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  • Topic: 2021 Mik Challenge -- Hale Ipukukui o Haluku'ilio

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    • January 4, 2021 2:48 AM EST
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      2021 Mik Challenge -- Hale Ipukukui o Haluku'ilio

      Team Mueller remains a united entity for 2021 despite my hopes some elements would break off and got at it alone.  Maybe next year...   

       

         The Mik began a couple days' debate about the way forward as it does every year. I raided the pantry for cans and let the ideas flow.  Ideas ranged from realistic to fantastic, as shown below:

      We wanted to do something that would not be obvious, so that eliminated some of the obviously railroad related ideas. I also had to wave off a few ideas due to materials, scope, and skills. I wanted to build a a string of light industrial cars based on our cane cars and even a little tram engine using a scrap chassis for the M&K Sugar Co. but that didn't get a lot of traction.  It was sort of "been there, done that."  We almost settled on a "Fairy Mushroom House Outdoor Tiki Bar" but couldn't come up with suitable mushroom caps.    In the end, we settled on a lighthouse (hale ipukukui, literally house of a bowl of kukui nut oil, an oil used in lamps) for the fictional harbor town of Haluku'ilio (Dog Wallow).

       

          The goal, as ever, is to maximize participation so all hands can see their ideas and workmanship in the final project.  I really want this to continue,  be an annual family event that may continue even after they fly the coop.  Failing that, I want them to at least continue to take pride in designing and doing. To those ends, the boys' napkins include the basic shape proposals.  Kid-zilla proposed a classical cylindrical shape (left) using standard cans, while Oldest Son (OS) took inspiration from the Lighthouse of Alexandria and use SPAM cans (right):

       

      CINCHOUSE will determine the ultimate physical direction.  She buys the groceries!

       

         The girls looked towards the finished product, with Youngest Daughter (YD) suggesting the color scheme (left) and Oldest Daughter (OD) providing a more detailed proposal for the finished look (right):

       

           The core will be cans.  We plan to  use foam trays cut into "rocks" like we did last year to make this look like a stone masonry building.  I like OD's idea of external bracing. Cutting a hexagon, though?  She's seen me use a saw!  CINCHOUSE challenged me to make the light spin.  I think we have a surviving robotics motor from our Little Thomas (LGB m2075 (battery)) project, and we have gobs of LEDs from our running coach lighting efforts.  Crafsticks and Grandpa's scraps will provide timber for platforms, bracing, doors, etc.  As ever, we will build to the exacting standards of 1:24-ish PLAYMOBIL Scale.

       

      Th M&K Sugar Co. mill is capable of 24/7 operations.  The port of Haluku'ilio must rise to the challenge of industrial sugar.  The need is there.  The stage is set.  "Can" we pull it off?

       

      Eric

       

       

      This post was edited by Eric Mueller at January 5, 2021 12:18 PM EST
    • January 4, 2021 12:50 PM EST
      • Smoggy L.A., Left Coast
         
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      I vote for Giant Tiki 

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    • January 4, 2021 3:41 PM EST
      • Waverly, Alabama
         
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      Can’t wait to see yonder light(house) shine   

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    • January 4, 2021 9:49 PM EST
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      • Farmington, New Mexico
         
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      Eric...   You might look into using a solar powered walkway light...  cheep at walmart.  And to make it look like its rotating, use a old flashlight reflector, and have it circle around ( pointing out ) the LED. You could go crazy and do two back to back... 

      Or, try to find an old Lionel rotating beacon light they made for there airport and hanger....

       

      Oh added edit:  some of those solar walk way lights I have see have a pretty good size lens around the light, that would be just right for the light surround.

       

      Just an thought..

       

      This post was edited by Dave Taylor at January 5, 2021 12:43 PM EST
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    • January 4, 2021 10:42 PM EST
      • Post Falls, Idaho
         
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      Dollar store often has the solar pathway lights for a buck. My lighting for last years ice house is a dollar store path light. You get the LED, rechargeable battery, and holder for a dollar. 

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    • January 4, 2021 11:58 PM EST
      • Kenai, Alaska
         
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      Given all the options on that list, I'd have thought for sure that Oldest Daughter at least would have found something of special appeal...

