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Da Vinci Flying Machine by gjdale - FINISHED - Imagination Factory - Scale 1:6


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This kit was a Christmas present from my wife in 2013. It has sat in the “stash” since then, calling to me occasionally. I originally came across this on the previous MSW site. We had recently returned from a European holiday where Da Vinci’s art had featured quite strongly, so naturally I was drawn to this kit.


The kit is produced by The Imagination Factory, but a recent check of their website (www.davincistore.com) site suggests that the kit is either temporarily or permanently unavailable. The kit was designed by artist Robert Coyle, based on his extensive research of Da Vinci’s drawings.

What’s in the box?


The kit box is quite large, but there is a lot a free space inside. It seems that the box length was determined by the lithograph wing plan, which is both required for building, and a lovely piece of art in its own right. So the main box contained the lithograph, some tulle-type of fabric (for the wings), a couple of longer dowels (also part of the wings), the display base (in two parts), the instruction manual and a much smaller box containing the majority of the kit parts.




Opening the smaller box, we find most of the parts ‘carded’ with a small drawing to help identify part numbers. I immediately re-packaged all of the small parts into labelled zip-lock bags. The wood appears to be mainly bass wood, and although it appears to be reasonable quality, I had made up my mind that I would replace all of the kit-provided wood with a mixture of Boxwood, Cherry, and Walnut, all of which I ordered from Jeff Hayes at Hobbymill before he closed the business. The plan is to use the pre-cut parts as templates to make my own from the new wood.



The instruction manual is interesting in that all of the drawings look like they are hand-drawn. It really adds a very nice artistic flair to the entire kit. Here’s a couple of pictures from the manual:






That’s about as far as I got today. Building will commence in earnest shortly, so stay tuned….



2 Box Art 2.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Steven, Nils, Sam, Ken, Richard and Carl for your interest, and also to the "likes" for looking in.


Fuselage Construction


Construction begins with the Fuselage. Here is a picture from the Instruction Manual of the overall completed assembly:




My first task was to cut a new piece for the fuselage base, replacing the kit-provided wood with Cherry of the same thickness (3/16”). Prior to cutting to shape, I laid out all the markings per the instructions and drilled the holes (4 x 2mm and 6 x 1mm diameter). I finished the surface with two coats of shellac and a coat of furniture wax. This is something I’ve picked up recently from doing some 1:1 scale woodwork. The advantage of shellac is that it dries very quickly, is dead easy to apply, and provides a repairable finish. It also highlights the natural beauty of the timber. Here are the prepared base and the kit provided part side by side.




Next up was making some cleats. The kit provides some stock wood cut roughly to shape and then instructs you to finish the shaping with files and stain them walnut. I replaced these with straight walnut, which again got the shellac/wax treatment after final shaping. Here’s a shot showing the raw kit parts and my finished parts:




The next step was to fit one cleat, four cable guides, two pulleys and the crankshaft. The cable guides are simply cotter pins, cut off so as not to protrude through the base to the other side. The pulleys are small brass parts that are secured with a small brass nail, again cut to length. The crankshaft is made from a piece of piano wire that is first bent to shape following a template in the instruction book. Four beads are glued in place on the crankshaft as seen in the pictures below. A small recess was filed into the fuselage base to allow the beads to seat and the crankshaft to sit flush against the fuselage. The two clamps holding the crankshaft in place were again replacement parts made from cherry, using the kit parts as templates for sizing.




Here’s another view using a different background:




Forming the Neck Ring is the next step. The kit provides some cherry veneer to this, which it then tells you to stain walnut. I used walnut instead. Two pieces of 1/64” thick by ¼” wide walnut strip are laminated by bending around a former cut from a scrap piece of 1/2" plywood, using a template provided in the kit. I wet these and then hit them with a heat gun to set some initial curve in them. Then I applied some PVA and re-clamped to the former and left them to set.





Next up is the Fulcrum Mount. Again, simply made from Cherry using the kit part as a template. The bottom edge is filed to a curve to match the Neck Ring. A large cotter pin is then then inserted in the centre of the top edge, and finally the cotter pin is wrapped in thread.






That’s as far I have progressed to date.

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She looks to be an intriguing build Grant, gonna follow along for sure.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         You've made a good start mate and I like the look the Shellac gives the wood.


Be Good



Edited by mobbsie
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Thanks Mobbsie - good to see you back my friend. Thanks also to all the likes - it seems there is a bit of interest in this unusual kit. :)


Continuing with the Fuselage.....


