Jump to content

Skylab, 1/100, Scratchbuild


Recommended Posts

Happy Anniversary Skylab

 

50 years ago today Skylab, America's first space station, was launched.

qicUOny.jpg

 

I'm not going to discuss Skylab's history in detail right now, there will time for that later but suffice to say that this programme set numerous records for human occupancy in outer space, gathered an enormous amount of scientific data regarding both planet Earth and the Sun and was involved in a couple of episodes of aerospace drama that sometimes tested NASA’s ingenuity and determination to the limit.  It was also - in its own way - rather beautiful.

OIPCGlM.jpg

 

Skylab is well remembered here in Western Australia because on the evening of 11 July 1979 as it disintegrated in the Earth's upper atmosphere it scatteried debris over a large elliptical area to the North-East of the small W.A. town of Esperance. No one was hurt and no damage was caused.

G3ooRnd.jpg

 

For a brief period the eyes of the world were on Western Australia and a flurry of activity followed as numerous folks went out in search of souvenirs.

9i81orL.jpg

 

Surprisingly I have only ever seen one model of Skylab in W.A. It was given to the Shire of Esperance by NASA and is on display, along with various pieces of debris, in the Esperance community museum.

 

I'm going to have a crack at building my own model and hopefully - despite this early start - will be able to join into @bianfuxia's upcoming 'Beyond the Karman Line' group build.

 

Here are my main references.

t1bWTRy.jpg

 

And the principal drawings that I will be working from.

17Fy2KZ.jpg

 

It turns out that 70mm PVC piping from Bunnings is freakishly - exactly - the correct diameter for the main orbital workshop.

wYdzVrM.jpg

 

 

and that 25mm electrical conduit is also - exactly - the correct diameter for the multiple docking adaptor module.

rPbsCB9.jpg

 

So, earlier tonight, on the evening of the 50th anniversary of the launch, I made the first cut in this project.

 

LH2jhT2.jpg

 

 

Followed by marking up and cutting out two bulkheads from MDF.

kJAuuvn.jpg

 

That sit snugly in the workshop like so...

sCRVaSg.jpg

 

and then have a central hole cut in them so that the central 'axis' of the model (the aforementioned conduit) can slip through the centre of the orbital workshop .

hnyFJxs.jpg

 

Leaving this...

o6OK6cA.jpg

 

Which is a pretty good start I think.

 

Unfortunately I now have four projects on the go, which is not ideal.  Top priority stays with finishing the PZH-2000. I'm giving myself plenty of time for this one - about 6 years in fact - as I want it finished in time for the re-entry anniversary! 🙂

 

Best Regards,

Bandsaw Steve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 23
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just. Awesome. 

 

I look forward to following and to seeing this orbit through the "Above the Karman Line" group build later in the year.

 

I've been halfway through"Homesteading Space" for so long I'll probably finish it when you complete this project 🙂

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Steve

Can't see the pictures (broken link).

 Apart from that, there is a real Skylab in the Smithsonian (and a Spacelab). (NASA always build two of everything so that they have a reference for the ground engineers to use for problem solving) Anyway it might be a good reference source.

Edited by Jo NZ
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Jo NZ said:

Hi Steve

Can't see the pictures (broken link).

 Apart from that, there is a real Skylab in the Smithsonian (and a Spacelab). (NASA always build two of everything so that they have a reference for the ground engineers to use for problem solving) Anyway it might be a good reference source.

Thanks - I did not know that about the second Skylab or the twin build policy either. I might have to arrange a visit to the States one day! 🇺🇸 😄

 

I have posted my photos in the same way as I usually do so am not sure why they are not showing up for you (or what I can do to help.)

Anyone else having problems?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was lucky enough to live in DC in 2019 - the year of the Apollo 11 50th anniversary. 

 

Needless to say I made more than a few visits to the Air & Space!

 

Honestly speaking, the Skylab there is super interesting when you're inside it, seeing all the living quarters and equipment, but from memory it's not so useful for making a model of Skylab because it doesn't have anything other than the Saturn stage component. 

 

There's a flight backup lunar module and Apollo-Soyuz there too. 

 

On the night of the 50th I was there with other space fans watching the original moonwalk with all that equipment nearby - pretty insane!

 

We bailed out during the pandemic times of 2020 so I didn't see what it's like since the renovations.

 

There's a lot of good stuff at Udvar Hazy  near Dulles too.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

I have posted my photos in the same way as I usually do so am not sure why they are not showing up for you (or what I can do to help.)

Anyone else having problems?

 

It seems to have started in the last couple of days - not just on your page. I've tried Firefox and Edge browsers, a different PC, still no pictures. All I get is a jpg reference, like this HkS8e9R.jpg. Of course now I've copied that it gives me https://i.imgur.com/HkS8e9R.jpg  !! I'll go and look there....

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

FWIW all of my linked photos are on Imgur. However they are in gallery’s set to ‘Private’ not ‘public’ so you might not be able to view them directly. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

FWIW all of my linked photos are on Imgur. However they are in gallery’s set to ‘Private’ not ‘public’ so you might not be able to view them directly. 

