Google SketchUp 3D Challenge #126 – A Waterpowered Space Grinder-Kennel combination

Before you get any ideas, this was not my idea for the challenge. A water-powered space aged grinder/kennel sounds like something only a madman would come up with but I assure you’, it wasn’t me! There were several ideas suggested to the challenge administrator so he took three random suggestions and combined them into a single challenge. I thought the whole idea was stupid but then I thought it was actually brilliant because it would actually be a real challenge.

What I came up with was mostly inspired by the architecture from The Jetsons, Space Mountain, the planet Kamino, some cable stayed bridges and inadvertently, the Space Needle. I want even trying to mimic the Space Needle but if you flipped the bottom halves of the saucer s and flipped them over they would look almost exactly like the top of it. The whole idea is that these grinder/kennels would be built just off shore in the ocean so they can be powered by the tidal current.

The grinder portion of the design would be used to grind meat for human consumption. Large chunks of meat would be deposited by some sort of hovering delivery vehicle into the top of the grinding tower where they would then be ground into intermediately sized chunks of meat by the oversized burr grinder. The meat would then pass through a junction leading to 6 traditional styled meat grinders that would extrude the final product into the storage compartments in the roof. The ground meat would then be sucked out of the compartments by the ground meat collection vehicles.

The kennel is located under the meat grinder and is designed to handle 24 dogs. Each dog has its own pod built into the main floor. They are arranged in a circular layout and are accessed through round port hole style doors in the lower center floor. A large ramp leads to the main floor surface. The pods features automatically filled water bowls that a plumbed into the water supply. The bowl would be periodically drained and be refilled with cool water to stay fresh. The built in food bowl is filled the old fashioned way by the caretaker of the facility. The pods also feature a very generously sized bed for sleeping. Additionally the pods have skylights for monitoring the dogs.

The inside of the kennel is quite large to accommodate playtime for even the largest breeds of dog. There are also two cantilever outdoor play yards that feature real grass for outside play and potty needs. And don’t you worry Denver, there is no reason to feel guilty, there are no cat treats to steal…

All of this is powered by water using the tidal stream generator attached to the secondary platform’s tower base below the surface of the water. These are basically small wind turbines under water that rotate with the water current going back and forth from sea to shore. The power cable is connected to the tower and leads to a rack of dozen large storage batteries in the utility closet in the secondary platform. The utility closet also contains the water desalination filtering equipment that provides the water for the whole facility.

The secondary platform also serves as the caretaker apartment and would include all modern conveniences. The apartment comes sparsely furnished and ready to be personalized for the caretaker. There is also a communications antenna located on the top of the cupola of this platform.

This challenge had a longer time period to work on it than usual which allowed me to make the facility pretty detailed. Had there had been even more time I would have added some worker robots, a dock for flying vehicles to perch on and the vehicles themselves, a boat dock and some kind of elevator to get people and their dogs to the kennel. The caretaker would have their own flight dock and have access to a private cantilever patio.

See the model in the Google 3D Warehouse here and the gallery below:

Google SketchUp 3D Challenge #125 – Barbecues and Grills

Now that I finished the Star Wars blasters I was able to do a challenge and as a bonus I actually finished it in time! For my entry I chose to design a modern style outdoor gas grill that is similar to one featured on a Discovery Channel show I watched several years ago. What sets my design apart from the inspiration are the digital touch screen controls, dual slide out burners for pots and pans, and a unique wave pattern for the cooking grids. I thought about adding even more features but then I thought it would complicate things and possibly take too long.

The grill has a lid that recesses into the flat surface just like the one I saw on TV except mine has a wavy shaped handle to match the cooking grids. All of the drawers have a shorter version of that handle. I was thinking about adding a pop out rotisserie on the opposite side from the lid which would have been cool to do but by the time I figured out exactly how to design that I would have been way too late to enter the challenge.

Usually in these challenges I don’t bother with modeling an entire scene for but in this case I also modeled a simple deck and pergola to display the grill on. What is great about modern design is that things are not overly ornate so because of that it was no sweat to create the deck, pergola and outdoor table. I could have gone a lot further by adding place settings to the table, outdoor lights and even a fire pit but doing all that would distract from the whole idea of the challenge which was modeling a barbeque or grill.

See the model in the Google 3D Warehouse here and the gallery below:

Blastech E-11 Blaster Rifle

After finishing Boba Fett’s EE-3 Blaster I decided to revisit the Stormtrooper blaster model that I had never finished from a previous challenge. I hadn’t touched the model for almost 2 years. Oh boy, what did I get myself into… This is a long blog post so if you don’t feel like reading it, just go ahead and skip down to the pictures at the end.

