Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Blender Motorcycle Concept Project Part 2

The past couple of days I've put a bunch of hours work in on my Blender motorcycle concept project. Lots of good ideas have come up because of it and so it is and interesting thing to work on and also inspirational at the same time.  In part one I completed the wheels for the motorcycle which turned out very well.  I was not sure at that point if I was going to model a regular looking futuristic motorcycle or redo an earlier model that I had created years ago.  The second idea won out so here is how it all turned out. 

(Select any image to get a larger view)

This is the starting point for the Blender concept cycle redo.  I liked the idea of modeling a motorcycle that was fully enclosed with a clear bubble canopy.  Also with this idea would be that the motorcycle would be electric and be self balancing.  There is a real motorcycle currently under development like this from a company named Lit Motors.  A very interesting machine so I thought I would make my version of what I would like it to be if I could build one. 

I liked the bubble canopy but thought it best to have it be split so that access to the drivers seat would be a bit more believable.  I also did not know if this was going to be designed for one or two people. In the image above more details were added with side mounted video cameras instead of mirrors, single arm front suspension and a near complete interior at this point. 

At this point I also recessed the rear license plate and added small access panels on the side to act as canopy handles to open or close the motorcycle.  I had not worked out the rear tail or signal lights yet but the design was shaping up rather nicely.

To give my Blender model a better reference to it's size I imported a lady that I had created in a piece of software called Makehuman that I had on file and so she became the driver.   I did some quick reference measurements using the lady (I call her Kathy) and set her up to be 5 foot 8 inches tall.  This along with measuring the tires which matched my Honda Goldwing I was able to work out the full dimensions of the model if it were a real vehicle.  The real motorcycle the best I can figure would be 12 feet long, 45 inches tall and right around 2 feet wide.  This made for a tight fit for Kathy but I did manage to squeeze her into the cockpit.   I also worked out in the image above the front and rear signal lights, tail light and headlight layouts.  

In the interior of the motorcycle I originally had the steering wheel to high.  This caused an issue with trying to see the gauges on the dash along with the small video monitors that are used for the rear view as well as both left and right views.  

With the model being just a model I realize that a tremendous amount of actual design work would need to be done to make this Blender model and actual living breathing vehicle parked in my garage. As I said earlier I managed to squeeze Kathy into the drivers seat. Barely.   In reality the design would need to be taller and wider to accommodate a real person.  You need the vehicle to be closer to 3 feet wide not two and probably another foot taller.  It would give you a lot more elbow and head room inside.  Also to make it electric would be a real trick as this is a very small vehicle.  An interesting design study just the same. 

One thing nice about playing with this design is getting to see what It might be like to actually build and drive something like this.  The image above gives you a good idea of what the dash layout might be like and what you would see going down the road.  The dash could be a full computer screen to show the gauges that you would normally see and just above it are three small video monitors that give you a constant rear view as there is no rear view mirror.  It would be worthless as you could not see anything out the back of the vehicle with a mirror.  Also on both sides  of the rear view monitor are video monitors for the left and right views.  An interesting thought to have the video cameras instead of mirrors.  This could some day be the norm.  At least I hope it will be.  

Also the steering wheel could be replaced with a joystick.  It actually would be safer in a crash but might be more than a handful when trying to drive it.  Something the auto industry has been playing around with for decades.  Anyway this is my futuristic Blender motorcycle.  I hope it will give you a few ideas for you next Blender project or maybe a real project that will sit in your garage someday. We can at least dream and create our visions using Blender 3D.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Miniature Bowling Alley Pt 3.......... It's Completed!

First off happy Fourth of July!  My holiday started off with a bang this morning when I put the finishing touches to the miniature bowling alley that I have been working on.  I was a bit concerned about having to paint and varnish two different section of the alley and keep things looking good when I got done but all worked out well as you can see from the photos below.

Here's the bowling alley closed up and ready for either storage or transport. I added a small brass handle to one side of the bowling alley (case?) and two small latches on the end to securely keep it closed.  The pins and ball are stored inside the closed bowling alley so that nothing can be lost when it is put away after being played with.  The alley has a double pivot 3D printed hinge that makes this all possible. The alley folds up to a dimension of roughly 11 inches wide, 7 1/2 inches tall, and 2 feet long. 