The Neck Ring needs to be fitted to the Fuselage at a specific angle. To achieve this, the kit provides a template and instructs you to glue this to a piece of stiff card and then position the fuselage over the wing plan. Once in place, you are advised to: “prop the part at the correct angle with books etc so that it is unable to move”, then glue and clamp in place to allow the glue to dry.


Hmmmm…….. I decided to try a slightly more robust approach, using a solid former. I used the kit provided template to define the angle that I cut on a piece of scrap timber, which just happened to be almost the perfect size to fit across the width of the fuselage. I had already had my wing plan laminated, so I stuck my former to the wing plan with double sided tape, and then stuck the Fuselage to the wing plan, also with double sided tape. That sucker is going nowhere in a hurry! That made attaching the Neck Ring very simple, and the next pic shows the whole set-up glued and clamped.







The next components to fit to the Neck Ring are the pulleys and cable guides. The pulleys were fairly straight forward, being attached in the same way as the earlier ones on the underside of the fuselage. The cable guides are formed by gluing a bead on the shank of a cotter pin, then bending the cotter pin to the angle provided in the scale drawing in the instructions. So far, so good. Then you are invited to glue the newly constructed cable guide to the aft edge of the Neck Ring, such that the eye of the cable guide is aligned with the groove in the pulley. Once in place, the legs of the cable guide are wrapped in thread. To achieve this, I had to resort to using CA glue (which I generally avoid as I have become sensitized to it). The CA glue was just a temporary hold until I could get the thread “seizing” in place. I used some diluted PVA glue under the thread to help keep it in place as I was wrapping it, and then once the “seizing” was complete, I gave the whole thing another coat of diluted PVA. Here is relative close-up of the pulley and cable guide on one side.




And here is an overview of the completed Neck Ring:




And finally, here is an overview of the fuselage as it now stands. In this shot you can see where the Neck Ring has been trimmed flush with the fuselage and three nails (left over from a previous ship kit) inserted to “finish” the join.




Leather straps are next on the agenda!

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7 hours ago, John Allen said:

One question the last pics are they flying machine or better mouse trap?

I was just about to ask the same thing Grant :D. This is certainly something different, it'll be interesting to see the finished thing :). It looks like it will turn into a great build given your attention to detail, no doubt there will be a lot of modifications to the kit.


BTW - you'll never get it off the ground :D.


:cheers:  Danny

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Thanks John and Danny, and also to all of the "likes".


Not a lot of progress on the "mousetrap" this weekend as I spent most of the weekend making a Router Table and Holding Jig for my mill.


However, some progress is better than no progress....


The installation of the harnesses commences with making the two rear wing attachment posts. These are fairly straight forward, and once again I replaced the kit provided parts with scratch-made parts from cherry. The lower back belt is then made from strips of leather and a small ‘key ring’ (for want of a better term) as the buckle. The leather straps are glued to the base of the rear wing attachment posts and then wrapped with thread.




The shoulder harness is made in much the same way, although slightly more complex. It is fixed to the base of the neck ring, again wrapped in thread, and also the sides of the fuselage, where the straps are only glued in place.






Here is an overview of progress to date:




I have commenced work on the fuselage cross-bar, but will hold off on pictures until that section is complete. Suffice to say that my mill holding jig that I made this weekend worked a treat.

Edited by gjdale
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  • 4 months later...

Thanks for dropping by Aldo - so pleased to see you back on the forum.


I just realised that its been 4 months since I updated this log! :o


In case anyone was wondering, I haven’t abandoned this project - it's just been “on hold” while I’ve been attending to some 1:1 scale work building cabinets and storage in the garage workshop. Hope to get back to modelling again soon.

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for dropping by Guy. I’ll try and take some pictures of the cabinet work on the weekend. I’m almost done with garage workshop cabinet building, so may be able to get back to modelling again soon. Only problem is, the Admiral has presented me with a list of other projects she wants building now that I’ve had some practice.................

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  • 1 month later...

It’s been quite a while since I updated this log, so I thought I’d show you what has kept me out of the model shipyard for all of this time…


It all started with a desire to sort out the storage arrangements in the “dirty” workshop – ie the garage, which has to do double duty as both workshop and home for two cars. Then a visit to the Timber and Working with Wood Show resulted in funding approval for a new table saw to assist with the modifications while retaining all 10 digits.  Because of the need to retain the primary function of the garage (ie housing for cars), all cabinetry was made mobile so that the workshop could be configured “as required” for whatever the task at hand demanded.