This one takes the cake for the most detailed prop model I have ever made. I wouldn’t say it was overly difficult but it was very time consuming. No longer in the time constraints of challenge I did a lot more research on the E-11 Blaster and was able to find countless photos of the blaster and the British-made Sterling Mk.4 L2A3 submachine gun it was based on. It turns out that the pictures I had gathered back in July, 2009 were highly inaccurate and represented an inferior attempt at a replica of the prop. So after consulting The Parts of Star Wars website I found out there were at least 8 known versions of the E-11 used in Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope. I decided to go with version B because it used a functional Sterling instead of one that was had been deactivated with cast resin replacement parts. My model differs slightly from version B by using the scope used in version A because I like the look better. Luckily for me I found a blog that detailed the build-up a realistic replica that the author had built. The blog had every possible photo I needed to work from which made the modeling a lot easier.

When I opened the SketchUp file of the unfinished version, and examined what I had yet to do’, I found out that the dimensions were way off and some things were just plain wrong. I start correcting the problems with the model when I made a laughable mistake. Some of source photos had a ruler in them for size reference. I used one photo to determine the correct dimensions of the Sterling SMG that showed the right side of the gun. According to the ruler in the photo, the gun was 22 inches long. This showed that the gun’s receiver tube was about 3 1/2 inches too short and about an quarter inch too narrow. Because of that I felt I had to start over and make it the right size. I modeled the new receiver tube next to the old one so I could copy parts to the new tube. I then worked on the magazine well and then the magazine itself. Right when I finished doing all of that I read on Wikipedia that the gun was actually 19 inches long. So, I looked at the photo of the left side of the gun and it measured 19 inches and not 22! It finally occurred to me that I forgot to account for perspective! The photo of the right side had the gun resting on the magazine well which made the ruler further in the background and the receiver tube in the foreground. So all that work I did on the model was a complete waste of time because what I had before was already correct for the most part.

After the mishap I made I added the magazine well to the original model which not till much later did I realize that its dimensions were way off. I then worked to correct some other shortfalls that I had fixed when working on the wrong sized receiver tube. The next part I worked on after finally getting back on track was the trigger group. That was no big deal.

After the trigger group I worked on the folding stock. This was part of the model that was more difficult to figure out exactly how it worked than actually modeling it. I managed to find the operators manual for the Sterling SMG in PDF on a gun website which turned out to be invaluable help. I also found photos of a disassembled folding stock on another website. If it wasn’t for the manual I would never have been able to figure it out without have a physical Sterling in front of me. The design is a very clever one. In fact, everything about this firearm seems clever to me and I don’t even like guns. The final result of the model was to be a virtual recreation of a movie prop so how I feel about guns is beside the point. Back to the folding stock… After learning about the function of the stock I got to work on it. I decided that if II was going to do it right that I have to show it not only to show it folded but also fully unfolded. To make sure that everything would line up I modeled the stock in its unfolded position while folding it up along the way to make sure it looked right. The stock on this blaster had to look right or the whole blaster would look wrong because it is a very prominent element of its design.

At this point the Sterling SMG in the model was now complete except for the magazine and magazine well being dimensioned wrong and the bolt of the SMG. The next part of the modeling process was to “convert” it into the Blastech E-11 Blaster Rifle. This involved adding the M38 1942 gun scope, the fins that fit in the cooling holes in the barrel, the Hengstler industrial counter, and the somewhat illusive cylinders that go on top of the magazine well.

The version B of the blaster that I decided to make is supposed to have a M32/M19 scope on it but I did the M38 from the version A instead. The reason for the change is that I liked the look of it on the blaster better and I already had many good photos of the M38 to work from. First I had to add a rail to the receiver tube to mount the scope. The front of the rail is bent at a couple of 90 degree bends to fit in to the Last barrel vent hole. The back of the rail was likely riveted directly to the rear sight of the SMG and that is how I attached it. The scope was easy to do because it is mostly extruded circles. The most difficult part was the adjustable eyepiece which has ridges on its surface. I finished that and bonehead me failed to realize that piece was never even part of the finished blaster. And that really makes sense considering that the scope is intentionally mounted backwards making it useless anyways. The scope is mounted to the rail with its original hex Allen head bolts. The Allen bolts are two different sizes and have ridges like the adjustable eyepiece had.