    • January 5, 2021 12:09 AM EST
      • Denver, Colorado
         
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         Uh oh...gonna be good.

       

         Also, good thing I didn't see your list before I chose my project....I would have chosen Abtract Sculpture Park for sure. (Maybe I could sneek something into my build?)

       

       

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    • January 5, 2021 12:38 AM EST
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      @Dave & Devon:  I have a few solar lights sitting around, in fact!  Thanks!

      @Tim:  Maybe next year... She has herself spread pretty thinly across numerous endeavors.  I am glad she wants to participate at all, as I need someone to make straight cuts!

      @John:  Steal away!  Given the ideas I've ripped from this website, it is only fair!

       

      We are formulating our battle plans, and we are all looking forward to everyone's efforts!

       

      Eric

       

    • January 10, 2021 1:45 AM EST
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      And we're off!

       

          For new members to the forum and new participants in the Mik, I thought I'd reintroduce my personal guidelines.  First, CINCHOUSE laid down the law when I asked permission to start in this hobby:  "It cannot just be YOUR hobby!"  To the degree it is safe and practicable, all projects must be open to all hands.  Since forced laborers are not fun partners, I apply her mandate as follows: "All may participate, none must participate."  I do my best to make sure everyone's ideas and contributions come through in the final project while simultaneously acquiring skills I can use in the solo builds to come...but hopefully not too soon!

       

           This morning, I grabbed the meat trays, cans, glues, foam, foam cutters, solar light, etc. and laid them out.  The 1:24 scale crew posed with the haul:

      Unfortunately, all our little motors died during our Summer Mini-Mik.  This lighthouse will not rotate.  That's OK.  I think we'll still make a reflector so it is at least unidirectional.

       

           Building began in earnest this afternoon.  My goal for the weekend is to have the core done and drying so we can start detailing in fits and starts over the week.  To that end, O.S. cleaned and chose the cans for the lighthouse.  Kid-zilla lent to as well:

         

      O.S. had originally wanted  a tiered look like the ancient lighthouse of Alexandria.  With no square cans, he abandoned that objective and went for the more contemporary look.

       

           O.D. set out to create the base that will serve to support the tower and as the lighthouse keeper's residence.  She had for reasons not clear to me some hexagonal cork board that she traced onto scrap foam left over from our mill project that she cut to size and stacked for fit:

         

      Luckily, we had sufficient foam for a fourth layer!  I am ceding as much ground in terms of direction and technique to her on this portion of the project.  Her intention is to use concrete patch on the walls and scribe that to look like brick.  One face will get a door, and the other faces will get a window.  The roof will be a deck with an access door to the light tower.  We discussed ladders or stairwells, but we both agreed that their survival prospects are nil.  The keeper will ascend via ladders inside - and thus out of sight! - of the tower.  The foam cuts were not completely vertical, so she is working on how to overcome that.

       

           Last year, a long leg of the project was converting foam meat trays into stones.  All hands not engaged in the keeper's house or other projects assisted in cutting up the trays into small, irregular shapes.  Y.D. joined us for a while at this phase.  Kid-zilla, unbeknownst to me, grabbed the camera to prove I actually do work on the project:

       

      This leg is tedious.  Hopefully, we removed a choke point while enthusiasm for the project is still high.

       

          As we cut and snipped, O.D. and Kid-zilla set about making the base.  First, after showing them how, they scored and snapped some backerboard:

      Then, as O.S. and I tested both Gorilla Glue and Shoe Goo as means for gluing cans together, this pair used TiteBond III to affix core to base and layers of core to one another.  At the end of the day, we had the following all drying:

      The core is done enough to move forward, and, as the 1:24 crew shows, in "scale."  We are going to have to bore a hole into core, however, insert an extra can into it, and affix the light tower to that.  I showed the boys that glues don't place nicely with foam!  I did consider TiteBond III, but, given this tower will stick straight up, if dog / kid / stupid parent bumps the tower, it will rip the foam core.  I'd rather have metal-to-metal glue point serve as a breakaway under shear stress!  We'll do that tomorrow, which will clear the way to cover the light tower with "stones" over the course of the week.

