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Discussion Starter #1
And so it begins.

This is my first try at the lower hull of my TOS Class F Shuttlecraft. While the overall shape and proportions are okay there is some curvature that didn't work out. And I think I know part of the reason. The first part is a minor flaw on the original drawings. The second mistake was my approach in building the part.



Both mistakes I'll try to correct tomorrow, but that's enough for tonight.
 

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And so it begins.

This is my first try at the lower hull of my TOS Class F Shuttlecraft. While the overall shape and proportions are okay there is some curvature that didn't work out. And I think I know part of the reason. The first part is a minor flaw on the original drawings. The second mistake was my approach in building the part.



Both mistakes I'll try to correct tomorrow, but that's enough for tonight.
Looking forward to seeing how this turns out....

Hey, is Sketch-up a SOLIDS-based modeler or a SURFACE-based modeler? Just curious... never really used it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Hey, is Sketch-up a SOLIDS-based modeler or a SURFACE-based modeler? Just curious... never really used it.
I'd say it's both. You can make solid shapes or make a framework to put a skin on top of it. I tend to build solid shapes.

That deceptively simple looking lower hull isn't the easiest thing. There are subtle changes in curvatures and angles all over it. I was tossing it around in my head for about a week before I actually sat down to try to make it. Although it didn't come out the way I wanted I did learn something from the attempt. Hopefully next time I'll get it right.

One thing I learned right off: I find it highly doubtful you could carve the lower hull out of a solid piece of wood simply because of the angle changes along the sides and that the leading edge is curved rather than straight and the craft tapers in towards the front. To do it as a scratchbuild model you'd have to make a framework much like a boat's hull or aircraft fuselage and then put your sheet balsa or sheet plastic on top of that. That's where this 3D model (assuming I can make it) could be helpful because I'd be able to get the exact shapes in cross sections to make the frame members.
 

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I'm looking forward to this thread. I really enjoyed your TAS shuttle build. Thanks for taking us along on the ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Candidly I find myself questioning the accuracy of some of the things on Phil Broad's construction drawings. The way the ship is drawn results in some counterintuitive shapes, from what I can see. You'd think you'd want the angle of the hull on the upper and lower sides to be constant, but that's not what you get following the drawings exactly as is. If the angle is supposed to remain constant from aft to bow then it's not drawn correctly, particularly as viewed from above or below. I'm not against a complex shape (it's more visually interesting) but its hard to imagine they would have built a TV prop this complex. You'd think they'd go for something simpler to construct.

I would really like to see the full-size mockup myself. I'm not sure how much I can get from a few screen caps of the mockup.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
My second attempt didn't work as hoped, but again I learned something valuable. Now I really understand how the bottom hull is supposed to be shaped, and that helps me understand how to make it. The curved edge where the sloped forward facing surface meets the side should be a constant radius all along until it meets the flattened underside where the radius increases as it progresses towards the aft end.

Stay tuned...
 

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Well, sticking my foot firmly in my mouth and talking about something I have very little actual knowledge about (3D CGI construction)...

If I may suggest, I think you have the solution in an earlier post above, you just need to figure out how to apply it, to wit:

Start from first principles. "I am building the prop shell. I have limited money and time. How do I realize this design (which on paper may not translate to physical materials exactly due to said limitations) as close as possible?"

Also take into account that, if memory serves, it was built by people who normally build automobile mock-ups, and the techniques that may have been employed.

Just throwing all that out there. I look forward to your efforts! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Yes, when they built the mockup they weren't doing it from a computer model (I'd love to see the actual construction drawings). Indeed knowing that leads me to suspect that Phil Broad's drawings---and subsequently my own---are slightly incorrect.

I've pretty much reasoned out what I have to. It'll just be a bit tedious. The thing is my drawings "correct" certain things that look to be production compromises to facilitate construction. That adds a small wrinkle to the some of the shapes in the design. In like manner the saucer on the 11ft. filming miniature of the TOS E isn't a perfect circle, but it wasn't noticeable on TV. Yet an actual scale replica of the ship demands a perfect circle for the saucer.
 

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Well, I know that Warped9's shuttlecraft isn't an exact replica of either the "full-size mockup" or the "model" or the "interior set," it's a compromise between all three... and has some other variations as well (such as minor curvature on surfaces which were, originally, simple flats).

I got the impression Warped9 was creating "HIS version" rather than any of the above. Am I mistaken?

In any case, I have my own basic approach to doing anything like this.

I create "view planes" where I apply the basic reference images... theses allow me to create "curves" in each view. You can create an "intersection" of these 2-D curves to create a resultant 3-D curve.

I always, then, compare this to the third 3D view as well... oftentimes, especially if the views were created in 2D of course, the profile of any line will not be a perfect match between all three views. I get the impression that this is part of what Ray's discovering now... right?

The trick, then, becomes "how do I come up with a compromise shape which most closely matches the three views?"

I had to deal with a LOT of this when making up the secondary hull shape of the Ariel. The three views (top-down, port, and fore/aft) simply did not match up. I actually struggled for quite a while, and eventually had to alter the top-down profile of the secondary hull trailing edge, because I felt that the "fore/aft" profile of that region was most significant, and the "port/starboard" profile ended up looking way too "wrong" if I matched the fore/aft to the top/bottom... but the top-bottom looked "pretty close" if I matched up the port/starboard and fore/aft profiles.

Now... I always try to crreate a "curve skeleton" of I'm making anything with a complex shape. In fact, this is how real PRODUCTION design is done... a series of cross-sections are defined, and a series of "inspection datum points" as well... and the surface profile is allowed to flow between those sections, with each section being "inspectable" and each additional "inspection datum point" as well (usually used to recalibrate the inspection process, relative to the prior inspection datum).

