Some components of our projects simply have to be accurate and perfectly square to function. The challenge is to do this and still give them our unique cartoon look so they fit in with everything around them.
The water wheel in the Western area of the Cultus Lake Adventure Park is just such a project. The wheel is styled after an historical Pelton wheel, used throughout the west in remote mining operations. The challenge is to make the wheel round, not wobble as it turns and balanced too so it rotates evenly with only the force of the water passing under it.
I used CAD software to help me get the pieces accurately designed. The pieces fit on two four by eight foot sheets of 1/4" thick steel plate. This is one of the sheets.
I farmed out the cutting of the heavy steel to a shop with a CNC (computerized) plasma cutter. The pieces came out perfectly true and faithful to the files I had designed on the computer. Then it was time to begin assembly. The wheel itself will be about thirteen and a half feet in diameter, too big to easily transport to the site. This means we will build most of it in place. But we did the hub assembly in the shop at a workbench to ensure a perfect start. Peter gave me a hand. It took a little head scratching and some complicated figuring of some advanced math (good thing Peter had his degree!) :) We measured twice and cut once and even managed to get things right the first time.
Peter and I were feeling pretty proud of our efforts so far. Tomorrow we begin the hard part. Stay tuned...