Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Model Making: Laser Cut 28mm Scaled Windmill

Sometime ago I posted some photos of the Fortified Tower House model that I designed. In the same vain as that (i.e. eye catching centre piece for a wargames table) I have now created a windmill model, that is scaled to suit 28mm size miniatures.
As such this is a a pretty big model, it will make an impressive centre piece for a large wargames table, but realistically, it is more of a model for it’s own sake rather than being for wargaming uses…
MDF model windmill
The model is based on the Upminster Windmill, although I have taken a few liberties with the design. Mainly the shape of the top part, which on the Upminster Windmill is somewhat “boat-shaped” whereas, due to the nature of the materials I have used, I simplified the shape a little.
Upminster Windmill
Also I must add that my model is built purely from my estimations of its dimensions, taken from the photos I found on the web. I have tried to scale all the part appropriately, but to some extent it has come down to guesswork! For example, I made the small fan on the back side three times, reducing it’s size each time until I was happy with the size…
Vintage photo of Upminster Windmill
The windows are constructed in three layers. Firstly there is the surface of the wall, which has the hole cut in it as well as the sills etc. etched onto it. Then the second layer which has the window panes cut out of it leaving the frame of the window. Finally the third layer, for this model I have used MDF to back up the window, however I am considering using clear acrylic to add a little more depth to the model.
Details of the rear top of the windmill model
The model is built entirely out of 2mm MDF sheet, except for two short pieces of 6mm dowel and a piece of 2mm dowel, all of which were used as axles for the spinning parts of the model. Oh, and there is the cord used for the upper hand rail…
As I have used dowel for the spindles the sails and small windmill both turn as does the top of the mill (to face the wind…)
I construct my models as kits so that a competent model maker can put them together fairly easily. If I was simply making “one-offs” I would do things considerably differently. For a start I wouldn’t use the interlocking wall system. This is a compromise that allows the model to be put together far easier than if I was going for pure accuracy…
Another view of the windmill model
The construction of the windmill offered several interesting challenges, there are multiple parts that come together with compound angles. The most complex of these was devising the construction of the top part of the mill. The top of the original Upminster Windmill is constructed much like an upturned boat. Due to the nature of the material I was using (MDF), which wouldn’t bend very easily, I decided to keep the sides straight.
Another consideration is that the main sails of the windmill do not turn on a horizontal axis. It is actually tilted back by a few degrees (this appears to be so that the sails don’t hit the main mill building, lower down). This forced me to tilt the front of the top section back at an angle of 7 degrees off of vertical (which matched the angle on the sides of the main tower below). This then led to the problem of calculating the angles on each of the roof sections, which are each at shallower and shallower angles. Fortunately I dredge up some old technical drawing techniques from the depths of my memory (I left school some 30 odd years ago) and managed to get it right first time – I surprised myself with that one…
This final photo shows the size of the model, that is a 30cm(12”) steel rule propped against the model
Size of the 28mm scaled windmill model

December 2013
Just a wee note to say I have just entered this model in a competiton by :-

1 comment:

  1. If you can would like to see your designs for some of the laser stuff, just teaching myself now.
    My wife got me a 40Watt Hobby Laser for our 20th Anv. and now I am trying to learn to use it.
    Made an Outhouse so far, for It Came From Beyond the Still.
    If you have found any good info on designing with Laser Cutting in mind please share.



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