This is one post in a series detailing the construction of my kids "Spaceship." See them all here.

Let me start this off by saying that the nose cone of my “couple-weekends-only” project is my arch-nemisis. It’s taken easily half the effort of this project.

I swear I aced geometry in highschool…

So this is where we are at:

Obviously, if we put walls on this thing, it won’t be very aerodynamic. So we need some sort of a nose cone. Seems simple…

Oh man, it is not.

I’m going to bring 4 main beams up from each corner. But how do you connect 4 beams together? I can use a “docking ring” that the beams connect to. I’m working with wood here so a simple square is the way to go. A straight cut at the end of the beam would easily glue to the side of the square. But that would make putting a skin on the nose cone very difficult. So I’ll have take the beams to the corners of the square docking ring. Luckily, I have my trusty, versatile compound mitre saw. Unfortunately, that’s all I have. A table saw would have made some of these cuts so much easier. Here is the prototype I created to get my head around the angles:

You should have seen the jig. It was so embarassing but it did the job.

This will work. The problem is, I want to glue and screw everything. I want this to last for awhile. I have 4 kids after all.

So I’m going to need a jig. And some sort of helper. Here is attempt number 1 to put this together:

My wife Kelly is a saint. This picture was actually taken after midnight. “I’m sorry babe, I can’t help it when I get the itch to do something!”

Notice the square bit on the floor. That’s the docking ring :) Little small but this wouldn’t look that cool if it was functional…

In the end, this didn’t work because it wasn’t supported at the ends and each bit of movement caused the glue and the tiny brad nails to come apart.

I need to get serious. I’ve learned from this experience that you aren’t a good builder by building complex things. You become a good builder by creating complex jigs…

This was much better way to do it. The two cross pieces I added as additional support ended up staying after assembly. They added much needed support.

Now, the problem I had is that I couldn’t let the glue set while this was on the floor. I would run the risk of this structure not lining up with the body. Now begins the rush to flip this over on to the top of the “cage.”

As I flipped it over, one of the beams came loose and dropped. No time to fret, however. I’ll get the other three screwed into the cage and then get the 4th in place. A simple bit of glue and a single screw secures it:

Because this spaceship isn’t a “kit” with blueprints and because I have no idea what I’m doing, I’m always finding what I build is not as structurally sound as what was in my head!

I need to add some bracing to help with “twisting” of the 4 beams. I’m getting quite confident with my mitre saw. I’ve named it Lucy. Here is what Lucy made:

Yeah, it’s getting ridiculous. Only kids younger than 16 will ever see that side cut.

Again, figuring out how to clamp things is half the battle. These pieces don’t get screwed as I’d split the wood…

I highly recommend these Irwin clamps. So great.

That’s about it. I’ll probably start skinning this thing next. I hope :)

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