The first cab off the rank was storage for my ever-growing collection of “hobby” machinery. For this I made a 1.5m long cabinet that would house the Sherline Mill and Lathe on top. The design was from Brad Rodriguez at Fix-This-Build-That. Taking pictures now is a little awkward, but here is the overall cabinet with the Sherline Machines under their dust covers on top.





In use, they can be either kept in place, or moved to another work surface:




Inside the cabinet are two doors concealing two full-extension pull-out trays that house yet more machinery, and four drawers for all of the lathe and mill accessories, air-brush equipment, etc.





The next thing I decided to make was an assembly table that would double as an outfeed table for the table saw. For this, I combined the plans/ideas from three different woodworkers. The top is a torsion box design by Ron Paulk in the USA. The frame is a design by Paul Sellers (UK), which is knock down design, and I added to that by putting 3” castors on the legs. Then I used an idea from Dave Stanton (Australia) to make the top similar to the Festool MFT table (only larger).




The top is made from ¾” plywood. It’s about 1.5m long by about 900m wide. The cut-outs around the side panels serve to both reduce weight and provide handy temporary storage for tools as you go. The dog holes are laid out using the UJK Parf Guide system, which guarantees alignment and spacing. I also added T-Track around 3 edges. The top is sturdy, and although it is fairly heavy, I can lift it on and off the frame by myself with relative ease.


Here is a view of the table top removed for storage. You can see the basic construction of the frame, and the locating slots for seating the table top securely. The aprons of the table are held together by half-lap joints and held securely by crucifix joints in the tops of the legs. Two stretcher/bearers are housed in dovetail joints to complete the frame.




Here is a close-up of the crucifix joint on one leg during disassembly.




Once completely disassembled, all of the frame components sit neatly on the extension wing of the table saw. The whole thing goes together in about one minute flat. Same for disassembly.





Next up were a mobile timber storage cart and some mobile bases for both Drill Press and Spindle Sander. While I was at it, I made a table for the Drill Press. It’s a bit hard to tell in this photo, but yes, that is a timber storage cart full of, well, timber…..




The Drill Press cabinet and the Spindle Sander cabinet are essentially identical, except that one has four drawers ,while the other has one drawer and a cupboard. The designs were based on more from Brad Rodriguez at Fix-This-Build-That.




Next up, I really wanted some storage for finishes and other “stuff”. I based this on a design from Jay Bates. After I made it, I realised I needed a second one…..




Also in the above photo you can see my large clamp rack (another Brad Rodriguez design) and a small storage rack for my Random Orbital Sander and various sand papers to go with it (also designed by Brad Rodriguez). All of the wall-mounted cabinets are mounted using a French Cleat system. This makes it really easy to move things around if you change your mind about placement of items as the cabinets are not fixed to the wall.


More in the next post…..



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Next up was a storage and charging station for some of my cordless tools. Another Brad Rodriguez design.




Then it was back to the workbench. I decided I really needed some built-in storage under my main workbench. So I made an “original” design to fit four drawers and a cupboard. It was really hard to get in place to take a photo, but you’ll get the idea….




The drawer/cupboard unit has a space above it for storing my sharpening stones, shooting board, and bench hook.


The drawers house some of my hand tools: chisels, gouges, auger bits, and planes.




A recent addition to the workshop has been a small thickness planer, so of course it needed its own cabinet, so I made a repeat of the Drill Press cabinet for it:




I needed somewhere to store an amazingly large collection of screws and other fasteners. I found some neat storage trays in the hardware store and made up some plywood housing for them, mounted again on the French Cleat system. And I needed somewhere for a growing collection of smaller clamps as well. 






Back in February, I attended a three-day workshop learning how to make Bandsaw Boxes.


Here is a couple of photos of my first two boxes, made from Australian Red Cedar and completed during those three days:






And here is my third, unfinished box, made from Huon Pine:




It is ready for the drawer faces to be carved with finger-pulls.


And finally, completed today, was this 3-d design end-grain cutting board for the kitchen. Design is by a Russian woodworker, whose website is MTMWood.com He does some amazing work and I purchased a copy of his plans/instructions for this. The finished board is about 530mm x 330mm x 50mm thick. Timbers used were Jarrah, Walnut and Rock Maple.  The “client” is happy with the result…




So, as you can see, while I may not have been building models, I have not been idle over the last eight months or so....