This is a good shot of the alley set up and ready to play.  Ready to play it is not four feet long. Impressive to say the least.  I was really happy how the red paint turned out and it only took me a few minutes to correct any flaws that I had found after removing the tape that I had laid down to protect the varnished sections of the alley.  (Big sigh of relief and a smile on my face too!)

The laser engraving that I put on the side of the alley is well protected now with the five coats of varnish that I had applied to the bowling lane over the last week or so.  I had to take great care not to mess this up when I painted the lower section of the alley.  I was happy that it looks this good. 

What bowling alley would not have lane markers on it?  I thought this was a nice touch to the little alley and again being laser engraved and then varnished these markings should not rub off after hours of play.

To make it simpler to set up the pins correctly I also set up pin markers on the alley as well.  I had to get the correct spacing for the pins so I did some searching online and found the correct pattern and used it to get the correct scale for the spacing of the pins.  Should work out very well. 

This gives you a good view of how the alley looks when you are playing the game.  I like it for sure.

That's about it for this project.  I am very pleased with how it all turned out.  Again with not having any large problems makes for an enjoyable project so it's a good way to start my 4th of July.  Hope you have as much success with your ongoing project as well.  Have a good holiday!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Blender Motorcycle Concept Project....Part One

This week with working on several different projects at once I find time once again to also work on a new project in Blender 3D.  I work in the shop and have to either let things dry or cure or wait for parts so to fill the time I play around with new ideas in Blender.  So a new motorcycle is the course of action for this project.

  I have been wanting to create a motorcycle for some time but just never set out to making it simply because I did not slug my way through figuring out how to make a motorcycle tire.  They are a bit different of course than a regular car tire so I have waited and finally forced myself to the task this week.  This is what I have come up with so far.

I first started with the tire and came up with the design that you see in the image above.  I liked it so that was that.  At least it does not look like a car tire and the tread pattern is believable for the project.  Along with this next came the wheel and I went with 40 spokes instead of a solid wheel design.  This image was the first go around as you will see in the following images in this post.  Close but not quite right was the shape of the spokes at this point.  So more work was needed to get things right.

I refined the spokes in this image but like most Blender models a lot can be hidden and so the changes to the spokes only I know about and you would really have to dig into the actual model to see what I corrected at this point.  In the first image the spokes at the center hub stuck out to far so I corrected this but after adding the disc brake and the drive belt hub the changes were hidden.  At least I know that they are correct so I can be happy with that. 

I had to do some research online to see how an actual axle is mounted to a motorcycle frame.  The blue part at the axle is correct as it makes sense to be able to adjust the rear axle rearward to tighten up the drive belt for the bike.  I also put in the mounting for the disc brake caliper along with a hydraulic line that runs along the upper portion of the right side frame.  Little things like this make the model stand out just a bit more.

I thought I would go with a belt drive for the Blender cycle and so I modeled what you see in the image above.  Not sure yet about the placement of the belt as it goes around the pivot point on the frame.  I will have to do a little more research on that one as my real motorcycle that I ride is a shaft drive so I'm not really sure how that part of the assembly works here.  

Lastly I got the shocks modeled and they turned out very well also for this project.  Again with a lot of modeling that I do I change around things as I go and looking at what I have created this far I can see changes coming up.  I thought I might make this setup a mono-shock layout instead of dual shocks.  Again something to think about.  Also maybe a three wheeler instead of a two wheeler.  No matter what I like the progress I have made with the start of the Blender model.  Nice detail already with the rear end at least.  

I will have to figure out if this will be a concept bike that looks like a normal motorcycle or not.  I did a model of a futuristic looking motorcycle years  and years ago (shown above) so I thought I might go back to this idea and redo the model of this design. As you can see my modeling skills have improved greatly since this old design was created around 10 years ago.  An update would be in order for sure and would look way better than my earlier work.  In the meantime this is a good start for this model and a great way to spend a rainy afternoon while I wait for varnish to dry in my workshop. I'll keep you posted on my progress as this Blender bike project moves forward. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Minature Bowling Alley Part 2

A couple of weeks have passed so I thought I'd better get this post out while I can about the miniature bowling alley for kids that I am working on.  No real major setbacks have occurred so progress is still moving right along on the project.