       

           I am still trying to figure out how to do the light portion of this.  We've found that these lamps are about 2-3 time more expensive here and last for ~6-12 months at most.  Good luck finding the battery.  Given this, it has to be removeable and replaceable.  For now, I am considering cutting a hole in the topmost can, sticking the solar lamp through, then decking over the can and making a fake hatch for the keeper to pop out and clean the glass.  I have put the 1:1 crew on alert we need something to serve as a topper for the light that won't block the solar panel.

       

      Updates as required!

       

      Eric

       

    • January 10, 2021 10:21 AM EST
      • Waverly, Alabama
         
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      Eric, I get a huge grin on my face each time I see your crew at work. It’s great to see a family working together to achieve a common goal. The kids are having fun and unbeknownst to them, they are learning valuable skills that will serve them well as they become adults and get out in the world. No, it’s not the modeling skills, although those will come in handy, it’s the problem solving and team work. The team is presented with the problem: build a lighthouse.  Not only do they have to determine how to build it, they must do it with only the resources on hand. You should consider writing a children’s book and it should be required reading for children and parents alike. 

      BTW: the lighthouse is coming along quite nicely. I like the use of multiple construction materials. 

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    • January 10, 2021 12:30 PM EST
      • East Brunswick, N J RRR#22
         
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      Here's an idea from an old American Flyer Beacon I had. The "Light" was a cylinder on it's side. Hole on the bottom to fit over the light source. The opposite side, which becomes the "top" had slots cut in the top like one side of a triangle and bent up. At least in this case the heat from the light bulb would turn the beacon. Actually, depending on how you do the slots, wind may help turn it. The ends had colored plastic for the light to shine through.

      Moving parts, but no mechanical parts!

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    • January 10, 2021 7:27 PM EST
      • Phippsburg, Maine
         
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      One of my train budies has a rotating beacon light house ... i suspect such things are available.  I have also seen an LED setup with electronics which creates a believable light house flash.  Both are probably hard to find except online. I found this one for 12 bucks Light house top which might be cool.

    • January 11, 2021 12:25 AM EST
      • Missouri, It's like Floodsburg, man
         
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      Eric Mueller said: Unfortunately, all our little motors died during our Summer Mini-Mik.  This lighthouse will not rotate.  That's OK.  I think we'll still make a reflector so it is at least unidirectional. 

      Eric

       

      Aw man. You know what would be really cool, if a suitably sized and configured good-quality wind-up mechanism could be had.

      There's just something cool about "Ahoy mates! Assemble all hands to wind the lighthouse!"

      (we didn't get to have creative writing group yesterday and my imagination latched on to this)

       

    • January 11, 2021 2:41 AM EST
      • Kailua, HI
         
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          Thanks everyone for the wonderful ideas!  As it turned out, the crew scattered to the four winds, so Kid-zilla and I had time to consider the issue of the light.  First, though, we had to install a can into the core.  We used a hot knife and some dental picks to bore out the hole:

       

      I thought the latter picture was interesting.  The white stuff here is actually the TiteBond III, which was still wet after ~24 hours!  I guess it dried from the perimeter inwards.  I am lucky the core didn't fall apart as a reminder that glue has to dry before you move on!

       

           We did a few test fits of the can that will form the base, here, then lathered the interior with TiteBond III under my theory any adhesive is better than nothing, jammed in the can, and checked that it was level:

      I am not sure what the dental pick does here.  The thing is level, though, so whatever Kid-zilla did with the dental pick, it worked!  With the level checked, we got out the Shoe Goo and made fast the light tower.

       

         I decided we could at least start visualizing the light.  My nominal plan was to bore a hole in the topmost can and shove the yard light into it.  As fate would have it, the stock pole would make it all almost work:

      The lamp would require some sort of topper to make it look like a roof.  The can would get a deck and a simulated hatch.  When the light inevitably breaks, remove the topper, toss the light, plunk in a new one, replace the topper, and pau (done)! 

