The Engine Room
With this project I seem to be jumping around from concept to concept. Physically the only thing I've built of the VSS is one lower deck. Assembling this deck was mostly to see what the rest of the VSS was going to be and what it would take to build it. Since then I've taken a step back to design everything first in CAD. In this way I can see how concepts might look before committing time and resources to them. With this said, I found myself shifting away from the walkway mentioned in the previous blog and back to the engine room.
A cool looking space ship needs a cool looking engine section. VSS 002 is going to make use of some LED torch lights that have a "realistic" flickering flame effect. I was able to find some on Amazon for cheap that is USB powered. Fortunately I also bought a Star Trek warp core USB device charger for my car when ThinkGeek was still around. The USB ports can power the LED torch lights. So all of these things will need some way to place and mount within the VSS. Thus I would have to build them and make this into an engine room where consoles and bulkheads and acrylic displays can be placed.
The first step was to model in SolidWorks -- my primary CAD package -- all of the models. These models will either be laser cut or 3D printed. For the stuff that's big, such as a floor or wall, these things could be laser cut. I'm going with wood for most of the assembly. 3D printing will be applied to areas for strength and visual appeal. Some surfaces might be layered with Styrene or ABS sheets, but that's later down the road. For now wood is the primary material I'll be using.
The LED torch lights will be housed in a cage. This cage will be able to hold the LED lights in a horizontal position. One end of the cage will have a 3D printed thruster "bell", although the bell won't look like a traditional rocket bell. For the size of the VSS a cylinder will look most appropriate. The rest of the "cage" will have opened areas enabling some of the light from the LEDs to spill into the interior of the engine room. This is for effect. The warp core has it's own LED lights that pulsate in blue, so a lot of the room where acrylic displays will be will have the blue. To offset that a bit, the thrusters will pulsate in orange. But two LED torch lights can easily overpower the blue from the core, so forcing the thruster orange to the side walls might be enough to balance everything out -- blue from the core in much of the room with soft orange in the background.
Connecting to the VSS
The engine room is going to be constructed like a box. It should be fairly easy to simply slide the engine room "box" into the VSS's lower deck. There is a possibility I might have to drill some holes to clamp the engine room more securely for long term or if the engine room "box" tends to shift. The entire challenge is that the VSS must be able to be broken down for transportation. But I'm trying to avoid making holes in the base VSS structure.
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