I then worked on the fins that go along the barrel. These to hobbyist prop modelers’ best guess are made of plastic drawer guides. The Boba Fett EE-3 Blaster uses these on its barrel as well. The strips of the guides were then bent and shaped on their ends and Inserted into the barrel vent holes. The drawer guides are actually a bit wider than the holes causing me a headache. I tried several different bend angles and bend radiuses until the tapered ends finally fit in the vent hole without causing collision with the receiver tube. One thing I cannot stand in SketchUp models are components that overlap into the space of other components. It just seems sloppy to me and I like things to fit right.

Next I started work on Hengstler counter. These counters are used in manufacturing and other industrial purposes. Version B of blaster uses one that has the name Hengstler on it with an eagle with the number 890 in the middle. The other versions used in alternate versions of the blaster have just the eagle. These counters are hard to find because the new version of that model counter no longer has the eagle on it at all because, after World War II, the company felt the eagle too closely resembled the Nazi eagle insignia. The difficult part of the counter to model was the rotary counter wheels. I tried to “engrave’” the numbers into the curved surfaces of the wheels but I couldn’t stop the faces of the shape from disappearing. That happens when the dimensions of what you are working are so small that SketchUp cannot record the vertex coordinates accurately causing vertices to jump and make the face disappear. At least that is the best way I can describe the problem. To get around this I typically size the component or group 10 times larger than it is supposed to be, then I do what I ‘m having trouble with and then shrink it down to the right size. But in this case it just wasn’t working. So, instead I made the wheels 10-sided so when I inset the numbers, they were on flat faces instead of curved ones. The counter body was difficult to measure leaving me to keep adjusting it until it looked right. It is very close but not perfect. The counter is mounted to the blaster using a short piece of metal strip bent at 90 degrees and screwed to the side at one end and bolted to the scope mounting rail using the Allen-head bolt from the scope.

On the prop there are 2 small cylinders and 2 smaller cylinders mounted to a bracket that go on top of magazine well. It is somewhat a mystery about what these came from but likely they are oscillator vacuum tubes from an old amplifier with smaller capacitors between them. The same parts appear on Luke Skywalker’s speeder and the mouse droids so in the least I have photos of the actual parts to examine. Easy modeling.

After I added the cylinder part I discovered that the magazine well was not looking right in comparison to the photos I had as I mentioned earlier. Somehow I made it 5/16” too wide and 5/16” too thin. I don’t know how that happened but it was so far off that I had to redo the magazine all together. The second time around I was much more accurate in my modeling and I included a few more details such as the scalloped edges and making the end cap so it actually appeared to be slid on instead of just a flat shape. I don’t have a problem redoing something if I make it better.

Some versions of the blaster have wires that go from the counter’s plug to the cylinders. I debated doing that but in the end I decided to omit the wires. It isn’t clear how the wires are attached and the version B of the blaster, according to the Parts of Star Wars website, doesn’t have wires. It I were to have built the original props I would have soldered metal wire terminal ends onto the wires to attach them to the bolt heads on the cylinders and soldered the other ends of the wires to the counter connectors and cover the connector with shrink wrap.

The final part of the blaster model that I added was the gun bolt for the SMG. I had just a cylinder inside the receiver tube in place of the bolt up to this point. It was not difficult to make the bolt. I was worried about the diagonal grooves that the gun bolt has but it was not a problem. I just drew the lines for the grooves of each face of the bolt cylinder at the right angle and did the same a little farther down to make the width of the groove right. There is a large spring that goes behind the bolt. To make the spring I first created a ring in the right diameter and thickness using 24 segments. Each complete turn of the spring was a half inch in length. This meant I need to move each segment over by 1/48” of an inch to get the right pitch of the spring. I didn’t need to move every segment over because all I had to do was copy, paste and rotate a single segment of the spring until an entire turn of the spring was complete. Then I exploded the copied segments and duplicated the result enough times to make the spring long enough.

When all of the blaster was modeled it was time for me to finish coloring the model. I had been doing most of this during the modeling process and I made sure everything looked consistent. In reality the prop would probably been sprayed all the same shade of black but with mine I alternated a few shades of very dark gray to give the model more definition. I did this because models in SketchUp can look flat and hide the fine details. To further combat that issue the SketchUp style I created shows the lines of the model the same color as the components which basically highlights the edges to make them stand out. The only texture I used in the model was the texture of the grip. I actually tried to make the texture with actual geometry when I tried to do it; SketchUp kept crashing because there were way too many vertices. So in the alternative I made a small section of the textured geometry and screen captured a close up of it and turned it into a repeating pattern in Photoshop and applied it to the grip.

