Construction of the Minaret Tower
It is now April 2020 and Coronavirus has caused most of the world to go into lockdown. As we are not allowed to travel unnecessarily, this has meant a lot more time at home, so more time to get on with the project. Time to start the next major phase!
To the left of the Main Tower is the Minaret Tower consisting of a slender tower with a "house" on top with a chimney on the roof. In front, at the base, is a "tub". The original Guinness clock featured the Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter (an advertising character) fishing from the top of the tower and reeling up four Russian-doll type nested fish - see the video on the Home page. From the top of the chimney an Ostrich appeared having a pint glass (of Guinness) lodged in its throat.
My proposed version features a manikin of me holding a video camera (a semi-professional hobby of mine) and filming four birds rising and circling out of the tub - a reflection of my interest in bird watching. Out of the chimney will rise replicas of Penny and myself on our wedding day with Bushey Church in the background. To represent confetti, a bubble machine, hidden within the top of the tower, will blow bubbles over the audience while a snippet of organ music I composed for our wedding will be playing. The proposed design is shown in the Photoshopped picture here.
Below is a sketch of the frame of the tower part of the minaret. The odd shaped structure on the right of the tower, made of thinner wood, is the angled structure joining the minaret to the main tower. Being a Crazy Clock, everything is at odd angles, and the minaret is angled to the left, slightly away from the main tower as in the original. The original had a curved rear, but I have chosen to go for a flat rear as it is much simpler to make and is not that important to me.
Minaret tower frame schematic
Minaret tower frame before cladding
The entire frame is now covered by sheets of Foamex apart from the right-hand side of the adjoining tunnel. This side abuts the main tower and an umbilical connecting cable will connect the electrics to the controller in the main tower through this aperture.
The weather was fine over Easter and, along with gardening, I was able to also construct the frame of the house which sits on top of the tower. I decided to make this removeable, partly for ease of construction and maintenance, but also because if it was permanently attached to the top of the tower it would be too tall to get through the doorway of the workshop! I decided to design this as I went along, so there is no sketch of the construction. I must admit that, at this stage, I have no idea how all the mechanisms are going to work or even fit inside the tower! But, where there's a will, there's a way! The picture shows a long overhanging eave which was used in the original to support the wires used to raise the fish from the tub. In my version it may perform a similar role in supporting the mechanism for the flying birds. The frame is in its basic form with no added supports for the chimney or other working parts yet.
Minaret "house" frame before cladding
The tub that will house the flying birds, being circular, could not be made from Foamex. I chose 1.2mm aluminium sheet for this and marked it out for cutting. As the top of the tub is angled, I reckoned I needed to mark a cosine shape, which, when formed into a circle, would create a flat angled plane. I could have calculated a cosine shape and plotted it on a piece of paper the right size, but in the end I decided to use the laser guide on a jig saw, which, when tilted at the appropriate angle, projected a fine line onto a paper replica of the tub. I then marked this on the paper with a pencil every few centimetres, laid the paper tub out flat and joined up the dots, so to speak. I then added some lugs top and bottom which would eventually be folded at right angles inwards to allow fixing the tub to the wooden base and fixing the top ring to the tub. The picture here shows the aluminium sheet after cutting but before forming into a cylinder.
Tub, aluminium sheet cut to shape.
Being 1.2mm thick, I felt that if I simply tried to bend the sheet into a circle, I might end up creasing it in places. What I really needed was one of those metal fabrication rollers to create curves, but I did not know of anyone who had one. So, I improvised! I got a thin flat garden seat cushion which I laid on a table and put a slab of wood underneath at one end to create a slight rise. I laid the aluminium sheet on top of this and placed a 3cm diameter steel pipe across the top just beyond the wood.
Pressing down into the cushion fairly hard, I rolled the pipe backwards and forwards gradually creating a gentle curve to the metal. I worked my way along the sheet until it curved into about 180 degrees. This was sufficient to allow me to tie a rope constrictor around it and gradually tighten the rope pulling the sheet around into a complete circle. Once there, I pop-rivetted along an overlap I had created for this purpose. I then cut out the annular ring, slightly wider than the tub, drilled holes in all the tabs and bent them over and pop-rivetted the ring to the top tabs. The whole thing was etch-primed then painted black and white. There were so many variations of the painting, but I chose to go with what I thought was that of the Battersea Pleasure Gardens one that I saw.
Plastic drain plug before modification
Plug fitted in plant pot tray
Tub curved into a cylinder.
As the tub was open-topped, it is likely it will get rain collecting inside, and also liquid from the bubble machine above. To collect this, I found a plastic plant pot tray (plastic tray not a tray for plastic plants!) the right size and fitted a drain to this that would drain through a hole in the wooden base board. The tray was secured at the very bottom of the tub before any of the bird mechanism was installed. The drain was made from what I think was a plastic cover that went over the fuse of a firework rocket to protect it prior to launch. I never throw anything away! I just sliced off the top and a little bit off the bottom.
The entire clock so far (missing the chimney on the roof).