Saturday, September 29, 2018

Sherman Tank bar completed and ready for fundraiser tonight


The work involved in completing the tank consumed all my time for weeks, distracting me from posting as I usually do. Right in the middle of the effort, I had scheduled a helpful medical procedure but it left me dependent on others to do the lifting, further complicating everything.

We did finish construction of all the parts and modular assemblies in time for transportation yesterday. Due to the large size of the tank and the limited size of gates and passageways around my property, we built this as eight major assemblies which could be moved independently. 

A crew of 5 people came to help, lifting and moving each section. The top sections were the hardest to handle - 11 1/2 feet long, 5 feet wide and a height that averaged more than 3 feet. In fact, to have the room to maneuver them, we first had to move the three bottom sections upon which they rested.

To allow for this, I built four tall stands which fit in between the top and bottoms, so that we could lift the tops slightly and leave them suspended up in the air while we removed the bottom assemblies. The first truckload carried the bottom assemblies, all the wheels, suspension boxes, sections of tread, the cannon and other parts with the exception of the suspended top pieces and the tank turret which was still being painted. 
Suspended tops, after removing bottom sections
We returned to move the tops down off the stands and out to the truck. The turret barely fit inside, jutting out the back of the truck slightly and roped in place. I carefully drove with the open truck, unloaded, and assembly began. 

About five hours of work were needed to put it all together, the first time that it all could be assembled because there wasn't enough room in the yard space where we built everything. We had a few snags and needed some improvising. A few bits of wood broke and had to be repaired. Still, it came together in the end.

Tank assembled in place
Actually half a tank, split side to side
Today, after I post this, we will go back and do some minor paint detailing for artistic effects. I have a 48 star US flag (period authentic) to attach to the antenna on the turret, then the tank is complete. I can install my model 15 teletype next to one of the decorative army tents nearby, get it operational, and fine tune the 'green screen' photography setup in the library where we will provide digital pictures of attendees standing in front of period pictures such as a B-17 bomber. 

Example of green screen photography results

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Teletype and Sherman Tank progress


Ken and I completed the wiring of all AC and DC power on the table. During that process, we checked all the lines for correct connections and absence of short circuits. We did discover two shorts. One was caused by frayed wiring connected to a receptacle, and the other came from wire whiskers  bridging between adjacent terminal on the Transmitter/Distributor connector block. 

The desk has two power switches on the front. One controls the motor on the Transmitter/Distributor and the other controls the REC-30 Power Supply. I checked their operation and found a fault in the Power Supply switching. We discovered that the switch itself was stuck open. It was a double pole, single throw 20A switch which had been wired in parallel to support more than 20A load. 

We picked up a suitable DPST 20A switch from a local hardware store and installed it, restoring the ability to switch the main power supply on and off. 

I began to wire the signal lines, supporting twin lines, a mix of Reperforator, Transmitter/Distributor and Printer/Keyboard plus test plugs. The last set of connections to make come from the complex line switch that supports connecting the reperforator to either of two lines or leave it offline. There are also connections from a Tape Out button that provides idle characters as filler to provide some leader or trailer on a tape being punched. 

We all worked to install the base and connector block into which the model 14 Transmitter/Distributor will slide. This was finished and all the wiring completed, thus we can use the TD as soon as the signal wiring of the desk is complete. 

Marc spent some time putting together the cover for the model 15 printer that will sit atop the desk. There were several doors and flaps that were twisted and fitted badly. Marc spent the time bending these until the closed and opened properly.


Mike did a teardown of the selector mechanism in the reperforator, both to improve its operation and to support some video demonstration of the way that teletype selectors work. 

Mike and Marc designed and installed a modification providing a terminal strip for connections to the reperforator, which provides a neater and more reliable alternative to the directly soldered wiring of the original mechanism. 

Mike did quite a bit of oiling and exercising of all the moving parts. It is largely done now, with most levers or other parts moving easily and promptly. 


Marc's Transmitter/Distributor was assembled and all wiring completed. He did a sequence of adjustments until it performed perfectly. He demonstrated this with a tape he had produced on his keyboard perforator, transmitted flawlessly to his model 15 printers. 

I picked up new brushes to install on my Transmitter Distributor, but for the time being I am waiting until we can manufacture or find a motor pinion supporting the standard 60 wpm transmission speed. 


Nancy selected the tank body color and did a test painting. We are ready to prime and paint all the panels of the tank now. We are still struggling to find right material for tank treads and wheels. 

I spent Saturday building out the front half of the upper body and doing some finishing of the center 'bar' section. We have a few more plywood panels to install but the majority of the front half of the tank is done. I expect to wrap this up on Sunday and to begin building the rear half of the upper body and the rest of the bottom panels. 

Most of front upper body is done, but some panels left to do

Bartenders side view of the front of the tank (sans Turrent on top)

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Starting on Sherman Tank bar construction


I began construction of the latest bar structure we are building for the Villa Siena fundraising dinner. The theme of this dinner is WWII/1940s and the design we chose was a Sherman Tank. We have to accommodate bartenders inside which requires this to be big enough to allow for a ten foot wide window across the bar where drinks are served.

The structure is a side of a tank (actually half a tank as it is cut along the front-back centerline), with the main gun barrel facing left. The structure is 21 feet long and five feet deep. The top of the treads are 4 foot off the ground and the bottom of the gun turret sits about 7 foot off the ground. This is slightly larger than life size scale, where a real Sherman tank is only 19.5 foot long.

Structure - picture distorted due to need to use Panorama mode to capture image
We built the frame for the bottom of the tank (up to the top of the treads) with the higher window opening for the bartenders taking 10' of the length and nearly centered front to back. It consists of a front, a back and the center bartender section, allowing us to move the parts; these but side to side to form the 21' length. The center section can be separated to fit past gates and openings around my home.

The body of the tank consists of a front and back half that will sit atop the structure you see here - these rise to about 7' above ground over the center section and form the outline of the tank, minus the turret. We have to build these front and back body pieces next and sit them over the frame you see.

The turret itself will be formed from paper mache, using chicken wire as a form to apply the paper. That will attach to the top of the body sections we will build next.