And finally I created some scenes to show off the model. Done. Wow, this blog entry is way too long.

See the model in the Google 3D Warehouse here and the gallery below:

Google SketchUp 3D Challenge #120 – Ray Gun

It has been a while since I participated in the Google SketchUp 3D Challenge as I have been spending much of my time modeling starships. But when the topic of Ray Gun came up I decided to “give it a shot.” So I decided to do a blaster from Star Wars… no surprise there. At first I was going to do Han Solo’s blaster from A. New Hope. After downloading some reference photos I decided it was much too complex for the time allotted. The Mouser handgun it is based on is highly detailed and just too complex for the amount of realism I try to put into my models in a short period of time. I finally settled on Boba Fett’s EE-3 Carbine Blaster Rifle from Return of the Jedi. It was much less complex overall. In the end it turns out I ran out of time to submit my entry because I had other priorities to work on. But I wanted to finish it so I kept working on it until it was done.

This blaster was made from a 1916 British Webley & Scott No. 1 Mark I Flare Gun. Starting with the flare gun the prop makers added a PVC pipe and various other parts to give it a futuristic look to it. On either side of the gun’s breach they glued a bomb rack part from a F4E Phantom scale model to cover up the writing engraved there. To the stock of the gun they added a gear case from Revel Visible V8 engine model on both side. In addition to the engine part they also added an undisclosed plate cover to both sides of the stock. It was then painted and then distressed to show a lot of use.

My virtual replica represents the blaster in “new” condition without any wear and tear. To give it the distressed appearance I would have to add textures to the model which would take much more time to do. Most of my models are without many textures because they take too much time, increase the file size and really don’t add much to the model.

I decided to model the Webley flare gun first then went on to make the changes to “convert” it into the blaster much like the original prop builders. Thankfully there were enough photos of the flare gun online to study. If it wasn’t for so many fans building blasters from these old guns there might have been nothing to go on besides screen captures from the movie. It was difficult getting the curves in the handle and the stock bracket to match the actual gun and I got fairly close but I could make it better if I had the time to do it during the challenge. Had I known I was going to run out of time to finish by the deadline I would have spent more time getting the curves right. I duplicated the finished uncolored flare gun and moved it over so I could later show a comparison of the Webley to the blaster.

Once I was done modeling the Webley flare gun I then started modeling the new barrel. That was no big deal. I moved on to the scope. The scope was pretty straight forward except until I got to the adjustment knobs on top. They are supposed to have a cross-hatched texture for gripping on them which would be easy enough to do with a textured graphic but I did it with actual module geometry. It was more time consuming than difficult. Modeling fine details like that in SketchUp is nearly impossible unless you know a trick or two. When working in a micro scale the program has a bad habit of randomly omitting faces leaving holes in shapes. To get around this I take the shape I am working on and scale it up to 10 times the intended size and when I am done I resize it back down to the correct size. Doing that also prevents the need to deal in 1/128th of an inch increments when going that small.

The final modeling work was on the rest of the details the prop makers added to the blaster. After that I added color to the model. I colored the original flare gun to match one version of it in a photo. Apparently the flare guns were made in a variety of metal finishes and this one happened to have a brass handle with everything else the typical gun metal grey. For the blaster I chose a slightly reddish black and gave all the screws a rusty brown color. I created scenes to show off both finished guns.

Even though I didn’t finish in time for the challenge I enjoyed finishing the model. Maybe I‘ll go and finish the Stormtrooper blaster for the Rifle challenge I failed to finish. I will see about that.

See the model in the Google 3D Warehouse here and the gallery below:

Untitled Capital Ship Project Update 2

This time around I made a lot of progress on the model’s interior. In my last update I said I was going to work on the engineering and cargo section but I didn’t stop there. I did some preliminary work on the Bridge, designed the Turbolifts twice, modeled some interior windows to allow viewing of the Landing Bay and Engineering Room, designed the Sleep Pods for the Bunkrooms and made the Briefing Room much larger. While working on all of those aspects, I also reconfigured the layout a bit to make things more cohesive with what I envision the ship looking like. I now think the model is almost too big for SketchUp to handle so expect some growing pains in the future.

