In constructing this model, I focused on design details and aimed to realize and resolve craft challenges. One of the first issues I discovered with that the bottom does not always hang directly below the top piece. This was especially true when the top was not hung evenly. Not realizing this problem ahead of time, I drilled two holes for the hanging rope without measuring exactly where they should go. This resulted in the birdhouse handing as if it were sketched in an “exploded view.”
I quickly resolved this by looping the hanging line around the entire top. However, the base still does not alway hang as I intended. Peter Brue, head of our workshop, recommended I crisscross the lines to help secure the base. During our discussion, Pete pointed out some other ways I could improve the design.
I feel like the multiple strings around the “hole” detract from the design and thus, in my next model, I plan on using a single string through the side of the piece. With such a simple design, Pete stressed the importance of craftsmanship and urged I cut off the excess fishing line and ensured my planes were smooth and even.
In creating my final model, I encountered a variety of challenges and thus opportunities. I headed home this past weekend but this would not stop me from working. I cut out the main pieces for my car, packed them up, and headed home. After a quick assembly of the main box body, I compared the car to my cardboard model and decided I needed to cut it down. So I headed to my grandparent’s house, marked them up, cut them down, and then began detailing.
My grandpa is an avid woodworker and was excited to help me out. I tried to stress that I needed to do the work and would appreciate his help but probably should take no more than his seasoned advice. However, he was unable to simply watch. After marking up the wood myself, the two of us cut out box joints.
The joints took longer to cut than I had hoped; halfway through we called it a night and I returned to finish the next day.
After cutting out all the joints, I went through and saved them down to ensure the pieces would be able to come together.
We then moved on to other cuts. Although I was not able to get as much done with my grandpa as I had hoped, we did accomplish a nice amount of work. We cut holes in the wheels and then my grandpa brought out a special tool that allowed him to cut out holes of any desired size. We used this to custom-cut holes on the wheels and in the sides for the rear axle.
We also cut and sanded the arch that would be above the front wheel.
With the special hole-cutting tool from before, we cut the ends of the window forms on the sides of the car, giving me a head start when I went to cut them completely out.
Before I left, we also pre-drilled holes in the wheels so that I could attach them to the axle via a wooden peg.
I got back to Ames and quickly sketched out what I needed to accomplish in the shop the following day (it was closed when I got back into town), thinking it would not take me very long. Was I wrong. One of the greatest lessons this project reinforced was the importance and advantage of working ahead. Stressed with time, my final model was more of a working model and I made a variety of mistakes, choices, and changes along the way (opposed to knowing exactly what pieces I needed and needing solely to concern myself with craftsmanship). A few mistakes I made included accidentally cutting a ledge (to hold the top piece) on the wrong side of the right side board and cutting the top board down too much. While these were frustrating, the most cumbersome challenge, the most difficult piece for me, was the front axle. Thinking I simply force the piece into place was a mistake and I had to devise another solution. I ended up creating a variety of iterations.
Between my various axle attempts, I cut out my side handle/window forms.
I found the axle was too small, so I worked on a new one.
I was unsuccessful in creating a sturdy, reliable, and effective axle, so I consulted Peter Brue for help. He recommended and showed me how to chisel out the axle.
I added holes above and below the axle slot on the front board so I could strap in the piece with rubber bands.
With the front axle in what I thought was a functional state, I filed down a smaller dowel to make wooden pegs that would attached the rear wheels to the axle.
Without a complete model, I could not test whether my concept or current design would work. Once again, there’s power in working ahead. Not until I had a complete model could I test my concept. I had to design, cut, and build pieces with the presumption that the design would work. Unfortunately, this did not prove completely true. During my first test, the rubber band chain snapped.
After switching out the chain for a single large band, the front axle broke and again I had to create a new design.
I decided I needed the axle to extend further pas the front board. Luckily, I previously made small wheels that would fit around the larger dowel in case I wanted to use them in the rear. I was able to use one of these wheels and cut down the larger dowel.
When I finally had a complete, working model, I identified a variety of ways I could improve it. Last night I struggled falling asleep as I pondered different designs and means of joining the faces of the car together. I hesitantly sit on the car, fearing it will collapse beneath me. Simply carrying the vehicle around poses a risk for the pieces to explode into chaos. The model does work; you can wind it up and release it. You can also sit on it. However, it remains stationary, whether or not it’s wound up, when bearing my weight. During one test, the green “light” exercise band snapped and I moved up to the “medium” gray band. Still though, it will not move when I sit on it.
With a design in mind, I created a rough build plan and purchased wood.
Upon purchasing wood, I analyzed the dimensions to ensure I could get all my desired pieces out of it and then created a cut plan.
I then began cutting.
From here, after speaking with Peter Brue and some peers, I plan on cutting finger joints to connect the box from of the car. Pete recommended I do so on a band saw and said I could further reinforce the hold by drilling down through the joints and driving a dowel into the hole. As you can see in my build plan, I was planning on attaching the wheels to the axle by cutting a plus shape into each. However, after discussing, I think I will drill a hole though the wheel and axle and drive a dowel all the way through (this is an idea I pondered earlier after speaking with the Landscape Architect, as mentioned in an earlier post) and/or locking the wheel in place by drilling holes on either side of the wheel and driving a dowel pin through, locking the wheel in place. My hesitation with the latter idea is I fear if the wheel is not locked onto the axle, it will spin freely and not propel the vehicle forward.
After receiving input from a variety of peers, I set out to revise my wooden life-size wind-up car model.
I extended the axle around which the rubber band would wind up and cut an in-wheel hook. I tried securing the wheel to the axle by cramming rubber bands under and immediately next to the wheel on both sides.
I lined the wheels with rubber bands to increase traction and, like the axle, secured the wheels with rubber bands.
When I tested the vehicle, I discovered the rear crosspiece, despite the hole, hindered the band. Thus, I decided to remove the piece for at least testing purposes.
Despite the new axle and rubber bands securing the wheels on the sides, the car did not work and, instead, spun in place. The issue was, in part, due to the fact that the band did not wrap around the larger axle piece. and instead, after hooked, wrapped around the dowel. In an attempt to resolve this, I added a grove around the axle wheel. I also added the rubber bands around the wheels as did I with the first attempted wooden model.
Still, though, the vehicle did not work.