I actually started doing a 3D version of Ray's shuttle a while back... but since, at the time, I only needed it to serve as a "size/scale" tool for my Enterprise, I left it with only the most "mandatory" features, many in the form of datum curves rather than physical features.

I do plan... unless Ray gets his done first, of course... to someday have this complete, and useable (within my CG Enterprise), just as I've done the turbolift cars, the "bridge chairs," and so forth. If Ray's is complete and ready beforehand, of course... no need for me to replicate his work, though! :)

This is actually as far as I took it... which was good enough for me to determine ship scaling.

But I'm absolutely going to want it complete at some point... or maybe will want to replace it with an imported copy of Ray's final model?

 

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Discussion Starter #10
My shuttlecraft is, of course, an idealized version since there were significant discrepancies between the full-size exterior mockup, the interior set and the small miniature. For me this is what the "real" shuttlecraft is rather than a replica of a plywood set piece. Cary did much the same when developing his take on the TOS E. Small adjustments are made for it to work, changes that will likely pass unnoticed unless pointed out.

A clue to the shuttlecraft's overall shape can be seen in those few photos showing it under construction where you can see the exposed frame members before the exterior walls were put on.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Okay, I think--I hope--my life just got a lot easier.

Truth is I was having the damnedest time trying to figure out how to shape this thing properly. I was getting quite frustrated, but today I think I've found a solution. And what it comes down to is having the right tool for the job.

Today I downloaded a ShetchUp plugin known as Round Corner. It supplants a previous plugin called Round Edge (which I didn't know of either) mostly because it can do more. What's valuable to me is that it should greatly simplify doing something that can look easy but is actually quite challenging in practice: rounding edges where compound surfaces intersect, particularly surfaces that don't intersect at constant angles. If this works as hoped I should be able to knock off the shuttlecraft's lower hull rather quickly. And if successful then it will greatly facilitate building other parts of the ship.

I'll find out tomorrow.


Note: I wish I had had this tool when making my TAS shuttlecraft.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Sorry for the delay, folks. Real life intervened with my mother stumbling on some steps and fracturing her arm on a neighbour's porch landing. But I've been able to get back to struggling with this thing. It ain't perfect, but it's much better than my first attempt. It's a bit late presently and so I'll post something to see tomorrow.

It's amazing how such a seemingly simple shape can be such a pain to actually make...because it isn't at all simple. Seen from above it's basically an elongated trapezoid but with rounded corners at the end. But the end (bow) isn't flat and exactly parallel to the aft end but rather moderately arced. Seen from the side it's half a trapezoid but with a round tapered end that curves in two directions. Seen from the ends the sides taper inwards forming yet another trapezoid. The edges where the sides meet the bottom are rounded as well as the edges of the hull curve outward to merge with the stabilizer/rim. I don't find anything about distorted butter dish shape simple at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Okay, it's been a pain, but now we've got something and I'm feeling better about moving forward. Although still flawed I think this is much better than before.

What you see here is the lower hull with the stabilizer rim in place, but not the stabilizers yet.



Something notable in the underside view. The leading edge is curved, but on the full-size mock-up while the heading edge is also curved the sloping underside is flat. it looks odd when you see it, but I can see where they made it that way for ease of construction and because it's a detail that wouldn't be noticeable onscreen. But when I drew the plans I drew that forward part of the underside as a compound curve to match up with the curved leading edge. The consequence of that, though, is how it complicates construction when trying to match it up smoothly with sides that angle inward as well as tapered toward the front. Also the edge where the sides and bottom intersect is round. The final complication is that the edge round at the aft end is a greater radius than at the bow and it's a slightly different curvature.

Fun I can tell you. We're I doing this from scratch I'd go for a little more consistency.
 

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It's amazing how deceptively simple this shuttle seems to be - and yet, boy, as your work shows, it's anything but! I'm looking forward to seeing the final version.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
It's amazing how deceptively simple this shuttle seems to be - and yet, boy, as your work shows, it's anything but! I'm looking forward to seeing the final version.
Thanks.

If I were designing this from scratch I'd fix a few small things for it to make more sense for construction, but as it is I'm bound by trying to replicate what it looked like,owe was supposed to look like, on television.

I gotta say I'd love to get a first-hand look at the exterior mock-up myself, but I can't envision that happening anytime soon. It took decades for us to get really good schematics of the Enterprise. And in all that time we never did get really good drawings of the shuttlecraft either, primarily because of lack of access to the exterior and interior mock-ups, but also because of the huge inconsistencies between the exterior and interior as built and what we saw onscreen. My drawings were my attempt to address that, to have a shuttlecraft that looked like an actual vehicle rather than a filming prop. I was trying to do what Gary and R2 did for the 1/350 E kit.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I've made quite a bit of progress today, but it's late and I'm tired so I'll post images tomorrow. I'd also like to add a bit more to it before sharing some images.

The forward hull as well as the roof has been added.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I am SOOO pissed!

I constructed the upper side hull---a bit of a trial I can tell you---and I find I made a serious miscalculation. I'm presently stumped as to what to do now.

I'm wondering if I should just start from scratch from the beginning. I'm thinking maybe I should also correct some of the things wrong in the drawings which, in effect, mean fixing some of the things hinky with the design itself. They'd be small corrections that probably no one will notice, but they would be deviations.

Like I said, I am SOOO pissed! :mad:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Okay, upon closer study I might not be up the creek after all. I can fix this as I didn't make a huge mistake, but rather a small one that still led to more than an hour's work wasted. That one I can fix and do it better than before.

Essentially I didn't have the sloping forward hull pushed back far enough, but that included the attached roof which would then be too long. I don't know how I messed it up, but I can fix it.

Joy.
 
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