In the Engineering Room I accomplished putting up all the basic wall panels and implementing the enclosed catwalk that will surround power core allowing unauthorized passengers to bypass the engineering room. The floating catwalk is based directly off of the design of the catwalk above the Landing Bay. In addition to the straight sections there are corner sections allowing for 90 degree bends. Initially the catwalk was to be a true circle around the power core but I decided it was too complex to make and would take away from the theme of modularity. I could have done it, but I didn’t want to devote too much time to doing it. After the floating catwalk was done I added some support struts to, you guessed it, support the weight of the catwalk over the floor of the Engineering Room.

After working on the Engineering Room I started on the Entryway which will serve as the main entrance for the ship and access point for the cargo bays when landed. When it comes time to work on the ship’s exterior the loading ramp will be added. The first thing I did here was to create an enclosed catwalk along the ceiling that will eventually provide access to the maintenance ports for the sub light engines to be added later. Once that was done I put up the wall panels. I then modeled the bulkhead doors for the cargo bays. At the front of the entry I added two small rooms that connect to the Engineering Room. The next step was to add the wall panels to the cargo bays.

I decided to do some work on the main bridge but only as much as I could do since there is no outer hull. All I did was added the wall panels for the back and side walls and model the floor for the upper level.

Next I went to work on creating the Turbolifts. At first I was lacking inspiration so I made a big square box of a turbolift. I’m not go into much detail on their design because I ended up scrapping their design. But, before I made the decision to scrap them I worked on other parts of the ship.

I did some thinking about the Briefing Room and I thought there should be some windows for observation of the Landing Bay. For the windows I simply modified the standard bulkhead door to have a pane of transparasteel in place of the door. I added the windows to the back wall of the Briefing Room’s second level. I also added these windows to the turbolift rooms in the entry area. This allows observation in to Engineering Room and into the entry area.

The next things I decided to work on were the sleeping pods in the bunkrooms. The bunkroom will be the sleep quarters for the starfighter pilots/flight crew and for the engineering crew. The reason I decided to make pods instead of bunks was to save space. Their design is based directly off the sleeping pods used in the Kamino clone training facility as seen on Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season Three. I scaled mine a little smaller to fit my standard wall panel dimensions. The inside of the pods are actually pretty spacious inside and include a ceiling mounted computer terminal and a storage cabinet for personal belongings. They kind of resemble an MRI machine but that is purely unintentional.

The Briefing Room seemed too small so I doubled its size and put up it’s wall panels. I then extended the second level around the perimeter of the room. I then added an inner wall on both levels as a back drop for the speaker’s podium. It also creates a buffer zone for the entrance into the room. I also added a entry door for the upper level.

The final thing I worked on was redesigning the Turbolifts. The reason I didn’t like what I first designed is that they completely blocked the view down the corridors and they just looked boring. The new turbolift design is round and see through and a lot better looking. There will probably be many other components that I will end up changing in some way.

What’s next? I’m really not sure. I might add some color because all the white is starting to irritate me. I will probably finish the rest of the basic wall panels before doing much else. It won’t be too long until I begin on the exterior.

See the gallery below or here to see what was added this update:

Untitled Capital Ship Project Update 1

For this update I primarily focused on the Landing Bay and Hangar section of the ship. This entailed creating wall panels for it, laying out the main walls, creating archways for the repair bays, creating support beams, designing the hangar blast doors and the landing bay bulkhead doors and creating the enclosed catwalk that crosses the ceiling.

The first thing I did was make a slight change to the corridor bulkhead cowling. It was too wide to be used in the narrow corridors so I made it a foot narrower and now it fits. In regular corridors I have put the wall panel spacers on either side of the cowling making them consistent with the regular room bulkhead doors. I then decided to make wall panel dividers that flank each side of the doors a different design just to make the walls look more interesting.

Originally, the repair bay sections of the landing bay were going to be separate rooms with their own bulkhead doors. After some thought, however, I found no feasible way for these sections to have doors and they were just too small for a star fighter or small craft to fit in. I eliminated the separate rooms and decided to create the repair bays with interior walls instead.

For the walls in the landing bay I chose to create new wall panels to differentiate the section from the rest of the ship. For the first two levels of the landing bay I created a simpler 2 foot square panel to use. For the upper 3 levels of the landing bay I made a 4 foot square panel. I based these larger panels on the acoustic wall tiles seen in the interrogation room on the TV series Bones. I just figured a landing bay could use some sound deadening panels to cut down on the noise from star fighter engines. I then went to work on creating the walls for the front and back of the bay. To add some flair to the room I designed some modular support beams and put them in place.

The next step was adding the floor for the upper hangar areas. Nothing special there. I then added the walls for the repair bays using the same components created for the landing bay. The opening of the repair bays needed an archway so I designed one kind of quickly but I liked how it turned out.