Here once again is the computer image of the design.  I am not certain that I will paint the toy as you see here yet but that is a simple thing concerning this project so far. 

 Lots of work have already gone into the project as you can see by this photo and others to follow.  The wording for the "Little League Bowling" alley I created using my Tooli plotter what has a low powered laser attachment.  It was perfect for this job and only took around 13 minutes to do one side of the alley shown above.  The lettering will stand out even more once I put a few coats of varnish on it.

I did my homework on the computer to get the pins for the alley spaced out correctly with markings on the alley.  The pins will be painted white with the usual red ring around the neck.   

I even have lane markers on the front of the lane like a real bowling alley.  Again the laser engraver work perfectly for this. 

Here you can see the bowling alley laid out just to get an idea as to how big it is once you are playing with it.  It is four feet long and a little over 11 inches wide.  I am glad that I decided to make it foldable as the alley being this large will be fun to play with but not so much fun to store when it is not being used. 

Here the 3D printed double hinge that makes up the folding mechanism for the alley is mount into it unfolded position. All looked good at this point and went together as planned. 

Here I was checking the double hinge in it's folded position.  I had not yet assembled the sides of the bowling alley at this point but I was still able to do some testing with the new hinge just the same. 

To help set up the pins in their correct locations I laser engraved circles on the alley deck to make things a lot easier when it comes time to reset everything for the next player. 

Here the alley is really starting to take shape.  I used pocket holes and screws to hold the framework on to the alley lane and screws, nuts and bolts to hold the double hinge in place. All of the assembly lined up very well so I am happy with how things are going at this point. I will plug the holes for the pocket screws and then get into sanding everything smooth for the final push on the project. 

 After working with the double hinge a bit I inspected it to make sure everything was ok.  The center section of the hinge that you see in the photo is a wooden replacement part that was needed  to beef up the assembly due to cracks that had developed in the 3D printed part I originally had made for the alley. To remake a new 3D printed part would have taken five and a half hours to print.  I decided to make the new part out of wood which I think will do just as  well if not better and only took be around 20 minutes to make in the workshop. 

With the bowling alley folded up it now can hold the ball and pins when not it use and is only two feet long and seven and a half inches tall.  A much easier package to stow away when not being used. I still have to get the pins painted and stripped and sand the alley down nice and smooth and figure out what kind of paint scheme I want to do on it yet.  At least I am nearing the end of this project and look forward to handing it over to my grandson some time in the future.  I'll put out another post once I put the finishing touches on this project. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

A Test Becomes A Project!

With all that I have going on here at the workshop I still get a good surprise once in a while. This was the case this  morning while working on a paint test project that I had set up weeks and weeks ago.  I originally wanted to test out a painting idea that I had with a simple blank part.  I wanted to do a multicolored part and then lay down several coats of clear to finish it off.  Something I had not done before.

I decided on something simple like a "Smiley" face.  The blank was made with a twelve inch diameter plywood base to start. Then a Styrofoam blank disk the same size was attached to it.  The foam was shaped and sanded into the rounded shape that you see in the photo above.  When this was completed several layers of fiberglass was applied to the assembly. 

 When the fiberglass had been cured and smoothed out properly I painted the assembly gloss white.  Then a vinyl decal was applied to create the Smiley face and a layer of gloss red was applied and I crossed my fingers. 

Here's how the test part turned out this morning.  I carefully removed the vinyl decal that I had laid down on the white paint and sure enough there was "Smiley"!  It turned out perfectly.  The gloss on the sign is so good that you can see me in the lower portion of the face and the window reflections in the upper portions.

The shape of the Smiley sign turned out much better than I had hoped for with this test now turned finished project. 

So now I have another new display to hang either on my workshop wall or some other place in my home.  That's the really good news.  I want to try to make another test part as I do not plan on laying down any more paint onto to this nice little guy.  The new test part can wait for another day as I have other projects that need my attention at the moment but as I said from the start this test part gave me a nice surprise this morning and that is always a happy thing to happen in the workshop.  Have a good day in your workshop and maybe you'll get a nice surprise as well.