This year, the week leading up to the show was especially hectic for me as I rushed to not only prepare for the con, but this Kickstarter as well as the imminent arrival of 5,000 pounds of book at my office doorsteps.
On Monday I finalized touches on my booth for this year. Tuesday, the books came on three massive pallets, and on Wednesday we were off the San Diego for preview night. I did final shipping calculations on Wednesday night and on Thursday we launched
Nate was a consummate professional. He kept us updated every step of the design process, showing us numerous work in progress shots to which we could only say "Awesome!" or give a thumbs up of approval.
This project was based purely on the Steampunk aesthetic from the illustrations in "Skies of Fire" by Ray Chou and Vincenzo Ferriero. The Illustrations were incredibly detailed and they even had hand-drawn schematics of the Zephyr Airship in north/south/east/west. First step was to import those 2D images into Fusion 360, so the 3D blimp could be drawn exactly and scaled to 18 inches long. This process takes a few weeks, then it's onto breaking down all the drawn pieces into parts that can be printed with a 3D printer.
In this case, we went another step and only printed the frame also called formers in PLA plastic, so Battens made of brass could be fit to create an inner frame. It took a week to print over 54 parts, so the skeleton could be assembled before applying Silk Paper, Dope Resin and Paint much like those balsa wood planes of the 1950's. And, before the Silk Tissue Paper is applied, the skeleton has to be wired for electronics which include 6 drone motors and 3 LED lights. Once the paper application and paint is complete, then the propeller engines can be soldered and glued into place.
To finish, the rest of the small parts on the outside are now applied for a process that takes about a month. My favorite part is the electronics, because seeing a working airship is really great for the imagination. Of course assembly is always the most difficult, because you have to be so careful with the Silk Paper, until it's painted when the paint thickens the outer shell. In the future, I could see this printed at a higher resolution for garage kits that fans would like to build themselves!
Overall, I couldn't be more pleased with the way things have gone the last two weeks. It's been a rejuvenating series of events for me. Onwards and upwards!