That seems likely. Do I need to be a member of imgur?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, these photos should just ‘appear’ on your Britmodeller feed just as they do for other threads. You shouldn’t have to do anything special. 
 

Maybe have a look on the FAQ section above, that might have some advice.

 

Also maybe have a look at one of my other threads ( say the PZH 2000 on the armour pages) to see if the issue is common to all of my threads or just this one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

in the Esperance community museum.

Gidday Steve, I've just learned of your new project. I actually worked on that museum in late 1976, doing some of the ground's reticulation.

 

13 hours ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

Skylab is well remembered here in Western Australia because on the evening of 11 July 1979 it disintegrated in the Earth's upper atmosphere scattering debris over a large eliptical area to the North-East of our small coastal town of Esperance.

I left Esperance in January 1977. I've got this unreasonable aversion to space ships bouncing off my head so maybe I had a premonition  .   .   .       

 

       You certainly do a wide variety of models, things that go in water (and under it), over land, through the air and now over the whole lot. I suppose one day you'll do an intergalactic space cruiser of some sort. 🙂 Go somewhere you haven't gone before.

       As usual you will no doubt have some interesting methods and techniques with some not-so-usual modeling materials. In fact you've already done so, the PVC pipe and electrical conduit. (Actually I've used electrical conduit myself, many years ago - barbettes supporting quad 14-inch turrets on HMS Monarch).

       So, I'm looking forward to seeing another not so common model take shape. 

Oh and BTW, your photos here are very visible to me. I use Flickr myself but am running out of my allocation of photos. I might have to talk with you about Imgur, while I'm admiring your (completed) PHZ-2000 in August.

       Regards, Jeff.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, ArnoldAmbrose said:

Gidday Steve, I've just learned of your new project. I actually worked on that museum in late 1976, doing some of the ground's reticulation.

 

I left Esperance in January 1977. I've got this unreasonable aversion to space ships bouncing off my head so maybe I had a premonition  .   .   .       

 

       You certainly do a wide variety of models, things that go in water (and under it), over land, through the air and now over the whole lot. I suppose one day you'll do an intergalactic space cruiser of some sort. 🙂 Go somewhere you haven't gone before.

       

Hi Jeff,

 

I forgot all about your Esperance connection! Nice to have some local knowledge looking in on this. Nice place Esperance, but a very, very long way from anywhere! Perth’s bad enough!

 

As for variety in my subject matter, when I finished the Mig-15 I had to decide whether to stick with 1/48 aircraft as I had exclusively built for the previous 20 years or whether to ‘branch out’.

I decided to branch out and built AE2 in 1/100 and just loved the change. Since then I’ve been almost willfully pursuing an agenda of building the most diverse and eclectic set of models I can. No real preferred scales or subject. Anniversaries seem to be becoming a recurring theme but more by happenstance than design.

The variety keeps me fresh and interested in the hobby and I’ve learned a great deal about subjects and modelling methods that I would never have been exposed to otherwise. 
The only drawback is that I seem to be picking subjects that need less bandsaw action than I would like! ☹️

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

No, these photos should just ‘appear’ on your Britmodeller feed just as they do for other threads. You shouldn’t have to do anything special. 
 

Maybe have a look on the FAQ section above, that might have some advice.

 

Also maybe have a look at one of my other threads ( say the PZH 2000 on the armour pages) to see if the issue is common to all of my threads or just this one.

Yes I looked at the FAQ. Same problem with your other thread...

  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

Nice place Esperance, but a very, very long way from anywhere! Perth’s bad enough!

Yeah, I gotta agree there, with both of them, not that I have reason to go to Perth much. Tactics in London Court (I call it the Dungeon) is often worth the trip though.

       When I first saw your Mig-15 I honestly thought it was a kit, I was very impressed. And I've enjoyed your other models since then too. You have a different philosophy to choosing model subjects to me. While I'm interested in other subjects, in particularly twin-engine fighters of WW2 there are too many ships I want to do and not enough life-time left to do them in. And I wish to stick to the same scale for comparison between ships, such as the Flower class corvette (206 feet) and HMS Hood (860 feet) - both combatants in the Battle of the Atlantic.

 

5 hours ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

The only drawback is that I seem to be picking subjects that need less bandsaw action than I would like! ☹️

I'll bring some logs around for you to saw up for fire wood for me. 😁

Best regards, Jeff.

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, Peter2 said:

I had to look up 'reticulation'. Apparently it's an Aus / NZ word for water piping.

Gidday Peter, yes in this case it referred to the pipes in the ground feeding the sprinklers, and the sprinklers themselves. I didn't know the word was an Aus/NZ thing. Sorry. Regards, Jeff.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had to look up 'reticulation'. Apparently it's an Aus / NZ word for water piping. Certainly learning a lot about plumbing in this topic. 🤠

Wikipedia says the term is also used in South Africa for water piping. Reticulation has other meanings too. Anyway, back to Skylab modelling...

