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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited by Moderator)
I've started a new project for the track. I've been thinking about some of the cool things that happen on a track that could perhaps be replicated in scale for my track to add some sense of place and visual interest.

I've noticed that a lot of people have blimps hanging above their track, and I thought that would be a cool, but I wanted it to move as opposed to just sitting there.

So my idea is to run it on conduit tubing above the track. I plan to have the blimp hanging from a small cart that will run using the conduit as a rail, with the cart driven by a stepper motor at a very slow speed. A regular motor would work, if I could find one slow enough for my purposes, so if anyone has ideas, I'm all ears.

This is the stepper motor I am planning on using...

#4 5v stepper motors from eBay... as cheap as chips... 28BYJ-48 + ULN2003 Driver

I have ordered the blimp model...

Aircraft Toy Aerospace manufacturer Fin Font

Given that my track has a modern vibe, I'll be repainting it to the top blimp of this image (the bottom is too far away from the model for my modeling skills.)

Airship Aerostat Sky Blimp Zeppelin

I am also going to replace the "light panel" in the model with an actual LED matrix panel (hopefully hooked up to bluetooth), so I can add messages. Here's a video Arduino Text Scrolling Display | MAX7219 Dot Matrix 4-in-1., If I get really crazy, I may do a flexible LED matrix like this...

Visual effect lighting Automotive lighting Entertainment Rectangle Tints and shades

I also want to put running lights on it, so I'm going to need some pretty small LEDs or fiber optics to do that.

Model is on its way, so I am waiting until I have it in hand before making any decisions on lighting.

Should be a cool fun project though. Let me know what you think.

Heath
 

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ParrotGod
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I like this sort of things but I will never find the time to put them down on my track.
 

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Premium Member
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Graham, that should definitely go in the "signs that you're getting old" tread
tongue.png


Sorry to hijack the tread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks all for your kind words. Amazingly, I already got the model. It is a Revell kit. I found one used on eBay. Just a few years ago they were pretty cheap, but have gone up a lot recently.

Looking at the model, there are going to be a few challenges. First, the opening is a bit big, so Ill have to narrow that opening a bit. So far, Im thinking that I will use a beer can cut open and painted matte black.

The seams on the model are pretty pronounced, I hope to make the seems less pronounced but still make the inside accessible. There will be a fair amount of electronics inside and I need to be able to get to them.

Here is a pic of the blimp...

Automotive tire Bicycle Tire Vehicle Wheel

And here it is placed on where I want to put it on the track...

Bicycle Tire Wheel Motor vehicle Hood

My original idea was to hang the conduit above the track, but I think I am going to attach it to the sides of the track in a sort of upside down U.

More to come.

Heath
 

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Thanks all for your kind words. Amazingly, I already got the model. It is a Revell kit. I found one used on eBay. Just a few years ago they were pretty cheap, but have gone up a lot recently.

Looking at the model, there are going to be a few challenges. First, the opening is a bit big, so Ill have to narrow that opening a bit. So far, Im thinking that I will use a beer can cut open and painted matte black.

The seams on the model are pretty pronounced, I hope to make the seems less pronounced but still make the inside accessible. There will be a fair amount of electronics inside and I need to be able to get to them.

Here is a pic of the blimp...

attachicon.gif
15AE9316-6EF6-4003-A647-6B35A5CACBDE.jpeg

And here it is placed on where I want to put it on the track...

attachicon.gif
532434EC-E84D-4A1D-B511-CACF25D73D4C.jpeg

My original idea was to hang the conduit above the track, but I think I am going to attach it to the sides of the track in a sort of upside down U.

More to come.

Heath
I have an inflatable blimp. I was going to run it on a microwave rotation motor on a cable.

Lots of good ideas here. I guess the original blimp has reached the expense where a 3D printed version is practical...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have an inflatable blimp. I was going to run it on a microwave rotation motor on a cable.

Lots of good ideas here. I guess the original blimp has reached the expense where a 3D printed version is practical...
I got mine for $20 US, but they were going for $60. The level of detail is.., underwhelming!

Im sure a 3D model wold blow this away in terms of detail.

I might 3D print the gondola as the windows and doors are just a sticker. I wish ShapeWays wasnt so pricey!

Heath
 

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Greg Gaub
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Is there a good blimp on Shapeways? Just looking around, there are plenty of "blimp" and "zeppelin" models out there, but few Goodyear ones, and no GOOD ones that I've found, at least not free.
 

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Love the idea! I think the scale is off quite a bit though. If you look at the size of the new blimp from their utube video here, yours needs to be about 3x larger. I think a resin print is in order!

Sky World Tire Line Font
 

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ParrotGod
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Agreed that the real thing is much bigger but when you look at the pic Heath posted with the Blimp over the track I think the effect is very realistic. I like it.
 

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Greg Gaub
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Yeah, sometimes you just HAVE to fudge the scale a bit. The blimp shown in the video in post #14 would be as large as Heath's whole track if made to scale!
 

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As I said earlier, the Revell kit is 1/169 th scale, so it's FIVE times smaller than 1/32 scale track and cars..

As for the level of detail, the kit dates back to 1975 or even earlier. Moulding technology has advanced by leaps and bounds since then.
 

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I think some forced perspective would need to be applied. To replicate their normal 1,000-1,500' cruising altitude, you'd have to knock a hole in your roof! It would be rather cool if one could print a larger scale version that accommodated Revell's revolving "Skytacular" (I'm not making this up, that is what Goodyear called their light show) mechanism.
 

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*** Leo A Capaldi ***
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I would be tempted to leave the envelope as it is and increase the size of the cabin to make that more close to 1:32 (and with crew members inside).

Leo
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I actually like the scale, as I like it to seem further away and higher than it is scale wise.

So, looking around my house a bit, I came upon one of my daughter's old hula hoops. This will make the perfect radius piece for the overhead track!

Font Circle Wire Cable Gas

Also, I have some 1/2" PVC pipe sitting around, which I think will work for the straight aways (so to speak). I fooled around a bit and figured out a way to mount them from the ceiling without interfering with the running of the pulleys over the pipe/hula-hoop...

Stonemason's hammer Wood Automotive tire Asphalt Tool

After running the track a bit, I figured out that the lower blimp was too distracting to racing, so I went back to thinking of a more overhead system. I should be able to put together a test track in the next few days, though I am still waiting for the stepper motor to come, which might take a while.

I'm still trying to figure out how to get rid of most the seams while still keeping the ability to open the model up to change batteries or fix things. Anybody have any ideas? So far, I'm thinking I will just sand it down the best I can and leave everything pressure fit.

More to come.

Thanks for reading.

Heath
 

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