Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Timber frame bridge project

Well the weather did not cooperate at all but the 90 foot Latrobe-Bateman Bridge

was assembled by a hardy crew of Timber Framer Guild members at the 2017 TFG Conference in Madison, Wisconsin this past weekend May 20-22.

The back story. Richard Latrobe-Bateman is a bridge designer from England that uses the least number of pieces, forming triangles and thinks three dimensionally. At the 2016 TFG conference he suggested that one of his bridges could be built at the 2017 conference in Madison, Wisconsin and auctioned off as a fund raiser for the guild. Jonathan Orpin, president of the guild at that time and owner of New Energy Works and Pioneer Mill Works said, good idea and got it done!

The site at the Edgewater Hotel was a challenge to say the least for a 90 foot long bridge.

Not only were we going to build this 90 foot long bridge in one day, we were going to do it in 84 ft!

Richard Latrobe-Bateman and his son Will look over the bundles of timber and pallets of connectors shipped to Mike Yaker's shop in DeForest, Wi. because there was no place at the construction site.

Not to sweat the small stuff the project went forward. About two months ago George Brinkman of Boards by George a guild member in Meddow, BC cut and donated the timber for the project. Over 2700 board feet of old growth Spruce was shipped to Fraserwood Industries in Creek, BC where they did all the cutting and drilling on their Hundiger to produce finished pieces. And I mean finished pieces they even stained the wood! While Mike Stewart was making the pieces at Fraserwood another fabricator was cutting, bending and welding the over 90 very complicated steel connectors that would be needed to put this erector set together. Mike assembled all the hardware and even made a test assembly run of the first pyramid to insure the projects success!

With more donated labor and equipment Mike packed up his trailer ready for the 25 mile trip into downtown Madison and the Edgewater Hotel where it would be unloaded and...
hand carried down to the building site.

With each 6x6 timber weighing between 100 and 175 pounds this was a job going down but will be a killer on Monday for take down and removal.

We got the space laid out and some scaffolding set up and then the rain started. Here the Lead person  on the job,  Darrin Watson from New Energy Works sets the first timber in place at around 10am Sat.

Got a little brake in the rain and a good crew of helpers came out between conference sessions and toted the timbers down for us. (They really saved us as the rain kept up all day) They even came back on Monday and did the job to carry everything back up and be loaded for shipment to the new owners.

With all the timbers hauled down and scaffold set we were ready to start assembly.

It was getting close to supper time and our small wet crew was starting to show some wear and we thought the better of it would be to stop and go at it fresh Sunday morning. The weather would be with us and some more guys would want to get in on this. No sense keeping all the fun to ourselves. Right?

Sunday, a new day, a change in the weather and many hands made light work to finish the bridge by noon. One of those hands was Ben Brungraber and Joe Miller, from Fire Tower Engineering at the top of the scaffold putting in the last piece. They did all the engineering calculations on the bridge structural design for loading. Now to take away the scaffolding and enjoy looking at and walking across the 90 foot Latrobe-Bateman Bridge.

With the scaffold removed and the walkways in place. Pretty as a picture!

Inside barrel view looking back toward the city of Madison, Wisconsin. In the top of the picture you can see the state capitol. 

And a proud day for the designer, Richard Latrobe-Bateman standing on a bridge of his design. Great guy. This was a project that required the help and input of many people in and out of the Timber Framers Guild and a true testament of what can be accomplished by teamwork and innovation. Like they say, Leap and the net will appear! 

The bridge took around 12 hours to assemble and 4 hours to take down. It was purchased by the Arete' Engineering group from Boone, NC. It will be shipped to them for arrival by June 1st. No site for placement has been selected yet. I will follow up with them and post that information when I get it. Until then remember, "Crossing a bridge in your future will be a bit easier after you have built one or two." RCA

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Wind generator rebuild project complete

Decided to go with the "Big" blades now that the generator has been rebuilt!

I just hope the brake on my Enertech 1800 can handle the bigger blades! Just kidding. The "Big" blades are for a 1 Meg watt generator in Monfort, WI that was built about 10 years ago. Anyway getting the generator and brake back up on the tower and bolted on was just about all I could handle.

It took almost six months to get the unit back up and running. If you want to see all the details you can go back in the blog posts and see the whole story of the Enertcch 1800 rebuild. Now I will have some time to watch the construction of the 49 two megawatt wind generators that they are putting up this summer right here in Darlington, WI. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

More on the Madison Bridge Project

This year on May 20-21 the Timber Framers Guild will be holding its annual conference at the Edgewater Hotel in downtown Madison, WI. On May 20th a small group of timber framers from all over the country will assembling for display a one of a kind 90 foot timber framed walking bridge designed by Richard Latrobe-Bateman of the U.K. The bridge will consist of over fifty pre-cut 6x6's  13 to 16 foot long timbers held together with custom designed steel connectors. The 2700 board feet of Larch pine wood will weigh over 18,000 pounds and be hand raised by the builders and then taken down at the end of the conference!

Darren Watson, from New Energy Works in Oregon is heading up and assembling the team that will be in Madison to work on the bridge. When I heard the convention was going to be in Madison only 60 miles from where I live I jumped at the chance to work on the bridge. I have been building a small scale model of the bridge. Since this particular bridge has never been built before the model will be helpful to test out assembly and disassembly procedures on before swinging around the 150 - 200 pound timbers. I have just finished a possible solution to providing some guide railings for the bridge. As plans are to allow people attending the conference actually try out the bridge.