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Reticulation, Permanent Markers and Knitting Needles

 

It's funny that folks had to ask what 'reticulation' is.  When I arrived in Australia many moons ago (I came in from NZ) I also had to ask.  Despite the notes above I think it's a very Australian word. Anyway, reticulation is, generally speaking, a network of plastic pipes lying on or immediately under the surface of a garden bed through which water is distributed to a series of water sprinklers. It is supposed to be convenient 'water the garden at the turn of a tap' or the 'flick of a switch' facility. Sometimes reticulation is set to turn on by automated timer.  In any case it never seems to work.  The pipes always leak or get crushed or blocked or whatever and the sprinklers break. In my experience reticulation is the most maintenance intensive investment known to humanity. Which is why you can always find replacement sprinkler heads at Bunnings, just like these ones...

 

Just $7.95 each and - weirdly - within 1mm of the correct diameter to make a service module for a 1:100 Skylab model. Could this be an intentional design feature?!?! 😱

Mo7CowO.jpg

 

Just purchase, measure and...

bsIDcKz.jpg

 

cut to the correct length. Yes! Finally I get to use a bandsaw on this project! 😀

RQ6KKK5.jpg

 

Buff up the surface with some sandpaper and put it to one side.

Z0M8qmv.jpg

 

At work last week I was scribbling some nonesense on a whiteboard when the marker ran out of juice.  I was about to toss it in the bin when I thought... I wonder? 🤔 and instead took it home.

Yep - once again here's a bit of junk that's exactly the correct diameter. Frankly this is getting spooky. :ghost: In this case the diameter is so spot-on that I can't even measure the error with digital calipers.

uY1AYZd.jpg

 

A quick trip to my local second-hand shop saw me purchase a pair of 7mm steel knitting needles, which will be used to form a sort of structural 'central spar' that will run the length of the ship, keep everything straight and strong and allow me to securely affix the CSM (command & service module) and various other bits and pieces.

lY3T4yz.jpg

 

I cut out some discs of 'HIPS' plastic and drilled holes through the center of each to ensure that the knitting needle will sit smack on the centerline of this spacecraft...lMs5ffM.jpg

 

as shown below.

Note that the piece shown below is the main orbital workshop module, but with the large PVC pipe removed. The discs of MDF are attached with two-part epoxy resin glue and are there to ensure that the central conduit sits right in the middle of the outer PVC pipe which, when the time comes, just slips over the top of the discs. The middle disc is thicker because one of the solar panel 'wings' will need to key into this, so it's structurally important.

H1VVP0M.jpg

 

I've also added a length of 16mm MDF running along the base of the orbital workshop’s interior . The finished model will sit on an 'in-flight' stand and this is the solid structural member that the prongs will key into. The blue goo is acrylic joist glue which is great for holding pits of MDF together and is also an exceptional gap filling glue.

Z6wOUlI.jpg

 

Here the outer PVC pipe has been glued in place with epoxy resin,  and we can now see the knitting needle permanently affixed.  The little sticky out prism shaped thing on the side of the workshop is the root of the solar 'wing'. I've made two of these little boxes out of HIPS plastic.  HIPS is rapidly becoming a favorite material of mine and I intend to write more about it in future. It's great stuff! 

9fOlbvr.jpg

 

Here HIPS plastic has been used to form three more centering discs...

Rli0nGh.jpg

 

that slip into the service module like this and ensure that the central spar runs right through the center of the module.

4JlnSOG.jpg

 

Leaving this as the current state of play.

0By5SHV.jpg

 

You have to use your imagination here; the black cylinder is the service module and it will have a pointed nose-cone (the command module) added that will point towards and 'dock' with the rest of the ship. 

With that in mind, I think that the next step might be bring the woodworking lathe out of semi-retirement!

 

Best Regards,

Bandsaw Steve 

 

  • Like 14
Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

within 1mm of the correct diameter to make a command capsule

Gidday Steve, actually I thought that was called the Service Module, the Command Module being the cone-shaped bit at the front of it you still have to make. And I'm REALLY interested in what you use to make that, and the engine exhaust nozzle. You make use of some very unusual materials for models. 👍

It's an educational and entertaining build thread. Regards, Jeff.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, ArnoldAmbrose said:

Gidday Steve, actually I thought that was called the Service Module, the Command Module being the cone-shaped bit at the front of it you still have to make.

Whoops, I think you might be right there!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, ArnoldAmbrose said:

And I'm REALLY interested in what you use to make that, and the engine exhaust nozzle.

So am I. Currently I’ve no real idea. 
 

Maybe vac-forming?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

Maybe vac-forming?

Never tried it myself, although there are some here on the forum who make it look easy. Have you ever done vac-forming yourself?

The command module having straight edges (when viewed from the side) might be simple cone made from any bendable material. The engine exhaust nozzle looks a more challenging shape, plus the inside being visible from behind - yeah maybe a plug made on a lathe then vac-form. Good luck. 🙂       Regards, Jeff.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, ArnoldAmbrose said:

Gidday Steve, actually I thought that was called the Service Module, the Command Module being the cone-shaped bit at the front of it you still have to make.

FYI @ArnoldAmbrose

 

I’ve just reviewed and edited that post above and think I’ve got at least some of the technical names a bit better this time! 👍Thanks for the info! 😄

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...