OK, before you get all over me about being in the "real" world, just give me a minute to explain ;-)

I bought a set of plans for the Joli boat from Philip Thiel. Unfortunately, this is not the right "season" in my life to really start building a boat. So, should I just wait and dream, or should I make some kind of forward progress?

My intent here is to keep a journal of my progress. I'll be using Google Sketchup to build my virtual boat. I'm sure that along the way I'll run across problems that need solving, trouble keeping on task, and moments of inspiration.

I'll include pictures and video as I progress. Click on any picture if you'd like to see it larger.

Maybe I'm crazy, but follow along and see what you think

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Garage, More Than A Boat Shop

Well, I’ve done some modifying to the assembly table. As you can see, the garage is going to be crowded with this table in place. I needed to figure out what I could do with it when it wasn’t being used.

Larger Video

I rotated the table around 180 degrees and moved it closer to the garage doors. I also decided that the best place for the table when not in use would be hanging from the rafters but since I’ve built my table taller than the original design, the legs would be hanging down and creating some real skull crunchers! I needed to make the legs fairly easy to remove. The video below shows the solution that I came up with. Folding legs seemed too complex so I went for some leg pockets.

Larger Video

I realized that Sketchup allowed me to play with cuts and assemblies to make a part stronger as well as helping with more efficient use of material. You can see from the picture below that I can get all of the parts I need for the leg pockets out of a 4x4 sheet of ¾" melamine. I laid out the pieces so I could make long cuts with a Skilsaw and then finish cut to size on the table saw.


I reinforced the roof trusses in the garage to handle the weight of the table. Trusses are not designed to have things hanging from them. They are engineered to support the weight of the roof pressing down as well as keeping the walls from pushing out. I built supports that transferred the weight of the table across many trusses and also connected this to the upper webs of the truss. I also built a pulley system that made it easier to raise and lower the table.

I didn’t want too many things sticking out from the side of the table so I drilled four holes in the outside frame. I used some 1/4” line that is tied to a round dowel with a groove in the center. Just push the dowel through the hole and then turn it crosswise. It can’t slip back through. I had a little trouble drawing the line and the dowel, but I think you get the idea.

Well, here’s where a little trouble developed. I made some of the same mistakes in my virtual world as I do in my real world. This might be a turning point for how I write these blogs. Up to this point, I’ve completed a blog entry much like a chapter in a book would be. I spend a week or two working through drawings, ideas, photos, and wording and then I present it in its finished form. I think I’m going to start sharing the process in more detail. The blogs won’t be completed “chapters”, but rather little snippets of the struggles, mistakes, and solutions that I’ve come up with during this process.

The first thing I did was to lay a 2x4 on edge across the top of my garage trusses. Then I went on my virtual shopping trip to find some pulleys that might work for the table. For Sketchup, that means a trip to the Sketchup 3D Warehouse. This is a wonderful place to go “shopping” for ideas and models for Sketchup. I found a pulley that would work with some slight modification.

It wasn’t until I started threading my rope through the pulleys that I realized that my initial plan wouldn’t work. How would I route the rope to a winch?

As you can see, there’s no way to get the rope above the trusses. I added a 2x4 laying flat under the vertical one but that still didn’t totally solve the problem. I had to angle the pulley so the rope would clear the 2x4 spacer.

This solved some problems but created new ones. Now look at the goofy angles that the rope hits the winch. I had to put in some big spacer blocks behind the winch to get it to line up better but I bet the difference in angles between the front and rear ropes will be too much.

Now it’s back to the drawing board.

More later ;-)

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