The floor space above the repair bays seemed too shallow to land star fighters on so I extended the floor depth by 18 feet. After some more thought I extended the floors out another 9 feet. The extension of the floors allowed for good placement of the blast door entrances for the hangar.

Once the size of landing bay was decided I started on the entrances for the star fighter hangar. There are a total of four entrances located at each corner of the landing bay. First I created the side walls for the bay with more support beams. After that was done I designed the cowling that surrounds the entrances which was done in no time. I went on to create the blast doors for the hangar entrances. They are made similarly to the bulkhead doors on the cargo area of the last ship I created, the 210BR. The doors don’t have any detail work on them but I will address that later on.

Now it was time to cut the hole in the floor of the landing bay for the landing bay bulkhead doors. I surrounded the new opening with a transitional molding around it. I then took a moment to verify that the Millennium Falcon can fit in the landing bay and it does just barely.

The landing bay bulkhead doors are fairly simple. They have interlocking teeth for looks only. After their basic shape was done I added some detail to their surface so they wouldn’t look so plain.

Last thing I worked on was the enclosed catwalk high above the floor. The reason for the catwalk is to avoid having to walk across the floor. This is especially helpful because the entire floor opens up! It also keeps those out of the landing bay that don’t have permission to be there. Again, it was designed modularly in keeping with the idea of the overall design.

What’s next? I plan to work on the engineering and cargo sections.

See the gallery below or here to see what was added this update:

Untitled Capital Ship Project

Now that my first starship model (the 210CR) is finished I have decided to start on a new one. This time around I have decided to create something much bigger: a capital ship. By definition a capital ship is an armed military vessel with a length of 100 meters or greater. Based on the work I have already done it is currently 236 meters long which is 86 meters larger than the Tantive IV Corellian Corvette that I used as a benchmark for my last starship. It will have many of the same features as the 210CR but on a much larger scale. In addition to those features it will have 3 full decks, a hangar/landing bay for a small complement of star fighters and a shuttle or small freighter (must fit Millennium Falcon), retractable laser cannons, traditional Star Wars style escape pods, robust landing gear and more viewports this time. It will also have a more complete engineering section including backup power cells, life support systems, garbage compactor (dianoga free) and water treatment facilities.

So far I have modeled the general design of the interior walls, the bulkhead doors for the rooms and main corridor, and created the empty rooms and bulkhead sections.

I decided to continue the idea of keeping my ships modular. This time around I expounded on the idea by creating a layout grid of 4’x4’ squares spaced apart by 6 inches that every wall panel, fixture, door will strictly line up with. Each wall module will be four feet wide and nine feet tall. Each basic wall module will consist of a top and bottom light bar for ambient lighting that are both 6 inches tall and a 4×2 grid of 2 foot square wall panels. These standard 2 foot square panels can then be replaced with additional modules that fit the 4×2 grid configuration.  Between each wall module will be a 6 inch wide divider. When a perpendicular wall is added, it will take the place of the divider this will prevent the need for fractional wall panels.

The bulkhead doors I for this ship are based on the design of the ones from the 210CR with the exception that there is just one layer of doors instead of two. The corridor bulkhead section doors function the same way as the ones on 210BR but are designed more similar to the room bulkhead doors. The openings of the corridor sections are arched and have cowlings that are reminiscent of the ones seen in the Millennium Falcon.

With modularity being key to the design of the ship I have created standard rooms/bulkhead sections that all align with the layout grid I have established. Each room section is spaced apart precisely to fit the layout grid. These standard room sections have cutouts with matching plugs for multiple bulkhead door configurations. This makes it so the standard room shapes are versatile for any type of room. All non standard bulkhead sections will also align to the layout grid.

To assist me in the layout of the ship I have created a rudimentary drawing in Photoshop with guides arranged in the layout grid I chose. This allowed me to visualize and plan where the bulkhead sections will be. I then finished creating the bulkhead sections for the ship and arranged them according to the drawing. After doing this I quickly realized that the bulkhead section for the hangar/landing bay was much too small to accommodate star fighters and the Millennium Falcon comfortably so I moved things around and significantly enlarged the section. This currently makes the ship appear to be pregnant but I will try to balance it out soon.

