growing up so very quickly it is time to get in high gear on the electric train. I started the train project back before Phoebe was born, almost twelve years ago. I made great progress on the engine and cars and even laid about four hundred feet of track down the driveway but things slowed down as we did all kinds of big projects, built the house, landscaped the yard and a thousand other things. This past winter we gathered enough rail to get the rest of the way around the yard which will make the track about 1,100 feet long. That will go in as soon as the Viking ships are sent on their way. But the little engine was still without power. Through the years I had considered many power options and decided electric was the way to go. An old electric golf cart that didn't work donated the electronic controls. A friend brought us the thirty-six volt DC motor. Our good neighbour Gord sourced an old, variable speed hydrostatic drive. The necessary cables, gears, chains, batteries and other bits I could buy fairly inexpensively. With our CNC plasma cutter and welders I would easily make the needed brackets and custom controls. 

The only thing I needed was to make the time and get in gear. With the shop finally empty of Viking ship pieces and me all rested up I decided today was the day. I used the forklift to lift the engine off the tracks and take it to the shop. I then crawled underneath the train and undid a few bolts and lifted the body off the chassis so I could take some measurements. Then it was off to the parts store to get some gears, chain and pulleys. Time flew as I worked on the train but by dark I had bolted on all of the new parts and created the cut files to create some exciting new pieces. These pieces would mount the controls, motor and the drive mechanisms. I also created the cut files for a custom scaled throttle bar and brake lever. It won't be long until we head down the track at long last!

Mason approved

We spend months designing and building our projects, imagining how guests will view and interact with our creations. When the projects are done I love to take guests to the projects and see their reactions and watch them. Yesterday I took my grand nephew up to Cultus Lake Adventure Park. He is almost three. He had no knowledge of who built the project and his reaction would be an honest one. His eyes sure lit up as we walked through the park and he got pretty excited. It was hard to steer him through all of the colourful attractions to go into the play park. Once we got to the rope bridges he focused on the task at hand. I wondered how he would handle the see through rope bridges but he had no fear even though we were far off the ground. He enjoyed 'driving' the truck although he figured the steering wheel really needed to turn. The caves were a big hit and were done at full speed. It was much more fun when I was chasing him roaring like a bear. Next time I'll make sure he has shoes that can handle water as he really wanted to walk in the shallow pond which we designed for that purpose. When it was time to go he wasn't very happy but a promise of a tractor ride when we got home made things a little better.  I know Mason will happily go back the next time I suggest it as he thought it was a very fun place. Cultus Lake Adventure Park is Mason approved.

Viking ship 0.5 done

The first half of the first Viking ship is now finished. It's a piece the whole crew is extremely proud of. The detail throughout is amazing.Today, after the painting was done we lifted the top section and bolted on the shipping frame which will make it secure in the shipping container and prevent movement. It is now ready to crane into the shipping container. We got a start sculpting the next half of the ship this afternoon. Pictures to follow soon...