       

           The whole crew discussed the issue at dinner.  The light envisioned above has the advantage of being achievable and the challenge of doing it with what we've got on hand.  I am not sure if it could make use of Lou's proposal, as the LED emits no heat and the yard's fence block the breeze at ground level.  When we discussed the issue at dinner, O.S. actually made mention of a wind-up or handpowered mechanism, Forrest, but he abandoned the idea when I asked if he wanted to sit out there and turn the light all night.  Everybody was intrigued by Eric Schade's suggestion of the commercial lamp.  There was some debate as to whether this was sort of a "cheat," but the argument turned when Y.D. talked about how she could paint this, suggesting creative effort could be spent towards customizing a stock product rather than inventing our own solution.  I'm going to sleep on it and make the call tomorrow.

       

           One last thing.  I did try the concrete patch on the core in a small area to smooth out the holes.  I think it'll work.   I have explained to O.D. this is not something she can do at the last minute when I showed her the result.  We also discussed the roof for the core / keeper's house.

       

           Weekend #1 is done, and, with the "stones" cut, we may actually be ahead!  I'll show the crew what they need to do to the tower tomorrow so we can get them in place by the weekend for the next big push, which will be the keeper's house.

       

      Have a good week and happy building!

       

      Eric

    • January 11, 2021 9:50 AM EST
      • Cape Cod,
         
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      It looks like you guys are having fun.  I like your motto, "All may participate, none must participate."     That makes good sense when working with kids.

      Keep up the good work.

       

    • January 13, 2021 1:09 AM EST
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Quick update to  show the direction of our late afternoon efforts.  The goal is to move from building towards finishing relatively quickly, as all the various glued-on parts and different colors will take time to dry.  The main thrust for this week is to get our stones glued onto the tower and the keeper's house mortared over.

       

      To that end, Y.D., Kid-zilla and I grabbed the remains of the gutter flashing glue from our sugar mill and set to gluing foam "stones" to our cans core:

       

      Again, Y.D. show proof of my involvement!  I did experiment with TiteBond III the night before.  It worked,  but it would've required us to  make a level, let it dry, make a level, let it dry, etc.  This stuff was tacky enough to stick things in place, but, unfortunately, it left glue strings all over the place.  It also got all over our fingers, which caused each of us to have several "stones" stuck to our finger tips.   We called it for the day  at the first level.

       

      Afterwards, O.D. took the concrete patch and applied her cake decorating skills to the base / keeper's house:

      She discovered that this, like frosting, will go on best in light layers over several days.  I, for one, agree!  I'll help here out on this side by cutting and framing the door and windows.

       

      If we can have tower and core in their base paint of coat by Sunday evening, all will be well!

       

      Happy Building!

       

      Eric

       

    • January 13, 2021 10:52 AM EST
      • Smoggy L.A., Left Coast
         
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      Eric, I have the same issue, if I don't pace myself I could be finished by end of week. But between work and other stuff, I have enough other things going on that I can only work on it for a little bit each day, so I won't finish too early.

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    • January 13, 2021 10:59 PM EST
      • Peoria, NW of Phoenix, Arizona
         
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      great job Mueller family , it’s looking good

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      The Babs River Railway

      We can do that, but its gonna cost you... a lot more

       

    • January 14, 2021 7:22 PM EST
      • Waverly, Alabama
         
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      Looking good, boys and girls ....... and Dad 

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    • January 15, 2021 2:24 AM EST
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Thanks everyone!  Just a verbal update tonight.  The boys, Y.D., and I finished gluing the stones to the tower.  There are a lot of gaps, quite a few glue strings, and almost as many glue glops, but this is done.  To boot, some of the foam shows the imprinted cross hatch pattern that once held the beef / ahi / veggie in place!  Once I am convinced the adhesive has cured, I'll see about a light sanding to get the worst of it off.  Otherwise, it shall be classified as "character!"  O.D. continues to slowly layer on the concrete patch.  I suspect this will be the long leg.  Meanwhile, $12 of the budget went to China for the light.

       

      Still on track, here, but the base is starting to get me worried.  I am wondering if we should've craft sticked it like we usually do....

       

      Eric

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