See the gallery below or here to see what was added this update:

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Starship Project Named and Ready to See

Now that my starship was done it needed a name so what I came up with is the Outer Rim Industries 210CR Fortified Blockade Runner. I didn’t want to use a known company name from the Star wars Universe because I don’t want my ship to be confused with ones in the films, books and other expanded universe sources. I choose the name Outer Rim Industries because the Alliance to Restore the Republic (a.k.a. Rebel Alliance) was mostly comprised of worlds from the Outer Rim territory of the galaxy and my intent is that this ship serve the Alliance. .Why 210CR? CR are my initials and 210 was derived from 2010. CR is also the prefix on the model number of the Tantive IV Corellian Corvette (CR90) in Star Wars which is similar to my 210CR. The Tantive IV was used as a blockade runner but due to the amount of guns my ship has, it is no ordinary blockade runner so I added “fortified” to it’s name.

To read the full specifications of the 210CR Fortified Blockade Runner, visit the My Starships section of my website.

To download and view the entire model you must have either Google SketchUp 7.0 or 8.0 installed. Click the link below download the model in the version of SketchUp you’re using:

SketchUp 7:
http://www.mediafire.com/file/1buf01ltf2iz2df/210CR-SU7.zip

SketchUp 8:
http://www.mediafire.com/file/a7av5wnrgl5c9nc/210CR.zip

To see the image gallery click here or  view the slideshow below:

Starship Project Final Update

After working on my Starship Project for over a year it is finally finished! It’s not like I am tired of working on it because I have enjoyed working on it the entire time. There just comes a time when you have to declare a project done before it becomes the proverbial white elephant in the room.

In this final update (which it turns out to the longest and with the most pictures, 55 total) I have wrapped up all of the loose ends. I finished head and showers room as well as the stateroom bathrooms, furnished the cargo bay with cargo containers and a way to move the cargo, redid the furniture in the mess hall, created ceiling light fixtures, created graphics for the display screens and made miscellaneous changes.

I created individual stalls for the waste extractors; there is not much difference between these and ones seen on Earth. I decided to make the doors swing in and to make that work in the limited space, the doors are made in two parts where one side nests in the other. When the doors are swung inward the nested half would automatically retract to save space. The waste extractors are the same as the one in the brig.

On the opposite wall from the waste extractors I modeled the hand wash sinks. I used the lower half of the waste extractor as a starting point for the sink. I shortened it and created a bowl and drain. The faucet has buttons on top of it to control temperature and flow rate. There is a simple soap dispenser to the right of the faucet and a hand drier on the left side of the sink.

The shower stalls are one-piece units that hang on the wall in the shower room. They each have a built-in bench to sit on and a shelf for bath supplies. The showerheads resemble those trendy UFO shaped ones becoming popular these days. The showers are controlled digitally with a panel across from the benches. In the shower room I also modeled a bench for dressing with hooks above to hang clothing.

The details of the bathroom are quite boring and nearly make me yawn as I sit here writing about it. The elements of the crew bathroom are used again for the bathrooms in the officer staterooms. Moving on…

The next part I needed to tackle was the cargo bay’s container storage system. I couldn’t find a good example for the types of containers that would be used in Star Wars so instead I settled on ones you might see watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and beyond. The ones used in the later Star Trek series were typically containers that are actually used in real life that look sleek and modern and made of plastic. So I searched for plastic crates I liked on the web and came up with one that would work. I made some additions to the design of the containers I found: one being the ability for them to interlock when stacked, another being hinge less and lastly an electric locking mechanism that could also be used to track the container. I made the containers in two different sizes that can be stacked on top of each other interchangeably. I originally thought the containers need to be held in cages but after several failed design attempts I decided it wasn’t necessary. I settled this in my mind by making the many containers magnetized to hold together during transport. While working on the containers I decided to enlarge the engineering room and shrink the cargo bay down a bit to make it easier to view the inside of the engineering room.

After the containers were done I needed a way to load and unload the cargo bay. I know previously I said I wouldn’t be modeling droids for the ship but out of necessity I decided to make a cargo loader droid. Again I went to the web for inspiration and found examples of cargo droids on Wookieepedia. I liked what I saw but they did not seem big enough for the job. I finally decided on modeling something similar to the Viper probe droids that were sent to Hoth to surveil the Rebels in the Empire Strikes Back. They are plenty big enough (though a bit menacing) for moving the cargo containers but with too many arms. I reduced the arm count down to just four placing them in the corners of the droid. The droid didn’t need as many sensors as the probe droids so I left many of them out. The resulting Viper Cargo Droid is just what I needed and should surely scare off any looting Jawas lurking nearby.

