Pyramid Power - NO PEEKING players! You know who you are. :)
I was thinking heavy blister plastic (any Home Depot® packaging) or plastic from soda-pop lids like they offer at QuikTrip™ for shimming material and glides.

Hhhmmm... Lego mechanics.... I like it! And now I want to steal the idea, I just don't know for what. Tongue
End-of-school time is so busy for teachers...

Rest assured this project is still going to be worked on, I just haven't been able to make any post-worthy progress in a while. This is the last week for students, so I should be able to put some concentrated hours into this project after that. Smile

Good luck and happy building everyone!
[+] 1 user Likes ableman33's post
Same with me, just got rid of my students today so hopefully I'll be able to start on mine Smile
My deep apologies for not posting anything. The universe has done it's best to keep me from this project since my last update (including having my wallet stolen and having to run around getting new cards and IDs and closing bank accounts and such), but I have managed to put some more time into this.

I SHOULD be able to finish before the deadline, but I haven't been documenting my work like I normally do.

What I have been doing is trying a lot of different materials and techniques, trying to settle on a balance between durability, time, ease of work, and accommodating my gear mechanisms. After a lot of testing and mental back-and-forth-ing, I've landed on the side of durability and am making my layers out of wood. Harder to work with, but it should last once I get it to functioning.

There WILL be updates in the near future (with pictures even Smile ).

Until then, best of luck everyone and happy building!
Ouch! That is not cool. I hope you didn't lose too much financially because of the wallet situation. Glad to hear you're taking it in stride though. Sometimes documentation takes a backseat to deadlines. It's a lot easier to just type up a longer explanation when you're done.
Thanks Melly, all things considered, the wallet incident went smoothly.

On to the terrain!

Here are some pics showing the wooden sliding base I've created.

The sliding irregularly shaped stepped top parts are made of 1/8 inch plywood to save weight. The main base piece is thicker to accommodate the thickness of the gears that will be inside it. I realized I can trim down the thickness of the gears somewhat and still maintain their integrity, so I was able to use 1/4 inch plywood rather than 3/8, saving weight. Weight isn't a factor so much in this non-moving base plate, but for the bottom portion of the sliding piece that will need to accommodate locking pins, using 1/4 instead of 3/8 saves a third of the weight. Smile Lower weight means less stress on the gear system that will move the siding platform.

Here are two views from the top showing the sliding platform in the closed and open positions.

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And here are open and closed views from underneath. I chose to use screws to hold the two layers together instead of glue so that I can take the layers apart and put them back together easily while I get everything working, and in case I ever need to work on things in the future.

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Here is a view from below with the bottom cover removed. You can see the two slots that guide the moving piece back and forth and the rectangular wooden guides that are glued to the irregular top 1/4 inch piece. The bottom cover is screwed into these two guides. The guides are a little bit thicker than the main non-moving base plate which creates a gap when everything is screwed together. This means the only friction is from the top parts rubbing on the top of the base. Smile

(The sharp-eyed might noticed the two extra holes near the guide slots on the right. These were a mistake. I'll either fill them in with putty or not worry about them as they are covered by the sliding plate above and can't be seen.)

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And here is what the upper piece and the base look like from below when they are separated.

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And all three pieces together.

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Here is a close up of the guide slots. The D-shaped opening in the middle will contain the main gear attached to the central statue above and the gear track (glued along the straight side of the D) that the main gear will roll along to move the movable platform.

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And here is an out-of-focus attempt to show how the rectangular guide pieces stick up a bit from the base plate.

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Next up, fine tuning the notches on the bottom part of the sliding assembly and installing the locking pin guides!

Happy building and good luck everyone! Smile
More progress made.

First I made some guides for my locking pins. My pins are made from LEGO Technic gear track. Ideally these would have been placed onto 1x8 thin LEGO pieces, but I didn't have any of those. So, I just cut some 2x8 thin pieces in half. Smile

Here you can see some shots of the guides and pins in action.
(The final pins won't be this long, but I'll trim them to proper size later.)

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And here's some close-ups.

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And here I put a handle on my temporary shaft so that you can see how making a 180 degree turn moves the pins out of the slots.

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Next I made some covers to hold the pins in place once everything is right side up again. Again, I used screws so that I can easily take things apart to modify, troubleshoot, and repair.

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Once all that was done. I installed the gear strip for the main gear in the D-shaped hole. Unlike with the pins, here I needed to shave down the sides of the gear track because I didn't want them to protrude more than the wooden rectangular slot guides. I had to be careful and ease in toward my desired width a little at a time since I didn't want to completely remove the thin plastic sides of the track.

I had originally planed to just glue the track directly to the wood, but I realized the track needed more support than that. So I attached it to some more split 1x8 thin LEGO piece and shaved the whole assembly down. This extra plastic necessitated that I widen the D-shaped hole some more. My efforts to ease into the wider shape using a rasp rather than my scroll saw were of mixed results. I got the shape I needed (though it ended up a little wide), but the rasp splintered off the outer laminiation layers of the plywood in several places. I may or may not fill this in with wood putty later.

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The gear works with the teeth strip as it right now just fine, but looking in these pics I see that the gear and the strip can be tighter. I may or may not try to do something about that later.

Back to building. Good luck all! Smile
A little more progress.

I printed out some paper textures onto cardstock and glued them down onto my base and sliding top.

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Here you can see just the base piece. I tried to not cut away any more than I needed to, hence the narrow slit for the main shaft where the D-shaped cutout in the wood is.  I also took the opportunity to cover over some of the gaps that showed through when the sliding piece was ostensibly closed and filled in my two accidental holes with some hot glue.

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And here are some closeups of the patterns I used. I plan to go over the edges of the sliding top piece layers with some copper foil so that should hide some of the ragged paper edges.

The sharp-eyed might also have noticed two triangular sections that were a lighter color than the rest of the middle step layer. This happened when I cut away the overlapping paper coverings to form a nice 45-degree intersection. The glue paste from my glue stick had enough moisture in it that it started to remove the ink in the paper below before I wiped it off. Rather than redo these papers, I decided to keep it. This way the lighter sections can act as a subtle clue as to the fact that the floor moves. Smile The lighter two sections are on the side that indicates which way the floor slides.

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There will be some shallow steps in the corners behind the four statues, but I am thinking of incorporating some lighting elements into them that will illuminate as each statue is turned into the correct position so I'm holding off on those for the moment.

Back to work. Smile
Is the paper thickness likely to cause any tolerance / clearance concerns?


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