Considering that the bridge design is functional art the railings should add to the design and not distract from it. We will see if this idea meets the test.  If the bridge is not sold at the convention it will be dismantled and stored until a buyer can be found.

And at last I have finished the St. Francis bird feeders that I started last fall. You can see the bridge models in the background and the side straw model on the truck hood. Hopefully getting the wind generator back together and running will be my filler project between now and building the bridge in Madison.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Busy spring projects

One down and 4 to go on the St Francis bird feeders. Have all the parts painted and ready to go. Also have to get the ropes and tie the monks knot. Then these are done.

Now moving on the the Madison bridge project. Have been in touch with the people that are doing this project for the May 19 - 21 Timber Frame Guild conference this year. Have built a scale model to test out some of the assembly sequences.

This model is a little over 9' long and made out of 2x2's The real walking bridge will be 90' long and made out of 6x6 Larch Pine. 2700 board feet of timber and weighing over 10,000 lbs. Darren Watson, from newenergyworks.com is organizing the build. The wood has been cut and machined and brackets fabricated. Everything will be brought to Madison and we will start assembling the bridge on Friday the 19th and have it up Saturday. Then on Sunday we will disassemble it! If you are going to be in the area stop in to the Edgewater Hotel in downtown Madison, WI and have a look. This is really going to be something.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Latrobe Bateman Walking Bridge model

Well with the Timber Framers Guild 2017 convention right around the corner (May 19-21). And being that this year it will be held in Madison, WI (at the Edgewater Hotel). I have a peaked interest in attending this event to help in the construction of a 95 foot long walking bridge on site during the convention.

Sorry for the vertical formatting of the picture. Rotating pictures is one of my many shortfalls.

I have made contact with the TFG about this project and they passed my name along to Johnathan Orpin of New Energy Works and he got back to me with some information. In the mean time I decided to reverse engineer the bridge from the picture to see if I could better understand the bridges design and construction.

I decided to use soda straws and hot glue to construct a model. My first attempt was, shall I say, an enlightening challenge to say the least. The picture proved to be a bit of an optical illusion because of the 3/4 angle it was shot at. Good for selling a used car but not for getting design construction details. After some trial and error I had the basic concept and design of the bridge figured out. I went to work with my calculator and made a CAD drawing that was at a 1:12 scale. Keeping in mind the head clearance heights that would be needed I made the base of the main section (a three sided tower) 12 feet and then tapered it down to 8 feet two sections down. Keeping this all in proportion was the task.

Here is the 1:12 layout for the main tower section.

Soda straws were then pinned down and hot glued together. I learned that low temp glue worked best for this as the high temp glue took forever to cool down and burnt my fingers! One side down and two more to go.

The two sides of the main tower have diagonal bracing. The bottom panels in the real bridge will have cables running at diagonals. Another main tower is made just like this one and both will be angled up at 30 degrees to attach to a base. Each base is made up of a 4 sided equilateral pyramid. The intersection of the pyramid base and three sided tower is very interesting and I believe key to the design.

I took some pictures of the model from several sides to provide more insight into the design of the bridge. The walking surface touches the bridge at both ends and supported by rods coming up from the two cross pieces between each end. In the original picture I could see no connection between each side except at the top piece and the horizontal walking surface between the two halves. I believe having pieces here would increase stability.

Just for fun I had this poseable figure and thought it would give some perspective on head clearances and slope of the bridge incline. About 4 inches per foot, pretty steep and not ADA compliant. My model is only 54 inches long. If the real bridge is 95 feet long I would have to make the equaliteral pyrimiad much larger. Almost double? This will require some more thought and drawing. To be continued ...

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

St. Francis Bird Feeder Project

Well the repair of the Enertech 1800 wind generator got put on hold for the winter. Gave it a pretty good shot when we got a couple of warm days but decided to wait until I could count on two good warm days in a row before I did the job.

In the mean time I have been busy working on making 5 St. Francis bird feeders like this.
Each one of these is made from fine, weather resistant, Cedar wood. The figure consists of 30 individual parts. Many of the pieces that make up the body and head have compound miter joints to help give it a natural shape. The feet, hands and face are hand carved and painted. A small hand carved, painted Finch, Cardinal and Bluebird will also be attached to each finished feeder simulating wildlife coming for food that can be placed on the tray or plate.

All of the Cedar is rough on one side and smooth on the other. This must be kept in mind when cutting the tapers that form the sides and front of any parts. Rough side of the wood must be kept out for appearance. After cutting, the edges were then rounded over on the shaper. The hole in the top piece matches one in the bottom piece. This for mounting over a steel fence post to keep it from tipping over when displayed outside.

The robe side pleats were added next. The assembly process went smoothly. The side pleats are made from the body side taper cut offs! You can see that the front and back pleat has also been added to the bodies.

Assembly of the heads was the next task. Again having layed out the mitered, tapered, routered and drilled pieces made the process go smoothly.

 The head is only placed here for the picture. Heads, collars, trim and arms will not be assembled until they are stained or painted. Since my shop is not heated I will have to wait until the weather warms up. So this will be it for awhile.

If you have time on your hands and an interest in Duct Tape you might want to click on the link below and check out the World Duct Tape Collection. Another one of my side interests. Enjoy!