To complete the cargo system I needed a vehicle to move larger quantities of cargo containers. For this I designed a repulsorlift pod with the cargo containers in mind. I found these on Wookieepedia and they were mentioned in a few Star Wars comic books. It is basically a floating platform piloted from the back that is powered by repulsor engines. The engines use imaginary space-time mumbo-jumbo particles that are harvested by black hole power refineries. The point is they defy gravity and effortlessly move stuff around in planetary environments or any place or ship generating it’s own gravity.

Before I made the cargo repulsorpod I took a slight detour. I got to thinking about the tables and chairs in the mess hall and how they didn’t go with the flow of the room. So, I ditched existing tables and chairs and came up with a new idea for chairs and subsequently their matching tables. The chairs are formed from just 3 pieces: two metal rails and a sheet of “transparasteel” (a strong glass like substance) that are bent into the final shape. The tables are made the same way to match and made to be long and narrow to accommodate more people. The new furniture works much better in the room.

Next I worked on lighting fixtures for ceilings in the rooms off of the main corridor. They’re designed to be modular and comprised of an array of recessed lights (resembling can lights) that are surrounded by a tapered bezel with illumination around the edges. They would likely be made in a shiny black material that would gently reflect the light. For the large open sections of the ship I created a small square array of these lights to be repeated evenly across the ceilings.

A smaller change I made to the ship involves the docking ports. Early on I modeled the docking ports to match those found on the Millenium Falcon but I was never quite aware of how they operate and even now I still don’t know how they work. But at the time I made them I left no way for them to open due to my uncertainty. All I did this time was add a hinge to the doors so they can open outwards. So now at least they appear to function. Someday when I get a better idea I will change it. Also, early on there was an outer ring that protruded past the doors but when I changed the hull design to have alcoves for the docking ports I got rid of outer ring. I added the ring back into the design to make it once again consistent with the Millennium Falcon.

From the beginning I knew that the display screens were going to need some graphics. Nearly every screen on the ship up until now were just blank and at some point in time I was contemplating leaving them that way to save on size of the SketchUp data file. After I blew way past the size limit of file uploads for the Google 3D Warehouse the file size savings became irrelevant. For the screen on the computers in the computer core I created a simple status display with statistical graphs on one side and a meter of some sort on the other side. For the weapon targeting displays I carefully positioned the camera between the gun barrels and created snapshots of their view. I put crosshairs on the targeting displays and they were done. Every computer console needed a keyboard so I created a keyboard graphic that resembles the layout of the keyboard I saw in an interior photo of (again) the Millenium Falcon. For the display of the cargo computer consoles I made an overhead shot of the cargo floor to indicate a visual record of the cargo bays contents. This is to help keep track of and to find all of the cargo listed in the manifest. I borrowed elements of the computer core displays placing them above the overview. I labeled the screen using a galaxy basic font that is used in Star Wars. The final display screen I created was for the engineering computer console that displays the status of all of the ship’s vital systems. Again this display borrows graphics from the computer core displays and portions of the display are labeled in galactic basic.

One final detail to the ship was added in the ready room. The ship needed an insignia to represent who owns it so I added a large logo of the Alliance to Restore the Republic also known as the Rebel Alliance to the back wall of the ready room.

There were many mistakes that were fixed and micro changes that were made in the completion of the model which are really too negligible to mention but effected the overall quality of the model. I tried to go through the entire model with a fine toothcomb and I think it is in pretty good shape.

My final work on the model involved creating all new scenes for the model to show off all the details and features. There are now 99 different scenes in the model. About a quarter of the scenes are not labeled and they are there purely to smooth transitions between scenes when the scene animation is played.

The production of the Starship is now complete. It was really fun working on it and I am already contemplating the next one I intend to model. In the next blog post I write on the ship I will unveil the name, make and model of the ship. I post a link to the model so anyone with Google SketchUp 8.0 can download it and take a look. I will post a final image gallery using the labeled scenes I created and possibly post the animated walk through on YouTube.

See the gallery below or here to see what was added this update:

RIP Dell XPS 700

My computer died on me today. It turned on but nobody was home. According to Dell the motherboard needs a replacement but being that the computer is 5 years old and out of warranty my only option is a new computer. Replacing just the motherboard would cost as much 25-35% of a new equivalent PC. It is sad to see the end of a computer that I got so much good use out of be reduced to a behemoth paperweight.
I just finished my Starship project yesterday and I was going to work on posting it today but it going to have to wait until my new PC arrives and I am able to transfer the data over. Until then I will be using my Dad’s laptop which I am thankful to use.