Now, back to modelling.........I hope..........


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Thanks Mark and Piet, and also to all of the likes.


Well, I finally got to spend some time in the model workshop today, after eight months of 1:1 scale work. In the end, it took me only a couple of hours each day over the weekend to complete the fuselage. Two side-bars were cut to size and fitted with various pulleys and cable guides before fitting. The only tricky part here was finding a way to clamp them while the glue set. Then a couple of split pins were shaped into a horseshoe shape with a piece of bamboo across the open ends to form handles. A piece of cordage was then connected from these to the crankshaft. 


Here are a couple of pictures of progress to date.






After taking the pictures, I realised that the cordage had come away from the pulleys on the neck ring – it should pass around these as well as going through the cable guides.  And that completes the construction of the fuselage. Wings are up next.

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Hi Grant,


At first I thought to myself Chinese Snow Shoes but now a little more progress has been made I've changed my mind, I'm now thinking along the lines of a means of assisting with Child Birth, I think it's the Leather Straps and the Stirrups that's doing it.


Your storage cabinet's look great mate, really nicely done. All you need to do now is to build somewhere to store the storage units, and don't forget the bike needs dusting.


Bet your glad I'm back aint ya.


Be Good my Friend



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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Mobbsie and Druxey - the storage cabinets certainly make life a little easier in the "big" workshop.


On with the build....


Wing construction begins with making formers for shaping the wing ribs. Paper templates are provided for two shapes of rib. The templates were applied to some scrap 12mm plywood, cut to rough shape on the scroll saw and refined on the spindle sander. To speed up the process, I cut four of shape ‘A’ and two of shape ‘B’. The completed formers were then covered in packing tape to prevent glue adhering to them.


The wing ribs are each formed by laminating two pieces of 1/8” x 1/16” and cold moulding them on the plywood formers. This simply means applying a thin bead of glue between the two laminations and then clamping them to the plywood formers. It is a very simple, yet very effective way of achieving the curved shape for the spars. Once the glue has dried, there is virtually no spring back. In the photo below, you can see the two different former shapes, one rib being moulded to the former, and two completed ribs after moulding.




In the second photo, are the complete set of ribs: 30 of shape ‘A’ and two of shape ‘B’.




The ribs now all require further shaping dependent on their final location on the ribs. This will be a slow process......


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  • 6 months later...

It's been a long time between drinks for this log! The usual "life got in the way" excuse applies - mainly work-related - but I have managed to re-commence work on this project in the last couple of weeks - spurred on by receipt of my Medway Longboat kit from Chuck!😉


The somewhat tedious process of shaping all of the spars was the next step. 


The two spars of shape ‘B’ were sanded square and set aside. Of the 30 spars of shape ‘A’, eight were sanded square and set aside. The remaining 22 were tapered square from two thirds of the way back to the end of each rib. After tapering square, these 22 along with two that were not tapered, were all shaped octagonal. I found the easiest way to do this was using a very small hand plane. All the spars were then given a finish coating of Shellac followed by furniture wax. Here are the resulting spars, although the photo does not really show the shaping terribly well.




It was then on to the main wing spar shafts. Although the kit provided some 3/16” dowel for these, I used some 1/4" square boxwood stock to make these. After cutting to length, I started by drilling the holes as indicated in the plans while the stock was still square. I then used an approximation of the 7/10/7 rule to draw some layout lines for shaping to octagonal, for which I again used a small hand plane. The spars were then chucked in a hand drill and sanded round to the final thickness of 3/16”. It sounds like a lot of work, but this progressed quite quickly in the end. One end of each main spar was then shaped with a ‘step’ to receive two parts similar to a gaff neck (the part is unnamed in the instructions). These parts, together with the shaped end of the spar shaft, form a housing for the next part called a ‘spring clamp’, into which a wing-tip spar (cut from the spar shape 'B') was inserted. Once all the shaping was complete, the spar shafts received the usual treatment of shellac/furniture wax. I forgot to take any progress photos of this stage. 


The spring clamps were shaped from 1/4” x 3/32” Cherry stock and fitted to the spar shaft housings using a dab of glue and three ‘seizings’. Here is a photo of the completed main spar shafts, with wing-tip spars inserted.




and a close-up of the spring-clamp arrangement... 




All of the shaped spars, together with the main spar shafts, will now be used to construct the wings.

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