Back Up Next

The end of the original first and second generation mockups - December 2021

This month Buchanan informed me that there are changes taking place at the firm and that the space where the Astro-skeleton mockup was stored is being repurposed. He asked me what I wanted to do with the remnants of the original mockup first created in 2006 and the then substantially changed mockup created in March 2009.

It was in a very dilapidated state. I had thought to have it refurbished but the cost was quite high. Furthermore I really couldn't think of how I would use this. The mockup is quite large, a 1:1 size as the real machine and so would be difficult to take with me as a "stand in" when I gave a lecture about the project. It would be difficult to ship since it is fragile and so the only practical way I could use it is if I happen to drive to the lecture location, which is a rarity. I could think of two local lectures that will be given in the next year or so, and at a price tag of $5000 AU, this would become a very expensive prop for only a few lectures.

I was torn about getting rid of it but the expense and storage mitigated against keeping it.

The mockup as is. This a rear elevation with the time train laying on the table. This is the second generation, pillar frame mockup design; introduced in March 2009. The first generation, plate-and-spacer mockup from July 2006 was dismantled with the the wheel trains stripped out and reused in the second generation pillar frame mockup. Only the front and rear frames from the first mockup were saved, see below.

Front elevation. The time train is put back upright and a few parts re-adjusted. Notice how familiar the layout and overall look of this forlorn artifact is to the completed machine, over twelve and a half years later.

Front, right three-quarter elevation.

In this photo the only remaining pieces from the original plate and spacer frame mockup from 2006 are shown leaning against the second generation pillar frame mockup. One can recognize immediately the two primary reasons why the redesign of the frames were necessary. The first being the near impossibility of locating a large majority of the over 500 wheels between these two plates. They also would have been quite heavy, even after the cutting out for the design, the estimated weight would have come in at 15 lbs. or more. The scores of repeated teardowns needed during fabrication would have made this a very difficult proposition. The second is that the pillar design o=is far more open, allowing a much better view of the complex machine.


A front right and left three-quarter elevation of the remnant frame parts of the first generation plate and spacer frame leaning up against the remaining second generation pillar frame design.


A box of miscellaneous mockup parts along with some later plastic mockup pieces. Second photo shows some mockup dial work.

The funeral pyre 



  The fire kind of made me sad. Maybe a less dramatic end would have been better. On the other hand given how much we both have invested in this project perhaps a simple cremation ceremony was in order. Better than in a plastic bag thrown into a garbage can.


Merry Christmas!!! Here is the crew I have gathered to put the Astro-skeleton clock together when delivered in 2022. Wish me luck!

Back Up Next